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.

👣💗 Jeanna’ Mead

8 07 a.m 1-21-19

Www.jeannasoul.com

Grateful Heart – a story of gifts.

Christmas morning we gathered around the living room and exchanged presents.

My pile seemed to get bigger and bigger…and my daughter, Kateley, laughed and said, “Momma,you have the most presents of anyone.”

She was right.

Not just the ones wrapped in shiny paper and tucked into gift sacks.

I had a big pile of those but I also had the sweet, invisible gift of being known and loved by so many and of knowing and loving so many,too.

This year, though, I was especially touched by the gifts I received that showed me how well I was known, not just by my family but also by clients and friends.

One son gave me a big coffee mug etched with the words, “Begin each day with a grateful heart” and I laughed because I often tell him “thank you for being my son” and he’ll shake his head and say, “Yea,sure.” but his green eyes twinkle and he squeezes me so I know he feels that love.

He also gave me the softest blanket throw to cuddle up and read and watch movies with. That son,like me, seeks out the soft fabrics, the texture of things matters to both of us.

Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

My daughter told me before I opened my gift that Riven had chosen it…I knew then it would be something special.

I busted out laughing when I saw the pink flamingos houseshoes and then winked at my daughter for giving me pajamas to go with them.

I haven’t owned a pair of pajamas in probably 24 years. I prefer sleeping nude, going from a hot bath and barely drying off into cool sheets.

I’ve always kept a tank top and panties handy just in case. My Mema used to fuss at me for sleeping naked, telling me that if the house caught on fire, I’ll be standing outside “naked as a jay bird” and I would tease her back that nobody would be looking at me anyways, they would be watching the fire.

But a few days before Christmas, I had mentioned to my daughter that I probably should get a pair of pajamas soon….because I had been invited to a women’s sleepover and I didn’t have proper attire.

I was heard and I received.

Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Then 2 packages that clearly looked like canvases were placed in my hands.

One revealed the handprints of my Riven and Luke Everett created during time with their Granny.

The other was a picture of Greg and I dancing at the wedding of our son. Chase and his wife, Lacy, back in May.

Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Tears sprang to my eyes again as I traced the images of us, gazing at our smiles,the way our eyes were locked on each other and the ease of our bodies.

Back when Greg and I started dating, I told him that loving me came with 3 rules.

1.Never smoke.

2. Never become obese.

3. Always dance.

He kept the first two easily and struggled in the beginning to learn to dance.

Mema took him under her wing and turned that “stiff as a board” guy into a smooth dancer that could take any woman out on the floor with ease.

Dancing was the one thing we did almost every weekend, meeting up with friends at local honky tonks for country music and dancing till the places closed down then getting breakfast at some 24 hour diner.

It was our thing and it was good.

But a few years ago, we stopped dancing…we started drifting apart and we just couldn’t connect- not on any other level, and certainly not the dance floor.

It was noticeable.

We danced well together still from habit and practice but there was no passion, no spontaneously, no laughter. Instead of making eye contact, we looked over each other’s shoulders, scanning the crowd, looking for other dance partners, smiling at strangers, sending off signals that we were clearly not quite connected with each other.

We made mistakes on the dance floor. Stumbled over each other’s feet.

Missed steps. Dropped hands. Fell out of sync.

We got angry and walked away leaving the other standing on the floor. Sometimes we would just grab another partner and show off, spinning around and doing elaborate moves with new partners. It was almost like we were trying to outdo the other.

This picture showed that the connection we had lost was back. It showed that sometimes the right song makes all the difference and if you keep on dancing, maybe, just maybe, it’ll turn into another dance….another chance.

Then, I opened the gift from my oldest son- the one that is deeply rooted in the old West and cowboy life- and found a beautiful fringed purse with a secret- a concealed handgun pocket.

Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

You see, I love leather fringed coats and I have two that were gifts from my Mema, both are over 20 years old and when I wear them, I feel her embrace around me….but I also feel the eyes of people looking at me.

“That coat gets too much attention…it’s so gaudy!”

Maybe it is..but it reminds me of shopping at Shepler’s and Lone Star Ranch Wear with my family, of saddles and horses, of my Aunt Jane and the Johnson way of life.

My gift from Greg was the last one I opened. He had taken Kateley shopping and together they had chosen my gift.

Black leggings, a soft pink sweater, black booties, a black jacket, and a boho leather bag.

Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

You see, that’s another history story. My Mom and Mema spoiled me rotten, not just at Christmas but all the time and one of the things they always did shaped me into the woman I am.

You should always receive a whole new outfit to wear on Christmas day.

When my parents were living, we opened gifts on Christmas eve and I would receive so many outfits that both Mema and Momma would wait with anticipation to see which one I would show up wearing the next day.

I see gifts of clothing as gifts of knowing. It is a special intimacy to know the size and style of someone, to look at something and instinctively know.

“This is so perfect, absolutely perfect for them.”

Every year, I’ve received gifts from my clients that show how deeply our relationships have grown…from therapeutic sessions to a mutual kinship.

For the last three years, my clients have made sure I got new cowboy boots. I teased them that one bought the right boot, and the other bought the left, but it’s more than that.

I realize that, as I touch the bodies of these people, I’ve given them glimpses into my soul and they begin to understand me in ways that make me feel known and loved.

Books and calendars, journals, teas, chocolates, blankets, carved wooden bowls for oils, wine openers, paintings and gift cards have been placed in my hands and filled my heart.

Sometimes the gifts have made me feel as if I was the naked one. How could they know me so well when I’m the one touching them and not the other way around?

I have always accepted the gifts with gratitude but one time, I had to give a gift back. I’ve regretted that since then…but at the time, that turquoise,fringed jacket showed that I was known well by one and not by another.

It was absolutely perfect at the perfectly wrong time.

Like my Mema and Momma, I’m a giver of gifts. I love finding things as I’m out and about and knowing instinctively just who it would be perfect for.

I don’t wait for special occasions, for birthdays or holidays, although those do get honored.

Instead, like the women that raised me, I like to give unexpected little presents, ways of making those that share my life feel known and loved.

Sometimes, though, I have to catch myself and hold my horses. It’s one thing to know someone well enough to see something for them and want to get it…and it’s another thing to actually give it.

It could be absolutely perfect at the perfectly wrong time.

I’ve had to learn to give and receive with clarity and intention, to make sure my heart is in the right place, to give and receive with love, with respect and with understanding….the invisible gifts that matter just as much as those that are wrapped in shiny paper and tied with bows.

Giving gifts is an absolutely perfect way of showing a grateful heart..it’s also an absolutely perfect way to find out how well you are known and loved.

I will give.

I will receive.

And I will be grateful for both.

👣💗Jeanna’ Mead

6 33 a.m. 12-30-18

Www.jeannasoul.com

Wake Up Dead

One day I received a text reply from my friend and it said, very simply, “Take care of yourself or you’re going to wake up dead.”

Wake up dead.

I laughed it off at first but then I started to reflect on those words and what it meant.

Wake up dead.

Just imagine that you wake up dead..Just like that..and all the things left behind, left unsaid,left undone….

There’s a Paulo Coelho quote that I love that says,

“One day you will wake up and there will be no more time to do any of the things you wanted to do…do them NOW!”

And yet…I’m so guilty of not doing the very thing I’m always telling others to do.

I have a long list of things I want to do and places I want to go.

I have words to write and words to say.

I have things to give and things I want to receive.

I have people that I need to spend more time with and people that I need to have a heart-to-heart talk with.

If I was to wake up dead, there would be so much left unsaid and unfinished. There would be chaos and clutter for anyone that tried to make head or tails of all my drawers and closets,my books and papers, and the way I’ve done things but…..

That’s the way I am.

However..I don’t want to wake up dead that way..I just don’t.

While I know good and well that no one is promised tomorrow and only God knows when number of our days, I know something else,too.

Life is precious. Life is beautiful. Life is meant to be lived fully, lived extravagantly and intentionally, lived with love and generosity.

Because one day, just like my friend said, we will wake up dead.

Gone to glory.

Dancing with Jesus.

Standing at the pearly gates.

Passed away.

And just like that, it’ll be over and done with.

With this in mind, I decided to go through my drawers, my closets, my attic. Organizing all the stuff that I’ve accumulated over my lifetime…letters and cards, drawings from my children, handwritten recipes from my beloved Mema and Mom, books I’ve highlighted and written in, journals and notebooks filled with my poems and prayers, my painful memories and my beautiful reflections, blessings and curses that comes from the living life on ragged edge.

I want to make sure that when that time comes and I wake up dead that there isn’t anyone left wondering how I felt, how much I loved, what mattered to me.

That’s right.

I’m going to say what I think and what I feel.

I’m going to apologize when I should. Raise Cain and Abel when I get riled up. Sprinkle kindness like confetti all over creation. I’m going to whisper “I love you” and shout it,too. Dress up fancy for no good reason. Drink chocolate milk from wine glasses and wine from plastic tumblers. I’m going to dance with strangers and those that I love. I’m going to say “YES!” when I want to and declare “NO!” when I don’t.

I’m going to make time for what matters to my body,my spirit,my mind. I’m going to make plans and not excuses. Find reasons and ways instead of obstacles and barriers.

Because one of the days I might wake up dead and I damn straight want to be sure that I lived.

I want to give people something to talk about when that day comes,too.

I want them to say things like this.

She sure did love with her whole heart.

She felt with both hands.

You never had to wonder what she thought about things. She spoke her mind with truth and grace.

She was a damn good listener even though she was half deaf.

She gave as much as she received.

She loved surprising people and getting surprises.

Lawd have mercy, she loved to dance.

She couldn’t carry a tune to save her life,but she sang anyways.

She was strong as a bull and stubborn as a mule.

She didn’t always have the best but she made the best of what she had.

She never gave up on people,no matter what.

She loved cowboy boots,faded jeans and pretty lace underwear and worn them from the day she lived till the day she died.

She was smart. She was kind. She was beautiful in her own way.

Yeah, that’s what I want people to say about me when I wake up dead.

But I also want them to say it right now while I’m living and I want to make sure I say it,too.

I don’t want to hear that someone I know and care about woke up dead and I hadn’t made time to talk to them.

I don’t want to gather at a funeral home wishing I had another chance.

I don’t want to have a long list of regrets;of cancelled invitations, turned down dates, missed opportunities, unspoken words,unwritten letters,untold stories and untaken pictures.

That’s not my style,not my desire, not my choice.

So here it goes….this year is winding down and a new one is about to begin and I’m making a list,checking it twice, kind of like Santa Claus, of all the things I want to do,all the people I want to love on and the places I want to see and the dreams I want to come true so that I can start checking them off, doing it all, living my life with passion and love, giving and receiving beautiful things.

From now on.

Just because.

As long as I can.

Until the day comes.

When I wake up dead.

👣💗Jeanna’ Mead

8 59 a.m 12.6.18

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.

💙👣 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.

Whiskey and Wine

Many years have gone by

From one place to another

Small talk every once in a while

Bits and pieces shared here and there

Skimming along the surface

That ragged edge

Where lines cross

And friendship begins

Over whiskey and wine

Takes a long time

Sweet time

For trust to build

From one place to another

Over many years

Time comes to be at a different kind of table

Pouring whiskey and wine

Sharing bits and pieces

Diving below the surface

And seeing that it’ll be alright

To cross that ragged edge

And pour another

Whiskey and wine.

💙👣Jeanna’ Mead

10.18.18. 7:22 a.m

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…..