Flowers and Faith

Yesterday,my client was running just a few minutes late which gave me time to walk outside and look at the flowerbeds and the empty pots. I stood there in the front yard, and adjusted the single pot of pansies, and picked up the picture that had the saying, “Life is a journey..enjoy it.” engraved on it then I walked to the back patio and gazed at the yard and the bare trees and felt the familiar tinge in my heart- the call of nature, the urge to plant and be filled with the peace that comes to me every time I am doing what I love.

Since I had found out that I would need to find another place for my business, Rockwall Body and Soul Massage, soon, I had made a conscious decision to step away from my beloved patio and not to purchase the patio sectional that I had wanted or plant new flowers.  “It’s not going to be yours much longer,” I reminded myself, “Let it go, let it all go.”

When my client arrived, we chatted just a few minutes and then I started his session. moving my hards, gazing out the window, letting my mind focus on what I love to do and as I was working on him, I felt as if God was speaking to me, a whisper of assurance,
“Plant flowers, Jeanna’, plant flowers here.”  and then again, “Go ahead, buy that patio furniture you want.  Have faith.  Believe that there will be a place for you. ”

Believe. Faith. Plant.  Go  Ahead.

Tears sprung in my eyes. This is what I needed to hear, to feel– that deep, down assurance, that powerful boost of courage and conviction that didn’t always fit logic but that had always been my guide- God speaking to me.. and my intution kicking in.

I decided right then and there that I would go to Lowe’s after my last session and buy a few flowers and check out the sectionals. During my gap between clients, I jumped in my car and drive over to Greg’s office to share what I had experienced with him and he just smiled at me and told me to go ahead and do what I felt I was told to do.

My next stop was to Tuesday Morning where I went in with the intention to get a birthday gift, gift boxes and tissue paper but, like  always, I rambled over to the garden section and then to the wall decor and there was another sign, waiting for me .

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”  Simple black letters on a glass pane spoke further truth to my soul.   I held those words in my hands for just a few seconds but they made their mark on my heart.

I found some small garden stones inscribed with e words that I was searching for – a blue one with “love” and two white ones, one with “faith” and one with “believe”  and I felt as if this was all coming together in ways that I had not expected.

Saturday morning of March 3, I planted lantana and placed the stone with  “BELIEVE” in the middle of the blooms and then I placed “FAITH” in a pot  filled with red dianthus  and I laid the stone of  “LOVE”  right by the front door where everyone that walks up will see it and maybe, just maybe they will feel it.

This is one of those times that I just lmow that I am doing the right thing and another thought keeps running through my head, “It is mine, until it is not.”

It is mine… until it is not.  It is until it is not.

Let this sink in for a moment. Ponder these words.  “It is mine, until it is not.”

This house where I operate my massage studio is still mine, until it is not, and I am going to leave it better than I found it, but most importantly, until the day comes that I no longer have a key, I will fill the place with my presence, with love, with faith, with attention to detail and yes, with red, yellow, pink and purple flowers.  I will choose to decorate, to create and to make memories.  It is still mine, after all and it is a reflection of who I am and what I want to be known for.but

Maybe this is something that we all need to give some real consideration to. what we have is only ours until it is not…and during that time- no matter how brief or how long- we need to make the most of it.  We aren’t guaranteed anything but yet we have enough faith to develop friendships, we have enough courage to start a business, enough love to pursue somone and we believe enough to plant flowers and create gardens.

All these words, all these thoughts, all these choices and one thing I know for sure is that whatever happens, wherever I go, whatever I do, it is my chance,  my choice,and only mine until it is not and I want to be known for love, for faith, for believing and for having the courage to listen to the whisper of God and go ahead, to chase my dreams and follow my intuition and to love who I am with and where I am, as long as I can.

It is mine,after all, until it is not.























This Is What It Looks Like

I hear it all the time, ” You don’t look your age,” and I have always just smiled and took it for a compliment but yesterday I got to thinking .. and I realized something about what that meant.

This is what it looks like.

There ya go. That is it.   Isn’t this something that stops us in our tracks .. keeps us from doing what we want … those words…. “what it looks like” holds us captive, doesn’t it?

I know so good and well what those words do to people and to me.

“This is what it looks like.”

As a woman with a severe hearing loss, I have to be careful -all the time- that I don’t stand too close to someone and give the wrong impression.. because of “what it looks like”  to others that may not realize that I am trying to read lips.   Sometimes when I am with those that know me well, I forget to be mindful of “what it looks like” to those outside my tribe untill I see that all-too-familiar look in their eyes that gives away the thoughts that crosses their mind over and over again.. “what does this look like,what will people think?”

So I back off a few steps and I tuck my hands in my pockets or cross my arms, to hold back my natural tendency to touch as I speak and lay my hands on someone while I’m listening. 

After all, I get it, really, I do. 
 We live in a culture that is so visual, so hooked so social norms, on fitting into perfect places and leaving nothing to chance, to be open to interpretation. 

It is so much easier when things look like we think they should… even when they aren’t.

A good example happened to me again today.  While checking out at Target, I walked out without one of my sacks and loaded my car.  This young guy came up and tapped me on   the shoulder and said,  “I was calling for you, ma’am, you left this.”  and when I smiled and thanked him and explained that I couldn’t hear him unless he was close enough to touch.. he said something I hear all the time. “That”s okay,but, you don’t look like you have a hearing problem.”

I don’t, do I?

After all, what does someone with a hearing problem look like?  Would a hearing aid give me away or maybe a cochlear implant?  Would it be helpful if the deaf and hearing impaired worn bracelets like the  yellow LIVESTRONG  or the pink Breast Cancer bracelets?   Maybe a little dog-tag on a chain hanging from our necks so that somone will see that and immediately know, “There is one of those deaf people.”

That is what it looks like, after all.

But things are not always what they look like.

That couple you see comparing wines at the grocery store may very well just be strangers sharing a few minutes of laughter and a common ground before  parting ways to never cross paths again.  

But then again, they may be business associates planning The next event.

The older lady sitting alone at the cafe lost in thought may have just lost her husband and that is why she didn’t respond  like she usually does. She isn’t  hard of hearing no matter what it looks like. She hears just fine, thank you very much, but she just wasn’t in the mood to chit-chat just yet.  That exhausted man at the park with the talkative toddler isn’t a divorced dad putting in his mid-week visitation. He wishes it was that simple, but it’s not.  The truth is, he’s been balancing his job, his daughter and a bed-ridden wife for several months now.

But that isn’t what it looks like.

Back to this all over again.  If we are always so concernd about what it looks like instead of what we KNOW and what we feel then we are falling into that very same trap that holds so many back and afraid of stirring the proverbial pot.

I wonder, though, if we stopped thinking so hard about what it looks like and instead just decided to take each situation, each encounter with an open mind and a heart that dares to see beyond what it looks like and  to see what it really is and what it could be.

Maybe, we would stand closer and touch more often. Maybe we would lean forward without second guessing what the people two tables over will think.  Maybe we would strike up a conversation with that guy looking for wine without thinking that it will be inappropiate.  Maybe we would hold hands.. maybe we would ask someone if they would like to have lunch or see if they would like to walk to the square for a drink. Maybe we would get up and dance. Maybe we would stop by and see an old friend again without wondering what it would look like to someone else. Maybe we would regret less and live more.

There aren’t really any easy answers to this and I knew that before I started writing my heart out but I know this much for sure- things are not always what they look like and there is always so much more to know, to discover, to learn.

But this is what it looks like. …..and, yes, I really am this age…this is what it looks like to be this age… when you are me, anyway!











Bright Pink Scarf

Week after week

on Sunday mornings

I show up

Walk right through the door

get another cup of coffee

and take a seat

down as close as I can be

just like I’m supposed to do

holding my head up high

holding AVA tight

None of the church ladies

and certainly not the men

have ever said a word

more than a half hearted “hello”

and I can’t quite figure out

the real reasons why

Maybe it’s because I can’t hear

maybe they just don’t care

maybe I’m not the type

they want around

Heaven knows 

 I sure  don’t try

hard at all

But just this one time

a lady said, 

” I like your bright pink scarf”

and I didn’t hear

because she stood 

so far away

like most people tend to do

If it wasn’t for the man

that sits beside me

week after week

on Sunday mornings

I never would have known

Sometimes I just have 

to stop and think

count my many blessings

know that God alone

knows everything

and loves me just the same

He knows this bright pink scarf

isn’t just fabric wrapped around my neck

it’s a gift from a kindred spirit

that always sits besides me

lip syncs lyrics

loves me just the way I am

and when I’m wearing

something I’ve been given

I’m wearing love and acceptance

and I feel it

down in my soul

like a kiss from heaven

little bit of lovin’

standing out and set apart

like my bright pink scarf

Body and Soul

Our body is our soul’s best friend.”-Paulo Coelho.

When I read these words, I immediately drew a heart in the margins next to the words and jotted down my thoughts. 

There is such profound truth held in these simple words and just yesterday, a friend and I shared some thoughts about this.

I had been invited to an event and instinctively, as I read about the event and what to do and bring, my stomach began to tighten and my stance changed.  I felt my body instinctively go into a protective mode- ready to “flee or fight.”

I tried to talk myself into accepting the invitation, but then realized that my body was truly my best friend and the reaction I was feeling was my body whispering to me.

My body knows when and how to protect my soul and I have learned to pay attention, to listen and to honor my body and my soul.

While I knew the opportunity to network and mingle would boost my business, I also know that I’m much better at small, intimate gatherings than at large social functions. 

 My deafness is actually a gift in many ways because I tend to place myself only in situations and with people in which I know I’ll be able to have some measure of control and to understand, to connect, to feel my best and be the best version of myself.

Now that I have the AVA -Audio Visual Accessibility-app I don’t worry about not hearing things like I used to. AVA doesn’t just give me the words that people say. it also gives me insight into others and to the relationships I have.

Many of my friends keep AVA installed and ready to use…but I’ve also ran into people that have told me that AVA is “too much trouble” and those that have made it perfectly clear that they would rather I didn’t use AVA.

When I go someplace, i consider the lightening.the ambiance, and the acoustics…I think about how I’ll stand,where I’ll sit, and who I’ll seek out and I also make sure AVA will work wherever I’m at.

In many ways, being hearing impaired  makes me more aware of my body and others. Since I can’t depend on what I hear, I depend on what I feel.

That’s the way I use my body to benefit my soul, to make sure I get the best chance and give the best I can to every situation.

That means listening to that small whisper from my body way before it becomes a moan of despair or scream of frustration and anger.

So I put aside this invitation and instead accepted better invitation to go out for a walk, to sit at a table for two with a bottle of wine,  to listen to music and dance and go out on a treasure hunt.

Those are the invitations that my body craves and my soul responses to with an excited “YES!”

I also believe that when we touch someone’s body, we reach their soul and that’s why,as a massage therapist, my touch is so mindful, compassionate and intuitive.

I want to always touch the body with knowledge of how far I am reaching…into a person’s soul..through muscles that hold memories, through skin that covers wounds and shows scars. I know that it’s never “just” a massage, but it’s a gift of trust,a step of faith when someone gets on my table.

 At least that’s how I see it and how I treat it. 

I hold another quote close to my heart. This one is also simple and profound.

“Only those that love your naked soul,should touch your naked body.”

In a time where people dive in and out of physical relationships without giving a second thought to how the soul feels about it, there is a sacred intimacy in the relationship that honors the soul first and the body knows it.

That’s why I’m taking care of my body- by listening to the way it lets me know who can touch me and who can’t. 

But I also listened to another clear message..the one telling me who I shouldn’t touch. 

 Recently I’ve came to understand that I can say “no” to touching some people, that if a person makes me feel uncomfortable, I do not have to allow them into my space, or on my table. I don’t have to accept everyone as a client just because they book a session with me.

This has not been easy, though. I had wrestled with the rationalization but the way I felt about approaching sessions was too strong to push aside.

I chose to do what my friend told me to do. I trusted my guts; embraced my strengths and worked around my weakness and felt my soul dance inside my body…you know, like best friends do when they are finally together, again. 

Red Rover

“Red Rover, Red Rover”

She lays there

half awake and half asleep

long ago memories

pushing thru the haze

“Red Rover, Red Rover”

She stared at the row

of hands held tight

looking for the weakest link

to run to and break free

much to the surprise 

of those that doubted

 her might and strength

They only saw her size

bites and pieces 

of who she was

the label that they used
to try to describe

the girl they called

to break the line

“Red Rover, Red Rover”

She heard them call 

“Come over, Come over”

Spurred on by the doubts and the taunts

She ran as if her life depended on it

Broke the chains and the expectations

and suddenly she was in

standing in a row

lined up with the very same ones

that moments ago

spurred her on with doubts and taunts

“Red Rover, Red Rover”

Here she was

needed now 

She clasped the outstretched hands

and braced herself

dug her heels in

willed herself to have

more might and strength

Don’t let anyone think

she’s the weakest link

never let them break through

even if they knock her down

with doubts and taunts

she’ll surprise them all

that thought they knew

bites and pieces

of the girl they used a label

to describe

“Red Rover, Red Rover”

She sits up 

wide awake now

seeing clearly 

all the times 

she clasped hands

broke through the chains

the expectations

the labels

surprising herself and others

with her might and strength

and finding out

exactly what are the weakest links

and who is strong enough

to hold her hand

break free and be there

“Come over, Come Over”

Roses and Thorns

A person that plants thorns, must never expect to gather roses.           -Paulo Coelho

I read this and sat outside on my patio, pondering the wisdom of these words as I looked at the garden filled with flowers and green plants,and tall trees that are losing their leaves.

There’s a chapter in Paulo’s book,The Spy, where the mother gives her daughter a package of flower seeds and tells her to carry these seeds so they will remind her of who she is and where she’s from. 

The mother says to her daughter, “These are seeds of tulips, they will only bloom into tulips. The seeds you plant will not change into another type of flowers.”

There it is. Simple as that.

What you plant, is what will bloom. 

Or at least, that’s the way it works in the garden and the yard.

 I dig up wayward trees that are growing in cracks and even in the gutters of my studio, and I replant them where I believe they will grow deep roots and become tall, beautiful trees that offer shade and shelter.

I buy clearance plants from Lowe’s- bedraggled, pitiful, little things and I plant them and I nurture them fully expecting them to thrive and bloom…and they do. 

That’s another lesson from my Mema, who would tell me over and over, “Don’t give up…the tiniest little root is all it takes. You just gotta pour love on it.”

This is how people are,too, but sometimes you can plant roses and tend to the roses as they grow and bloom, only to find out that others look at the beautiful roses and only see the thorns.

They may breathe in the scent of the roses, understand the time and work put into establishing the roots, nurturing the soil, making sure it receives plenty of sun and water and is encouraged to grow, but instead of focusing on the beauty, they point out the thorns.

“These thorns can cut. They might leave a mark or even a scar. You could get caught in those thorns and they will rip through you. There’s just too many thorns here.”

Never mind the intoxicating scent. Never mind the way the roses add beauty and color to the garden. Never mind how the roses climb along the bricks, offering shelter and privacy.

All they can see is the thorns.

I think that’s one reason I don’t really like roses. I always think of roses as high maintenance flowers. They are beautiful but they require pulling on gloves that reach to my elbows, using special tools, wearing shoes and tip toeing around as I work.

I’m the kind of woman that likes to reach into the garden with my bare hands, picking off dead leaves, pulling up weeds, digging holes and laying in plants without giving any thought to thorns that might cut me. 

I prefer to stand with my feet in the soil, turning stones over with my toes, wiggling down and using my body as a tool instead of looking for something that might make it easier, but won’t feel as good.

I may be “good and sore” as my Mema would say at the end of the day, but there’s just something special about the feeling of good, simple, hard work that you can feel and see.

That’s so much like the relationships we have. Sometimes we plant roses, and get distracted by the thorns. Sometimes it’s because others point those out to us.

Sometimes we plant yellow tulips and to our delight, find that a single red one somehow got mixed in the package and bloomed- making the garden even more beautiful.

Sometimes we plant flowers in pots and find that a tree has taken root in the fertile soil   and we know that, in order for it to really reach it”s full potential, we must transplant it out of the confined pot and into a place where it won’t be limited.

Sometimes we have to sit back in a rocking chair and wait and watch for the seasons to change, the roots to get established and the time to be right for the beauty to grow, show up and ssurprise us.

Just remember…anything can grow if you pour on the love and attention….and you can grow beauty or only thorns….it’s all in your hands and in the way you choose to look at the garden of life.