Life Wide Open

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

~Natasha Bedingfield~


I thought the words of a song would be a good place to start. I’ve been feeling grumpy lately about the cold and snowy winter – sick of being adorned by long underwear, heavy sweaters and a down-filled jacket since before winter officially began. Sick of snowy drives to work and badly plowed parking lots. I have hermit-like, hibernation desires during the winter months, but it’s especially bad this year. “Below normal” temperatures have been the norm, days with “sub zero wind chills” occurring way too often. I hate going anywhere when it’s so cold, my desire is to stay home with sleeping cats, drink hot beverages and eat heaping piles of comfort food.

Girlfriend, Natasha, is reading this and thinking, “Oh my God, Mary, it’s Wisconsin! It’s winter in Wisconsin! Get over it!” (I know she is thinking this because she has already yelled at me about the innumerable “It’s cold again!” Facebook posts.)

I know…I need to get over it…

The words of another Natasha has struck a musical chord. I’m not living life with arms wide open because I’m too busy whining about the cold. I have been writing the “Oh Woe is Me!” chapter of the Poor Mary novel. (Can you see the back of my hand up to my forehead? Look closely, there’s an imprint.)  It’s difficult to be positive about life and living wide open if eyes are downcast toward the bad weather that no one has control over. If unable to summon a sunny, 35 degree day (which would be above normal for this time of year), then there are no expectations to change the bitter cold. It’s winter in Wisconsin. I must make it a goal to not whine, complain, intimate or say anything bad about the weather.

Not a word.


Today, I found words of encouragement at church. Pastor Shawn began his sermon on relational health by quoting idiotic travel complaints from Thomas Cook Vacations. It’s perspective time about how silly our complaints can be, even though we somehow justify them in our own delirious, entitled minds. Here’s a sampling:

  •  “We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We assumed it would be included in the price.”
  • “No one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared.”
  • “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair.” (Damn those Americans!)

My absolute favorite?

  • “My fiance and I requested twin-beds when we booked, but instead we were placed in a room with a king bed. We now hold you responsible and want to be re-reimbursed for the fact that I became pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.”

Yeah, these people have to get over themselves or quit traveling.

Natasha Bedingfield wrote Unwritten for her brother on his birthday as a birthday gift because she was short on cash. The song is about living life to the fullest, not planning everything because you never know what may happen. Each day is a blank page and it is up to you to fill it. I would like to believe that I don’t plan every minute of my day (like now, I should be doing laundry and cleaning the pig sty again, but here I am writing this babbling nonsense). I fall short, at times, on living life to the fullest and not whining. Living life with arms wide open has much to do with staying positive, loving and serving others, loving God, and being ever so grateful for the life I have right here and now. It has to do with everyone and everything I have been blessed with in my fifty-six year existence.

If I push the severe cold away, I can easily see the beauty of winter. It snowed again this morning, covering the landscape with a new one-inch blanket of fluffy white. It brought up a desire to strap on the downhill skis and spend the day outside (when it warms into the 20’s, of course), with the occasional pit stop at the chalet and its fireplace. Hot chocolate and overpriced ski lodge food anyone?

Snow and Card 009The embrace of winter can bring gladness is skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, ice fishing, snowmobiling and taking the kiddies to the sled hill. I take for granted that winter is the reason why hot chocolate and toddies probably exists. Who would drink that stuff on a 90 degree day?

Winter is beauty in the glare of a bright blue sky and yellow sun; in glistening icicles and icy ponds; beauty in crisp, clean air that tingles the nostrils and gives color to our cheeks; in the wet snow that clings for its very life to the barren trees; beauty in the knowledge that the winter season leads into spring and life anew.

Does that sound positive to you? Do I have my arms open?

Getting back to the lyrics of Ms. Bedingfield’s song, I want to write the first chapter of a new book titled, “Mary Lives Life Wide Open.” At this point, it is unwritten. It’s up to me to fill the pages. The first chapter is going to carry me through the next three months, through the rest of winter and into the first marks of spring…crocus, daffodils, new grass, muddy earth. Here’s a preview of Chapter One:

  • Mary stops whining about being cold
  • The heroine searches for a parttime job and remembers what it’s like to interview
  • MJ hangs with Natasha (not the singer), girlfriends, and church peeps
  • The dutiful daughter takes her mom out for lunch once the weather is agreeable (she’s doing much better these days)
  • She volunteers a few days here and there
  • The “no excuses” exercise princess practices yoga and swimming skills
  •  Someone has to go to work in order to buy cat kibble and laundry detergent
  • Speaking of which, human rescues Gibbs from whatever trouble he gets into
  • The girlfriend goes to the movies and makes sense of Roku TV.
  • Mary J Melange annoys  entertains readers with intelligent, insightful posts about dryer lint and the crumbs that fall between the stove and counter

That should do it for Chapter 1. Looking good so far? Life wide open for the next three months, as only I can write the words. I am looking outside, wind howling, knowing that tomorrow morning will bring -30 to -40 wind chills. I feel no trepidation.

There can be no whining.

12 responses to Life Wide Open

  1. M. R. says:

    (1) Delighted your revered ma is doing much better!
    (2) Go soap nuts, forget laundry detergent. Better for the clothes smells nicer, costs FAR less!
    (3) When you find a solution to the stuff falling between the stove and the benchtop, LEMME KNOW! [grin]
    How’re you coping with your huge number of followers? 😀

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thanks MR! 1) I’m delighted about mom too. 2) Still have not seen soap nuts in the store, but will keep looking.3) The solution is to move the stove and clean once in awhile. As for followers, there are plenty and they keep coming. I’m so grateful! However, I sure hope they don’t have any sort of Pulitzer-type writing expectations because I’m not that way! ;-p

      • M. R. says:

        Of course they don’t! They keep coming for YOU!
        Get soap nuts on-line!
        Can’t move the stove: it can only be moved by calling in the gasman! Sighh …

  2. Too cute and too funny. Weather, the one thing we cannot immediately change, yet the one thing that gets more complaints than politics, the price of gas, or those darned kids. I seem to remember last year the nation had an unusual warm snap In Feb. with sun shinning, birds chirping and everyone out in short sleeved shirts – everyone except us here in the Northwest. It was brutal – rain, freezing rain, and snow. It didn’t start to warm until May. What a difference a year makes. It is sunny today, but windy with temps in the mid 30’s and wind chills in the mid 20’s. Here’s sending you a bit of sunshine through the interwebs. 😀

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thanks for the sunshine, I always appreciate the rays. Our winter last year wasn’t this brutal, but it did go on forever. We had snowflakes coming down in April! I pray the weather breaks by March and we both have an early spring.

  3. It’s got to be hard, though. Knowing winter could stretch for several more months. MTM’s mom is going to come down here in March, but she may not even escape it here. We’re supposed to get snow on Tuesday. (And you would laugh so hard. The grocery stores are cleaned out like we’re preparing for a hurricane, and people are already demanding that everything be closed.)

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I was laughing the other day over the snowpocolypse in Texas and people’s reaction to 1/2″ of snow. Schools were closing. Too funny! I hope you have time to go out and make a snowman with MTM!

  4. LB says:

    I LOVE that poem that you opened with!
    Good luck with the no whining and living with arms wide open. We are all entitled to whine sometimes … we just have to avoid whining most of the time. Now I am certainly not saying that is what you’ve been doing, but I do know it’s easy to get caught up in it.
    Another benefit to winter? Wonderful photography!!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thanks LB! We are having another “gather around the fireplace with your wine glass” kind of night, although I’m choosing to skip the wine and just fire up the oven. So far, so good…no whining today! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.