I've created & kept this blog to compile the thoughts, dreams and wisdom that I've discovered from others or merely written myself. This blog is, in a sense, an expression of everything that is me.. Whether I wrote it or not. The most recent entries are a series of quotes, lyrics and videos.. But travel back through the archives and you'll delve deep into my heart, through my own words.

To those who I've quoted or borrowed from: Thank you for being beautiful.. for deeply inspiring me in one way or another. I hope you find that I've used your material in an appropriate fashion.. I try always to cite my sources. I take NO credit for that which is not my own.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chicken Soup for the Soul

When I was little, I used to sneak into my mom's room and go through her things... I'd use her makeup, dab on her perfume, try on her clothes, and play grown-up. I remember that she used to keep a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul in her bathroom, and I loved reading all of the heartfelt, touching stories... Even if I never truly grasped the messages behind them. I even bought her Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul one year, because I knew she liked the books so much. As I got older and more in touch with my emotions (which can be out of control sometimes.. But hey, I'm a girl, give me a break!), I started to realize the beauty behind these--and similar--compilations. These are collections of stories that allow readers to identify with each situation, to laugh, cry, smile and reminisce about these (and their own) stories and situations. To me, picking up one of these books and flipping through stories in the cafe here at Barnes & Noble, takes me back to being that little girl in mommy's blush and lipstick, reading about tales of love, family and loss, and finding wonder in a world that I hadn't yet begun to understand or experience for myself. Though I finally can understand and relate to the words that are before me, I'll forever be that innocent, curious little girl, searching for answers about growing up in this crazy world.

The Last "I Love You"
-Debbi Smoot-

Carol's husband was killed in an accident last year. Jim, only fifty-two years old, was driving home from work. The other driver was a teenager with a very high blood-alcohol level. Jim died instantly. The teenager was in the emergency room for less than two hours.

There were other ironic twists: It was Carol's fiftieth birthday, and Jim had two plane tickets to Hawaii in his pocket. He was going to surprise her. Instead, he was killed by a drunk driver.

"How have you survived this?" I finally asked Carol, a year later.

Her eyes welled up with tears. I thought I had said the wrong thing, but she gently took my hand and said, It's alright; I want to tell you. The day I married Jim, I promised I would never let him leave the house without telling him I loved him. He made the same promise. It got to be a joke between us, and as babies came along, it got to be a hard promise to keep. I remember running down the driveway, saying 'I love you' through clenched teeth when I was mad, or driving to the office to put a note in his car. It was a funny challenge.

"We made a lot of memories trying to say 'I love you' before noon every day of our married life.

"The morning Jim died, he left a birthday card in the kitchen and slipped out to the car. I heard the engine starting. Oh, no, you don't, buster, I thought. I raced out and banged on the window until he rolled it down.

"Here on my fiftieth birthday, Mr. James E. Garret, I, Carol Garret, want to go on record as saying I love you!'

"That's how I've survived. Knowing that the last words I said to Jim were 'I love you.'"

Monday, October 25, 2010

Remembering Aunt Jennifer Robideau...

"But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

My heart was heavy with grief and sadness today, as I learned that my dad's 1st cousin, my Aunt Jen, passed away after fighting a long & exhausting battle with cancer. Aunt Jen was one of the happiest, non-judgemental, most uplifting people that I know. Even though she was suffering from such a horrible disease, she never let it affect the way she treated people. Last April, when I was living in Brandon, their family came and met with my mom & I at the mall for dinner... We laughed til our sides hurt, exchanging stories about when we were all little, about how Dustin was always in trouble (teehehe!), etc., and it was so much fun reminiscing for a few hours!! After they went back home to MA, Aunt Jen even sent me a present... A lovely note, and a bottle of coffee syrup for my coffee milk, because we had joked about how much I LOVE that, and how I always have to stock up on it when I go up north... It was little things like that gesture that made her such a unique and wonderful person. I always got sweet little facebook messages or comments that let me know she cared, and that she was thinking about me... It makes me sad to know I'll no longer have notifications from her :-(

I hate living so far away from my family... Especially in times like these. I want to be there for my cousins so badly... For my dad, who loved Aunt Jen so dearly... For my grandparents... For everyone who was so blessed to have known her...

This same week, my mom's dad had a surgical procedure done to put a pacemaker in his chest... My mom's brother, Mike, went into the hospital due to numbness and pain, and they found a mass in his right lung (we are still waiting to hear more)... This year, both of my paternal grandparents have been in the hospital and/or rehab for falls and episodes... And now, one of the best people I've known has passed away. This year makes me realize more and more just how real mortality is... And what it means to grow up.

Auntie Jen... I love you, and you will be missed by SO many people. I find comfort in knowing that you are no longer suffering or in pain, but that you are at rest. I pray for Uncle Tom, Dustin, Kayla and Jeremy, as they are laden with grief and misery right now... I pray even more that this is just one day (and one case) closer to finding a cure for this dreadful disease.

"Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
Revelation 22:20

growth & realizations

From time to time, I browse through old entries I've written... Whether they be in this blog, other blogs, saved documents, emails or pages in old notebooks. It gives me great pride to see how much I have matured and grown up.. To see how far I have come over the years. "I used to be a damsel in distress"... Now I'm independent and strong. I used to victimize myself in every situation, always blaming other people for wronging and hurting me... Now I see that I was just scared and naïve.

Truth be told, I'm happy to admit to my wrong-doings. We are all wrong, and we all do things (intentionally or not) to hurt people in our lives. Sure, I've had my heart trampled on... But I've also been responsible for crushing the hearts and spirits of other people as well. It goes both ways. I've been lied to, cheated on, used and let down... But, again, I'm guilty of each crime myself. I used to constantly look for sympathy and pity.. And now, I wouldn't dream of bringing those up in new relationships, because I finally understand that HEY! I've been a liar/cheater/misleader myself... Not something to be proud of, but not something I can deny, either. I've said it a million times, but it always rings true... I am human, and I mess up a heck of a lot. Who am I to blame other people for what I've gone through, when I've done the same things?!

Everything in life happens for reasons... Most things happen to teach us how to grow, mature, overcome and move on. I used to despise hearing that "everything will be okay", because in those moments, it's hard to see the positive side to anything at all. Now, reflecting back on old times, it makes me laugh to see how insignificant or minor those experiences really were. There are many that I've even forgotten all about! Life is a mysterious and wonderous thing...

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Matthews Story

This young family has, and continues to, overcome so many difficult trials in their lives... It's one of the most heartbreaking stories I've ever read. Their oldest boy was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, and has been through extensive treatments and rounds of chemotherapy. They then had two twin boys born 4-months early with MANY complications and problems... One of the twins died just one week after they were born. I can't begin to imagine how trying these past few years have been for them.. and right now, their oldest son, Ezra, has [possibly] days to live. Days. A 2-year old little boy. That shouldn't be happening...

Through it all, this family hasn't lost their faith in God. They have struggled, true, but who wouldn't in that situation??? It is stories like this that break my heart, but that truly inspire me...

Here is a direct quote from the family blog:

"So why tell you? Why do you care? I don’t know. It’s personal. You may judge. You may think less (or more, I dunno) of me. But I want you to feel what I’m feeling. I want you to know it’s ok to be hurt. It’s ok to not understand God and still know He is good, real, and attentive. Hurt hurts. I can see pain in my wife’s eyes, and it makes me be even closer to her, even more attentive to her need and letting her know she isn’t alone. God does this same thing to me – I am the father in Mark, saying “I do believe; help my unbelief.” It sums up my moment."

PLEASE take time out right now to read about this family... Reach out to them... &, most importantly... Pray. Pray for this family. Pray for a miracle. Lord knows that they deserve one...

Read more about their story here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

All About Me.

1. I LOVE to cook, bake, create things. Ideally, I'd love to spend my days in the kitchen. No joke. ::Insert stereotypical "women" jokes here::

2. I also love arts & crafts... Even if my results usually don't turn out so well. I can spend hours looking at other crafting blogs online!

3. I used to be in a singing group when I was in middle/high school... I performed in parades, at the state fair, etc. I also used to sing a lot of Shania/Patsy/showtunes karaoke... and I was really good! I have NO idea what happened to my voice over the years...

4. My mother really wanted to name me 'Salem', because it means 'peace'... At the time, we lived in Rhode Island, and she realized quickly that the name would probably lead to tormenting and "Witch" name-calling at school. Thank you, Mom.

5. I'm obsessed with Disney. I think I'll forever be 5 years old when it comes to that. I wish I went more often!

6. That said, I think it's necessary to admit that last summer, I seriously researched information on the application process and interview "casting calls" to become a Disney princess. I was talked out of it by several level-headed people who insisted that $8 an hour/part-time wasn't worth the hour-long commute each way... Oh well.

7. I also spent time researching the job requirements to become a mermaid at Weeki Wachee... The "required scuba diving courses" and 4-month waiting period were enough to drop THAT decision!

8. I'm always dreaming big... And rarely following through. I've talked about moving (many places!) SO many times... and never followed through. I hate that.

9. I get terrible migraines, and have since I was a little girl. We've never been able to figure out what causes them...

10. Obviously, I'm a writer. I'd love to write a book (or twelve!), but I don't know that people would actually read my crazy, random tangents... and actually enjoy them.

11. I am a procrastinator to the MAX. Capital 'P' all the way. Homework, bills, packing for trips... I should really work on that, but I tend to do my best when I'm pushed for time. Bad habits are hard to break.

12. I have to sleep with a fan on, or else I have trouble breathing. I also have to have the room cold enough to snuggle under the blankets. I HATE waking up hot.

13. I've wanted to road-trip across the country for the longest time. Kim and I, as well as Steph and I, have always said we'll do it "in the future"... I hope that time comes soon, because I don't want to miss our chance!! :-)

**More to come!**

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm Moving On.

There are things in my life that I have found myself to be more than content with as of late. For example, the choices that I've made, people that I've cut out of my life completely, friendships that have grown (new or old) and decisions I've made, most of them spur of the moment. I ended a relationship that wasn't working, to realize how beautiful a thing it is to learn how to stand on my own two feet... For pretty much the first time in 2 1/2 years. In the process of doing so, I learned so much about myself... Both good and bad... and looking at it all now, I'd have to say it was more than worth it. Living on my own has allowed me to make time for the friends in my life who matter more than anything... I have to admit that it's refreshing (and liberating) to not have to "report" to anyone... To be able to go home at night to just my puppy, and to appreciate little things like "date nights" and sleeping in my OWN bed... To have my own privacy, my own secrets, my own life... To be "Carissa", and not "Carissa and ____". I'm my own person... My own individual being. I've never appreciated or understood the beauty of that until now. I do have to say that it's taking a lot of getting used to... But I absolutely love it.

2010 has been a year of changes for me. TREMENDOUS changes, might I add. I can't believe how much I've endured, and how much I've learned, in only a matter of 9 months. I went from a rocky, violent, unstable relationship to (immediately) a relationship that was much different... Much calmer and happier... But still not right. I've boasted and bragged and preached a million times over about NOT settling, but it took me until recently to STOP doing just that. I keep discovering new qualities and strengths about myself... Characteristics that continue to surprise and impress me, day in and day out. I look back on my past, and am so proud of the person I've become. I'm proud of the woman that has grown from the little girl that I was for so long. The insecure, depressed, haunted, hopeless romantic that once inhibited this body has been replaced by a strong, confident, happy, determined realist who is constantly striving for better. I'm no longer held back by people or bound by memories--In fact, I'm using my past as the motivation I need to move forward in life.

I take a look at the things in my life that bring me down, and it's not hard to figure out who I need to walk away from, or what I need to do differently. Florida makes me miserable. Not just the state... But the people. The jobs. The constant "need" to do better... The same "need" that makes me push myself harder and harder over the edge to try and impress the people who control me... When, in the end, I don't get rewarded at all. I'm making no money for all of the effort and time I've put in, and the only thing I walk away with each night at the end of work is anger and bitterness. I choose not to speak to people because I refuse to kiss up to people who, in my opinion, aren't worth the stress or energy. I refuse to be fake to even the fakest of people, because I'm better than that. I've talked about moving for years now... Always a different place, and never a follow-through on anything. I have friends and family looking for jobs for me in both New England and New York, and I'm crossing my fingers and praying like crazy that something wonderful comes my way. I miss my family, my friends, the seasons... I need to start over in a place where I'm not alone, but at the same time, where most people don't know me or anything about me. I'd love to start over somewhere new, just the puppy and I... Spending the past 2 days on vacation in Pittsburgh has solidified that desire. I'm going to make it happen...

I want to leave all of the negative things in my life behind for good. No more crappy work, fake people, awful gossip/rumors, dramatic/pathetic ex-relationships... Etc.