This Journey Called Life

Provo Tabernacle Transformation http://lds.net/blog/buzz/entertainment/transformationtuesday-provo-tabernacle-mormon-temple/
Provo Tabernacle Transformation http://lds.net/blog/buzz/entertainment/transformationtuesday-provo-tabernacle-mormon-temple/

A few years ago, I wrote an article called “Out of the Ashes” regarding a church that had burnt down and was to be rebuilt into a beautiful new temple.  I likened this event to my own life and how after great disappointments, grief and more, I felt as if I, too, had been burnt to the ground.  But I ended that article by saying that “I began to realize that maybe, just maybe, God had a different plan for me.  Here I am trying to build a nice, comfortable life, but maybe He’s trying to build something grander.  I don’t know what He has in mind, but it’s a beautiful thought: to think that, with His help, that my life might mean something greater than it does at the moment.  He knows so much better than I.”

If I had known then the journey that my life was to take, I would have been better able to endure the grief.  At the time of this writing, I’m not only living in the place I’ve yearned to live in for several  years, but my writing is taking off in directions I never thought it would go.  I am now officially a songwriter, probably the last thing I ever thought I would do with my writing. And yet, it has been proven to be a joy.

Last night, I sat and listened to my friend, Violeta Skye, the singer and her producer create the music to accompany my lyrics…MY lyrics!  It was almost as if I was listening to what could only be described as the musical equivalent to the birth of a child.  I listened to hypnotic voices blend in harmonious rhythms and I felt chills.  It was suddenly as if the future opened before me.  My own words, words that had come from my soul, intertwined with such beautiful music was a moment I never thought I would experience.  Just listening to the creation of that song was uplifting in a way that is hard to describe.

All the years of pain, the tears, the never-ending disappointments, the rejections, the struggles and failures culminated into this moment.  And as I felt a tear of happiness slip down my face listening to an exquisitely beautiful line of music, I thought “This…this is what I’ve been waiting for.”

That church I formerly spoke of will be finished next March and the artist’s rendering of the new building is found in the photo above.  It is truly magnificent.  As I look at that photo, I realize that sometimes you figuratively have to be burnt to the ground to be rebuilt into the person you were meant to be.  And thanks to Heavenly Father and the fires of life, some day that person will be glorious.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865630404/Provo-City-Center-Temple-open-house-to-begin-in-January-dedication-in-March.html

The Ghost of Me

(My most recent attempt at a poem.  I hope you enjoy it.)

Glyn Baker [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Ghost of Me

I found you…

In the most unexpected of places

In forget-me-nots in wild spaces

In a blue dress drying in the open air

And the simple words of a humble prayer

In silver hair bands intertwined

And the happy sigh of a contented mind

In pink-flowered pillows

And the purr of a cat

In the grace of the willows

And a black, velvet hat

In the passing scent of lilacs in the air

And the warm embrace of another’s care

In the sun-filled rays of inspiration

And the stormy winds of imagination

I found you again…

The little ghost of me

And I found once more

A joy in the journey.

Tender Mercies

Just a couple of nights ago, I was standing on my balcony looking at the moon.  I must admit to the fact that I was feeling a little sad and a little lonely.  I was having an inner battle about dating as I was very tired of the hurt and pain that I had gone through with relationships.  On the one hand, I wanted a relationship, but on the other, I didn’t want to keep experiencing all the difficulties associated with dating.  I sighed and began to share my fears and doubts with God.

I thought, rather sarcastically, “I would rather hold a cat right now than be held by a man.”

It was almost as if I heard a voice ask “And why is that?”

I answered “Because a cat won’t break your heart.”  And then wiped a tear away.  Not 5 seconds later, at my feet was a small cat meowing.  The tears poured down my face as I bent down and picked it up and held it as it cuddled in my arms and purred.

There is no doubt in my mind where that cat came from and whom sent it as I had just been praying moments before expressing my doubts and fears to my Heavenly Father.  It is a small thing and no doubt some would even call it coincidence, but to me, it is just another expression of the tender mercies bestowed upon us by a loving Father in Heaven.  A reminder that we are not alone…we are not forgotten.

I normally don’t get overly spiritual in my posts, but on this Easter Sunday, I wish to express my gratitude and love for the one who paid the ultimate price for me…Jesus Christ.  I only wish I could share with my readers the absolute conviction I have that not only is there a God, but that He is our Father in Heaven and that He loves us and cares about each one of us individually.  It has been proven to me many times and was once again proven to me when I felt the warmth of His love in the purr of a little cat.  Happy Easter my friends!!

My dream

 

The New Travelogue Blog!

My brand new travel blog!  So excited to get this up and going.  It will be filled with restaurant reviews, reviews of tourist spots, my usual adventurous calamities and the everyday life of the wandering wallflower.  The link to my first post is below.  Enjoy my friends!

Now THAT'S an estate!
Now THAT’S an estate!

https://thetravelogueblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/sunday-morning-bells/

The Magic of Aloha – My Hawaii

I have spoken so much of Hawaii over the years, that I felt it was time to dedicate a post to one of my favorite places on earth.

I heard it said once that Hawaii will take your heart and never let it go. Oh, how true that is!  If you can fall in love with a place, then I would have to admit that I fell in love with Hawaii.

Windward side of Oahu
Windward side of Oahu

I was fortunate enough to have lived in this enchanting place for 2 1/2 years. Seldom a day went by that I didn’t pause to appreciate the breath-taking beauty of these islands. As I would drive along the Windward coast, there were moments I just had to stop and take in the awe-inspiring views from the Pali lookout or dip my toes into the warmth of the gentle waters on Kailua Beach.

The Pali Lookout
The Pali Lookout

Almost every time I rounded the bend into Kaneohe, tingles would course through my spine as I looked at the vista of a stunning clear ocean, graceful mountains and glorious sky spread out before me.

Lanikai beach
Lanikai beach

But it is not just the captivating scenery that surrounds you, for there are many beautiful places on this earth. It is the magic of Aloha that envelopes you.  It radiates from the smiles of the Hawaiian people, from the gentle dance of the hula, the power of an ocean wave, the wind washing down the Koolau mountains, a rainbow after a passing rainstorm, a shower of flowers as the breeze shakes the branches of the plumeria tree, and the “mana” of the ancient gods felt in the powerful chants.  It’s almost as if the islands are imbued with a spirit that whispers to you.  Standing on the Pali, Aloha is carried in the very breath of the wind.

Children of Hawaii
Children of Hawaii

But to explain Hawaii in words is useless. It must be felt to be understood.  One must feel the cool ocean breeze on a hot day, smell the sweet scent of the leis, be wrapped in the healing waters of an aqua-colored ocean, and feel the aloha of laughter and beauty. It can be explained in no other way.

Oahu sunrise

I end my post with a video of Hawaii.  It contains my favorite Hawaiian song “These Islands” by Danny Couch.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GeUH787WMk  Listening to this song still gives me chills.  There is tenderness, love, and magic in the lyrics and the music.

Sunset on the North Shore
Sunset on the North Shore

And that is the real meaning of the word Aloha…love.  I can think of no better term to describe Hawaii than as being wrapped in the very spirit of love.

Aloha oe my Hawaii and until we meet again…

The Strength to Change

I believe I hold the Guinness Book of World Records for the most moves in 25 years. (Ok, just a little sarcastic humor for you, I don’t really hold the record…I think.) What I am saying is that if anyone knows about change, it is me.

As we begin another New Year, most of us start contemplating our lives and we begin to take stock of our current situations.  Our we where we want to be in our lives?  Have we accomplished everything on our “bucket lists”?  I imagine that most of us will answer “No.”  Isn’t that what New Year’s resolutions are all about?  We dig deep into our lives and unearth what is wrong and set about what it will take to make it better.

Yet to make things better, we need to incorporate change in our lives…and let’s be honest, change can be scary.  No matter how badly we want something, the steps that we need to take to get there can be daunting to say the least. It takes courage, faith, a sense of adventure and yes, a great deal of strength to change.  Whether you are changing your place of residence, your relationship, job, or simply changing something about yourself you don’t like, it takes a strong person to change.  It takes strength because it is uncomfortable at best, painful at worst.

A friend of mine wrote the following beautiful description on her blog, speaking about a current situation she is going through:

“Surrounded by a growing city of stacked cardboard boxes, I’m pretzeled on the sofa, staring out the window, watching it pour. I had to do this, start building this city of boxes. I cry my heart out to the storm-wet streets and weeping trees, not because I wanted to find someone else, but because I needed to find myself.  And maybe that sounds more like selfishness than salvation.  But the streets and trees, bearing witness to my many a tearful walk, know better.”

http://thewordpirate.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/rain/

bird in the rain

One of the most painful changes we can make is ending an unhealthy relationship. I would know as I’ve been there.  It took the death of my mother to open my eyes to my own life.  Just days after her death, I pondered my relationship and how unhappy I was. I realized that I didn’t have that many years left to live and I thought “Am I going to spend the rest of my life being miserable?”

I had grown comfortable in my misery.  It was easier for me to accept the status quo than face the unknown of being alone.  I wasn’t sure if I could muster the strength to take a leap into the darkness, because I knew I would face loneliness and pain…and cause pain.  Was I being selfish?  Or was it more selfish to stay together and continue to make each other unhappy?

As I pondered these questions in the darkness of the night, I fell to my knees and poured out my heart to the heavens.  And somewhere in the darkness, I found my strength…and I moved forward with my life.

Please understand that I’m not advocating divorce.  I think marriage is one of the most beautiful gifts that any man or woman can experience.  I believe that real love exists…I know it does.  I believe that sharing your life with someone who truly loves you can be a little bit of heaven on earth.  And I still hope for that kind of relationship for my own life.

But oh…if I could shine a light on anything, it would be this: sometimes you have to sink to the depths of sorrow to rise to the heights of joy!  The sweetness of learning to love yourself again, of finding laughter free from all pain, and above all, finding love that builds you up instead of tearing you down…all this waits for those who take the step into the unknown and find the faith to change.  And maybe that step into the darkness will ultimately be a step into the light.  You won’t know until you try.

Don’t be afraid.  You won’t do it alone.  Here…take my hand.  We’ll take that step together into the light…

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Unity and Good Amidst Evil – Je Suis Charlie

I am not a political writer and I seldom ever discuss world issues, because I do not feel myself educated enough to take on these problems. But I am a writer. The terrorist attack on the newspaper Charlie Hebdo was an attack on the freedom of speech.

As I watch the headlines pour out from Paris and around the world regarding the Charlie Hebdo attack, my heart is torn between aching for the atrocity of murder and pride at watching how the world is reacting to terror.

France Newspaper Attack

I watch the people of Paris gather in the Place de la Republique and I feel a strange sense of unity with those holding up their Je Suis Charlie signs and pens. I am reminded of a day…September 11, 2001.  I will never forget as I stood in the kitchen getting ready to run to my bus at 6:20 am, watching the second plane fly into one of the Twin Towers and hearing the newscaster stumble and say in awe “I think we are under attack.”

But more than this, I will never forget how it felt the following day when the people of Seattle poured out onto the streets at 12 pm and were united by holding hands as we shared a moment of silence.  I linked hands with total strangers who were linking hands with thousands of other total strangers in a moment of pure love and unity.  It was a silent demonstration of resistance to evil.  I have seldom felt more pride in my country than I did on that day when we all banded together and told the terrorists “We are not afraid and you will not win!”

Unfortunately, over the years, the terrorists of varying countries have had their small successes, but when I see 10,000 people pour into the streets and hold up their pens, I know that there is still more good in this world than evil. It is horrible to think of those who lost their lives, those who were injured and their loved ones.  I send up my prayer for them with millions of others around the world.

Yet, what happened today is creating a ripple effect around the world.  I see the world uniting for freedom and good and I can’t help but feel myself joining in the fight against evil with them.  We’ve had enough!!  We are all metaphorically holding up our pens and linking our hands. We fight with silent united strength, with penned words, with art, with voices raised and if necessary, with physical means. But we fight!  So here I am, metaphorically holding up my pen and standing with the world against evil.  I might just be one voice in my small corner of the world, but one voice united with billions of others becomes a roar that will not be silenced.

“Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light!” ~Dylan Thomas~

Je Suis Charlie