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

👣💗 With much gratitude to

Ann Carns, David’s mom.

Her choices and her words have shaped my life.

Simple and Extraordinary

Paulo Coelho: “Be blessed.
The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them”

There were flowers

In a coffee cup

That she would use

Again and again

While remembering

Her friend

There was wine

And desserts

Long talks

Belly laughs

A special stone

Bought from a long ways

That made her feel

Like she was known

It was a lipstick and eye shadow

A hug and a kiss

Sweet text that made her

Feel she had done her best

It was such a simple thing

So extraordinary

And she was wise enough to know

That she was blessed.

👣❤Jeanna’ Mead

7 46 a.m 8-28-18

Www.jeannasoul.com

These Two Men

These two men sit

Outside with me

Comfortable and at ease

Talking about the past

Things they did

Places they had been

I sit there

Looking at them

Reading their lips

Knowing full well

I’m missing some words

But still

I know enough

These two men

Bring me along

Include me in

We have a past

Present and future

I have no doubt

These two men

Hold me close

Don’t leave me out

Remind me of who I am

And when I wonder

If it’s enough

I think about the way

These two men

Sit and talk

With me

And I feel the love

That comes along

From being known

And knowing well

These two men.

👣❤Jeanna’Mead

8 18 a.m. 8-16-16

Www.jeannasoul.com

For Jim and Benjamin..these two men…..

Holding Flowers

She could have tossed

the broken pieces away

swept up the shards

and let it be

over and done with

But that just wasn’t

her kind of way

She picked up every piece

laid them down

then one by one

placed them back in

best way she could

a little bit of super glue

a whole lot of patience

and there she had it

couldn’t hold sangria anymore

no more Texas tea

but she placed a mason jar

down inside

filled water to the brim

and the broken pitcher

was put to use

holding flowers

So much like her heart

she’s took those broken pieces

instead of turning bitter

holding grudges

acting ugly

throwing fits

making more to regret

she just lays down

opens up

reaches out

and gives 

another chance

and finds herself

holding flowers.
👣❤Jeanna’  Mead

10 20 p.m.  7-26-18

http://www.jeannasoul.com

Travel Bug

Oh, how she wished

for the time to come

that she could go

instead of dream

pack her bags

and fly off

to see and be

part of an adventure

taste and touch

treasure hunt

dive headfirst

into the blue-green surf

find a cabin in the neck of the woods

spend the morning hiking

and the evening writing

stories and poems

She would sit

talk to strangers

dance with whoever asked

eat all kinds of fruit

and desserts,too

She would leave kindness

sprinkled like confetti

along the way

Drop in and give 

tight embraces

exchange massages

with people she’s been

wanting to meet for so long

She would ride horses

climb rocks

paddle a canoe up a stream

ride the biggest zip line

from tree to tree

she would kick back

lay low

cool down

chill out

Look for love

in all the places

and too many faces

and find it too

oh, she was bitten

bitten good and hard

by the travel bug

Broke Down

She had  brokedown

on the wrong side of town

and still found the kindness

of strangers there

She broke down

couldn’t help the tears

standing by an old man

that smelled of English Leather

And cherry tobacco

His cowboy hat and well-worn boots

pushed her to the edge

and he didn’t know

exactly what to do

but pat her hand and tip his hat

She broke down

under the weight 

of too many pounds

and not enough breaks

Sweat and tears mingled.

as she tried to get back

all the strength she had

She broke down
indulged herself

in a bouquet of crazy daisies

 pretty lace panties

a dress that made her feel

as good as she looked

She broke down

and gave in

tried on the pants

surprised herself

at how well they fit

She broke down

and made the first move

reached out to see

if it was water under the bridge

or if time had made

the wall too high to climb

She broke down

surrendered her body

to finally receive

all that she had been giving

for a long time 

She broke down

ordered her own

 bottle of Bliss

because that was the only way

she would ever get it again

She broke down 

poured herself a drink

from the bottle 

that she had saved

for another time and day

She broke down

explained how she felt

that the pain was too much

to just keep on pretending

that it didn’t hurt

She broke down 

gave in to the temptations

that had been a long time coming

She made it all worth the wait

She broke down

asked for help

when it was clear

that she was in

way over her head 

deep trouble

short handed

lost for words

just plain 

broke down.
👣❤   Jeanna’ Mead

6 56 p.m 7-15-18

http://www.jeannasoul.com

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

👣❤ Jeanna’ Mead

7 24 a.m. 7-12-18

http://www.jeannasoul.com