“I know you’ve only ever known your father and me. And I love Jack, because he is your father. But there’s another kind of love, Amanda. One that gives you the courage to be better than you are, not less than you are. One that makes you feel that anything is possible. I want you to know that you can have that. I want you to hold out for it.”
~Adrienne Willis, Nights in Rodanthe
by Nicholas Sparks
Appropriately enough, this movie was released exactly three months after the ending of my 21-year marriage. To date, it’s the only movie I saw at a theater more than once. I actually saw it on three separate occasions, taking a different girlfriend with me each time.
I related with it on so many levels. Being alone for the first time in my adult life. Having yet to find out who I really was. A product of a looming divorce. A mother of an extremely strong-willed daughter who would have her say regardless. Never to be last… a woman who fought to maintain her dream that a true unconditional love did in fact exist, somewhere out there. Hey, it might’ve been a dream – but it was my dream.
When you do find that kind of love, you want your loved ones to know that it’s out there for them as well. You want them to hold out for it.
Another kind of love.
One that gives you the courage to be better than you are, not less than you are. One that makes you feel that anything is possible.
For an enhanced viewing experience, ⬆ just click the play arrow above!
And guess what… WE DID IT!!
What started out as any other beautiful sunny September day slowly and surely graduated to rain as the evening fell. Ah, well. Thank goodness for that glorious Plan B, which is one big reason we chose this particular venue. Besides, a little rain never hurt nothin’.
The original plan was to be married by the lake in front of a beautifully draped alter adorned with hanging crystals to reflect the sun and water. As it turns out, we wed indoors in front of the fireplace – nonetheless very beautiful in it’s own unique way. (And believe me, I’ll find a fanciful DIY project with which to use the hanging crystals and reams of unused alter material!)
In addition, I’ll always have the memory of that beautiful sunset night at rehearsal.
While our real pictures are pending final edits from the photog, we’re currently depending on the ones our friends and family have so graciously supplied.
This man has made my dreams come true. Speaking of which, after the ceremony we danced back down the aisle to our chosen recessional “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates, with everyone behind us following suit. I consider it my very own True Romance. Hey, Tarantino… can ya top that one?
My post is simple today, though indeed thought-provoking. Below would be my number one pick of all Bob Marley’s quotes. The amount of love that erupts from this one wise paragraph has always overwhelmed me. Even so, I never could grasp the full intensity of it – just the intense yearning to someday find this beautiful kind of unconditional love. One without judgement, one that makes you want to learn new things, one that makes you feel beautiful, one where you openly invite vulnerability into your life. One Love.
Hope you enjoy.
On this day four years ago, Keith and I went on our first date. For this reason, we’ve always celebrated it as our anniversary.
I remember I didn’t want him coming directly to the door of my third-floor apartment. I think this was a combined reasoning of not wanting to add to his stress level of a first date along with if I didn’t want a second date, the exact location of my apartment would be kept secret. 🙂
Wearing high heels while descending wooden-slat steps could prove to be a recipe for disaster for any woman, especially an accident-prone one like myself. I was certain I wouldn’t make it down without a catastrophic fall. I didn’t, though. As I rounded the sidewalk and the parking lot came into view, so did this tall, dark and handsome man – flashing a grin while leaning back ever so cool-like on the hood of his Volvo. Four years later, I can still see it as clearly as I did that evening. If memory ever eludes me when I get older, I pray for this one memory to remain because it is seriously that precious to me.
We went to dinner at a restaurant called The Grid Iron, which is still open today. Through the course of the meal, the conversation seemed almost too easy, if that makes any sense. He talked about his job as an elevator installer and came across as just a kind soul in general. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was spot-on in that analysis.
To bide a little time before the movie started, he asked if I’d like to ride around his town of Gastonia for a bit. I found him to be an excellent tour guide, narrating this and that, gingerly pointing out an establishment or two he’d installed elevators in.
I’d never seen a Harry Potter movie, actually don’t think I’ve seen another one since. But Harry Potter it was that night, and looking back it was probably the best choice by far. After the movie, he drove me back to my apartment in Lake Wylie. Because of a few losers I’d been out with prior to Keith, I decided I didn’t care much to kiss goodnight on the first date, and so I held fast to that. I reached over the seat, hugged him and told him I’d had a good time. That was it – our first kiss didn’t actually happen until another week later on our second date.
The rest is history. He got the car door for me that night, and he still gets it for me today. He still sings Josh Turner songs to me in that deep sexy voice and it still makes my stomach flutter. His tour-guide antics still entertain me, especially when we’re up in the North Carolina mountains where he’s spent so many years working.
And so inspired a little tribute to you, baby. Happy Anniversary to my precious tour guide…
Keith’s father’s wedding was this past weekend, and it was a beautiful ceremony centered completely around love. My future sister and her husband hosted a lovely reception at their house afterwards, which was so enjoyable. Keith’s side of the family is very kind and loving, so the time we enjoy with them is always priceless.
The older I get, the more cognizant and appreciative I am of incessant acts of selflessness. Every good thing I witness reminds me to try and be a better person. I look at it as a sort of pay-it-forward view on life, for lack of a better term.
The priest officiating the ceremony spoke about the sanctity of marriage and how you wake up each morning with the goal of putting your spouse’s needs before your own. Just because of that thing called Love. Because that’s what real love does, you want to give as much as possible when you love someone that much. It’s a mutual respect between each other that is never ending – it’s not something that changes with passing time.
When dinner time came, we stood back and waited on others to get theirs. I’ve always preferred to get my plate after everyone else has gotten theirs, never first or even middle. Keith attempted to hand me an empty plate and usher me in line. I politely refused, telling him I’d rather wait. He went on about midway through and filled his plate, while I stood conversing with a few family members. A few moments later Keith stood smiling in front of me, presenting me with a large plate of food. What he had just gotten was for me.
Now I know this might not sound like a monumental act of kindness to some, but to me it speaks volumes as to the type of man he is. This is Keith, every day. Even after four years, he’s constantly putting my needs above his own, as I do his. When I wake up every morning, he’s the first thing I think about. He’s the last thing I think about before I fall asleep. We both hold a strong mutual respect for each other. Our time apart at the beginning of the year only served to make us stronger, resulting in deeper devotion to each other as one whole. As it should be. As it always will be…
Have I mentioned we can’t wait for September to roll around?
As a kid, I always remember hearing the term “stick out like a sore thumb”. It’s probably a southern saying. I truly believe that tidbit of terminology somehow got permanently embedded in my brain.
I’ve never dealt well with being the center of attention. Even my color choices in attire reflect this – the vast majority of my closet consists of grays, blacks and basic earth tones (with the exception of my beloved Bob Marley shirt). A huge part of my comfort zone has always been to ‘blend’. Years ago when my ex-husband and daughter threw me a surprise birthday party, I felt both embarrassed and awkward that those people were there solely for me. It’s pretty difficult to blend in that type of situation.
Soon I will experience another first in my life – trying on wedding dresses for the first time. It seems funny to me that at my age, I’ve never experienced this.
I’m for sure starting to feel the pressure of planning a wedding and the attention that comes along with it. The associate at the bridal gown store told me over the phone “This night will be all about you!”, to which my stomach immediately tightened upon hearing. I don’t like hearing something, anything, will be all about me. Is this weird?
Now I find myself questioning my own judgement of having a full-blown wedding. Don’t get me wrong – I’m super excited, I just wish there was a way to pass the attention factor on to someone else. I’m gonna have to find a way to suck it up for a day and put this weird-ass feeling aside. Pardon my language, but I simply cannot find a more descriptive word for this mentality of mine.
Just plain weird-ass.
Speaking of, have I mentioned we’re hiring police security for our wedding? A whole ‘nother blog…
I’m constantly amazed at all the events that have transpired in this short year.
I moved to my own apartment. It didn’t take long for me to realize that Mojo was not cut out for apartment living, so I made the gut-wrenching decision to re-home my precious boy. In the interim I put forth my most valiant effort in the quest to start a new life. Early March, Keith donned the suit of armor I always knew he had and formed an attack plan to win back my hardened heart – which I never thought would be possible. He’s since ran the entire marathon with a few extra miles thrown in for good measure.
The missing piece to the puzzle was always Mojo. I’ve wanted to write about it for a while now, but the subject was just too painful. On April 3rd, I pled my case to the gracious couple who had agreed to take him. On a stormy April 4th, we made the drive up to Salisbury to retrieve our baby boy. I am forever grateful to Debbie and Danny for allowing us this most precious opportunity… for my heart is once again full and complete.
I’m one of those people who believes every thing happens for a reason. I didn’t think so at first, but I believe all of this was actually meant to happen, and I don’t regret a single thing that’s happened this year.
Near sunset on the last day of summer in front of Lake Wylie, Mojo and Camille’s mommy and daddy will officially become one. The plus? Keith seems even more excited about it than me.
I didn’t use to think so, but life is packed full of second chances. And thirds, and fourths. As far as an individual goes, there are usually varying opinions as to whether someone is even worthy of another chance. When it involves you personally – it’s ultimately up to you to make that judgement, hopefully weighing everything carefully in order to make the right decision.
A couple of weekends ago, Keith proposed. I said yes.
It’s not something that happened overnight. Over the past month, there has been much take place in the area of damage control and his attempts to fix things. This much I know… he’s a good man. Is he guilty of sitting on his hands for a year? Sure. Is he guilty of cheating on me, hitting me or any type of emotional abuse? No. Have I considered that he may have done this out of desperation and/or a last ditch effort to keep me? Yes, I’ve considered it very well – and no, he did not. Why do I feel the need for any explanation on my decision? Because I care about what others think – especially so with my family. It also doesn’t escape me that the views my family and friends have of him are largely a result of what they’ve heard from me regarding his commitment issues.
A good friend told me last week, ‘the breakup sucked, but it served a greater purpose for you both’. That’s quite possibly the most insightful statement I’ve heard so far. I’ve said here before that I do regret moving in with a man without being married. I don’t regret moving out a few months ago.
The bare-bones of it all is this… my decision will directly affect my life and my happiness. We, as the natural makers of our own destiny, must hopefully choose the right path which leads to that happiness. Can we ever be 100% sure in making a decision of this magnitude? Of course not – none of us can. All we can do is take time to carefully weigh all the ins, outs, and everything in between… along with lots and lots of prayer.
Of that much I’m sure.
Being a fish out of water is just not my cup of tea. I still find myself holding the perpetual empty jar in the ongoing quest to find my ‘niche’. One word – awkward. Having already gone through this once 5 years ago, I realize I’ve never had a ton of patience in the area of self-discovery. I second and third-guess every single thing I do and say. I’m quite unsure of myself, to say the very least – it’s a very unsettling feeling.
It seemed easy to lose my own sense of self in a long-term relationship – in which case, I mistakenly assumed was forever. I surrendered every bit of myself to a man and, subsequently, assumed a portion of his persona as my own. No matter whose fault a breakup is, the hurt and anger that ensues afterward simply has to be dealt with, and there are many ways of dealing. After a certain amount of time passes, I think it’s natural (I hate the word normal) to crave some form of human connection. Recently I’ve found myself venturing outside my comfort zone and conversing with a few friends of the opposite sex. Although I think they’ve gone well, my own inner core remains stone-cold and untrusting. While half of me hopes this little issue remains undercover, the other half screams defiantly, “I don’t [expletive] care!!”
I seem to have the innate ability to over-analyze something as simple as a pineapple. Miranda said it best…
I went to see the new Nicholas Sparks movie Safe Haven over the weekend. There’s something about Sparks’ books and movies that have always drawn me to them – I’m fairly certain the ever-hopeless romantic in me would be the biggest reason. I also love being able to closely relate with the locality he incorporates into his stories. Sparks is from New Bern, NC and he always chooses a place within close proximity to his hometown for the story’s local. Safe Haven was filmed in the coastal town of Southport, NC – a town that’s dear to my heart. We used to vacation at the beach right up from Southport, and even rode the same ferry they took in the movie when we visited the Southport Aquarium.
Although a little slow… it was a good movie. I have this terrible knack of comparing all of Sparks’ story lines with The Notebook, which set the bar at an unprecedented height for any subsequently written stories.
Back in 2008 when I began my journey to build a new life, I adorned the theater on three separate occasions to see Nights in Rodanthe. My girlfriends teased me relentlessly for this – but that movie was (and still is) mesmerizing to me. I related so closely with it for several reasons; the middle age of the characters, the setting of the beautiful Outer Banks beach with the horses, and the fact that, from time to time, love can in fact resurface it’s pretty little head for a second chance. To this day, Nights in Rodanthe still remains one of my favorites. I even followed the real-life story of the house (Serendipity) being relocated to a safer location to avoid erosion from the ocean a few years back. I’d wished for the opportunity to visit it in person before that happened.
Two steps forward, three steps back, as they say. There is an absolute downside of being a romantic at heart. Combine said trait with a Pisces nature and a breakup and (BAM!) it can quite literally be a recipe for disaster. I know I need to get my head out of the clouds for a moment and realize there is nothing perfect out there – nor are there any fairytales, as much as I’d love to believe there are. I guess if I had to sum total it all in a nutshell… hope is what I derive from these stories.
And I’m always up for a little bit of that.
As I came to the first red light on the way to work this morning, I was stunned to see a car stalled between it and the busy highway which I was waiting to turn on. An elderly lady with a desperate look on her face sat in the drivers seat on the phone, and her husband sat slumped in the passenger seat with a blank look on his face. The ass-end of their car sat poised in the busy intersection of the highway, just waiting to be t-boned. She’d even called the cops, who still hadn’t showed by the time I left a half-hour later.
When I finally got her attention I asked if her car was stalled, she replied yes. I asked her to hang on since I was forced to make the green light turn. Maneuvering a quick U, I pulled in front of her, ran back to their car and asked her to put it in neutral. I immediately took note of the incline it would have to be pushed up – even though I had doubts about handling it alone, knew I had to try anyway. They always say adrenaline kicks in the moment you need it, and these people desperately needed to be moved out of a very busy intersection of a highway. The cars came and went, some honking and rapidly switching lanes to avoid hitting us at the last minute. I finally had to face the brutal stomach-sinking reality that I couldn’t move the car by myself. I started locking eyes with passerby cars who came to rest at that red light, spotted what I thought was a guy, and waved them down. Lo and behold, the door opened and out popped a female. I yelled over to her that we needed to find a man, but she ran over anyway and became my teammate.
Inch by slow inch, we made tiny progress. We both put our entire body weights into it, which even combined didn’t seem enough to get the job done. The elderly disabled husband began exiting the car very slowly (as we were moving it). I noticed his arms didn’t work – they just hung to his sides. I tried to get him to step to the side but he wouldn’t. He leaned his back end into it and did what he could, bless his heart.
My cohort and I proceeded to inch the car along, with it coming to rest every few seconds. Her and I didn’t speak, but every time the car stopped I knew we were thinking the same thing – we both had to fight to keep it from reversing backwards on us. I truly believe it was God’s hand that helped us push that car upward…
For the next 20 minutes, car after car whizzed past us while we expended every bit of energy we had to get the car up the hill. Once we got her pulling into the grass, a van stopped and a man got out. With three bodies pushing, the car finally came to rest safely in the grass.
When it was all over and I was back in my car, I found myself beyond infuriated. Why, you may ask? It’s simple, really. WHERE THE HELL WERE ALL THE MEN?? I mean, are you serious? Out of the scores of cars that passed us in that 20 minutes, my money’s certainly not riding on the fact that they were all female. This includes all the ones at the red light who were already safely stopped, who came and went.
I know of a good many men that I feel sure would have stopped and leant their strongarms. I’m hoping that chivalry is indeed not dead and the people I encountered this morning who ‘opted out’ were not in the majority of the population. This chance encounter only dimmed that hope, unfortunately.
My beloved South got it’s snow yesterday. It came in swift and accumulated very rapidly. It was a blessing for it to occur on a Saturday afternoon/night of the weekend! The residents here seemed perfectly content to have a warm night tucked safe in their homes, and enjoy the scenery of the beautiful white snow outside.
It brought along with it thunder and lightning, which has been endearingly termed Thundersnow. The conditions that lead up to this type of event are extremely rare, and usually only occur in the states along the East Coast.
This morning, I couldn’t resist the urge to walk down the pathway adjacent to my building to the lake. Although the overnight ice was treacherous, I went slow to reach my intended target.
A true photographer at heart, whether professional or amateur (I’m most certainly the amateur), will do almost anything to get their intended shot.
This is my second weekend here. Along came the cleansing white snow which, to me, signifies a clean white slate. That’s how I see it, anyway.
Can you tell I have this little thing for trees?
It took me a month to pack and less than a week to unpack. For some reason, I’ve always struggled with packing. Not just with moving, but with packing for a trip or vacation as well. It’s always easy for me to unpack and stick the stuff back in it’s respectful places – but gathering items and organizing them in boxes is hard for me. I think it’s largely due to my ocd about categorizing things. I also tend to want to clean out when I’m packing… I’ll abandon a box and go in search of other ‘like’ items to combine with it. Before I know it, an hour has passed and I’m still on the same box.
This got me thinking about life in general. I don’t necessarily have issues with making a change – I am a Pisces, after all. If a Pisces isn’t comfortable with the direction their life is headed, it’s a well-known fact that they will simply disappear or swim away in the other direction. That’s not to say that finding the courage to actually make that change is easy. Once the change is made however, my organizational skills are unmatched. If I can say one positive thing about myself, it’s my ability to organize – once the deed is done, so to speak.
It’s slowly beginning to dawn on me how much of myself I put into a relationship. It would also seem that I’m easily replaceable. Over the past several years I’ve lost a huge chunk of me that I’m now struggling to find again, and it’s frustrating. I must give myself time and patience in this endeavor, in as much as time passed through which I allowed that loss.
But guess what? I’ve already started.
It seems to be the hardest thing to ditch, this transition from the plural “us/we” to singular “I/me”. This morning I was telling a neighbor about the discipline training “we’d” gotten for Mojo. I recognized my blunder as soon as it came out of my mouth, and walked away feeling awkward.
Right now I’m angry. I hate admitting it, but I am. As I look back on the mistakes I’ve made, I’m angry at myself for being so naive. I’m angry for staying, for believing, for surrendering my whole heart to someone who didn’t appreciate it for what it was worth, for holding out hope, and for all the wasted time. I’m angry at him for being such a damn good receiver. For the lack of communication, for the broken promises when the hand of communication was forced, and for the sheer selfishness that made him, well – him. I’m angry at him for not even once asking me to stay. It stands to reason that I have been played for a genuine fool.
There are some hard lessons to learn in life. Sometimes that one ‘sure thing’ that feels so certain turns out to be the devil himself dressed in a thin veil. As my dear uncle used to say – such is life, I suppose.
One thing’s for certain – the walls surrounding this ticker will be rock-solid from here on out.
This past weekend was jam-packed with moving to my new home. I’m completely in now, and so are my babies. It’s a big adjustment for both dog and cat – of course, more so with Mojo the Border Collie. I’ve been told by a few people that it can be done, and I’m praying they’re right.
I hired movers for the first time in my life, and what a huge blessing they were. It was a hard move nonetheless, as I got in there and helped too. I simply don’t have it in me watch someone work to move my stuff and not get in there and help my self. The movers told me I ‘worked like a boy’… which I personally took as a huge compliment.
Right now, I feel like a fish out of water.
But the hard part’s over. At least, I like to think so. Next… some much-needed maintenance and repair on the old heart is on my itinerary.
I’ve wanted to write something for a few weeks now but every time I start, I back up and delete it. Perhaps it’s because I’m so unsure of myself at the moment – or that yet another dismal post will disappoint my gentle readers. This post will likely be all over the place, for that I apologize. I must get past whatever it is I’m feeling and just write though… because I need to.
January was a topsy-turvy month to say the least, but the busy details of my move kept my otherwise scattered brain very occupied. The US Post Office took it upon their selves to forward my mail a month early, even though the forwarding order had a start date of February 8th. Three weeks worth of mail is now who knows where, and believe me I’ve called everywhere about it. I also had to find a living room suit, as I had ditched mine previously.
I guess I’m still in shock. There’s a bit of anger deep down in there too, but right now just mostly shock. This not being my first time, I understand the many levels of emotions you go through when it comes to breakups – at least that should make things easier. This morning in the grocery store checkout, the cashier asks me “So who are you pulling for in the Superbowl today?” For whatever reason I had to fight a flood of tears back. I paused for what seemed like a minute, and stumbled to him, “I’m neutral on this one, to me it doesn’t really matter.” And it doesn’t. But what an inopportune moment for tears.
It’s gonna be okay. I just need to type that, to read it, to believe it, because it will be. Five days from now, I’ll stand… once again.
I’m well past the time I normally post this little entry as I do at every year’s end. With each coming year, I pick a new word to try and sum up the prior year in a nutshell.
In case you missed it in priors years’ posts, here’s the rundown. 2008 was Monumental. 2009 was Colorful. 2010 was Serene, and 2011 was Transitional. The word I picked for 2012 was Disclosure.
I guess I was dead wrong in last year’s post when I said ‘this butterfly has completed her journey’. I have not. In fact, it would appear the journey never ended, and indeed is far from over.
I wanted the fairy tale ending. Can’t blame a girl for that, can ya? Even though fairy tales rarely if ever come to fruition.
The commitment I so yearned for is not to be. Over the last year I’ve heard a spectrum of excuses ranging from the somewhat believable to the absolutely ridiculous. You may remember I didn’t want to open my mouth to begin with, but with year after swift year passing, what else is there left to do? Just as I thought, as soon as I allowed those sweet thoughts to pass my lips, I felt less-than. Less than the woman I’d worked so hard to uncover – the woman who’d previously remained unknown, even to myself. I, as a whole, had immediately been lessened.
He just wasn’t ready. His job security was unforeseeable. He’d set a (silent) 5-year mark for himself before ever contemplating a commitment to anyone. He’d known all along about my wishes but avoided the issue. Why is it so important to you – it’s just a piece of paper, after all. Our exes names still remain on both our mortgages. You’re like a kid wanting candy. My credit didn’t go through. I was gonna wait until your birthday.
Like a kid wanting candy. Gotta admit that one burned.
I have to take blame where blame is due. I should never have given up my home and moved in with a man, in his house, in hopes for a commitment. I didn’t and don’t approve of living this way, and I know right from wrong. I went with my heart instead of my gut instinct, and we all know love is blind. That’s my bad.
I will have a home of my own again soon, planned for the beginning of February. After 3 1/2 years I have much healing to do and feel the need to once again find and complete my inner Bon. Being single isn’t so bad. Being in a relationship with someone who has no desire to make you a permanent fixture in their life is a bad feeling.
Here’s to 2013 and the goodness it may bring to us all. And always remember change can often be a good thing.
This picture was taken after a harrowing storm in the Philippines over the summer. The image packed a big punch with me, so I thought I’d update the wording and share with all of you.
The original was posted via Twitter back in August by this fine gentleman/rescuer – God bless him. 🙂
I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.
But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.” He continued, “It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.
But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is a helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.
Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”
The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”
The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”