Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Not All Who Wander Are Lost


"Not All Who Wander are Lost"
Mixed Media by Kelli Thomas

"Not all who wander are lost." J.R.R. Tolkien wrote those words in The Fellowship of the Ring. I have never read the book but those six words have made a profound impact on my life.

As a child, I moved a lot. Before I even started elementary school I had lived in four or five different towns. The moves continued throughout my life. My elementary years were spent in a small town in southwestern Oklahoma. My middle school years were in a small town in northwestern Oklahoma. High school was in a small town in central Oklahoma. After graduating from high school, I never spent more than a few years in any one place. Now, I am almost 48 years old and have moved more than 40 times in my life. The funny thing is, all I ever longed for was a home...a real home. A place to set down roots, create memories. Or so I thought. 

Last night it occurred to me that maybe the reason I have moved so often is that deep down, a home isn't what I really want. Maybe this restlessness inside of me isn't about finding home, it's about the deep need to wander, explore, discover, and create.

My whole life I have been different from those around me. I frustrate the hell out of my family because I could never seem to settle in to my life. Nothing seemed to work out no matter how hard I tried. I would call my family in tears, confused as to why everything was such a mess, begging for answers to what I was doing wrong. Why did everything always work out this way? What was wrong with me?

I know nothing is wrong with me, I just don't follow the same path as everyone else. But I tried...for years I tried. It never felt right. There was this underlying anxiousness and feeling that "nope, this isn't it either." My friends and family would just roll their eyes and shake their heads. I couldn't help it. I was still searching for the right fit. But nothing ever did fit. I was always looking for something else. Not necessarily something better, just something else. 

For years I thought I wanted to be married, have a beautiful home, and create lasting memories with my children and husband. I would cook scrumptious meals and plant a garden. We would have family vacations and spend the holidays together. I was married. For about ten years. Then I had another relationship that last about six years. Other than that, I have been on my own. For the longest time I thought I wanted the whole marriage thing again. It got lonely at night. I wanted an adult to talk to, share things with. Now I'm not so sure. 

I realized last night that what I really want is freedom. Freedom to travel, create, write, and to just simply breathe and take in the beauty of our world. I don't want to be tied down to a home where I have to mow the lawn and fix the faucet. I want to be able to just pick up and go and not have to worry about who is going to water the flowers or mow the lawn. I want to be able to grab my camera and my paints and brushes and capture moments that inspire me. I want to finally write all the books that are in my head. I want to wander.

There is a quiet that I crave. The loud silence of nature is what feeds my soul. It is when I am wandering that I am at peace. 

I am finally at a place in my life where I can finally allow my wandering spirit to be freed. My family will still think I am crazy, but that's fine. I will finally be happy, truly happy.




Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Buried Alive

                               buried
                                     Image found at: http://listverse.com/2010/02/02/10-horrifying-premature-burials


There is a trend on Facebook now - taking quizzes. You can find out your Spirit Animal, what flower you are, or what urban legend you are. I often take these in the wee hours of the morning as I drink my coffee and try to become somewhat coherent.

This morning I took the "Which Urban Legend Are You" quiz. There are about six questions, highly scientific I am sure. Each question has nine possible answers. The results of my quiz this morning came back with "Buried Alive". How fitting.

Day after day, it feels as if I have been buried alive. Thrown into a grave with shovels full of dirt being tossed at me all day. The weight and pressure crushing not only my body but my soul. I frantically try digging myself out, but there are too many shovels at the top of the grave covering me up. I can't breathe, I can't see. I am exhausted, just reaching for air, light.

Life is a precious gift. I don't believe we were put on this earth to struggle and feel defeated on a daily basis. After 17 years, I think it is time to jump out of the grave, brush off the dirt, and find a new direction for my life - one in which shovels and dirt are used to build, not bury. It is time for a life filled with meaning and purpose. I am going to walk away - feel the warm sun on my face, filly my lungs with fresh air, and just breathe...fully, for the first time in a very long time.
                                   walking-away
                                              Image by Katarina Silva





Friday, April 4, 2014

Letter to Cox Communications

Dear Cox Communications,

I have been a loyal customer since 1994. Twenty years. In the seven moves that I have made during those years, I chose your service each time. My bill in that time has quadrupled and the service I receive has gone down proportionally.

Since moving into my new home in late August 2013, I have had to contact your customer support numerous times for a variety of issues. My cable tv frequently pixelates rending the picture and sound worthless. I try to watch movies On Demand only to have them freeze in the middle and then I can no longer watch them. Or, I try to pause them only to find they won't pause and then when I stop them and try to come back, Cox Communications is experiencing technical difficulty once again. It is a miracle that I have internet at the moment to compose this letter on my blog. The internet is sketchy and often painfully slow.

I don't watch much television, but once in a while, I take some time for myself to relax and watch a movie. Last night was one of those times. I had been wanting to see "Saving Mr. Banks". I decided to take that time to have a quiet evening watching a movie. About 45 minutes into the movie, I tried to pause it to take a bathroom break. It wouldn't pause. I tried everything I could think of. Nothing worked. I decided to just stop the movie and try to start it again. Guess what? You were experiencing technical difficulties yet again.

As I usually do, I picked up the phone and dialed 600-8282. I have the number memorized. After sitting on the phone waiting for a Customer Service Representative to pick up (all Customer Service Representatives were busy assisting other callers - I'll bet they were!), I finally gave up after 19 minutes. I waited for a little bit and tried again. I sat on hold for another 6 minutes. Nothing. I hung up.

This morning, I tried to get onto my Cox webmail to send you a letter. That was a fail! Although I could miraculously access my e-mail, I could not contact you.

I am a teacher and there is absolutely not enough time during your regular work hours to sit on the phone waiting for someone to assist me. I always have to call after work at which time your regular supervisors have already gone home.

Your technicians have been to my home probably five times since late August. I have only lived here for about seven months. Each time, I am told that the problem is fixed. Well, it is not. I pay around $190.00 a month for my high-speed internet and cable service. The phone service that is included with that is not used by me which is probably a good thing because the odds are that it wouldn't work properly either.

In this time, I believe I have received two twenty dollar credits. I make approximately $29.00 an hour. My time is valuable and is better spent doing things besides sitting on the phone waiting for a Customer Service Representative to help me or having to schedule a two hour window in my busy schedule to wait for one of your technicians to arrive to "fix" the issues with my service.

From this day forward, I will document every second spent of my life dealing with Cox Communications issues. I will charge you $29.00 an hour for every hour I am either on the phone with you, not having service with you, or waiting for a technician to arrive. I will deduct that amount from my monthly bill. Based on my history with your service, I anticipate my bill will be cut dramatically.

You have one pissed off customer here. This letter is on my blog and it is headed to Facebook and any other social media I can find. I will be speaking to everyone I know about the sub-par service I receive and the sad monetary compensation you offer.

Should I actually be able to get onto your Customer Service website, you will find this letter there.

Sincerely,

Kelli Thomas

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Letter to Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin

March 28, 2014

Dear Governor Fallin,

As a professional educator for over 17 years now, I have poured my heart and soul into educating the children of our future. Each educator I know does the same. We value the importance of a solid foundation in academics and hope to prepare our students to be successful, productive members of society.
However, when our government, our legislators, and our citizens do not place the same value on the education of our youth, it becomes a spiraling struggle. This struggle is one in which many educators are working very hard to not lose. Your policies regarding the state of education in Oklahoma must be supportive of our educators and of our students. We are coming together to voice our opinions and let you know what needs to be done. We have a voice!
We are the ones who produce the workers of tomorrow. We are the ones who produce the visionaries of tomorrow - the ones who will bring new business and opportunity to our state. Without the proper funding and support we cannot be expected to prepare our students for the dynamic world in which they will eventually call their own.
There is a mighty force of teachers ready for change. It is in your best interest and in the best interest of all Oklahomans to listen carefully. We are the ones in the classroom daily. We see the struggles of the children. We know what needs to be done. We are the voices you should listen to. Our combined years of experience are a valuable resource for you to use. It is my sincere hope that you not only listen, but carefully ponder the information we present to you.

Sincerely,


Kelli Thomas
Second Grade Teacher
Orvis Risner Elementary
Edmond, Oklahoma

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Restless Spirit



Restless Spirit

What is this restlessness in me? I feel so unsettled as if I am not where I am supposed to be…

When this feeling hits me, as it frequently does, one thing invades my every thought…move to New Mexico.

Move? Again? Really?

After my last move, which was somewhere around my fortieth move in my life of forty-seven years, I swore I would never move again. When I posted a comment on Facebook about never moving again, a friend asked, “Not even to New Mexico?” I laughed about it and replied, “Ask me in three months!” I had hoped that moving back to Edmond after six months in northwestern Oklahoma would leave me feeling settled and happy. It didn’t.

I frequently post on Facebook that the mountains are calling me. I imagine that some people just roll their eyes and keep on scrolling. But the mountains do call to me. Not just any mountains. Taos Mountain. I see photos of the mountain and I feel the way Georgia O’Keeffe did about Pedernal. It is mine. It is home.
I have tried to understand this pull. I have tried to rationalize it away. I have tried to find every reason why moving to Taos is not a good idea. Yet, when this restlessness consumes me, the only thing that calms me is thinking of being in the high country desert, with a view of Taos Mountain standing like a holy guardian protecting those it has chosen.

There are other mountains that some would find more beautiful than the Sangre de Cristos, but none awaken such a passion in me. There are other areas of New Mexico that inspire me and excite me. But none call to me like Taos Mountain.

My dad likes to joke about my first ski trip to Taos when I was thirteen. He tells people that I told him I was going to find the “love of my life” there. What he doesn’t understand is that I did find the love of my life. But it wasn’t a boy, it was a mountain. That was my first trip there and I fell madly, deeply, passionately in love.
I often wonder if moving there would be a mistake. Would the magic disappear? Would I find myself restless even there? Or would I finally be at peace, feel at home?

I have traveled all of New Mexico except the northwest part. As I travel, I highlight my route on a New Mexico atlas. Each area has its own beauty, its own treasures, its own precious memories. As I travel, I wonder what it might be like to live in that particular part of the Land of Enchantment. I ask the locals lots of questions. But nothing feels like home to me. No place but Taos. It’s that feeling you get when you lie belly to belly with your soul mate. Home.

Two years ago on a solo trip to Taos, I got my one and only tattoo. It is the Zia sun symbol. It is on my left wrist and it means the world to me. It is a constant reminder of body, mind, spirit, and devotion to people. Somehow I feel that those four things might come into balance if I lived in Taos. I can’t seem to get anything right living here. My body is out of shape, my mind is a jumble, my spirit feels defeated, and I have no energy left for devotion to people. It seems as if I can’t get the peace of mind I find in New Mexico.

Most people would point out that when I am there, I am on vacation, so it is natural to have more peace of mind while there. But it is more than that. It is in the air, the light, the energy. There is something about Taos that cannot be explained if you don’t experience it for yourself. You either get it or you don’t. You either love it or you don’t. It accepts you or it doesn’t. For whatever reason, it has a hold on me, one that has yet to let go.


My daughter will graduate from high school this year. My son turns 21 and is already out on his own. Maybe the time to take the leap is coming soon. I have Facebook friends who live in Taos, but no one I actually know well. I would be moving there alone, leaving my friends and family behind. The thought should probably scare me, but it doesn’t. I have always been independent. I have always taken care of myself. And, I have always marched to the beat of a different drummer. Taos may be just what I have been looking for all these years. Maybe in Taos, my restless spirit will finally be at peace. It will finally be home.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Inspiration

Four months. It has been four months since my last post. Yes, I have been extremely busy moving back to Edmond, starting a new grade teaching, and getting settled into my new house. The truth is, I haven't really had much to say for four months. Writing has been the furthest thing from my mind. Well, that isn't entirely true. Writing books is always lingering around, taunting me. Ideas swirl in my head, begging to be written.

Tonight I spoke with someone who truly awakened the need in me to write. Not only do I need to write here on my blog, but I need to get my butt in gear and start writing my book on Ernest Thompson Seton. The research has been completed for years, just gathering dust, waiting to be compiled into a novel.

I don't know why I haven't written it yet. Yes I do. Fear. How do I start? What if it sucks? What if no one likes it or it never even gets published?

Nothing great ever comes from bowing down to fear. The story of Ernest Thompson Seton and his encounter with the great wolf called Lobo is a story of inspiration, enlightenment, and the delicate balance of nature. It is a story that must be told. I must write it.

No more excuses. No more fear. No more procrastination.

Tonight it begins....

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

FAITH



Faith.

It can be a religious thing, a spiritual thing, or just a personal thing. But it something we all need to get through the toughest of times.

Luckily, the world is full of quotes about faith.

"FAITH - It does not make things easy, it makes things possible."

"Faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not to."

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

I am a quote junkie and have pinned or shared countless quotes on faith. I do it because many times my faith is waning. Lately, it has been waning a lot.

My forty-seventh birthday is one week from today. Currently, I am living with my ex-step-mother-in-law because I can't afford my own home just yet. I am having to borrow money from my parents because I don't get paid until September 20. I am still single. I am not creating the art, writing, and photography I dream of, nor am I supporting myself financially through my art. My daughter has to live with her father in his toxic household until I can get my own place. Luckily my son is old enough to be on his own.

At times like these, it is hard to keep faith in our hearts, but it is exactly at times like these that we need to hang on tightly to our faith that things ARE going to be alright. Things will get better. This too shall pass. But it gets really hard, doesn't it? Day in and day out and no change seems to be coming. Things either stay the same or they get worse. You've gotta hang in there.

Sometimes when we are so close to just giving up and throwing in the towel, that is when change is about to happen. But if we lose our faith, that change just slips away, never surfacing, never showing you the rewards of having strong, true faith.

I write this to you....whoever is needing a reminder that faith is a strong, powerful force in our lives. Mainly I write it for myself. I write to remind myself that despite all I have been through, regardless of how dim my situation seems right now, good things are coming! Amazing things are coming! And I will cling tightly to that unwavering faith that has permeated my cells for so long now. Because I know not to give up. Ever. And I send that reminder to you too....

Don't you DARE give up!!