“You’re pregnant, again?!”

“You two need to get cable.”

“You know what causes that, right?”

“What are you going to do?!”

And then sometimes you really do get the sincerely genuine, “Congratulations! Children are such a blessing!”

But most of the time it’s a comment accompanied with a look of pity. It probably has to do with the look of exhaustion I wear daily—it doesn’t really blend well with the Mac concealer.

Yes. I am pregnant with baby number four. Now that I’m etching past the 12 week mark and the first trimester of exhaustion and nausea, the reality of what I am about to embark upon is overwhelming. It wasn’t “supposed” to happen for another year. I needed to finish grad school. My oldest is just entering pre-k and is not even four years old yet. I thought I’d have more time to prepare…as best as one prepares for four small children.

It seems like the female reproductive system is such a commonly discussed topic among media outlets and politicians. I’ve read so many blogs that talk about what we should and should not talk about with one another. But as more people discover our news, I feel like I have to have some type of stance as to why I am choosing to be so open to life. I may not seem very convincing in person because I am just so tired. 

This week I had my new students read my short story, “The Liver Philosophy”. The moral of the story is to do what is right for you, even if no one else gets it. I had my students write a summary of what they felt it meant and quite a few of them wrote about some of their own choices that they are willing to be a “Liver” for. It was both insightful and inspiring. What moved me more is that I had forgotten to live out the very words I had once wrote!

I know that having a large family is not what everyone desires. I know that being open to “God’s will” is very open to interpretation. I also know that I am not one to judge other people’s choices, as long as they can respect mine.

I don’t know what I am going to do. My motto is that I tend to take life 50 minutes at a time. It’s the teacher in me. Every time the bell rings, a new class begins and anything and everything can change. It carries over into my home life. A meltdown one moment can lead to giggles the next.

Having my children so close together is hard. I’m really finally admitting it out loud. Maybe that’s one of the reasons you have to be open to God to have bigger families. You have to pray a lot for your sanity and you also have to admit that you need other people. It’s a hard thing to do when you have a lot of pride and you were once so independent, but then you look around and you see that you have a real family and real friends who live and celebrate this one life with you.

I sometimes question if I’m making the right choice, but then today happens. After a chaotic day, my three boys will be so sweet. And we do something random like “chase the sun”, which involves driving down an open highway to watch the gorgeous sunset while listening to The Postal Service. And they talk to one another like brothers do and say in an almost synchronized, rehearsed manner, “Good night, Sun,” to the melody of how we read, “Good Night Moon.” And I think, Yes. I can have another. I will survive thrive.

See you in February Baby Bou:)

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The preamble to proposal

This was something I wrote a few months ago when Jon and I first returned from Oregon. It’s remarkable how things grow:)

MARRIAGE TALK

We have now talked about marrying one another more so than I have with any other suiter….combined.

This morning we discussed what weddings meant to both of us while nibbling on an egg and cheese omelet that he overcooked in one of my great grandma’s thirty-year-old pots. The subject first came up during our drive back from Oregon. We were rounding a curve outside of Astoria when he mentioned that his stepfather asked if I were the last girlfriend he was ever going to bring home. He said he replied that he, “hoped so.”

That was an emotional first for me. I respected the fact that he pointed out that we don’t know what the future brings, but that it would be a cruel joke of the universe if we weren’t to work out. However, I’ve never really had anyone say that they wanted to spend their life with me. Any doubt I had prior to that moment seemed to disappear and the hopefulness has yet to wear off.

Most of my doubts were caused by initial fear of our differences. But as I allowed myself to not necessarily be “right” and I remained as nonjudgmental as possible, he grew to be something I never expected.

Both of us have been exposed to  fast-paced marriage traditions. His mother met his stepfather online and then he moved from Germany after several meetings to marry her. Not only did I just witness the whirl wind romance with my sister Meggan, but it turns out my father’s parents met and wed fairly quick as well.

The kicker: the couple who introduced us only dated for a few months and then were married. Seven years later, they are still such a strong model of love that lasts. I know that he and I both take the commitment pretty seriously and I can’t even believe that the discussion resurfaced again as we cooked for the first time in my home.

While cooking turkey fajitas, he told me that my father had stopped by the shop that afternoon to pick something up. Ronnie, his uncle,  told him later that his “father-in-law” had stopped by. At first Jon was confused, but then once the connection was made, he laughed.

I reveled silently, as to not make any assumptions. Hmmm. Most guys would not even retell that story due to it’s nature. He could easily have not told me at all, but part of him wanted me to know that they joke on that level. I was about to tip my head to overanalyzation, when he made the comment that the thought of marrying me wasn’t scary.

What?

I knew the thought was mutual for me. I mean who wouldn’t want to marry me? Turns out, quite a few. But could it be that there is someone actually really right for me? Or was I just starting to like the idea that he felt that way?

Stop overanalyzing.

When I listen to my heart, and more than just the accelerated beating pace when he touches me with his any part of his being, I feel a sense of security that I have longed for. He has seen my whole family, my whole history, my whole self, and yet he embraces the future.

Maybe we just both wanted to find one another. He had once said over the phone, “could this be it?”.

I was starting to reflect the possibility with each passing day. I felt more vibrant, yet I no longer had this drive. Most people would say the drive is what was to make me. But what they never saw behind closed doors was that same force drove me to self destruction.

With him, I face my insecurities and welcome the challenges in a much more peaceful manner. And I say to myself that as long as we can move forward through a few phases of our life, then maybe this can lead to our mystery ceremony.

Tradition versus Elise.

I am open-minded and accepting, but I am still a Cajun. And a Cancer at that! Home and family is a big part of me. So when it comes to ceremonies, I still want to be a part of what everyone else has done. But then there is a part of me that says “Change it up!”

While I sat in St. Joseph’s church (which is now just two blocks away from my house) for Meggan’s wedding rehearsal, my father made the comment that he wouldn’t have to worry about this hoo-rah for me, because I would probably have everyone outside, barefoot in a field somewhere.

I laughed because I saw its plausibility, but then told him I couldn’t specifically say because I did not know who my groom would be. He replied that he would, “probably be some moon martian just like you.”

Moon martian. Great.

So maybe I should embark upon something out of this world. It’s funny that finding something steadily comfortable is what will take me to such great heights.

But I wouldn’t make any bets yet. It’s still the honeymoon. And we’re still just talking jibberish over omelets. I would be lying though, if I said I wouldn’t be terribly hurt if these thoughts ever got scrambled.

Faith, my dear. Faith.

Cornucopia-Part 2

The following was submitted for a short story contest last year. Some of you may not think it’s very short, but there are certain spirits that can speak to you while you read it, if you let. I hope you enjoy.

CORNUCOPIA                              (Written 9/23/09)

By Elise H. Peltier

If you find yourself reading this, you have finally reached the age to understand just how intertwined your spirit is with the great abundance of life. For years I wondered how I was supposed to relate to you how you have helped me to grow into the woman that I am; or how I could possibly be the one chosen to guide you along your path. Either way, here I am now. Alive in this moment because you are reading my words. Our words.

There can be a fascination with words: how if you link them together they can become sentences. If those sentences are combined properly, they become great ideas that then become actions. But most intriguingly,  sometimes just one word can mean it all. In order for me to tell you our story, I have to tell you its story.

Most people in Western civilization immediately associate the word “cornucopia” with a cone-shaped horn overflowing with fruits and grains. This symbol often appears during the autumn season before the Thanksgiving holiday. It is during this season where our story begins.

My mother walked into my bedroom the morning of October 22, 1998, her 40th birthday, to awaken me with the news that one of my best friends had died. Waddy was a senior at the neighboring Catholic high school, Notre Dame. It was the week of their homecoming football game. He was driving home after the parade on a road a half-mile from his house. We’re not exactly sure what happened, but his truck overturned. His window was halfway down and he wasn’t wearing a seat belt. He was killed instantly.

When my mother broke the news to me, I was beyond devastated. I had yet to experience the death of someone close to me. I remember walking around in a daze for days. I kept thinking of different reasons as to what he was doing in the truck to make it flip. I figured he was probably changing out a CD and went off the road into the gravel, then over-corrected and the truck flipped. It was no surprise to me that the windows were down. They were always down, so everyone could hear his music from miles away. I’m sure he was excited that night too. The coach had told him he was going to start a game for the first time. I could just picture him smiling as he drove his big maroon, Chevy truck down that country road. The same wind that flowed through the surrounding fields probably danced with his freckled face as he reached for a CD…and that’s when it happened.

I remember crying waterfalls at the funeral. I remember going sit at his grave with a few of our mutual friends after the service. One of the guys had “I really miss my homies” by Master P blasting through the stereo of his old white Honda Accord. The ten of us sat scattered across the grass with unspoken questions churning through our saddened, unsuspecting minds.

I reminisced about how Waddy and I originally met. Although his younger sister and I had played softball summer league together, it wasn’t until middle school youth group that we formed our independent friendship. We both allowed our stubborn personalities to cause arguments at first, but slowly our bond shifted when we recognized our similarities. He became a big brother figure to me. Since I’m the oldest of four girls, I was used to being my own protector. Although I refused to give up any control, he taught me how a real man gives genuine compliments to a woman.

We remained very close despite the different schools we attended. I was with he and his friends every weekend. He was the first friend I really discussed and shared the presence of God.

The day after the funeral, we decided to make t-shirts in his honor. The back had a quote Waddy said once at a youth group meeting, “To live and believe in God is a great adventure. To die and be with God is a greater one.”

It may seem strange that I am talking about death, when cornucopia means quite the opposite. However, some religions view death as the surface level appearance of the true birth of the soul.  According to a modern dictionary, Cornucopia is derived from Greek mythology, which continues our journey with the word into a deeper history.

When Zeus was a baby, his mother Rhea brought him to a cave on Mount Ida in Krete. There, he was nursed by a she-goat, Amaltheia. Legend has it that her horn was cut by a tree and never-ending fruit came from thee.

The relevancy of this story is quite intriguing for our own purposes.

The shape of a ram’s horn is like a spiral. Waddy’s death began this cycle in my life; a spiral.

In January of 1999, my aunt Carla, who was only seven years my elder, asked me to be a godmother to her daughter. I was a junior in high school  and was to make my confirmation into the Roman Catholic Church in March. For months, I awaited the birth of my first godchild, Malorie. I thought my role would be to teach her about our faith, attend all of her sacramental rites, and give her presents for holidays.

It was mid-June and Carla was patiently, but crankily ready to have Malorie. Who could blame the uncomfortable nature of a woman who is pregnant in South Louisiana during summer months? To my surprise, Malorie was born on June 27th, Waddy’s birthday. After careful consideration, I knew in my heart that it was no coincidence. The connection would be strong with my godchild.

Here is an interesting twist to our correlating stories: a godmother in South Louisiana is often called “Nanny” ( this is the case with me and Malorie).  The term nanny is used to describe a child’s caretaker. In older times, it pertained to a wet nurse, which is derived from Almatheia.

One more tid-bit before I continue: Greek mythology is very similar to the Cajun lifestyle due to the nature of story telling and parables in order to explain valuable life lessons. Also there is a congruency to Greek and Cajun heritage: the lushful nature of drinking and eating. I soon became abusively involved with this culture.

It’s odd as to how fast one’s life can change. A year later, I started college. The direction of my spiral went downward with the speed of a vacuum-like black hole.

For the entirety of my adolescence, I was the good kid. I was involved in school activities and youth group. I graduated ninth in my class. Once I moved out of my parents’ house, I guess you can say I went drunk with freedom. I joined several college organizations, but I was more active in night life. Eventually, I flunked out.

I could delve into detail here, giving examples of anonymous adventures, booze and bad decisions, and crazy connections, but that can be revealed at a different time during a personal conversation–should the need arrive.

Let’s just say I had to abandon everything I once practiced to make sure I was choosing what I believed in. I never lost this sense in my heart that there was a truth for me to know, understand, and feel. The void kept me searching.

As I approached truth from a more intellectual level, I began to see how many different people throughout the history of humanity, held different truths in their hearts and minds. Before college, I didn’t realize there was really a religion outside of Christianity. There isn’t much religious diversity in Rayne, Louisiana. I knew there was St. Joseph’s, the church I attended where pretty much every family tradition has occurred, and there was another Catholic church for the majority of our black community, and then there were a few Baptist churches and a Methodist Church.

After researching different religions and world history I started to ponder this possibility, “How is God only experienced through one type of worship or lifestyle?” The notion made me very weary of the validity of everything I was taught while growing up.

I started to-study Eastern philosophies. I would read the teachings of the Buddha every night. I began having conversations with people around me about what they believed. Did they have faith in anything at all? I needed something to happen.

That’s when I felt God again. It happened out of nowhere. I had been talking about philosophical principles with a group of friends and a pal made the comment that I was more of a spiritual teacher than I realized. I walked from his apartment to mine considering if that statement were true. By asking questions, did people think I had the answers?

I brushed my teeth, contemplating if it were possible to feel the answer. The song switched on  iTunes and I found myself closing my eyes. Suddenly, everything drained out of my brain and my being felt like a frequency of light. I no longer felt like I was a person standing inside of a small bedroom in a corporate complex. I felt like I was a part of everything. There was no boundary between me and the objects around me. I felt alive. I felt like nothing. I felt peace. I felt me.

I opened my eyes and the room seemed to possess a hue of God’s residue; because everything was God to me.

I fell asleep with a smile and hoped to awaken with this same knowledge. I didn’t want it to disappear as fast as it appeared.

The next morning was Mother’s Day and my family was celebrating the occasion at my mother’s sister’s house. I decided to bike there since it was such a gorgeous day. Breezy, non-humid days during May in Lafayette, Louisiana are almost unheard of. Normally, the humidity is as thick as gumbo and your sweat drops are the size of nickels. Instead of claustrophobic weather, I felt like the universe wanted to me to soak up the proof I had experienced the night before.

As I biked to my aunt’s, I began to think about the importance of Mother’s Day. I was 24 at the time and had no children, nor prospects of a husband. This is rare for a woman my age around these parts. One of my younger sisters was planning to be married that July, the other one was in a fairly serious relationship, and the youngest was only 14…but I think she even had a boyfriend at the time.

I contemplated how fortunate I was to have such spiritual, genuine women in my life as role models, especially my mother. I have never seen anyone strive for such a positive existence. She follows the rules, but also goes above the guidelines. She’s the kind of woman who saves bottle caps and popsicle sticks for the kindergarten classes. She volunteers to babysit, what seems like the entire town’s children. She recycled before it was cool. Needless to say, I always felt like I had a lot to live up to.

My thoughts reverted to my internal explosion the previous evening and the same burst of peace created a lightening of proactive force in my mind. I needed to explain this type of experience to Malorie. That was my role as godmother: not just to be there for the rites of passage, but to explain how to reach God, which is not having to reach or search at all.

She was only seven at the time, so I knew I had years to develop my own understanding.

My life took a more upward spin in the spiral. I left my secure job to return to school in order to pursue a more purposeful calling.

The following Christmas, my sister asked me to be the godmother of her child, almost precisely the time Carla had asked me nine years before. Of course I said yes. I felt I was at a more mature level to handle this responsibility.

June came around and it was no surprise that Ellah was born on June 27th. It would have been Waddy’s “golden” birthday –27 on the 27th. I cried in the waiting room because I felt the connection physically bonding the three of us.

The need to relate this story became strong in my heart, but I knew it needed time to mature.

I finished school as Outstanding Graduate of my college, then took a four-week road trip to the Pacific Northwest. I returned home in order to celebrate another sister’s wedding…on June 27th.

From death, spiraled birth and commenced with matrimony. It is the classic definition of cornucopia; abundance.

For the first time in a decade, I found myself living back at home, just in time for me to celebrate my 27th birthday.

It’s peculiar how the comfortableness of your home town can appear to be just a setting of past memories through matured eyes. I spent hours driving through familiar roads listening only to my thoughts.

One afternoon, I was lost in a daydream, taking rights, then lefts that turn into long stretches of country highways that suddenly curve without much warning. The serenity of the wind through my open windows made me wonder how I ever left this peace for a busy, dramatic lifestyle.

I found myself taking a right onto “Coin Road” and I was immediately plunged into the present moment. This was his road. It had been years since I drove past the cross that had his initials and football number, “W.F. #59”.  I realized I had never told his mother about how I had two godchildren that were born on his birthday. In fact, I hadn’t talked to her about him since a few months after his death. At the exact moment I contemplated trying to write out our story, I passed in front of his cross and my cell phone alert went “DING DING”. The text message couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. I had goosebumps and I knew it was more than a coincidence.

I was listening to NPR that night and the DJ used cornucopia to describe something…from that vague description you can note that nothing else stood out to me. Yet, the word haunted my memory for days. Finally, I looked up its meaning and everything made sense to me. It was the word that defined my life experience for the past 27 years.

Humans have tried to explain our purpose for life since the beginning of recorded history. For centuries, It has evolved through different religions and philosophies in order for each generation to understand and relate their own internal journey. Some stories sound absurdly ridiculous to a differing culture, but it doesn’t make it any less real to an individual searching for their own truth.

Waddy passed on before ever having to question anything. He died with an unwavering faith and childlike wander. He never had to worry about social media or what information appeared when you googled your name. He is that innocence in my heart.

The only conclusion I have come up with is that if you pay attention, we are connected in more ways than one: through words, numbers, dates, people, places, interests, etc. Life can occur anyway you choose to view the lens of your glasses. The beauty of today is you have more options of what color or prescription you want in your frames.

Waddy was right when he said “To live and believe in god is a great adventure. To die and be with God is a greater one.”  Once you are no longer physically here, you can spiritually be present to multiple people at the exact same time. This knowledge brings me such a sense of joy and that’s how I feel every time I look at either of my godchildren. I experience the possibility of abundant opportunity and connection. Waddy has made my life a great adventure and affirms my belief in God.

You see, sometimes you just need a reminder as to why it is imperative to stay optimistic. Pessimism will lead you nowhere. Hope, however, will always bring another day. Then your life will be your own creation, your own cornucopia.

Cornucopia – Part 1

I have been in the process of cleaning out my life for the past few months. Last week I made a donation to Goodwill: five boxes of clothes/accessories, sporting equipment, and a printer. This past weekend, I consolidated three boxes of pictures into one, by shredding duplicates and memories that no longer serve me.

As I was going through one of my boxes, I found a paper that was written in my English 101 class, 10 years ago. It was titled, “Just Waiting for a Friend.” There are tons of things I could change, but I will share it now as an example I refer to as, “The Process.” For the same reason I shared “Mom Mary’s Magic Medicine.” Great pieces of fiction and art are not created in a day. I cannot write about a concept that I do not clearly understand. Many of the concepts I am working on have taken me a decade to comprehend…and the perfectionist in me has yet to be completely satisfied with any of these versions. I am, however, ok with releasing them into the universe in order to let them become refined.

As I clear out the clutter in my house, I am clearing out the worry in my mind. It’s time to be free.

Without further adieu, here is the first piece.  My next entry will be the a version written 9 years later.

“Just Waiting For A Friend”

By Elise H. Peltier

There was a soft, subtle breeze when I stepped out of my maroon Nissan Sentra. I strolled down the old, cracked sidewalk as I waited to see my best friend. It was late in the afternoon, but it was still very sunny. The sky was baby blue with long, skinny, puffy clouds. I took in a long, deep breath and the scent of flowers entered my body. It was quite a lovely afternoon. The scenery eased my mind and helped me to feel relaxed. I stepped off the sidewalk onto delicate dark-green grass. I looked up and there he was.

He would have gotten my attention even if Pope John Paul II was there in his little pope mobile. His headstone read in big, black, bold, capital letters:

GIVEN TO US

JUNE 27, 1981

WADDY ALLEN FAUL

GIVEN BACK TO GOD

OCTOBER 22, 1998

This was written in a square, outlined in black, centered on his headstone. Under the square, was a long rectangular box, which contained his quote “To live and believe in God is a great adventure. To die and be with God is a greater one”–WF.

In the top center of the square headstone was a silver, oval picture frame with “SON” engraved on the cover. I turned the cover to the right to reveal Waddy’s senior picture. He wore a white, collared, button-down shirt with a black bow tie. The buttons on his shirt were black and a dark sports jacket completed the outfit. His hair was a dark brown color and it was shaved on each side of his head, but a little longer on top. He had almond shaped eyes, which were chocolate brown. Above his peepers were bushy, cinnamon eye brows. A faint smile accompanied his expression. His olive skin was covered with light brown freckles. He kind of reminded me of an older Opey, just without the pointy ears.

During Waddy’s high school years, he played football for the Notre Dame Pioneers. Honoring his loyalty and dedication to the sport was a tall, rectangular, cement vase located to the right of his headstone. The upper part in a  rectangular box outlined in blue, filled in with red, and written in white, capital letters was “NOTRE DAME.” The bottom part was written in this fashion, but with “CLASS OF ’99′” instead. In the center was a brown football with “#59” written in white and outlined in blue. Inside of the vase were some of the most beautiful flowers I had ever seen. There were small white carnations and daisies, accompanied by huge purple flowers, which were a little bigger than a softball. Although I am not quite sure which type they were, the purple flowers had about four small toothpick-like stems pouring out of the center. Hunter green, star-shaped leaves sprouted from beneath the beautiful blossoms. It took my breath away to see such an elegant sight.

As I laid my hand on his grave, I felt a sudden chill due to the freezing marble. The tomb was speckled gray and black. I looked up for a moment and as far as I could see, was white. It almost looked like it had snowed in certain spots on the green grass. When I returned my gaze back to Waddy, I noticed a candle at the foot of his grave. It was a red, glass holder with three gold skinny bars around the container. The top formed a small dome with a cross as big as a credit card to complete the ensemble. The candle was lit, but looked very dim inside of the glass.

I sat and pondered a while, thinking of my friend. It was very hard to believe that this was his final resting place. It seemed like it was only yesterday that we were riding around in his maroon Chevrolet, and that I would go visit him in his warm, comfortable home. Now the only way I could see him was if I drove down to St. Joseph’s cemetery. It wasn’t the same pleasant atmosphere we used to be associated with. It is very strange how quickly death can occur. No one knows when they will die, so we must live every day to the fullest. Live life with no regrets, but also live it wisely. Make sure the ones you love know you love them. For you will never know when it is your time to travel to your final destination. I know that Waddy is now waiting for me to make my trip to visit him eternally.

How much do you want it?

Do you ever have a seemingly innocent conversation with someone, but walk away with this one line that you just can’t seem to get out of your head? A line that somehow turns into this alarm clock in your brain. It starts repeating loudly as it lulls you from your comfortable bed, forcing you to accept that you are awake and a new day has to start right now whether you want it to or not.

That new day started a week ago for me.

I was having one of those mother/daughter conversations that almost inevitably end in a fight. It seems as though my Mom and I are repeat offenders – we always tend to bring up the same topics that are just too sensitive to discuss.

Before I continue I must place a disclaimer. Always understand this is just my perception of a two-person situation. I could have forgotten key factors in the conversation or certain events that actually happened in the reality of my 28 years of existence. She may very well know more about me than I actually know of myself. After all she held me inside of her belly for nine whole months before I even had a conscience. However, I was gone from her daily life for almost 10 years. But I guess that’s what this blog entry is getting at…

The culprit of this particular conversation was how I ended up not going to LSU after high school graduation.

See when I was a senior, I still wanted to bleed purple and gold as a Tiger. I wanted to move away and finally be this person I knew I was always destined to be. I wanted to meet new people and join the staff of the Reveille. I wanted to roam that epic campus and one day rule it.

I watched way too many Disney films growing up.

My high school experience was one of active participation. I didn’t have to work or tend to home matters. For some reason I had it in my mind that college was to be the same way. I thought if you worked hard in high school and got your tuition paid for, the rest was handed over to you on good merit. Ha.

As I write this, I realize I wrote something similar to this a few entries ago about life after college graduation. Seems like once again I think life is somehow supposed to be easier for those who do good.

Enough back story. Back to the conversation.

With my youngest sister about to start college, it tends to bring up stuff that happened to me ten years ago, which sometimes makes me feel like I am perpetually not allowed to forget any past mistakes.

My mom begins to talk about why I didn’t go to LSU. It seems like we had different versions of the same story. My version is that she practically scared me out of going. I was going to have to get a job and live in a dorm and wouldn’t have time for extracurricular activities. I understand that these are the realities of going to school. But as my mom used to tell me when I talked back to her, “It’s the tone in how you say it!”. I didn’t feel like she was encouraging me to get through it, I felt like she was trying to talk her oldest from leaving the house. Especially because I had no desire to go to McNeese like my parents did.

My view at times is that after driving through the Boulevard in Rayne my family wants to go left towards Lake Charles and I want to go right towards anywhere else. Cowboys versus Cajun.

A few weeks before I was to start college, I decided to switch to UL Lafayette and commute my first year.

As my mom and I discussed this scenario, again,  she said something unique to this repetitive cycle, “I just wanted to see how much you wanted it.”

We kept talking, but that line began to haunt me like the exorcism of Emily Rose.

She wanted to see how much I wanted it.

Maybe she saw back then that I wouldn’t have been ready to handle such a change. Maybe I  always want to blame someone else for my lack of success.

Either way, it made me think–hard. How much do I want it? How much do I want to be successful? I have always chosen the harder route, even when an easier one was paved for me. My poor parents. They really are phenomenal. I just have this obsessive need to experience life.

I would just like to finally put down this luggage of guilt that I’ve been carrying around. I can’t change the past. I chose to do things differently and I have to handle those consequences. I understand that it would be easier on me to be around people who are like-minded. But what’s the fun in that? Didn’t I just discuss that I never choose the easy route?

One thing is for certain, I want it. There aren’t many decisions that I can make. There aren’t many things I can clearly define. However, there is one thing I have known since I was a little girl in the first grade, I am a writer.

Even more so I understand now, I want to be a successful writer.

I feel at this point life has given me enough circumstances to understand just how difficult it may be, but has also prepared me with the skills and experience to master it.

Along with the guilt, I am leaving behind these immature patterns of thinking and reacting to old conditions. What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I was told as a child that God will do whatever it takes to bring his children safely back home. I believe that home is a sense of peaceful understanding. I feel that bringing me back to my earthly and familial home has definitely matured my perspective–especially that of myself.

Remember, you can’t change the past, even if you really want to. It’s awful heavy to carry it around, too (takes up a lot of brain space to find places to store and organize it). I can now look at it this way. Were all party members trying to make the best decision based upon available information and experience?Yes. The rest is history.

Everything is as it should be. In the words of Amy Steinberg, “I am exactly where I need to be. I need to be exactly where I am.”

More importantly, I WANT to be exactly where I am.

Mom Mary’s Magic Medicine

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A-LIVE-R

After much deliberation, I have decided to share a draft with you, my readers. I figured if you are loyal enough to read my daily thoughts, than you qualify as the perfect critics for one of my upcoming endeavors. As many of you may know, I am dabbilng with composing a few children’s stories. This can be quite a daunting challenge, but alas it is well worth a try.

I have been working on this story for the likes of three years. Please feel free to give me some feedback. If you like it, feel free to share it. Just please don’t steal it…that would surely be a way to break my heart and my trust. Hope you enjoy this LeeCeeLand Production:)

“Mom Mary’s Magic Medicine”

By Elise H. Peltier

“Malorie has a secret. It’s one she wants to tell
about a special family and a hidden magical spell.
The tale starts at the cradle, with a grandmother’s loving care.
Malorie was the oldest grandchild and Mom Mary had so much to share!
As Malorie grew, so did their bond; through kisses and milkshakes and magic baton wands.
But accidents happened and Malorie grew sure
When she was sick or hurt, there really was only one cure.
Mom Mary had a medicine you won’t find from the doc or the store
It’s a gesture from the heart, but oh so much more.
There’s a twinkle in her eye that dances through her hand
It echos in her giggle, it’s music to the band.
At first Malorie thought, it was just in her head
But every time she was sick, she never had to stay in bed.
A kiss on the cheek, a day on the couch
Would fix any ache and soften any ouch.
As soon as there was pain or sickness would begin
Malorie would ask her Mama for Mom Mary’s Magic Medicine.
It didn’t take very long before Malorie’s curiosity
Conjured up the her courage to find the magic recipe.
She watched and she waited for any type of clue.
But laughing and praying for others was all Mom Mary would really do.
She tried to find a potion or a hidden book of tricks
But nothing showed a sign of a medicine that’s magic.
Time flew by and Malorie was no longer a girl.
She grew to be a woman in this new-age type of world.
Things were not as simple now that she was 25
But through the bonds of her family, she was grateful to be alive.
As she explored her life, meeting people from afar
She wished she had found the potion to keep hidden in a jar.
To share with those who hurt or those who need a giggle
Those who need a friend, even those who want to wiggle!
Then news came one day, it changed things pretty quick.
Her sweet loving Mom Mary was so very terribly sick.
Malorie felt helpless, she didn’t know what to do
Neither did the family or doctors. No one had a clue.
Mom Mary could not use her magic on herself.
It seemed like the medicine had to come from someone else.
As Malorie realized this curse, she also grasped the spell
In order to help Mom Mary she had to tell the tale
About the magic medicine that proves of powers from above
It’s invisible yet solid, It’s a simple act of love.
So the more you share the gesture, you’ll learn the trick again
Prayer, laughter and love is the magic medicine!
So remember Mom Mary’s gift, it’s important and it’s pure
Because you just may never know when you’re giving someone their cure.”
————————————–

Rant about Cox

Before you let your mind stray into naughty land, this entry is about bills, bills, bills. It’s a fact that if you use a service, you are expected to pay for the convenience. However, I hate it when the billing cycles get all mixed up.

Last month’s Cox bill was due on June 7th. I sent in the payment that day. Yesterday I get home and there is another bill due on June 27th for the normal amount. Confused, I called and asked why I had to pay twice in one month. The representative was polite, but said due to the Memorial Holiday the dates were delayed from the previous month.

I changed my billing cycle for the beginning of the month, but am still required to pay the bill in less than two weeks.

Here’s my issue. I’ve carefully calculated what bills are due when and due to my current financial circumstances an extra bill just won’t make the cut. I’m the kind of nerd that likes the approval of turning in an assignment early. And not just turning it in ahead of the curve, but exceeding the expectation.

In other words, I hate turning something  in late. I don’t understand how someone cannot pay something and then sleep at night. With the start of this new job, I will easily have the money one month from now. But this month is not next month and sometimes I wonder if that month will ever get here allowing me to be ahead of the curve. The money game has never been my forte. It’s the only test I haven’t aced and I feel as if every day I’m constantly reminded that I’m still learning.

I guess I have to give up my money grudge. I just see how much its absence tears people apart or how its presence can cause greed and distrust. Money isn’t all bad though. It can allow positive opportunities–if you have it. There’s just that fine line of not letting it control you.

I guess the jist of this rant has led me to practice humility, because I had to ask for help. I’ve been so independent for so long that I’ve felt ashamed to admit that I need assistance. But maybe it’s not a negative thing. Maybe this is an opportunity for me to practice appreciation and to learn how to trust someone. Not depend on them, but share something.

If that’s what bills can come to, then maybe I don’t mind paying that price.

The difficulties of dinner

I love food. What Cajun doesn’t? More importantly, I love GOOD food. Not just good tasting, but good for me. There are multiple concerns to decipher given these conditions.

#1. COST. Why does healthier eating cost so much more? Probably because there are more human working hours tending to the care of my nourishing food, whereas a machine can PROCESS more in less time. That’s a rant for another time. Given my latest challenge of extreme frugality, I could not afford to be choosy.

#2. LOCATION. There aren’t many options in Rayne. It’s like the choice between red or brown gravy. No health food stores. Limited produce. This was an adjustment after living in Lafayette for 9 years, and I still found that selection to be slim. However, given the hurdle of low funds, it was still too expensive to jump to Fresh Market or Fresh Pickens.

#3 COMPROMISE. I’ve had to adjust to finding meals that both Jon and I enjoy. He doesn’t understand how I can eat a bag of veggies with hummus as a dish. While I can’t seem to fathom how chili dogs and ice cream equals a substantial means of nutrition.

The new job in Lafayette has already helped with the circumstances. After I clocked off yesterday afternoon, I went to Sam’s. The goal was to find fresh fish and veggies for dinner. It’s difficult to find tasty fish, especially when the boyfriend is from the coast of Oregon and is accustomed to the freshest salmon possible.

I fell in love with his favorite dish when we visited his home state back in March. His wonderful mother, whose birthday is actually tomorrow (HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUSAN!!), cooked it for us the first night we were there: baked salmon, broccoli, and rice pilaf.

The last time we wanted salmon, we had to settle for trout – and that was delightfully delicious. To my surprise, Sam’s had one huge fillet…for $18.41. It had been a while since we cooked together, so I figured it was worth the splurge. While I was there, I strolled through the produce section.

My mother was the first to tell me about the wonderful selection there.  A huge bag of broccoli florets was only $4. When I say huge, I mean there’s enough to eat a serving at both lunch and dinner for a week. I also added spinach (box for $3), Fugi apples (bag $6), strawberries (3 quarts $4), and 6 bell peppers ($4) to my basket.

Jon stopped at the Pig (Piggly Wiggly) in Rayne to buy lemons, a white onion, and the rice. Unfortunately there is no pilaf, so we had Zatarain’s broccoli and cheese rice instead.

His masterpiece is the salmon. He melts butter and tops the fillet with its liquid yumminess, sliced lemon and onion, cracked sea salt, cayenne pepper, and a few other seasonings.

I invited my mother for dinner because; a) she has heard me rave about Jon’s cooking for a while now and b) my father was out of town and I didn’t think she should have to eat alone.

The meal was enough for all three of us to have seconds–and we did. After I cleaned the kitchen, I tallied up the cost. Given the amount of broccoli used, two boxes of rice, and condiments I would say we spent $25. Plus, there were leftovers for both of us today.

I’ll give you something to ponder. If you are what you eat, it’s no wonder I’m a big ole’ chicken. Salmon are very intriguing creatures. They are born into freshwater and after a few years venture to sea. If they survive predators, they return to the exact spot of their freshwater birth to lay their spawn and spend the remainder of their life.

Gee, I’m back at home. If the above statement were in fact true, then the next step would be soon.

Uummmm…

Can someone give me new favorite dish to try? One that won’t involve spawn?

Domesticated Training Wheels: the Mission

SO here’s the idea. My life has taken a grave turn since graduation. It’s cliche in almost every way. Find a job, somewhat settle down, learn about domestic living. It’s a part of my life that I have yet to master. And I had been very down about it.

See, I was ready for a new adventure in my life. One filled with refreshing scenery and exotic people. But the reality of finances forced me home first. Once I moved into the house, my understanding of what I was to learn next shocked me.

I don’t really know how to keep up a household, or cook dinner every night. Raising kids would be a whole other ballgame I have yet to even consider. Fifty years ago, this is what women were trained to do- it boggles my mind,  because my generation is almost clueless.

Especially me.

So I’ve started a personal experiment, because I’ve been blessed with a glimpse. I have a house to take care of–that belongs to my great grandmother. I have someone to cook for–but we’re not married. I have nieces to play auntie to–and they can go home if they get to be too much. I have plants in pots–I’m not ready to be grounded. I have a temporary full-time job–it’s preparing me for structured teaching.

I was discouraged because this transition was a challenge. I was on top when I graduated and for some reason I thought life was going to allow me a freebie due to good karma.

Silly me.

Now that I have accepted this mission, I trust that my current experience is necessary to get to the next step. I feel a lot better. And I know that I am not alone. And I understand that right now is a great step to revel in.

I will share the quirky little things I learn while becoming domesticated…well as domesticated as LeeCee can get. I appreciate suggestions along the way and hope that I find valuable information to share.

Life’s a trippy, adventurous journey, no matter the scenery or environmental factors. Maybe one day I’ll ride with no handlebars.

Moving Her-story

I’m not exactly sure , but I think my obsession with “Lost” has propelled me into an alternate reality. One where things out of the ordinary happen and my path is illuminated every day. This timeline that I’m now on is perfect and I feel very connected to my own island. However, instead of the tropical background, my electromagnetic force is a house in Rayne.

To avoid vague rambling, I must start with an update for those who may be unaware of the recent year of my life. Last May I graduated from UL Lafayette in General Studies. I then took off with a friend and traveled throughout the West; 7,000 miles in four weeks. I returned for my sister’s wedding/godchildrens’ birthday on June 27th.

I chose to live at home for a bit to figure out my next step. I started to wait tables again at Zea. I freelanced for 008 magazine. I worked a temp job in an office and had daily battles with a copy machine. I had swine flu right after Halloween. Then I met Jon.

Jon lived in Portland, Oregon. We had a mutual uncle (WE’RE NOT RELATED!) who gave him my number. After working out one evening I had a missed call on my cell phone from a Portland number. I thought it was the cops calling me about some parking tickets I had received a few months earlier, but it was Jon saying that his uncle told him we would enjoy exchanging at least a few conversations.

Those conversations seemed to happen every day for  two months. By Christmas week, he managed to score a plane ticket to come here for two months to see if he liked living in Lafayette. I adjusted to having a manly boyfriend around all of the time and he enjoyed the Cajun hospitality. My temp job ended on January 31st and by the end of February we flew to Portland to meet his family and pack up a U-Haul to move him back to Louisiana.

Upon our arrival home a discussion  with my grandmother, Mom Mary, set the plot into climactic motion. Her 94-year-old mother Lena, went into the nursing home. The insurance company would not cover the house if it were empty and since I was living with my parents, she asked if I would want to take care of the house.

SURE!

I had always been fond of the little red brick house with the screened-in back porch. In fact, during my travels when I pictured home, I pictured that house. However, I saw my great-grandma there with me.

So, I began cleaning the house. It was in excellent condition. Mom Lena was very organized and was always a hard worker–she spent 38 loyal years at the historical Mervine Kahn Department Store. She loved being in her yard. When she was in her late 80’s we passed by the house one day and she was on her roof sweeping, “Because it’s dirty!”.

But as I cleaned the blinds and walls I felt the curiosity to know more about the history of the house. I asked my mom and dad for details and this is what I was told:

My great-great aunt Louise built the house in the 1960s. She was an Arceneaux and had come from oil money. She was never married. She was engaged once, but her fiance died. She taught first grade for years and during her summers off, she would travel. When she fell ill at an elder age, she no longer had siblings to care for her, so she went into the nursing home on Robert Street.

The house sat empty for over a year.

It was 1980 and my parents had just married and spent their first year in Lake Charles while my dad finished at McNeese. They wanted to move back to Rayne and eventually start a family. They talked to my Uncle Donald, who was in charge of Aunt Louise’s house, and he agreed to let them live there.

They spent the next few years in the red-brick house. I was conceived there and spent the first two years of my life toddling around on the orange carpet. Right before my third birthday, we moved into our house in the country. My mother used several of Aunt Louise’s concepts to design the house, which as I sit in it now I realize why it feels all too familiar.

As we moved out of the house, my great-grandmother moved in. She was a strong/stubborn woman who liked to stay busy. I remember her holiday being Christmas day. We would go for dinner every year and fill up on fudge.

She has two children, my grandmother and uncle Sherman. Once Mom Lena was too old to get her yard work done, Sherman would tend to the handy work, but she always raked her own leaves. It was one of her favorite things to do. About a year ago, she was next door trying to clean the neighbor’s yard, when she stepped on a piece of metal and sliced her foot. Because of her age, her body took longer to heal. During this time, Sherman had a stroke. With both of them in recovery, Mom Lena decided it was time for her to go to the nursing home on Robert Street.

Now I sit in this house and feel the “her stories”. It’s unusual for a house to have such a strong feminine vibe in South Louisiana. It’s the first time I consciously feel like a woman, and it’s in the home I took my first steps.

One more odd twist.

I had about an hour and a half before Ellah was to arrive one afternoon, so I flipped through the Instant Movies on Netflix to kill some time. I ran across a movie that instantly struck a memory, “Somewhere in Time,” starring Christopher Reeves. I remembered my mom saying that’s where they got my name. Intrigued, I hit play.

The plot is about a young playwright who falls in love with young actress, Elise MaKenna. . The kinker is that she lived in a time period almost 100 years before him. He discovers a way to go back in time on…June 27,1908.

My heart stopped. I called my mom on the spot.

“Mom, did you watch ‘Somewhere in Time’ while you pregnant with me?”

“Uuummmm. Chuck. Was I already pregnant with Elise when we watched ‘Somewhere in Time’?.

Mumble in the background.

“Yes, we did.”

“So you mean to tell me that you were pregnant with me, sitting in this very living room, watching this movie and the date he goes back in time is June 27?!?!”

“Yeah, oh that’s kind of neat.”

Kind of neat?! Mom, it’s the date the connects everything for me! And it was set in stone while I was in your womb!”

“Hhmmm. You are the one that would figure that out.”

We talked a little longer and then I sat shell shocked. Is it destiny that I’m here and the house is reminding me of my true path? Or will I suddenly realize that I’ve really been dead all along?

Either way, I signed my papers yesterday. I will be a fifth grade teacher for a private, Catholic school next year. I bet you didn’t see that coming. Neither did I, but the journey is interesting. Especially when you follow the signs.

I’m just trying to move her-story along.