Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Did you know?

A few months ago I published a set of short stories.

These are older works of mine, so they aren't the best, but I certainly enjoyed writing them, and I hope you'll enjoy reading them! You can buy the ebook here! I am hoping to have the paperback published in the next week or so at a very reasonable rate.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Dear Walls,


Rough, not smooth, not even the ages have worn you down.
I walk passed you.
I wonder about your stories.
I wonder what you have seen, heard.
The ravages of war.
The secrets of soldiers.
Fears?
Hopes?
Dreams?
Plans?
Betrayal?
Love?
Secrets?
I can feel the history etched into your depths.
I wish I could speak to you.
I wish I knew the language of stone.
So you could tell me what you have seen and heard
The guardian wall that has stood around this city.
You have harbored kings and queens, soldiers and scholars, people...friends and foes.
You stood when so many other buildings fell beneath the enemies cruel hands.
History is your walls, it is in the core of your stone.
I walk by...
My fingers linger on the feeling of the wall,
The precise squares, the grout, the past.
I feel ignorant and small, like a colorful butterfly pausing on a flower in a spring breeze...
Passing, passing...only lingering for this moment.
Only touching a tiny part of something so much larger...only tasting a drop of what you have to offer.
History, beauty, riches, locked away in stony silence.
I see the brilliance of your designer.
I feel the safety he created within your walls.
You are making me hungry, hungry for knowledge for words I do not know...for the stories you will not tell.
Oh, if I could only speak to stone.
If walls could talk...
I lean against you, wishing I could hear your stony core beat with life.
You are silent.
Silent.
Holding all the secrets of the past.
Holding tightly what it has left you.
History and stories, and people long gone.
You are the keeper of secrets.
You are silent stone.

Hwaseong Fortress Korea
(found on google, not my image, I own nothing)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sweetly Single?

Single.
One.
Only.
Alone...
Lonely?
Lucky?

found on google not my  image I own nothing

There are many ways to view being single.
For years I'll admit I've been blissfully happy.
I've smile and accepted the words.
"You are so lucky!"
"Oh! What I wouldn't be to be in your shoes."
"I had it so easy when I was single."
"Man, what I wouldn't give to be sinlge again."
"You've never been in a relationship, oh you are so lucky!"
found on google, not my image, I own nothing


However...as the years have progressed and romance has eluded my life...
I find it...
Life is still satisfying, life is still good. I am still grateful to be single...but there are days where there is a gap, a hole, it feels as if part of my life is missing something...or rather someone.

The words: "You are so lucky to be single!" etc. Seem to have a bit of a bite to them.
found on google, not my image, I own nothing
I still smile, and I look into the eyes of sleepless mothers with bags under their eyes, worried and wondering how they are doing as a mother...and I realize this is a gift that I have been given and I need to be grateful, even as I am slightly jealous of their little ones calling them "Mama," knowing that the demands of being a mother is a never ending job...but still my heart aches just a little.

They say, "Being a teacher, it must make you not want kids..."
And the truth is it only makes me want them more.
I get only a breif moment with these children, to love, to cherish...to impact...to smile, to laugh, to care, to cry...and then it's goodbye.
It makes me realize no matter how exaused and how little sleep I get I still want the oppertunity to put food on the table, to tousle little heads, to sing to sleep children of every age and size, to talk with them...even if it is the never ending chatter....it is a privledge that I have not been granted.

There are days when I wake up, and I realize that I am painfully single...singleness that I am not sure if it will ever end,...or how many more days I must learn to cherish this gift and the oppertunities that it gives me.

Thank you Singleness.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Under the Black Umbrella

I am rather fond of umbrellas.

Especially yellow umbrellas, for they make me smile.

They are a spot of sunshine in a world of grey.

I own a smallish soft yellow umbrella, I chose it for that EXACT reason.

To remind me when it is grey...there will always be sunshine again.

However, today...walking home from the city.

It started to rain.

I thought if I hurried a bit more.

I could make it home...before the downpour began.

I passed two convenience stores, I paused wondering if I should stop and purchase an umbrella...but I've already purchased two...I really didn't need to buy another, and stupidly I hadn't brought either of them.

I sped homeward, I zipped up my navy blue fleece coat.

I nodded at the guard standing at the military gate.

Taxis were nearby...

For a mere 100 NT. I could be home in four minutes or less.

I waved, they passed.

I sped on...

And then it happened.

The deluge.

Slipping under the shelter of the tree by the road, I watched as the road turned into a shallow river.

Cars passed, thankfully slowing down so they didn't drench me in wave car thrown rain.

Another taxi was coming towards me. Waving vigorously for it to stop....it passed by speeding up the road.

No one, wanted to pick up a damp foreigner...

I waited, not wanting to get drenched, but also not wanting to spend the rest of my day under a star-fruit tree waiting for the rain to stop.

Weighing my options I couldn't decide if I should go forward or backwards...

Another taxi passed, ignoring my waving arms.

I stood there watching the rain fall, sipping my coffee, trying to decide, and praying for wisdom on what to do next.

Then it happened.

A white car stopped on the other side of the road, flashers blinking, they parked next to the house practically on top of the road. I couldn't see inside the dark windows.

I wondered three things, "Do they live there? Are they going to offer me a ride? Are they lost?"

Trying not to get my hopes up, I looked away, listening for the possibility of a car window rolling down. Of words in Chinese or English being spoken... "Need a ride?" or "Xiao Jei li, li, li!"

Seconds passed into a minute...

Glancing up the hill I watched for another taxi, wondering if the next one would be in just a big a hurry as the last few.

A car door opened.

A petite woman tiptoed quickly across the road, a black, closed umbrella in her hand.

"For you," she said putting it into my hand, and then tip-toed quickly back across the road before I barely had a moment to say thank you. The car door closed, I opened up the umbrella, bowing my gratefulness.

The car pulled away and disappeared up the hill.

I watched it go, glancing up at my new big black umbrella, and felt strangely like Jo March...under The Professor's big black worn umbrella. The warmth, the kindness, the thoughtfulness, the worn and used pattern on the umbrella told of it's use in rain and sunshine, of years of care...given to a complete stranger standing under a star-fruit tree in the middle of a deluge.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Always A Silver Lining

There will always be cruelty in the world.

It will sometimes strike by hands, and in places we least expect it.

Yesterday, I found it on a Facebook post written in Chinese by a coworker.
She had written something nasty about me.
Thinking I'd never see it.
Why?
I hadn't felt up to saying yes to an invitation to eat out.
I hadn't promised that I would come, I had asked for information, so I could make the best choice and said thank you, and mentioned that I was grateful for her reaching out to me, but I wasn't feeling up to it.

I had a list of reasons that could have filled up a page, but since they were mostly personal and I didn't want to worry or bother her, I simply said I was busy.

My attempt to not offend her offended her.

As I read what she said about me...

I found myself shaking.

I felt stabbed.

Gutted.

I had been trying to win her sharp personality into friendliness...but the words shattered me.

I left the office, trying to hold back the tears, shaking.

The weeks leading up to this I've been balancing on a cultural tightrope as I prepare for my family to visit me, and the group that I am working for has very strict rules about things. So trying to please every group and focus on work and doing what I came here to do has been difficult. I've been on the edge of shattering several times as I play ambassador, advocate, and try to understand and communicate with both cultures, family, and a growing ladder of bosses to make sure things sail smoothly.

As I was trying to compose myself outside, I noticed the wife of a coworker at the gate and went to let her in.
She smiled and offered me the protection of her umbrella in the light sprinkle of rain.
I was like "I am okay...."
But she insisted so kindly, pulling me under the umbrella.
I was moved by her sweetness and kindness, in a moment of bleeding vulnerability, someone made sure they were kind, even though I would have been perfectly fine in the sprinkle.

As much as I didn't want to cry, I ended up crying in my room, and my dorm mate who I've been having on and off relationships with, came and checked on me. She offered me comfort, and the next morning bought me breakfast, knowing that I hadn't gotten out of bed until the last moment.

It is the kidness of others in a cruel world that sometimes make it change for the better and help you find the goodness in the world even when it's the bleakest.




Wednesday, November 23, 2016

BLACK FRIDAY SALE!!!!!

Smiley


It’s that time of year. The time for buying presents, making wish lists, and planning New Year’s Resolutions. If any of those activities involve books for you, Indie Christian Authors has a perfect event for you.
From Nov 25 (that’s today!) through Nov 28th, more than 70 independent Christian books are on sale. You can find free shipping$0.99 ebookspackage deals, and more! And if your budget is depleted from Christmas shopping, they’ve got you covered with some freebies!
Think 70 books is overwhelming? Narrow it down and find the perfect books for you or someone on your Christmas list by using this quiz to generate a customized book list.
What awesome reads of 2016 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2017?
A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as "Sold Out." This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks. Also, some of the authors this year chose to not sell their paperbacks directly through the site. Those books are also marked "Sold Out" but if you click them open, you'll find a link to the site where they are on sale and a discount code for you to use at check out.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good and Kendra E. Ardnek for their work organizing this sale, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Confessions. Stepping Out. Stepping Up.

Lately, I've been doing a lot of thinking.

I usually don't like to share personal things on my blog...because they are simply that, personal.

In fact that is why I change blog sites, there were just too many personal things, and I'd changed so much since I started...the thought of cleaning up and hiding posts was just exhausting so I came over here....and I am blogging my life once more! AHHH!!!!

However, I wanted to share this because...maybe someone out there is like me and I want to encourage them. Also, I wanted to make a public marker for myself.

For years...and I mean years I have been overweight. Definitely at an unhealthy weight since I was about 12 so we are talking 16 years of bad weight and bad choices...that I have just let slip.
This summer I was feeling kind of desperate, I knew I was gaining weight, and I wanted to change it...but I didn't know how. I've been stuck in this rut for 12 years...how on earth do I change?

I asked for help...and got little...or the resources that were offered to me just didn't feel like something I wanted to do. I didn't want to go to a weight watchers meeting and sit around with people in my condition, portion size, and nitpick at the food I ate and the way I was living. In other words, I wanted a miracle that I knew didn't exist. I wanted to wake up with a brand new body, and a metabolism that would BURN EVERY STINKING BLOCK OF CHOCOLATE I THREW AT IT.....which let's be honest wasn't going to happen.

I knew I was in bad shape when I found new stretch marks...and that...hurt badly. I hadn't gotten new stretch marks in years, except for two years ago when I coughed so long and so hard for months...that I earned a few around my ribs but these....these were ones that hurt to see. They went from nothing to suddenly a mass of marks that appeared overnight. I wanted to cry.

Despite the encouragement to just GET UP AND CHANGE SOMETHING...I struggled to change anything. I hated exercise. Mostly because I am and was overly self-conscious, the thought of people coming in when I am trying to get fit and making any variety of comments like: "Yay you're trying," "You aren't doing it right." "How long have you been doing this." "Good job...." in an accidentally condescending tone...terrified me, because I hated the thought of failing myself, and disappointing people or hearing the words "She failed again," which I have heard whispered and murmured before.

I'll be honest...it's only recently that I've started to figure out that I am more of a perfectionist than I knew....that and I ate a constant steady diet of lies about myself that other people told me:
"Anyone can see you are beautiful,"
"You are so perfect."
"Man, you're gorgeous."
"You aren't fat, you're just big boned."
"Everyone has a little bit of chub."
"It's your inside that counts."
"Oh, my goodness you look so young!"
"You're fine with your body image right?"
"You don't need to change a thing."

But those aren't the only lies I believed...
The ones I told myself were:
If I became skinny I would become a narcissistic, green tea frappe, whinny, calorie counting, boy blabbing, selfish-selfie-happy-maniac menace to society.
And even further down I was afraid that if my body changed...people would stop seeing me for me, that I would lose everything I have fought to become, every inch of ground that I have gained to be me would be lost...and that I could open up myself to become very very hurt...again.

These things, words, fears, lies have held me back.

But, I am trying to overcome them.

About a month ago I received the challenge to walk every day...and instead of raising my hand and committing myself to someone else to doing it. I raised my hand inwardly and pledged to myself that I would try...because I am afraid of failure, afraid of falling short and making a miserable public humiliation of myself.

I've been walking nearly every day since then...not quite every day and some days I only get in less than half a mile, but I am making progress. My goal is 5,000 steps a day. I read somewhere that is a healthy amount of steps for people sooooooooo I am giving it a go. I don't make it every day but you know...a few steps a time I am getting there.

I also have some fabulous friends who are being very supportive and giving me creative challenges to get fit and keep myself moving forward in making healthy choices.

I know I need to work on my diet...
Stress eating and BORED eating are two of my worst habits...but I want to get better at just being healthy.

The main reason I think I am writing this up right now, is that tonight I went shopping with my Asian friend...who is like a size -4 and I found the CUTEST shirt and bought it for a friend and I asked the owner if she had another because I know of another friend who would love to have one too...
The owner was very blunt in saying the shirt wouldn't fit me....and I explained they would be for friends who were smaller than me. She was sweet enough to go around the back and look...I had found the last one she had.

Her words, stung, and when I got home I looked at the mirror and saw all of the flaws I know she saw...and I ate half a snickers bar...because emotional eating is something I do well.
I was discouraged and looking in the mirror I realized that I am still miles from who I want to be.

Then I realized that wasn't going to help me and pushed myself to exercise for half an hour.

I need to push myself more. I've been managing closer to 7,000 steps almost every day...and in the past 30 days, I've walked 105 miles....but I still need to do more.

This is just the beginning, and I hope to get further to my goals...to push myself further, to step out of my fears and lies I've believed, and step up to who I can be inside...and out.

Pushing For More,
Jessica Greyson