Hope Prevails

I think this is a Cactus Wren nest and eggs
I think this is a Cactus Wren nest and eggs

If you’ve read my blog any time during 2015, you’ve probably gathered this hasn’t been the best year for me.  I spent the entire first half of the year submerged in darkness and struggling against an undercurrent that pulled me under whenever I caught a glimpse of hope. Keeping with the water theme, I noticed the tide changed in July.  I was able to hold on to my first glimpse of hope that tomorrow could overcome the gloom of today.  There have been setbacks since then, but for the most part, I’ve kept hope in my sights.

Over the weekend, while visiting my parents, my mom found a nest in one of their cactus plants.  They have several different variety of cacti, each with varying degrees of pain associated with them.  (I am not a fan of cacti at all.  See, just the weekend before, I helped my dad clear out one that had blown down during a monsoon storm.  I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I may have enjoyed using the ax a little too much :) )  Even with thick leather gloves, I managed to get cactus needles in my fingertips.  And I know I’m getting old(er) because, although I could feel them, I couldn’t see them at all.  That’s another blog post entirely…

Monsoon storm broke some Mexican Organ Pipe and Prickly Pear cacti... we finished them off
Monsoon storm broke some Mexican Organ Pipe and Prickly Pear cacti… we finished them off

So, back to the bird’s nest.

When I saw the nest tucked into the seemingly inhospitable “branches” of a cactus, I couldn’t help but relate this to my life.  See, my life this year has been like that cactus.  The spiny cactus isn’t the most welcoming home for most species, yet the wren is able to live there- the conditions even providing protection from many predators.  (Would you go near that???)  My life hasn’t been conducive to fostering hope, but I’m finding that in the absence of ideal conditions, hope still exists.

As I ponder life, both of cactus wren and my own, I can’t help but marvel at the resiliency of it. With the light of hope, I see the beauty of life again.  Even through all the stuff that could turn my heart cold, I feel the warmth of “good” moments.  That is hope.

I hope you feel it, too.

Have a beautiful Monday!

P.S.  I’m still so far behind on reading blogs.  Thanks to everyone for your patience as I try to get caught up… I have posts from May that I still haven’t read!  And I thought life was crazy before school started, haha… let the games begin (again.)

The Problem With Darkness

I took this photo on July 4 - the first creative photo I've taken  in several months
I took this photo on July 4 – the first creative photo I’ve taken in several months


Darkness settles…

a heavy burden,

a shroud over hope:

the absence of all emotion.

Darkness lies…

taunting whispers,

deafening in my ears:

misery is all there is.

Darkness defies…

disobeys rules of logic,

world turns upside down:

death rules over life.

Darkness distorts…

a faded mirage,

an alternate reality:

coercing me to believe.

The problem with darkness

is that until light streams through,

I accept counterfeit promises:

I’m blind to hope- my sustaining well of truth.


This poem came to me while cooking dinner this evening.  I’ve limited my posting for several months now.  I am generally a positive person, so this extended period of darkness has taken a toll on me.  Recently though, I’ve started to see some rays of light cutting through the pitch-black.  When not submerged in the overwhelming nothingness, I am able to have moments where I believe that what is now will not always be.  That’s what this poem is:  acknowledging how this darkness has bound me, and being able to recognize that hope is freeing.  I’m not quite “me” yet, but am finally approaching a place where I can write honestly, and yet keep this an encouraging space.

I am woefully behind on reading blogs, but am catching up a little each day.  Thank you so much to everyone who has continued to read my sporadic posts, prayed for me, and have sent ‘good thoughts’ my way.  This darkness would be a lot darker without you :)

Freedom Is A State Of Mind

It’s almost Independence Day here in the United States, but I thought I’d look at freedom in a different way. Freedom isn’t just about rights that are awarded from sources outside of us; freedom is also what we allow ourselves to make of it.

For a while I’ve been imprisoned by my own thoughts and circumstances. My mind has settled on the impossibility of what life is and I’ve been unable to comprehend a time where things could be different. This has led me into some really dark days. I haven’t written on my blog for nearly a month, mostly because the majority of what I’ve written has been so dark and depressing, I simply cannot share it.

During this time, friends have tried to lift me up because I can’t stand on my own. I know this has been exhausting for them because it’s been tiring for me as well. Waking up each day has been a chore. I’ve been caught in an endless loop of not wanting to do anything, and then feeling down because I don’t find joy in anything.

I know; it’s all in my head.

A glimmer of hope came through in my writing recently, and I thought I would share. It’s the first hint in a long time that maybe I will be right again, someday. This poem was written about a friend who has put a lot of effort into trying to get me to see hope. I’ve not been able to look beyond what I could see for today and tomorrow. But sometimes (I’m told) hope waits over the horizon, just out of sight.

Just because I can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Hope is the light streaming in between clouds
Hope is the light streaming in between clouds

You are…

A seedling sprouting

on the charred forest floor;

the sun rising

bathing desolation in golden light;

fresh rain soaking

into parched desert soil;

the smile spreading

across a tear-streaked face.

You are the today

that makes me want to see tomorrow;

you are a gift-

a reminder of God’s amazing way.

These sentiments also apply to everyone who has offered prayers and well-wishes over the last several months. A big, heart-felt thanks to all of you! There is still so much uncertainty in my life, and most days are emotionally and physically draining, but I’m starting to believe one thing IS a certainty: I will be okay. “Okay” might not turn out to be what I thought it would be… but that’s okay :) I am so far behind in reading blogs but I am finally to the point I think I can set aside a little time most days. I always enjoyed the blog community and I think perhaps taking the step to interact again will bring some normalcy, which I’ve been lacking.

I wish you all a beautiful weekend!  If hope isn’t clearly visible, may a shift in mindset bring it out of the shadows.

It Rained.

06-04 Deck

For some time, I’ve been researching, reading, watching videos and asking questions about repainting decks, as I’ve never done this type of project before.  On Wednesday morning, I finished the final step in the prep work: scrubbing and rinsing.  I was finally ready, and I had big plans to cross the deck off my checklist by the end of the weekend. I planned to apply the primer tonight and spend Sunday finishing the two coats of paint.

Then, it rained.

The weather wreaked havoc on my plans. I looked at the forecast and there is a greater than 50% chance of rain for the next two days. Since the deck needs to dry at least 48 hours before painting, there is no way this project will be completed right now. I was disappointed, and a little angry.  (It’s Arizona… it never rains…. why now?)  It was as if the time spent prepping it had been wasted, and I was devoured by pesky mosquitoes for nothing.

I couldn’t help but notice the parallel between the deck and my life. The “plans” I make keep unraveling at the seams leaving me with only threads to grasp onto. I used to know (or think I knew) what my life was about, but over the last few months, I’ve come to the realization that I have no clue. Funny thing is, I’m starting to accept this. It’s not always easy. I want to revert into the coziness of plans. I long for the stability of being able to anticipate tomorrow based on what happened today.  Sometimes I seek the shelter of “same” only to find it doesn’t exist.

Life is changing me. I’m frantically grasping to make something from the undone plans less and less. I’m learning to let them go so that new un-plans will happen. So, it rained; I can’t change that no matter how much I want to.

I could choose to sulk in a sour mood, but instead, I’m ready to embrace whatever life brings me this weekend.  Besides, there’s a great chance it will be much more fun than painting :)


You may have noticed I haven’t posted much lately- or read others’ blogs as I used to.  The  nearly 500 emails is evidence of my neglect.  I’m sorry about this, and I do intend to get better about both.  It’s a struggle to just wake up most days, but I’m still fighting it.  I think my next post will be a fiction story for Emilio’s photo that he sent me for May.  However, if life has taught me anything, it’s that I can’t plan on that, so I won’t make a promise I can’t keep :)

Low No Expectations

My older son held a crystal in front of me and asked me what I thought of it. It was the tenth rock I’d seen and they all looked fine to me. Then he said he was going to give it to his brother. Before I could say that was nice of him, he added, “this one isn’t as nice as my other one, so he can have it.”

And so my thoughts began…

Dying flowers make me sad...
Dying flowers make me sad…


In one way, I can acknowledge that a gift of any kind should be appreciated. But I can’t help but be bothered by this.

First of all, a gift that is knowingly “less than” really isn’t much of a gift- it’s pawning off something that didn’t mean much to you. It’s not a gift of thought or heart; it’s more an act of convenience that serves to make the other person think you are kinder than your intentions are. It’s deception.

Perhaps gifting is an art that must be learned so that we might recognize a gift is more than an object.  I am honored to receive a gift that shows a person pays attention to me and knows the little things that make me smile.

I'll look at the pretty colors, but I won't eat them (except for maybe a couple purple ones!)
I’ll look at the pretty colors, but I won’t eat them (except for maybe a couple purple ones!)


On the other side of that proverbial coin, receiving a gift that is devoid of thought or meaning just leaves me feeling sad and unappreciated; like I’m invisible. It’s worse than not receiving a gift at all.

When presented a gift that is completely not me, I force myself to put on my best gracious smile and say, “thank you.” I hope my smile covers up my hurt because even though I’m devastated inside, I would feel worse if I made the giver feel bad about the gift.

I realize that my expectations sometimes get in the way. I do expect people that know me best to have some idea of who I am and to be able to choose a gift accordingly. Or, if they are still stumped, just write a note; tell me why I matter.

Maybe if I can learn to expect nothing, then I won’t be disappointed. I’m not there yet, but no expectations might be just a gift away.