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Anyway

There’s a song that Martina McBride sings that I’ve always loved because,simply put, it stirs my soul.
“God is great but sometimes life isn’t good
My prayers don’t always turn out like I think they should
But I pray anyway
I do anyway”

That’s a plain and simple truth and there’s times when I just “pull on my boots” and do things anyway.

One of these things involves going to church. Don’t get me wrong-I believe in God and I love being in His presence, but I feel closer to Him on my patio, outside in the nature that is truly shows His majesty. I read,ponder and pray as the sun warms my shoulders and the birds sing melodies.
In the church,though, I sit there,my legs crossed,and usually shivering,trying to grasp bits and pieces of what’s being said,
I latch on to whatever verses are showed on the screen and do my own bible study. I hear the roars of laughter and wish I could catch what everyone else does.
I miss about 95% of what’s going on, but I still go anyway.
I go to church because I know it matters, and because I love the moments when the music and the people fill my heart with joy and gratitude.
It’s far from perfect,but it is good enough,anyway.

There’s times when everyone is gathered around the fire pit,sharing stories,and I long to draw the chairs closer and bring out lanterns because I know that as soon as it becomes dark, I’m going to be left out. It still stings a little,but since it’s something that happens just once in a blue moon,I’ve learned to accept that,though,and just enjoy the warmth of the fire,anyway.

A few days ago, I shared with a friend that I felt like I needed to go shopping and get all “Tallydah” because of some big changes in my life. She quickly texted me back, “I think you’re beautiful inside and out,and you don’t need to change a thing!”
Those words made such a difference,and even though, I’ll probably get a couple more outfits; she made me feel like I’m just fine exactly the way I am anyway.

One thing about my deafness that’s sometimes hard for others to accept, especially women, is my need to stand or sit close , so I can read lips and touch. I’ve realized that most people think I’m flirting-and truth be told-with my personality,sometimes I am, and it makes some of them uncomfortable. I’ve had women express jealously or even,forbade their husbands from coming around me.
It’s a shame because I can’t help this.  The only way I can understand and communicate is to get up close and personal.so I’m going to do it,no matter what some may think,anyway.

Several weeks ago, one of my treasured friends came to my studio. We walked,hand in hand, to a nearby restaurant, taking our time to talk and enjoy the stroll.
After we sat down, he said, ” Did you notice how people were looking at us?” 
Of course,we gave them something to talk about- it’s not every day that a young,handsome gay man walks hand in hand with an  woman that’s 20 years older.
We were secure in ourselves and our relationship,so we held hands anyway. What mattered to us was our rapport and friendship and the simple pleasure we felt in each other’s company. Others may have noticed us but we didn’t give it a second thought.

I’m very aware of which friends are comfortable and willing to make sure I feel wanted and valued, no matter what the circumstances are.
I don’t have to understand every word because the energy they wrap around us,envelopes me in love and acceptance.  I can sit there,slightly touching one or the other,and feel incredibly connected,anyway,even though I’m obviously not catching everything.

I have one precious friend that will lip sync the songs for me wherever we are. She knows I hear the music so she brings the lyrics to life.
Another friend long ago found me an app that gave me gift of understanding lyrics. Not a day goes by that I don’t use this app and whisper gratitude for his kindness.

It’s the little things,like getting up from across the table to sit right next to me that makes all the difference in the world.

Lately , I’ve been more aware of relationships and how my deafness brings out the best or worst in people.
Yes,sometimes,even,those that know better, unintentionally leave me out, but I love them anyway.

So,something else I’ve noticed is that sometimes you have to step outside of yourself and look through the eyes of others, to fully see who you are. .it’s so easy to find our shortcomings,our flaws and imperfections, especially when we feel that we are being compared to someone else.
I’ve learned that it’s even better to see myself through the eyes of God. 
I may not always feel beautiful or beloved, worthy or wanted, strong or capable, but,deep down, I know I am,anyway.
I know that,on the days when I stumble and struggle,and let doubt tickle in,that no matter what I’ve done or will do,no matter what I’ve said, there’s another pure and simple truth, that the God of the Universe loves me anyway,and when I sit close and listen, when I’m mindful and present,when I surround myself with God’s beauty and the people that love me, I realize something else-I hear with my heart and that’s all that matters anyway.

Feel with both hands, Jeanna’

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Handwritten

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Handwritten.”

Yesterday, I gathered my pens and markers, my cards and journals,and my new client in take forms and went outside on my patio.

I nestled into a bamboo rocking chair,breathed deeply of the fragrant flowers and sipped my orange spice tea.

Then I begin handwriting every new client a card,thanking them for choosing me for their massage therapy session,  and creating book markers with inspirational quotes as keepsakes for them.

It would be easier and faster to just email them,but I get such pleasure from writing notes and anticipating the joy they will feel to recieve something handwritten in the mail…something besides a bill,a magazine and piles of junk mail.

It’s my  joy,my honor to give more than is expected and the work of my hands and my soul.

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There is love.

image

Ever since I read the beautiful words of Elizabeth Berg, I’ve been mulling over them, pondering what it means to hold on and to let go, and to do it with love -complete love.
I’ve spent a great deal of time sitting outside on my patio, listening to my soul and to my God.
Here’s some of the things that I’ve started to believe about holding on and letting go.

Sometimes, we hold on because we are afraid-of being alone,of being rejected,of the unknown and so, instead of holding on because of love, we are really holding on because of fear.
That’s not a good enough reason to hold on to anything-whether it’s a job,a relationship,or a home.
Other times,we hold on because of selfishness, the need to control,to claim something as “ours” and in doing so,sometimes we manipulate the situation,whether by shaming the other person,or sending them on a guilt trip;burdened by obligations and a misguided sense of honor.

Sometimes.though.we hold on because we believe,deeply and strongly, that holding on is the best thing we can do. We hold on to the past, and to the future-praying that the present times get better quickly
We hold on because we love so much that letting go feels like abandonment, but in reality,sometimes holding on is actually more like holding a prisoner captive; bond with unseen chains of burden and responsibility.
You may have them next to you,and they may physically be within reach,but their heart is a million miles away and they really can’t be touched where it matters the most.

That’s why I’ve began to realize something else-the other side of love -the love in letting go.
Letting go doesn’t mean you’ve lost, it means you’ve chosen to hold on to the goodness and the beauty before it turns rancid and ugly.
It’s loving enough to wish the best,not only for the one you love but also for yourself.
Letting go isn’t giving up or giving in, it’s purely giving love a chance,a golden opportunity to choose what the heart wants the most.
It’s a most precious gift, wrapped in tissue of tears, tied with ribbons of hope and given with an open heart.
It’s giving freedom…the freedom to keep the gift,return the gift,or exchange the gift.
It’s giving love to both.

I’ve always loved giving gifts almost as much as receiving gifts. I love the whole act of gifting-the search for it,wrapping it and waiting in anticipation for the right moment to give the gift.
So that’s why I think of letting go as one of the ultimate gifts of love.

Letting go with love honors yourself by saying “I’m worthy of true love” and it also gives respect and honor to the other person by acknowledging that they,too,deserve the absolute best version of true love.
It’s believing in the best and being unwilling to settle for less for anyone.

Neither is easy…there’s an old gospel song that goes “though there’s pain in the offering” and I find myself humming those words, and finding strength and assurance that whatever happens, love will be given and received and all will be well.

So I will let love go and I will hold on to love and I will see what God does with the choices that are made.

Because,after all,there is love in both and both are gifts.
Feel with both hands, Jeanna’

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I Can Only Imagine

Over ten years ago,my friend. Gayla, sang “I can only imagine” at the funeral of my mother.
I can still remember her beautiful voice and her hands reaching up in praise.
She gave me a gift,because I knew her voice and her lips and I could understand the song.

I didn’t have to imagine the words, because my friend loved me enough to make sure I understood them. 

And that’s the key here “loved enough”. 

So many.many times I’m surrounded by people and I’m only imagining what they are saying,filling in the blanks with my own thoughts and creating my own lyrics and stories because, for whatever reason, I’m not able to understand.

At church, I launch on to whatever scripture is posted on the screen and do my own study,letting my mind wander and fill in for all I’m missing out on.
Sometimes there’s a roar of laughter and I crumble inside,wishing I could have joined in,wishing I knew what was so hilarious,but I can just imagine.

During family gatherings, I have to imagine what everyone is talking about as they sit outside around the fire in the twilight darkness,until eventually I walk inside alone.
I wonder if they ever realize how deeply painful it is to be left out like that. I imagine not.

Sometimes my deafness seems to be a barrier that separates me from what I want to know and yet, I feel certain that my deafness is a gift.

This brings out the best-not just the worst-in people.
I have been deeply touched by friends that thoughtfully look for the best lit seats, that scoot over and let me share their chair so I can read their lips,that find apps so I can read the lyrics of the songs  I’m hearing

I bet they can’t even imagine how honoured I feel when they walk away from the crowd, take my hand and lead me to a quiet place and tell me what everyone was saying.
I have been bought to tears by a guy that has typed the stage batter along with the lyrics and finally-FINALLY-let me fully experience what it’s like to be present at a concert.

There’s been times when I’ve seen glimpses of frustration-in the faces of people when I’ve asked them to repeat something I didn’t hear the first or second time.
If they could only imagine what it’s like for me ,sitting for hours,longing to understand,to be  enough,to know exactly what was being said,to be fulfilled with the words of everyone.

Just imagine….if I was you and you were me….I would sit close and tell you everything you missed and all that you  .  were.

;

Feel with both hands, Jeanna’

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Brick Walls

There is just something about a brick wall that has always felt very symbolic to me, partly because I know that bricks are laid one by one, with care taken to line them properly and to  apply the cement in just the right amount so that it is strong, attractive and protective.

I look at the bricks as if they are words and actions, placed one on top of other, over time, which can create either a wall of protection or a wall FOR protection .  I have built this wall for protection, guarding my heart for so long, only letting my guard down just enough to see if it felt safe and secure, giving the tiniest glimpses to those  that have earned a smidgen of my trust.

I have learned, though, that while I was protecting my own self, others were standing on the other side,  chipping away and trying to bring down the wall, one word, one brick  at a time…. and I felt myself begin to tip toe over to the ragged edge and to wonder if I could dare let the wall come tumbling down.

Then I realized that I could not. … not yet , anyway.

Up against

Brick walls

I stand tall

Enough

to see

flowers

growing

on the other side

watered well

with words

while here

the ground’s

been neglected

thirsting

to be filled

Enough

to overflow

once again

bloom

wildflowers

as far as the eye

can see

from the

wall

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Clear As Day

Wherever that expression came from….I’ve always wondered because some days are dark and cloudy and other days,the sun shines so brightly that it is almost impossible to see.

Yet,we say “clear as day” as if that means everything should be clearly understood and accepted.

Well, some things have became “clear as day” to me lately and I feel lead to write a bit about it and just let my words go wherever they are intended and recieved by those who are they are meant to find them.

I read this blog written for a step mom and the daughter said,” I can’t use the word “step” in referring to you, because you have loved me and my sister and my dad in such a way that I have never felt less than beloved”

Think about that….I know so many women that are jealous of their husbands relationships with other women,,even his own daughters and sisters.
What this actually does is draw his love away from the wife, rather than multiplying and surrounding all of them,jealously divides love and it leaves everyone feeling “less than”

It’s clear as day , love your spouse’s children and encourage them to have strong bonds and time together,alone, because when you give love away,you always recieve more in return. 

Another thing that’s clear as day to me is that people can change, and real love allows others to change,grow and become who they are meant to be.
Sometimes it’s difficult to accept the changes without saying, “ooh, you used to do this” or ” this won’t last,it’s too much of a change” but in doing that, we place limitations -not just on the one that’s changing ,but also ourselves.
Sometimes the change is small- like choosing to wear a wedding band,other times it’s complex like changing to a vegan lifestyle or moving to a different state.

Some changes take great courage; opening my own studio was a huge change and it took faith and courage from others and myself.

It has been clear as day the best thing I could have done for myself.

I also know that the right people come into our lives when we need them.
I’ve watched friendships bloom and flourish between unexpected people and each has become better because of the friendship.
The spiritual connection between friends is a precious gift that should be nurtured.
I’ve let some friendships fall away and I’ve taken others for granted when it’s clear as day that these relationships are essential,and worth pursuing and cultivating.

One thing is for sure, I see clearly enough that love covers a multiple of sins, it covers everything,Clear As Day

Feel with both hands, Jeanna’

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I’m a massage therapist that owns a studio,Rockwall Body and Soul Massage, but even more than that, I’m a writer and explorer with an insatiable desire to read,write,dance,and discover the beauty of each soul v that comes into my life.

I’m a massage therapist that owns a studio,Rockwall Body and Soul Massage, but even more than that, I’m a writer and explorer with an insatiable desire to read,write,dance,and discover the beauty of each soul that comes into my life..

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Giving gifts

The last few days I have been thinking about gifts- those we give and those we receive.  I came from a family of givers that loved to surprise loved ones with unexpected gifts.  I would often get a call, telling me stop by because they found something that was “just  perfect’ for me.

Those early days began a life long love of giving and receiving gifts. I love the whole art and act of giving.. from the first thought down to  the selecting, and seeking  , the gift wrapping and writing the cards, imaging the reaction of the  person receiving the hand picked gift … and the actually exchange .

Sometimes, though, there are times when I second guess my gifts …   wondering if it will be received with the intention that I mean for it , wondering if others will understand the gift or read more into it than intended. and sometimes I do not give , after all, because I am unsure of what to give, or how to give.

But, last week I was part of something beautiful that has lit a flame in my soul for giving abundantly  to those I know and love and to those that just happen to come into my space and my life for whatever reason and I am moved to give to them.

You see, I share my studio space with two licensed professional counselors and while I was giving a massage to a man, his wife waited in our lobby and she talked briefly with another man that was a client of one of my counselors.  When I stepped out to wash my hands after finishing her husbands session, she approached me with a request that bought us both to  tears.  She wanted to anonymously give a the man she had talked to the gift of massage.    She handed me the money to cover a session for him and we embraced,  and I saw tears of joy in her eyes that she was able to give something so precious to someone… I cried tears of gratitude to be part of such selfless giving … she barely knew the man and yet , she cared enough to give generously to someone , just because her heart lead her to.

She didn’t hesitate, she didn’t second guess herself, she didn’t feel the need to discuss  it with her husband… instead, she simply acted upon the desire to give and in doing so, she received the blissful feeling of knowing that she has made a difference.. in that mans life, in my life and in others that have seen and heard about this beautiful gift.

I wonder how many times that we have been out and about and noticed something that made us think of someone and instead of acting on the impulse and purchasing it , we shrug it off ,thinking “oh,that is SO her, but maybe I shouldn’t get it”  or “he would love this, but… I don’t know if it’s right to give it to him.”

Well, I can’t do anything about what others do, but, from this day forward , I will follow my soul and I will give when the urge strikes my fancy,when something I see makes me think instantly of someone, when the opportunity arises to bless a stranger  with something unexpected. I have already been indulging in a quest for the perfect gifts of gratitude for some dear friends… and there are more to come and I am filled with anticipation of what I am about to give .. and to receive.

The joy of gift giving … and gift receiving.. may it be yours as well as mine.

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Mindful Massage


I’ve been a massage therapist for over ten years and I’ve been receiving massages for even longer than that and there’s one thing that I’ve learned really matters when it comes to giving and receiving massage.

It’s mindfulness-the simple,profound act of being absolutely present and mindful of the person you are with.

This isn’t something that only applies to massage,though, in all situations, giving the gift of our mindful attention makes the difference.
It is felt by the body it is instinctively known by the soul when we are with someone.

As a therapist, once I enter a room with my client and place my hands on them, I become present,mindful,completely with that person.  It’s my honor,my privilege,and my gift to be able to touch,to massage,to hold space and in order to do that, I focus with intention on who I’m with and what my purpose is at this moment.

Massage touches the body,the mind and the spirit and every touch matters.  We simply can not touch the body without also touching the soul.

That’s one of the many reasons why I my clients come to me.
They can feel that my attention is centered on them and they know that I’m focused on giving them the best massage,each and every time they come to me.

Mindful massage-it doesn’t just sound good,it feels wonderful.

Experience it for yourselfMindful Massage

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