I dated him for eight years; I’ve been married to him for two. Because he finally asked me to be his wife in the middle of a field in the middle of a rainstorm. He’s the one my soul loves. A love that is Tender. Crazy. Tested. Solid. Challenging. Cherished. I believe that in marriage you should hold hands in the car and take time for fishing. And for praying. And talking. And kissing. And stuff.
My black lab’s name is Jovie, which means “joy,” and one of my greatest joys is her puppy kisses and nose nudges and sweet silly quirks and fierce loyalty to me.
I feel restless often, a claustrophobic need for space and a beautiful place. I need Free. Stars. Sun. A Creek. Fishing or walking or simply sitting on my porch or by the fire pit. I need to feel the wind. I need country. But I must also have the culture and the cuisine and a bit of glamour (sometimes) and flowers poking through sidewalk cracks and lots of art.
I love the soothing qualities of hot cocoa or cider and coffee and tea. And I believe these rituals open up the soul, start the imagination, stir the heart, comfort and bind strangers and friends.
I have the strangest form of social anxiety. I panic when it comes to people. I feel awkward around them yet know how desperately I need them and disappoint myself when I shut them out. I’m an introvert who likes small groups but hates shallow conversation. Talking one-on-one with you may cause a panic attack or a case of hives, but I want to know you anyway. I’m usually very calm when standing in front of an audience, however. I love any kind of stage–the way it feels to connect and entertain. I think I’m a little bit insane.
I believe in always learning. In movement. In bruised knees. In refusing to allow the world to make you hard. I believe in being different. And breaking the stupid rules if you want.
I like pearls and cameo jewelry and sundresses and perfect fitting jeans and cowboy boots. I like children’s laughter and word games and quilts and good gritty literature.
My heart is stuck (I think it always will be) somewhere in Memorial High School, the first place I taught others to dare, to become.
And at the University of Evansville where I learned to be me. And learned about people and all of the important things. From sitting in We Care circles for hours just listening.
I lost my hearing in the eighth grade. Suddenly. Almost completely. I remain deaf in my left ear. Fluctuating hearing in my right. Doctors say I have Meniere’s disease, a frustrating illness. But I’m reminded to hold up hands to God when I need steadied. And I know that when I can hear nothing else, I still can hear Him. I gained more than I lost.
I somehow lost the ability to remember numbers. Math stopped making sense to me in the fourth grade. Fourth grade is when I realized that all of those word problems in our textbook could stand to be a little more interesting. So I rewrote them. Added details. Changed names. Took out the actual numbers. And tied the questions together so they made a story.
I must record stories. Your stories. Mine. To understand. Make you feel understood. I always make sure a notebook is nearby. In my purse. In my Bible. in the kitchen. By my bed. But I also write lists and poems and scripture on post-its, on scraps, on envelopes, on the backs of bills. I write all over the page. Sometimes sideways. And when I stumble upon these bits of paper again, they are more than scraps. More like gems.
I believe in crossing off items from my bucket list and dreaming up more ideas constantly. I believe in dancing in the kitchen. In aromatherapy bubble baths. And the quiet of the morning. I believe food should be an experience. I believe in not straightening my hair. I believe in the changing seasons.
I am a southern wildflower transplanted in the north. But now a hearty, healthy thing–still thriving and keeping my face to the sun. And I grow.