The Dandelions

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The Dandelion – considered by most a noxious weed, but is indeed a flower, with some varieties being very beneficial and have many diverse uses. Who knew? Those annoying yellow flowers that pop up unwanted in your beautiful green lawn of grass, only to mature and turn into that white, fuzzy, ugly ball that release their seeds into the air, dispersing themselves over long distances. They tend to survive and establish new roots wherever they land, even in some tough conditions. Through many years of history, children have had that uncontrollable urge to pull them from the ground to blow on them for entertainment, watching the seeds blow in the wind.

Military families are much like the Dandelion. It’s no wonder the flower has been named the official flower of the Military Brat. Members of these families have been sent and scattered all over the world, forced to learn to put down their roots anywhere they land and adapt to their surroundings.

I grew up in one of these military families, as my father was in the Navy. I was born at a naval base in Illinois, and by the time I was a toddler, we were sent over to the east coast. We lived in Virginia and Maryland until just before I was 10 years old. Then came the big news…we were going to Italy. What an adjustment that would be! I was only nine years old – I hadn’t yet learned about all of the countries foreign to us in school. We packed up, said our goodbyes to our friends that we had made, and got on the plane. That part was nothing new to me in my nine years, as I had already gotten used to leaving school and my friends for a new location more than once, making a new start. When I got on that plane to Italy, I wasn’t fully aware that I was going to a place that was so different, where no one spoke English, where things weren’t the same as the places I had already lived. I somehow thought things would be just like before. No big deal, right? I was in for a shock!

I was in a different world! What was this place? What are people saying? Why are they yelling and waving their hands so much? How do I open this door? What am I eating? Before long, though, I knew the answers to these questions, and so much more. Life in Italy was an adventure, and adaptation was easy. There was so much to learn and explore. The roots had been planted, so to speak.

Because we were military, I went to a Department of Defense school, with the other kids like me. Similar to being in the United States, our friends came and went rather quickly, as their parents got called back to the States. I was lucky enough to stay in one place for 6 ½ years. That isn’t too common in the military, especially back then. I made so many friends, and created lasting bonds with them, even though our time together seemed too short.

We all learned that our true roots aren’t where we currently live, they are in our hearts, and remain as a bond with all of the places that we’ve been, the people we’ve met, and the friends that we’ve acquired along the way. Those bonds of friendship are stronger than any and last a lifetime.

We are the Dandelions. We grow, we change, we get uprooted and spread, we adapt, we reestablish, we overcome, we rise above life’s challenges. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A New Direction

writing prompts picDuring a recent coffee date with a fellow writer and friend, I became more inspired to write. I always seem to come away from our meet-ups feeling that way. I am excited to be writing, and no matter what we talk about over our coffee, those flames of writing desire and inspiration are ignited. This time, I came home contemplating which direction I wanted to go, as I was feeling that I needed to make a small change in order to move forward with my writing.

It’s time to go in another direction; not in an impactful way, though. I’ve decided I am in need of releasing myself from the deadline. I’ve been working on these monthly writing prompt lists, and it seems that I’m now too far behind to begin to save face. I knew that as soon as wedding season started this year, my writing may have to take a backseat to the brides and event planning details that tend to take much more of my time. I am, after all, getting paid to plan events; I’m not currently getting paid to write. I hope that I will get paid to write someday; that is a dream that I will continue to strive for as I find myself in this magical world of writing. Until then, here’s the plan…

I still love the writing prompt suggestions. I love to take that random topic and make it into something that is my own. I am not going to change the fact that I use them, as they challenge me, and take me in directions I never thought I would go. I’m going to continue to search for and choose my own random prompts, and not worry about disappointing you and myself by struggling to get my piece posted by a particular date. I will also throw in one of my personal essays from time to time, just to keep things interesting.

You may see more sporadic posting, but I will be able to take the time to make the words count. That means more to me than fulfilling that deadline.

Hold on to your seats, folks! There’s more to come.

Got shelved

From April’s Writing Prompts, April 9, 2016

“With literary biographies, you’re either shelved with other biographies or next to your subject’s fiction.” ~Blake Bailey

After reading this quote, I couldn’t help but think, if I got shelved, what authors would I be shelved with? This intrigued me, so I was impelled to look up a list of famous authors. This is no easy task. I have yet to find a comprehensive list of authors in alphabetical order, without noticing too many authors’ names missing. It’s really difficult to determine exactly who I would be shelved between.

If we went about it using our last names instead of categories, I would be somewhere in between Solomon Northup and Flannery O’Connor. It is a regrettable fact that I have not yet read either of their works; shame on me. I did see the movie, “12 Years A Slave”. It was a wonderful movie, but like all movies based on literary works, I’m sure there was a great deal missing or much not conveyed that might have had great importance. I would much rather read the book and get the story in it’s entirety.

What an honor it would be to find myself shelved amongst these great authors! I’m certain my work is anything except qualified to be placed amongst them, but I am making that a goal.

Until then, I read, I write, I research, I write some more; and I dream…

He had wings

From April’s Writing Prompts, April 8, 2016

Psalms 91-11

He had wings – the wings of an angel. They were strong, supportive. A guardian angel. It was meant to be. An angel to visit you at just the right time to bring you back to life.

Your journey may be long and difficult, but you will never walk alone. His wings will be there to lift you up and carry you when you can’t take another step. You don’t always have to look to the stars and sky to find your angel, as they are sometimes right in front of you here on the ground. Take a look. You may not see the wings at first, but they are there and all around you. Disguised as a friend, perhaps?

Now that you know your angel is there to protect you and support you, let yourself live, let yourself smile. You may not always see your angel, but rest assured he’s smiling, too.

“God will put his angels in charge of you to protect you wherever you go.” ~Psalms 91:11

Strapped

From April’s Writing Prompts, April 7, 2016

It’s been some time now since I’ve written. I can’t help but feel that I have been a disappointment to myself. I am most content when I write, and I crave it when I don’t write. Then comes the excuse of being strapped for time, or there are untold numbers of things going on that steer my attention away from the page. Life throws you some punches, and it’s a crazy ride.

It’s time to strap myself in and take that ride. It might be a bumpy, rough and wild ride, but life cannot stop me from doing what I love to do. After all, the best part about writing is the ride. That is where the words stem from and start to flow.

I’m strapped in – let’s go!

“Life is truly a ride. We’re all strapped in and no one can stop it. When the doctor slaps your behind, he’s ripping your ticket and away you go. As you make each passage from youth to adulthood to maturity, sometimes you put your arms up and scream, sometimes you just hang onto that bar in front of you. But the ride is the thing. I think the most you can hope for at the end of life is that your hair is messed, you’re out of breath, and you didn’t throw up.” ~Unknown