I walked with my head down and my hands in my pockets, deep in thought and trying desperately to keep the tears from falling. I felt weary and worn out by the world. Problems that seemed to have no answer were made more complicated by my wavering feelings. Regrets from the past weighed down my hopes for the future. Too many broken dreams made it almost impossible to dream again. I felt old and tired.
She danced across my path then. I was walking through a green field and there she was. A young, innocent little girl with a flower in her sandy, brown hair. She had a few freckles spread across her nose and she sang as a kitten chased after her. She was laughing to herself at some inner joke that only she could hear. She stopped just a few feet away and looked up at me. Looking…
For about a year now, I have been wading through some very prolonged trials. From health problems to a very difficult job to relationship struggles to car accidents and more. There were many days where even leaving the house to go to the grocery store took almost more effort that I had in me. I would just barely began to get over one problem or event when the next one hit. It was like a battering ram at times or like I was drowning.
But as I’ve stated many times, the one thing that has kept me going is hope that things will turn around. I can now see a ray of light in the darkness…a potential answer that could bring great joy to me. It’s not secure yet, but it is real. And it will come. The other parts of my life are starting to slowly turn around and I feel for the first time in a long time like I can finally breathe a little freer.
I’m not out of the woods yet, but today I can rejoice in the warmth of a sunny spring day. I hear the chirpings of baby birds in a nearby tree, I see my cats warming themselves on the grass and chasing each other about and my soul looks up and smiles at the clear, baby blue sky. The air is sweet and I take a deep breath letting it cleanse the ugliness away. Does it mean everything will be perfect? Of course not. But it’s getting better.
I can dream again…and that itself is worth the pain and suffering of long dark periods. There must needs be opposition in all things so that we might appreciate the sweet release of pain when it comes. For it DOES come. I know there are those who see nothing but darkness with no hope of ever seeing the light, but let me reiterate again…THE LIGHT WILL ALWAYS COME. Don’t give up hope my friends, the light is coming.
It’s December. Right now the frost lays thickly on the still green grass and drab plowed fields I view out my window. The mountains are beige-brown and bare. There is a bit of leftover fog and mist that seem reluctant to leave with the rays of the morning sun. The school bus drives past full of sleepy students who are just waiting for Christmas vacation to begin.
During this time of year, I dream of swirling snowflakes and winds whistling around the corner of the old house. I yearn to see white fields and mountains with virgin snow gracing its folds. I envision every tree branch outlined in the white lace of winter ice.
This year, however, snow has kept its distance and a warmish Autumn has extended even into December. The scenery has been a reflection of my feelings many times. Instead of that magical cheer I often feel in December, there has often been a sense of frustration, melancholy, hopelessness and at times, even a bit of despair. This has been the most difficult year I’ve had in 10 years. My heart has been hit relentlessly and has numbed itself to the next coming trial as one can only take so much. This past November with it’s pale sunshine, dry earth and faded leaves have echoed the discouragement I have often felt.
But even as I type this, a strong gale of wind comes sweeping through the yard and dark, iron grey clouds have gathered. I stand in the grass and the former warm breeze has turned icy. I smile and a childlike excitement quickens my heart. I know the signs…a sure harbinger of snow. There is a crispness to the air and every thing seems to be a little more alive.
In a few hours, the first Christmas snow will begin and with it, the pain of this year will begin to wash away. The silence and peace of drifting snowflakes will ease my mind and a thick blanket of snow will hush my weary soul. I am at peace as the magic of this holy season once again slips softly into my heart. I am, once again, a child at Christmas.
And as if in response, a distant jingle of bells on the air whisper “Welcome home Melissa…”
She clad herself in a gossamer dress
of iridescent clouds
And donned a pair
of starshine slippers
She wrapped herself in the shawl
of an amethyst sunset
And adorned her head with a crown
of fairy lights
The Star Wanderer was off
to a new adventure
New fantasies calledAnd with a periwinkle twinkle
In her endless eyesShe called to me in my dreamsWe flew away on ballet wingsthrough the Milky Way
dancing around the Andromeda galaxy
whirling through Cassiopeia's stars
waving gaily at Pegasus
We sipped golden cups
of dew with sleepy morning glories
Laughed with the
Effervescent man in the moon
And swam with merry mermaids
in faraway indigo oceansWe crashed loud cymbals of thunder
And played chase with the lightning
Racing the laughing wind
Over summer fields
Of green and gold and lavender
And as the rays of an early sun
Began to light the eastern sky
The Star Wanderer and I
Made our way back to my dreams
Where I blinked my sleepy eyes
And smiled...At the starshine slippers on my pillow.
I just wanted you all to know that I’m still writing in my head. It’s just that every time I try to put it down, it doesn’t come out quite right. I’m working on new pieces, they will be out soon. Just want everyone to know that I haven’t given up my blog. Sending my love and hugs to you all!
Dear Friends, I know I haven’t been writing much lately. Just a quick update – I met someone and we got married in February. Things are hectic as we are preparing a move to a warmer place. I will be writing soon. Sending a hug to one and all!
I was recently watching the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” where the main character, Elizabeth, and her friends were discussing if cities and people had one word to describe them. While each person seemed to know the perfect word, Liz couldn’t come up with what seemed a good fit. Her friend said “Maybe you are a woman in search of a word.” That stayed with me, because a person in search of a word is in search of who they really are.
I have had many words that described me over the years: wallflower, hopeless romantic, creative, nerd, free-spirited, stubborn, bossy, generous, loving, efficient, adventurer, introvert, single, married, divorced, etc. Each of these words has described facets of my personality, but none of them have ever quite hit the mark. I don’t know if there is a word that could completely describe one person, but I believe there might be a word or phrase that seems to describe different stages of life.
Having just recently had a milestone birthday, I realized I’m a woman in search of a word. But a new word takes time to develop. It must incorporate the old ones that described your past stages and life lessons learned along the way. It should bring together the inevitable cracks in your walls and the random wild flowers that bloom in those new spaces. It must merge the weather-worn and fiercely polished stones with that one brilliant piece of gold that shines when the sun hits it just right. It is past, present and hopeful future blended into one superlative description that seems to just cry “You!”
I don’t know yet what that word will be, but whatever it is, it will be beautiful.
This year has been the absolute worst for most of the world. Though I personally have had tougher years, I watched the pain, the sorrow, the anger, violence, destruction and grief hit person after person. My heart has ached for the lonely, the people who have lost businesses, jobs, homes, and above all…the ones they love. Rarely a day has passed when some new grief afresh has not bewildered us all. Many wondered how they could keep going and many have given up the fight.
I have prayed and fasted with millions around the world for the end to the pandemic, to the violence, to the isolation, to nature’s destruction, to save the life of another or to ease the pain of a loved one. All these prayers have been answered, though some may not have been answered in the way I thought was best.
But if 2020 has taught me anything, it has taught me that God’s will is not always our will. That He does have a plan and sometimes we just may not understand how everything fits into it. But it is because of this year and its tragedies that I have learned more humility, more kindness, to love more deeply, to be more grateful and how much I need my Savior Jesus the Christ. How much we ALL need Him. I have learned that He understands and sees into the dearest wishes of our hearts and it is there that He comes…so quietly…as He did on a night more than 2000 years ago.
In the midst of the grieving darkness, the confusion of the storm, the heavy heart at the side of a grave or the whispered prayer that accompanies streaming tears, I have found peace and solace in only one thing…the King that was born on that night so long ago. Like the shepherds did, I look forward to the day I can kneel at His feet. I rejoice with the angels in my own silent heartfelt song that has no words other than these: Thank you, Savior, for the peace that surpasses all understanding. His burden is light…His peace is, indeed, upon us.
Last night as I watched the “Christmas Star” light the Western sky, I felt it was Heavenly Father’s sign to us all that He is still there, that He still hears us, and that He still wraps His arms around each one of us in love even when we can not feel it.
Merry Christmas my dear friends. May 2021 bring you peace and joy that surpasses all understanding…
"Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.
For all is hushed,
The world is sleeping,
Holy Star its vigil keeping.
Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.
Sleep, sleep, sleep,
'Tis the eve of our Saviour's birth.
The night is peaceful all around you,
Close your eyes,
Let sleep surround you.
Sleep, sleep, sleep,
'Tis the eve of our Saviour's birth.
Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come.
While guardian angels without number,
Watch you as you sweetly slumber.
Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come."
It’s late autumn in the mountains and the glorious colors of the leaves have faded. They fall with the lightest touch and the ground is a carpet of varying patches of color. The hills have turned different shades of pale yellow and brown. Touched with frost, few colors now grace the landscape other than a few muted yellows, grey rocks and dark brown grass. The tree branches have turned dark…starkly outlined against the sky. It is almost a somber scene.
But as I stand here surveying, I look up. Under a storm grey dome, a gentle snowflake, white and pure, glides softly along the breeze landing on my black glove. For a moment, it’s a delicate picture before it melts away. Another moment, another snowflake lands on my nose, tickling the skin. I glance up to see the skies begin to fill with a thousand white feathers and I watch…
Last Friday, the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson, gave a beautiful message about gratitude. He asked each of us to post one thing on social media that we are grateful for each day for seven days.
The night before I saw this message, I was not feeling very grateful for anything. I have been financially struggling for several months. Add that to what seems a semi-permanent state of singleness along with a few other choice 2020 events and I was not in the mood to be grateful for anything.
Yet, I was looking forward to this message. I didn’t know what it would be about. I have to admit I cringed a bit when President Nelson said it would be about gratitude and how it can heal. But instead of shutting it out and continuing my own private pity party, I opened my heart to listen.
As I did so, the words reminded me of how much I had to be grateful for. By the end of the short 10 minute message, I felt humbled and instantly said a quiet prayer to thank Heavenly Father for what I did have. I have since taken on the challenge and as each day passes, I have noticed a sweet healing in my heart.
President Nelson is correct…gratitude does heal the heart. Instead of focusing on what I lack, I focus on how much I have and it has brought me peace. It’s a lesson I already knew, but it was one I very much needed to be reminded of.
Tonight I spilled sugar on the floor while making a cup of homemade hot chocolate. My normal reaction would have been one of frustration and resignation as I cleaned it up. But tonight, after an initial gasp of surprise, instead of getting upset, I smiled and thought “Well, at least I have sugar to spill.” And as cleaned up the mess, I thanked Heavenly Father that I had the ingredients to make a hot chocolate.
As I write this post, with my cup of cocoa, candles burning and soft music playing, I am so thankful for a wise prophet and leader who remind us that it is love and gratitude which heals us. My hope is that we can all continue to heal our countries, our world, and our homes with a continued appreciation to our Heavenly Father and Savior for each blessing in our lives.
This is just a quick note to say that if you are ever hesitant about commenting on my post because you don’t want someone else to read it, please just put “Do not publish” at the beginning.
I feel that someone out there wishes to say something to me, but is holding back. Feel free to leave your email and I will not publish the comment. I will write you as I always love to hear from my readers. (And should you be “the one” I’ve been waiting for, well hurry up! Haha!)
And I promise that more poetry, nature, spiritual and holiday posts are coming! I apologize for the long drought. I will do my best to get a few posts in over the next two months. My love to you all!
(I wrote this while listening to the music below. So quiet, so relaxing…so full of Fernweh.)
I just discovered a new word…Fernweh. It’s a German word that basically means that you are homesick for a place you have never seen. It sounds silly, doesn’t it? How can one feel such a wistful desire for a place you have never been? But as a confirmed Hopeless Romantic, I can verify that Fernweh does exist. I have known it…many times.
It is difficult to describe, but when you hear a certain piece of music or see a photo or a maybe a scene in a movie, you are suddenly overwhelmed with a nostalgia and yearning that envelopes you. I have often found myself standing on an ocean beach or a windy hillside looking out over the distant scene and feeling that slightly sad and wistful yearning to go “home.” But home to where?
Ah…therein lies the secret. For in each person, our “soul home” is different for each of us and can sometimes change over the years. For me, it has been the same since I was a little girl. I listen to the music below and I yearn to stand on the faded glory of yesteryear’s castles looking at a storm sweep up a green hillside. I can see myself…in clothes of a bygone era, hair blowing freely, staring at the distant horizon waiting.
Why does my heart know this place? Almost like a memory, it is imprinted on my mind like a faded dream. When I wander the timeworn stones and pathways of a crumbling English castle, I have stepped back in time and can hear the sounds of ancestors’ voices. Was that the sound of horse’s hoofs on the cobblestoned bridge? Is that distant merry laughter from the ruins of the great hall below? I hear the melancholy notes of a Celtic flute and I’m instantly transported. I am reluctant to leave. I close my eyes and my soul trembles slightly brushed with that haunting desire.
Yes, I know and understand Fernweh, but I believe most do. For in all of us, there is a memory of a spiritual home. We may not fully acknowledge it, but we all hear that distant music. Someday we will all find our soul’s “home” and finally be able to lay aside that quiet yearning for something more.
Of course some will say “Melissa, don’t be silly, it’s all in your head.” But as Dumbledore said in Harry Potter, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” (― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)
It's a full moon
I'm dancing with the fairies
sipping honey wine from a flower cup
made of moon dewdrops
and silver rainThe golden haze of the Autumn light
Opening a door to the other world
of halcyon dreams
and glowing Aurelian wallsThe cool, free winds
blow cobwebs away in my soul
brushing away old, dusty memories
as I find little me
leaping with the eternal stars
This song and the video below represent to me the amazing qualities we have in all of us. I saw these beautiful, imperfect people standing tall and proud and brave and the tears poured down my face. I have my own insecurities, and I often feel like the words in this song. “Run away they say, no one will love you as you are…”
But these beautiful children of God show me something different.
I am imperfect, bruised, broken, beautiful, strong, courageous, and…loved.
I am the wallflower, but I am whom I’m meant to be…this is me.
“I am not a stranger to the dark Hide away, they say ‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars Run away, they say No one will love you as you are
But I won’t let them break me down to dust I know that there’s a place for us For we are glorious!
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out I am brave, I am bruised I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come And I’m marching on to the beat I drum I’m not scared to be seen I make no apologies,THIS IS ME!”
The rain drops hush the heat
Of an intense summer day
The night comes in gentle grey
With no sunset colors at play
All is one in unified silence
The midnight hour draws near
And the heavy burdens appear
The ticking of the clock
Accompanies the melancholy
Of her relentless thoughts
It is in the stillness of this hour
That her inner critic begins to sour
Every ambition, every hope
With sobering truths
Of cold reality
The clicking of the endless clock
Is the wordless march
Of impervious time
Dutifully doing its mechanical part
Stilling the wishes of her romantic heart
Another morn will come
and with it she will smile
For that is her duty
To pretend for a while...
Come and join me in one of my favorite memories and trips of all time…Paris. Let us wander the streets together. The streets walked by millions of lovers, artists and hopeless romantics searching for that elusive idea of “love.”
Walk where the architecture swoons with every curve and where the Seine is graced by slow moving boats. Stroll where a dress is a masterpiece of art and cuisine melts on the tongue. Why do visions of Audrey Hepburn standing in front of the Eiffel Tower call forth the ultimate in femininity and class? Why is Paris “always a good idea” as she once said?
Ah…Paris. The very name sends a little romantic thrill through my heart. When I was 12 years old, I saw a movie that was based in Paris and ever since then, I’ve been in love with it. After wishing, hoping and dreaming for over 30 years, I finally was able to travel there for a few days. It was both eye-opening and beautiful.
I remember being warned that it was dirty and not as romantic as many liked to think it was. Of course I saw the dirt, the graffiti, and yes, even some vermin (both human and animal). But I also saw everything that people love about the place. There was a boulangerie with fresh baked croissants and bread. Friends sitting with their coffee at charming little cafes, locals playing a game of Boules (a game that involves heavy balls), street musicians and entertainers, and beautiful locals passing on their bicycles. And of course, there was that stunning French flair for fashion that made me a wee bit envious of the beautiful women that passed by.
There were Gothic churches that swept your eye upwards to the sky.
There was opulence in every corner at the Palace of Versaille. From golden gates to painted masterpieces on the ceilings to the stunning gardens…no detail was left untouched.
But most of all, there was the Eiffel Tower.
To this woman, the Eiffel Tower was the ultimate romantic dream. It symbolized the idea of love for me. It was as if simply by being there, that one could find the love one had always hoped for. Throughout the years, hopeless romantic daydreams were often accompanied by the Eiffel Tower in the background.
The day I finally got to see it, I was completely surprised at my reaction. I left the subway and walked around the corner and up to the platform above it to get the best view. When it came into view, I was suddenly overwhelmed by my feelings. The tears started to flow and I couldn’t keep them back. It was one of my first long-held dreams that had come true. (Video below of me and my reaction.)
As the character Sabrina in the movie “Sabrina” said, “Only where the light is pink, does the song La Vie en Rose (Life in Rose) make sense.” Why? Because to see Paris is to see life through rose-colored glasses.
And during these days, when the world seems so full of confusion, pain and darkness, rose-colored glasses help me to find the beauty that still exists.
Well there’s a twist. The woman who has spent years writing about hope, endurance, courage, getting through trials and being strong is writing about giving up?! Yes, because everyone has those days. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t feel discouraged, depressed and sad sometimes. And I want to acknowledge this.
There are days when you are going to feel like you have hit a wall. Days when you simply can’t face getting out of bed in the morning. Days where even breathing is hard. If we, as humans, didn’t have these days, we wouldn’t appreciate the good ones.
The trick is to learn how to not stay there.
Someone once likened these days to the valleys of life. When we reach these valleys of grief or mourning or just plain frustration, our natural inclination is to just sit down and build a home. But there is also an equally opposing force that tells us to get up and keep moving through the valley. It’s up to you to decide which voice you listen to.
When I was younger, I served a mission for my church in the Micronesia Islands. Though there were many wonderful memories and people I met, there were many days of frustration, exhaustion, intolerable heat, very large cockroaches (I can’t stand them) and other not-so-nice experiences. When it got the better of me, I would often refer to this little poem that was on a journal of mine.
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit. Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell just how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit—
It's when things go wrong that you mustn't quit.
After reading this, I would shed a tear or two…say a prayer…take a deep breath…and start over.
So to all of those who are frustrated, exhausted, angry, grieving or just plain feel like giving up, I say this…rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
We loved first in our dreams...
You reached from beyond
into my unconscious mind
and found me in the realms of fantasy
Falling in love was as easy as breathing
And we didwith an intensity that seemed
To brush the very tenets of my soul
Every spiritual nerve tingled
As we laughed at jokes
As you tenderly touched my face
As your arms reached around me
And we sighed in perfect contentment
It was a fullness of joy...
That still companions me
in my waking hours
You reminded me how to love...
Which I'm holding in my heart
Until we meet again.