Posted in Jeanne Marie

The Wedding Heels

I’m trying to de-clutter my life and unravel my mind.
Yesterday, I threw my thirty-five-year-old, size five wedding heels in the trash. I tried on a lot of shoes before I found the perfect heels. They were important. My future mother-in-law bought them for me. She wasn’t impressed by her son marrying a woman with three kids, so they were a peace-offering.
The heels have stuck around. They made the cut every time I packed. They have been with us to fifteen houses and a dozen apartments.
I had hoped to wear them again, maybe on an anniversary, but that’s not going to happen.
My feet are no longer small and petite, and my husband and I have separated.
I looked at the shoes laying there in the trash, taunting me, reminding me of my wedding day, and I pushed them in deeper. I instantly panicked, but I took deep breaths and I walked away.
Later, I carried the bag outside to the trash can.
Today, I was out front tearing open the trash bags. Coffee grounds, dog’s pee papers, egg shells and dirty paper plates, I found.
No shoes.
I gave up easy, compared to my norm.
I’m not a quitter. I held on to those heels for thirty-five years.
I stopped because I knew it was hopeless.
I could save the heels. But I can’t save us.
I’m strong and I’m weak. I’m resisting the urge to go back out there now.
I just want the trash truck to come and take the heels away before I give in to my compulsion to bring them back into the house.
If I can leave the heels in the trash, maybe I’ll make it through this after all.
P.S. The trash men came and the shoes have gone to their final resting place.

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Posted in Gracie's Glimmers

Another Christmas for Grace

My dad was an alcoholic and Christmas was his favorite time of the year to tear up the house, a futile attempt to destroy my mother’s Christmas spirit.
He never succeeded with her, but he made me dread Christmas.
When I was a young mother, I didn’t really celebrate Christmas, not until the kids were toddlers and even then, I just went through the motions for them.
When I was twenty-seven, I got remarried to a man who made a big deal of Christmas.
Until our first Christmas together, I had never put up more than a 2′ ceramic tree, and only because my mom had special ordered it for me.
Our first year together, we put up a 6′ tree with all the trimmings and we surrounded it with presents.
The kids were so excited on Christmas morning and it was contagious.
From that point on, I grew to love Christmas and all that it meant to the kids.
My mom was so proud of me for overcoming my childhood Christmas phobias and soon, I had enough homemade decorations from my mother to cover an entire tree.
I used to love to send her pictures of the tree decorated with her ornaments.
I put up big trees until my youngest moved out, and then I still put up trees, just not as large.
As my kids had kids of their own, I split Mom’s decorations between them and I bought new decorations for me.
Every year, I would do a different theme, bouncing between girly and guy.
All miniature dolls and fairies one year and all Harley-Davidson decorations another year. Pink trees, white trees, purple trees, gold and green. Even a Palm tree one year.
Then, my mom, Grace, died in 2009.
I had a hard time again, but my sister, Cherie, talked me into putting up a tree just for my mom and she sent me butterflies and fairies to decorate it.
That was my first Christmas for Grace.
The next year, it. became a tradition, one tree for Mom, one for me.
Three years ago, my husband and I split up and although I put up a small tree for Mom, I didn’t really celebrate Christmas.
We got back together after seven months and we had two more nice Christmases together, but we separated again this fall, and now here I am, my second Christmas without him in thirty-eight years.
I really didn’t know how I was going to get through it.
I decided the first thing I needed to do was to buy a Christmas tree in a color I had never had before.
I resisted the urge to buy blue for a Blue Christmas, and before I could change my mind, I ordered a turquoise colored Christmas tree. That was in October.
It sat in the box for about a month, while I thought about it.
What would I put on it?
That’s when my sweet friend, Michelle Marie, came to the rescue. She called and offered me enough decorations to do my whole tree. When she brought them to me on Thanksgiving weekend, I was thrilled. They were so beautiful and unlike anything I had ever used before.
My kids came with their kids for Thanksgiving weekend and I asked the three youngest ones to decorate the tree.
Four-year old Mile Mae, got on her daddy’s shoulders to put the star on, and while the entire tree leans, including the star, it’s perfectly imperfect. It’s rather Grinch like, and that was my mom’s favorite movie.
After they were all gone, I brought out some of my little fairies, my mom’s butterflies and a few special ornaments. I added them to the tree. The tree lights are pink and at night, it changes the tree’s color and the walls around it glow.
So, although it is a sad Christmas for me in many ways, I have kept my Christmas spirit going, partly in honor of my mother who refused to let an insane alcoholic destroy her Christmas spirit and partly in honor of myself, because I deserve a happy and blessed Christmas, and yes, I am blessed.
I have fifteen grandkids and five great-grandchildren, a beautiful, warm home, food and everything I need.
I firmly believe Jesus is the reason for the season, but when your grandkids are small, it’s also about glitz and glitter and shiny presents and stockings filled to the brim, hugs and love, Oreo’s and milk, all waiting for them at Grammy’s house.
So this tree is for them, and for my mom, the woman who taught me that your Christmas will become whatever you choose to make it, and for my sister, who wouldn’t let me quit Christmas after my mom died.
Special thanks to Michelle Marie for the perfectly timed decorations and thank you Jesus, for another Christmas and another chance to make memories with my family and friends.

 

 

Posted in Gracie's Glimmer, Poetry From A Woman Who Thinks Too Much

where do you run to woman 

where do you run to woman
when there’s no where left to go?
your feet are slowing down
your body is broken and old.
you still wanna run
you still wanna go
you wanna keep moving
from sunshine to tornadoes to snow.
where do you run to woman
when there’s no where left to go?
fifteen houses and seven states
moving trucks and new couches
starting over again, it’s a temporary relief
such an insane, disastrous distraction
cause you always pack the same problems
between your books and your shoes.
where do you run to woman
when there’s no where left to go?
Posted in Jeanne Marie

I Am Sixty-Five, Thank you Jesus

August 11, 2018
Thank you Jesus, for allowing me to live to the age of sixty-five, a blessing that many never receive and for helping me to learn to live with the wrinkles.
Thank you for forty-two years of sobriety with only one night of insane drinking.
Thank you for the man in my life who has loved me with his entire heart. He loves me on my best days and even harder on my worst days.
Thank you for my daughter’s life, her sobriety, her sweet, forgiving, beautiful heart and the love that she showers on me. Thank you for the beauty that she sees in me.
Thank you for my four children, fifteen grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, my sisters, my family and my few, true friends.
Thank you for one beautiful house after another all the way up to fifteen, for the many moves you’ve allowed us to make safely and for all the wonderful places we’ve been able to explore.
Thank you that I can still walk when all my x-rays declare that I shouldn’t be able to get out of bed.
Thank you for the awesome gifts you tucked into my heart when you formed me, the ability to play with words and the creative ideas that flow through me.
Thank you for all the pretty clothes in my closet and all the books on my shelves.
Thank you for the successful surgery that allows me wear normal shoes for the first time in almost twenty years, and for my pink boots that I picked out as a birthday present.
Thank you for the music that blesses my life.
Thank you for the church that you led my body to because as you know, it blesses my spirit, even though it was 1800 miles away from my house at the time.
Thank you for every breath that I take and for every day I wake to find another chance. Amen.
Posted in Jeanne Marie

The Table & Chairs

My old table and chairs have been freshly painted and they’re adorable, but that’s not all there is to it.

They have traveled a long, rough road to land pretty on my front porch.

I’ll start with when I first remember seeing them in my mom’s living room. They were brand-new white.

I was thirtysomething with three young kids and my sister, seven years younger, had four younger kids.

My mom had a small basement apartment underneath my aunt’s house, but she had one closet full of blankets and pillows that we would use when we slept over. We would just spread them all over the tiny living room and it would be wall-to-wall kids.

Mom never cared how small her place was, she always had room for all of us.

We would cook huge Sunday dinners in her little kitchen, and then we would all stand there together doing the dishes.

In the evening, after the kids would settle down, my sister would put a table-cloth on the little table and a candle. She would say we were in a French bistro.

Then she would ask me to read some of my poems, which I always just happened to have with me.

For an hour so, we would all be transported to a little café in France and I was the entertainer.

My mom was my first reader and fan, but they were all my very first audience and their love for my writing carried me on waves of encouragement.

I didn’t find out until many years later that my sister also wrote poetry, and I was stunned when I read it because it was so much better than mine. She always gave me the spotlight.

My mom passed away in 2009, and I don’t know when my older sister acquired the table, but she graciously gave it to me when I asked her for it last spring. She also gave me the round cushions.

The little set traveled eighteen hundred miles with me to my new home.

My husband spent days painting it and repairing the metal binding around the table. Butterflies surrounded him as he worked, even landing on his hands.

I scrubbed it down before it was painted and butterflies were landing all over it then too.

My mom is a butterfly, so I believe the restoration made her happy.

Now that it’s finished, just looking at it makes me smile, overcome by the flood of memories it invokes.

I had my coffee at it this morning and as butterflies flitted by, I could feel my family, young and unscathed by the heartaches yet to come, unburned by the tragedies and the pain we would all go on to experience.

Those were innocent days. I just didn’t know. I am thrilled to have the table to remind me.

Posted in Jodie Lynne, Women Who Think to Much

It’s The Memories

We start out with nothing and we pick up a lot of things along the way. Some of the things are important and some of them are not.
Some of those things bring us joy and some of them bring us down. Some of them actually hinder us and so many hurt us.
Today, I sit here wondering, where are the letters I wrote to you when you were a baby?
In our crazy lives, we have moved so many times and lost so many material things, and I wonder, are baby letters material things or are they heart things?
I always tell you that you are my sunshine and the first time I told you that you were two years old.
I sat down that night and I wrote you a letter so that you would always know, no matter where you went, if we were together or apart, that you were a ray of sunshine in my life.
Since then, we’ve put a lot of miles on our boxes and our possessions.
We have traveled to different states, to different apartments and lived in dozens of houses.
A lot of memory boxes have been lost along the way.
I spent a moment regretting those losses, wishing I still had your baby book and your brother’s Hot Wheels and Lego’s and your hippie christening dress, but then I remember that most importantly, I still have you and your brother, and all the moments I spent with your sister.
I own my memories and I don’t need to carry around all the boxes.
Even knowing that, I still have way too many boxes because every time I lose a memory box, I hold on tighter to stuff.
I think today I need to clean out some of the boxes and lighten my load because in the end we come with nothing and we leave with nothing.
It’s all the people we love in between our beginnings and our endings that matter and the things we carry around are not important.
The best things can’t be packed up in a box…the memories, the love and the moments.
The boxes are just stuff that can be lost.
We own our precious memories, the moments and the love already received, because those things are safe, packed in our hearts and in our minds.
Posted in Gracie's Glimmer, Poetry From A Woman Who Thinks Too Much

The Princess

The Princess was sitting in her castle and she swore no man would she let woo.

She turned them all away as she said, no, not you, not you, not you, to myself I will be true.

She danced with her butterflies, she twirled in her flower gardens like when she was two.

She whispered to her flowers, confessing, I love you and you and you.

So happy was this woman that she vowed never to wed and then a Knight in dazzling armor appeared at the castle gates, the sun shining on his head.

She was blinded by his beauty, aura like spun gold and this one Knight she invited to her bed, visions of together growing old.

Prince Charming was his name and wow, that man tickled her fancy with his soft kiss and even if he just walked by, she would stumble and a step she would miss.

Well, we all know about no such thing as happy endings and soon the Princess gave up her other loves, like her writing.

She was busy twisting and turning and bending to keep the Prince happy, looking in her mirror-mirror and often sitting there silently for hours.

The Prince started kissing her less and less often and his voice for her…he no longer softened.

Many nights she cried herself to sleep, under so many full moons…she would weep and weep and weep.

Many moons later, she came to her senses, had the guards toss the Prince out and around her old gardens she built stronger fences.

This is a true story and you know it’s true, because I was the Princess and you, you were the Knight I gave my heart too.

Silly Princess, Stupid Boy, hard lessons, me and you.