move forward, live fully, breathe deeply....

there are so many areas in our lives in which we can get stuck...drowning in things, worry, anxiety. Here is my journey to live simply, with the fantastic freedom of 'less is more' as my mantra.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Retirement Adventures...It's not all a bed of roses..the petals have fallen off the stem and left me bleeding from the thorns..

.deviantART: More Like FREE grunge texture by

When sharing the Adventures of our retirement from the Army life...I've tried to keep it light of heart and light of myself to what I want to be or think that I was at one time in my life.  Brave, strong, fun, and funny...dependable, kind, giving.

Though I have taken a few paths that I've been ashamed of in the past--being angry, petty, mean-spirited, clique-ish, out-of-control--I've tried to make reparations and amends for my bad choices and bad behavior.  Living with the consequences of my choices and actions has proved painful at times--shame and sadness can steal my joy in the todays--even when I am years past the hurting, the hurt and the asking for forgiveness.

In recent days...and weeks...I have found it harder and harder to be awake. To be present. To be thankful in my circumstances.  My body feels so heavy--both physically and metaphorically--I just want to lay it down. To let it go. Fly away somewhere where there is no more weight.  Where the alone doesn't matter any more

Murky Water

Then I pick up my phone--that modern necessity most of us utilize like it is air, or water, or clothing to start the day--and I open it to the blog:  A Holy Experience by Ann Voskamp ( and read Missing Him:  31 Days of Jesus and today's blog post. And yesterday's and last week's...

Today's post is titled:  If you Need a Therapy that Really Calms the Heart.  It's about a man, a husband, a father, who is coping with his wife's depression.  How his courage, his love, his patience and persistent "being there" is part of his cellular makeup.  What hits me in the gut-wrenching soul part of me is it describes my husband.  I am that woman who has that thing that "grabs a hold of a woman and makes her fear a day and herself and letting anyone get close" ... those of you who know me and love me may wonder where this comes from?  I am a dual person...there is one of me who sings my inner song to strangers, who picks up a stumbled and alone elderly woman, who finds peace and joy in watching the trees sway with the power of the breathe of the Holy One.  Then, there is one of me who allows "joy to be elusive and cynicism to be easy and stress to be normal..the same me that chokes down pills and food and shame instead of choking out what's wrong"...the me that is "scared to death to be real"...the me that "just lives to be dead"... So I battle daily to be be find the ray of sunlight...the little heart signs that God leaves everywhere--in the trees--in the rocks--in the fallen leaves or clumps of dirt upon the floor--in my dear friend's reaching out to hold prayer, in thought, in presence. 

I could let this blog post be a damnation of my struggle...or, I can read to the finishing the instructions on a find what it has to say. For my husband (the Colonel) or for myself (inner understanding?)...and I see that ..I SEE that... in finding a something to be joyful in--be it a child's play, or a toddler's reaching up to hold a hand, the warmth of my cocker spaniel's bottom as he rests on my foot, the clump of dirt on the floor--miraculously shaped like a heart-love... there is joy to be found.  Then the rest of the "instructions" are for me to be thankful in whatever circumstances that I am wail to my maker to take my anger and my make me well again.  Because the "anger is making me sick and weak and bound" and "the therapy is in the thanks".

can you see the heart-rock-love--lying on it's side?

I could quote the whole shebang...all the wisdom, and worry, and angst, and joy, and love, and anger, and constant dullness of depression...but I think you would do better to read the post:
Maybe you could give a little prayer for the Colonel as he holds me til I can find my way again. Maybe you could pray for me to find my way into the sunlight, the thankfulness, the joy of what and who God is in the breathing and the living in the light.

I am thankful in this this light...xoxo

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Retirement Adventures: Re-Inventing Myself in the South

photo borrowed from Southern Living blog

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful event:  SOUTHERN REINVENTION--hosted by Tasia Malakasis and held at the new 
Belle Chevre Creamery in Elkmont, AL. 

It was a beautiful drive into the country with sunny skies and good company. The Colonel & I chatted pleasantly with one of my girlfriends who sat in the backseat as we found our way to Elkmont.  It was a drive of unfulfilled hopes of southern music (I kept trying to get The Civil Wars track, Barton Hollow, up & running) to get us in the "mood" for our outing. Little did I know that I would have such difficulty with getting the track from my smart phone onto my husband's new car stereo with bluetooth capability.  I'm the kind of gal who likes to read and apply the how-tos in life...and even after pulling out the owner's manual I couldn't get a single bar of music out of that car stereo by the time we made it to Elkmont!!   
Now, I was so Happy! to finally make it to the event...the beautiful new creamery was a wonderfully refurbished warehouse that was dilapidated only last summer! The soiree was to showcase the best of what the south has to offer where handcrafted and artisan are synonymous with quality and ingenuity while bringing new life to old buildings with a zest for community.
People came from many communities far and wide to support and enjoy the day with samplings of food, music, cheese making, clothing, and storytelling.
Clothing Designers Billy Reid and Natalie Chanin had items available to purchase--both Alabama natives with a connection to community--they make a metaphorical statement that being Southern is an asset! not a hindrance.

We had introductions to some of the wonderful artisan-made libations of Shine of  Stills Crossroads, AL( and the Back 40 Beer Co. of Gadsden, AL(moonshine and beer! Seen, not tasted! except in poached persimmons and beer vinegar respectively)


   Recipes from Southern Living editors ( goat cheese cheesecake---divine!! Deviled eggs w/ goat cheese & pickled okra---yummy!) 
Southern Living editor Scott Mowbray on R

We had a fun time kneading and rolling our own goat cheese into logs before they were cut into little logs for taking home to enjoy --- though a few impatient persons unnamed enjoyed licking our fingers on the way to the wash stand afterwards! 

Sitting on bales of hay with burlap seat covers we enjoyed a repast provided by
 Jim&Nick's Community BBQ.   We feasted on BBQ sausage, brisket, and hot wings with multiple condiments rounding out the palate.  I was sooo tempted to revisit the goat cheese cheesecake bites...but decided to play nice & share. I wish that I had had enough forethought to take photos of the lovely food -- next time I promise!!  While fresh bottled water was provided aplenty, I purchased (as I always do!) a quart of icy cold herbal tea&black tea mix named Pom Pearadise! from Samovar Gardens of Brownsboro, AL.  Never ever disappointed with their tea!

On the way out..we purchased a Chocolate Bourbon Pecan pie from the Pie Lab also of Greensboro, AL .Check them out! Not only are they producing wonderful pie...but they are producing social change in their community!

                                                pie lab

We cornered Tasia for a quick photo under the new entrance wall of the creamery.  What a gracious lady! 
me! Jen (sister-in-law) & Tasia

What a lovely day out with my hubs, family and friends.  Though I am born a Southerner (you all know what that means!) I am reinventing myself Alabama.  At times, it's a rather daunting task...but then I meet brave, strong individuals who dare to dream and then work like the dickens to accomplish those dreams!! I am inspired once again to pull up my cowgirl boots and get to work!

I am at once overcome with bittersweet memories of where I've been...but am determined to be happy and enjoy this new In Alabama!!  There's beauty to be found here. XOX.

poetry on the wall of Belle Chevre Creameryby Tasia Mala