Those Forgotten Flowers

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For several weeks I have walked out my front door and passed this spot, ignoring it as I ran off to work or other errands.  I was always looking up at the gloomy, overcast skies and huddling under my coat racing for warmth seldom noticing anything around me.  Then just a few days ago, I stopped in surprise as I looked down and saw these small green shoots pushing up through the ground.  January 28th and there in front of my eyes was the first glimpse of Spring.  Though I was still in a hurry, I smiled to myself knowing that there would soon be colorful blossoms gracing those stems.

I thought a lot about those forgotten flowers throughout the day.  They had been growing silently for weeks…breaking through the hard soil, steadily upward through the frozen crystals, seeking the distant rays of a January sun.  Everything in the cold, harsh winter world should have stopped those flowers from growing, but there they were nevertheless.

I began to think about the dreams in my own life and how they had currently seemed at a standstill.  It was as if my world had been put on pause and the dreams I yearned for would never come to pass.  But those tiny green shoots reminded me that even when I’m not looking, there are forces swirling around me that are constantly bringing change.  One might feel as if one is not making progress, but just like those forgotten flowers, the obstacles are being overcome step by step.

It is a good lesson to remember – even when we think our lives are at an impasse and the walls will never fall, miracles are occurring every day even if we can’t see them.  Just like a flower growing under the snow.

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Stille Nacht – A Small Miracle

From the very first time I heard this version of Silent Night, it has affected me as very few other songs have done.  There is something so pure, so holy, so other-worldly about it, that every time I listen to it, it seems to fill me with a desire that I can not explain in words.  Many times in my life, this song has reached out to me in varying places and experiences.

One of my most poignant moments was the year I was a sophomore at college.  My family had moved far away from me: from Utah to the Seattle, Washington area.  It was the first time I had ever lived away from them and homesickness hit me hard. I had moved into student apartments and had five female roommates.  Three of them seemed to dislike me from the moment I walked through the door and the bullying, snide comments and criticisms started just a few days later.  I did my best to just stay away from the house as much as possible and frequently only went home to sleep, shower and change clothes.

 

Because of this treatment, few students looked forward to their Christmas break as much as I did at that time.  When finals were over, I gleefully found a ride up to Seattle and anticipated a Christmas with my family, especially my parents and my sisters.  I daydreamed about the shopping, baking, wrapping and get-togethers we were about to have. All of my family would be there, along with in-laws and baby nieces and nephews. I relished the idea of love and kindness and fun to be shared.

But all family holidays have their difficulties and in the midst of so many people, children, illness and other unexpected challenges, I felt rather forgotten, lost and yes, alone. Though it was good to be with family, I still felt something missing. That joy I always felt at Christmas seemed to escape me.

Christmas Eve came and all the adults were hurriedly finishing the wrapping and cooking for the next day.  Everyone was tired and began to snap at each other.  Having just lived through months of bullying, I couldn’t handle it and I put on my coat and slipped out unnoticed for a walk. It was about 10 pm and not a soul was outside.  I walked slowly down the main street to the dock overlooking the harbor. It was so still that it seemed almost unreal…like a painting.

And then it came from a nearby house…the quiet notes of Silent Night.  Almost like the distant chimes of bells playing softly over the water, they were the only sound that could be heard.  It was then that I realized the song was for me…a gentle reminder that I was known and loved by the Savior of the world.  I was not forgotten, I was not lost, I was not alone.  By the time the song was finished, I couldn’t hold back the tears.  The thick snowflakes landed on my cheeks as I looked up at the sky.  I whispered “Thank you” and felt such love embrace me.  The sacred peacefulness of it seemed to fill and heal every part of my aching soul.  The miracle of Christmas had arrived.

The knowledge of His love gave me strength to view things in a different way.  Instead of it being all about me, it became about the Savior and His example of selflessness.  Did it mean that everything changed and the rest of that year was perfect?  No. But it gave me valuable insight into how much I was loved by the King of all Kings helping me to see others in that same light.

Dear friends, it is my wish this Christmas that the spirit of this season will come quietly into your lives and heal your aching hearts and lift your burdens…just as it did for me on that night so many years ago.  Merry Christmas to you all!

New Professional Portfolio Site! https://melissacoppins.wordpress.com/

Yes I did!  I decided it was high time to gather most of my links, samples and work in one site to use as a professional portfolio.  If you know of anyone who is seeking a writer and/or editor, please send them my way!  They are welcome to send me a message about what they are seeking on that site.  Yes, I will still be posting here, of course, but this will be used as a professional site for my work.

(It’s also a good place to publish the $600 worth of articles I never got paid for.  haha! :p )

https://melissacoppins.wordpress.com/

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Random Acts of Kindness

I was in the vitamin aisle wondering if I had enough money to buy my vitamins or if I should wait until I had a secure income.  I knew I was going to have to borrow money to make rent and wondered if the vitamins went on the necessity list or the “want” list. Then I glanced over my shoulder and saw her.  She was sitting on the metal bench at the pharmacy.  She was in her pajamas, talking on her cell phone and trying her best to wipe the tears away so others would not notice.

It was the day after Thanksgiving and shoppers were rushing by trying to get the best Christmas sales.  There was a general air of jolliness as the people passed, scurrying to get their errands done.  But there was no happiness in her face.  Our eyes met and for that brief moment, I saw the pain, the sadness, that desperate air of wanting to do…something and not knowing what to do.  It tugged at my heart.  I recognized that pain and that look in her eyes.  I have known it all too well.

Feeling shy and indecisive, I turned away.  Wasn’t that the polite thing to do when someone was hurting?  I mean, you don’t just walk up and hug a stranger.  I turned and looked at her again and then made up my mind.  There are times when you need to reach beyond your comfort zone.

Walking over to the flowers, I purchased a bouquet and then quickly made my way back hoping she was still there.  She was pacing in front of the pharmacy waiting for her prescription to be filled.  Nervously, I walked up to her and handed her the flowers and said “Whatever it is, I hope it gets better soon.  Merry Christmas.”  And then suddenly feeling a great deal of love, I reached out and hugged her and she hugged me back.  “Thank you,” she said quietly.  I looked in her eyes and though there were tears, I also saw surprise and something else…hope.  I turned and walked away and as I did so, she called out “Merry Christmas!”  I smiled and disappeared. For the rest of the day, the memory of her brave smile and sudden “Merry Christmas” stayed in my mind and I felt as if my own worries and burdens had somehow been lifted.

I do not tell you this story to make myself look like something I am not.  I tell you this story as a reminder that the best thing we can do to feel better about our own situations in life is to reach out and offer love, compassion and service to others.  If random acts of kindness were the hallmark of our society, there would not be so much sadness, so much anger and so much hatred.

So when you feel as if despair has taken hold and you can’t see outside of yourself, do me one favor…look around, find someone who needs a hand of compassion and reach out with love.  I promise you that your own burdens will seem lifted in return. Love sent to you all…

Running to Stand Still…

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The above title is in reference to a song written by U2, one of my all-time favorite bands. Though the lyrics of the song speak of another subject, the title seems to permeate down to the inner most recesses of my soul.  It seems to have become the motto of my life.

When I was young, traveling about the world and moving was exciting.  It was thrilling to think about what lay just beyond the edge of my vision.

But these days, moving and starting over has become a chore to be endured.  I’ve done it so many times that I can’t remember all the places I’ve lived.  There have been multiple and various reasons for the moves and all of them logical (though many people just call me crazy).  From job changes to difficult living circumstances to inability to afford where I was living, I’ve moved more than most people will move in a lifetime.

Yet the real truth is I’m “running to stand still.”  I’ve had a dream and a vision of my life that has never come to fruition.  A cottage-like home of my own surrounded by flowers and greenery, a loving husband, 2 cats (yes, must have my cats!), books and a window overlooking my garden as I write my novels.  Simple, peaceful and quiet…my “still” place. I was never very materialistic (though I always joked with my girlfriends that I would marry a millionaire), I just wanted a cozy, quiet place to call my own.

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Yet, for whatever reason, this has eluded me.  I still rent a room in someone else’s house.  I still struggle on a daily basis to meet the financial basics of life.  My relationships have been…well, we’ll save that for another day. And my writing, though it has improved, has yet to bring me the steady income I have sought.  The dream of my little cottage seems as far removed from me as it did when I was a young girl.  Even the most hopeful of people get discouraged sometimes and today is that day.

But…as I’ve pointed out many times, who knows what tomorrow will bring?  And so, with a sigh, I close another day with still a flicker of hope that I will yet see my dreams become a reality.

Some Men

I think this poetess is exceptionally talented. I love her work and I absolutely loved this poem! True, insightful, witty and just…well…just brilliant! Way to go Tosha!

Everything I Never Told You


Some men will kiss you
on the street and then
forget your name the
next time you meet.
Some men will study
you with the attention
of Michelangelo, taking
in every nuance
Beautifully engrossed.
You’ll revel in their
fascination.
Some men should be
frisked for secret
weaponry, always
out to butcher your
heart.
Some men are crazy,
but say it’s you instead.

Some men are cold
December their last address
Some men refuse to keep a
padlock on their libido,
never content in a single shed
Some men are like cherry cola,
a bag of pepperoni combos,
Oreo cookies, and licorice.
You’ll want to gorge straight
out of the vending machine,
but they’ll leave you with a sick
stomach and rotting teeth.
Some men are soft and sweet.
These you usually call friend

Some men are lost things
They stay on your tongue
Long after the last sentence
has been…

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