Here’s a short video we did on what the memoir is about. It’s CRAZY to think that this book started just a few years ago on this blog and now it’s in bookstores and on bookshelves all over the world!
Take a look…someone with something extra makes a special appearance!
Last night, while having a drink at the beach bar and watching the sunset, I met a woman doing the same. Her name was Carol. She had beautiful blonde wavy hair and looked completely put together in her white spring sleeveless dress. I thought to myself, “Wow, this woman must have THE life!”. I glanced down at the ten-year-old t-shirt I was wearing, 3/4 length sleeves as to not show my arms. We started chatting about the beautiful view and the perfect seats we were able to snatch up. Sometimes you meet people and you immediately feel the connection, and that was the case with Carol. Within minutes we were talking about our life, our struggles and our joys. She showed me photos of her two beautiful grandchildren and I told her about James and before long she had tears in her eyes.
“I lost my son years ago” she said. “It was a horrible fluke accident, and it changed me. It never gets better; it just gets different.”
I have been reading a book on this trip called Rising Strong by Brene Brown. I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to understand how to get up from a fall. In it, she talks about how we make stories up in our head. Ones that we think will comfort the hurting inner child in us. Ones that are not correct. At the bar, mine went something like this, “Wow, I can tell this woman has had an amazing life. Look at her clothes and the way she holds her self and her toned arms. She’s probably married to some wealthy man and gets to spend hours at the gym working out everyday. I must look to her like a disheveled mess. Here I am in my old clothes, alone, the indent of where a wedding ring once was on my hand – glaring for all to see – that I am now truly alone. And let’s not even talk about what humidity does to my naturally curly hair and non-curly extensions. She is together. I am a mess. I’ll have another Vodka Cranberry, please!”
I don’t share my mind thoughts to invoke encouragement or sympathy from you. I nearly share them to tell you that if you do this, it’s NOT okay and we need to stop! Maybe it’s not this exact same story. As Brene says, maybe your story goes something like this, “I just asked my husband to take out the trash and he didn’t do it. Why does he never listen to me? I guess I did something wrong to deserve this non-communication? I am a horrible wife.” Or maybe this; “He told me he was going to call, but he hasn’t. I knew I wasn’t good enough for him. I ruined it. I am now going to be alone.” We all make up stories in our heads based on our needs, our fears, our insecurities. And nine times out of ten, they are based on our false assumptions. And the only way out of them is into them. To see them for what they are.
As I continued to talk to Carol, I realized that I couldn’t have had it more wrong. I imagined what her life was like, only to find out that we were much more alike than different. She had been knocked down repeatedly.
But she has learned through the years how to get back up. Her heart had been broken many times, and she continues to go after more love, more life, more sunsets.
Had I stayed in “my story” and not moved to the truth, I would never have realized any of this. But because I got present and truthful and honest and most importantly – vulnerable, I left incredibly inspired and encouraged.
Today we celebrate the belief that Jesus rose from the dead. That He made a way. And because of that WE have a way. A way to more love and to more life. He is the way THE TRUTH and the life.
His journey shows us how death and loss do not have to be the end but a new beginning.
Now, if HE could just do something about humidity and curly hair!
The story changed and hope arrived. Rise strong today my friend.
Noon to three on Good Friday. The hardest three hours each year of my childhood.
I grew up Catholic. And that’s what I remember most about Good Friday. Noon to three. From noon to three we were ordered to sit in our bedrooms in silence. No speaking. No doing. This was to commemorate the hours in which Jesus hung on the cross. We were encouraged to use the time to contemplate His death and to say the Rosary or pray. To be still. Reverent. Quiet. An impossible task for a surely ADHD attention-starved little girl. How could I possibly spend three hours alone?
I don’t know if that was a family tradition or the church or part of our Slovenian culture, but thinking back on it now, I’m sure my mother looked forward to those three hours of quiet all year! Finally, I would not be asking million questions or chatting about nothing or bouncing through the kitchen. Peace had come to 5193 Stanley Avenue. She could use the time to hopefully hear the thoughts in her own head.
I think fondly of my mother a lot at Easter. Maybe it’s because Easter was more about the food than Christmas. And she loved to cook. Christmas was about decorations and presents and drinking. Easter was about the blessing of the Easter basket on Holy Saturday morning at the Slovenian National Home. Easter was about homemade bread and the anticipation of finally eating meat; the dried klobasi that had been hanging over the rafters in the basement. Easter was about the Sunday meal and the gathering of family and community. And of course, the Easter Bunny. Six bright plastic eggs that sat in green grass on the counter, each with the name of my siblings scribbled in black sharpie. Inside were goodies, or money. One year Lenny’s bright blue egg held a five-dollar bill with a note that read, “Get a hair cut.”
I am alone this Good Friday. and this Easter. And it is bitter sweet for me. I am feeling the pulling-apart of a thirty-year marriage, trying to look ahead to new traditions and new places to be, both physically and emotionally. I will miss being with James, but as I always say, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter, The Fourth of July, Christmas… none of those compute in James’ mind. He does not know it is a holiday, nor does he need to set aside three hours to be grateful for who he is at his core. He knows. He believes. But I – I – absolutely need the three hours and then some. I need to remember to be quiet. To be grateful. To spend at the very least 180 minutes reflecting on what Jesus did for me. What he did for my soul. Who I AM because of HIS life and death.
I am beyond grateful that I get to spend my alone time this year in a place that my father fell in love with 20 years ago, Naples Florida. Even in my father’s death, he provided our family with a safe place to land. Where the sun and the sand can renew one’s spirit. This is the greatest gift he could have left us. We joke often that my siblings and I were called to my father’s death bed several times during the last few years of his life, to say goodbye. Once, it was actually on a Good Friday. I kissed him on the forehead and told him how much I would miss him. He surely wouldn’t make it to see Easter that year. I left for a gig Easter morning. And when I got to the airport I got a call. “Lynn are you sitting down? You are not going to believe this… but he has risen again!”
I took this photo of James the last time we were in Naples together. There was a storm. And then there was the sun. There is life and there is death and peace and joy come in embracing and being present in both.
Happy Good Friday.