a little love

In case you missed all the romantic paraphernalia in a variety of stores… tomorrow is Valentine’s Day – or for me, Single Awareness Day 😛
I am not a big fan of this day, because it’s been exploited, and prices skyrocket, and besides, every day is a day to celebrate love – whether it be love for your partner, or love for your friends, or love for your children etc.

Many years ago, I wrote a Valentine’s story. There are a few of you who will recognise it as I have shared it before, and you liked and commented. It’s something I like to revisit every year at this time. Not because it is any great piece of literature… but because I personally never want to forget the meaning behind it.
When I wrote it, I truly hoped it would go viral. Even if it went that way as ‘anonymous’. Because it wasn’t about ME! It was about the MEANING.

So here it is, for those of you who may have missed it….

I’d appreciate it if you’d take the time to read it.

“I feel like I should go.”
“Whenever you’re ready.”
“Not yet. I think I’ll have some more juice first.”

She smiled and filled his glass, and then plopped into the chair next to him, sighing deeply. He smiled, raised his glass to her, and said,
            “Here’s to us.”
She winked and gave him the biggest smile she could. Then she giggled,
“Happy Valentine’s Day.”

He rolled his eyes and they laughed together. They’d been together for ten years and had never yet ‘properly’ celebrated a Valentine’s Day together.

This was the thing that had drawn them together in the first place – the knowledge and desire to live every day as Valentine’s Day.
To do things with love – loving strangers and animals and friends, and inadvertently loving themselves.

Every day the opportunity to love each other was not wasted.
Every week he brought something new for the garden – so her house had a permanent supply of her favourite plants and flowers.
Breakfast in bed, taking turns with housework, a surprise bottle of champagne or dinner out… these things were not just saved for special occasions.
Uplifting words of love and encouragement, and exclamations at their good looks and intelligence, were a daily thing.
So when Valentine’s Day came around, it was just another day for them.

He reached for her hand, and stroked it gently, asking,
            “Do you think they’ll ever get it?”
She shrugged and replied solemnly,
            “Some do, and that counts.”

He nodded thoughtfully, and then said,
            “I broke our rule a bit…I got you something for Valentine’s Day. It’s in the cupboard.”
Raising an eyebrow, she retrieved a large, flat box from its hiding place.
As she slowly lifted the lid with a frown, he grinned,
            “Don’t be too mad. It’s for the baby.”

Instinctively, her hand rested on her swollen belly for a moment, and she caressed the bundle that had been nestling there for the past seven months. Then she smiled lovingly at him, and opened the lid.

She lifted out the large scrapbook, entitled ‘The Love Journal’, and began to page through it. Unable to hold back the tears any longer, she let them travel a silent path down her cheeks, wetting her neck, as she saw what he’d done.

He had taken their photo’s and memories as a couple and filled the book with them, as well as tips and quotes on each page, as a reminder and guide to the beauty of loving every day – doing things for others unselfishly. At the end of the book, in a sleeve, was a voucher to purchase another journal – she removed it from its plastic resting place and gave him a watery smile,
            “For me and the baby?”

He nodded, a tear escaping from the corner of his eye. She gently nestled in next to him and held him tightly when he said,
            “I guess I’m ready.”
Looking up at his handsome face, she kissed his chin and whispered,
            “I love you.”
He held her, and whispered words of love to her. Then laying a hand on her stomach, he whispered a little more, before closing his eyes.

The doctor and nurse watched from the doorway, tears streaming down their cheeks, listening and waiting patiently for the young couple to say their goodbyes. As he took his last breath, each of them knew in their hearts that they had got it.

~~ Written by Meg ~~

Here’s hoping you all experience the love of Valentine’s Day, every day… and the joy that comes with giving ❤

Mattress Mail

You’ve Got Mail. Definitely a movie that is near the top of my list of favourites.

It’s an old movie from 1998, and it’s a romantic comedy. Which is an unusual genre for me to find a movie in that I could be so crazy about. But I am. The brief synopsis is this : ”Two business rivals who despise each other in real life unwittingly fall in love over the Internet.”

What it fails to tell you about is the sheer delight contained in the quaint little bookstore that Meg Ryan’s character owns in the movie. I still carry the desire in my heart to one day have a little shop like hers. 😉

I’m a huge Meg Ryan fan…. and Tom Hanks is a firm favourite too. I had watched them co-star in Sleepless in Seattle and kind of just ‘fell for them’. So when ‘You’ve Got Mail’ premiered, it was top of my watch list. And I fell in love with them all over again 😉

All of the above is somewhat strange, because I am generally not a fan of romance – which is even stranger because I am a romantic at heart. Yes, I know, there’s just no sense to any of it 😛 😉

There is a place in the movie where Meg’s character needs advice. And without knowing anything about her business, Tom’s character gives her some…
”Go to the mattresses.”
This particular scene is where I completely fell in love with Tom’s character – in fisherman’s terms : he had me hook, line and sinker 😉 My heart still skips a beat when I watch this scene 😉 See, I have a crazy side too 😉
(You can click here for the YouTube cut of it 😉 )

The phrase, if you don’t already know, means the following :

To enter into or prepare for a lengthy war, battle, or conflict; to adopt a combative or 
warlike position. While the true origin is uncertain, the phrase was popularized in 
English by The Godfather novel and films, where it referred to warring mafia families 
housing their soldiers in small, secure apartments to await orders.

And no, I am not inciting any form of global war with this blog post, so please don’t misunderstand. This IS personal – unlike the situation in the movie.

I have been reminded, yet again, that there is always a conflict within ourselves – the wolves that we feed. That there is always a war in our minds – and preparation for battle is the only way we can get victory.
When we allow ourselves to become complacent and stop feeding our minds with the things we need to in order to equip ourselves to become stronger and better versions of ‘us’, we make ourselves vulnerable to the voices from the past that want to take us to places we no longer deserve to be.

The struggle is real.

I am being kind to myself in that I am constantly reminding the big brown eyes that stare back at me in the mirror that their light is still shining. That I’m not a failure, and that I am allowed to be feeling the way I do. No matter what anyone else says or thinks. 

But the greatest kindness of all is to remind myself that I didn’t get this far by neglecting to prepare. I have been so diligent in the past about devoting time to ‘equipment for my mind’.
With all that has happened and is happening with our lock down, I got distracted. And perhaps some of you have too?

So I’m sharing the above in case it helps : when it comes to my mind, I need to remember to keep ‘going to the mattresses’.
And I’m loving the benefits of doing so the last couple of days 😉

Reading IS doing!

Someone very dear to me reminded me yesterday that ‘nature abhors a vacuum, and something will fill it and it’s not always the best stuff’.

And I know this.

Isn’t it funny how sometimes we know something and yet still become its prey? 

The vacuum was there, created by frustration, I’m guessing. And then along came the proverbial cherry to top it all off. When I have these cherry experiences, they usually reduce me to tears…

But then the healing begins.

And I come back stronger – because I choose to force myself to empty out the bad stuff and fill the vacuum with the good. It really can go either way though – but it’s about choice.
When you have come through the things I have, there is no way that you want to choose the latter. I have learned through some very difficult and painful experiences that I truly WANT the good…always. That growth is not always easy… but it’s necessary to become the best version of me that I can be. And perhaps all of this is part of that journey?

So… moving on…

The UK truly is one of my favourite places in the world. Of course, the fact that my daddy lives there probably plays a big part in that 😉
But I also had the opportunity to visit the UK for a few months, and Dad did it proud as far as being my tour guide was concerned. We didn’t see many shopping centres… instead, I sat on steps in his little town and fed the swans – I seldom see swans here. I took in the most amazing scenery, and had long walks in forests. I finally got to see real castles… and walk in their ruins 🙂  And we visited almost every charity shop we could find… for books!

Today (or rather later today) is World Book Night.

Apparently it started in the UK (told you it’s a great place 😛 ) and Ireland in 2011 – World Book Day existed for children, and so World Book Night was created as a ‘day’ for adults to read more books.
In 2012 and 2013, the holiday was celebrated in the United States. Over 50,000 people gave books to others on this day.

They talk about celebrating it by giving books away to others, or reading a book late into the night to relax. That we should share our favourite books with one another, in an effort to encourage reading.

As an adult, I completely understand when someone tells me that they just don’t seem to find the time to read. Life gets busy, and there is always something else that needs doing.
My problem is that no matter how much still needs to be done, I will still squeeze in an hour to read. But, you see, I am something of a book worm 😉

I was ‘quite offended’ (not really offended as such, just a little bit amazed at the thought) when someone asked me the other day what I was doing. So I replied with, ‘Reading 🙂 ‘
And the response was, ‘So you’re not actually doing anything.’ This person felt the same way about me with my writing.
But this person is not a person who reads or writes – for them, ‘doing’ is physically doing/working with their hands. In their eyes, reading and writing makes me a very lazy person.
We’re still friends 😉
Because this world is made up of a variety of people with so many different strengths and talents and abilities… and that’s what makes the world work. This person repairs motorcycles locally, and without him, our local bikers would be in a fix and paying way too much for ‘out of town’ services. He has value. So do I.
But the things people value about us are different 😉

So if you enjoy reading, and struggle to find the time, then today is a good day to put everything else aside and curl up with your book. You have an excuse 😉

And if you’ve read anything really good lately, feel free to share it in the comments. It may not be my preferred genre, but someone else may decide it’s for them 😉
And knowing me, I will probably give it a read anyway 😉

This week I read Have You Seen Her, by Karen Rose.

have
Photo credit : bookdepository.com

”Special Agent Steven Thatcher has sworn to find the serial killer preying on this small town.  As the investigation pulls him one way, his family pulls him in another. A widower haunted by loss, he now worries about his son Brad slipping away. 

I was actually very surprised by this book! It was ‘full’ of everything. The fear and intrigue of the serial killer as we go on the hunt; the emotion and pain of a family being torn apart (there were parts there that made me cry!); and adult desires that carry you into a romance.
When I say full – it’s like it was three different stories that could have each been books on their own… but were edited to make the ‘story’ shorter… without losing your emotional connection to every aspect. Interwoven to make for a heck of a read.

This type of book isn’t everyone’s cup of tea… but it ‘had something’ and I’m really glad I read it. When I finished it, I was filled with a lot of admiration for this author, because for me it truly was skillfully brought together. A little predictable in parts? Sure. But I’m a book lover and not a very good book critic 😛 😉

Happy World Book Night, adults 😉

To love or not….that is the question

I have decided I must be a romantic at heart. Because if anyone should have been ‘put off’ by love, it’s me.

I’ve had all kinds – but never the mythical movie romance.

Although, to be fair, I know a few people who have something close to that myth. I’m just not one of them.  I fear I may have been ‘put off’, although somewhere deep inside the walls of my heart, I suspect the desire still lurks.

My mind is good at chasing that ‘lurker’ even deeper into those walls.

It reminds me of the time I dated the perfect guy, only to find he was not only a cheater, but that he looked better in heels and a mini-skirt than I did.

It reminds me of the guy who couldn’t read, and thought that ‘rules’ said ‘ribs’, and made sure a good few were broken.

It reminds me of the family destroying cash flow problem that comes when you get involved with someone with a serious gambling addiction.

It reminds me of the doctor who had a prescription drug problem, and the farmer who needed rehab for his drinking.

But more importantly, it reminds of who I am now. It reminds me that although I don’t have a handle on the whole low self-esteem thing, I now have the knowledge that I am still worth SOMETHING more than to be treated like less.

It reminds me that I am actually happy enough in myself to not NEED to be defined by someone else.

It reminds me that I have matured – and all of a sudden, in my late thirties – I am actually quite content with my life, my kids, my dog.

Do I wish for love again? I guess I do. It might still be nice to find the man who was created with a hand that has fingers made to fit perfectly in between mine.

But older, wiser, and a better judge of character, I fear he will be a needle in a haystack…and with my failing eyesight I’m just not sure!