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A journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step.

Lao Tzu

Hello new friends. This blog is going to be filled up with my random thoughts and musings. Words about closure, mental health, spiritual journeys, and this thing called life.

I’ll also talk about other topics, like monsters, lore, conspiracies and you know, whatever else swirles into my grey matter. I’m an introvert that thinks a lot but talks little. Stick around and let’s mull over the questions of the universe, love, life and our own minds together. #life #thoughts

Stolen Ones

The best books are the stolen ones.

Okay, not STOLEN, stolen. Please don’t go into Barnes and Noble and walk out with a copy of The Stand hidden in your pants because of me. But you know. The secondhand ones. The borrowed and not returned ones. The ones grabbed from the neighborhood book box, or pulled from a free bin in a college dorm.

Those ones.

I lived in an apartment complex for a time with a bookshelf in the lobby which you could take books from or add books to. Kind of like one of those old “need a penny take a penny, have a penny leave a penny” jars. I left many books on that shelf and traded them in for other resident’s old discarded books of every variety. It was an adventure, and there was something about taking people’s things that felt ever so sneaky.

One of my personal favorite “stolen” books is 1984.

I borrowed the aforementioned copy of 1984 when I was 19 from a friend I had grown up with. I had happened to run into him after not seeing him for a handful of years and we had dinner together. He was just home from his college adventure in Russia. Although we has been friends growing up, his life had taken a different and much more adventurous turn than my own as he got older and we had a fun evening of swapping stories and reminiscing about our shared childhood.

I spotted the book on his bookshelf and he, (in his very analytical tone) described the entire plot from beginning to end, then told me to take it. I told him I would give it back to him the next time I saw him, which we both knew wouldn’t be for a long, long time.

That was nearly 10 years ago, and I haven’t seen him since. Every time I see that white and blue book on the bookshelf shoved in next to its brother Animal Farm, I think of my old friend and our memories and hope he is well, wherever he may be.

My favorite books are ones such as these. The weird ones with special stories, crinkled covers and memories.

Of course, everyone loves Barnes and Noble, but I don’t think I’ve bought a full price book in many moons. Even when I buy books off Amazon I buy second hand, hoping I’ll find a little piece of someone’s story- be it hand scrawled notes, a bookmark, or a coffee stain, stuck between the pages.

What about you? What’s your favorite secondhand, special, or stolen book?

The Best Books

Buying books, especially old books, is a fascination and my biggest weakness. I love the old wear and tear on antiques, and sitting and pondering where the scraped up hardbacks were before they made their way to me.

The most outlandish purchase I ever decided upon was when I bought two beautiful 18th century French books. (Thank you Etsy). They shipped from France, are in French, and it took them two months to get to me here all the way on the other side of the globe. I’m not sure what came over me, but I had to have them. P.S.: I don’t read French.

I am hoping dearly I have a child as obsessed with books as I so I have someone to pass my ever growing collection on to. My husband does not see the value in books, he is all about the new tech. One day, he brought home a beautiful vintage copy of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle because he wanted to cut it up and use it in an art project. (Which was not allowed, it is now safely in my custody.)

I enjoy new books too, of course. There are always talented authors turning out informative and imaginative stories.

Depending on the day, if you asked me what my favorite book was, I would probably say Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers, or perhaps The Illustrated Man, one of Ray Bradbury’s lesser known works. There must be at least 10 more in the favorite catagory, like Nathaniel Philbrick’s brilliant work In the Heart of the Sea, and the sweet fiction The Amythyst Heart by Penelope J. Stokes, which I have bought three copies of over the period of my short life.

My grandpa had a large library that I vaguely remember from when I was a child, with tall towering rows of books, and a ladder just like in the movies. It’s my dream to have a home with a library with this one day, (isn’t it all of ours?)

As for now, I’ll continue my crazy reading, collecting and stacking, and pray for a child that will love the written word as much as I do.

What about you? What are your favorites? Are you on your way to a library and multi-generational collection?

#books #library

The Last Letter

I used to think about you every day.

Every single day.

I’d think about what I would do, and what I would say if I saw you. The things I would say to her.

But that was long ago.

Its been two years now, two years since you told me that I wasn’t what you wanted; that you had found someone else.

Two years since divorce papers, sleepless nights surrounded by everything I owned shoved in boxes, and pitied looks from family and friends while I hid under the covers, wondering how my life had absolutely fallen to pieces. This wasn’t the sort of thing that was supposed to happen to someone like me. This wasn’t happy every after. Where had it gone wrong.

I remember the day we met. You were tall, dark, and handsome. Like in the movies. I remember the way you made me feel. Small. Less than; but that was fine- good, even, since you had it all together. If I had known then, the way you would make me feel in the end, betrayed, worthless, would I still have gone on that very first date with you?

Yes.

I spent a lot of time alone, angry, in bad habits after it all was over. For many months. My thoughts were dark.

But in the end, I was forced to look at myself and ask the question, “Who am I really– and how am I going to spend the rest of my life?” 

I had to make a decision. So I challenged myself to make every day different and better and to consciously spend time doing things that I cared about: helping others, supporting charities, and being myself, an introvert that enjoys reading, writing and intellectual discussion.

While doing one of these things, I met a man unlike any other- and right away I knew I was going to marry him, something I said I was never going to do again.

The wedding was in July. It was the perfect day. It was bright, peaceful, with sunflowers, friends, and vows. Real promises, made with someone who intends to keep his word forever. Now I have a new last name, an amazing new family, and my husband and I just bought a house.

Me. Buying a house. What? All things I never ever thought I would be able to do. The things I never thought I would have. Family. Home. Love.

I still think about you sometimes. I did today, that’s why I wrote this letter. It’s autumn- I remember our first date was right around Halloween like this. I borrowed a scarf from my sister, I was so nervous because I didn’t know what to wear. I thought about you on your birthday too. 27. You liked your birthday when we were together- since for two months I would only seem one year older than you, instead of two. And I thought of you in March, on the day that would have been our wedding anniversary. Our third anniversary, then the fourth.

I wonder if you think about me too. Perhaps when the little things come up, like playing our favorite online games, or driving past a place where we used to go together.

I used to look for you on Facebook. I did the other day. I saw your profile picture, and see you’re with the same girl still. You’re smiling. And it made me smile.

I’m not mad anymore. I’m not jealous. I hope you’re happy, because for the first time in my life, I really am. I’m happy with my life. I’m proud of who I am. I’m proud of my life, my family, and the person I’m becoming. And I never would have gotten to where I am today without you.

I’m not ashamed of my story. Of being divorced and remarried before 30. Maybe my story will help someone else. Everything happens for a reason.

Thank you for everything. Truly. I hope you’re doing well, and please take care of yourself.

Sincerely,

Hannah Eileen

#divorce #writing #thoughts

The Wedding Industry

I just ate all the cheese in my entire house. “How much cheese was previously in your home?” You may ask. A reasonable question. The answer? More than should be eaten in one sitting.

Much more.

My wedding is in two and a half weeks. At this point I am frustrated, upset, and ready for the whole ordeal to be over. There are costly invoices to pay, the hassle of trying to get a head count on individuals that haven’t RSVP’d, and the never ending coordinating of the controlling mother, estranged family, rentals, stray groomsmen, and on and on it goes.

This. Is. Not. Fun. And it makes me sad.

This is my second wedding. When my current fiance, Braden, and I got engaged, I told him I wanted to have a courthouse marriage and a reception with our friends later to celebrate. He was insistent on a wedding, which I don’t fault him for. This is our forever wedding, and it was important for him to have a ceremony surrounded by family and friends- which he has many of. But it’s not until you’re in the middle of wading through venue costs and overpriced folding chairs do you realize what a sham modern weddings can be.

Weddings today are an industry. Every item is overpriced, from the bridesmaids dresses to “MUST HAVE” decor (that you are going to use once and then set in your garage and continually try to get rid of). Braden and I have tried to keep a strict wedding budget, using the outdoor area of our church as the venue, DIYing our own decorations and music, and only having dessert and bottled water instead of opting for dinner or any expensive drinks. We are keeping it simple and sweet and want people to be comfortable and have a good time. Still, the total cost for our wedding and reception will equal what could have been a few months of mortgage payments or a dream honeymoon cruise.

When I look at my parent’s wedding pictures, they were taken in a small church with a Polaroid camera. My parents were happy, celebrating their union with a simple cake, surrounded with the people they cared about most. Isn’t this what we all want our wedding to be? A special day that we can remember with the people we love? It makes me sad that advertising, media and popular culture has turned a day that should be something of happiness, celebration and the marking of a union of two people into an expensive production and something stressful. It encourages couples to spend, spend and spend and to impress, impress, impress. There is an overarching need to post pictures on social media and let strangers ooh and aah at the lavish decorations and creative photograph poses and extravagant dinner, as if the wedding is a direct reflection of the couple’s wealth, personality, and relationship. Weddings focus on performance and show and less and less on the actual meaning and reason for the wedding.

My first wedding was the textbook David Tutera big white wedding, with the lace and billowing decorations and Cinderella dress and pearl decor. I wanted people to know that I was fancy and grown up and elegant. But a wedding doesn’t create a marriage or mean anything about your vows- and if you’re having a wedding to make a statement, then maybe you should rethink if you’re ready to make the promise you’re going to make at the altar. (No judgement, seriously. Speaking from experience.)

I digress. Anyway. I am hoping to finish up all the loose ends before our wedding, July 26th. My life feels completely out of control right now- and when it does generally I do my favorite disassociating thing, escape to writing fiction where my life is all in order and I am some awesome hero (completely in control of the universe). But of course I don’t have time for writing six hours of fiction late into the night, because I have invoices to organize, vows to write, decor to finish DiY’ing, so I guess I will have to buck up and face my problems like an adult by… eating a block of cheddar cheese?

Braden, the love of my life, keeps telling me that everything will work out- and if it doesn’t, we are there together, we are taking our vows, and that is all that matters. I keep on trying to hold to that, and not the trappings of what society and culture and the Portland bridal shows says is important on the wedding day…cutsie wedding favors, perfectly timed wedding songs and goddess style hair and makeup. So what if we run out of plates. If you didn’t RSVP..no plate for you. If my dress gets dirty, well…that’s what I get for wearing white.

We’re all there for the ‘I do’s’ anyway. And then, finally, I get to annoy one special person for the rest of my life.

#wedding #stress #life

Did You Like Twin Peaks?

I just finished watching Twin Peaks yesterday. I jumped on it when I found it on Netflix since I have heard people talking about it for as long as I can remember. Its a conversation that always goes something like ‘Twin Peaks is so good, it was really the first show of its kind.’

I’m still a bit confused how I feel about it here at the end of season two. I feel like it was a mix between a great show, an unsettling shroom trip, and an awkward independent film that had directors switch halfway through (the second director was much better.)

Okay, I know I can’t harp on it of course because it’s one of those classics that you appreciate even with all its quirks.

I will admit, there was a great ensemble of lovable characters and many moments that were laugh out loud funny. The humor at times hearkened back to the slapstick humor in ‘Airplaine’ and ‘The Naked Gun’ which is my favorite type of comedy.

There were also a lot of moments that were dark and scary and some very surprising twists and turns. However there were also a few “filler” characters and dramatic relationship fluff that just seemed to take up airtime and made the episodes drag.

The best characters were the main FBI agent and sheriff’s department team, and the main storyline surrounded these individuals. It would have been more enjoyable if the show would have zeroed in on the mystery and darkness of the murder and focused less on the soapy relationship drama in the small town.

This show came out the year before I was born so am I missing some of the nuance of it due to being a younger generation? Am I just spoiled and jaded due to today’s modern TV selection and streaming services? Honest question- what is so great about it, or was it just unique for it’s time? Did you enjoy it? What are your thoughts?

#tv #reviews #thoughts #twin-peaks

Sober

Today is a special day for me. I have officially not had a drink for 365 days. Talking about sobriety is weird. People get strange.

My story and my problem dont reflect on anyone but myself. Although I joked about it constantly about it in the past, about being an alcoholic and driving myself to drink- I really was, and had a serious problem for a number of years.
I am so excited and proud to have reached this marker.

No, I can’t go to out to eat and just have one drink. I can’t have alcohol in the house because I can’t do anything in moderation. And yes, I do think about my addiction often, and how much easier it would be to drown any problems in my life like I used to, and not work through the issues going on in the day to day.

This year has been my best year both mentally and physically and very, very hard, but I wouldnt have it any other way.

I am so thankful for every person in my life that has helped me through the hard days and never judged me, and their prayers and support. I’m not ashamed to share my story. Any type of addiction is hard. If you are working through it now I am so proud and don’t give up.


#addiction
#sobriety
#my-story

Podcast Generation

I am so very glad I was born in the era of podcasts. I should probably be thankful I was born in the era of you know, toilets, vaccines, cars, things like that. But podcast are my favorite.

The first podcast I got into was Aaron Mahnke’s Lore after I watched the first season of the Amazon series. It was all downhill from there. I binged the series, and then tried to find other series similar. Soon I was knee deep into Astonishing Legends, Unexplained, Monsters Among Us, Crime Junkie, Unsolved Murders and on and on- overly excited that there was a community of people who were as interested in monsters, madness, cryptids and the unsolved questions of the universe as I was.

I think podcasts allow us to connect with a large group of like-minded people, as well as learn new and exciting things not previously available in such a specific and accessible format. Many podcasts also have their own online communities where listeners can connect and discuss the show and other topics related to their similar interests.

What do you think about podcasts? Have you delved into this newer world of media? If so, what is your favorite genre and series?

28 Reflections: This Year’s Journey

Birthdays always make me woefully reflect. I always get a little somber on the day of my birth, I can’t help it. It seems like every birthday I have to recollect on what I was doing on the last birthday, and how much my life has changed since then.

Thankfully, I’ve never had a birthday that I’ve looked back on and said “I’m so regretful of this past year.” I’d have to say, 27 was my most facepalm year, but coming straight out of a divorce and trying to right myself would be a bit tough for anyone. All things considered, I am very thankful for the Lord sustaining me so I didn’t crash and burn like I so desperately wanted to at times.

This past year, 28, I said that I wanted to make every day count. I prayed that life would become different than it was, since I had been given a new start. That being said, I really thought my life would continue as normal. I would keep online dating, binge drinking every weekend, maybe find some dude that treated me right, or not, I mean, what’s the big deal with relationships anyway. I was renting a room, and never had any specific plans of moving, even though the situation was a little bothersome, the city in which I lived was too expensive for me to find an apartment alone on my salary, plus, I had never lived alone before and was a little afraid of being, well, alone.

Within the last 366 days, every single facet of my life changed. It’s funny, how day by day things change little by little, meeting a kind stranger here, a new rental agreement there, but then you look back and you’re living a completely different life. A life you’re wondering, ‘how did i get here?’

This year has brought the biggest changes for me. Changes I thought would never happen. I moved into my own studio apartment. I met my soulmate, and we are planning our wedding for this summer. I changed career paths and got a position in a different field, as well as many other things. Things that had always seemed impossible and out of reach.

I also faced harder and more realistic obstacles, things that weren’t fun, like with the help of my understanding fiance, working, really actually WORKING through the closure of my divorce, instead of just burying it deep inside. There was also the uphill battle of facing the reality of my alcoholism, and working through each day being sober, some days much harder than others.

I always believed that God worked things together for good and I trusted in his promises, that he had a plan and that he would provide. But it’s hard to see His goodness in the middle of the disasters or honestly, when you feel like God has abandoned you, and you’re fine on your own. For a long time I felt like I was strongest staying afloat with my ‘grit your teeth and power through’ attitude, and that with the alcohol and friends I could bury my problems and be fine forever.

The difference between now and then, the REAL difference between last year and this year, is the feeling. The internal peace, resting and knowing that everything is going to be all right, and that I am in the right place, and that I have nothing to feel anxious or guilty about nor have I anything to hide (even from myself.)

Closure is hard. Fighting addiction is hard. Facing every day with reflection and a sober mind is the hardest. And I would never have been able to make it through these 366 days and become this way without the blessing of people and circumstances God put in my life this year.

I still struggle with the day to day, with the anxiety and depression and unknowing what the future holds. But seeing God work in this past year gives me hope for each and every day to come. My heart is so full and I have never been more thankful.

#christian #thankful #sobriety #hope

The Inscription

The actual inscription.

I purchased a book with an inscription in the front to the author’s wife. I wanted to write a short piece about the thoughts of the author upon writing.

The young man sat at his cluttered rolltop desk, once again dipping his quill into the inkwell and glaring down spitefully at the small book he has open in front of him.

This shouldn’t be this hard, really. He scolded himself, continuing to stare at the blank first page of the book he has been trying to inscribe for the last half-hour.

He began again. He had to think of the full inscription entirely before penning it of course, he only had one copy of the book in hand.

To Rachel. My darling Rachel. The love of my life.

No, ridiculous. He sounded like a lovesick tween.

To my wife. Mrs. Coxe. You are beautiful like a summer’s day.

He shook his head again, letting out an audible grunt. He found it humorous how hard it was for him to find the words to inscribe a book for his own wife. Rachel had been his love for ten years come this October. For her, he wanted it to be absolutely perfect.

Rachel Genevieve Coxe. She was named after her grandmother, and had given up her prestigious last name of Borghese to take the boring last name of a struggling poet. And this was it, he had finally made it, his first published book. He ran his thumb up the spine of the small red book. A silly thing, really, but this was his dream, and a dream she had shared with him.

Rachel. Beautiful like the moon, with her dark, flowing hair and blue eyes, she was much too lovely for him, with his silly red curls that flew every which way like a bird’s nest. The only sad thing was that her beauty was never able to be captured in a photograph. “Humans only photograph well when they’re dead, Cleveland.” She would always say with a laugh when they received their photograph back, once again she with her eyes closed or head blurred in distraction. He would remember her beauty and didn’t need photographs, and only prayed when the time came he would pass before her so he wouldn’t have to live one day without her.

The author smiled again, putting the pen down on the paper for just a moment and leaving a small ink blot as he brushed a stray orange curl away from his forehead. Noise from outside briefly heightened as he heard his two young sons under his window, chasing the chickens around the yard again.

Rachel, I love you. You are my light. My life. The air I breathe.

Too much? That’s too much.

He heard the front door creak open and through the crack in the door he saw his dark haired wife walking by. Rachel was wearing a simple dress and had some fresh dirt on her apron and in her dark hair, and carried a bushel full of fresh vegetables from their garden on her hip.

His heart was full as he saw her, and he dipped his quill one last time and simply wrote:

Mrs Cleveland Coxe, with the love of her faithful Cleveland, 1854.

There. Perfect. He pushed his chair out and made his way to the kitchen, gift in hand.

The book in which this inscription was written, Christian Ballads and Poems by Cleveland Coxe, 1853.

#shortstory #writing #thoughts

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