Why Must I Write?

I wrote this post for another website but this morning I found it here, so I decided to share it.

What seems like four hundred years ago; before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WordPress or even MySpace existed; before Apple, before Windows, before PC’s, Lap tops and even before word processors; there were yellow pads, composition notebooks and black Bic Pens. These were and still are my favorite tools of expressive writing.

I can remember being a wee tot visiting and being awed by the supply room at my father’s company. All of those shelves just full of colored papers, notebooks, steno pads, yellow pads, packages of pens and pencils, markers and the like! Whenever I was there visiting I was allowed to go into that room and select some paper and pens to work with. I always selected the notebooks and pens and I can still recall being thrilled to sit at a “big person desk” and scratch away as if I were working hard for the company! Looking back, I truly believe those times shaped my love of new pens and notebooks.

In the sixth grade we studied “The Diary of Anne Frank” and it is this book that I credit as being the impetus of my lifelong love affair with writing. I came away from reading that story with the incredible “new-to-me” idea that I could actually sit down and chronicle my thoughts and feelings about life. Anne Frank decided to think of her diary as a friend, so she named it, “Kitty”. Sixth grade Bobbe thought this was a such a cool idea, I named my own diary, “Monet”. (The memory of this makes me burst into laughter. Monet was actually the given name of our standard poodle who we called, “Moe”, because we all thought the name Monet was too pretentious! Somehow I thought, “Monet” would be a good name for my pretend diary friend. (Don’t Worry, it was short-lived.)

As you might imagine, my sixth-grade diary entries consisted of things that I considered to be earth-shattering at the time, “Dear Monet. Today we went to Actors Theater and we watched the play, ‘Anne Frank’. I was so happy because “so-and-so” sat next to me!” ; “Dear Monet, today Sr. Clara yelled at us for no reason at ALL!”, etc.

Aside: I have searched my house high and low, I know that little diary is hidden in some corner because I was just looking at it laughing. I really wanted to photograph it for this blog. I will keep writing and keep searching and hopefully it will show up in time for me to finish this!’ Until then, here are just a few journals that happen to be sitting within arms reach. The little one is from my 7th and 8th grade years. You can’t really see it but there are two more notebooks underneath the open ones. Yes, I have always written on a regular basis.

Anyway, I made it a practice to write in that little book daily. It may not have been great writing, but it shaped me to make a good habit of recording my thoughts and feelings regularly. Looking back through my writings it strikes me just how much I have always written about my relationship with God and all of the gratitude I have for His presence in my life. Very often my little girl entries were entirely about trying to be a better person in order to please Him. Interesting stuff, considering  the fact that other than attending Catholic school and Mass on Sundays, no one in my life was force-feeding me information about God.

As an adult I still find myself drawn to write about my feelings and experiences. Very often, writing is therapy for me, (you may have noticed this if you’ve read any of my prior blog entries), but I have also found through years of blogging on my personal site, that when I share my true life experiences, I am touching others who might be needing a lift or help not feeling alone.

This is really why I write.

I never feel more alive and whole than when I am sharing my heart through my writing. Early in life my little letters to “Monet” gave way to recording the events of each day; who I encountered and how I was feeling about it. That morphed into letters to God, notes to the angels, prayers, and lots of true diary entries that spoke of happiness and excitement but also of depression, confusion and pain. Today as I was leafing through that little journal with the pink writing, I was laughing hysterically, reading aloud to Charlie, some of the incredibly stupid entries. (Occasionally, he would belly-laugh too.) But then I’d come across an unexpected little post about being scared and sad because my parents were downstairs fighting and the memories flood right back. This is another reason I write. It helps me remember where I’ve come from. It reminds me of my strength when I’m not feeling particularly strong, and this is what I want to help others to feel as well.

I can’t remember the occasion for the actual FIRST blog I ever wrote or even what I wrote about, specifically. What I remember, instead, is the flood of thank you emails I received because of it. Somewhere along the line I started incorporating my true life experiences together with how I prayed and learned to cope and the response from total strangers is what compels me to write even to this day. I wasn’t doing anything special. I was just sharing the truth about how hard life sometimes is. What I learned is that there are a gazillion people out there scared to death about what other people might think, so they stay mired in unhappiness and this is why I write. I guess I talk about the things people are scared to talk about, even if it means baring my sometimes ugly past and soul.

I don’t even remember writing that little diary entry up there and that’s a good thing. Seeing it reminds me that all things pass and all things are possible.

And so I continue to write in the hopes my words might find themselves in the heart of the person or persons who most need them. That’s usually what ends up happening.

Life has a way of working out that way.

With love,

Bobbe

Warrior Souls

Often I meet with people who are experiencing an absolute blockage of the spirit. They are covered up in a closed blanket of disbelief and negativity with regard to self. This is because in life, we forget to put on our suits of armor to protect ourselves from the potentially damaging words and deeds of others.

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“No one can put a leash on my spirit and I’ll follow it exactly and precisely where it wants me to go, thank you!” ~Bobbe Ann Crouch circa 2009

Often I meet with people who are experiencing an absolute blockage of the spirit. They are covered up in a closed blanket of disbelief and negativity with regard to self. This is because in life, we forget to put on our suits of armor to protect ourselves from the potentially damaging words and deeds of others. We give power to what other people think and do and say about us, even at the very high cost of our precious self worth and self esteem. Why is this?

My feeling has always been that people are basically good at the core. We are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, which is why it’s important to think before speaking to others, to assess whether our words are important or just wasted air. It’s of high importance to recognize that no one has the right or ability to squash the spirit, but it still happens, doesn’t it?

Preventing this makes connecting to one’s basic goodness, a very high priority. Words cannot penetrate the soul of a person who is connected to the basic goodness of the spirit. This is why so often, I require people to literally start to count their Blessings. A person focused on the good side of life cannot be easily harmed by the word daggers someone else may be throwing.

Remember this phrase: “Words have Weight”. Watch what you say to others so that you are not unwittingly covering someone else’s goodness. Likewise, put on your suit of armor and remember that you have the ability to deflect negativity at every turn.

Connect to the goodness inside you and refuse to let it go.

PS: When I got home yesterday, this was waiting for me!

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Journey to the Cocoon

Today I ponder the fact that we are all a part of the caterpillar and vice versa. In a sense we are all trying to make our way across the asphalt jungle of life, trying to get to a place where we can finally feel free enough to release our inner beauty.

writer

What seems like a hundred years ago I used to be one of the top bloggers at MySpace (back when MySpace) was popular. (Stop laughing.) Like clockwork, I began every morning at the computer taking dictation from my heart. I wrote from my soul, with passion, about anything and everything. Nothing was off-limits. It came to me very easily.

Lately I’ve been traveling around other people’s blogs and have found a few that really speak to me on a heart level. Most of them are written about real-life struggles with depression, addiction, family issues and the like. Most of them are about sweet people trying to fight their way back (or towards) a healthier way of life. I can relate on so many levels. This is a worthy fight that I feel continually part of.

I admire the people who are able to write from the place of brutal honesty. It seems like I have been spinning my wheels trying to get back to that place for a long time. Somewhere along the line I’ve become guarded with my expression of what’s inside me. I really want that to end. I want to be able to write like I used to write. I want to rid myself of anything that is currently in my way.

Okay a little side note here: The moment I typed that last sentence, “I want to rid myself of anything that is currently in my way.”, a box popped up on my screen that actually said, “Bill W. is in need of catering this weekend.” Don’t A.A. people say something like, “Are you friends with Bill W?” Ha Ha. (So funny how the Universe works. Looks like I’ll be ridding myself of my evening cocktail come Monday.)

This morning for no apparent reason I decided to go visit an old blog of mine and this is what popped up. I think the Universe wants me to post it for my new blogger friends who are working on themselves. It’s for me too, because I seem to be a constant work in progress!

Metamorphosis

I am no fan of the caterpillar.

Funny, as children we joyfully grab them from the pavement, talk to them, pet them, let them crawl on us and even try to keep them in jars.  Thirty years later the mere site of one gives me the heebie jeebies.  Gross!

Last week after watching hundreds of these slinky silken beings travel across my deck and front porch-each of them in search of a safe haven in which to transform- I had an epiphany.

Maybe as children we intrinsically recognize the caterpillar as part of our own selves.  I can remember feeling a certain empathy for these creatures, which is probably why I used to pick them up and carry them across the parking lot, assuring them a safe journey to the woods.  I didn’t want to see a single one meet an untimely and squishy death.

Today I ponder the fact that we are all a part of the caterpillar and vice versa.  In a sense we are all trying to make our way across the asphalt jungle of life, trying to get to a place where we can finally feel free enough to release our inner beauty.  I look back on my own life and recognize there have been a lot of little kid hands lifting me up and carrying me when I didn’t feel I could make it across the lot on my own.

Over the weekend I saw a caterpillar making his way up my front door.  I didn’t stop long enough to see where he was trying to go, nor did I really care.  I was busy with my list of tasks for the day.  A little later on, after I’d been in and out a few more times, I noticed something interesting.  He’d spun his cocoon and gone into his chrysalis right on my doorbell button!  What a fitting symbol for me at this time in my life.

The butterfly has been a personal sign of mine for many years (I’m sure I am not alone in this).  Throughout my life I’ve had many experiences of cocooning, hiding myself away from the rest of the world, spun into my own little nest, trying to transform and emerge anew.  Maybe this is why I recoil when I see a caterpillar. Eek, bluck, and gross. Sometimes it’s not easy remembering the journey to the cocoon, even when we have all ready transformed into butterflies.

That caterpillar deliberately placed himself on my doorbell so I would see him every day and be reminded that I am Blessed beyond comprehension.  In just a short while, he will emerge a transformed being to fly off and begin anew.  In much the same manner, I will be opening the door to a new and wonderful life as well.

The door bell?  Well of course you do know that “every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings”?  (Couldn’t resist that one, sorry)

The butterfly is a universal symbol for the transformation of life.   It is a symbol of great joy and great change.

butterfly on flowers

But most importantly, butterflies remind us that the power of metamorphosis is always within our reach.

May you find a caterpillar at your front door very soon!

Grateful Heart stays the course.

happy-heart

Good grief, it takes so little these days to truly MAKE my day. Yesterday I posted the second little blog I’ve done in years. It was with a bit of trepidation, because I am such a perfectionist! (I have a hard time showing anything that I do not deem to be my personal best.) I did it though, because I am attempting to challenge myself in new ways; ONE of which is to relax my standards a bit. (Who am I kidding, that’s really never going to happen the way it sounds! ha ha) It’s probably better to say I am currently challenging myself in all sorts of new, uncomfortable ways.

Anyway, before I hit that “publish” button, I held a silent pep-rally for myself.

“It doesn’t matter-no one is going to see this anyway. It’s just practice. You can share the links later when you are back in the saddle, etc.”.

Soon after I hit that button, I left my home office determined not to think about it again; just happy I could cross, “write something” off my list.

Then last night something happened. I started getting email notifications that people were subscribing to and liking this blog. I nearly cried. It’s such a small thing, but truly, I am so grateful. It’s the little things that count, right? ♥

So with this tiny boost to my heart, I was able to get through last night without veering from my current eating plan. (Protein shake for breakfast; chalky protein shake for lunch; sensible dinner.) Instead of my planned menu, I made perhaps the best meatloaf I’ve ever made in my life (recipe below), steamed broccoli and regular baked potatoes. The plan had been to make naked burgers and sweet potatoes, but I wasn’t feeling it. (Also, long about four PM, I was starting to have food fantasies, so I made a salad of romaine, tomato, artichoke, onion and light Caesar dressing. It hit the spot.)

(Did I fail to mention I’m a foodie? I probably should have said something. Soon you’ll be seeing photos of my creations!

Tonight is the biggest challenge of the week. Wednesdays are always hard as my hubs and I cook the Fellowship meal for a hundred church people each week.  (Of course today, I FORGOT to pack my lunchtime caulk – I mean shake- but that’s not the real challenge.) Wednesday’s we get into the kitchen around 1PM. Dinner is served promptly at 5:15, so it’s a lot of running around in between. (Did I mention it’s four thousand degrees in the kitchen right now?) The challenge comes when we hit the door at home and it’s almost 7PM and we’re tired. The last thing I want to do is eat, but we’re so wired from working, we don’t want to just lie down either. So what do we do? Usually Wednesday night we have a well-deserved, delicious celebratory cocktail. Not tonight.  I made a vow to stick to this program for 2 weeks, so no imbibing for me this evening.

How will I manage? Determination, dedication and prayer and lots of it. This morning before I got out of bed, I had my morning convo with Jesus. Later, when I went downstairs, I got out my prayer journal and wrote for a while. It’s making a huge difference. There is something to be said about keeping prayer in the forefront of your heart. There is something to be said about keeping a journal just for prayers and intentions. For me it feels as though it’s written on my heart as well as in that journal and it helps me STICK to the PLAN!

Tomorrow I will start to include photos of the things I’m talking about in the hopes that you are currently in the midst of a challenge, you might think about the things that are working for me and give them a try! (I even keep the cutest mini journal in my purse for times when I feel I need a boost. Yes, I do jot down notes and prayers to God there. You’d be surprised at how often the answers come in all sorts of ways.)

OH and…ALSO tomorrow, I have to share the coolest thing EVER…one of my new favorite things…a piece of art that someone rescued from a dumpster for me! (perks of working part-time for a church!) Stay tuned!!

If you are following me, THANK YOU! You make my heart smile! If you have a blog, I will be visiting soon!


Best little Meatloaf Ever 

meatloaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef (we had a grass-fed 80/20 on hand so that’s what I used)
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (I had organic pizza sauce on hand so I used that)
  • 1/2 minced onion
  • 1/4 grated Parmesan
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 3/4 c. steel cut oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Dash or two organic ketchup for the top (optional)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Combine all ingredients (except the optional ketchup).
  • Press into a 8″ x 4″ loaf pan, top with a slathering of organic ketchup if you so desire.
  • Bake 45 minutes.

This recipe will serve 4 – 6 people depending on how large you like your slices. Since it’s just my hubs and I, he will have leftovers for a couple of lunches!

PS-I adapted this recipe from one I found on the Internet.

 

 

Day one. THIS-THAT-JOY

Bobbe

As a creative person, I often feel a knocking inside my heart that says, “Let it out!  It’s time!” So this morning while I have a few hours and no set schedule, I decided my fingers should try to take dictation from my heart. The fact that my computer screen just started flashing the moment I finished that sentence, is good indication that the Universe concurs. The fact that it flashed on and off again in the exact same spot just after I read this aloud to myself -really seals the deal. It’s been too long.

Most people know me from another blog I write, entitled: Bobbe’s Trinity Angels“.  This isn’t that. So often I feel like writing about random happenings in my life.  I sign on to that site and what I want to write doesn’t seem appropriate, so I keep it bottled inside. So here is where I will post those items that do not always fit into the “inspirational musings” category. I can weave inspiration into most anything, but in my real life, sometimes I do feel pain, sadness,  sorrow, silliness, weirdness and yes, even outrage. So because I’m a person who feels better when things are in the “proper” place, this will be the space for all that.

Yesterday I had a delightful visit from a lady I barely know, who walked into my office, unannounced, unfolded a chair and sat down. We’d been talking on the phone fairly often about a position I’m trying to secure. She felt it was time to put a face with my voice and go deeper into who I really am. She announced it wasn’t an interview, but rather just a visit to find out, “Who ARE you?”

I don’t think I’ve been asked this question before.

It forced me to sit still a minute and to reflect on what to say in response. It’s easy to talk about what I do for a living, where I live, who my friends are, what I know,etc… but who AM I? That question forced me go right to where my reality lives. Instantly, I found myself talking about my life and what has shaped me; which opened the floor for more questions. It was a joyful, wonderful, heart-filled conversation (my favorite).  At one point she looked around my office and seeing my paintings and hearing my stories she asked, “If you could do it all over again, where would you be?  What would you do?”.  I laughed and said I’d probably be exactly where I am today except I’d have more power, I’d have all ready published a few books and I’d have the official title, “Reverend” in front of my name. (Yeah that’s right, you read it here first!) Additionally, I’d like to get back into motivational speaking.

“Yes, the speaking is definitely on my bucket list for later!”, I said with total glee.

She gave me a supreme compliment at this point when she said, “Well you are an excellent story teller. You should be out there sharing.”

Can you imagine a heart smiling?  Mine was.

When I got home I reflected further on who I am at my core and I can only come up with one word, Love. Sounds trite doesn’t it?

In thinking about who I am, I have to go inside and ask myself what are the things that are most important to me; what are my values; what do I stand for in this life; why am I here? When I come up from this deep thought, I see myself only as a child of the Most High and as long as I’m connected to Him, I have love flowing through my veins. THIS makes me want to work in service of others and when I get to do THAT in even the tiniest form,  JOY arrives.

Yesterday I had a joyful conversation with a new friend. While I may not have the new position secure, I’m grateful that God sent me a message through this lady.  I needed to stop and reflect on who I AM and really ask the question, is my life on course with what’s in my heart.  Gratefully, with a few exceptions, it is.

Who are you?  

Have you ever been asked this question?

 What would you say?

 

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