on the streets of china town

“til death do us part is for quitters.”

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heart & home

We have traveled, and moved. We have had many homes. We have said countless goodbyes and so many hellos. We have been on the move so many times, “home” can be a couple of different places. But, home… Home is where the heart is, blah blah blah. It’s so cliche, it kind of makes you cringe when you said it.But let me just tell you, it truly, truly is.

We have built a foundation together, grew a relationship, formed a marriage and found ourselves in each other. That is where I found my heart. In that man. And as long as I am with that man, well, I am home. So, screw it, Home is Where the Heart Is! Home is with him.

Once again, we have traveled and moved. We have said countless goodbyes and so many hellos, but we are always home.

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Orange Nike Shoeboxes

I am a collector, gatherer, keeper and what seems to be some kind of hoarder in remission. I keep (what some would call meaningless) things like receipts, ticket stubs, unwritten postcards (meant to be sent while on vacation, but never have been written and mailed, so now I have an album of blank postcards), ripped out pages of someone else’s magazine, wine labels (gingerly pulled off of an empty wine bottle at a restaurant table, because, “this was such a fun evening, I want something to remember it by”, invitations to events I never attended (but kept because I liked the stationary), wine corks from special occasions, maps of cities, boarding passes, and things like that.

Most of these “unnecessary” things end up in a scrapbook, a journal or The Shoebox. The Shoebox(es)! I can count 3 orange Nike (of whom my husband seems to be the official sponsor) shoeboxes, filled with these joyous collections. Every once in a while I will take time sorting through each to get rid of a thing or two. Two hours later, I have relived some wonderful memories and ultimately threw away some dried out rose petals and a token from Frankie’s Fun Park. Did someone say hoarder? Maybe, but at least I can fit mine in a shoe box tucked under the bed for no one to see but me. Granted, I may need a 4 bedroom house to have 4 beds to put these accumulating boxes of treasures under! I’m a hoarder that has everyone else’s best interests at heart – when I’m dead and gone, just pull out each box and throw it out – it has already been sorted and packed, trust me, you don’t need it! Although, admittedly I keep a few of these things for my future children to embrace the life I lived – the coffee I purchased on February 14th, the meal I ate on our 2nd anniversary, or the hundreds of movies I saw. People laugh, my husband being one of the loudest (don’t get me started on his drawer overflowing with ballpoint pens!), but I shit you not… who is the one handing me the movie ticket stubs, the airline serviette with a ring of red wine stained on it (this one’s a keeper, it has character!), or the coaster from the new bar we just visited. Yes, it is he, The Pen Collector – The Enabler! Shame, let me not be mean here. I know he only takes the time to do these things because he knows how much it warms my heart, and how he enjoys my response as if he had just presented me with a diamond ring.

So, who cares, maybe I am a boarder line hoarder! I have hopes to put these collections to use, to give them a home – in a scrapbook or even made into a memorable piece of art. But, those hopes have yet to be fulfilled. I’ll let you know if those orange Nike shoeboxes are every empty, then you will know I filled something else. As I said… HOPES!

Black Coffee Moments

I am fueled by coffee. Since I can remember, I have been a coffee drinker and as time has passed, my love has grown deeper and my beverage has grown darker. I have experienced, what seems to be an endless amount, of memories in coffee shops. Those memories have been shared with some of the most important people in my life. Going out for coffee was always a treasured time with my Dad – he is the writer, reader and wisest of wise who I have, and always will, squeeze every ounce of creativity from. I was always encouraged to write in a Moleskine – anything I wanted, as long as I was writing. I latched on to poetry, as he was a poet, and I will always remember rattling of my latest poem with huge excitement and embarrassment.

I cherish reading poetry from love books with my best friend, Claire. I don’t know why, but we always chose romantic poetry. We would sit in a buzzing Starbucks for hours, yet hear only ourselves. Photography was a huge passion of ours. We would carry our latest digital cameras everywhere – ones we had received just that past Christmas (it was always a Christmas request that sat at the top of our list, so needless to say, we got a new camera on every Christmas celebrated, what seems like, worlds apart). We would sit in that same Starbucks, after pages of love affairs, and take picture after picture of everything that walked/or sat within eye’s view. Our favorite setting was always macro! We have shared these special times, countless times, on two different continents. To this day, we e-mail one another selfies with our Starbucks mugs.

One of the most important memories from a coffee shop would have to be the first date I had with my husband. We had not known each other long, but as soon as he was ready to spend some alone time with me, a restaurant or the bar was the farthest thing from his mind. “Do you wanna grab a coffee with me sometime?” From one coffee lover to the other, we instantly fell in love (even though we didn’t know it yet). It would never be a Starbucks, it was always an independent whole in the wall. Starbucks was the last resort, always. (I am writing this in a Starbucks in Tucson, and he is playing Candy Crush… he seems to lose all inspiration in a Starbucks)…NONETHELESS… This man brought out all lost inspiration or creativity that I had almost given away. On every coffee date, he was armed with a Moleskine, camera and a book of poetry (his own). He carried these in what seemed to be a magician’s backpack. He would bring them out one by one until I had responded entirely to each one. This guy was carrying my soul in his backpack! Who woulda thought?

I am fueled by coffee. Inspirationally fueled.

-L

Becoming Arizonian

IMG_7817 We trekked from the lush, muddy creeks of the Lowcountry across 6 States to arrive in the desert land of Arizona. Did I think I would fall in love with consistently cloudless & sunny skies, dirt & cactus (yes, I know, cacti. But I disagree completely with the English language on this one)? The answer would be, No, I did not think I would fall in love with all of the above. I thought I would instantly miss the ocean, the creeks of pluff mud, the y’alls and yes ma’ams, yes sirs and the blue grass bars. Truth be told, I do miss them, BUT, I was smitten with this place within the first week! And let me say, we arrived in monsoon season with the welcoming temperature of 109, so, that says a lot about our smittenness. It has taken us time, though, to actually feel like we belong here. The first thing we did was change our license plates & get new drivers licenses. There is no hiding from the locals with a plate screaming SOUTH CAROLINA! I am a self conscious and apologetic driver enough as it is without letting the locals know I do not belong here. One wrong move, one wrong turn and you can almost hear them behind you… “Go back to South Carolina, dumbass!” “Learn how to drive you incompetent, Southern female!” And suddenly, you’ve been made. SO, #1 on the list… change license plates! Now I can drive comfortably as my self conscious and apologetic self without putting my Southern State to shame. And, of course, I had to get a few things out of the way before I could start feeling like I belong… -Suffer from mild heat stroke (because I wore jeans on a 107 day) -Help my dog suffer from mild heat stroke at the local park (so ashamed of myself) -Learn that “It’s a dry heat” is BS… dry or not, it’s heat! -Get sunburned, and learn its sunburn on crack here -Sit on a cactus (laugh all you want, but I truly sat on a !@#$ing cactus!) -Drink water and then drink some more -Invest in bottles upon bottles of lotion -Come face to face with a javelina and lose my cool -Get overly excited because I saw a road runner, and then totally let down at the size of it. Not quite the Looney Tunes look I was so naively expecting. …Stuff like that. It’s almost a year later, and Arizona loves us like locals. And we love Arizona like home.

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Just Click Publish

I go through these bipolar episodes – of writing, that is. I’m super pumped for 3 days in a row and bust out these exquisitely intellectual and vibrant posts. 3 days later, I go back and read those posts and suddenly lose all hope as I realize those posts lack intellect and I am simply foaming at the mouth about nothing in particular. So, I delete the posts (well, I move them to the bottom of drafts, as last resort options). I then log-out, close my computer and return to something for someone else. I haven’t quite figured out how to move passed these episodes. So far, all I’ve got is to publish those epic posts before I return 3 days later and state what an idiot writer I am, or “Am I ever a writer!?” Oh, and the cherry on the top of all of this negativity… I declare – What am I so worried about, nobody’s going to read them anyway!

Complete loser.

Now that I have acknowledged this behavior, I’m slowly learning to not just log-out, close the computer and go wash my husband’s dry-fits. Open a new tab and step out of my own head for a minute. I realize I may not suddenly stumble upon the inspiration to write the most awesome “must-read” post, but it will be a published post. And that’s really all that matters, isn’t it?

No matter how big or small, publish. No matter how insignificant or life altering, publish. Because after all, what is life without the small published moments, actions or words? I think it ends up being a big published story… big, lifeless, and boring story.

So, my published post today will be this… a snippet of something sweet, something that made me smile. That is all. PUBLISH!

-L

11 Untranslatable Words From Other Cultures Infographic by Ella Frances Sanders,  blog.maptia.com via visual.ly #Infographic #Language

28 & NOW

As I gain another year onto my already long life, I am starting to accept that this is now… one year at a time… it’s now. Not who I use to be when I was years younger, and over indulging in those years so long passed. Not who I am to be years older, and wishing away today so I could be there already. It isn’t natural to live in the moment, it is a conscious decision you have to make everyday. It is tough at times. It is completely liberating at the times when you truly do make that decision. And you know what I’m starting to realize, but haven’t quite accepted, is that it becomes second nature once you make that conscious decision every. single. day. It’s like forming one of the most important habits you will ever have. A habit that defines the way you live. A habit that makes you live in, possibly, the way you were created to live. One. Moment. At. A. Time. These moments are fleeting. These moments are opportunities. And I truly believe, those fleeting moments of opportunity, if lived in – lived in the now – could turn out to be a moment that ends up being the rest of your life.

I lived in the now when I gave my husband my phone number, while in a seriously crashing and burning relationship. That number, given in that moment, rang in the rest of my life with a man I shall die with. How’s that for living a moment for the rest of your life.

I lived in the now when I stopped painting the bathroom and called a breeder to “reserve” a dog from a pack of Goldens… that moment of opportunity gave us Jack –  for the rest of his life. So glad I didn’t help my husband finish painting that horrid bathroom. (two coats of paint did f-all for the looks of that space)

So, point being… I’m 28, and finally starting to accept that it’s now or never. Who I was and who I am to be are a part of me, but they are not me right now. Go on now…

-L

My Colorful African Heart

My childhood & beginning of my young adulthood happened in South Africa. Despite being born in America & spending 2 short years of my life here, South Africa is home. South Africa is HOME. It always will be. And how proud I am to be able to say that. Lucky. Blessed. And the rest. A country so beautiful, even the darkness can’t hide it. The sadness seems to always give way to the joy. (Oh! The joy of an African living, with almost nothing, in a remote dusty village. You would swear they were the richest person in all the land.) A country so devastatingly ran, but so amazingly owned.

My often wondered thought is, would I know joy & happiness, sadness & compassion, culture & vibrance, forgiveness & graciousness, as I do now. A country popping at the seams with diversity, would I embrace and cherish that as I do now? Diversity is truly part of the foundation that is South Africa…a multitude of races, religions and total of 11 different languages…I would not be surprised if they changed the definition to ‘South Africa’ where the word ‘Diversity’ stood in the dictionary.

Soon after apartheid ended, it became known as The Rainbow Nation.

With that title, you’d be silly to suggest otherwise. Color is what makes the nation so indescribably beautiful. Which brings me to another often wondered thought… would I know color as I do now? Dramatic thought, yes, but truth or not, that colorful country will forever have my heart. As my Dad always says, “In Africa you give your best or Africa takes it!” I gave my best, dammit, and she still took more! Greedy. (another truth only a South African could tell you.)

Africa, you can keep my heart, and whatever is left after that. -L

Highlights

Dad got sick

Dad had heart surgery

Dad got better

We became an Aunt + Uncle for the second time around

We’re about to be Aunt + Uncle for the third time around

Jack got big

Jack got REAL big

We spent Christmas together as a (vehorn) family for the first time EVER

We’re married 3 years … about to be 4

Arron continues to rock his job

I love my job – I play with fabrics

I meet coworkers and gain friends

Awesome friends

2 year anniversary in Charleston

The sun continues to shine

I’ve started reading again

Discovered that Mellow Mushroom has $5 pizzas on Monday nights

We LOVE Jack more

Dad got sick again

He currently awaits bypass surgery

Our nephew got sick

My sister is a rock of a Mom

I saw the sun rise

It’s been too long

We’re blessed.