Friday, October 21, 2011

Dear 25 Year Old Me...

Dear 25 Year Old Me...

In keeping with my birthday month, I have another letter. This one is to myself on the verge of so many huge life altering choices. But then, isn't that what your twenties is all about? Finally figuring out that you don't know it all, discerning who you actually want to be and determining a path to get there.

Dear 25 Year Old Me,

It has been a bit since my last letter to you. I hope that this one finds you more willing to take a look inside and maybe save yourself some heartache in the end. It is unlikely, but a gal can hope! Just like your parents are suddenly seeming to make more sense these days, maybe you can read this letter from yourself and take in more than you did last time, oh "Impetuous One!"

That desperate feeling you have most days is completely normal. It is called a biological clock and yours is set on high. I would love to tell you to take a minute, slow down, smell the roses - but I know that you won't. You are on a mission to complete some warped check list of life goals. That's ok. It will hit you one day rather soon, that your list is missing some pretty important factors. I'll let you figure that out all by yourself. Just rest a little and know that things are about to change in a big way.

For instance, you are just a few short months away from meeting your soon to be husband. He will not be the guy you thought you were looking for, he will be so much more. There will be obstacles to overcome, heart break to work through, but in the end you will marry and find a partner you can't imagine being without. He will be your perfect counterpart, calm to your storm and so very much in love with you. You will often wonder how it was that God gave you such a partner - don't question it, just be very thankful! Remember that marriage is what happens after the wedding and it is ALOT of hard work. It is also rewarding work, if you stick with it.

There is another person waiting in the wings for you to be won over. He is also your perfect partner in some ways. Most of all, He is the perfect Lord. Yes, I know... You have steered clear of all that religious fanaticism for a very long time now and you can't imagine that you will ever go back. Your future husband will explain, however, that if you want him, you have to also want HIM. You will get it figured out and it too will become much more than you ever thought it could be. A relationship with Christ is so much more than church on Sundays and family dinners after, but then you will have to experience it for yourself. Just trust it, fighting it is really a no win situation for reasons that you will learn later.

That lovely little silver-haired lady you think of so sweetly will not be around much longer. Cherish your grandmother! Spend as much time as you can with her because all too soon she will not be there when you turn to call or drop by to visit. She is the inspiration for so much of what you will do later in your life, keep your love for her fresh and living while she is still around. She will go peacefully and quietly one morning and you will regret not spending more time with her when you could. Know that feeling is common and there is never enough time when "no more" comes calling. Make the best of it now.

Your life is about to change in a drastic and wonderful way! There are things that will become a part of your normal everyday life that are only dreams to you now - Dreams you never thought to dream, come to think of it! Trying to explain it would only cause you to roll those brown eyes of yours and snort derisively. The work-a-day world lived in the city will some day be a distant memory, and the love you will have for the life you live will be overwhelming at times. Just remember to thank God for all you are given and in someway, figure out how to give a little back. None of it will ever seem to be enough to say what you feel in your heart, but trying anyway is what makes you me.

I hope that you will look back on your days at 25 and realize that all of those crazy lists you are making are nothing more than kindling for the real fire of your life. I realize those lists are really important now... I pray that you will look back on them and love how much they freed you in ways you never saw coming!


Your Much Older Self

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dear 16 year old me...

It was my birthday earlier this week. I'm much older than 16, but then my husband might argue that point given my penchant for Top 40s music, ridiculously high platform heels and skinny jeans. Despite that fact, I thought it might be fun to reminisce about when I actually was 16 years old and what I might tell myself if I could send myself a letter... Not that I would listen to any of it. I was an exceedingly hard headed teen and not all that fun to be around. In fact, I might not even like me if I met me at this age... whoa. I think a little smoke came outta my ears...

Dear 16 year old me,

There are a few things your older self would like to let you know as you embark on this year, growing ever more adult. I realize that you will not actually listen to any of this, but it may give you pause for just a split second and that might indeed save your life!

First, let's talk about your car. I realize that you think the VW bug is the be-all and the end-all right now. Cherish it. It is the most quirky and fun memory you will have about driving unfettered from here on out. You will look back on your life in that car with fond memories for many years to come. The heater that fries your feet and yet won't defrost the windshield will become a source of joyous laughter later on. The fact that your Dad tries to teach you time and again how to maintain it will give you a sense of thankfulness when you have a man who will do those things for you. It will also give you a confidence in life that you would never guess... The fact that your purchased the entire car for $250 will be a source of fondness as well. Trust me, you will never have another running vehicle at that price again!

Your Mom is about to have a baby boy. He will be a great source of joy later in life, but right now, you will be far too self involved to make time for him. Understand that that choice will have consequences, but hopefully he will forgive you. That baby will grow into an incredibly intelligent, witty, caring man that will awe and entertain you. Take just a moment to look at him and appreciate that. Even though your first date will assume he is your baby, you can love him all the more.

There is a guy on the horizon that will not be as much fun. He will seem like a good time, but give him a couple of years and you will find that he is the snake everyone will try to warn you about. Rest assured you will grow immensely through this pain. You will come to appreciate your family in surprising ways when he breaks your heart and you will also be able to recognize his type later on. This is one of those things you have to weather, 16 year old me, but it is also one of the things that will make you a very strong individual who knows what she wants in a man. Um, trust me when I say, he is not it!

You will have a job soon. It will be a job, not a career. Enjoy it while it lasts and soak in all you can. You will look back on the environment with happiness and chalk up the experience as a decent one. It will be the source of great joy as it will introduce you to the land of high heeled shoes. There is no turning back from that love! You should try to remember, however, that you don't like the restaurant business and never ever attempt to wait tables for a living... You are really bad at it! Oh, wait... You will wait tables. And you will be very bad at it!

Take a good look around that school you attend. Yes, I know, "High school is so lame!" But really, it is the last chance you get before reality will set in for you and you will spend the rest of your days earning money. It has its pitfalls, to be sure, but it is truly the best time of your life. You have youth, energy, intelligence and very little responsibility. Do all you can, go to every dance, date, join clubs, try out for drama... The sun will set on these opportunities all too soon and you will look wistfully back and wish you hadn't been so intent on growing up so soon.

Your parents really do love you, although you are pretty sure they are about the most clueless set of humans on earth. In a few short years you will realize just how much they put up with to love you and how much you made them worry. Don't fret about it. Just say you're sorry and hug them. They will prove time and again that family will be there when everyone else turns away.

Most of all, 16 year old me, you should know you will be ok. You will turn out alright, you will resurrect certain dreams later on in life and you will find love. You will have children who love you and a husband that cherishes you. You would never believe me if I told you the amazing things you will do, so I will leave that for you to experience yourself. Just know that I look back on you with a wry smile and know that without you and your impetuousness, I wouldn't be the woman I am today!


A Much Older Me

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Southern Living...

I have a fixation with the Southern United States. I cannot explain it, it just is. I have always admired the sub-tropical area of my country from the time I could read about lands farther away than my back door.

There is just something to be said about the warmth, comfort and hospitality that seems to reside down there, amidst the magnolia, the azalea and the calendula...It is other-wordily, and yet it feels like home every time I am there.

My sister lives in the South... I am envious. But it does give me good cause to visit from time to time and breathe in the wonderfulness that resides there. Everything slows down, life seems to take on more meaning and the little things become so apparent I wonder why I didn't think of it sooner...

Because it is warm in the southern United States, there is more detail spent on the yards, the outdoor seating areas, the magnificent sub-tropical flora is planted and meant to be ejoyed. You spend more time out there, I love that! (I planted a hydrangea or two in hopes that I can relive a bit of that blooming splendor. We shall see how it weathers a Colorado high country winter...) The yards are meticulously kept and details like a decorated mail box aren't overlooked. So incredibly perfect!

(I want to live in this mailbox!)

There is something else about Southern Living that just keeps me wanting more... The People! Seriously, you just don't know hospitality until you have been down there and shared in a bar-b-que or a family gathering! It sure seems that Southerners have figured out that the finer things in life sum up in "folks". Your folks, my folks, the folks up the road... They take time to stop by, wave as you ride your bike down to the local farmer's market, say hello and complement your shoes. I know that most places have these practices, but in the warm sunshine and skin plumping humidity the Southern states just seem to have it perfected.

I must confess something - I love the food! Even being as food challenged as I am, I love southern cooking! I do have to be careful about the amount of fried and breaded things that are a Southern staple, but the time that is poured into each dish brought to a gathering leaves me sighing with sated glory! Baked macaroni and cheese was a foreign item to one grown up on boxed Mac'n'cheese. Not that I don't treasure my Grandmother teaching me how to make my own of an afternoon... But the crispy outer layer of real cheese and the gooey center of buttery yumminess - AAAAAHHHH! I can't hardly stand it! Even made with Gluten free Macaroni, it is to die for! It takes longer, but then that is another thing I love about the South.

Time not only slows down, there are moments it actually seems to stop... Bliss! To sit and watch ones kids enjoy their play in the pool, to share a drink and a snack with family and friends, these things you don't get to relive. These things you savor. Dinner out is meant to be enjoyed and experienced, not rushed through. Don't expect much of anything to be speedy in the lower 48... it just ain't gonna happen.

I am planning a trip to the Plantation Trace in Georgia and I cannot wait to see it through. I am not worried about being lost, someone will help me along. I am not worried about being hungry, there will be plenty of great things to eat. I am only concerned that the economy may slow my ability to get there before the beauty of fall passes.

The last thing to note about the south is something that is antithetical to most of us living in the upper 48... You don't leave without giving hugs! You may actually spend more time saying goodbye than you did at the gathering itself, but parting is a ritual that begs to be done with great contact and verve! So as I leave you with this post today, I give you a virtual hug....hhmmmmffff! and I bid you, "Y'all come back soon!"

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