Sunflowers of Love

Just a simple tribute to my mom.

I love you and miss you more than I can put into words.

Thank you for staying close to me, coming to me in my dreams, and hugging me from above.

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Your love lives inside of me. For that, I am so grateful.

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Filed under January 2011

Your Voice

There are those who will forever be the victim and never see life as a whole. It’s only pieces and parts of what’s happened to them. 

When you talk to them, and try to express yourself, they will twist every word, every sentence, and make it about them and how they are affected. They’re happier. They’re sadder. They hurt more. They’re always feeling more than anything you’re feeling. One-upping emotions is second nature to them.

They are so self absorbed they can’t communicate without the conversation being turned around in their direction.

They can’t simply ask, “How are you doing?”, and let you answer fully. They’ll always interrupt and answer the question for themselves.

They can’t lend unconditional support because it’s always, “Why haven’t you done this [or that] for me?”

They make up things so they can feel less guilt within themselves.

They preach one thing, but do another.

They will turn everything into something about them.

They say they want to hear your thoughts, your feelings, and your opinions, but it’s useless to go there; they’ll railroad your words with their own.

They surround themselves only with people who’ll pat them on the back and make them feel good, instead of with people who tell the truth and who are honest about how they truly feel.

With these type of people, communication is null and void. You will always be on the other side of the conversation, trying to get a word in edgewise. When you’re done, you’ll be exhausted from a talk that never really happened. A one-sided conversation isn’t really a conversation… and they wonder why you never want to talk to them.

These kind of people are manipulators, and most likely, narcissists, but will NEVER, EVER see themselves that way. Remember, no matter whatthey are completely justified in their thoughts and feelings.

They are always right and belligerent about what they believe, but say they hear other people’s opinions and point of views, which is almost laughable.

They are tone-deaf. More than likely, they will never notice what they’re doing, and if you point it out, they’ll act dumbfounded and surprised. “What? I’m not being that way. You’ve got it all wrong.”

With these type of people, it’s easy to feel like:

You never do anything right.

The way you’re feeling is wrong.

Your response is the wrong response.

You never do enough for them.

Your feelings are less than.

The most important thing to learn in dealing with these kind of people, is this: Find YOUR voice and stand firm in it.

Believe it or not, sometimes, standing firm in your voice means staying silent. Then, sometimes, it means you have to step over the line, and raise your voice above and beyond what you normally would. How to know when to stay silent and when to speak up is very tricky and confusing. For me, silence is my go-to, but when I feel pushed to the edge, my words will fly.

Finding a balance with manipulators is almost impossible. There may be times when you have to cut yourself free from them completely. However, in certain situations, it’s very difficult, especially if it’s family or a longstanding friendship. Don’t make that decision lightly. Think hard before making the final cut; just distancing yourself could be the better answer.

In the end, keep in mind:

Your feelings count.

No matter how these people try to twist your words, your words are yours, and they mean something.

You can still love these people without being brought down by their actions (or lack thereof).

Never change to suit them. Be you, always.

Stand firm and stand strong.

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Find peace within yourself and keep the loud voices of others outside your emotional space.

Until next time…

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Filed under April 2017

Circles of Time

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April 7, 2017 · 1:02 pm

Me? Speak up? Let Me Think About It.

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Conflict and confrontation… I avoid them at all cost. I hate them with a passion. It’s who I am and I’ve been this way since I was child.

When some people would face issues head-on and speak their opinion, I normally stay quiet and put space between me and uncomfortable situations.

Just because I don’t always speak up, doesn’t mean I’m on board with something. In all honesty, some people say they’re okay with something to make other people happy or to save face so they don’t have to reveal what they truly feel.

My silence speaks more honestly than those who pacify with words.

I know I have a right to my feelings. I know I have a right to speak my feelings. The problem is, when I know my thoughts and feelings are going to be null and void, or compared to how others are feeling, and/or I’ll be the outsider no matter what I say, I’ll just hang back and feel my feelings without the need to express them. It’s better for me that way.

I also can’t stand when someone always tries to one-up other people’s feelings with their own. Their feelings are more important, have more weight, and mean more, so why express mine? That’s how I feel.

Just because I don’t always speak up, doesn’t mean I’m putting my feelings aside to pacify others. I just don’t feel I have to throw up my feelings for all to hear. I think it’s okay to stay in respective corners and move along with life.

There are people who surround themselves with only those who fill their glass with something they like to taste, who pat them on the back and make them feel good, who feed them verses that justify.

Like I was told as a child… “Birds of feather all flock together.”

Me? I tend to have all kinds of different feathers, which normally doesn’t fit in the mold of life that others like or require.

I’ll be the lone bird with colorful feathers. I’m cool with that. Actually, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, some would ask, “Amy, do you only speak your mind when it fits with those around you and when it doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable?”

My answer is this: No, not necessarily. I speak my mind often. However, I am choosy about who I speak my mind with. I’ve learned some people say they’re okay about me speaking my mind, but, in reality, they never make me feel that way. In these cases, silence is my go-to. And, guess what? That’s my prerogative.

Do I wish I could be straight forward? Do I wish I could say what I feel without second thought? Do I wish I could be blunt?

Hmmm… no, not really. Maybe sometimes, but with my personality, I’ll spend days recounting my words over and over and over again, feeling guilty and wishing I hadn’t. It’s just not who I am. I’m one who spends excruciating time trying to figure out what to say and when to say it.  Yes, it can be a pain, but I’ve learned to embrace it.

Some would probably say I hide behind this blog and written words. Okay. I’ll take that. Writing has always been my way of expression and I’m okay with it.

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Until next time….

 

 

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Filed under April 2017

It’s Time

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It’s been nine long months since I last posted.

My mind and heart have been spinning in a whirlwind of emotions ever since.

However, it’s time…

It’s time to release ALL the words. It’s time to get my emotions out in the open. It’s time for me to share what’s been on my mind and heart.

I’m going to try my best to not have a filter, which is very hard for me. I always think of who may read my blog and hold back accordingly. I will be as honest as I can be, which means it will inevitably bother some people, but these are my words, from my heart, from my mind, going onto my page. I can’t, and won’t, apologize for what’s inside me.

So, here I go…

This past year has been very hard for me. Most everyone knows I lost my mom last April, which turned my world upside down.

Trying to get to South Carolina in time… the excruciating pain of not being able to say “I love you” one last time… not being able to hold her hand and say goodbye before she passed away–  it’s all burned in my heart, mind, and soul.

It happened way too fast. (If you want to read the post I wrote about it, go here.)

I don’t think my heart has ever hurt so badly in my life. No… I know so. I swear it felt like my heart was glass and had shattered into tiny pieces everywhere.

My mom was the one person in my life who knew me inside and out. She always understood me. She loved me unconditionally. She never made me feel like I should be or act like anyone but myself. She had a way of knowing what I was thinking and feeling, even though I was hundreds of miles away. She would check in on me like a mom, but listened like a friend. I always knew I could call and talk to her until I couldn’t talk anymore, and everytime before hanging up, she would say, “I always love our talks and I love you.”

I would give anything to hear those words again.

Weeks after her death, I felt an emotion creep inside me. I wasn’t all that surprised, but when mixed with grief, it’s all encompassing and taxing.

Anger.

I was so angry.

If only she would have gone to the doctor sooner. If only the large bruises, nosebleeds, fatigue, and horrible headaches would have SCREAMED, “GET TO THE DOCTOR, NOW!” If only she had gotten a second opinion after the first time she went to the doctor. If only she hadn’t gone on a trip and stayed home and listened to what her body was trying to tell her.

If only… I may not have lost my mom.

Yes, beating cancer would have been a long road, and it wouldn’t have been easy, but she would have fought so hard. She wasn’t ready to go. She wasn’t.

Anger.

One thing that pisses me off about grief is how people try to quantify it. You can’t do that. You can’t say your grief is bigger and deeper than anyone else’s. By doing that, you belittle the grief of those around you. You should respect how others are feeling. Respect their breaking hearts. Respect the depth of how much they’re hurting. You can’t do that while saying you’re grieving more.

Anger.

There are other things that have truly gotten to the core of me during this grieving process… things I wasn’t ready for, and still aren’t ready for, but… to use my husband’s words… it is what it is.

Anger.

It’s hard to overcome, but I’m working on it as much as I possibly can. I’ve learned I need to rid myself of the anger to allow as much room as possible in my heart for Mom’s loving memory. That’s what matters the most.

Now, onto to the next feeling, that when mixed with grief, and anger, it’s even more encompassing and taxing.

Guilt.

What do I feel guilty about? Let me list the ways….

Over the last year:

I’ve been a horrible friend.

I’ve been a horrible daughter, sister, sister-in-law, granddaughter, aunt…

I don’t call enough.

I don’t message enough.

I’ve been a bit of a hermit.

I go from happy to sad in a millisecond.

I clam up.

I don’t know how to express myself like I used to.

I know… I know… “Amy, don’t feel guilty over these things. They’re normal during the grieving process.”

I get that. I really do. However, I can’t deny I feel guilty ALL THE TIME.

Guilt.

I apologize to everyone close to me for how distant I’ve been. Staying in my little bubble has been a protective shelter and I know I need to pop the bubble at some point.

I hold onto guilt more than I do anger, so I need to work hard on letting it go. It’s a process, just as everything else has been, and that’s okay.

The next phase of grief is coming toward me. I feel it inching its way in. I’m sure it’ll be snail-like in its progress, but I will welcome it…

Healing.

I know the loss of my mom will always be a part of me. I will never get over her not being physically in my life, nor would I want to.

I love her so very much. We had a special relationship and I miss her to the deepest part of my heart.

I’m so blessed to have had such an amazing woman as a mom and friend.

Healing.

She comes to me in my dreams often. I can feel her during my simple days and my hard days. I feel her when she’s proud of me. I feel her wrap her arms around me when I’m sad. I feel her laugh when I laugh. I feel her smile down on me when she knows I’m happy.

I feel her.

And, for that, I’m so thankful.

I may not be able to pick up the phone and call her, but I can speak to her amazing spirit and know she hears me, which heals a small piece of me each and every day.

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My beautiful mom, Judi Thompson, while on a cruise with my husband and me.

Before I sign off, I need to give love and thanks to my husband.

Chris, you are my rock. You have been so patient, loving, giving, supportive, and understanding. I don’t know what I’d do without you. Thank you for loving me. — I love you.

For the last words of this post, I want to quote one of my favorite authors. She says it well…

“A daughter without her mother is a woman broken. It is a loss that turns to arthritis and settles deep into her bones.” — Kristin Hannah

Continue to rest in peace, Mom. I love you.

 

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Filed under March 2017

Fall and Rise

It’s time for me to fall on my writerly sword and put it out there for all to see:

I have failed at all things writing this year.

I wanted nothing more than to publish this year, but I allowed myself to lose motivation and I ended up steering myself away from my own goals. There are a lot of factors that come into play–my life has had many changes this past year–but, at the end of the day, it’s about me getting side-tracked and falling off the writing and editing wagon.

I don’t want to make excuses or blame life circumstances for my stumbles and lack of getting stuff done. It’s all about me losing focus. Period. Plain and simple. It’s 100% my fault.

If I want to succeed, I can’t dwell on my mistakes; I must learn from them and take the next steps forward. I love writing more than I can put into words. It’s my passion, but as anyone knows who’s followed their dreams, mistakes happen. All I can do is rise above and not give up.

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I am committed to getting The Christmas Key into the hands of all who want to read it. I love the story. I love the characters. I love everything about it. I just need to tighten it up a bit and do one last read through (I know. I know. I feel like I’ve said that a million times). Then, I need to get over the fear of letting it go. I always feel there’s something else I can do to make the story better, but I know I it’s time to pull the trigger, and push my baby into the world.

I can do this. I can. I CAN! 

In addition to getting through the final stages of The Christmas Key, I’ve decided to also write a cookbook.

I’m certain some people are like, “What? You can’t even finish the book you’re working on. Why add more to your plate?”

Well, I’ve had the idea for a long time, and since Mom passed, it’s something I think about almost daily. So many of my recipes stem from something she taught me. It’ll be a therapeutic process and it’ll be a great way to mix my love of writing with my love of cooking and photography.

My approach to the cookbook will be to combine recipes with stories, tips, tricks, and alternative ingredients to make any of the recipes something you, your family, and your friends will enjoy.

I started working on it this past weekend and I’m happy with the approach I’m taking to the recipes and set up. I’ll tell you more as I get deeper into the process, but I think the concept I’m playing around with will be fun and easy for any level of cook.

As of right now, I’m not going to start a separate blog  for the cookbook. I’m not ready to take on the extra expense and responsibility. A cookbook entails so many moving parts (photos, cooking a recipe many times, detailed instructions, etc…), so I think it’s smart to keep it as simple as possible for now. Focus is everything. Once things come together, I’ll reassess the need for another blog.

I’ve had a Facebook page for my cooking for a while now. Feel free to go over and give it a like and follow along– Bubs’ Kitchen (Bubs is my nickname). I’m sure I’ll have a lot of fun  (and funny) experiences to blog about, so I’ll give updates here, too.

So, there you have it… my writing journey continues and I’m finding more passion along the way. Thank you to everyone for your support, love, and understanding. It means everything.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” — Henry David Thoreau 

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under June 2016

Just on the other side…

 

Mornings are bleary.

Nights hurt like hell.

The in-between is lack luster.

Something is most definitely missing.

Being forced into the grieving world, one I’ve never been in like this before, is like being pushed into a pool during a Vermont winter’s night.

It stings. It shocks. It numbs.

Even though I know how to dog paddle, swim, and even breast-stroke,  I can’t quite get to other side. Through the flaying arms of grief, through trying to float on my back, through the tears of fear, I need a life-saver.

There are these moments– sometimes, they’re only 30 seconds… sometimes, they’re 30 minutes… but not much more– these moments quickly go by where I’m brushing my teeth, I’m working out, grocery shopping, working on edits, and in the midst of the moment, I forget I’m grieving. Life has happened.

When I smile, or laugh, is when I pop out of it, and realize I’m feeling not sad. I question the happiness.

There are moments I cave, begin to cry again, and fall back in the pool.

Then, sometimes, there’s a nudge… a twist of the shoulder.

Amy, go with it. I want you to laugh. I want you to smile.

And, I do…  Example:

Just the other day, I responded to a text about what Chris and I are doing for Fourth of July. Normally, it’d seem like a boring, neutral text, right? Well, not so much with Maeghan. Before I know it, we’re sending voice texts back and forth of nothing but laughter. I laughed until I cried and none of the tears were from sadness.

Laughs are the tiny cracks in grief. They allow for breath, reprieve from the fog, a quick lesson in life, which is, life has to continue.

Mom has been so close by. She’s been just beyond the veil of life… so close, I feel like I can touch her. I know I’ve felt her hug me. I know I’ve felt the brush of her fingers on my arm. I know she’s been there to pull me out of a hard cry when I’m gasping for air.

From just beyond… on the other side, a slight whisp of air touches my ear. No, not literally, but almost… almost.

It’s so clear, I hear…

Breathe, Amy. Breathe. I’m here. Just breathe.

When I’m floundering in the pool of grief, Mom throws me a life saver.

I choose to believe she has a lifetime supply of those touches and whispers. I know I’ll need them for as long as I live.

Yes, for now, in this early phase of grief, I’ll need a lot.

As time goes, I’ll need fewer.

Then, BAM, it’ll all creep back, and I’ll end up in the pool again.

She’ll be there.

The funny thing about the pool and lifesaver analogy is… Mom wasn’t a fan of water or swimming. She hardly ever got in the deep end of the pool.

Thankfully, she was great at life, and being a mom. She can be my lifeguard from the other side any day. Whether she quietly brushes by, or takes hold, and shakes me, I’ll welcome her.

I’ll ride freely through the ups and downs. I’ll feel the sadness. Cry. Scream. Laugh. Cry again. But, no matter what, I won’t stop riding.

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under May 2016