Saturday, April 30, 2005

"Sofia, 5 weeks" (April 29, 2005)
Inspired by Grace Photography

Weather Update

I have been reading a lot. I want to consume my mind and thoughts into an alternate universe and be involved in someone else’s story and struggles. Some one else’s pain can become mine even if for a moment. The “story” I live with is put aside as I inquire of the characters. Fiction or non-fiction, I find contentment in this escape. Even if it is only for an hour.

Playing music allows a similar outcome. With these exercises I resort back to a primary way of existing, through my senses. I accomplish this through appreciating the senses: feel, smell, taste, hearing, and seeing. They are given priority and substance. By expecting results and appreciating this plain way, I am rarely disappointed in my endeavor. I am reminded of those who have exemplified this way of life to me. People you may not think have the capability to teach. But those who are labeled “disabled” teach me great lessons of godliness and happiness. I am privileged to have worked with the folks at DRI and am honored to reflect on the way they changed my heart. There is rest in diverting attention away from the storm. After all I know it is there and it may get worse before it gets better. I might as well relax if and when I can.

A line has been drawn. A beautiful stream divides my life before this year, and my life after. It is a halt in time so brutal, yet enormously imperative. It does not keep me from seeing the other side, but I am free from ever having to return. Afterall, the grass is greener. Gracey seems to enjoy it too!

Simplicity no longer expected, I request significance in the complexity of each day. I am Olivia. In everyway I am different, but somehow it does not bother me anymore. The more I try to deny this revolution, the more time I will waste for finding true peace, love, and happiness. These are mine to claim, and at all cost I am ready to fight for them.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Little Reminders of Hope

Not long ago I sat outside and watched a mother bird feed her baby. She flew in and out of her shelter and brought all sorts of bugs to nourish her young. She is focused. She is on a mission. Her mere intention is to supply for the one she creates. It gave me great joy to observe this creature of such determination.
Days after I heard her fly many more times accomplishing her duty. The little one sounds happy. That day my apartment was obligated to perform maintenance on the building and were required to bored up the hole where she was nesting. They removed the baby bird and began the process. This was one of many nests on the property. Concerned for my “little reminders of hope” I asked what they were going to do with them. They told me they would bring them to someone who practiced veterinarian skills. Saddened I decided to leave until it was done. I said good-bye to “baby bird” and came home hours later.
I did not notice the other little bird by the house. But I did observe the mother birds congregating on the roof and became quite skeptical of their bird-chirping communication. What if they were planning some kind of attack on me? After replaying a scene from “the Birds” in my head, I quickly opened my front door and sighed that I was safe. Then Gracey had to go outside and I noticed the little one.
I was very weak still from Chemo and decided to call my Landlord again to ask if they noticed the other one and to have it taken as well. With a polite manner I was told it would be taken to the vet.
I watched the baby bird. It was small, could not fly, and stayed on the ground below all the assembled mothers. The mother bird knew where her baby was, and she still fed it! I stayed and watched until the maintenance man arrived. A misunderstanding brought a fountain of tears down my face. I believed he was going to release the little bird in the park. It would be dead by nightfall. I expressed my understanding of having to board up the nests, but I became frustrated with the knowledge that the baby would die. How could someone disregard a life, even if it was a bird? I went inside and cried. I have not cried this hard in a long time. The baby bird represented much more than a bird, but life, hope, peace, and God. I thought of how God says he even cares about the sparrows and provides for them. The “sparrow” right now is me. I am afraid; I am the baby bird that God is watching. My heart sank deep this time. Maybe God was not watching me. Perhaps God does not see me in the midst of all these other people. I cried until a headache occurred. Eyes puffy, nose snotty, I could not eat. I called my mom and explained the whole story. I have no idea how she understood what was going on, but she did.
My heart was heavy and I could not think about the bird. But it’s symbolism pierced deep. While on the phone with my mom, my Landlord called. I picked up and cried even harder. I was told the maintenance guy was misinformed and called to ask where to transport the baby. Knowing the relief of this, I began to cry even harder. “Thaa-thaa-nk, Yooo-yooou!” I said as well as an incompetent reason of my emotional behavior. I hung up the phone and told mom.
It is amazing what one sees in simplicity. It is remarkable how God uses His creation to show us how Faithful He is. I am that baby sparrow, and God will provide a way for me even when death and destruction are at my door. Even when all around me seems hopeless, I know I will be carried to safety.

Sunday, April 24, 2005


In Loving Memory of


Anya and Hoover
I found out today Hoovie (Hoover) my childhood pet has died.
He will be greatly missed. Like I have always believed, pets
are a direct gift from God to make us smile more, laugh often,
and most of all love more deeply.
Thank you Hoovie for all the great memories.
With Love,
Mom, Dad, RJ, Cyndi, Olivia, Gracey, Lucy, Angel, Cica, and Lily

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Sample of Mind

Have you ever sat in a movie theater while previews were showing? It is like everything vanishes except you and the plot being dramatized on the huge screen above. The flashing of scenes picked solely to intrigue the imagination and stir the appetite of emotion certainly arouse my curiosity. I write about movies like Braveheart, Troy, the Patriot, and Pearl Harbor. Coincidentally these titles deal with war or battle. But I also speak of movies like the Notebook, Titanic, and Moulan Rouge. The previews only give a mere glimpse of what the film is regarding. Producers and the commercial industry purposely create an overload of expressive imagery geared both towards men and women. This foretaste is exactly what it is meant to be: an appetizer, a tease, and a sample.
But the intensity of a preview, the flashing of pictures, the scenes of war, crying, laughing, happiness, love, all tied up with the appropriate musical background is the perfect way to sum up my mind. The way a preview jerks at ones heart with passion to want more information is parallel to how deep and fast my mind works.
It may be an odd comparison, but if anyone were able to enter my mind that is what it would be like. A rush of images, a cascade of emotion: love, sadness, war, peace, hope, distrust, pain, and the list maintains. It would be either one extreme or the other. And in the background a suitable melody would play. I come to terms with my disposition. I am not meant for monotony. My soul contains a passion far greater than wanting what I think I want at the moment. I see the world in a different way. Not as black and white, but perhaps gray with a whole lot of pink. And like a preview I only know what I have seen, the rest is a surprise. The actual movie will tell more, but even at that there’s no conclusion. So I wait knowing my Author has in mind the most amazing of show.

Maddie's One!!!

Happy 1st Birthday Maddison
I love you!
Love Aunt Livy
Inspired by Grace Photography

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Practical Sorrow

The intellect of C.S. Lewis compares to the most intricate and complicated artistic illustration. Not the Mona Lisa, but perhaps an abstract piece in which only tilting of the head would reveal a possible identity. He blankets emotion and desire with doubt and persistence of truth. I inscribe specifically in esteem to “A Grief Observed.”
After Natalie’s death in October of 2003, I was given an assortment of books dealing with losing a child, depression, and therapy. A book among the pile was a small, not even 100-page paperback filled with anger, cries, and pure sorrow. I read it, but my distress mimicked every expression on the page and could read no further than two or three sentences before my eyes swelled with tears blurring my ability to continue. Only accomplishing a chapter, I placed it on the shelf. Since then I have moved 3 times and it has managed to remain a part of my “library.”
Days ago I came upon the book and flipped to the part where I had stopped and began to read. I processed several pages without resorting to a breakdown and then came upon a paragraph that struck me with complete awe. Who was I kidding trying to avoid an emotional connection with the words? I must quote C.S. Lewis. He writes:

“Bridge-players tell me that there must be some money on the game ‘or else people wont take it seriously.’ Apparently it’s like that. You bid – for God or no God, for a good God or the Comic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity – will not be serious if nothing much is stacked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high, until you find that you are playing not for counters or for sixpences but for every penny you have in the world” (A Grief Observed, 38).

Over and over I read this quote and realized how incredibly genuine the analogy is. Without the comprehension of pain, both physical and mental, these words may exist only to exist. For years I have pondered the unfortunate events of my life. But these unbelievably painful experiences are my “money,” my “raised stakes” on my life, my “game” in this world. I connect to Lewis’s way of saying if you believe something, you will know it is true if you place worth in it. Value is not set on something trivial. What if having faith or believing in God requires no action on our part? How can God be anything if nothing is placed in His hands for me to trust Him? And what if my life was so perfect that I did not need to trust Him with anything?
I determine complicated thoughts processed are nothing more than truth. I am moved by the way Lewis demands notice of ones own mentality. It is easy to get caught up in pain itself and forget those who have more than this world, which have God, carry an unannounced honor of courage. It is a badge angel’s carry not in pride, but in tribute of the choice one makes to keep going for the purpose. I am convinced at these moments, when a choice of giving up is denied, God is proud.
Cards are dealt. I may or may not accomplish much this turn, but I raise the stakes for my team. I am nervous, shaky, and worried. I realize I am not playing a game anymore, but involved in a war for my soul. My pain turns into more than anguish, but weapons of hope. I see heartache beyond a tear stained pillowcase. Grief is a quiet whisper to remember what is true, real, and worth fighting for. And right now that's me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Yankee Cowgirls.
Inspired by Grace Photography

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


The road I travel is strenuous. My heart pounds, face is red, and sweat beads form at the top of my forehead. Sometimes I enjoy the adventure. The turn of the sun assures possibility for change. Searching ceases, and my journey becomes just that, an expedition. Questions no longer torment my mentality. They are buried beneath a large oak tree in the middle of Sorrow and Pain.
I willingly accepted these weights, until my steps faded. If company were not Sorrow, Pain would take over as though a marathon was occurring in my soul. I grabbed my knees to my chest and gently rocked back and forth, I was powerless. “This road is too hard, I can’t do it! Look at its turns and hills. That’s the reason I can’t go on.” Little did I know the explanation for the challenge was me. Moments passed. Now the sun was in full radiance spreading warmth to my face. Viewing the path I observed splendor never detected. I was not without help.
Across the field I could see the form of another. Frightened, I looked away. For months I have not seen some one else. Who was this person? With apprehension I slowly walked through the tall grass. Then it happened again! I saw someone else, a woman. She was picking flowers off to the left. As she looked up to place a bundle of yellow daises in a brown basket, our eyes met. Alarmed I began to run back to the tree. I couldn’t look over my shoulder, they might find me. I stumbled once and nearly fell, but finally reached the tree and crumbled to the dirt. I was thirsty, but had no water. Maybe this was it. Perhaps my struggle will end. Pain and Sorrow were there waiting for me to return. I had to rest. My eyes became heavy and sleep overtook my frail body.
Startled by a noise I awoke with concern. My lips were dry and cracked and my mouth was parched with thirst. I saw two figures in the distance walking towards me. They were the people I saw in the field. I unsuccessfully tried to get up. I wanted to run again, this time farther. My legs wouldn’t move. I was paralyzed, just like my heart.
“Hello?” I heard one call out. “We want to know if your ok!.” It was a mans voice. I thought to respond, but determined staying as still as possible would be better. “Hello?” they called together, “Are you ok?” By now they were practically in front of me. I closed my eyes.
“We saw you in the field and wanted to know if you need any help. We have food and some water. I am Strength and this is Hope, we are traveling to Mt. Abba, is that were you are going?”
Mt. Abba? How did they know? I opened my eyes. The man was tall with dark hair. His skin was brown from the sun and he had a walking stick in his hand. Hope was much younger, maybe a little older than I. Her eyes were blue like the sky, and she smiled with every word she spoke.
“I’m, I’m …Mt. Abba?” I spoke.
Before I knew what was happening, I saw others behind them. There were ten of them. I was given water and food. Someone made a fire. I felt safe for the first time in months. I was not scared of the future. Hope talked with me around the fire until late. That was when I resolved to rid my baggage, and bury Questions, Sorrow and Pain. Strength dug the holes and I threw in everything I had. All the questions about my past and present struggles went in. My worry about the future was given up. Finally, but not without a battle, I conquered Pain and threw into the dark hole.
Come morning everyone began packing. My heart sank into my stomach. “I knew it,” I told myself, “it was too good to be true.” They were all leaving. Leaving me to be prey to Loneliness. I was upset. I needed to leave as well. I had to keep going and even if I were refreshed for a moment, meeting them was valuable. I took my things and placed them in the brown leather bag and started walking towards the base of the mountain.
“Perseverance! Wait for us,” I heard from behind me. I quickly turned and saw Strength, Hope, Love, Joy, Faith, Peace, Truth, Wisdom, Patience, and Comfort walking towards me. “You left without us!” Confused at first I then realized they were packing not to leave me, but unite.
My search terminates and my goal is known. Questions, Sorrow, and Pain do not warrant bereavement. My journey is fresh, and resembling the sun each new morning, the possibility of change once again offers optimism. After all I am not alone.

Copyright © 2005 Olivia M. Hall. All rights reserved.
Olivia M. Hall Inspired by Grace .

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Copyright © 2005 Olivia M. Hall. All rights reserved.
Olivia M. Hall Inspired by Grace Photography.
Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in my journey. Sorry family in Massachusetts, I have finally been initiated as a Texan.
For nearly 8 years I have walked the earth of this state and never grasped the concept of fright for wildlife or nature, until today, April 6, 2005. It will go down in history as “Initiation Day.” And so the story begins…
Since I had no engagements I decided to get out of Abilene. I drove a whole 25 minutes away to Ft. Phantom Hill. Historical remains of buildings stretch across the flat lands to create a perfect scene for photos. This has been a favorite location to do sessions and with the weather changes I proceeded to the area to verify it’s transforming spring beauty.
The quiet landscape is an ideal backdrop for photography and being there alone was tolerable. Other people walked out the gate as I entered in. “Be careful Miss,” the gentlemen said. He began to give details concerning the snake they spotted a few minutes ago. “A snake!!!” I was elated with curiosity! I asked him if he wouldn’t mind directing me to the location, and explained I wanted to take a picture of it. Kindly he had the others stay behind and we walked towards the first collection of historical markers. Sure enough behind the rubble remains of political quarters a small venomous rattlesnake was coiled up with its head looking right at Gracey. No way! Gracey struggled to get free. Maybe her Lassie pedigree was finally kicking in! Fearing the hungry snake may mistake her for dinner, I held on tight and snapped a picture. I thanked the native Texan man and walked to the car. It was not until I was in the car that I realized how close I came to this eerie creature. I was scared, thrilled, and disappointed all at the same time. A light went off in my head when I recognized I was no longer in the “non-snake-experienced” category. I was moving up in life! My initiation into Texas is now official and I even got to do some of that extreme living I have been craving.
What a day!!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Furious and Fast

I was driving home with my music really loud when suddenly an overwhelming urge hit me. I had a bizarre impulse to recreate my own version of “the Fast and Furious.” I wanted to take the steering wheel and yank it completely to the right. Then the car would screech, do some circles, and pass other drivers with a flare. This risk would look mysterious and attractive.
I almost worked up the courage to do it. How daring would it be? What would I have to loose? Or was this a remnant of my dangerous desire to put my life on the line?
No, my silver 2004 Malibu would not act as the appropriate vehicle for the job. Instaed I became a furious driver who was just going too fast.
Once again, the reality of my life has formed limitations.

Monday, April 04, 2005

My Rock

Copyright © 2005 Olivia M. Hall.

"The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge."
Psalms 18:2

The Truth

Anger has taken the place of worry and disillusion. I find myself more frustrated with life, hopes, and dreams now more than ever. I shock myself with thoughts of complete surrender of persistence. Maybe I lie to myself to make me feel better. I sit in bed every night grasping to one and only one thought, that maybe life wont always be this way. Each day seems to bring its own threats, complaints, and perspective. I fear what I will discover next.
Is this really MY life? I don’t remember signing an agreement for this!? But, nevertheless it IS my life and the more I wish it were not, the more I begin not living at all. Maybe, it is time to stop struggling against the waters current. I must let my body float on top so I can survive longer. It is challenging for these feelings to be known to you. At this point I do not fear others opinions, I want to embrace this pain so I can truly become who God wants me to be. There is urgency in this matter. It keeps me awake at night, and makes me want to sleep all day. I can either make or break my spirit. It is not a choice that is being made for me because of the choices of others. The choice lies directly within my soul. I have come to far to turn back.

* I am walking down a dark path with no one by my side. It is a lonely place, but I know I have to walk it alone. I am willing. Willing to offer my life just to know I will see You one day. Do not abandon me, Lord. You are the Only that makes sense. And in what I know, I am reminded I lack the knowledge in that my faith is weak. So I surrender to You. Help me grow through this. I am willing to be willing.