Ponytails, scissors and the ocean

Mom grabbed a hairbrush and bottle of detangler as she fixed my hair for school. My long blonde hair was almost down to my waist. Even with her best efforts and Johnson and Johnson’s “No More Tears,” I felt like I was being scalped, and cried. Two ponytails, tightly anchored to each side of my head, emerged. School pictures. Must look nice, you know. Age 6. Most of the time that is how she fixed my hair. A child who could not sit still, I was, curious, creative. Energetic. If someone asked me a question and I wanted to say “no,” I flipped my head back and forth until the ponytails slapped me in the face. This, I had practiced with other girls at school. We had such fun. Until my teacher informed me that is not how you say “no.” Those were the days of “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am,” and consequences for disrespect.

How did I not get dizzy?

My Grandma Ferguson was a cosmetologist for many years.

A few tries at detangling my hair, and well.

Here she came with scissors.

“It will look so cute,” she said. “You don’t need all that long hair in your way. It will be clean, and cool.”

Goodbye, ponytails. Every time Grandma took care of me for any length of time, those scissors appeared.

My mother cried, and was furious that Grandma had cut off about 22 inches of blonde glory.

It grew. Hair does that, you know.

Looking back on my school pictures, the length of my hair went short and longer, though never as long as it was when I was 6.

The first time I willingly asked to get my hair cut short was when Olympic figure skater Dorothy Hamill hit the tv screen. Everyone at school wanted to be just like her. And I was ready for a change.

Actually, that should have been a sign to those who knew me that something was not right. It was not long after the first full blown rape (I was about age 9) that I cut my hair.

Through the years, it grew again. All little girls were following the trends of whatever teen idol hit the magazine cover.

Then Princess Diana emerged. My grandparents spoke much of England .. grandma’s family way back were from Yorkshire. I watched every tv interview with the princess. Bought every teen magazine I could that featured her. Watched her entire wedding .. live on television in the middle of the night.

Beautiful.

The teen magazine gave a diagram you could clip and take to your hairdresser, for the perfect “Lady Di” haircut.

I felt free and beautiful.

Until the first time I washed my hair, and an alpaca appeared. There were duck flips everywhere (we had no flat irons then.)

So I grew my hair again.

My current hairdresser told me that whenever a woman goes for a “change” in her hair, there is often something else going on.

The ocean.

By age 16, my hair had grown below my shoulders and I made peace with my curls. I washed it every day. Air dried it at night. And put hot rollers in every morning. An easy routine. Tied a scarf around to keep it off my face and let it fly.

I walked along the beach on a windy, sunny day. My hair dancing in the breeze as I just enjoyed the vastness and power of the ocean, its tides, the waves and salty smell.

Ocean air has a way of kissing you, even your car when a little sand gets inside on the floormats.

One of the sweet pleasures in life .. that peace of letting go of cares and troubles.

Everyone has a happy place, I suppose.

And that was mine.

The story of short and long, I believe, has many twists and turns throughout the years. In one relationship, I was required by my man to get a haircut that was almost as short as a guy’s haircut.

Years later, he told me that it was because he was afraid someone would “steal me.”

I guess it was all about control.

Hence, hair decisions. “What do you like?” my friends ask.

And I am tossed. My kids all want me to grow it out, as that was the mommy they knew for years. Will it look stringy and unkempt? I am old, I say.

Then I go grocery shopping and see occasionally, a lady in a well defined feminine, short haircut. That cut needs no entrance. It makes an announcement of its own. Just like Princess Di.

It says, I am organized. Clean.

There you have it. These blogs, you know, I write because I enjoy living creatively and pursuing adventure and a brighter point of view. It is no secret that my target readership are those who have been abused.

How is it that just this year, I finally learn the true reason I wrestle with short and long.

The struggle for control, being neat, not feeling unkempt (many survivors of sexual abuse are meticulously clean .. it is how we cope.) Versus the desire to not worry over said hairstyle and be free. What will I choose? It does not matter.

I know who I am, and that the true victory is this: just like the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tides, my decisions on hair may go back and forth. But sand is sand. I am still whole, no matter the shape of how I present myself. Whether a storm comes and piles the sand on the shore, or takes it away as it recedes, my life has meaning. I am free to be me.

photo of woman walking on seashore
Photo by Elina Sazonova on Pexels.com

 

Thunderstorms, tennis shoes, and a blue patch of sky

The day ended like any other work day, as I hopped into my car to head home.

Clouds.

Well anyone who lives in Florida knows we deal with those pop up rain showers on any given afternoon during the summer.

Toodling through town (is that a word, not sure), I finally made my way to the parkway and then.

The clouds became darker. Wind picked up a bit.

My foot accelerated about the time I saw three forked sky to ground lightning strikes, and I felt it, whether because of fear or the actual change in the atomo

lightning and gray clouds
Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com

sphere, my throat went dry.

“Dear Jesus,” I said. Praying all sorts of protection as the lightning got worse, the rain hit and that is when I knew.

I was driving into a storm.

The road is treacherous enough without the interference of said storm.

I tried as I could, without speeding, to move along quickly so I could get out of the mess.

But there we were.

About 25 cars stopped at a traffic light on a busy road at rush hour.

Something that sounded like metal shavings was hitting the top of my car, hail? If it was, I could not see it.

All I could think of was the scene in the movie where one actress, on the phone with someone in the middle of a tornado, says “Julie, we got cowwwsss” as they fly by helplessly in the wind.

Freaked out? Yes I was. I love a good storm. Just not when I am in my car.

I looked around, as others looked around, to see if something was going to fly through the air pretty as you please.

Green.

Thank God, the light turned green.

And all I could think of then is hey my law enforcement and firefighter friends go out in these kinds of messes all the time.

Chicken I was, I admit that. About a quarter mile down the road, the rain hits so hard that everyone slowed to a southern crawl on the road, as visibility was terrible.

One car on the opposite side of the road had stopped (bad idea, keep moving, albeit slow).

A few minutes later, I see it.

A patch of clear blue sky ahead of me.

And in my rear view mirror, darkness and streaked lightning.

Made it to the light just over the railroad tracks to hit the stretch where I turn for home, and yes.

The light turned red.

Behind me were the motorists making haste to outrun the storm, running like a band of people across a parted sea to get to the other side.

Several minutes passed.

Finally made it home. Was thinking I should have worn tennis shoes for the sprint from my car to the house.

Looked over my shoulder to see the sky of darkness billowing towards the farm.

And exhale I did.

Thankful I was, to let the storm roar. The lights inside flickered.

Where did the blue sky go?

But then, it is still there.

The sun is still shining above the storm.

Off now to get ready again for work. I pray you navigate safely through the storms of your life.

Point A to Point B can be difficult. Hold on to the wheel. Keep moving. Watch out for anything that flies your way. And when it is over, give thanks.

 

The road and the offroad

Travel is a celebration of time off and the chance to see new things.

My inner soul at times craves wide open spaces, uncrowded roads, and a meandering off the beaten path.

“Have you ever noticed how friendly travelers are?” my aunt said, as we took a small road trip from her house in Indianapolis to the Oliver Winery.

Mildly busy, the winery was full of good vibes and fantastic energy. Inside, a wine tasting was underway, a building with a pristine gift shop and a decked out inside standing bar.

Quiet chatter, some giggles and wrinkled noses here and there, the group seemed a jovial bunch.

A couple celebrating their wedding anniversary asked us to take a photo of them. They were glowing with that “wine” happiness to the point that I wondered which of them was the designated driver, or if they really were going to take themselves out like that on the happy highway.

Things a public safety reporter thinks about.

Nevertheless, my aunt was right. Everyone in the room and outside, was sipping wine and having picnic lunches under tree canopies that arched over the winery and the steep, majestic grassy embankment that led to a small lake below. Conversations unfolded as to where people were from and where they were headed.

In the midst of middle America, what appeared to be a Sultan, sat nearby with his wife, both dressed in brilliantly shiny satin embroidery and white tunics. He was leaned back against a bannister, as she sat gracefully on the picnic bench. A broad smile came across his face as he saw us. He did not speak, but a smile is universal.

My bestie and I had brought my aunt to meet my second cousin, and we unfolded our picnic and talked about travel, traffic, and other things. I mentioned how many trucks were on the interstate on our way up to Indiana from Florida.

My bestie said as often as possible, she likes to get off the interstate.

And we did.

Upon leaving the winery for the day, we took a series of turns, guided by GPS.

The road became more narrow, the trees taller, the forest denser, and the road turned into gravel and rock instead of pavement.

Of course, my aunt not being the country sort (never mind we come from a farm family lol), was not enthused about this sudden scenic route.

She is riding with a deputy (who is also a scout), and a reporter, both of which have a sense of adventure, and suddenly, my aunt says, “where are we??”

She is not liking being off the beaten path. But the beauty thereof was amazing.

“We are somewhere,” I told her. “GPS says so.”

The bestie and I are both laughing.

Behold, a sign. The Monroe Morgan State Park.

The road did become extremely narrow at one point. Roads did not used to be wide, and we figured the route we were taking was the one the oldtimers used to use. After about an hour, we suddenly resurfaced from the forest to paved roads with stop signs and beautiful, smaller farms with exquisite barns.

My aunt breathed a sigh of relief.

When was the last time you explored the unfamiliar?

We had many such explorations during our July trip to Indiana.

And it proved to me that there are still places in this country where you can go to get some fresh air and be in the midst of God’s creation.

rain passing through at clearing in the woods
Photo by Darius Krause on Pexels.com

The sage speaks on a rainy day

The pattering of the rain was both comforting and depressing all at once. A series of grey days, grey thoughts, cloudy moments, dismal ponderings had somehow engulfed my spirit and I was sad.

Well that is not a great way to start off an inspirational blog, is it?

Glitzyadventure.com is all about light and joy, hope and creativity.

I was at work and though it was thus far a productive day, the grey meh had settled in.

So I did what I do when I want to kindle my creativity.

I stood up.

Walking to the other side of the cubicle, I visited a coworker who “gets it.” She is kind of like the character “Wilson” on actor Tim Allen’s comedy show where he is a handyman, “Tool Time.” Wilson’s face is rarely seen, but he is a sage of great advice for his neighbor.

“Death,” I told my coworker. “I am surrounded by death. We write about people who are dying. I have friends who are fighting cancer. Everywhere I look, that is all I hear. And I am sad.”

To add to that, I told her, I felt like I was accomplishing nothing.

This clearly is a carryover from childhood, and I call it like I see it. Real people address real issues. They don’t run from them.

She smiled. I smiled. My sadness evaporated because I knew she understood and did not judge me for that.

So she shared with me something she heard from someone else.

“Write down three ways you bring value to this day,” she said.

Remarkable.

Although I am a list maker, and a checker-offer of said lists (I know that is not a word), I never thought about the concept of the word “value” as it applies to me. Self esteem, yes. Empowerment, yes. Goals, yes.

The word “value” gets you thinking, hey I am a part of this puzzle of life, this team of forward thinkers, this gathering of creatives.

Value.

It could be listing something as small as I held a door open for someone. Or I wrote an announcement for the paper so others could attend an event. Or I loaned a book to someone.

When I think of value, I see my contribution, as well as the bigger picture.

Outside, the rain was still coming down in long, steady sheets. The skies were pearly grey, and though the day was dark, something inside me changed.

What if I had not stood up, sought encouragement, stretched forth to take hold of a golden cup of wisdom?

Something so simple is both glittery and adventurous all at once.

Now, I have one more thing to pass on to others because I learned something new.

splash of water
Photo by Noelle Otto on Pexels.com

Project: Take out your journal or your favorite notebook. Maybe you are stuck today. Grey. Meh. Whatever. Write down three ways you bring value. For sure, it will lift your spirit.

 

Positive thoughts

Looking at her profile, I thought, wow, this lady has it all together. World traveler. Expensive clothes. Fine cuisine. Exquisite photos. Professional.

And you know the reporter in me. I recognize that most people who live so grand have some kind of back story. I wondered if she always had life so good. Or is there more to her story? Someday, I hope to know.

It is great to put one’s best foot out there. And honestly, in today’s digital world, sometimes it seems there is no room for the proverbial “real.”

I look at my circle of friends. Overcomers. People who have been through a lot in their lives, having waded (or are still wading) through the tidal wave to peaceful shores.

Some of us are better at masking reality. Others, not so much.

And yet.

Doesn’t every person have the power and ability to have the life they want?

Well, I imagine the answer is both “yes,” and “no.”

Was thinking yesterday about the early days of my marriage to the father of my children. Living in off base housing, most of the young military couples struggled financially. The week before payday found us all bartering, a cup of sugar here. A half cup of coffee there. The leftover ham bone you were going to throw

laugh neon light signage turned on
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

away, I can use to make soup.

My life is so far from that now. Like most people who help their families from time to time, I don’t have a lot of money to just throw at the winds. Part of that is I budget everything.

Anyway.

Through the years, from the life of being a stay at home mom and homeschooler, to life as a college student and career woman, to publishing a book and having thousands of articles published, positive thoughts have helped me focus on what can be done with my life.

Positive. I can and will, with God’s help. Dream. Inspire. Be inspired. Live in awe of the sunset. Breathe. Laugh. Dance. Sing.

Sitting.

Yesterday, I found myself in the heat of the day, just sitting in my garden. My wind chimes swayed softly from time to time with a little breeze here and there.

I studied the brick garden path and admired the plumeria blooms, and the black iron gate.

Happiness overtook my being. The sound of the chimes soothed my tired spirit.

Does money buy happiness? Some say it can. Having seen the lifestyle millionaires lead, and experienced the warmth of poverty fun (good old fashioned card games, digging in plants, reading a book, sewing a pillowcase,etc. while visiting with people who love to laugh, priceless!) I have to say happiness and positivity is up to us.

Money. No money. Travel. No travel. Fine food. Beanie weenies. Nice clothes. Thrift shop attire.

A smile is universal. A positive thought or prayer transcends everything.

Happy Monday, all. 🙂

P.S. Remember anything is possible.

There was that roar

To say the hair raised up on the back of my neck was an understatement.

A lovely day, hot as it were, throngs of people took to the paths of Circle B Preserve so they could connect with nature.

Trouble was, nature was busy connecting with itself.

Making gator babies is serious business in the south. The gators have it all down pat. The males roar to let everyone know their territorial intentions.

Eventually, the females comply.

And neither likes to be disturbed.

So there was that.

The bestie and I were out for the day to walk and enjoy the great outdoors. “Take some pictures,” she said.

Treacherously hot, it was. Muggy and buggy all at once.

I love the outdoors.

So off we went towards Alligator Alley. Been there a number of times. Always was fun. But now, serves my memory, it was cold and windy, and the gators were not feeling sociable then.

A growl like roar sent chills up my spine.

Then another growl.

And another growl from a different side. Suddenly it occurred to me that I was in the middle ..

My first thought was the growls sounded like angry dogs. Or mountain lions.

“I am outta here,” I told my friend.

She looked at me and did not move. And smiled.

“Feet, don’t fail me now,” I thought. Having a desire to run like hell, I also remember that if this was not a gator and maybe a cat sort of thing, they kind of enjoy chasing, and there is no way I would outrun a cat.

Swiftly, I walked, alone, back down the path to get to the bench where we were sitting before.

Out of breath, the people sitting there asked me if I needed to sit down.

“Where is the rest of your party?” they said, having passed us as we were on our way down to Alligator Alley.

“She,” I said, pointing behind me, “is back there. She is a country girl and a deputy with the Sheriff’s Office. She can handle herself and run three times as fast as me. She is not afraid of anything.”

I, on the other hand, know that I have never heard a growl quite like that, and though the footage would have been great, was not interested in meeting said owners of growls.

About 5 minutes later, she comes down the path with another group of people, who were telling her what they saw. Their teenage daughter was out of breath and running too.

Amusing.

Turns out they saw a few of those gators come up out of the water onto the path.

The alligators were singing, they said.

Right.

I say all of this because … it is ok to admit your fears. Baseless or not, they are real to you. I have seen a lot in nature, even heard a panther who was two houses down from me when I lived in West Virginia.

They own the land, you know 🙂

Happy Friday, all.

shallow focus photo of crocodile on body of water
Photo by Henning Roettger on Pexels.com

Reach

A simple word it is, a mantra seen on inspiration boards everywhere. Reach.

The idea of reach is whether or not the intended aim “gets there.” What is the end goal, after all?

Someone would say, well my goal is to be happy.

(Chuckles from the gallery.)

Someone else would say, good luck with that.

Indeed.

Reach is also the process of reaching. Redundant, if you think about it. I reach so I can reach.

Perhaps.

A different phrase is needed.

I am deliberately applying myself to reach my goals.

Clarification.

There. That is reach.

Well, all of the best intentions fall flat.

Like when I proposed a betta fish would be my buddy, then one day, Ralph kicked up.

!

I have a friend I called Betta Betsy because of her ability to keep said fishies alive.

She had this whole routine, because let’s face it, if you have a pet, you maintain.

Reach.

Intentions.

Last night, I said, tomorrow morning I will go to the gym.

Ha.

Well morning came, and I wanted to pray, blog, and goal set.

The gym will have to wait.

Reach.

It has been said that half the time, you never reach your goal because you give up too easy.

So there is that.

But I propose that in addition to setting priorities is that process of looking at all the stuff you must, could, should, might, may or may not, accomplish.

Reach.

The word is found beside other mantras like “dream big,” “reach for the stars,” “aim high,” and so forth.

So.

We have today. And this moment.

What will I do today to reach my goals? To make my dreams come true?

There is a page in my book that some call a bullet journal, freestyle day planner, to do list or whatever.

I wrote several goals down for the month of May.

And yes, I still need to get my car cleaned.

!

But you get the idea. Making lists helps me accomplish more than if I did not make lists.

Now. Will get moving. Much to do today.

The rooster next door was up early, amd I must say it is preferable to hear him than the morning traffic.

A train horn can be heard in the distance, and I imagine that 2 out of every 3 people driving by today have a cup of coffee in their console and their best intentions for the day in their head as they drive wherever.

Happy Friday, all.

reach for the and blue moon neon signages
Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

Meditation: Organic time for you

Our neighbor’s rooster is crowing this morning as I think to myself, he has way more energy than I do today.

All great things begin with the best of intentions.

For the last few years, I have made a significant effort to have a morning quiet time.

Time before the day begins, to read, contemplate, write, journal, pray, meditate.

Yawn.

Apologies, mine. Today is one of those days where I so wish I felt awake.

Two cups of coffee later, I am like, wow.

I still am so sleepy.

Anyway.

Flipping on the light of my little pink tree on a shelf in the corner of my room, I gather my quiet basket of meditation materials and sit.

Sip coffee. Pray, and yet, I find my prayer has less energy than yesterday.

Dear God. Yep. Some days that is all I can get out.

I thought about the ebb and flow of these early morning times, and how they seem to change with the tide of my life, how much is coming in, how much is going out, and the speed with which the foamy seas change the landscape of my life.

Meow. Meow. Meow.

My cat, Molly is strolling down the hall. Her meow interrupts the flow of my meditation ..

Some mornings, I pray out loud. Others, I am silent. There are days when I research whatever is on my mind at the moment, and days when I pour my soul into my journals. Some days, I just sit in the glow of the pink tree and ponder. Past, present, future.

There is no set formula for this time. And yet in its untethered flight, the mystery of contemplation is fulfilling.

Some folks are very regimented with their morning routine. I am as well. Except for this time.

And that is ok.

Was praying over some things this morning, then wrote much in my journal, and somehow all of it makes sense.

I have always felt like the more time and energy we give to other people and endeavors, the more time we need to refill the watering can we use to pour into the garden of the world around us.

Have a delightful day, all.

Just some thoughts for today.

ocean wave
Photo by Simon Clayton on Pexels.com

A wildflower you will be

Amazing.

In the middle of the sidewalk, a flower was growing. “It’s a weed,” someone said.

Very well. Looks like a flower to me.

A long drive. Flowers everywhere on both sides of the highway.

“They’re weeds,” I heard.

But the mass of blue was stunning.

Looks like a flower to me.

closeup photography of purple petaled flowers
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com  The more I thought about it, the more I realized how we categorize flowers into weeds versus vase worthy subjects. 

“Basically, a weed is anything you do not want growing where you want your flowers to grow.”

Hmm.

Well they still look like flowers to me.

Growth is a hard subject, and many a book has been written on the matter.

How to grow, how to succeed, how to, how to. Be your best.

Don’t be a weed.

A wildflower is anything but a weed.

A flower that grows with reckless abandon and neglect, usually, it is acclimated to its surroundings.

It is a flower that will grow, as my father says, “ever regardless.”

Trauma.

Many times when I share my story, people cringe away from me as if it is about to leap on them.

Weird.

So I am sure other survivors have found this to be true as well as we all seek our paths to healing.

How do I grow?

Plant yourself. Absorb the amount of water you need from the soil. Lift up your face to the Son. Claim every bit of ground that is available for you to grow. And smile, knowing that though you view yourself a weed, you really are a flower who has learned to grow and even be a blessing to others just because you are you.

Chances are, if you are a survivor of sexual abuse or abuse of any kind, you do not really see yourself as a blessing.

But you are. I am. And it is time we see that beauty.

More on this another day.

In the meantime, I bet you will never see a wildflower the same again.

 

Why do I blog?

Happy Friday, all.

person using inspire typewriter
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Thoughts this morning as I read the paper and sip my coffee ..

The smell of coffee and newspaper ink carries me back .. to sitting at a coffee shop with my Dad while he read the paper when I was a little girl.

Coffee and news, they go together.

Likewise, when I went to live with my Grandma and Granddad Ferguson in Florida … every morning, without fail, coffee and news.

Granddad only had an eighth grade education. Yet he was smarter than many I have seen with multiple collegiate titles.

He loved to read. So did Grandma.

Every day, she would read the headlines out loud. And Granddad would comment.

And if my Dad were there, he and Granddad would get into this long debate about history and politics.

Both had superb memories. Both were fantastic debaters.

Dad’s famous words were “ever regardless,” and “anyhow.” Especially if he was about to segway into another point.

Granddad’s famous line, leaning forward, was “bullshit.” With eyebrows raised.

But only one time in a four hour debate. Both were too smart to continuously cuss ..

We read The Miami Herald and The News Tribune.

My favorite pages were the Lifestyle section and the editorial pages.

At age 13, I was writing letters to the editor.

Words.

I come from a family of communicators. Words matter, and so does their absence.

Grandmothers on both sides of the family worked in communications, and my Dad worked intel during the Vietnam War.

Reading.

Always an escape for me. A way to learn and be amazed and shocked all at once.

If you can learn, you can better yourself.

Anyhow, as Dad would say.

Once in a while I ask myself why I blog.

Who really cares, anyway?

I hear snippets of conversation people have about things they have read, and I am like wow, wonder what they think of my writing.

Over the years, I have received many warm thoughts as to my writing. Then there are those who are like, “what?”

Why do I blog, when I already read and write in my career?

One of our family’s fatal flaws is that we are all personable. Real. It is what it is. We share. There is nothing off the table of discussion. And we all share our past experiences and observations in an effort to get closer to others.

My personal thought on this is that the world we live in has glazed over, baked in a basting sauce of technology. I remember a time when you could walk down the street and people actually greeted one another.

Blogging.

Every writer has thoughts they want to express, perhaps some to their own peril, others to the advancement of their careers.

Yet most, I would say, simply write because they love to write. For me, I am not always able to express myself in the unscripted word. Conversations around me swirl, and oft, I wonder, how in the world do these people keep all these facts and figures, political history and history in general, dates and so forth .. in their heads?

I love to write because it gives me a chance to think. Reading and writing, empty pages to be filled, more books, magazines, articles to read .. this is my happy place.

And if perhaps, only one or two people read my blog, then I have made a connection or two with fellow humans, who, like me, are drinking their coffee and reading, getting ready for the new day.