Sunday, March 22, 2009

Live in the Moments that Matter

Happiness is not a brilliant climax to years of grim struggle and anxiety. Happiness is a long succession of little decisions simply to be happy in the moments.”

~ J. Donald Walters

The older I get, the more I am aware that time behaves like Jell-o in a sauna; days, weeks, months, and years pass as flashes of time, and I often find myself struggling to keep up with the moments.

High school gave way to college, which gave way to marriage, and parenthood, but I would swear that I could go to bed tonight and wake up on graduation day, learning that the past fifteen years have been nothing more than a fleeting dream.

I lament that my days rarely seem to last forever as they once did; I used to look forward to what I would accomplish in my future: “When I grow up, I’m gonna…”

Now I look down the path I’m on and feel like I’m traveling downhill on a bicycle without breaks; whizzing by me are memories that will be made and filed away long before I realize they are even happening yet.

How, in such a fast world do we slow down, or better yet, stop long enough to not only “smell the roses” but to tend the soil, plant the seeds, nurture the plants, and enjoy the blooming of the flowers?

I don’t have a definitive answer for that question, I do, however, know this: The best way to sabotage yourself from living in the moment is to often utter then phrase, “I don’t have time for that right now.”

“Mommy, watch!” Grover is playing with toys in the living room.

“Just a sec, Grove.” I say, not looking up from my work.

“Mommy, watch me!”

“Mommy’s working; I don’t have time for that right now!”

Several minutes pass before I remember that Grover had been trying to get me to watch him; I get up from my desk and find him in his room.

“What did you want to show me, Grove?” I said.

“You missed it, Mommy, I was amazing, and you missed it!” He says, clearly annoyed with me.

I have no idea what it was that I missed, I turn to go back to my work, frustrated, not that I had missed something ‘amazing’, but that I quit working for nothing, and then I stop, realizing that if I go back to my computer right now, I am probably going to miss the next ‘amazing’ thing, and I know that I didn’t want to.

“Grover? You wanna play something?” I say.

“Go Fish!” He shouts, and runs to get the deck of cards, instantly forgetting that he’s mad at me.

I am lucky, a few years from now (years that will past as mere moments) a silly card game will not be reason enough to forgive such a parental transgression.

Working hard to make a living is fine, but what is the point if I am working so hard to make a living, that I actually forget to live!

Excuse me please, I have a game of “Hungry, Hungry Hippos” waiting for me in the living room, I don’t have time for this right now…

It is only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day-to-day basis.

~Margaret Bonnano

Friday, March 20, 2009

Life is like a "Choose-your-own-Adventure" book with pages that disappear once turned...

I was 7 or 8 when I read my first "Choose-Your-Own Adventure" book. At first, I was annoyed at the inability to read the book from cover to cover. Once I got used to the way the books worked, I was fascinated! I was always troubled when I chose a path that took me to an early demise (I remember one story where I [the books written so the reader is the protagonist] fell into an icy crevasse, and was trapped forever...). I quickly learned that I could go back and start the story over again, just making different choices along the way. If only we could have as many do-overs as I had with those books! In "real-life" it is though the pages of the book self-destruct once they are turned; you can't undo a choice by going back, however, by making a series of choices we can get turned back around in the right direction.

We as humans are born into this world through no conscious choice of our own. We will one day die, and most likely, the choice will not belong to us then. However, for much of the time between those two chance days of our existence, we have the power to choose how our time here is spent. Even the Bible acknowledges the power of our own choices clear back to childhood: "Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right."*

Everyone is given sets of choices in their life; each singular choice is followed by an entirely new set of choices, and so on. Alongside the right choices are the wrong ones. The beautiful truth behind having the power of choice, is that we can control whether we make the right or wrong choices. Even after making a poor choice, we are then given a whole new set of choices; thus, making it (nearly) never too late to change our own destiny.

An abused child can not control what is changed within their environment by their abuser. However, an abuse survivor has as many choices as anyone when dealing with their past abuse. The easiest, and often the most tempting path to choose is the path of a victim; the victim's path is filled with people who will coddle and indulge the victim as they continue to mature, or worse, never mature.

Later, on a less cognitive level, the victim's choices eventually put them back into the arms of another abuser. This self-created cycle becomes an addicting companion to the victim. The cycle would then begin again and continue to run its devastating course until that person (the victim) begins to making choices to break the destructive cycle. This may never happen, or it may take years to happen; unless the person becomes mentally incapacitated, it is never too late to break the cycle.

The alternative to the victim role is the path of empowerment. Abuse, and the emotional grip of an abuser, can be powerful in a devastating way. Fortunately, some people come to realize that: Just as powerful as abusive power, is the choice to use that power to further themselves. By accepting things that we cannot change, and replacing the feelings of helplessness with something that we can control (positive actions), we find a way to gain a powerful and freeing autonomy.

The way we are brought up in our first few years in which we cannot control our own environment will definitely shape many things about us. However, because of the existence of personal power, we have the authority to choose a path on which we can mold and shape our environment ourselves, and ultimately lead a more or less fulfilling life in our years of independence. We can take the initiative and started making proactive choices to grasp our own ball of potters' clay to mold a life of our own.

Many people make the mistake of limiting their future by believing that they are only entitled to what they had at birth, and are then looked at in a bad light because of that false belief. It is never too late to begin making better choices for our lives unless a person is not of sound mind or is no longer living. Not only are we able to choose our own path in our story, we are allowed to bring a notebook and a pencil, and write some adventures of our own!

If it takes a person the majority of their life to figure out how to grab on to their own destiny, then so be it. For it will have been more worth it to taste the sweetness of that freedom for mere moments, then never to have tasted it at all.

*The Holy Bible, New International Version. Proverbs 20:11

"Choose Your Own Adventure" image from:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Fell Down

Rebecca (age 7)

It is incredible to me that there are children like we were: Young, vulnerable, and innocent; victims of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. When I look at our faces from ago, I don't remember us being so young, and I have to wonder how we ever survived...

I Fell Down

In the grocery people look


Some ask her, the little girl

“What happened?”

She looks at them

But not in their eyes

She says softly


“I fell down”

Others see her

In her yard

At her church

They ask about her arm

Suspended in plaster


Could this be the second time?

She answers them timidly


“I fell down again”

The little girl against the wall


Clasping her knees


To her chest

Mama stands tall


Her fists are hard knots


Mama asks her

“What will you tell them?”

The little girl is looking


Worn blue jean drink in


Small body aches, the little girl


But she replies


“I fell down”

~Rebecca Reece 1994

What can you do in your own community to stop the abuse and exploitation of children?

Find out what you can do to help here:

If you know of a child who is being abused, call the Child Abuse Hotline 1.800.4-A-CHILD.

Later in my life when talking to the adults that knew my family, most of them apologized to me for knowing something was going on, but not doing anything about it.

Children need help, not apoligies...

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Love Affair

"To be a great writer, one must first develop an intimate, sultry love affair with the written word." ~ Rebecca Reece 2004
(Grover, age 2 weeks)
I have often been asked about the books that have influenced me, and why I read so much. This will, perhaps, explain my love affair with the written word, and how it began...

As a young woman, my biological mother was a bookworm. Warn, mildewed copies of 'The Bobbsey Twins', 'Happy Hollisters', 'Trixie Beldon', and 'Nancy Drew', and 'The Hardy Boys' were all her influence on the bookcases of my very early childhood. My big brother taught me how to read from the Bible when I was just 3; I was young enough when I learned that I honestly don't remember not knowing how to read!

My five brothers and sisters and I raised one another; we all have different fathers, and our mother was mentally ill, and abusive due to her illness. Books were a lovely escape from the abuse and loneliness of being a child in my home; I devoured every book I could get my hands on.

One of the battles that mother fought was with depression; she would often spend days at a time in her bed reading. As a result, there were innumerable volumes of paperback fiction available. Whenever we moved (something we did a lot) one of the first things that happened in each new house was the installation of rows and rows of standard-and-bracket shelves to hold the boxes and boxes of books. I read them all.

It was fortunate for me, I think, that she was not the type to read romance novels, but I cannot look at a copy of Stephen King's 'It', however, without the same heat of fear washing over me that had overtaken me when I read it for the first time at the tender age of 10.

I fell in love with my favorite book to this day, 'To Kill a Mockingbird', when I was just 8 years old. I was held captive by the reality that my brothers and sisters and I were not alone in the injustices of life. I was also endeared to the characters because I found it terribly romantic that Scout and Jem had a father and no mother; with my mother's boyfriends in and out of my life more often than the changing of the seasons, my deepest, secret wish as a little girl was to have a father.

My first taste of Hemingway's work was at the age of 11; it was a collection of short stories, including 'The Three Day Blow'; there was something about the way the words fit together to create descriptions so real that I felt that I was in the cabin with that boy, feeling the pressing of the storm outside, and the warmth of the fire inside.

My favorite Hemingway (can there be just one?) is 'A Moveable Feast'. Upon reading 'Feast', I knew that I wanted to be a writer, and that I would, one day, make it to Paris and sit at the cafes where Hemingway sat, and suss out a book or two there.

I am thankful to have been lucky enough to have had my eyes opened at such a young age to the happiness, sadness, fear, magic, and complete joy that the written word holds in its' pages. At the end of my life, after I have passed many tests, and overcome many things, and experienced my life, my only complaint to God will be: "I didn't finish my list of books!"

*To Kill a Mockingbird image from; Trixie Beldon image from, Moveable Feast image from

Leave a comment with your favorite book, and why.

See what's on my bookshelf: Rebecca Reece's Books

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Look At Me!

When I was a teen, and later, an adult, I was involved with an organization called Western Youth Development (WYD) (I was first a participant, and later served as their Grant-Writer.) WYD ran weekend YES (Youth Empowerment Skills) trainings for “at-risk youth,” age 13 to 18 (many of the participants were either labeled as “troubled,” in the foster-care system, or court-ordered to be there.)

We participated in numerous activities/exercises that were meant to boost communication skills, relating with others, and self-esteem and self-empowerment. One of the exercises was called “Look at me!” During “Look at me!” we all stood in two lines facing in; each person had a person across from them, and the exercise was to look into one another's eyes. Out of all of the exercises that we did, this was often the most difficult!

After a long while, this exercise got easier and easier, but it always started with uncomfortable laughter, bad attitudes, and for some, complete refusal to participate. After the initial “shock” of having someone look directly at you, and looking directly at another person, some of the youth got very emotional.

Looking into the eyes of another human is a very personal, intimate thing. Something I learned through my experience with WYD was that by making choices to be platonically intimate with other people, I felt more fulfilled, stronger as a person, and able to have conversations on an equal level with others. It was, in a word, empowering!

Not only are you empowered and confident when you give good eye contact, but the other person feels respected and listened to.

Whether you are trying to grow your business, relationships, or just grow yourself, eye contact is more important than the smile, the hand-shake, or the words that accompany them,

With so many in this world these days with a craving for intimacy, perhaps mere eye contact can begin to spread the kind of fulfillment that will seep into and fill in the vast crevices that self-esteem falls into!

Look at me; I will look back at you!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Cover-Letter

I recently applied for a job as a Part-time Moderator & Marketing Associate for a social networking site. When I finished the cover-letter, I thought it was worth posting here...
I am Rebecca Reece. I am a wife, a mom, and a wicked good cook! One the side, I am an inventor; I invented The GumSpa, and I am a (budding) Web Designer (I authored both and, as well as having bids out for a couple more), and I am a Writer, and have turned my love for writing into becoming an avid Blogger and Social Networker.

My five favorite websites, that is, the ones I frequent the most (not counting Facebook, MySpace, Shelfari, or Twitter because we will get to those in a moment; and with the exception of online bill-paying and banking, two evils that must be stopped...) are as follows: This is where I write articles, and read and rate other people's articles This is the site I always have open on a spare tab for those words I just cannot remember how to spell, or to find a word that is a outside of the realm of cliche. (Add cliches to to the list of evils that must be stopped as well!) Project Playlist is the where I love to browse for, and listen to music that gives me a musical muse to write. I love being able to find songs from high school or childhood at Project Playlist. especially when writing a story/blog/article from then; music really does take you back to a place of ago, (so do smells, but sometimes it's difficult to recreate the smell of a farm inside my office, where so many of my (mis)adventures happened as a kid!). I love the availability of having illnesses, diseases, and disorders right here on my screen whenever I may need one! Whether I am writing an article, making suggestions to a friend, or looking up something interesting to afflict one of my characters with; Web MD has been the best site for all of my medical research needs! This is the best site that I have found for finding the 'just right' quote on any topic that I may need. Sometimes I am able to find a quote here, and turn it into a thesis statement for a short piece I am writing. Often, I just like to see what other people have said about someone or something that I might relate or debate with.
Here are my Social Networking and Blogging Sites:

Reece's Pieces(Blogger) (you are here!)
And finally, I write and edit a newsletter for my husband's remodeling business, Build It!, you can view the newsletter here:
Build It! The Newsletter
Also, I write for, and keep up the blogs for my husband's business.

The Blogging Builder
Build It! The Blog
Build It! on Merchant Circle
Ultimately, I love what I do! I love being "in the know" (there is one of those dreaded cliches again) about events going on in the news, and what people think about those events. I have been known to offer my opinion, humble may it be, about products, services, or businesses that I have used. I enoy spreading positive thoughts and encouragement, and can often be found skipping through the Internet passing out compliments, insight, constructive criticisms, and even the occasional chain of daisies!