Thursday, September 27, 2007

"All I Can Do" was Enough!

I am so happy! You may remember that just over a week ago I wrote an entry about a woman I spoke with over the phone at work who was being abused. I felt so terrible and thought I'd never speak with her again, especially because she wouldn't leave her phone number. Well, she called me again today!

I was so glad to know she was all right. I spoke with her for quite a while and she updated me on all that was happening with her life. She told me that she was still at the house, but she and her boyfriend were separated and he hadn't been back. She still had the car; he hadn't tried to take it as she'd feared. She said she was starting a job within the next week or so, as soon as she lined up a babysitter for her son. She has a plan to move out so that she really has no ties to this man. She also told me the police had incidents on record so if her boyfriend came back, more could be done. She still didn't want to file a PFA, but she thanked me for all the numbers and resources I had mailed her, and she told me that she had a counseling appointment today for her and her son. (I had sent her counseling numbers along with other resource numbers.) I was so glad to hear that! And I was glad to hear that she was still okay and he hadn't been back to hurt her.

She is by no means completely fine; she mentioned that she has hives all over her body from being so stressed and overwhelmed. And she has no hot water, but she informed that she swallowed her pride again and went to get food stamps. I helped her apply for the subsidized child care and told her to give me a call if she wanted to or needed to in the future.

The fact that she called me back really made my day. And I know I must have done some good by talking with her last week and enforcing that she needed to take care of herself and her son. Hopefully she will stay safe, and in any event, I'm sure even without a PFA the counseling will be very beneficial and the counselor can continue to give this woman the help she needs.

I feel much lighter after speaking with her today; her situation was weighing on my mind so heavily that even if she wasn't seeking help, just talking to her again and knowing she was still safe would have been enough to make me happy.

Capitalizing and More Planning



My horoscope for the day reads:

As Mercury hangs in self-reliant Scorpio, you may find your cash flow an increasingly fascinating topic. A good place to begin: what are your various options for capitalizing on your talents?


Well, I must say, I am finding that my cash flow IS an increasingly fascinating topic, if only because I am constantly trying to think of ways to make extra money. And I am certainly trying to capitalize on my talents. I'm currently making wallets and handbags (as well as jewelry) for my Artifacts by Arielle business. And I'm also currently working on a project a co-worker commissioned me to do: sketches of her dog made into a color portrait. It's going well.


I wonder what else I could do.


On a completely different note, my cousin Justin is officially going to be the ring bearer for our wedding. This is the little cutie playing golf, and above on a truck.

I will post our beautiful save-the-dates once I mail them out in a couple weeks; I don't want anyone getting a sneak peek!

There is always so much to do and so little time! There are lots of little details that can't be forgotten; it's hard to believe how much work and planning goes into a wedding! And mine isn't even a very big wedding!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

On the Go

So here I am, sitting in my future baby's room (which is--until I even think of conceiving a child--my office/desk/writing room), sipping water, and worrying about money. How in the world did I get so OLD? Well, not old exactly, but a real tried and true adult. Seems like only yesterday I was heading off to elementary school in the mornings instead of to work with my fiance. Now I'm planning my wedding instead of a term paper and I'm writing submissions to prestigious writing contests in an attempt to get published instead of writing my editorial column for the school newspaper. People always say--about anything and everything: "It'll be here before you know it." And that is so damn true. It's not as though I've never figured that out before now, but lately with every day that passes I realize the completely real and sometimes frightening meaning of those oft-used words.

Not much has happened in the life of Arielle Lee Becker lately, but I can tell you this: I am constantly "on the go," as Rick would say. I am moving from the moment I wake up. (Well, not the very moment, because I am not a true morning person. Therefore I end up lying in my bathrobe in the upstairs hallway in front of the bathroom talking to Rick with my eyes closed while he shaves and brushes his teeth. Eventually, once I've wasted a good 15 minutes--and yes, this happens every morning--he has to bend down to where I'm lying on the floor and say, "Time to get up, baby," whereupon I close my eyes more tightly and whine. Very adult, I know. After several very long moments of playful persuasion, I manage to stand up and usually lean against Rick as if my entire body is too heavy to allow me to stand. He then physically turns me around so that I'm facing the bedroom and my closet, pats me on the butt, and says, "Get going" or something similar. It's become nothing short of a ritual.) But, back to the statement at hand: I am moving from the moment I wake up. I go to work (which is extremely busy these days), I multi-task, I am quick and I am efficient. Some days after work I do errands--especially errands associated with the wedding--like meeting with the photographer, going to the hotel where the reception is to be held, or I try to fit in my doctor appointments or my shopping tasks.

When I do get home, I get changed, check email, return phone calls, and make dinner. Then I do countless other things like make jewelry people have ordered or do art projects I've been commissioned to do for people. It's more fun than it is work, but it does get tiring even though I'm sitting. But I like being "on the go." It suits me even though Rick thinks I am the Energizer Bunny with curls. We usually watch a show or a movie or football in the evening and I multi-task the whole while. He is always so amazed with how much I get done in a day, but to me, it's just a day.

This week I got our save-the-dates from the photographer. They look beautiful and they came in pretty fast. I only designed and ordered them about 2 weeks ago (if that). I also got our photo prints from our engagement photo session. My mom and Rick's mom wanted a print of the photo that is on our save-the-date, and Rick and I wanted one too. I have an appointment with the florist on Oct. 8th and hopefully an appointment with the bakery where we're getting our wedding cake sometime soon after that. My mom bought a dress for the wedding and she wants me to see it; I will see it on Thursday. This Thursday we have our Personal Food Tasting at the hotel. Rick's parents and mine are coming with us and the chef makes a bunch of entrees for us to eat for dinner along with sides, drinks, and salads...and based on that we choose what we'd like our reception menu to be. You can't beat free food and service! Especially for six people!

Friday is Sarah and Eric's engagement party. That'll be fun. And then Sunday is my aunt's baby shower. I'm making a finger food to bring. I was going to make stuffed mushrooms (something I've made before--and they are really good), but I realized they are only good when hot (or at the very least, warm) and I have no way of bringing them hot or keeping them hot while driving there or when we are at the shower location, so I am going to make something different that can be served cold or room temperature. I have a lot of recipes to choose from. I am always making something new these days. Rick loves it. He is so appreciative and it is wonderful.

I'm trying not to buy anything these days that isn't a necessity. And besides, we have wedding registries, so what's the point of buying stuff we need if we can do without it a little longer? My registry items appear a little random to me, but I guess that doesn't much matter. I always worry that some of the things are too expensive, but I'm told it's perfectly fine. I just added a hall tree to my Target registry the other day--you know, one of those wooden nook things that has a bench, and hooks to hang hats, scarves or purses that goes in your entryway by the front door. You can never really tell what stuff is going to be like when you view it online, but it looks pretty nice. I was browsing through my Bed, Bath, and Beyond registry yesterday and I realized that the Kate Spade china I had on there is $139.00 just for a 5-piece one place setting! I had thought it was for 5 separate place settings, but really it is $139 for one dinner plate, one salad plate, a cup, a saucer, and a bowl. Which won't really do me any good to have just one place setting. I am so stupid. So I need to either change the amount desired to 5 (which makes the total un-freaking-believable) or I need to ditch it and look for something different. I think I'm going to delete it and find something else. I do not need something that expensive and who the hell would pay that much for a wedding gift anyway? Target had fine china that was green. I'll look there tomorrow.

But now, you see, I am babbling...which means it is time for bed. I have to be "on the go" at 6:30 you know. :)

Marriage Proposal

Now this is creative! I think it's sweet and special. If only I was born a man! Thinking up creative marriage proposals would be such fun!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

First Day of Fall Ride

The sun in my eyes
And the wind in my hair,
I smile just to be alive
And breathe deeply
Of the crisp, fresh autumn air.

The motor purrs and masks
The sound the birds make above us
As we ride through the green and gold,
As we share in each other.

My laughter is clear;
I am happy just to be with you,
Drinking the beautiful day,
Enjoying the scent of a brand new season.

The sun in my eyes
And the wind in my hair,
I smile just to be alive
And breathe deeply
Of the crisp, fresh autumn air.

I can see the leaves changing,
The corn browning,
And the sky opening
As if to welcome us.

Tenderly you touch my hand,
Rub your fingers over mine.
Your eyes are on the road,
My eyes are on you.

The sun in my eyes
And the wind in my hair,
I smile just to be alive
And breathe deeply
Of the crisp, fresh autumn air.

Up and down the hills,
Fast across the expanse of land,
We travel with no destination,
Simply living for the ride.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

All I Can Do

I'm so close to crying. I sometimes get upsetting calls in my line of work (Intake Caseworker for low-income parents) and today I got a call that really concerned me. I have had a few calls like this before, but this time it is really eating away at me.

A woman called today (a mother of a little boy) to ask for day care referrals (listings and info), but she quickly began telling me about her abusive husband. I could tell she was at her wits' end. Things were just spilling out and she sounded scared and worried and desperate. Now, in my line of work, the people who call me are often in sad situations, so I am--to a certain extent--used to it. This particular woman was clearly asking for help without really asking for help. She was reluctant to do anything concrete, but was very very upset.

She told me her child's father beat her up and the cops had been there recently to take pictures of her injuries and to help her to file a PFA (Protection from Abuse), but the PFA had not gone through yet. (By the way, PFAs are often useless, because a PFA doesn't stop the man from coming back and hurting or killing the woman. In fact, many times, the man is so angry about the PFA that it is the last thing that happens before he kills the woman. Many murders of women are done when the woman is considered "safe" because of a PFA. A PFA is simply a piece of paper that won't stop a real abuser from committing an offense and many women are afraid to file for one because it only makes their man angrier and more spiteful.) Anyway, this woman just kept talking and talking, telling me her story; I gave her phone numbers for Turning Point (a domestic violence shelter/help organization) and tried to give her other numbers that could potentially help her. She didn't really want them. I let her talk, because I could tell she really needed to. "Believe me," she said, "I have all those numbers." She was afraid. She said the cops had given her the Turning Point number too.

The child's father wasn't there at the time of her call to me; he had been gone for a few days and, according to her, was gone a lot now. But all the bills were in his name...and the car was in his name...and the house was in his name. She had nothing. No money. She said he beat her up when he was angry about financial problems, but he never allowed her to work. She had always wanted to get a job, but he wouldn't "let" her. She said was a prisoner in her own house. She said he'd thrown her through a door and then came home 3 or 4 days later just to repair the door he had broken when her threw her into it. She had to forget her pride and go down to Welfare to get food stamps for her and her child because he had left her nothing. She said it didn't matter that the food stamps allotment was minimal since she hardly ate anyway. "I'm a complete mess," she said. "I've hardly eaten anything the last few weeks. I think I'm down to like 89 pounds. And I'm like 5'2". I'm a little thing; he can throw me around easy." The kind of things that were coming out of her mouth were enough to make me lose sleep.

She mentioned that she'd called the police twice today and left messages, but no one had returned her calls. She said she was such a mess that she could hardly take care of herself, so how was she supposed to care for her child? I strongly advised her to call the Turning Point number because it was a 24 hour number and they would help her with all of her concerns. She said, "I'm not really worried about him hurting me; I'm used to that. I'm just afraid he'll come back and take the car because he knows I can't do anything about it because it's in his name. And I need that car to try to find a job to get some money."

Then, as she was telling me all these things, she said, "Oh god, I'm going to cry." And she started to cry as she talked to me. "I don't know what to do," she said.

I felt so helpless and all I could do was tell her to call the Turning Point number even though I sounded like a broken record. I was so worried for her and I know Turning Point is great and helps with women and children and money and PFAs and safehousing and hideaway programs, etc. She said she "might" call. I took that to mean she probably won't.

I'm just so worried that I'll see this woman's name in the paper in a story saying that her husband's killed her. There was a local story in the paper today about a man who called up his son's grandparents and said, "You'll have to pick him up from school today." Then he went and killed his son's mother and then himself. A couple months ago, a woman who was in an abusive relationship and had a PFA against her husband opened the front door one night and her husband shot her dead in her own house in front of her 6 or 7 year old son. And she thought she was safe. Then the man shot himself in front of his already traumatized son. The little boy then went upstairs, covered his 3 year old sister's head with something and said, "Jillian, don't look." And he helped her down the stairs, through the living room where the bodies were lying, and into the kitchen where he called 911. I don't want to read another story like this when I feel like there should be something I could do.

The woman I talked to on the phone today didn't give me her phone number. I only have her address and her name. But we are only allowed to report child abuse anyway. We can't report this, because it is the woman's decision if she wants to do something about it. She isn't a minor. I can just tell she lives in fear. She's so used to this. She said she had been with the man for 3 years.

I'm heartsick. This is something I'm very passionate about. I don't participate in V-day and the Vagina Monologues for nothing. I care deeply about violence against women. I will pray for this woman I spoke with today and hope that my words of advice are something she will take to heart. And if I can't call her to get in touch with her, I will mail her more info to the address she left me. It's all I can do.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Productive & Inspiring Conversation

My horoscope for the day reads:

Attention please. If you were to take this day to ponder taking a larger bite out of the apple of life, you'd have a fairly productive (and inspiring) conversation with yourself.

Now that is the kind of horoscope I like. So allow me a moment to take that big bite and turn reflective with myself.

In exactly 7 months (as of tomorrow) I will be a married woman. I can't tell you what that means to me. Well, actually, I can...and will. So many people ignore the specialness that is marriage, or at least take it for granted. Some destroy it and some cherish it until they no longer want it. These are not meant to be judgmental statements. If something isn't working, I don't believe it should be tolerated merely because of the "sanctity" of marriage. All I am personally trying to say is that I am going to give my very best to this marriage. Not only do I feel good about it and secure about it...it is also without a doubt the thing I've been most sure about in my entire young life. Besides all the logical and practical and emotional reasons that let me know this marriage is a good and right decision, I also have (and have had since the beginning) distinctly intuitive and almost spiritual feelings that this marriage is what is meant to be.

I have always been a hopeless romantic, but this is more than that. From the beginning there has been a sense of magic and deep purpose to Rick's and my relationship. I don't mean like a fairy tale (because that wouldn't be reality)...I mean like fate and destiny and overwhelming, serious purpose...and other-worldly incidence.

Marriage aside, I am a very loyal woman. I will not betray, or intentionally hurt, or throw away something to which I am attached. Cheating has always been something that deeply disturbs me. I can't figure out why it's so upsetting to me (besides the obvious) because my parents have never dealt with it. But in any case, it really bothers me and to a certain extent I am preoccupied with it. The concept stabs into my core. I will never, under any circumstances, be unfaithful. I would always, before anything of that nature occurred, be honest and forthright. Sneakiness is not in my nature, nor is dishonesty.

I never plan on ruining our marriage. Of course, no one ever PLANS these things. But I want this for life or I would not have agreed to marry in the first place. I am the kind of person who needs to be deeply sure and secure before I can make such a big decision. And when I did say "yes" to a marriage proposal, it took me less than a second to decide it was what I truly wanted. It felt extremely and completely natural. As though it was what I was always meant to do. As though it was a given. As though I knew I could never be totally happy unless I said "yes."

To me, the future for Rick and me is not fuzzy. It is clear and beautiful. I know there will undoubtedly be difficult times, but I'm prepared. I love him and I love him unconditionally. Whatever the world might decide to throw at us, I will do my very best to work through. And we've already seen some difficult times. Life will never be perfect, but our love is true and real, and with that kind of strength and emotion, we can battle the bad in life, using that love as shield.

My heart has never felt the way it feels these days. My life has been rearranged, but it's all for the better. Rick's life has been rearranged too, and I will always remember what he's done for me, and never will I forget how much his life altered to allow me into it.

I value Rick's love so much; and I value our upcoming marriage even more--because it is the totality of our love for each other. I will preserve it and cherish it always.

If we were writing our own vows (which I have to admit, I have always wanted to do) I'd have just written some of mine. :) I don't know that I could get Rick to do that, though. He's probably petrified enough as it is!

Monday, September 17, 2007

New Life

The days pass by like migrating
birds...
Quick and in clusters they're
gone.
As poignant as a thousand
words...
And life, as always, goes
on.

(c) Arielle Lee Becker
9-17-2007

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Sound of Serenity

There's just something about driving around on a crisp Saturday with the top off the car and the wind blowing relentlessly through your hair.

Today, Rick and I were very productive. We cleaned the whole house, did laundry, went to the grocery store, ran all our other errands, Rick mowed the lawn, and I worked out. Driving around today was fun. Rick had the top off his Camaro and it was great just listening to music while the sun beat down on us. It was cool today--about 65. It was perfect, peaceful weather.

We were listening to Vince Gill in the car; I have some of his CDs. Vince Gill, if you don't already know, has the most clear and soothing voice I think I have ever heard in a singer. He's country/folk/bluegrass, but it is so unlike anything else you hear out there in America. Not to mention, he's been around for a while. He has the kind of voice that fills you up and makes you think and unwind.

I like to dance (sitting down) in the car when a dance-y song comes on and make Rick laugh. I like to get my hair messed up, stare at the sky, and smile so hard my face hurts.

Today was a good day. And it's not over yet.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Maybe I should wear a t-shirt that says: I'm 23, how are you?

Allow me to tell a funny story.

A few weeks ago, I went to the liquor store to pick up some of those really tiny liquor bottles as part of a joke gift for my bridesmaids. I was making bags for them filled with random wedding related bridesmaid things, and I wanted to have a tiny bottle of liquor in each bag with a tag that said: "For when I drive you crazy." So, at the liquor store, I bought a bottle of wine or something and 5 of those small liquor bottles. As I set my purchases on the counter to pay, the man (who was about 60) looked at me very strangely and suspiciously. I was smiling and telling him in that conversational way strangers talk to each other that I was planning my wedding and explaining what I was going to do with those five little bottles of liquor. Now, granted I look rather young, but obviously if I was about to pay for this stuff, I am ready and willing to hand over my I.D. I had my I.D. ready before he asked for it, and as he asked me, I handed it to him. He scrutinized the I.D., then me, then the I.D. again. My I.D. looks exactly like me; there's no real need to be so suspicious, but I suppose he was just doing his job.

For a moment, I thought he was going to keep me there all day. Suddenly, he looks into my face and says in a quick, abrupt, and I'm-testing-you manner, "When's your birthday?"

"October 13th, 1984," I tell him as quickly as I assumed he wanted me to answer. "I'm nearly 23, I just look young," I was thinking to myself.

I began to hold out my hand for him to return my I.D., but he quickly asked, "What day is your birthday on this year?"

Now, I ask you, WHO KNOWS THAT? I certainly didn't. I looked at him and said, "I don't know."

He gave me a squinty-eyed look and said, "It's Saturday," in that flat annoyed tone that meant I should have known and he was doing me a favor by allowing me to buy this alcohol. Now, I didn't see it that way. I'm legitimately of age and have been for 2 years. As long as I have proof of my age, there is no reason to make me feel as though I am doing something illegal.

As he handed my I.D. back to me, he gave me a curious look. He bagged my purchases and I left. When I got home, I was unloading the bag, when I saw...there at the bottom: a lollypop.

Yes, a lollypop.

I don't know how I was supposed to take that...whether it was supposed to be a mocking gesture or a peace offering...but I'm leaning towards the first guess, based on the man's general demeanor towards me. In any case, it makes for a pretty funny story...and it definitely amuses everyone I tell.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Autumn Thoughts

It's almost fall. Ten more days. I love the autumn in Pennsylvania with its beautiful colors and scents. We live by a lot of cornfields, which is interesting, because we also live by a very big city, too. On our drive to and from work each day, we pass several cornfields and a horse farm. It's really peaceful and aesthetically pleasing. Right now, the corn is ready to be picked; it's tall and the husks are crispy--a rustic orange/brown/dark yellow color. My birthday is in a month. A month from tomorrow actually. I love the way the colors change in September and October here...how the air is sweet and continually fresh. Somehow it always smells like memories to me. How long I have felt like this I don't know...but I feel as though I will always feel this way about the fall.

It's still rather warm here, but this week it's gotten down to the low 70s. I see the kids in our neighborhood waiting for the school bus in the mornings; they look excitable and carefree carrying their lunchbags and backpacks. I think about how my own (currently non-existent) child will look in several years, waiting for the bus in the mornings or waiting to be driven to school. I smile to myself when I think these thoughts. I wonder if I will have an autumn child like me. I wouldn't be surprised.

Rick's Desk Photo


This is the picture Rick has of me on his desk at work. He took this photo of me the night of Night at the Races, a charity event we attended together. I got all ready and before we left he looked at me with a big smile and said, "Would it...be possible...for me...to take a picture of you?" So I laughed and he took this photo.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Recent Recipes

Made this Sunday night; it was delicious and I will definitely make it for Rick and myself again.

Very Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

4 medium green peppers
1 pound hamburger
1/2 an onion (chopped)
Garlic to taste
1 14.5 oz can tomatoes (undrained)
1/3 cup long grain rice (uncooked)
1/2 cup water
1 tbl Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut off top of peppers and remove stem ends, seeds, and membrane. Immerse peppers into boiling water for 3 minutes. Sprinkle salt to the inside and drain on paper towel. Cook meat, garlic and onion in frying pan. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper if desired. Cook till brown and tender. Drain fat. Stir in all ingredients except cheese. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese. Place peppers in baking dish. Fill peppers with meat mixture. Bake for 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven. When done, sprinkle with remaining cheese.

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This was so good! It has a really great flavor and is healthy. I've made it a few times now and we can eat it for 2 days.

Chicken & Ravioli Cacciatore

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins, cut up into bite sized pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup water
14 oz. can diced tomatoes with garlic, undrained
8 oz. can tomato sauce
9 oz. pkg. refrigerated ravioli

Heat oil in heavy skillet and add chicken, onion and bell pepper. Cook and stir until chicken begins to brown. Add mushrooms, water, tomatoes, and tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Add ravioli, covering the pasta with the tomato sauce. Separate ravioli with large spoon. Cover skillet and cook for 12-15 minutes until sauce is thickened, ravioli is tender, and chicken is cooked through, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.

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I make this fairly often and have for years. I love spicy food and this is more full of beans and veggies than it is with beef, so I especially like it. I learned how to make this chilli from watching my dad as a kid and from adding my own flavor and tastes here and there until I came up with this.

Arielle's Specialty Chili

Ingredients:

-2 cans of kidney beans (1 light, 1 dark)
-1 can of stewed tomatoes
-1 green pepper
-1 red pepper
-1 Vidallia (sweet) onion
-1 lb of lean ground beef
-1/3 cup of chilli powder
-1 can corn (optional)
-2 TB of A1 Steak Sauce (the secret ingredient!)
-Shredded Cheddar Cheese (to taste...this goes on the top when it's done)

Chop up peppers and onion. In a large pot, brown beef. When meat is browned, reduce heat to medium and add peppers and onion. Add the can of stewed tomatoes. Stir occasionally to mix all contents. Add the first can of kidney beans WITHOUT draining it. Stir. Add the second can of kidney beans DRAINED. Add drained can of corn if desired (I often make this without corn). Add the A1 Steak Sauce (consider it the secret ingredient ;). Stir. Add a little bit of the 1/3 cup of chilli powder. Place lid on pot and let the contents simmer for a few minutes, then stir and add a little more chilli poweder. Cover and let simmer again for 10 minutes, stirring if needed. Add the rest of the chilli powder and stir the contents. Simmer covered until all veggies are cooked (no longer crispy). Serve with cheddar cheese on top and with a side of cornbread.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Without You

Without you, my heart was but an organ that beat

In endless rhythm, never stopping to feel.

I am reminded of days that have passed,

Endless hours of starvation and pure emotion

That racked my tender, ill-treated body,

A shell of a girl with a story and a mind.

I was dead; my soul was torn in two pieces--

One that knew I was worth something

And one that wished only to destroy.



Without you, my eyes were but faded orbs,

Dull and unseeing of the beauty here on earth.

I was ever searching, quiet and sullen,

Looking for something to fill the void I had,

Yet continuing to keep that void empty at all costs.

I thought that I was destined to remain in that place--

But you rescued me as I rescued myself.

If not for you, I might live only to fall back

Into old habits and old horrors.



Without you, my hands were empty things

That shook and reached for things

I did not allow myself to have.

But now I have everything I've ever desired

And the things for which I've most longed

Are realities that make my past

Seem even more like a distant space

Inhabited by ghosts and dim visions...

A place far away in a different world.



Without you, my smile was false,

A mere facade fabricated for show,

A fictional painting on my face

That spoke nothing of what I felt.

Inside your smile I find my own

And let it fill me with light and joy;

I travel freely in your loving gaze

And bask as if in the sun,

But it is your sweet face.



Arielle Lee Becker

(c) 9-10-07

Madeleine L'Engle

Madeleine L'Engle died on September 6th. She was one of my most favorite authors of all time. She had such a deep understanding of things many people do not. I have at least 20 of her books. She wrote fiction for children and adults. She also wrote poetry and non-fiction. She was truly talented and insightful. Most people know her for her acclaimed book A Wrinkle In Time.
Her obituary was so full of the things she did in her long life. I'm very sad she's gone, but very glad she gave what she did to this life.

Autumn Aches

The fall slips in with its serene quality of life,
Another year of orange leaves and another year gone by...
The simple, soulful sky is bright
With dreams that float in autumn's air,
And I see, on either side of my serious face,
The rows of yellow corn, looking rusted and dusted,
Reaching toward the sky.

If I could reach my hands up to the sky,
And grab a cloud in the autumn breeze,
I would hold it like a baby in my arms
And sing to it in the musical wind of fall.
I smell the clean, crisp wonderful air
That floods my mind and takes me back
To days that have passed but still live on.

I want to fall flat on the ground,
Feel the dirt and leaves beneath my weight,
And inhale the memories that come
And say hello to me like friends.
Instead, I look out--far out--
To the sunset and the future,
And I blow a kiss to autumn.

Arielle Lee Becker
(c) 9-10-07

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

From a Nightmare to a Dream Come True

The other night I had a nightmare and screamed in my sleep and yelled, "Help me!" Rick woke me and put his arms around me. "Arielle. It's okay. It's all right. You're okay." It took me a moment or two to realize where I was and that I was indeed okay. His words were so soothing and he spoke to me in that way people do when they've woken up and feel that sleepy emotion that comes with the need to protect the someone they love.

"I'll never let anything happen to you," he said as he held me and I held onto him, trying to feel better after my scary dream.

"I was calling for you, "I said. "Thanks for saving me." I was half asleep, but strangely enough I can remember every little detail of our conversation from the middle of the night. It really comforted me.

I always say it's the little things. And it is. 'You stay close to me now," Rick said as he turned onto his side and pulled me onto my side with him, so that I was cupped against him.

He held my hand. "I love you," I said.

"I love you, too," he told me. And we fell back to sleep.