Monday, October 3, 2011

New Beginnings

As the old adage goes,  "Time flies when you're having fun". 

Well, it hasn't all been fun, but retrospect sure does have a way of helping you let go of the not so fun parts.  I have officially moved on from this blog and from my old website. 

Come on over to my new website and blog to find out what the heck I'm up to now.

BTW, My online store is also back online.

See you over there!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Replay Malfunction . . .

Facebook, for me, has been an incredible tool that has brought me back together with people from my past that I never thought I would be in touch with ever again in this lifetime.  I hear that same thing from so many people.  It’s amazing.  The Internet is a strange but interesting “thingy”.  Who knew?

Through Facebook I’ve also discovered that there is a tremendous amount of loneliness in this world –- a  lot of deeply painful loneliness.  Sometimes that loneliness is hard to notice in others because we’re all so busy just surviving.  It’s not easily detected in the chaos of life, but when we strip down the fa├žade we can see that so many walk in the shadows of empty feelings and hardly ever express it in healthy ways.

On the flip side, we get to be virtual witnesses to stories about miracles, and inspirational events.  I'm not even doing justice in describing it.

All I really know is that this “Facebook Phenomena" has also allowed me this absolutely unique way of staying in touch with my kids who live with their father up in Oregon, while I live way down in Arizona.  Each and every day my kids have given me permission to take a peek into their lives through the magic of the simple phrase, “What’s on your mind?” …and they choose to respond.  And… the icing on the cake is how digital cameras and cell phone cameras give us the ability to record and upload images in just a few minutes time.  The downside is that I realize just how much of my kids lives I'm missing, and it hurts in the worst of ways.

This has made me a bit emotional thinking about how much we long to just be close to those we love and to find someone to love us. When I get like this I have to listen to music that helps me pull up the tears for a good cry.  I’ve been listening to the same song over and over again the past few days.  That’s just crazy “Teenage” behavior, but that’s what it has taken to finally turn on the waterworks.  “Someone Like You” by Van Morrison is the song of choice. 

Am I all alone in this “replay” malfunction?


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Where the prison once was...

Where the prison once was…now there is a garden.

You know those years when you feel like you’ve been sucker punched every single day?  Where it feels like “the day after” all year long?  I know you know what I’m talkin’ about, because we’ve all had them.  If not, then watch out. 

I’ve had some years where I looked back in retrospect, on New Years Eve, and said to myself, “Okay, so this was not your year.”   In fact I can name those years, 1969, 1977, 1981, 1987, 2000, and 2005.  Even to this day when I think about what happened during those years I am drawn back to the sights, sounds, smells, and overall sadness that abounded.

It may have taken me a long time to learn the lessons from those drawn out experiences, but eventually I would “get it”.  I’m a bit of a slow learner (I admit).

At least I can say it’s only been six of my 45 years that I would call quite tainted.  The rest of the years were…well, I guess a lot of those years were just filled with the daily grind.  I feel incredibly grateful to be able to say that a handful of those years were actually exceptional.

Mind you, I’m not complaining - just observing how human nature has played out in my life thus far.

Let's just say, I'm far more alert now as to when the clear blue sky kisses the soil.

MiliGirl Note Cards make unique gifts for women. Find and send the perfect "Just Because" greeting card at the MiliGirl Collection online store.

Please share this post with others - Thanks! Melanie Banayat 

Monday, May 10, 2010

What is it that makes you want to live a passionate life?

Okay, so the question is...
What is it that makes me want to live a passionate life?

I like questions like this that remind me to reflect on how I’m doing in the passion department, because it’s so easy to get caught up in the hum drum of the daily grind and fall prey to the pessimism and negativity that bombards the senses from all around, and even from inside (that inner critic).

I suppose passion has a lot to do with how you operate in the world from moment to moment. I mean let’s face it we all have good days, bad days, exceptionally great days, and days that seem too difficult to bear.

Yes, we’re living in hard times, the world is changing at an exponential rate and there is no way to put the breaks on. That is a harsh reality. We hear it every day standing in line at the grocery store or at the bank, in conversations with coworkers and colleagues, and our family gatherings are sprinkled with political debates. With that said it is certainly a challenge to find people who are optimistic these days, and yet even in the midst of all this turmoil we still need to find a way to move forward with passion and optimism.

I realized that I had to find a place in my life where I could find encouragement beyond my present company. So hear it goes people. Yes, I believe that place was, is, and will always be through God. Worry not -- I’m not going to start preaching here. I’m just recognizing that God’s passion is the greatest passion of all, and by allowing his passion for us to fuel our own passion then we are choosing to live with positive purpose.

So, how do I answer that question? What is it that makes me want to live a passionate life?

Wow, to publicly pronounce my answer to this question brings up some old fears inside of me  – “unabashed commitment”. As I sort through my heart’s greatest desires, my dreams, and my wishes my answer is actually quite simple. The desire to experience “True Happiness” within each day -- whether that comes from helping my teenage children feel more confident in themselves and celebrating each of their tiny & giant successes with loud music and jumping up and down like crazy people, finishing a meaningful painting that inspires others, dancing a romantic two step with my husband, laughing joyfully with good friends, embracing imperfection with a sense of humor, having the guts to admit something that I did wrong and asking for forgiveness, letting go and handing over a heavy burden to our Heavenly Father, making a positive difference (big or small) -- it really doesn’t matter, so long as it’s real.

But I think the real key to all this passion is in taking the time each day to recognize and give thanks to everything that brought me “True Happiness” on that day.

That, to me, is living a passionate life.

MiliGirl Note Cards make unique gifts for women. Find and send the perfect "Just Because" greeting card at the MiliGirl Collection online store.

Please share this post with others - Thanks! Melanie Banayat


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Seder, Matzoh, and Kosher Wine, oh my!

Last night I spent the evening observing a traditional orthodox Jewish Passover (Seder) with a Jewish friend and his non-Jewish wife. I am not Jewish, but at some point during the evening Scott informed me (in joking) that now I am. It’s the first time I have ever been invited to participate in this ritual feast. I really enjoyed the entire experience. I learned a lot. My favorite line in the Passover book was, “It’s better to trust in the eternal than to rely on man.” I think it was on page 33? Anyway, the educational part was interesting, and helped me to understand the simplicity of the practice.

Since I was the youngest in the group last night I was blessed with the opportunity to read the part of the child during the ritual. At least they didn’t force me to search for the unleavened bread, which is the part of the ritual where a piece of matzoh, known as the afikoman, is hidden for a time during the Seder and usually a child is sent to search for it. It is a tradition compared with Christ's burial in the tomb before the resurrection.

It was a lovely evening, the company was fun, the food was wonderful, and the Kosher wine wasn’t so bad either! Wink, wink. It ended a little before midnight, which I understand is fairly early in many cases. It was a beautiful experience and I’m glad Scott and Pia Invited me and my husband to be a part of their celebration.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dolly Parton - Go To Hell

Dolly has always had a great way with words both in her songwriting and just generally speaking.

Here are some of my favorite Dolly Quotes...

"I'm not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I'm not dumb... and I also know that I'm not blonde."

"I'm old enough and cranky enough now that if someone tried to tell me what to do, I'd tell them where to put it."

"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."

Dolly Parton talks frankly about her views on plastic surgery and her definitive style.

"I didn't know I couldn't do it til' I had it done."

I just love the lyrics in Dolly's song "Go To Hell". Love all the photos in the video, too.

"We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.
" - Dolly Parton

MiliGirl Note Cards make unique gifts for women. Find and send the perfect "Just Because" greeting card at the MiliGirl Collection online store.

Please share this post with others - Thanks! Melanie Banayat

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Induction to Womanhood

I recently received an invitation to a “Baby Shower–Goddess Party” where the host invited her guests to share one significant story or insight from her own personal experience that makes her most appreciative and joyful about being a woman. I thought, cool, that’s something new that I had never done for a baby shower before. At first I thought it would be difficult to choose which story to tell, because I have many. But, then, one story jumped right to the front of the line. So, I thought I’d go ahead and share it here as well.

When I was thirteen years old I had hippy hair. You know, the long straight hair, down to my waist, all one length, parted right down the middle kind of hippy hair. My cousins even nicknamed me “Hippy”. My hair had been like that for most of my life up to that point. That is until one Saturday morning when I decided I wanted a change. I was ready to take that big step and move into the realm of “style”.

Well, this was big news to my mom. This called for a trip back to the old neighborhood where her longtime good friend Maria had her beauty shop, Maria’s Salon. I had never had my hair cut in a salon before, so this was a milestone event for me in that sense. I was a little nervous. Ok, a lot nervous.

We walked into the salon and it was packed with women. Every hair stylist was busy turning ordinary women into super models – well, at least in their own minds maybe. It was loud with female chatter. Maria walked up and greeted me with a big cheesy smile attempting to make me feel comfortable. It really DID NOT help.

She brought me over to her chair, sat me down and we began our back and forth dialog to determine what I wanted done to my hair. She then began to comb all of the knots out of my hair, which were many, since grooming was not a high priority on my list yet. I was too active with sports to be concerned about that sort of silly stuff. I usually just put my hair in a ponytail and went about my day. Anyway, as she was combing my hair she suddenly gasped and began saying something in Spanish, which I didn’t understand. She motioned to my mother and other women to come over to have a look at what she found in my hair. I just sat there watching these women making a big deal about something in my hair, but nobody was telling me what it was. I kept asking, “What? What is it?!” They were laughing, and making jokes, and patting me on the head telling me, “If anybody can fix this problem Maria can!” Then they all walked back to their stations, and mom back to her chair in the waiting area. I was baffled. Maria proceeded to pluck a hair from my tender scalp and dangled a 15” long, pure white strand in front of my face. “Here you go sweetie, your first gray hair.” My jaw dropped as I reached up and took hold of it.

I was mesmerized by this single strand of hair. I kept staring at it and wondered what could have caused me to have a gray hair at such a young age. My mind wandered off into deep thought about all of the things that had happened to me in my short 13 years of life that could have caused this. Many painful things, things that were more than a little girl should have to bare, things that others new nothing about, things that stole away my childhood, things that I vowed I would carry to my grave. I pondered long, asking myself, “Is this what this gray hair represents?” I looked around the room at the other women and began to wonder what kind of things they had experienced, because there was lots of gray hair all over. Some were hiding it with color, while others seemed to wear it like a badge of honor.

I was so engulfed in my thoughts that I wasn’t even paying any attention to Maria chopping away at my hair, drying it, and curling it. I was stuck someplace back in time. Then I heard this voice calling out my name like it was coming from a long distance away, but it was Maria bringing me back into the present moment to show me my new hairstyle. I snapped out of my dream state and looked up at myself in the mirror. There I was, the new me, with my new Farrah Fawcett feathered hair. My hands immediately cupped my mouth in amazement. I gasped with tickled joy. I loved it! Then Maria called out to the other ladies to have a look. They turned and began to do their ooohs and aaaaahs, and offer their supportive comments. Even the older lady sitting under the loud cone head hair dryer pulled off the giant bowl, walked over and said how beautiful I was.

In that very moment I realized that I had become part of the greater society of womanhood -- The camaraderie of sisterhood, the chums of common ground, the missionaries of goodness. I somehow felt different. I stood a little straighter and looked a little taller, especially with my puffy new hair. I was a young woman.

This is the only decent picture I could find with me and my Farrah Fawcett hairdo. Unfortunately, I have a hat on. LOL!

I didn't quite look like Farrah, did I? LOL!

MiliGirl Note Cards make unique gifts for women. Find and send the perfect "Just Because" greeting card at the MiliGirl Collection online store.

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