Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Changes #1

I'm not perfect. Really. FlyLady has been trying to help me with this for a few years now. She advocates that perfection is not healthy. I agree, particularly as it is usually a standard set by someone else who is not perfect themselves. God and Christ are obvious exceptions, but their idea of perfection isn't what I usually run into in the world. That being said, I recognize the need to grow and change.

After owning a horse, for five years, I picked up a bit more colorful language than I used before I owned the horse. Some words simply fit. When people asked how my day was my favorite reply was "When you shovel sh*t first thing in the morning, the day can only get better." It still makes me laugh. And no other word fits as well. On top of that, it only takes having 1200 lb of pressure on your foot to add a whole lot of new and interesting words to one's vocabulary. Sadly, my horse has been gone for seven years, but the language is still hanging about.

I've wanted to change, but sometimes 'darn' simply doesn't cover it. Yesterday, my sister offered an alternative: Pickles. What a great word! And it makes me laugh. We'll see how successful I am at substituting.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tolkien Reading Day and Reading List #4

March 25 is officially Tolkien Reading Day in celebration of the destruction of the Ring of Doom. Every year, Tolkien Forever, the Los Angeles chapter of the Tolkien Society, arranges a program for a local public library. I've been privileged to participate for the last four years. I fly over for the weekend and stay with a couple of very dear friends. We talk and talk and talk, and I usually come home a bit hoarse. It's a fabulous little vacation. And this year was no different though I wasn't feeling particularly well (nothing catching). Spending time with my friends is the best. The Reading Day program is remarkable. There are so many wonderfully talented people in the group. There are readings from various works by Tolkien, a number of songs, mostly originals, an Elvish dance, and we always close with Into the West. Though I live in a completely different state, they have welcomed me into the group. Whenever I fly in, I feel like I'm going home. I feel cared for and pampered. One of my friends here said that the reason she loved picking me up from the airport after one of my trips is because I was so happy, and she loved to listen to me babble about my trip. I look forward to this weekend and plan for it for months. God has blessed me with some fantastic traveling companions through this life, and I am truly grateful.

Do You Hear What I Hear? by Teri Wilson was heartwarming and left me feeling truly uplifted. LOVED IT!

Now, I've started Teri Wilson's Love, Lilies and the Unbroken Straw, the second book in the Hoofbeat and Heartstrings series. Sadly, there are only two books so far; I hope she writes more!!

Still reading Refuse to Choose, very slowly. I'm still in the prologue. Barbara Sher is talking about the aptitude tests and how we scored well in several areas and were told to choose a talent and pursue it. Yes, indeed, I remember my aptitude test. I was told that I should major in electrical engineering. Mind you, this was taken the same year I was about to flunk out of calculus. What's wrong with this picture? I told the man that all I knew about electricity was that to turn on a light you flipped the switch. If it didn't work, you changed the lightbulb, and if it still didn't work, you call an electrician. I have to admit, I have since learned about circuit breakers, but I prefer to let someone else deal with them. I'm thinking I may need to read some of Barbara Sher's other books.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Thank Goodness It's Friday #2

Busy, busy, busy, today. However, it's always important to take a moment and Thank God for:

~Friends, really fantastic friends (some related by blood and others by spirit)
~Wonderful books (learning not to waste time on ones that are only okay)
~Early Bird Specials (making life easier)
~Ibuprofen (you don't want to know, but I'm grateful for it)
~the internet and my computer (connecting me to my fantastic friends)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Reading List #3

The Menopause Makeover had some great information, but mostly could not work for me. It's all right; I learned from it, and now I've passed it along to bless someone else.

Venetia is also finished. I thoroughly enjoyed the last chapters, and I'm also glad it's done. Too many of the characters were thoroughly unpleasant. I prefer my books to have a higher ratio of likable than dislikable. Funnily enough, I like that in my life, too. :-)

Do You Hear What I Hear? by Teri Wilson is book 1 of her Hoofbeats and Heartstrings. It's delightful. From the back: "As a child, Simone Littleton adores the European folktale that animals were given the gift of speech at midnight on Christmas Eve. She makes a wish to talk to animals 'forever and ever' and, when her pet Dalmatian asks her for a biscuit, she discovers her wish has been granted. Now Simone is all grown up and she uses her unique gift to rehabilitate unwanted horses. When race horse trainer Chet Wallace rolls into San Antonio, with chocolate eyes and dimples blazing beneath his black Stetson, romantic sparks fly. He is immediately drawn to the beautiful woman who has a mesmerizing affect on both his horses and his dog, but his less than enthusiastic response to Simone's claims threatens their budding romance. It takes a scheming Jack Russell terrier and a dose of Christmas Magic to convince Chet she just may be telling the truth." Horses, dogs, and a hero with chocolate eyes, what't not to love about that?

Refuse to Choose! by Barbara Sher was given to me by a very dear friend. She started with writing a book about Scanners, no not the machine type, people who are always searching the horizon and have trouble settling on a single path. I GET that. I'm reading this one slowly so I have an opportunity to truly think about it as I read. I'm still in the prologue and wanting to hurry along and yet reminding myself that I need to make an effort to slow down so I don't miss anything. This is one book that I don't want to skim.

I also decided to bookmark The United States Constitution so I can read it slowly. It's been a long time, and I figure a review is long overdue.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hope... maybe not, but maybe...

God has a way of opening my eyes at the most unexpected times. I sat here this morning enjoying one of the daily pics on my iGoogle page: A dog lounging on a couch. Memories of my baby dog flooded back, as I noticed the white around the nose. I glanced at one of my pictures thinking my sweetie had a lot more white. Then I remembered vividly that last day. I went shopping for dog food because I was determined to be hopeful that we still had a little more time. If I could do it all over again, I would have stayed home and spent the time with her. How have I responded to what happened? Endeavored to sever hope from my life. What's the point? If I hadn't been trying to play at being optimistic, I would have better memories of that retched day. I have so many regrets in my life, and this seemed one of the biggest because it wasn't because I'd done something wrong, but I'd been trying to do something right. I've become very good at squashing my own hope, but I do try not to squash other people's hope. I've hoped for so many things that were never realized, will never be realized, cannot be realized. I bristle at the "dream big" ideology every time someone throws it at me. I did, and I fumbled the ball, over and over and over. What I can say in my defense is that no matter how many times I was pushed into the mud, I never stayed there. Marvin J. Ashton said something in a talk, years ago, that I still remember. I tried to find the quote but couldn't, but here's how I remember it: "There comes a time in every life when nothing works and it's time to bring out the big guns: Hope." His perception influenced mine, especially as to why I could never manage to completely cut hope out of my life. Hope is like Morning Glory. No matter how much you try to pull it out, cut it out, poison it, it keeps coming back. I know there are those who are horrified at the thought of ridding one's yard of Morning Glory. They haven't had it in the garden, pushing out the peas you're trying to grow. Morning Glory can be ratified, by sterilizing the ground. Of course, nothing else can grow either. I'm sure hope can be ratified, too, by choosing darkness over light. That being said, Hope is not something we create within ourselves; hope is a God-given gift, and as long as we are endeavoring to choose God, He will keep throwing Hope into our lives, whether we want it or not. It is part of who He is, and He cannot help but share it. I'm still wary of Hope, but understanding it's source is God, not me, helps me realize that understanding is not a requirement; accepting is.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Reading List #2 and other stuff

Sigh. I removed Louise Allen from my TBR list, as I noticed that her heroines have a tendency to slap the heroes sometime during the story. I might have liked that at one time, but it seems I've changed. Thank Goodness! It is not okay for men to hit women and not okay for women to hit men. I also recognize this as something I used to do (though usually in the arm), even if only rarely, and I'm not proud of myself for it. It's something I wanted to change, so why was I reading about it?

Recently, Lucy Monroe, at her blog asked what makes a book a Auto Buy and what makes a Not to Buy.

Auto-buys:
-any author on my Yes list.
Why they're on my Yes list:
-Characters, characters, characters. They have a sense of self and accept responsibility for their own lives. They aren't waiting for someone to "fix" them or even for love to make them whole. I like the instant attraction, but what good is it if they don't work at the relationship? Respect is huge for me. I'd like to hang out with the characters, and I learn to be a better person from them.
-I want to come away from the story feeling uplifted and hopeful.

Not-to-buy:
-Hero/heroines that are manipulative or abusive.
-Infidelity.
-There's no other way to say it but stupid, unpleasant characters that aren't the villain.
-Really foul language. Yep, I find it a downer and distracting in a story. I don't mind the use of god, as it is used in so many contexts, but Christ and Jesus is an absolute no. My Savior died for me; He deserves more respect than that.
-The happy ending is too short! I want to savor it!

I've often said that my favorite books are like friends. I want to hang out with them, spend time with them, become a better person because of them. So this weeks list, though similar to last weeks, has also changed a little.

I'm still reading Venetia, but more skimming because though I like Damerel and Aubrey, they're only in some of the scenes. Venetia is starting to get on my nerves. She's so... so... so... I'd say practically perfect in every way, but Mary Poppins doesn't take lip from anyone, not even Mr. Banks. She's not exactly a martyr, but she's just so cheerful, all the time, and I mean all the time, even when the overbearing mother-in-law is being really demeaning. I finally asked myself, Why am I spending so much time with a book with so many characters I don't like? So though Georgette Heyer is a gifted writer, I find she writes too many unpleasant characters for my taste.

I'm still reading The Menopause Makeover, and though I'm not using a lot of the suggestions, I'm still finding it helpful, but tailoring it to my needs. eHarlequin opened a forum for following the program as a group. I've found some great insights and real inspiration. I had an interesting revelation, today. One of the posters admitted that she didn't like sharing a lot of information about what she was eating exactly and what exercise she was doing. I cheered! I don't like sharing it either. She had an adorable turtle, hiding in it's shell, as her avatar. This was my response:

I feel exactly like that picture sometimes. For myself, I won't be sharing much info, either, but I know that for me it's about having healthy boundaries. Part of what got me into this mess to begin with is that I didn't have healthy boundaries. I didn't have boundaries. I wasn't allowed to have boundaries. Now, as I cultivate my healthy boundaries and learn how to expand and contract them as needed, I find eating better and exercising more seems to be a natural outcome as I no longer need the mental boundary of "If I'm fat, no one will notice me, and then I'll be safe."

BTW, since the beginning of Feb, I've lost 10 lb. WOOHOO!!

My fun book is a re-release of one of Marie Ferrarella's books. Five-Alarm Affair. Aimee Greer is a widowed mother of a nine-year-old girl. Wayne Montgomery is a local firefighter. I love Marie's characters, including the secondary characters, which are usually pretty great people, too, even if annoying sometimes. They're people I wouldn't mind knowing.

Odd bits:

I'm still learning about labels and tags for posts. I will figure it out and remember to do it each time, eventually.

Lastly, today, I've a couple of friends who've wanted to post but had trouble doing so. It isn't you. You have to click on the post or preview at least twice. The first response is usually : Your request could not be processed, or some such nonsense. Eventually, you will win the reply that the post will be published upon approval. That's me being able to look at it first. This discourages spammers (I'm all for that) and keeps out the riffraff. :-)

It's Monday. Go out and claim the day as your own. No one is going to do it for you.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thank Goodness It's Friday #1

Thanks Mary for the inspiration. I do try to be grateful, but sometimes a gentle reminder isn't remiss. So, to add to all my new changes, I'm adding Friday as my day to stop, take a breath, and reflect on things for which I'm grateful. Not the only time, of course, but a scheduled time to consciously focus on all my blessings.

I am richly blessed by dear friends who accept me as I am, warts and all. More particularly this week, I found I had lied to a couple of close friends in addition to myself. Both dear friends didn't berate me or call me on the carpet, they looked a little deeper and understood why it had happened and helped me to be gentle with myself, refusing to allow me to sit in sack cloth and ashes.

I am richly blessed with a great counselor. Someone I with whom I am able to reveal my secrets and know they are absolutely safe. Perhaps more importantly is that my counselor has made it safe enough to explore the dark and unpleasant corners of my life, and when I call myself on the carpet for selling myself short, my counselor is there to praise me for being willing to explore and face myself with whatever I find.

I am richly blessed with a love for reading, so I'm always learning new things, exploring new places, and happily losing myself in novels that leave me feeling uplifted and wanting to be a better me.

I am richly blessed by where I live. This morning, it wasn't the typical clear blue skies that can be redundant after days and days of it, but today, there were clouds. Puffy cotton ball type clouds and mares' tails. The sky was blue with the clouds brushed with varying shades of pink and yellow as the sun came up. I like being a morning person because I love sunrises. (There was a time when I loved sunsets - still do - but I didn't need to rise early. My schedule changed. Since I am already up for the sunrise, I figure I'll savor it and find joy in it.)

I am richly blessed by my work that is interesting and varied enough to not be monotonous. On good days, I finish early and am able to indulge in other fun things, and on bad days, I'm still able to finish, even if it takes all day and into the evening hours; I'm able to finish, and that is a satisfying feeling. I also enjoy the people with whom I interact.

There's more, and I'm grateful I'll have an opportunity to share it, next Friday.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reading List #1

What I'm reading, today:
The Dangerous Mr. Ryder by Louise Allen. Historical romance. Louise Allen is on my list of favorite authors.
Door of Hope by Jan Frank. "Recognizing and resolving the pains of your past." Good information. A survivor's guide to moving forward, including scriptural references. I found that my counselor and I have already covered a lot of the material.
Venetia by Georgette Heyer. Historical romance. Heyer patterned her romances after Jane Austen, and set the standard for Regency Romance for all who followed. Risky Regencies is reading this and blogging every Wednesday. The syntax is easier than Austen's. I'm enjoying the vivid characters and rich descriptions.
The Menopause Makeover by Staness Jonekos. Exactly what it says it is. I've only started this recently, but am already learning quite a bit and making some healthy changes.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Forgiveness

In another blog, the question was asked about how does one go about forgiving? It was a great question. Another blogger posted that there's a book out there titled Choose to Forgive. I'll be adding it to my TBR (To Be Read) pile. But I admit that I wanted something right now. In trying to sort through some struggles of my own with the subject, I found myself finally able to put into words some thoughts I've been developing on the subject. I felt bad using so much of her blog that I kept it as short as possible. Now, I'm in mine, and I'm allowed to write as much as I want.

Over and over, I'd heard it stated, and come to understand for myself, that forgiveness isn't about the other person that hurt me; it's about me. It's about me turning over the hurt, bitterness, and pain to God, and letting God take care of it. Now, that doesn't mean that I sit and wait for God to dish out revenge on my behalf, though I've been tempted, from time to time. That isn't forgiveness; that's still wanting to even the score. I've been reminded by others that I need to forgive and forget. But if I forget, what will I have learned?

First, I had to learn that forgiveness and trust are not interchangeable. It is possible and sometimes highly advisable to forgive but not trust a person. Remember, forgiveness is about me, not them. They may or may not change. Making sure they change is not my responsibility. It is my responsibility to take care of myself, to not to place myself in situations that put me at risk. For myself, I feel like someone who expects me to put myself in a position to be hurt is not only sadistic but they expect me to be masochistic. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

Fine, I "get" that. So why does it seem to be taking so long? I'm not perfect. Sometimes, it's difficult to turn it all over to God. He has His own way and time to do things, and I freely confess that I don't "get" that. He is all powerful, all knowing, and all everything for a reason, and I'm not. I'm okay with that. I'm glad He is because it means He "gets" what I struggle with, and blessedly, He is willing to keep working with me, no matter what.

Then came today's question, and something else occurred to me. Part of forgiving them is forgiving me, and sometimes it isn't about forgiving but about grieving. Grieving the loss of all that I had hoped for the relationship, grieving the loss of feeling safe with that person, grieving the loss of faith in myself, in my ability to protect my own boundaries. Grieving that I thought I understood someone and then learning that I don't, and then realizing that I don't want to because what they value doesn't fit with my code of ethics or my values or maybe it did at one time and doesn't any longer because people change.

Then again, sometimes, I'm in such a hurry to get it over with - forgive and move on - grieve and move on - because I don't want to hurt anymore. I forget to take the opportunity to truly accept what God has placed before me, an opportunity to grow, to develop a deeper understanding of myself, to gain a new perspective, to become a better person because forgiveness isn't about them, it's about me. It's about turning to my Savior and admitting that I can't do it. He has to do this. Only He can do this. This is why He suffered in Gethsemane: For Me. So forgiveness would work for me.

Monday, March 15, 2010

HEA or HFN and Respect

Everyone has turning points in their lives. Something that changes them irrevocably. Sometimes those moments can be pinpointed, but often not. I had one such moment, 1 March 2010. I chose to answer a question posed about my romance reading: Did I preferred Happily Ever After or Happy For Now. This was my reply: HEA or not at all. HFN are just sad, on so many levels. No, I've never been blessed with HEA, but I've seen it happen for others, and I'm happy for them. HFN is too much like the life I lived, and it wasn't happy. To live that life required a lack of respect for others and myself, a willingness to use them and allow them to use me. Been there; done that; never going back. I don't think I'm capable of HEA, but I still believe in it, heart and soul. Yes, I'm alone and have been for a long time, but I finally respect myself and that brings a peace that is absolutely priceless.

It was the first time I felt like I honestly respected myself. It was difficult revealing that much of myself, even knowing that it wasn't a big deal to anyone but me, but I've challenged myself to live more honestly, which requires a great deal of vulnerability. It wasn't until I started seeing my currently counselor that I came to realize how much I lied, to protect myself, to protect others, out of habit. Since that unpleasant eye-opener, I've worked relentlessly to think about what I am saying, and am I being honest with myself. When the HEA/HFN question was asked I could have skipped the question, not replying at all, but some part of me knew this was important, to me, to my perception of myself, to greater self-realization. As nervous as I was to push that "publish post" button, there was also a new sense of self. I didn't try to placate or please anyone. I asked myself the question and endeavored to search for a concise answer that would help me understand myself and cut away some of the lies I've always told myself. The answer was true for me, and I thought, "Wow! I'm getting it! I'm changing! I'll never be the same."

Sigh. Then this weekend happened. I attended a reunion and an open house; two completely different groups of people, and an astonishing contrast in my behavior and perceptions and participation. I am able to be honest with myself when I have time to think things through and question every thought, examine it, explore it, and test myself before I have to reveal it to anyone. Editing is a necessity. It's a whole different story when I find myself actually talking to people, and being asked questions. Answers pop out that are automatic. I respond in ways that speak back to my old thoughts and feelings. I don't want others to feel left out. I don't want others to be hurt. I don't want anyone to feel like they're are an outsider. I know what that feels like, and I don't want it for anyone else, even if it means I'm uncomfortable or unhappy or feel used or ignored in order to make someone else feel better. Not very respectful to myself. At least now I am more aware of how deep-seated the behavior is, but how do I change it? Respect for myself demands that I make the decision to change, and follow through.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Historical Romances 1811, 1958, and 2010

I'm currently reading Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, Venetia by Georgette Heyer, and recently finished The Duke's Redemption by Carla Capshaw. It's been interesting noting the contrasts. Being a dyslexic, Jane Austen's is the most difficult to read because the words are not as familiar and are frequently arranged differently than that to which I am accustomed. Georgette Heyer and Carla Capshaw both use many of the same words as Jane Austen, but the syntax is more familiar, so easier to follow. It has been entertaining.

It's easy to understand the draw to Jane Austen. I recognize so many of the characters. They're people I know, now! It's very everydayish with the drama provided by the personalities. Who doesn't know the Princess? The Drama Queen? Mr. Nice Guy? The Playboy? The Whatever is Best for Me? The Manipulator? Her stories can easily be transcribed to more modern times and still fit, though it is truly interesting to peek into the culture of 200 years ago.

Georgette Heyer is also considered one of the great romance writers, setting the standard for those who would follow. Her descriptions are vividly painted. Her dialogue entertaining. She was a Jane Austen fan, and endeavored to follow many of her guidelines, to excellent effect. Her characters are clear cut and recognizable.

To compare apples with apples, I included Carla Capshaw, who writes inspirational historical romances. Any other type of HR would go beyond the bedroom door, which the two previous writers did not. Of the three, Carla is my favorite. Carla Capshaw and Georgette Heyer needed to do research that Jane Austen did not, but the work they put in for the details are noticeable and add richness and depth to the tales.

But always, the central focus is the relationships and the inevitable Happily Ever After. That's why one reads a romance. And all three writers deliver. It isn't often that one is able to compare three different events, over a 200-year time span, and see so many similarities while they maintain their individuality, but this is one. There's a comforting pleasure in knowing that romance, at its heart, remains the same, desirable, not easy, and worth fighting for.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why Ladyhawkhollow?

When I first began exploring the internet, besides for work, it was to find more on LOTR. I found the official fan club site and thought about joining, but I needed a "handle." I'm the first to admit that my name creating skills are limited at best. I remember staring blankly at the screen wondering what screen name I should choose. I finally gave up, wondering if maybe God was trying to tell me something. Then I remembered the nickname given to me in a class. A fellow student called my name, and I looked up from what I was working on. The guy gasped, "LadyHawke! You have LadyHawke's eyes. You know, from the movie." I was flattered. It was probably one of the nicest compliments I'd ever received. Wanting to be an individual, I didn't want to be mistaken for the movie, so I re-arranged the name a little, and I became Ladyhawk. As a member of that most excellent and admirable community, I found myself writing, for fun, and encouraged by my friends to do so. I wanted a more permanent place to keep my writings, but didn't figure my work alone was worth all the effort, so I invited several of my LOTR friends to join me. My dear nephew needed a project, so he built the website for me. And a brilliant job he did. I gave him the briefest of outlines, having never created a website before and being new to the whole internet thing. He far exceeded my simple imaginings. I needed a name for it. In tribute to JRR Tolkien's Crickhollow, to which Frodo and his friends fled before leaving the Shire, and the conspiracy was unmasked, I chose a variation, and so came into being Ladyhawkhollow. I maintain the website, though it isn't updated nearly enough, I'm told. When I created this blog, they asked for a name. I've already confessed my lack of creative naming abilities; it seemed a perfect fit to simply expand Ladyhawkhollow's boundaries, as I'm learning to explore my own.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays...

...don't actually get me down, though I do love the Carpenters' song by the same title. Instead, being able to use the title is a reason to celebrate! It's raining! Again! Not a common occurrence here. So, what to do to celebrate? I'm curling up with a book. Oh, wait, I do that all the time, but hey, now I'm doing it because it's the perfect occasion! There was a time, not so long ago, when I would have said it was time to bake cookies. Now, I'll put some cinnamon in the trash cans and make myself something healthy... like a grilled cheese sandwich. Hey! It's wheat and milk! So, today is going to be a bit of fluff. Everyone needs a little fluff in their life. I'll be more serious tomorrow. And no, I do not like Scarlet O'Hara. The woman needed some serious counseling. Talk about unhealthy.

I was thinking of listing other things I enjoy, but I fear this post would go on for ever, so I'm focusing on music I love. What is currently in my CD player, which also happens to be my alarm clock, includes the Christian album I Can Only Imagine, Rick Astley's Whenever You Need Somebody, and Donny Osmond's This Is The Moment. What I'll be listening to next is The Lord of the Rings soundtracks. Then I'll be popping in some Josh Groban. I recently changed out some Dan Fogelberg. In the wings waiting for a replay are Ladyhawke, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Neil Diamond, and the Phantom of the Opera with Gerard Butler.

I suppose the collection would lead to my Pandora stations that include Christmas, Gaelic, Styx, Yanni, Rick Brickman, Donny, and I hope You Dance. I always thought my tastes pretty eclectic, until a professional musician listened to me rattle off my likes and informed me I was very middle of the road. How boring is that? Sort of like being Jack of all Trades and Master of None. Predictable. Who wants to be predictable?

So I tried some other styles. You know what? Middle of the road isn't bad. It still leaves me plenty to explore and still have fun. Predictable? Maybe, but I've lived with unpredictable, and I've decided that predictable definitely has a lot of benefits and isn't a bad thing at all. And I've finally realized that the problem wasn't what they were saying about me, but what I felt about myself. I wanted to be liked, and was willing to sacrifice myself to achieve that end, which meant I ended up not only not liking myself but actually not really knowing who I was anymore.

It's been a long, brutal, grueling road, but I am actually finding myself again, and more importantly I think I actually like myself. This is the great adventure of life: To find out who we are and to be the best possible self.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Might as well start at the beginning...

At least the beginning of the changes that have brought me to this moment. My sister wanted to see the movie Fellowship of the Ring. I had read JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings in junior high, twice. Loved it. Hated the cartoons. Didn't have any friends who shared my love for the books, so I put them away. When I heard about the movie coming out, all I could think was that they were going to put a whole new story under the title and it wouldn't come close to the story I loved. I really did not want to see it. My sister offered to pay for my ticket, if I would go with her. I was apprehensive, but hey, free movie, and time with my sister. Why not?

It was life changing. I had spent my whole life burying my emotions (another story, for another time). Was enchanted from the start. The opening was interesting, but definitely not what I remembered from the book. Then there was the Shire, exactly as I had always envisioned it. My soul opened, and I felt everything, vividly. The joy of the Shire; the excitement of Gandalf's fireworks; the frightening Ringwraiths. One scene after another, I opened myself to every emotion. Memories of what came next were trickling back. I remember thinking that if they could simply create the horses in the water right, in the flight to the ford, then I would be content. Yes! I settled in and enjoyed the show, over and over and over. I couldn't stop talking about it. I had to learn more.

Before LOTR, the internet was a frightening place I only visited for work research. After LOTR, the internet was the place where I could connect with other people who loved LOTR as much and sometimes more than I did. I stumbled along, at first, but mostly I made wonderful friends, friends to last a lifetime, friends with whom I would share new adventures.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

And so it begins...

How did I find myself here? It's my niece's fault. She'll be so proud. I'm scared silly, but that's supposed to be fun, right?

Why start this now? It's time. I've made so many changes in my life, and this is one more. What's one more? Some are small steps, some are huge. Made a huge one this week that has changed my perception of myself. The only way is forward; I've worked too hard to ever go back.

The purpose? An opportunity for short writing practice. I journaled for years, but found it boring and unsatisfying. Can't imagine why? Don't get a lot out of talking to myself either. Here, I have to take a risk that someone might say something I don't agree with, but then again, I don't have to post it either. Power. Cool.