November 24, 2013

Butterfly Blessings

During my freshman and sophomore years of college, I was obsessed with butterflies. So much so that when I married at ripe old age of twenty, butterflies were a part of my wedding decorations. And then I let them, out of self-neglect and like so many other aspects of who I am, fade from my life for a very long time.
The day my husband left me three months ago has become, in my mind, the beginning of a journey to rediscover me, and become who I am without him. And, inspired by the somewhat clich├ęd and overused saying, "Just when the caterpillar thought her world had ended, she became a butterfly," the butterfly has become my totem animal once more. My Instagram photos have been tagged with #becomingabutterfly, I've been given butterfly gifts, and my bestie has nurtured and tended the metaphor with metamorphosis-encouraging words of wisdom and images of beauty. One day, when I was feeling particularly imprisoned in my chrysalis, she helped me to remember another, lesser tattooed quote I love which, at one point, had inspired one of my first blogs: "One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar. " Helen Keller. I have felt that impulse growing stronger, and my butterfly wings matching that growth day by day. 
But more than my own metamorphosis, I have felt, through the past months, an abundance of blessings, answers to prayer at the hands of family and friends, and love beyond measure from countless people around me. I have learned to accept help, and to allow others to be blessed by giving that help they sincerely want to give. It has come in the form of plain old cash, of time and kind words, of letters and cards, of meals, of childcare, and, most recently, a home. Even as my children and I prepared to leave our house and move into a tiny, two bedroom apartment-all we could afford- our Father in Heaven blessed us through the service and sacrifice if His servants once again. A couple from our church who own rental houses offered us a house. A house I love already. A house I know they could rent to someone else for twice what they are charging me. But I, humbly and gratefully, have accepted this help, this blessing, and pledged to live up to it. 
And so this week, Thanksgiving, with the strength and help of my Mom, and fiercely loyal love from my Dad, my children and I left Moon Cottage, a house we waited so long to have for Orchard Corner, a house we never expected, which has already lifted our hearts and shoulders and brought us love and light. I am thankful beyond words for this blessing on my butterfly journey. I feel I have emerged from my chrysalis, and found a home. 

November 17, 2013

Words, and the Power Thereof

I love words. This is not news. I have spent a good portion of my life choosing my words, both written and spoken, carefully, sometimes getting it wrong but, I'd like to think, more often than not, choosing words which uplift, paint images of beauty, and inspire. Words have power. They are magic, of a sort. The new novel I began writing this summer is based on that theme. And, though it has been set aside in deference to personal crises for several painful months (see previous post), I am beginning to feel the power of the words calling to me again. 

Ira Glass said that to become great at an art, whether writing or any other form, one must produce a huge volume of mediocre work-in other words, practice work- before mastering that art. And that's total muddled paraphrasing; my apologies Ira. But the gist is that, as I prepare to go back to school as a an English major with an emphasis in creative writing, as I get back to work on my second novel, as I tell people that I hope to work in the book publishing industry, calling my daily to-do lists and one-sentence quasi-daily journaling my "writing" will no longer suffice. I tend to write in bursts, cycling through several weeks of productivity, poetry, outlines, and actual manuscripts, before succumbing to the demands of ordinary life and losing my momentum, which, once lost, is so nimble and flighty a being as to be difficult to capture once more. As in all things, I struggle to find a balance. 

Goal: post a snippet here daily, whether a sample of some fiction from my past or present writing life, the result of a writerly exercise, or the unsolicited opinions and advice and deep thoughts I typically share. Anything more expansive than a to-do list. 

Will you hold me to it, blogland? I do thrive on positive attention and expectations. 


November 3, 2013

The Space Between

When I last wrote here, I clung to the edges of a life I'd woven, sometimes blindly, which was unraveling even as I continued to bind the strands, trying so hard to make them stay. In the space between then and now, I have seen and felt my marriage falter, without knowing why, then, upon learning why, offered forgiveness, offered my whole heart, my whole being, tried desperately to change and control that which was out of my hands and still, in the end, watched my husband of thirteen years walk away. I have lain in darkness and sorrow and wondered if I should just stay there. But I couldn't stay. Someone called my name: Amber June. Mamma. Daughter. Sister. Friend. And in the darkness I turned toward that someone, those many someones, and saw myself in their light. 

I'm different now. Stronger. Scarred. Smarter. Winged. I carry three little hearts on my heart, and I am finding hope and joy in the journey of rediscovering me. 

There are many practical differences in our daily lives now; quiet nights when the kids are with their Dad. Four at the table. We will leave our beloved Moon Cottage at the end of this month and move into an apartment. Come January, I will do what I've never done with my babies, and leave Jasper in someone else's care while I finish the education I cut short to move for my husband's career. 

I am anxious. But I see so much good in the future for my little ones and me, in spite of and because of this pain. The space between now and then is indefinite. But I am determined there will not be so much space between my shared words, my sacred thoughts, and this place where I scream them quietly from my own little mountain, again.