My tongue is in my hand…

Archive for October 2009

To begin, I will begin at the beginning. The beginning of my very first diary, at least. It’s purple, with pink ballet slippers and red roses with green stems all over it. The inside covers are pink, the pages- lined and white, with a place for the date at the top. There’s a little silk ribbon to mark the page I’m on, and a brass lock. The brass key has been lost.

On the inside cover:

This (private) diary belongs to Rebecca Lane Brooks. Hands off!

The first entry: (unedited and displayed as accurately as possible)

Dec. 25, 1991

Today is Christmas! When I opened this present I was so happy! These are some more things I got. A watch, and a Cabbage Patch (a doll thats hair Crimps & Curles). My Grandmother died Christmas Eve morning I was very sad.

Morning 😦

later that day 🙂

I was eight, in the 2nd grade at this time. I’ve looked back at this entry many times, the first thing that always hits me is my drawings at the bottom. I do remember the sadness that echoed throughout my family with the loss of MawMaw Faye. The sudden tragedy of ovarian cancer found too late, of a loving but tumultuous woman and mother lost before all the words were said. I remember the joy of the holiday too, though. The inevitable excitement and happiness of lights and ornaments and gifts and treats and family.

I don’t remember if it was a “Santa” present or not, but I assume my mom picked out this diary for me. I’m not sure why a ballet slipper one. Maybe she liked the purple background (her favorite color), maybe she just thought it was pretty, maybe it was the only one (or the best one) there was and she was thinking more about me writing than what was on the cover…

It was a pivotal year in my family, the whole family, since we all lived on the farm together, went to church together, and us kids went to school together- all our lives strung together. Me, mom, dad and Rachel; MawMaw and PawPaw; Steve, Theresa, Clint, and Cody; Allen, Janet, Stephanie, Julie, and Katie.

Daddy was 33 when his mom died. Allen a few years older, Steve a few years younger. They found out she had cancer that summer of ’91. Towards the end, she was at home, now I know it was probably with hospice care. She had a hospital bed in the living room, where the scratchy yellow couch used to be. Paw Paw’s scratchy yellow arm chair was still there though. Daddy had us go up there, sit by the fire hearth and watch Wheel of Fortune with the nurse standing by and PawPaw in his chair, and then had us give MawMaw  kiss. I hesitated (at least in my mind) because she looked so very different. And because I didn’t really understand she was dying.

MawMaw was a big woman, not always, but when I knew her. Like, mu mu wearing big. She kept her hair rolled. It was short and blonde. Her skin was porcelain pale and loose. She always had sweets in the house. She loved us. She loved crafts. And birds. And butterflies. She made the very best mush. If you don’t know what mush is, I’m not sure I can tell you. It’s sort of like grits, but better. No one’s been able to make any since she died. Not they haven’t tried.

Their house was at the top of our road and we were up there a good bit. When we were waiting for the junior high bus to drop us off, we’d sit on the porch -Rachel, Julie, and I- with MawMaw and she would chant this chant “I’m stirring my brew, my witch’s pot, stirring, stirring, stirring…bring Stephanie’s bus!” And the bus would come! We would laugh and clap. It took me years to realize the bus came at the same time everyday!

Sometimes, she’d let us go in her beaded change purse that seemed to have more coins than anyone could ever need in it, and let us get enough each to walk to the store and get some penny candy. The store was at the very top of our road. It used to be a general store that my great grandfather ran. By then, it was the Handy Pantry with red and white eaves and a 2 gas pumps. We thought we were so grown running down that gravel all by ourselves to the store to pick out whatever we wanted. Our favorite candies were those little caramels that have the white cream in the center. We would peel the caramel off, eat it first, and then let the sweet center melt in our mouths as we walked back.

At MawMaw’s, our toys were on the back porch, in a tin trash can, beside the washer. I loved the pound puppies. I didn’t have those at home. We didn’t have a lot of rules that I much remember over there. Just don’t step on her buttercups. And don’t litter in her yard. And don’t make mud pies in her dishes (we learned that one the hard way). When we spent the night, we slept on pool floats in the living room floor and I couldn’t imagine anything more fun and novel at the time.

What I knew, what I know, of MawMaw is limited in personal experience- scattered with other’s interpretations, reflections,  experiences, and stories. I know though, that losing her changed everything. Changed Daddy and his brothers. Changed PawPaw. Changed Daddy and Mama. Changed my understanding of life and death.

After her funeral, we went to Allen’s house with the rest of the family and ate and people laughed and I didn’t know what to think. We had just cried and been so quiet and sad in church and now we hug and joke and laugh and eat? Later, I saw that it wasn’t over so quickly. It was just the way it goes, it was how we kept living.


and then


was just the preliminaries, it was just the beginning.

Posted on: October 27, 2009

How much does the past matter? Some people dwell on it, some people move as fast and far as they can from it. There is no living in the past, there is no escaping it. To try to do either will only make you crazy. The past – our personal history, is our preface, it’s the thing that gives specific meaning to our now. In it lies our joy and fear and drive and sadness and hope and anger and every little meaningful moment that marked our decisions, where we have been is part of our story. We should consider it as such.

I like digging into my story and uncovering, remembering, revisiting things from the place I am now, narrating my life as it was from the place I now know of it. I like exploring my motivations, then and now. I like learning myself over. I like considering what I can take from then and apply to now. The things I want to create or seek, the things I want to avoid…the things no one can predict or plan…how I dealt, what I’ve gathered and let go of along the way, what I know by holding close to my heart and mind all the pages of my story that I can.

So much can be gained from reflection, without changing or wishing changed the things that were, that are unchangable. To understand the person we have been in the world we were in and how it moved us in whatever directions it has…there’s no way to gauge how well this serves me.

I kept all my journals, tons of letters, notes, ticket stubs, cards, and pictures through the years. I keep fresh in my heart the things that stick out most. I know the facts, my “on paper” facts of my life and I know all the other things…the parts of my heart and mind that only I know, and how it all goes together. I’m probably going to start blogging some mini memoir things, because I bet writing it out will bring even more to it.

Posted on: October 27, 2009

So, have I previously mentioned how wonderful doritos are with wine? They are super.


Posted on: October 25, 2009

11:26pm Bex:
so, why are you the only person on my chat out of 317 people?
i actually checked to make sure I still had friends and they didn’t like mass delete me

11:27pm Rae:

11:27pm Bex
i mean, doesn’t everybody get on facebook like 10 times a day?

11:29pm Rae:

it’s kind of sad it made you check to see if you have friends
i have 28 people on

11:29pm Bex:
well it’s pretty odd
what’s up with stalker?

(Rae’s status reads: stalker is back- “You still are the most interesting white chick I ever met. lol lets
just say chick in general lol and I mean that wholeheartedly.
I’ve went on dates with 3 other white chicks on this site.
All a hot damn mess lol.”)

11:32pm Rae
frog boy is back. that’s part of the email he sent me

11:32pm Bex:
who is that?

11:33pm Rae:
i had to tell you about him, he kisses like a frog
he’s 33 lives in the ghetto with his grandma
and wanted me to have his babies

11:34pm Bex:
and he doesn’t think you’re a hot damn mess?
little does he know…lol
why did you kiss him?

11:36pm Rae:
that’s why i can’t be friends w/guys. i always feel like i have to do stuff
you want me to send you the email

11:37pm Bex:
please do
whatever happened to your age range standard?
just threw that out the window didn’t you?

11:38pm Rae:
threw a lot of things out of the window.
age, smokers, druggies. some rules are made to be broken…
i was wrong

11:39 Bex:
yes you were
you should just bend them a little, with good reason.
and boredom should not be that good reason

11:40pm Rae:
i wasn’t bored, i decided maybe i was missing out on something great by being too picky

11:41pm Bex:

11:42pm Rae:
true story
how’s the bodie situation

11:42pm Bex:
okay. i’m on them all the time

11:43pm Rae
having a dog makes you not even need another kid

11:44pm Bex:
truest story ever
jason just said the major issue with the dog is he is messing up the carpet.
and he begged for tide with bleach the other day. he is such a girl

11:45pm Rae:
yea, that is sooooooooooooooo major

11:46pm Bex:
there is still no one on my chat. not that I mind talking to you.

11:48pm Rae:
i’m starting to think you do. maybe they made themselves invisible to you

11:49pm Bex:
whatevs. why would they do that?
you need to start bringing me to screen your dates. say i’ve got to bring my sister
she’s married, but needs to get out

11:52pm Rae:
yea, that’s what morg and chels said too

11:53pm Bex:
i’m reading this email, did he graduatemiddle school? are you sure he’s 33?
he can capitalize words in the middle of the sentence, but not at the beginning/
you know that drives me crazy

11:55pm Rae:
he actually calledme his “rae of light”

11:56pm Bex:
that is what the term wth was made for.
although if we were in middle school, that might be sweet

11:57pm Rae:
i actually have a date fri

11:58pm Bex:
yea, with who? how’d you meet
criminal record?

12:00am Rae:
online, 25, tega cay, he builds patios and houses and crap,crimnal record i dunno

12:07am Bex:
okay, like he builds them on a regular basis or he helped someone build them one time
you know

12:16am Rae: its like a company

12:17am Bex:
good, good

12:17am Rae:

12:17am Bex:
okay, passed the prelims

12:17am Rae:
he has over 800 movies and a projector screen!!

12:18am Bex:
oh no. DO NOT go over to his house to watch a movie on the first night!
but otherwise
that is awesome
and so you

12:18am Rae:
lol no he wanted to go to the haunted house with me on friday but i told him i’ve already hes thinkin of somethin else to do

12:19am Bex:
okay…don’t be a sucka
that would be meepy, you know?

12:20am Rae:
lol..i mean it would but at this point i dont even really care i just want to have fun

12:20am Bex:
i know, but “fun” can make you want to slit your wrists the week after…right?

12:21am Rae:
dependin on what my expectations are goin into it

12:21am Bex:
true story

12:22am Rae:
if i know they dont want anything serious and i know i dont either i’m ok

12:22am Bex:
yea, on the same page and all that

12:22am Rae:

12:22am Bex:
so smokestack is a done deal?
or whatever you call him

12:23am Rae:

12:23am Bex:

12:23am Rae:
lol oh i was like who the hell is she talkin about
yea hes done with me so i have no choice

12:24am Bex:
hehe.he’s not ready for you lady. he’s got to get his shit together

12:25am Rae:
its not even that he just doesnt care never was just all bs

12:25am Bex:
he said that?

12:26am Rae:
no i know that

12:26am Bex:
so, definitely no druggies or recent druggies
keep that rule

12:27am Rae:

12:30am Bex:
i was thinking the other day, that if we played the drinking game “I never”, we would be able to annihilate each other.
i’d start with: I never dated a guy who kissed like a frgo
and you’d drink

12:31am Rae:
and i’d say i’ve never cheated on my bf..and u’d drink

12:32am Bex:
and it’d be on

12:32am Rae:
lol that it would..might actually be fun

12:32am Bex:
i never made out with someone on the ground at a football game

12:33am Rae:
lol if it had only been just that
man i’m havin trouble thinkin of stuff for u..i think u have WAY more shit on me then i do on u

12:34am Bex:
haha, possibly, but you never know
and yea, i was being nice in describing it as “make out”

12:35am Rae:
lol..well chick i’m off to bed and i’m goin to ponder the dirt i have on u..

12:35am Bex:
haha. love you

12:35am Rae:
love u more nite

12:36am Bex:
and you don’t love me more
i’m doing that

12:37am Rae is offline.

Sometimes, even when I don’t think I’m praying, God likes to jump into my conversations with myself. Kind of like the person standing behind you in line while you’re talking to whomever you’re with (loudly enough for everyone to hear), who just goes ahead and tosses in a passing comment like they were part of the conversation all along.

Today, it was right as I was grabbing the hair dryer. I asked,”When is everything just going to be okay?”

Before the thought was finished, the response came: “What if it already is?”

What if everything is okay, right now, always? What if we’re missing it the whole time because of how we’re looking at it?

What if nothing was not okay?

This makes me think of the book “The Shack” by William P. Young. Maybe not the question itself, but the thoughts that follow it. So what if rape and murder and abuse were okay? What if the Holocaust, 9/11, slavery, cancer, AIDS, homelessness, poverty, etc were okay? That’s what I think of when I think of someone arguing with this post. (I always imagine people arguing against my post, it’s part of my writing process).

What if our expectations, standards, and perspectives are the only thing making things not okay? To stop thinking in terms of right and wrong, to stop trying to make everything fit into an equation or a diagram.To stop thinking in  “should” and “shouldn’t s”.

Perspectives such as, if you’re a child, you shouldn’t have bad things happen to you. Why not? Because you’re less experienced and less capable of defending yourself, it would be the loving and responsible thing to do as a fellow human being to care for you and not harm you, yes. But your inherent right? Maybe not. Maybe not for anyone.

What are our rights? Our true human rights? I don’t necessarily know, this is all off the cuff here- but I do think that we believe we have more “rights” than we do, cosmically.

We focus more on what others should and shouldn’t do to and for and around us and not enough on how we can make the most of ourselves and our lives. How we can play the hell out of the hands we’re dealt. How we can be okay, with anything, with everything. How we can be loving, conscientious, purposeful, joyful, creative, ambitious, caring, interesting, empathetic, helpful, intimate, encouraging, empowered, inspiring…how we can be something instead of how we should be. Instead of how things should be…how are we, how can we see things, how can we can be, how our world can be.

How our little intimate, intricate, world we hold in our heart, in our minds, in our spirits; the universe that revolves around our energies; how it can be. The possibility of life, of living, of belief, of something so much bigger than our expectations- than something we can design for ourselves.

How can we take what we have,whatever that may be, and work with it? How can it be okay? Not that we won’t feel sad or angry or disappointed, but that it will be okay. That we feel things, that things happen, and that we have a peace about it, in the midst of it. That we believe it’s okay, even if we are not happy, even if we are devastated.

And to think beyond our world- what can we do outside of ourselves to contribute to the “okay” in someone else’s world? What can we do to bring ourselves together? To be okay together?

What if everything is already okay? And we are making it way too complicated? What if we’re missing it, and it’s right here?

What if?


Posted on: October 18, 2009

“(469): I love how my brain works. It’s like being on drugs without the costly upkeep.”- texts from last night

I fully agree.

Although, this does mean I can’t say “I was so wasted I…” I have to just say “I was so me, I…

Everybody has a love story. Most of us have several. Not just a love with a person. But a story about love. What we love, why we love it, how we’ve been loved, what it does for us- this love. How it saves us, how it changes us. All our love stories take us places, bring us to people. Ultimately all our love stories coincide. All the love stories of time collide. I believe they collide, coincide, in the big love- God.

As I write that line, I think of atheists, I think of agnostics and I think…I’m sorry. I’m sorry that for whatever reason you have come to the conclusion you have, because God is incredible. This love is incredible. But it’s there, always, so should you ever dip your toes back in, I hope the water is warm enough to entice you to come in and be open again. I hope the people around you radiate the intoxicating, unconditional, empowering, encompassing, liberating love of God. Because it’s so intensely beautiful. Insanely intimate. Completely customized. It’s not a bunch of rainbows and flowers, but it is just a whole new level of living, and whole new experience of consciousness. I’m not talking about any church or religion. Just God. The love that is God and everything that does in a person.

So, back to the love story. I have love stories about boys, of course. I have love stories about friends, about family, about softball, about the farm, about my youth group, about the campground, about writing, about music, about chorus, about Caribou, about coffee, about jewelry, about work, about my child- about so so much. I know people who have love stories about cars, motorcycles, guitars, furniture, restaurants, trinkets, hobbies, books, movies, traveling. Anything you can think of, someone has a love story for it.

I think sometimes we don’t realize how much God cares about our love stories. But I believe sincerely that God cares about our love stories. Because they can all lead us to God. Love empowers us, validates us, encourages us, lifts us up, moves us forward, holds us together, opens us up. Because God and love are ultimately one in the same, the more we practice and learn of love, the closer we dwell with God. The more we develop our understanding and sense of love, the more we see God in our daily lives. God is as near as we allow. God is everywhere we look for God.

I’m not working off any theologies here. I’m just working off the light in me. The light around me. I’m just working off experience here. That’s really all there is, no matter what anyone else says. Everyone’s ultimate love story is between themselves and God. No one else could possibly understand all the intricacies of it. It is that intensely personal. We have to remember this. Our love story is ours. Other’s love story is theirs.

I’ve written before about how in the face of all the brokenness of people’s lives, I’ve come to see life as art. As a massive work of art spanning all time and space. We can’t always see the beauty, but it’s a work in progress, and we are all part of the beauty, there is beauty in all the fragments, if we’re open to new kinds of beauty, if we’re open to love, we can begin to gather the beauty in our lives, in our own brokenness. We’ve got to look outside the boxes.

If we live in love, we carry light that makes it a little easier for us, and those around us, to believe, to catch glimpses of these things outside our initial line of sight-outside of those boxes.

If we decide to believe so, to see it as so, God gifts us all the time with lovely things for our love stories. Like a lover who knows all our quirky favorites and silly pleasures and goes out of their way to indulge us, we can see that God does the same. God is constantly courting us, if we pay attention, we will see it. If we let go of all the “supposed to’s” and just be for a while, just be, God will catch our eye. Because God is always there, always moving around us, offering us beauty and love.

God is also always allowing us the dignity of decision. God is always within reach, but there’s a distance between us that God leaves to us to decide to cross, and when, and how, and of course, how often- as we are always free to go where and when we choose.

Our ultimate lover is God. It is the epitome of all the love we’ve ever had or wanted. Everything we’ve sought, everything we’ve experienced- amplified to perfection. Our ultimate love story is the one we develop between ourselves and God.

We get excerpts of our stories and pass them out to others, read a column or two of theirs. We make cameos or play pivotal roles in the stories of those we encounter. We are all contributing editors to one another’s stories, though we all have our own, which we understand in a way no one else can. That’s why we each get our own story to put it all together in. It is constantly forming, never quite ready to go to print…It’s intimately ours and still a part of a larger work. The creative collaboration of all creation.

All our art, all our love, carefully rolled into one ultimate piece that we will one day get to look at, together, and revel in. The fulfillment of our efforts in life, in love. The fruition of determination and hope.

Isn’t that beautiful? Isn’t that a a story worth following? A project worth working on? Something to believe in? It is for me.

Art. Love. Hope. Promise. God. People. Stories. It’s all we’ve got. It’s all beautiful. It’s all worth it.

Wow, I am really irritated at the way I just had a post deleted while I was working on it. Really really irritated.

So this is going to be shorter and less involved. Because I’m irritated.

I had a dream last night. I was outdoors with a group of people I knew but couldn’t see and someone kind of stocky with a beard named Stuart came up and said in a panicked voice that someone I love was in a wreck. Then it was dark and someone was driving me in a car. The car was going fast. Then my alarm woke me up.

I told the person and they proceeded to tell me that they had a dream they saw a bad wreck.

Freaked me out.

So, to calm myself down I started looking at dream interpretation sites. I don’t necessarily put a lot of stock in dream interpretation, but I don’t really dismiss it’s possibilities either. It never hurts to dig deeper.

I looked at a few sites and liked this one.

The symbols pulled were: darkness, driving, group, love, travel

After reading and thinking about it, that person represents not only the love things, but also hope, creativity, fulfillment, dreams, enjoyment, and self. The group is a group associated with that person that I never get to hang out with, but want to. They also embody traits that the person does. I have a feeling I know where the Stuart guy came from too, after thinking about it from that perspective. So, I have this part of my life and self that is important to me, but I struggle with, and I fear losing, I fear allowing myself to be taken away from it, of letting someone or something else drive me away from it and I keep a lot of it to myself.

So, from that perspective, it’s not off mark and I could think of the the dream as a subconcious kind of warning, but not the kind I was thinking of. Which is interesting. And soothing. Because at least this is more in my hands (right?)….

I hear the most from God when I am most extremely broken. The broken where you aren’t even angry, aren’t questioning, aren’t trying, aren’t asking, aren’t doing anything but being broken. But that makes sense, since that kind of broken is so extremely open.

Not that I don’t hear from God otherwise, but perhaps I am listening most at those times…the why is not the purpose of this post. The purpose is the what. What was said today. By God, to me. I talked, and cried and listened and wrote and cried a little more and talked a little more, and read, and listened, and settled a little in the truth of it.

And moved a little, and rested a little, and loved and prayed and hoped and practiced focus and made peace with my prayers; the words, the movements, the pulls, the incredible, the intense, the promise, the now, the past, the future.

I take to heart the communication, the promise, the love story. I take to heart the promise. The promise is presence. The promise is love. Not Hollywood love-LOVE. THE LOVE. The ultimate Every Thing. And all that goes with that, all that implies. I don’t even think it can be explained with words alone. It is so much more, and it is so completely individual.

Here it is:

“Remember, everything is ultimately about our love story.

Don’t be so heartsick sweetheart. I know what you need. It’s all in the works. It’s all happening. Have patience. Keep hope. Transform that perceived loss to hope-possibility-promise. Listen to me.

I know your prayers before you finish forming them in your core.

I know your heart, your hope, what you cling to, what you reach for

Your aches are open here

Your life is exactly right, as it is to be right now

Everything matters, everything has meaning

I know.

Don’t be discouraged. Don’ t let hope hurt you. That is not it’s intent. Don’t let hope break you, discourage you. Don’t hand your hope over to anyone who will distort it.

Listen to me.

To my promise, to the beautiful.

Take all those moments that are so completely right and weave them around you, they are my promises to you, they are the fruition of persistence and belief.

Keep moving with me. Keep believing.

Keep your eyes on my love for you. Nothing, No Thing else, and you will understand all the movements of my light.

You will always have material to write, don’t worry about that.

Beautiful child-this is our love story. Please, don’t forget.”

The last two lines make me cry every time because I never speak, even in my prayers, of the fear of not having material to write, of some deep seated fear of too much good and not enough bad leaving me inspiration-less.

So now is the part where I have to keep this in the front of my heart, like a shield, to reflect off everything else. That’s so much harder than it sounds.

There’s a line of prayer my grandfather used to pray at his dinner table, that my Dad then used in his  prayers at our dinner table, that I, without even realizing it, began to add to my prayers at my dinner table (and other places as well).

Please continue to lead, guide, and bless us

Even for all the specific needs that exist, that I lift up, I think, ultimately, those three words cover it. Lead, guide, bless. What it doesn’t say, it implies. Love, trust.

Over the past year or two, I’ve thought a lot about God as an artist, of life as art, some big mural mosiac of mixed media that spans all time and space and creation…I’m getting the feeling that the next movement in this line of thought has taken seed…