Category Archives: Writing

The Reveal…


Elightened TreeThe din rises and surrounds me.

Complaints and feelings and judgements and hate.

Everyone hurts, at least a little.

And so I stretch and I climb.

Petty ideas and rigid mindsets
disassemble easily in the face of extremity.

Every thing someone wants me to invest into,
I can sling shot at that.

The true test of mettle.

You’ll never know how strong something is
until you push it to the breaking point.

This is true of ideas, things, ethos and people.

The Face of Extremity will undress anything.

My can crusher of Enlightenment.

Clatter beckons at my knee; I reach for limb and pull.

The noise has always bothered me; the annoyance and distraction.

I used to be impatient with it.

But right now it simply falls away.

My ears and eyes and heartbeat only have room for Now.

Purity, truth, honor, love.

The gap that swallowed me whole.

Right Now.

Right Now.

Just Now.

One heartbeat. And two.

Who knew faith required a plastic mind?

Written 03-18-2017, 02:48am
Copyright © 2017 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

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Logic Isn’t Always…


My meditation today…

One of the GBM patients in one of our support groups went holiday shopping with his wife. They went to pick out a gift for their daughter. It was a triumph, because he hasn’t felt good enough to get out of the house in so long.

Unfortunately, he has aphasia and he’s lost his peripheral vision. All too common for glioblastoma warriors. He tripped on a display he couldn’t see at a store and knocked everything down. He was so embarrassed.

As people helped pick it all up, someone had the gall to tell his wife that she should make him lay off the booze before going out in public. The wife doesn’t know if he’ll go out with her again.

I’m appalled for their experience.

But the thing is, I know that before I understood this disease, I might have thought he’d been drinking too.

I wouldn’t have said anything, but it is very possible that I would have thought it. Because I simply had no clue before. I didn’t understand brain cancer at all.

*Maybe* my experience with disabled children would have helped clue me in, but if I was busy, I doubt it.

Our perspectives in life are often reasonable, based on logic and data we already possess.

But that does not automatically translate into the truth, the whole truth and nothing but truth.

Logic alone does not make us fair and just. Seemingly reasonable does not equal justification.

We are capable of interpreting what we witness and experience as falsehoods. In our justified reasonableness, we can sin against our fellow man.

We can judge and accuse others of actions and beliefs they haven’t taken and don’t have. Because “actions speak louder than words.”

This is why temperance, compassion and love are so important.

They help us to take another look.

Compassion tells us not to jump to conclusions and to offer our hand. Love tells us to hold our tongue and strive not to harm our neighbor. Temperance reminds us that just because we can, doesn’t mean it’s right.

Steven Covey reminded us to shift our paradigm. Every major religion in the world reminds us to be slow to assumption and mindful in our choices. And God reminds us that we are all his children.

Kindness and balance are everything.

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Why We Pray For Others…


monk-prayerNapoleon Hill, widely regarded as one of America’s most successful (and most spiritual) business leaders, believed that a negative state of mind could undo the power of prayer.

He saw that it was important we always keep our minds in the right place when we pray, but also when we go about our daily routines. That a positive mindset was critical to our success and well-being, as well as the manifestation of our prayers and dreams.

Prayer is known in many forms all around the world, regardless of religion, culture, philosophy or spiritual belief. Even my atheist friends believe there is something to prayer and what it does for the human psyche, even if only as a form of collective consciousness.

As a student of world religions, the idea that a negative frame of mind can undo the power of prayer is definitely striking to me.

My belief in the power of prayer is strong, even though most people don’t think of me as religious. It’s saved my life too many times to doubt it. And I believe in a Creator behind that power. Even now, with everything John and I face, I still believe.

But why pray for others?

Depending on how tough things are, it can be hard to stay encouraged. And stay positive.

Frankly, many of my prayers in recent months have even been angry. If the outcome of my prayers had to rely entirely upon my personal attitude, I wouldn’t get far.

The prayers of others help lift us when we struggle on our own.

Herein lies the secret I think.

I especially understand this with everything my husband is going through today. Staying positive about a terminal illness is incredibly difficult. So if a negative outlook can undo the power of Prayer, then what are we to do when we become discouraged? How do we manage “mind over matter” when our brain has been damaged? What are we to do in the face of great adversity?

Why bother to pray if what’s supposed to give us comfort and connect us to the Divine will simply be erased should our emotions get the better of us?

This is where the prayers of others are so important. We’re not attached to the trials we don’t experience. When we pray for each other, our faith that our prayers matter is not darkened by our own trials and discouragement.

The act of prayer is an exchange of energy. Collective prayer adds to the energy given.

When we are down, when were discouraged, when we’re afraid, when our faith falters – the love, encouragement and prayers of others can help bridge the gap and keep our batteries going.

No man is an island.

Humanity has always been social by nature and has never thrived on solitude.

We’re always better when we share our burdens and come together.

A single candle lights and even rekindles many others.

Thanks everyone for keeping mine lit.

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Gratitude…


Thank you God for my friends and family.

Thank you for showing me amazing good in so many people.

Thank you for so many human angels who’ve reached out and helped us even when we didn’t know them.

Thank you for Revelations, Science, and Technology.

Thank you for men and women who work tirelessly every day to save one more life.

Thank you for friends who have been there for everything.

Thank you for the thoughtful ones. Who think of my needs before I know them.

Thank you for the compassionate ones, who never tire of listening. The ones who are always patient with my responses.

Thank you for the prayer warriors, who will drop everything and pray when someone hurts.

Thank you for the trench mates, who aren’t going through it, but are willing to jump into the mix with me.

Thank you for the doers, who just do things behind the scenes, without needing to announce it. They’ve helped me so much.

Thank you for the giving ones, who have kept our worries at bay.

Thank you for the strangers who open their hearts.

Thank you for the fellow warriors who are working hard to make a difference somehow. Anyhow.

I would be lost without these. I am lost anyway.

But somehow, little miracles exist.

And lamps have arrived when I needed them.

Please continue your presence in my life, to comfort me, guide me, and show me in a way that I cannot miss, and cannot doubt. But as gently as possible, please.

I don’t understand a lot about Life right now. I can’t see where I’m going beyond the next step. But thanks for providing some handrails and flowers along the way.

Life is a Blessing.

And I’m grateful.

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Love Your Life To The Fullest…


This is a variation of a piece I first penned in 2009.
I find renewed meaning in it, and a good reminder for today.

Love your Life to the Fullest.

Love Your Life To The Fullest

For to truly Live,
you must Love.

For Love is in every Act
and in every Breath
and in every Thought
and Word.

Love is both Passive
and Active.
Love is in the state
of ‘Simply Be.’

Love is in
the Abundance
and Clarification
of your Cause
for this Lifetime.

You must both
Love Yourself
as well as
Love your Life.

Without condition.

For the Two are Eternally Twined.

Originally written 01-28-2009.
Copyright © 2009 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

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Disagreement Is Not A Weakness…


disagreementWhen we project the challenges we feel with our families – onto the world around us – we skew our perception of reality.

We lose our grounding and unfairly accuse others of actions they have not taken and beliefs they do not have.

Two people can disagree and still both be “right.”

Recognizing this is one of the levels of spiritual maturity we must all master.

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Be Your Own Fairy Godmother…


Be Your Own Fairy Godmother - image by Aberrant CrochetOne of my favorite fairy tales when I was a kid was a story called, “The Pixy and the Lazy Housewife,” by Mary Calhoun (1969).

In the story, it is told that pixies, while tricksy in nature, sometimes will help a housewife with her chores when she is sick.  Because while pixies may be tricksy, they are good-hearted folk after all.

So in the story, a lazy housewife hatches a tricksy plan of her own to get the pixies to take pity on her and clean her dirty house for her, because she doesn’t want to do it herself. Which of course backfires, as does anything when trying to trick the wee folk!

It wasn’t that I was a fan of the lazy housewife’s rotten house, or even the plight of housekeepers everywhere (where there’s always someone’s dirt to clean).

I fell in love with the idea that there might be unseen friends out there somewhere, with some kind of honor code and the power to do something, who might take pity to help on someone in pain or need.

Another favorite fairy tale of mine was Cinderella.  (The Perrault version from 1697 I might add.)  I loved that someone could find nurturing and love AND rise above their circumstances, no matter how painful a story their past.  And while fairies and wee folk in general seem to have their own interests at heart to serve, the idea of a fairy godmother was different.  Because fairy godmothers didn’t just serve their own interests. They took their charges seriously.

I don’t know about you, but I just love the idea of a fairy godmother in particular.  She’s not quite as juvenile as other wee folk.  She’s usually kind, all-knowing and willing to help.  And I just knew there had to be a fairy godmother out there for me.   Someone always there, who loved me like a mother (or grandmother), wise as the Universe, who understood my woes, would heal my wounds, treat me to enriching experiences and make magic happen.

There were other influences on my love of the idea of unseen help.  The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis mentions a grandmother who might have had fairy blood.  A wonderful notion!  And of course, there’s the character Aslan from Lewis’ books, who is practically (literally) a fairy God-Lion.

And so my love for the story of private friends and help, unseen to others, grew with each passing tale.

In adulthood, I’d even play the role of an unseen friend, cleaning house, paying bills, restocking pantries, leaving treats for friends and families. All the while, thinking of what I’d love to come home to sometime, and then doing that for someone else. After all, it’s one of the nicest gifts you could give someone. To wave a wand and grant a small wish or need.

But here’s the thing. We don’t have to wish for or wait around for our own fairy godmother. She’s already here. In fact, she’s right here inside our heart and soul.

We all hurt sometimes. We’re all tired sometimes. We all need a friend to lean on sometimes. We all need and DESERVE nurturing. We all need moments of magic sometimes.

But we should not wait for Prince Charming or our Fairy Godmother to appear and see to these needs.

Start now. Start listening to the small voice inside, who says I haven’t had fun in soooo long. And do something about it! Listen to the little kid inside who says – Ooooo! Sprinkles!  Give yourself a healthy, but tasty snack. Think of the one thing you wish most you had help with, and grant yourself a wish.

Buy yourself flowers, make time and room for a reading corner with something you love to read, treat yourself like a date and try out that recipe you’ve been eying and when you’re tired, draw a bubble bath and tuck yourself into bed. Treat yourself lovingly and bestow daily wisdom on your soul. Improve your working conditions.

Do something to increase your quality of life, love and happiness.  Grant yourself the gift of good memories.

The world would be happier if we would just listen to and take care of ourselves. Deep inside, we’re all still the same little kids, just trying to get through life.

So I challenge you thus:

1. Go surprise someone by playing the role of a Fairy Godmother and do something unexpectedly kind!

2. Find a mirror. Look yourself straight in the eyes, and say this to the beautiful young soul you see….

“I love you.  And today… I’m going to do something to prove it to you.”

And go for it!

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Young Mama…


ReflectionYoung Mama,

Your role in Motherhood,

It should be sacred, it should be good.

But you’ve twisted it right nice,

Doling misery and malice.

Young Mama,

Instead of Loving

As you should.

Written 11-07-2016, 10:58am
Copyright © 2016 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

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Every Moment…


Every moment is a deep breath and a step forward.

Everything stripped to its simplicity.

A rebirth with each raw heartbeat.

And still…

There is only Love.

Written 08-03-2016, 2:57pm
Copyright © 2016 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

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I don’t know yet how to begin to explain…


It’s like all the worst possible challenges you can imagine.

Mixed up with experiencing (mostly) the best possible of people.

And we’re just along for the ride.

I have no idea where we’re going.

I just hang on to John.

Take the next step and breathe.

1:44am
April 10, 2016

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It’s always someone else. Until it’s not.


The surgeon from the ER is straight and practical about telling us what we face.

John wasn’t having a stroke.

I learn new words. Glioblastoma multiform, grade 4.

His brain cancer surgery is scheduled for this Friday morning.

It hurts so bad right now.

I tried to sleep some. But can’t sleep long.

I’ve had about 5.5 hours of sleep in 3 days.

One of our retired law-enforcement friends says it’s the adrenaline. And that it will run out.

And I know this.

I’m not trying to stay awake.  I’m just stuck there.

I’m still in shock.

I still want to wake up.

Now. Please.

John’s my rock.  And he’s in grave danger.

With everything I believe about energy and faith. I don’t know how to be right now.

I have to balance between being positive and being ready.

And there’s no peace in any of it.

There’s so much work to do.  So many legal and financial things.

Things I have no idea how to begin.

Why do we do this? Why do we make the system so painful?

It’s been almost 10 years since John came home from his last overseas deployment.

It was just in time, because I was falling apart.

I was afraid to be alone, because of my emotional state.

The gaping hole that simply his absence created in me.

I was not afraid for his life. He’s the most capable man I know.

It was the whole feeling of him being disconnected from me.

Not being able to pick up the phone.  Not knowing where he was.

Always waiting for a call in the middle of the night.  Maybe.

And I carried a gaping, oozing wound with me everywhere.

No matter how ok I was, I wasn’t. Because my life was constantly seeping from me.

My other half was gone, and the hole in my side would not close.

People were sometimes bewildered as to why I was so deeply affected in that way.

So was I.  It was so horrible. Long deployments are not kind.

And until that time, I had no idea how tied together John and I are.

Tough, down to earth people. We’ve faced so much hardship together.

Things most people never face. And never will.

All my greatest fears of losing this wonderful family of mine were faced back then.

I thought.

And then John went through it with me 2.5 years ago when I developed a blood clot from my ankle surgery.

And he fell apart having to face his fear of me dying.  Because his adopted sister died of a blood clot.

And now, I wonder if it was all to help prepare me/us instead. Like did God plan this all along.

And I don’t want that to take hold in me, because I don’t want to somehow manifest something I don’t wish.

I have poured out my soul in this.

I put a general announcement out to the worlds we’ve been a part of.  College, the Texas Guard, my spiritual groups, my crochet friends.

John’s name has been added to many prayer lists at churches around the world, thanks to connections we’ve gathered over time.

And I hope for many more.

Hundreds of people are praying and sending Reiki and doing energy work on him right now.  On us.

I know I’m alive because of prayer and positive will from communities and friends.

I know I’ve experienced many miracles.

But the only thing so dark as this that I’ve ever experienced before was nearly losing my son in the womb.

Those 8-9 weeks we didn’t know if our son would live or die.

The night I hemorrhaged, and prepared myself to lose my baby, I suddenly heard a voice that guided me then.

“Mommy, don’t give up on me.” 

It was clear as day, out of nowhere.

One of the most profoundly spiritual things I’ve ever experienced.

From that point on, no matter how much doctors told me that I wasn’t facing reality and needed to prepare….

I knew my unborn son was alive.

It carried me through the face of so much medical disbelief.

I so desperately want to hear a voice right now.

 

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Mom Thoughts…


As my kids grow older

and transition into adulthood,

I am ever grateful for 5 little words.

“Mom, I need a hug.”

02/10/2016
9:23 am

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Heart Carvings…


The message that daily consumes my very be-ing.

In every deed and every thing,
let not my life be a waste.
Let not my actions be careless.
Let me live as love and shine as light.
Kindness ever guiding me.

It is how I honor my family and elders.
It is how I heal my wounds.
It is how I speak when my words are stuck.
And when no one understands.

Yet there is an abyss, that once drawn, even a star cannot escape.

Written 01-21-2016, 12:56am
Copyright © 2016 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

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Ordinary People…


Today a friend shared her experience with reuniting a lost dog with his family.

She noticed him on the side of the road on the way to the store and again on the way back.

So she stopped.

He was exhausted and dehydrated.  He’d run his pads off.

She called the local shelter, who contacted an owner looking for the very same dog.

And she stayed with him until they were reunited.

An ordinary person. Making a difference to an ordinary dog and his family.

It’s easy to think that we don’t have time.

Or to think that we have no real impact in the world.

If I were to disappear tomorrow, the world would continue without me.
So why be bothered? Why worry?

But small random acts of kindness by ordinary people can make a difference to other ordinary people.

It is such as these that make for heroes.

Because now someone’s life and reality is different.

Now that future has shifted for the better.

And they’ll never forget the experience of kindness.

This is how we teach and mold a better society.

And this is why ordinary people matter.

I know I shan’t forget my teachers.

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Memories: Double Haiku…


I would bake a cake
We’d rent a cheap video
One hundred plus came

Pickup truck hot tub
“But bunny rabbits don’t bite!”
Best times forgotten

Written 11-15-2015, 10:50pm
Copyright © 2015 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

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Flight…


“I am a leaf on the wind; watch how I soar.” – Wash, Firefly

This is me.

But not in the way you probably think.

I am the chronic overachiever.

The one who commits to too much.

Who steps out and says – sure! I can help you with that!

I can take that on! I’ll be happy to sit down and help you figure this out.

I barely realize my actions, because I’m so into the heart of it.

I catch the current and hitch a ride.

And then I’m Super Man for a while.

Soaring over Capital “T” in a single bound.

Awing even myself with what I’m capable of handling.

Of the difference I can make.

Until I can’t.

Until I’m burnt up like an offering to the gods.

What a sweet savor my smoke and ashes make.

Scattering in the wind like snow.

“You know nothing, John Snow.”

Diffused, I lie dormant for while, unable to breathe, unable to move.

Finally everyone backs off because, well… what can you ask of ashes?

Until one day I gather strength and arise reborn.

Only to repeat the cycle.

Each time I am wiser, but to what end?

The pattern reboots.

Congratulations!

I level up, with now more zombies to overcome.

The problem is pretty simple actually.

I don’t know how to say no.

I always think I do.

But if that were true, I’d be a race car instead.

Written 11-08-2015, 11:55pm
Copyright © 2015 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

You know nothing John Snow...

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Social Media Is Sharing…


Life is rich.  Life is risks.

And sharing it with others, even for a brief moment on Facebook or Twitter or elsewhere online, helps remind me of that every single day.

It helps me stop and “smell the roses” as it were.

To slow the moment down and savor it just a little and celebrate it with the kindred spirits I’m blessed to know.

Some say that the virtual social world is a fake one.

I don’t think so.

In some ways, it’s a lifeline for me, in a daily schedule that even a chiropractor would not keep.

We get out of the social experience what we want, what we put in, and how we choose to see that world.

I would argue that you get an authentic experience when you invest one yourself.

But if you’re the kind of person who prefers to put on airs, to alter the tune before you let anyone hear, then that is all you’ll see in the people “around” you too.

Today, thanks to social media…

My day was made because…

  • a 19 year old kid doesn’t have cancer
  • a toddler I used to babysit got married
  • a mom is getting a well deserved vacation
  • a fellow artist met her goal with selling a clever t-shirt campaign
  • and a family reports that their local water park really is the bomb

And so I’m smiling….

     Life enriched…

            And getting back to work, late as it is…

…with gratitude in my heart.

 

Social Media Is Sharing - article and graphic by Aberrant Crochet

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A Mother’s Surreal Moment #5847…


“Oh!  Mom! Mom!” my sophomore son says to me.

“I forgot to tell you! Today in PE, Coach was frustrated with the little kids, so we got to rip the squeakers out of their rubber chickens.”

I blink at him.  My kids attend a K-12 school and often help out with the lower grades.

But the phrase “rip the squeakers out” presents a picture of some rather strange carnage.  Maybe even some mayhem.

“PE? Rubber chickens? Why do the little kids have rubber chickens in PE class?”

“I don’t know, to wave around or something,” he says to me, clapping his hands and grinning mischievously from ear to ear.

“And look!  I got to keep some!”

He whips something from his pocket and holds up a fist full of white tubes.

“And guess what?!”

He declares more than asks.

“I figured out that they all make different notes. So I labeled them and…”

And while I’m still blinking at him, he holds the tubes together in his hand like some sort of modified pan flute and…

…begins to play Smoke On The Water.

With squeakers stripped from the necks of rubber chickens.

That, my friends, is metamorphosis.

And my musically talented son.

#ThisIsMySurrealLife

#AndILoveEveryMomentOfIt

Rubber chicken squeaker pan flute - graphic by Aberrant Crochet

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To Hold…


The birth of a child does funny things to a parent.

The instant they are part of your life, you can’t image life without them.

It’s like it always was

and was always going

to be.

Those first years are the time you get to know your child in a special way.

One that they will never remember and will never see the way you do.

As they grow up, gain confidence, mature, and remember this or that about their lives, those are the years and triumphs you will always secretly know better than anyone.

You will always hold their beginning.

– Julia M. Chambers
04/26/2015

Mothering, from the beginning.

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Hold Coffee Dear To Your Heart And It Will Prop You Up


Aberrant Crochet Coffee - Sunshine In A Cup

Once upon a time, I used to do the right and proper thing by coffee.

Putting it in a travel mug when I needed to drive the kids to school.

But not anymore.

Coffee has tamed me enough over the years, that we can now travel together in peace.

Clutched to my heart, I ride today with my favorite morning beverage in a mere mug.

I think it tastes better that way.

What a visage I must be, pulling up to the school.

Hunched over the steering wheel.  In my plaid pajamas and winter coat.

Mug clutched to breast bone.  Crochet hook pinned back in my hair.

Thankfully neither my kids nor their friends seem to mind.

Piling out of the car I call to them.  “Have a good day!”

“I will endeavor to try,” my daughter smiles and wryly returns.

“There is no try.  There is only do!” I say.

“Ugh! Go away Mom,” she giggles.  “I love you.”

And off she goes, books in hand, chopsticks in hair.

I love you too dear.

Coffee pressed to breast, I pull away smiling.

A little more alert and with a full heart.

I’m such a geek.

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