Get up, dust yourself off, and get back in the game.
Dog Face Blouse: Zara
Sandles: Micheal Kors
Handbag: Eddies Vintage
Visor: Moms Closet
I have finally gotten to a place in my life that if I don't like how things are going, or my choices, or my behavior I just recognize it and do something about it. There is no use in abusing myself for things I'm not proud of. Tearing yourself down will never create a healthy life. It won't change the past, it will only harm the future. Don't feed the dog who bites the hand. Now I'm not saying "oh well" and move on. I'm saying "do better" and then acting upon initiating change. We all have a conscience and face guilt now and again, but I've been playing victim to my own mistakes for too long. Own up to your faults, plead guilty, ask for forgiveness, vision a new lifestyle and then attack it to make it your reality. Don't dig yourself an early grave. Life has too much to offer for that. And remember, you're here for a purpose, and just because you may trip up from time to time, doesn't mean you are a waste. It means you a human being like all of the rest of us. Get off your high horse, we all fail. It's what you do after that matters most. Charge it to the game, use it as fuel and get ahead further. We are not limited to where we come from, it's about where we are heading.
Get up, dust yourself off, and get back in the game.
Dog Face Blouse: Zara
Sandles: Micheal Kors
Handbag: Eddies Vintage
Visor: Moms Closet
You just never know where life will take you. One second you're stumbling, crashing, spiraling and at any moment, expect to smack face first onto the concrete below. But God has always been a parachute for me. I don't know why, but I never pull the string until my life as I know it, is no longer in my control. And every single time, with never a fail, his hands grab ahold and lead me back on the path. I have learned, time and time again, that when you pass the reigns over to Him, He takes you places you never expected to go. Places you never would have planned, places that may even scare you. But when you arrive, you see where all along he was guiding you, and you never seem to miss the path you yourself created out of your own stubbornness. I'm on Cloud 9 and I know, given my sinful nature, I will eventually again fall off my pillow in the sky and He will yet again come to my rescue. But for now, I'm really enjoying the view.
White Dress: Solemio
Laced Sandles: Gianni Bini
Little Flower Necklace: Helena Rohner
Since before my existence my family has been coming to my Aunt and Uncles lake house. It is hands down my favorite place and every year we go there is a bitter sweet sadness in leaving. The area is famous for their wine regions and brewery's, incredle lake views, masses of farmland, beautiful hikes through waterfalls, and historic homes and buildings. One of the staples of all visits, Mackenzie and Childs. You may have noticed their Courtly Check print on Keeping Up With The Kardasians. Every year I come here I know I won't be leaving without something from their barn house sale (We plan our visits around these sales). And how can you not? A $100 hand blown and painted base for $25?! Sales up to 75%-80% off! People by the masses show up to this sale from all over the country. This year we came a week before and beat the crowds of over 15,000 people who attend the 65-acre estate farm. As you can see I got quite the armful, and only paid a FRAGMENT of their price. The best par, is each peice I have from Mackenzie reminds me of my favorite lake house and all the memories through the years I have had there. It brightens up my kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom in my humble LA apartment.
Be sure to check out their website, their section in Neiman Marcus, OR make a trip up to the estate yourself!
"There, I guess King George will be able to read that." John Hancock
“The winds that blow through the wide sky in these mounts, the winds that sweep from Canada to Mexico, from the Pacific to the Atlantic, have always blown on free men.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin
"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." Benjamin Franklin
"I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states. Yet through all the gloom I see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth all the means. This is our day of deliverance." John Adams
Happy 4th Everyone!
Leather Flag Jacket: UNIF
Be True Tee: Forever 21
Red Sneakers: Converse
The classic battle: Comparison. Living 3,000 miles away from my creative family, seeing them grow, create and accomplish has been so hard for me while I sit here so far away completely at a stand still. But am I standing still? I've been writing, working, saving every dime, doing all I can to get back "home". And what is this feeling? Is it jealousy? How does their success and growth hinder or subtract from my own? We are all on our own path. Yet, I feel like with every project they work on, I'm missing out. But maybe this season of my life is more on my own characters growth rather than my crafts. Maybe the two go hand and hand. This development of life has to be fuel for my artistic development. After all, we can only work from what we know. Maybe what I'm feeling is the itch to apply the new understanding I have. The things I've seen, felt, experienced are at their peak, screaming out to be used for a cause greater than my own humanity. Rather than darkening my soul with comparison, I know it would be better to go out and make with what I have in my own tool box. The limits I have can only push me to be more creative in utilizing what I do have. There's my growth. Here is my now. And even though I love my family in LA and as much as I'm SO FREAKING PROUD OF THEM, their accomplishments do not take away from my very own. I'm on my own path. I run my own race. I have my own goal. And I will only get there if I focus in on it and JUST DO IT.
Photogrpahy: Marcus Measimer @underground_assassin
Wardrobe: Unheardof Brand @unheardofbrand
At first I was afraid to be happy. How could one be happy given all that was thrown her way in a year? If I was happy, would that be disrespecting the one I had lost? Aren't loved ones supposed to weep and not leave their bed for months? I thought I was clearly doing it all wrong. Or maybe the word happy is incorrect, I had peace. The time had come and a new season was beginning. Winter could be behind us, as well as all that happened during the cold. I was grateful for sun, for time on my hands to be around people and let them love me. I was excited for my favorite ice cream stand to open. I could do things for myself I had for some time not been able to, and I say that not as a burden, but as contrast. Then was not a bad time. It was hard, and yes what followed was a release. To many I looked to be doing so well, and I convinced myself of that as well. But as many who know loss, it never just goes away. You don't just sit in grievance, you live everyday and while one second you are laughing, you can feel your loved one. It singes pain into your soul. There's a realization I had found: that when you cry and fight and weep and toss and turn, you feel even further from the one you lost. Yet when you are at peace with life and walk on your journey, you can sense them still with you. It's the moments I don't look, that I see. The moments I shut up, that I hear. Not always am I wise enough to do what I know. Sometimes I want to call out and tear God off His cloud and show Him what I really think of Him. But even if I did, once He was before me, what WOULD I really think of Him? How much do I contrive based off the filter of my own pain verses the reality of His Being I wasn't made to ever understand. I know this answer alone, I'd be blinded by love, yet my eyes would never grow tried.
So am I happy? Yes. Have I felt guilty for my joy? Yes. But I ask myself, how does that guilt make him any more alive? It doesn't. Nothing will. Might as well welcome the light that's entering my life. For all I know, Dad could be the one sending it. He always gave the best gifts.
Jean Vest: Vintage Levi's
Black Crop Top: Urban Outfitters
Gingham Skirt: FOOLED YA! It's actually my mothers shirt from Goodwill. I buttoned and tied the arms around my waist!
Wicker Purse: Monsac
Watch: Michael Kors
Gold Bangle: Lat & Lo
Hoop Earings: Juicy Couture
"Make sure you tell your brothers" He said to me. I smiled trying to hold back my tears. "I promise dad."
Sitting in my family room with my dads hospital bed now gone made it look so large and empty. Pastor Greg, Mom and my older brother Nick sat in a circle and discussed funeral arrangements. That kind of conversation you never really imagine having even when you ineviably know of its coming. Greg wanted to know about my dad. I remember thinking how difficult it is to sum up a mans life. How can a daughter ever really tell of the great and unmatched love between her and her father? I told of every story I could that I felt captured him. I listed off all of the ways he involved himself in my and my two brothers lives. I spoke of the people he touched. His grand gestures of kindness and his stubborn strength. But yet I kept feeling as though I was coming up short. That my own words were not enough. That's when I recalled my dads evening lessons. I could still hear his horse whispering voice ordering me after every talk to "pass it on." I reached for my leather bound journal and began reading from it what I now call the "Morphine Dairies". It was then that Greg, Nick and my Mom all asked that I speak at my dads funeral. It was clear I had a lot to say about him, but I felt slightly terrified of taking on the job. I agreed nonetheless. After all, dad himself made me promise to spread those very words of his out.
So I thought I would do just that in this post. Here are the final and most lasting lessons my dad taught me. No matter how hard it was being a full time caregiver, I always felt blessed beyond measure that I had this time. As much as I know he felt he had to rely on me, I felt I was still his little girl, learning and growing and hungry for more of whatever wisdom my daddy could give.
So here it is folks, the eulogy that my dad himself wrote that I had the honor of passing on.
God blessed me with the biggest challenge I've ever faced in becoming a caretaker for my dad. But while taking care of him, he was still raising me. Still trying to teach me something. Every night after his morphine and nightcap he'd always want to talk and share some wisdom. Things he wanted me to pass on.
I'd like to share some of those morphine diary entries today.
July 27 2014- night of dads benefit.
I never in a million years would have guessed a fundraiser would be thrown in my name. All my life I have had a hard time receiving gifts. I didn't know if that was a character trait or a cork I had. I always loved giving. That's what made me happy. But i had a couple friends tell me that I was denying them the opportunity of being on the gifting end. That they wanted to be able to give back to me. It is so humbling to have you all here. Thank you for giving me this. I love you all.
November 21 2014 -Dad caught me in a white lie. He said to me:
"If you say what you mean and mean what you say your heart will stay pure. If you don't a cloud will hang over you. The world will try and get you to a point where you become so jaded the cloud no longer affects you. You will make mistakes thousands of times in life, but if you make up for it with the truth the cloud will clear and you will become pure again. I've made thousands of mistakes in my life. But I learned your words will no longer mean much if you compromise the truth or your integrity."
November 22 2014 - a stressful morning
"You crack me up. You stress out about a whole bunch of shit. None of it really matters. When you get like this, remember the morning dew. Go out and smell it. The dew or the smell of rain that will make the flowers bloom soon. That's what life's all about. Not all this shit. It's the dew that makes you alive."
Later that evening:
A childhood memory
"I remember the time I was holding you up in the air tossing you. You had just eaten, only a baby. You looked right at me making funny faces at you and threw up straight in my mouth. I will never forget that. It was one of the best days. You threw up right in my mouth and it tasted like shit but I loved it because you were only a baby but you let out a big old belly giggle. You couldn't say anything but boy that giggle I could never forget. Mom and nick and I just laughed. Boy that was the greatest. And it tasted like shit but I didn't care. It was that belly giggle."
November 23 2014
"I keep thinking about all the places and things I never did and will never get to do. It keeps popping up and haunting me like a nightmare. But when I think about all I have done that nightmare goes away. That trip across country with you nick and Chris may 2011. That was the best time of my life. We were footloose fancy and free honest truthful good. Only thing to worry about was where we went to eat. That was something I'd always wanted to do and I got to do it with you three."
December 7 2014- a lesson to an actor and a note to the critic.
"It's good to be passionate about it. But be careful. If you are going to be a critic be damn well sure you don't do what you're criticizing. How do you know how you'd respond in that actors place? How do you know how you would react to that. Under the stage lights with all the nerves. You haven't been in their shoes you haven't had to deal with their director. It's good to learn and it's good teaching to have a passionate point of view you carry away with you. I don't speak out in judgment."
March 19 2015 - hospice
I said to my dad: you are doing a really good job and I mean that by how you're still able to laugh and smile and change people's lives
He replied : That's what Jesus wants it all to be about.
I've strayed just as much as I've stayed on course. But so do the sheep. One may wonder but a good shepherd never leaves it behind. He seeks the lost sheep out.
March 20 2015
March 21 2015
"The lord will give you strength you just need to take the time to listen when you feel the urge rise take the time to walk away and say the Lord's Prayer"
April 6 2015
My dad passed away with the whole family by his side listening to ACDC. I recall "It's a long way to the top of you wanna rock n' roll." I kissed his forehead as he took his last breath and as a family we whispered the regimented pre bedtime chant "Goodnight I Love You God Bless you Dad". Those were the last words my father ever heard.
April 18th 2015
Dads still by my side. I know he still has a lot to teach me.
So I've finally found my way to the most loved and adored shop Cincinati's college town could ever have. It's a place that really just captures the little things every woman loves. From adorable home decor, to gifts, charming trinkets, to delicate jewelry, and not to mention beautiful clothing, this place is a gem. Not only is their merchandise fantastic, but their overall atmosphere is so unique. They aim to make their customers feel beautiful and valued. Each and every mirror holds an uplifting quote to remind you how precious you are. Having a bad day? Stick your hand in their jar of happiness and pull out a little slip of paper holding a few words of encouragement. They don't stop there, they have journals layed out for you to write out a prayer request. And if you haven't already fallen in love with this place... A portion of their proceeds are donated to feed, clothe, and educate children. Their tags read "Stand Out For Good" and they certainly do just that. It makes me proud to see business, fashion, and faith merge to make the world a better plce instead of soley being based on image. Altar'd State... You have a new fan.
Plus, these new jean shorts feel like they were made just for me and I cannot wait for it to warm up a bit more so I can wear the heck out of them.
I woke up this morning knowing my life was going to be different forever. The earth has tilted its axis. Nothing will ever be the same. There's a moment I spend sitting here in my bed before I let my feet hit the ground and I go on with my life. Life has changed, I too will inevitably as a result. But how? As I feel my life spiraling out of control will I go with it? Will I crash? Will I hurt the people I love? Will I go cold? Will I be weak? Will I curse God? Now those are some options. Very approved and understandable choices I could make that many would validate, granted the catalyst that struck my soul just last night. Those choices, they may fill me for awhile. Blind me from my pain. Distract me from the truth. But they will cause more pain in the long run. More destruction does not help the destroyed. This truly leaves me with the only alternative. Rebuild. Fight the tide rather that let it pull me under. Love harder. Much much harder. Be strong, however and in any way you know how to. Though the light in my heart may feel it has burned out... Rekindle it. Thank God. It may be blind faith at first but it will grow the more you feed it. Embracing the newness does not rob you of the past joy. It continues it. No matter how far off you may drift, the shambles of your being can be restored.
One life has left this earth... But those who loved him remain left behind. We all will face this in our lives one day. I say this not to hurt you. Not to scare you. Not to threaten you... But to encourage you to stand up when you fall down. To cry out for help when you need it. To know you are never alone. People love you. And that no matter which you choose: the spiraling downward or the souring towards Serenity... Both are in your hands alone. I can't say when I leave my bed today which choice I will actually live out. But I know that God is good. I may not feel it. I certainly don't feel good. But I know it. And wherever I stumble, He will catch me. Wherever I roam off to, He will reroute me. All I have to do is have faith and pray (though it be the last thing my gut wants to do) that "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life".
I am accountable and responsible for any and every choice I act upon. Today, I choose you God.
I love you dad.
What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.' Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.