When I see beauty, I see hope
When I see beauty, I see hope

I don’t know about you, but when I watch a movie with an open ending, I’m left feeling unsatisfied (like when I really need dark chocolate, but settle for crunchy Skittles because that’s all the candy the kids left in the house.)  I want to know how a story ends.  I want to know if I should laugh or cry, or just hope for the best knowing that sometimes “best” is elusive.

For weeks I’ve been trying to decide what to do with this space that I have adored for so long.  For six years, I have posted my writing and photos and have been encouraged, supported and befriended by many lovely people.  I always wanted this blog to be a positive in world that has too much negative.  For the most part, I think I did that.  For the first five years or so at least.

This brings me to now.  I am no longer JannaT and I no longer write so it doesn’t make sense to leave things hanging without an ending.  I don’t know who I am or who I will be- I just know that I won’t ever be who I was.  I will leave my blog here for now, a reminder of a chapter in my life, and perhaps it will entertain or encourage someone.  I have no idea if words will ever be a part of me again, or if I will feel joy or passion, or any of the things that make time on this earth bearable.  All I know is that as long as I breathe, I will strive to hope.

I really felt like I needed write something to thank all of the people who have perused my blog over the years.  I wanted to tell those who enjoyed my writing enough to follow me- I appreciate your support more than you know.  Lastly, I wanted to tell those that I got to know over the years that your friendship has meant a lot to me and I wish you all the best in your writing, photography, or wherever your passions lead you.

Peace and blessings to you all.

Love is the Guide

Sometimes things happen in life that force me to reflect.  Reflection isn’t always easy…. just like looking in the mirror and acknowledging the cumulative effects of years in shades of gray and crevices along once-porcelain skin, reflection sheds light on ingrained patterns that led to some of my darkest days.

My weakest moments have shown me that faith is hope, and love is the way.  Not romantic love.  Instead, the love that is friendship and genuine caring for others; the kind of love that prompts me to do something just to make someone else smile.  Because, when I can’t find the strength to smile myself, seeing someone else smile is enough.

Love is the guide.

Love is seen when it's least expected
Love is seen when it’s least expected

This weekend, I visited friends that I haven’t seen in a few years.  I can think of many excuses reasons, but all of them are selfish.  I showed up on their doorstep unannounced, Easter Lily in hand, and they welcomed me without any hard feelings whatsoever.  We visited for hours, she shared some chocolate cake and hugs and we will go to lunch next month when I’m in town again.

This last year has shown me that when the passing idea to do something kind happens, don’t ignore it.  When the thought turns into an urging that keeps resurfacing, I should definitely do something.  With faith giving me strength and love as my guide, I’m ready to embrace the lessons that life has for me.

Have a beautiful Monday!

Solitude (Fiction – with Photo by Emilio Pasquale)

It’s been a while, but it’s that time again… another collaboration with Emilio Pasquale!  He supplies a photo and I provide a story inspired by the photo.  If you haven’t checked out his photo blog, I’ve made his name a link so you can check it out… I don’t think you’ll be disappointed🙂


I pulled my tangled hair into a ponytail at the base of my neck and wrapped a rubber band around it.  As I plunged my other shirt into the creek to rinse it clean, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation between two young men, probably in their early twenties, I guessed.

“I can’t wait to start at Reichter and Schmidt.”

“We don’t graduate for two more months.”

“Yeah, but I’m ready now.  I’m thinking I’ll get promoted and make the real money in no time.”

“I haven’t started applying for jobs yet,” the other responded.

“You can’t wait for life to happen, Danny.”

“It happens anyway.”

I lifted my gaze to Danny.  I didn’t know him, but felt his kindred spirit.  I could attest to the fact that life resembled a desert wash after torrential rain.  Unable to soak into the hardened soil, the excess water paid no mind to the boundaries of banks, much like life progressed regardless of “plans” or dreams.   One day, you were in control and the next, it slipped away like liquid through oily fingers.

“You can’t get pissed about where you’re going if you don’t steer the boat.”

“Who says I’m pissed?”

The go-getter snorted.  “You will be when you’re middle-aged, living with mommy and daddy, and still trying to figure out what you want to do with your life.”

“Whatever,” Danny said as he flicked a rock across the water.

The ripples expanding from the place where the rock sank mesmerized me.  At first, pronounced and defined, then tapering off into stillness, they reminded me of my late middle-aged view of life.  The problems and struggles were all rocks thrown into my pond; at first disruptive, but gradually they disappeared.  No matter the rock’s size, I remained.

People like Danny’s friend really got under my skin because I used to be one of them.  When I was in grade school, I knew I wanted a husband, two kids and a couple dogs, living in a huge suburban house with an expensive car in the driveway.  I dreamed of schmoozing at networking dinners in fancy restaurants and traveling all over the world.  I wanted the big corner office with the floor-to-ceiling windows, even though I would hardly be there to enjoy the view.  I had faith in the myth that a woman can have it all.  I got everything I ever desired, but I still had nothing.  Ironically, I didn’t find meaning until I had nothing.

I wanted to tell Danny it was okay to be still and listen for life to beckon you.  But I knew I wouldn’t because I hadn’t spoken a single word in 2,853 days.

“I can’t help you if you don’t want to help yourself.”

Danny flung a rock into the water.  “I’m sick of your stupid clichés, Mark!” He hurled another rock at the same spot.  “Can you, for once, say something that isn’t a quote from some motivational book?  Or is that thinking too far ‘outside the box’?”

My gaze shifted from Danny to Mark.

“I guess not.  I’m going back to camp.”

Danny rested his forehead in his hands.  I knew how he felt.  I had also thrown daggers with deadly accuracy.  I left in my wake too many corpses to count; relationships that would never be restored.  Now, I traveled alone, unarmed, by necessity- so no one else would suffer.

I twisted the water from my shirt and hung it on a sturdy branch of a nearby scrub oak.  Danny never lifted his head or acknowledged me, even as my footsteps crunched the leaves and pine needles covering the ground.  I was used to that, as the years had made me invisible.  Only a few people noticed me, in the form of spare change dropped at my feet.  Humiliated, I always accepted with an averted gaze and a nod of my head.  God provided.

Danny stood and dusted his jeans off.  He walked in the opposite direction of his friend.  I thought a quick prayer that he might not be so stubborn and choose to make amends.  I hoped he wouldn’t know the pain of surviving alone.

I lowered myself to the ground beneath the tree and leaned back, resting my head on my pack.  As soon as the sun rose, I would stuff my few belongings inside the bag and head west with my life carried upon my shoulders.  I had a destination in mind, but no timeframe in which to get there.  I never thought beyond what I would do when I got there because I think I knew, deep down, there wouldn’t be a beyond to concern myself with.


This story was obviously inspired by Emilio’s photo.  He sent it to me back in January but I just haven’t been able to write.  When I saw this photo, I saw immense loneliness, and it was more the emotion that I took from the photo than the image itself.

Thanks again to Emilio for providing another photo for story inspiration.  I hope we will collaborate again soon!  And thank you to everyone who stopped by to read the story.

Have a beautiful Tuesday!


Donation box and un-hung towel racks and pictures
Donation box and un-hung towel racks and pictures


This one word describes pretty much every aspect of me and my life at the moment.  There must be a lesson somewhere in all of this because I like things to be completed.  Perhaps I’m supposed to learn patience.  Or maybe the state of unfinished is meant to make me look at what’s really important in my life.  I don’t expect to fully grasp how “unfinished” has changed me until time has passed and I’m looking over my shoulder.

I moved into my house a month ago.  Everywhere I turn, I’m greeted by reminders of what I haven’t gotten done.  As a person who likes neatness and order, this is difficult to deal with at times.  I have broken towel racks that need to be replaced.  I have no artwork hanging on my walls because I need to finish painting first.  I have fabric I bought 3 years ago for window valances I never made for a house I no longer own.  I would like to make them here.  I need more time…

I want to write, but the things I need to do creep into my consciousness and strangle my creativity, like weeds in a vegetable garden.  I struggle with darkness more than I would like, but I avoid sharing what I’ve written in this state because it’s depressing.  I want to read blogs, but I get overwhelmed by the number of unread emails so I give up (which makes it worse!)

I am unfinished.  

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we’re complete masterpieces until we’ve exhaled our last breath.  I’m somewhere in between who I was and who I will be… but I don’t know what that means yet.  Uncertainty has allowed me to exist in this state of flux for quite some time.  I didn’t live last year.  I breathed in and out, even when I didn’t want to, and woke up each day with the single goal of getting through it.  It seems I’ve forgotten how to look forward; how to dream.

I hope words will come and allow me to write my way through this.

Unfinished is a process...
Unfinished is a process…
... closer to finished than the day before
… closer to finished than the day before

At least this post is finished🙂

Have a wonderful Monday!

Worthless Commodity?

Never peace between darkness and light...
Never peace between darkness and light…

I refuse to believe

That time is money;

That each breath is calculated

In dollars and cents,

That what I thought priceless,

Is essentially worthless…

It doesn’t make sense.

I cannot concede

That my value is monetary;

That my worth is determined

On an hourly basis,

That there is no light in darkness,

An eternity spent in stasis …

Life must be more than this.


First of all, I have to say that I’ve missed this place- and reading what others have been up to.  I knew I’d be gone for a week, maybe two, but my absence extended and I began thinking my writing thoughts were done.  Since my last post in January, I endured a 3.5 hour trial so a judge can determine my fate in my divorce (nearly a year after filing), I unloaded the burden of ‘too much house’, lived with a neighbor for several days while in between houses, moved into a much smaller house that I selected on my own, and got knocked down by a nasty cold.  Things are nowhere near where I’d like them to be but that will take time.  And the things I want to do to make this house my “home” take money.

And this is what started the poem I’ve posted.  As I was patching nail holes throughout my house, wondering how someone could possibly have so many things to hang on the walls, I contemplated the idea of having someone paint the interior.  I quickly nixed that idea because I don’t really have money for paint, much less the luxury of someone to do the work for me.  I thought, I don’t have time or money, but right now, I have more time than money.

That realization sent me thinking about how everything seems to come down to dollars and cents these days.  I’ve spent the last year and over $18,000 fighting a soon-to-be ex who seems to view me as his meal ticket.  I could rant about that but I won’t, because I’m tired.  And besides, there’s no point.  My fate is now in the hands of God, and the judge who will determine how much I will lose.  As I look back on this last year, I’m most disappointed that my value seems to be, well, in my value… as in my salary, my savings, etc.  If I didn’t have the kids to care for, I would quit my job and live nowhere… and everywhere. I’d earn enough money for my necessities, but not enough for anyone to bother to take advantage of me.

But this is the real world.

I feel more hope than I did a year ago, but honestly, I still struggle with lows that make me wonder if I will battle darkness every day of my life.  I wonder if I will always cry when I should be happy, or feel this weight inside me when I should be soaring.  Only time will tell.

Although I’m more realistic (cynical?) than I’ve ever been, I still want to believe my thoughts, ideas and dreams cannot be appraised and converted to currency.  I have to believe that darkness isn’t a certainty and there is more to hope for than whatever this life brings.

Those are the thoughts/inspiration behind the poem.  Have a beautiful Wednesday!