I’ve always loved the kitchen. When I was five my Mom would pull up chairs to the red formica table, and my sister and I would mix up cakes, getting batter all over the place. As the years wore on, we’d find ourselves sitting on the counter, legs swinging. We’d talk talk about boys and friends, we’d listen to music, and eat raw oatmeal cookie dough. Dad used to walk in and exclaim, “I see we have a Hen Party going on here.” I really miss my Dad. He died in 2015 and life has never been the same.
My story began when I got married, and divorced. And married and divorced again. I still can’t believe that happened to me. I can’t figure out how to reconcile that part of my life. Two “broken” marriages. Hopes and dreams lost twice. Will I ever stop asking why? My story began as I struggled through motherhood, chronic illness , and dreams put on the back burner far too long. I have wanted to be a photographer forever, and that dream is starting to come true. I don’t know how it can be so terrifying and exciting at the same time.
Lately I spend a lot of time wondering “what happened to me, what happened to my life?” I write a lot about light and darkness, joy and despair. The time is fast arriving to write about other things, and yet I’m thinking about the past, and the future. All the while knowing the only thing that really matters is right now. How do I embrace the now? I feel paralyzed by present circumstances if I’m being honest.
I love to help people. I took a “spiritual gifts” test once and my spiritual gift is mercy. Among other things mercy means blessing, grace and humanity. I hate to see people suffer. I feed homeless people, and I don’t ponder the why of that. I just do it. But I find myself wanting to know their stories. “Who loves them, who misses them?” I am a seeker of stories, and I often find the pages unfolding for me behind the lens of my camera. I inhale the images, completely oblivious to my surroundings, when I’m shooting a scene.
So this is me. A woman with a dozen starts to the very same story. It holds light and darkness. It’s daunting and hilarious all at the same time. How could I possibly have so much experience with trauma, mental illness, divorce, and yet still see the value of giggling every day. The older I get, the more I realize, everyone’s story is daunting and funny. This is cliche’, I know…we have to teach each other how to dance in the rain.
So when the rest of world lays sleeping, I am up late at night. Usually alone, but rarely lonely. Every day I talk to God. I know we’re not supposed to “get” God, but I still ask so many questions. And lately I have been so afraid to tell people I believe in God. God knows why I whisper that, and that’s enough for me. I do need you to know something though…if God isn’t a part of your life, it’s ok with me. The kitchen table is open to everyone. We are called to love through messiness, joy, sadness and to celebrate each other’s hearts.
In the kitchen late at night, I seek answers to the hard questions. I also have fun. I laugh with the cats, eat great dark chocolate and make mug brownies. I try to understand why things are the way they are. And then I hear my Mama’s voice telling me “you don’t have to get it.” That’s pretty freeing, knowing and embracing that some things will never be understood. Sitting on the counter late at night knowing that I’m never going to understand certain things…I exhale a big breath of relief.
I started this blog two years ago and I haven’t kept up with it. It feels like another broken dream, but I’m stitching it back together. I have things to say. I don’t know if anyone is listening, and that’s ok. I want to turn ugly things into beautiful, in The Compost Pile. I want to share recipes for yummy things to eat and recipes for life. I want to have Hen Parties. I want to sit around the table with friends, old and new, and dig into life. Lets grab hands across the table, let’s eat, laugh and write each other’s stories.