On The Floor

She found herself

Laying on the bathroom floor

For how long

She had no idea

But it couldn’t have been

That long at all

There are bruises on her knee

That tell how hard she fell

A tender spot as well

It was enough to make her think twice

The current state of things

Would have to change

She couldn’t go on

Like this anymore

Finding herself laying

On a bathroom floor

Made her so glad no-one else had pushed through the door

And only she knew

The hard,cold truth

Of the why and how

That she wound up there

πŸ‘£πŸ’—Jeanna’ Mead

9 02 a.m 3-10-19

Www.jeannasoul.com

Receive The Gift

A local love coach, Rogue Pence, posted on her Facebook wall that women have a problem receiving and she hit the nail square on the head.

I know it’s true in my life and I know exactly why.

It seems like every thing I receive comes with strings attached.

“I’ll give you this, then you’ll do that.”

“I’ll go there for you, but I expect you to come to this for me.”

“I want to do this, but you need to do that.

I don’t like feeling obligated and I don’t like feeling as if everything is a trade out, with checks and balances and a large negative-positive column.

I pull back.

I retreat.

I build up walls.

I go through the all the motions.

Put on a facade.

Present in the body, absent in the spirit.

I am a master at separating my mind from my body, and my heart too.

I’ve pretended for so long that I have almost fooled myself.

I don’t receive.

I give bits and pieces of myself..until I feel as if I’m torn into pieces, scattered around, tossed by the winds of my emotions.

And it’s my own damn fault.

I know better.

So I decided to take a good,hard look at myself.

Deep down, deep inside, bottom of my heart.

I found clues.

I have a hard time receiving anything when I have given clear clues to what I want and need and those clues are ignored.

Shrugged off.

Overlooked.

Pushed aside.

It’s not just clues. It’s plain and simple instructions.

To know how to give what I’ll receive can be found by reading.

My words.

My body.

My lips.

My vibe.

My gifts.

Unless all those things are read, book marked, underlined, and pondered…taken into account..well, let’s just say…

I won’t be able to receive what’s offered. I have a hard time receiving from anyone that doesn’t read what’s right in front of their eyes, in plain sight.

It’s like I’ve left the door unlocked,slightly ajar and no-one shows up.

An unopened invitation.

Unwrapped gift.

That’s it!

Receiving is a true gift.

It’s an intimate exchange.

A knowing.

An understanding.

A desire to connect and fulfill a need,an expectation, a void.

It’s the little things.

The big things,too.

I’m a giver by nature.

I put a lot of thought into the gifts I give. I write notes and mail to people. I leave little gifts in random places to be found. I see things that make me think of someone I love and I buy it- just because. I don’t wait for “special” occasions.

I touch. I massage. I embrace. I give this, naturally.

That’s part of what I discovered during my deep soul search..

I expect to receive the way I give.

I set the bar high and then I’m bewildered and disappointed.

I shouldn’t be.

Instead I really should consider this a gift that I’m overlooking..that if I’m not receiving, maybe it’s because I’m asking to be given to by people that just aren’t natural givers, or that have no intentions to give.

People that don’t take the time to read.

My words.

My stories.

My body.

My lips

My vibe.

I do have a receiving problem. I admit it.

I can not receive much when I have given gifts that are still waiting unwrapped,unopened, unread.

Read.

Receive.

Read.

Give.

It’s a gift.

The essence of femininity is to be able to receive…and to know your own body,mind,and soul so well that you give yourself permission and grace to give and receive when you and how you want from those that want you to receive as much as you’ve given.

Think about it. I did.

πŸ‘£πŸ’— Jeanna’ Mead

8 07 a.m 1-21-19

Www.jeannasoul.com

One Thin Slice

In the week leading up to Thanksgiving, Mema and Momma cleaned the house from top to bottom. Mema dug out the Thanksgiving tablecloths and napkins and her heavy gold flatware.

We rearranged all the furniture to make room for extra tables to hold all the food.

With 22 family members coming, Thanksgiving was a special time.

A long dessert table draped with a beautiful lace tablecloth was placed along the wall in the den. Another long table went in front of the large picture window, close to all the electrical outlets so the warming plates could be plugged in.

Mema spent hours going through familiar cookbooks and scraps of yellowed clippings piled high in boxes,trying to decide what dishes to make this year.

Eggplant casserole, sweet potatoe casserole, green bean casserole-all those were on the “must have” list.

Mashed potatoes and gravy,turkey and dressing,cranberry relish and deviled eggs…the list grew longer.

Momma,on the other hand,knew all her recipes by heart- she never had to look at a recipe because her cakes and cookies were “hers.”

She had made them for every holiday for so long that they were engraved in her memory. She made chocolate fudge sheet cake,prune cake,cowboy cookies and tea cake cookies from scratch.

Momma baked the chocolate pecan pie and Mema made the “regular” pecan pie, German chocolate cake and all the “whipped topping” pies-chocolate,lemon,buttermilk custard.

Three days before Thanksgiving,with all the final choices made and list n in hand, Mema, Momma and I went to the grocery store.

My job was to hold the list and check off everything as we walked along the aisles and to make sure we didn’t leave the store without some essential ingredient.

When we all got back home,the groceries were spread out; butter and eggs,vanilla and cocoa, sugar and spices to one side.

All the canned goods were stacked together;the recipes were laid on top. The turkey was put in the garage fridge to thaw.

Finally, the day before Thanksgiving arrived.

Mema and Momma woke early and began baking all the desserts. The aroma of Brown sugar and cloves filled the house. Chocolate fudge simmered on the stove,cookies were rolled and baked and laid on wax paper, and pie after pie cooled on the table.

The cakes were frosted,the fruit salad chilled, the banana pudding cooked and placed in the fridge.

We laid all the desserts on the special table that was reserved for them; beautiful pies with golden meringue toppings, three layered German chocolate cake under a glass dome, a white coconut cake, Momma’s chocolate sheet cake in a long pan,the prune cake on n the tall platter, tins filled with cookies, pecan pies lined up side by side.

It all looked absolutely beautiful, perfectly arranged,uncut, untouched and ready for the Thanksgiving guests.

But Daddy had his own Thanksgiving tradition.

When Mema and Momma were not looking, Daddy would sneak over to the dessert table and cut the tiniest,thinnest slice out of every cake and pie. He would load up his plate and eat every last bite.

He always said he had to try them out first, to make sure they were good enough for everyone else.

Mema and Momma would get so aggravated with him and try to convince him to wait so that the dessert table would look prettier when everyone showed up on Thanksgiving day, but he never listened. He always cut that tiny slice from everything he wanted.

Daddy died 14 years ago. Ever since that last Thanksgiving with daddy, the dessert table has been perfect when all the guests arrive. All the pies and cakes are still whole and everything looks like it should be in a home cooking magazine. But for Mema, Momma and me and the rest of the family, we would rather there be a thin slice taken from every cake and pie.

πŸ’™πŸ‘£ This was my first published column for the Dallas Morning News on Thanksgiving day of 2004.

Momma went to bake in heaven that year and Mema joined them in 2009.

It’s now been 25 years since my Daddy took the thinnest,tiniest slice but we remember well how that house on Sharpview Lane was filled with love and laughter on Thanksgiving day and we are grateful.

I still have the recipes and the cookbooks and my daughter carries on the traditions of baking everything from scratch just like Mema and Momma.

Ann’s Choice

When I was 16 years old, I had a boyfriend, David, with an incredible mom that made a lifelong impact on me.

One afternoon I was invited to a cookout at the backyard of their house in Dallas, and David’s dad was there as well.

I had never seen a divorced couple on good terms in my life. Here they were, ex-husband and wife, acting respectful and considerate, even laughing and joking around with each other and their sons.

I watched and listened, half expecting it to fall apart and things to get ugly and for David’s parents to start acting like all the other divorced people I knew.

Every other divorced couple I knew held such anger, such disrespect, such intolerance for each other.

I was used to divorced couples that couldn’t even be in the same building without all hell breaking loose much less the same house.

They would hurl accusations and talk about each other in such a way that I couldn’t imagine how they had ever once loved and lived together.

My Mema’s friends would sit at the kitchen table, giving a play-by-play of every wrong ever committed by the ex-husband. I would hear stories that made me almost swear I would never trust love.

There was just so much hated-pure and simple- and vengeance between every divorced couple I knew of.

Until I knew David and his mom,Ann.

After the cookout was over, I told David that I was really surprised at how everything went with his parents. He smiled and said, “You should tell my mom this.”

I walked over to Ann and asked her how it was that they got along so well after the divorce and exactly what made them different from everyone else.

She sat me down at the picnic table, looked straight at me and said, “I made a choice. We made a choice.”

Her words became engraved into my heart that day. Simple,profound, beautiful words.

“I made a choice.”

Ann then explained,talking to me as if I was a woman and not just some silly, nosey 16 year old girl.

“We fell in love years ago, we got married and we had two children together. We chose each other back then. We saw good things in each other and we wanted to be with each other.”

I nodded my head, listening to her, reading her lips, fully aware that this wasn’t an ordinary conversation.

“If I choose to talk bad about David’s dad, then I’m also talking bad about myself….because I chose him. I fell in love with him, married him, had children with him….what does that say about me?”

I’m so stunned by this revelation, by the way she’s talking to me in a gentle,firm voice that I just sit there, giving her my full attention.

“Another thing, these boys are half of me, half of him…if we talk bad about each other..then we are also talking bad about our sons. We chose to have these two sons, and now we need to continue to choose to see the good in each other and in our sons.”

Choosing. Choices. Continue.

“It hasn’t always been easy and we are not perfect by any means but the important thing is that everyday we make the best choices we can and that includes choosing to see the good and the love we once shared and still have for our sons instead of the differences and what went wrong in our marriage.”

Imperfect but important.

Good outweighs bad.

Love can change.

I decided then and there that if I ever decided to get married and if I got divorced, that I would follow Ann’s example and choose to live after a divorce the way she did instead of how I had seen others live.

It just made so much sense to me as a naive 16 year old girl.

Over the years, as my friends married and divorced, I would tell them the story of Ann and encourage them to make choices that showed love and compassion, understanding and respect for what once was and what could now be.

My friends would chide me and say, “Well,that’s easy for you to say when you haven’t been in this situation..it’s different when it’s your choice.”

They had a point. We never really know how we will handle things until we have to walk the line.

Ann’s words hit particularly hard in 2015 when my own marriage began to fall apart. I had to dig deep to make the choice to continue to love, to see the good and be willing to let go with grace and accept changes if it was meant to be.

Choose. Love. Change. Continue.

During those dark days while we danced on the ragged edge of reconciliation and separation, we talked about choosing to still be good to each other for the sake of our children and because it was the right choice to make.

Our marriage survived and that time gave me a greater understanding of the depths of how much Ann had gone through as a woman and a mother to wrestle with her own emotions to use good sense and knowledge to make the best choices for the long run.

Several weeks ago, another friend sent me a text.

“I got served divorce papers this morning.”

When he came by to see me, I told him to about Ann’s choices and he said, “I hope we can do that..I think I can, I would like to anyway.”

Hope. Desire. Choose.

In the midst of pain, in the chaos of change, in the sweet by and by, in each and every moment, we make choices.

We can choose to remember the good, let go of the bad and watch how love changes.

We can choose to sit across from a 16 year old girl and share with her wisdom that she’ll spend a lifetime pondering.

We can choose to reach across the table,across the barriers, across the ragged edge and find a way to bridge the differences, connect on another level and love in different ways.

We can choose to give and to receive compassion, understanding,forgiveness, and grace. We can choose to laugh again.

That was Ann’s choice. It is my choice. It can be yours.

Jeanna’ Mead

8 33 a.m. 11-4-18

Www.jeannasoul.com

πŸ‘£πŸ’— With much gratitude to

Ann Carns, David’s mom.

Her choices and her words have shaped my life.

Hot Pink Lipstick

Once upon a time
She worn bright pink lipstick,too
A dark brown bikini
Chosen because it matched
Her dark brown skin
So exactly
That from a distance
It looked as if she was
Dancing naked on the dock
Drinking Bartles and James
cheap wine coolers
And now..she wishes
She had the bikini,the tan
And the time to dance
On the dock

But all she has right now

Is hot pink lipstick

Cheap wine coolers

Light brown skin

That hasn’t been dark

In far too long

And she hasn’t danced

On a lake dock

Or worn a dark brown bikini

In far too long

But she remembered

And she sworn

That she would

Do it all again

When she gets a chance

πŸ‘£β€ Jeanna’ Mead

7 38 a.m 8.14.18

Www.jeannasoul.com

(This was inspired by another writer’s blog post…I could so relate and the words came.)

πŸ‘£β€ Jeanna’

Be There

She saw another picture

got a postcard in the mail

was told to hold the spot

for another time

All these people 

going places 

where she wishes

she could be there

Texts sent

feet in the sand

drink in hand

beautiful mountains of Ireland

a cathedral in Spain

saxophone playing in Greece

There’s a part of her

that’s feels almost like

She is there

Lavender farms in the Pacific Northwest

treasure seeking in vintage stores

 moonlight walks along the camping site

jumping in clear blue waters

sitting on the edge of the dock

 sure wish she could be there

Writing down 

all the places she dreams

of going someday

bucket list created

Time will come 

that she’ll be the one

sending postcards

with the words

“thought of you, babe,

knew you would love

to be here”

She will go treasure hunting

in vintage stores

walk along the sandy shore

marvel at the feel

of the waterfalls

take a picture 

of her feet in the sand

drink in her hand

mountains of Colorado

vibrant villages of Mexico

guys playing saxophone

and salsa dancers

in Costa Rica

She’ll finally get to

be there

πŸ‘£β€ Jeanna’ Mead

7 24 a.m. 7-12-18

http://www.jeannasoul.com