Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

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Looking For Love: Anxious Attachment

I’m back on track, ladies and gentlemen, and here to give you some of my thoughts on the book Attached by Levine and Heller. This will be a longer post, but I hope you’ll stick with me. There was so much I wanted to say, and I cut it down A LOT. Yes, it was that good! And these are just MY personal takeaways. The book is so much more.


Applause! Applause! I have conquered the day. That ugly, procrastination self-talk has lost the battle, but the war does still rage on. I’m feeling confident today, not because I’m a bad ass, but because my husband loved on me yesterday when I was feeling low. Get your mind out of the gutter and I’ll tell you the story.

Remember that focus issue I brought up (again) yesterday? Well, it got worse. My husband was working on a project out in the garage, and I thought, “It’s Thursday! I’ll take the trash down for him!” I got the recycle out, then thought, “Hold on. I’ll get this dinner started and THEN take the trash out because then I won’t have food scraps in the trash overnight.”

I started the potatoes, turned on the radio and then started washing the dishes, forgetting all about the trash. That’s when my husband came in the from the garage and started taking out the trash, thanking me for helping with the recycle.

And I started raving and crying because I realized at that moment that I had forgotten…again.

That’s when he did something amazing. He stopped, pulled me to him and held me while I cried. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me!” Yes, I’m dramatic. Get used to it.

A minute later, I was safe again. I finished the dishes. He took the trash cans down to the road. We had dinner together. I had one of his delicious new beers. And we watched a new TV show, which I highly suggest you see, “Minx.” Yes, there’s nudity! There’s nothing wrong with naked people! Trust me. This is good stuff.

How does this relate to the book Attached? Well, this is what a secure person can do for an anxious one if they’re both interested in walking this path of life together. Through books like this, we’ve learned more effective communication skills that have saved our relationship more than once.

Let’s get into that book a bit, shall we?

“Attachment principles teach us that most people are only as needy as their unmet needs. When their emotional needs are met, and the earlier the better, they usually turn their attention outward. This is sometimes referred to in attachment literature as the “dependency paradox”: The more effectively dependent people are on one another, the more independent and daring they become.”

“…we live in a culture that seems to scorn basic needs for intimacy, closeness, and especially dependency, while exalting independence.”

Like I said in my first post about this book, I discovered this paradox when my children were very small and fought with my culture while I raised them quite differently. This attachment is biological and starts from infancy. This book moves on to apply it to any intimate/close relationship. The principles have changed my parenting, family, and married life for the better.

“Numerous studies show that once we become attached to someone, the two of us form one physiological unit. Our partner regulates our blood pressure, our heart rate, our breathing, and the levels of hormones in our blood.”

“Dependency is a fact; it is not a choice or a preference.”

When I feel the threat of detachment, I feel physically ill. My head and hands ache as if they are filling with blood. My heart races, my breathing shallows. I feel like throwing up. But one text from my loved one, a quick note, a hug, or a squeeze of my hand, and my anxiety eases. Oxytocin win!

Humans have evolved depending on each other for safety, security, and happiness. Our survival has depended on it. Yes, we have a better chance at staying alive independently in modern times, but our biology does not know the difference. Besides, why do we want to get rid of a bonding/attachment system that can bring so much joy?

“…when our partners are thoroughly dependable and make us feel safe, and especially if they know how to reassure us during the hard times, we can turn our attention to all the other aspects of life that make our existence meaningful.”

There you go. We can be the rock under each other’s feet, that secure base to jump from. It’s a mutual dependence that gives us the courage to be out in the world doing big (and small) things independently.

“Chapter 5: Living with a Sixth Sense for Danger: The Anxious Attachment Style”

This is where we will dwell…because it’s about me. I know it best.

“…you possess a unique ability to sense when your relationship is threatened. Even a slight hint that something may be wrong will activate your attachment system, and once it’s activated, you are unable to calm down until you get a clear indication from your partner that he or she is truly there for you and that the relationship is safe.”

Do you have any idea how good it feels to hear “You have a super-power!” instead of “Here’s your problem!”? The best part of this book is that it shows you how to USE your super-power for good!

“The study showed that people with an anxious attachment style tend to jump to conclusions very quickly, and when they do, they tend to misinterpret people’s emotional state.”

“If you just wait a little longer before reacting and jumping to conclusions, you will have an uncanny ability to decipher the world around you and use it to your advantage.”

What study? One that asked people to push a button when they started to see a change in a facial expression on video. Anxious types (like me) saw it a fraction of a second earlier than others. We see it and then rush to identify the emotion, often incorrectly. When they changed the test so that we had to wait a moment longer before responding, we were able to identify the emotion more correctly.

Another hint to stay aware, learn to breathe and pause, before reacting to the world around you, my anxious friend. Not everything is a threat to your survival.

“…the brains of people with an anxious attachment style react more strongly to thoughts of loss and at the same time under-recruit regions normally used to down-regulate negative emotions.”

…sigh… Validation. Do you feel it?

I just need to be more aware of my style and adjust my communication skills. There’s nothing wrong with me. I have a superpower I need to learn to use correctly. Remember “Frozen?” Nothing made my heart smile more than when my son stopped the movie and said, “So…they found out she had a power and locked her away by herself instead of teaching her to use it? Oh, yeah, that will be great. Nothing bad can happen here.”

“Expressing your needs and expectations to your partner in a direct, nonaccusatory manner is an incredibly powerful tool.”

“Nooooo! It’s too hard! Too dangerous!” were my notes in the margin. First of all, you have to know what your needs ARE. Then you have to become vulnerable to express then. What if they say no and you have to leave the relationship? What if they accuse you of being silly, over-thinking, over-communicating, reading into a situation, etc.?

So what?!  Do we really want to stay in a relationship like that and not even try to repair it? Life alone isn’t that dangerous anymore, not so much that we need to wrap ourselves around anyone that will stick with us a while.

“Often, insecure people cannot get in touch with what is really bothering them. They get overwhelmed by emotions and lash out.”

One thing I have learned lately is to simply admit that I’m feeling yuck and I’m not sure why or where it’s coming from. Instead of scrambling to find any source of pain and eradicate it quickly (like the study I mentioned above), I sit in that feeling and allow it some space to move around. Buddhism and meditation, non-doing and trust, are helping in that pursuit.

I’m printing out these two lists and putting them on the fridge!

The Five Principles of Effective Communication

Wear You Heart on Your Sleeve
Focus on Your Needs
Be Specific
Don’t Blame
Be assertive and nonapologetic


Five Secure Principles for Resolving Conflict

Show basic concern for the other person’s well-being.
Maintain focus on the problem at hand.
Refrain from generalizing the conflict.
Be willing to engage.
Effectively communicate feelings and needs.

One more word: Oxytocin! “The next time you decide to skip the Sunday morning cuddle in bed for a chance to catch up on work – think again. This small act might be enough to immunize your relationship against conflict for the next few days.”

We (our culture) do not spend enough time in close physical contact with each other. Don’t say COVID, because it started LONG before that. Oxytocin (the love and bonding chemical) is created when we touch. Feeling low? Ask for a hug! In fact, I think I’ll start asking my friends and family if I can hug them more often!

And there you have it. Attached by Levine and Heller…in a nutshell!

What’s next? I was going to jump into an intriguing (but silly) novel but a friend is reading Will by Will Smith and Mark Manson and I cannot skip over the chance to do a read along!

Attached: New Read

Ok, my dear reader, my thoughts and commentary on Attached. The New Science of Adult Attachment and How it Can Help You Find – And Keep Love by Amir Levine, M.D. and Rachel S.F. Heller, M.A. are going to get a little personal.

I first heard about “attachment theory” shortly after my first child was born and it all made so much sense. Children, right from birth, seek attachment and safety. Once that is achieved, they can move on to independence and then interdependence. That’s my short-form explanation.

It changed the way we raised our kids from the moment I understood it. When they cry, we feed and soothe them. When they reach for us, we’re there. Humans will grow to be independent on their own. We don’t need to force them to “grow up.” I fought with my family about this, and I never could understand why they could not understand.

My sons are adults now and, I believe, are establishing healthy relationships with their own partners. Yes, I they still do reach out to their dad and I when they feel they need emotional support. And that is a good thing. We are all securely attached to each other in healthy ways. We are family.

So why read about attachment now when my children are all grown?

Because a few years ago, I discovered that attachment theory applies to adult/romantic relationships as well. Discovering that, and what my current “style” is, has helped me grow closer to my husband of 23 years, something I didn’t know was possible. I wish I had understood some of this as a young adult. It would have probably helped avoid a lot of heartache.

Where did I discover it? Instagram, another reason to love that platform. The self-help and relationship help that I’ve found there has been wonderful. Pages like The Love Therapist and Self Work Co have changed my outlook on life.

I’ve been looking forward to reading Attached. by Amir Levine, M.D. and Rachel S.F. Heller, M.A. for several months but kept thinking I already had it on my shelf until I realized that I have Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend there and it has the same color scheme. That’s how my brain works…it can be annoying.

This will be another fun book to read, I’m sure. The opening pages describe some of my most bothersome (to me) behaviors through the lens of someone else’s relationship. I’ve always been told these are things I should fix about myself, and I’ve spent my life attempting to not need people and become more independent.

“…we live in a culture that seems to scorn basic needs for intimacy, closeness, and especially dependency, while exalting independence. We tend to accept this attitude as truth – to our detriment.”

Man, that feels good to read. Like suddenly I’m not alone.

“…attachment continues to play a major role throughout our entire lifespan. The difference is that adults are capable of a higher level of abstraction, so our need for the other person’s continuous physical presence can at times be temporarily replaced by the knowledge that the person is available to us psychologically and emotionally. But the bottom line is that the need for intimate connection and reassurance of our partner’s availability continues to play an important role throughout our lives.”

Here’s where the personal stories come in.

I have this strange habit of reaching out to the people I love and need attention from. I text if they aren’t there. I walk into the room and say random things. I reach for them as I pass by. They are what my husband calls “pings.”

“Ping, a computer network administrator software utility, is often used to check the reachability of a host. The reachability includes two aspects. One is the availability, while the other is the response time.”

That’s what I’m doing. I’m checking the reachability of a loved one. “Yep, they are still there. I’m ok.”

To some people it can be irritating, especially if I’m feeling overly vulnerable and you don’t answer fast enough. I have been known to go off the deep end far too often than I probably should.

But knowing that’s what I’m doing helps me react better and helps my loved ones understand and show support. It’s a need for me and I’m uncomfortable without it. Yes, I’m aware that I should be ok alone and I generally am, but, like that baby that needs to be fed or that toddler that needs reassurance, I need to know my loved ones are there for me.

This book is going to be another great help to me. Relationships take energy, work, and self-awareness to thrive. Hopefully, the information here will bring more insight and peace to my current relationships. I’ll be sharing what I find as I go, but it won’t be a summary of what’s inside by a long shot. Hopefully what I do share will help you decide if reading it yourself and gleaning your own insight will be worth your time!

Read my final thoughts on this book at “Looking For Love: Anxious Attachment”

We Cannot Give What We Do Not Have

“Giving is the highest expression of potency. In the very act of giving, I experience my strength, my wealth, my power. This experience of heightened vitality and potency fills me with joy. I experience myself as overflowing, spending, alive, hence joyous.”

The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm

When we give, we do not deprive ourselves of anything, we enhance our lives from our abundance, and it comes back to us as joy.

Most importantly, we cannot give what we do not have.

That’s something to remember when you love someone, but they don’t seem to be loving you back the way you wish they would. Everyone loves in the way that they can, unconsciously. They give from what they have. If they feel they have little, they give little. It’s up to you whether you accept their offering of love and continue the relationship, or not.

Love is not a tit-for-tat thing.

We give of our time, our energy, our love, and our finances, voluntarily. When our cup is full and we know it, we feel it, we can’t help but share of it. It cannot be forced or coerced, and it never needs to be.

One little thing that I have to say, though, is that making a law, enacting a tax, using the force of government to make other people share what they have is not love. It’s a lack of faith in humanity, and it spreads that lack of faith. Ultimately, nothing good comes of it. It creates animosity and forces people to take sides against each other.

If you’d like to read more of my thoughts on the book, “The Art of Loving,” check out the following links.
Where Did Our Words for Love Go?
Learning to Concentrate by Being Alone
How to Parent by Respecting the Individual
Can More Faith in Yourself Lead to More Faith in Others?

You can find “The Art of Loving” by Erich Fromm at Thriftbooks.com.

Have you read this book? If so, leave me a comment. I’d love to hear what you think.


“Four Reasons a Newsletter is Better Than a Social Media Feed”
Bypass the social media algorithms and sign up for my weekly newsletter. Each week will give you a rundown of my favorites posts, podcasts, and few funnies. Read what you want, when you want, without getting sucked into the endless scroll mode!

When You’re Wrong

“We both know you only get mad when you know you’re wrong.”

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

That’s not true!
Wait. Maybe?
Hold on a minute. (searches through recent arguments) Dammit.

The last argument I started was over closing windows. Yes, you read that right. My husband had the audacity to close the windows and I proceeded to lose my mind. I wasn’t wrong to want the windows open. I wasn’t wrong to be irritated by his response. I was wrong to jump on him about it and then continue a screaming rant about how he ALWAYS does things like this. That’s actually what I was losing my mind about, the fact that I jumped to conclusions and escalated a battle.

When I get really mad, I’m 99% mad at myself. I can’t seem to stop the spiral downward once it starts. I feel the feeling, think the thoughts…and then the words start pouring out before I can stop them. Then I feel like I have to fight to prove why I’m right, to justify my outburst.

In the past, this behavior has gotten way out of control. I wish someone could see inside my head what’s going on when I act like that. It’s like an alter ego has escaped from prison and taken over my mouth. The real me is inside screaming, “Stop! You’re hurting them!”

Recently, as in the last few years, meditation has helped. The idea of “making space” for feelings and watching them pass by helped me change from reacting to responding. A few weeks ago, I was able to walk away from something I knew would trigger me to react. I spent an hour alone, talked to my brother, wrote in a journal, and then came back to respond to the situation in a way that (hopefully) wouldn’t make everything worse.

This last argument didn’t last long, so that was an improvement. The work continues.

Anger Management

“We both know you only get mad when you know you’re wrong.”

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

That’s not true!

Wait. Maybe?

Hold on a minute. (searches through recent arguments) Dammit.

The last argument I started was over closing windows. Yes, you read that right. My husband had the audacity to close the windows and I proceeded to lose my mind. I wasn’t wrong to want the windows open. I wasn’t wrong to be irritated by his response. I was wrong to jump on him about it and then continue a screaming rant about how he ALWAYS does things like this. That’s actually what I was losing my mind about, the fact that I had jumped to conclusions and escalated a battle…again.

When I get really mad, I’m 99% mad at myself. I can’t seem to stop the spiral downward once it starts. I feel the feeling, think the thoughts…and then the words start pouring out before I can stop them. Then I feel like I have to fight to prove why I’m right, to justify my outburst.

In the past, this behavior has gotten way out of control. I wish someone could see inside my head what’s going on when I act like that. It’s like an alter ego has escaped from prison and taken over my mouth. The real me is inside screaming, “Stop! You’re hurting them!”

Medication has helped slow me down in the past, but more recently, meditation has helped much more. The idea of “making space” for feelings and watching them pass by has helped me change from reacting to responding. A few weeks ago, I was able to walk away from something I knew would trigger me to react. I spent an hour alone, talked to my brother, wrote in a journal, and then came back to respond to the situation in a way that (hopefully) wouldn’t make everything worse.

This window closing tirade didn’t last long, so that was an improvement. I was able to slow and pause, think. And then beg for forgiveness.

How many times can a person forgive though?

Those are the kind of thoughts that trigger depression though. I had to stop again. I’m not a bad person. I’m not evil. I’m not mean. I’m doing the best I can and every day is an improvement.

The work continues

Wild For A Time

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Photo by Michael Anfang on Unsplash

Do you trust me?

Will you let me go feral for a time?
Will you take the reins and tame me again when I return?
Will you be the stable I can return to, hot and sweaty from my run in the wild?
Will you hold me tight, wash the dirt and sweat away, and bed me down?

Can I trust you?

What Could Have Happened

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Photo by jurien huggins on Unsplash

“Let’s not stand on ceremony.” she said “Just say what you want to say and get it over with.”

He stood there looking down at his boots, not daring to lift his eyes to hers. He knew he wouldn’t be able to go through with it if he did. He wouldn’t be able to say the words he needed to say to set him free if he had to see the disappointment and pain in her eyes. He promised to love her forever and now, well, he just didn’t and he couldn’t go on hiding it another day.

She suspected there was something going on for months, maybe even years. When they were first married, they slept warm and naked, side by side, every night. The comfort of his body near her somehow made her feel safe and secure. At any time she could reach out and touch him, and most times when she did he responded to her touch immediately, pulling her close and pressing against her, kissing her neck. Sometimes the snuggles progressed to sex, sometimes they just lay together secure in each others arms and fell back asleep.

After a few years, the closeness started to fade. She reached out for him less and less in the night, and when she did, he didn’t always notice and respond. For her, she felt rejected each time she put out a hand to him and he only responded by sighing in his sleep or rolling away instead of toward her. She knew, logically, that it wasn’t fair to blame him for something he did in his sleep, but what had changed? Would the warmth return? Feeling rejected, she started to reach out less and less until finally it would be a month before he’d reach for her and she’d grudgingly give him what he wanted. Sex had begun to feel like an obligation to fulfill, not the sharing of intimacy it once was.

Life started to change rapidly after the birth of their second child. She worked so hard with the kids all day long and she always did such a great job taking care of the house and feeding them all. Work was getting harder and harder for him. This new job was mentally exhausting, doing things he never thought he would be. Sure, all he was doing was sitting in an office, but dealing with people daily, talking with the customers, hearing their complaints and problems was more demanding than any physical work he used to do. At the end of the day, it was all he could do to come home, play with the kids a bit, eat dinner, and then fall into bed. He tried to stay awake while she finished putting the kids down, but by the time she crawled into bed next to him, he was always fast asleep. He’d wake to find her there, gently snoring beside him. Knowing how exhausted she was, he didn’t have the heart to wake her, even if it was for something sweet and pleasurable for both of them. She didn’t seem to reach for him in the night like she used to. He had begun to think maybe she didn’t love him like she used to. Maybe something was wrong. Or maybe this was just how marriage was after kids. He wasn’t happy, but he didn’t know how to communicate the feelings he was starting to have, so he left it alone.

Without that intimate connection at night, they started to drift apart emotionally. Both desperately wanted to love the other but neither knew how to start the conversation. They avoided it and eventually they both found someone else. She put all her focus and energy into the kids and he found someone that would reach out to him.

“You know you don’t love me anymore. I’m leaving.”

There it was. The big statement. And here they were, another failed marriage, another broken family, just like everyone else. She felt numb hearing those words. She knew he would say them. She knew they were coming for a long time.

“Ok.” Was the only way she could respond without falling apart, and her pride would not allow her to fall apart in front of him.

He walked away without another word. Both were broken. Both cried alone. Both felt they had failed. And both wanted the other to beg them to stay.


Thank you to Writers Write for the October prompts!

It’s Friday, My Friends!

It’s a special Friday today!

My husband is on vacation starting today and therefore, so am I!

For the next couple of weeks, I won’t be posting anything, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be writing. I’ll be spending our on the road vacation as a kind of writing retreat. I have a short list of “to-do’s” and a couple of great books to read!

This is my husband and I’s first vacation without kids in twenty years, so we have some adjusting to do. Where do you go when you aren’t trying to show the world to your kids? What places do you visit when you only have the two of you chiming in with preferences? It’s going to be different for sure and I’m really looking forward to it.

On to the Friday list!

Thing I learned: Writer’s keep journals for different reasons and they’re NOT all very interesting. I just finished “Breathe in. Breathe Out.” By Ralph Fletcher. I’ve kept a journal/notebook for years, ever since I was a teenager. Lately, my notebook has begun to look more like a personal journal. I don’t like it. The past couple of weeks I started keeping it with me wherever I go and writing down things I see, memories, ideas, quotes, song lyrics, anything I think is interesting. When I go out to lunch with a friend, I sit in my car afterwards and write down a few lines about it, impressions I had or feelings that came up. I promised myself I’d be looking back on that more often than I used to, but I’ve let is slide again. June has been busy.

Thing I’m reading: “The Pagan Christ” by Tom Harpur. Part of me is a bit afraid to post the cover of this on my Facebook page and that makes me angry. I’m of the mind that the real God is so great that it cannot be proven false. I have no fear of reading something that might challenge my beliefs. I want those challenges. I don’t want to believe anything blindly!

Right off the bat, I know this book will be fascinating! Here’s a quote to show you exactly what I mean. “A too often forgotten truth is that you can live through actual events of history and completely miss the underlying reality of what’s going on.” There is more to the world around you than the details only you experience. We have to remove ourselves a bit to see the bigger picture, and sometimes the picture is just far too big for us every to be THAT removed.

Thing I heard: “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Suede! Every single time I hear that song, I see my Dad’s livingroom and his juke box. I also see him singing it at the top of his voice next to me in the cab of his Datsun pickup truck, banging on the steering wheel. It brings to mind images of Thrify’s ice cream, Saturday matinees, and 7/11 Slurpees. I’m only slightly perturbed that everyone else only knows it because of “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Thing I want to do: Take a nap for several days. I have not gotten enough sleep lately and I have no idea why. Could it be the weather change? The sun going down so late in the day? My son’s cooking? The cat and its need for me to on the couch at 4am so he can sleep next to me there? No idea. Maybe I can get some more sleep while we are on our trip!

Picture of the week:

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The Says Phoebe’s have left the nest on our front porch! Two new birds have been raised to adulthood once again. I love them. A new couple is on our porch every spring and I look forward to hearing their twittering. I’ve learned what each different call means. One call I know is the one for, “That cat is stalking us again!” And I’m out there at least once a day to shoo him into the house and apologize for his behavior.

Interesting thing my son said…he was washing a dish at the sink and watching the mother bird fly up to the nest with a bug and then fly off a bit and start calling. He wondered what she was doing and it dawned on him. “She’s luring him out of the nest! She doesn’t kick them out, she offers him food and waits to see if they’ll join her…just like YOU!”

My sons are old enough to be on their own and they fly in and out of our nest all the time. I know when they are ready to be on their own without their mother hovering over them and asking stupid questions, they will go. I’m in no hurry, but I know the day will come soon. There is already talk about apartments and moving to the city. I won’t kick them out and see if they fly. I’ve put way too much work into this for that! When they are ready, their instincts to fend for themselves will pull them.

See you in a few weeks!

What is Love?

What does being “committed to your marriage” really mean?

For us, it means we are dedicated to making each other’s lives better. We’re committed to living together in peace, respecting each other as individuals, supporting each other in reaching our goals and dreams. We have contracted with each other to raise our kids together, hand in hand, at least until they aren’t in need of parenting anymore. We’re a partnership of two whole human beings. We each have our own wants and needs, and we promised to always be honest and open about ourselves while we discuss and negotiate how we will do everything as a partnership. We try not to take any aspect of our marriage as a given, but if it is, we talk about it (even if that means we have to text each other to keep space when things get heated) and come to an agreement based on mutual respect.

To us, it’s called love. We love each other so much, we’d rather see the other satisfied than be right. It hasn’t always been easy and we have failed miserably over and over again, but we always come back to the original commitment and try again. There is little we wouldn’t do to make each other happy and little we would do if it hurt the other.

Journal Entry

My brain is a whirl of activity this morning. I have so many ideas that I THINK I want to write about thanks to a book my friend Sherry recommended, “Writing the Memoir.” It’s like a floodgate of ideas has been opened. I guess I just didn’t realize that “memoir” was such a big market and that people read these stories all the time. I always figured it was only famous people that wrote them, but then I think of all the times we’ve said, “Wouldn’t it be cool to hear the journals and thoughts of a regular person of that time? Why don’t TV shows ever focus on that?” Apparently, there are millions of books about it! Mine could be one of them.

Not only am I getting encouragement about publishing my arrest story, I’m getting ideas for other books as well. What if I wrote about my childhood, the people I knew, the places I went and lived, our vacations. And then my young adult life, Disney, college, Knott’s, etc. And my children, homeschooling. Hmm…there’s just so much there.

What I need to work on right now is focus. I need to make time to write and stop allowing myself to be distracted. Turn the phone off, don’t look at Facebook (it switches my focus), plan time to be at my computer every single day at a certain time. It can be done and I will do it.

Yesterday…was beautiful. Dan and I went on a date together. We took a picnic lunch out to Old Dale and spent a couple hours walking and sitting on top of our hill staring at the desert. It was raining when we left the house but not windy or overly cold. When we got to Dale it was cloudy, clouds so low they tripped over the hills to the south of us and spread out across the basin, dropping a fine mist of water as they went.

Dale was amazingly green for the desert in January. I imagined all the tiny green plants at my feet exploding into colorful flowers at the first sign of warm sunny days. I’m making plans to go back out as soon as that happens to catch them with my camera.

I took pictures of the water drops collecting on the leaves. The smell of the wet desert was delicious. I’m not sure what it is, the smell of small, wet leaves that usually see no rain for months at a time, sighing in the quenching drizzle.

This was the first time we have ever been to our family camping spot without the kids. We parked in the spot we usually camp, got our water and made our way up the hill where we placed a “monument” years ago. From that high place you can see the whole basin spread below. From the hills of Old Dale in the south to the ragged peaks above Wonder Valley to the North. Amboy road works its way up and over the pass in a straight line, at night you can watch the headlights of car after car coming down it. Where are those people coming from? We can see all the way west into Twentynine Palms and the road east into Arizona. It’s big and peaceful.

Up on the hill, we checked our box to see if we’d had any visitors since we visited last spring. Years ago, when the boys were little, we placed that box there as a monument for us to leave messages each time we came up. When I discovered “Letterboxing” we wrote detailed directions on how to find it and put them up on their website. It evolved into a Geocache a few years later. The notebook that is up there now is nearly ten years old and half full of notes left by people who have found it through the app or stumbled across it while exploring the area.

I love looking through that notebook and adding my own message. There are some weird ones, some poetry, some sad messages about how lonely they are, thanks for sharing the view, etc. This time someone wrote, “Made the trek up to Mt. Huelle again.” And now that is what I will call it.

We sat on the rocks at the top, side by side, holding hands and listening to the gentle rain. Amazing. I love this man so much. Amazing what we’ve been through, how much we’ve changed and how much we still enjoy each other’s company, each other’s touch.

This date was intentional. Earlier this week I was reminded of what we were missing, intention. We’d stopped going places and doing things unless it were necessary or something we intended on experiencing. We’d stopped going places just to spend time together. Our time as parents is quickly closing, soon it will just be us every day. What will we do on weekends when there are no races to go to, no events to attend? We’ve decided to start dating again. This was a perfect start.

We walked back to the truck the long way, stopping to look at interesting rocks and plants, to wonder what might be just beneath the surface. What if we brought the metal detector out here? The rain makes everything look so different. Rocks are darker, red, black, gray, and deep green.

We talked about future plans, things we’d like to do together. At the truck we spread the picnic blanket on the tailgate and had lunch while we talked more and watched the clouds move across the desert, the sun peaking through at one end.

It got cold when we weren’t walking. Shivering in our light, now damp, jackets, we packed up and headed back home. It was an afternoon I’ll never forget.

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