Rants, Ramblings and General Diary of Juliana Wathen

Archive for September, 2011

Move according to your heart…..

Follow your heart…it is an age old saying. But today…so many of us have been trained and conditioned to be such “LEADERS” in our lives and communities that we rarely allow ourselves to relax and  “FOLLOW” much of anything. We precieve “following” as the weaker option and therefore the lessor or least likely choice

There is some much concentration on the daily challenges, expectations and conflicts that all we see are the expected roadblocks in our lives. We no longer see the beauty or our power within us to enjoy LIFE.  Hyper-Tunnel vision has us so focused on recognizing the chains that bind that we don’t take notice of the fact that the lock is open. And that all we have to do is unhook the padlock and the chains will fall away.

Instead of waiting for someone or something to FOLLOW. Rest and relax in your spirit. Listen to your heart…..MOVE according to your heart.

MOVE ACCORDING TO YOUR HEART…..It knows you better than anyone. It will not lead you astray.

I love each and every one of you.


Copyright 2011 Juliana Wathen

Weak in the knees…..

You know you are having a good day when something you love can just make you weak in the knees.

Last night I went back to the fall session of women’s chorus. They always ask you to fill out a form even if you are a returning member and tell them “WHY YOU SING…It’s a cheap way to come up with marketing material and sound bites. For the record…. I have never filled in the blank. But driving home last night it dawned on me “why I sing”.

There is a magical moment when you think you can’t move and your knees feel like they will give way any moment. You can’t catch your breath and you are afraid to leave that moment – that space. THAT is why I sing. That momentary rush of adrenaline and euphoria.

The more I thought about it the more things I realized made me weak in the knees.

So here is my list :

A standing ovation in a full concert hall when you KNOW you just nailed it!

Frankie B. Mandola’s Pineapple-Macodamia Nut Bread Pudding with Jack Daniels Sauce. OMG!

The National Anthem at Rodeo Houston

Hitting a MAX PAYOUT on a WHEEL OF FORTUNE slot machine!

Stepping onto dry land after a day on the water.

The perfect kiss…and yes, they DO exist!!!!!!


You can find great moments all around you if you are willing to see them. If you look for chaos you will find it. Look for the “weak knee” moments. They are WAY better.

I love each and every one of you


Copyright 2011 Juliana Wathen











Pull your head out…..

There comes a time in life when just putting on your big girl panties isn’t enough armor to get you through the crisis. I know.  It is hard to imagine.

In those rare instances I become….the turtle. I pull in my short, stubby little front hands badly in need of a manicure. I tuck in my chubby little back legs and pull my knobby head in tight…and WA LA! I am invisible and protected inside a  dark, stylishly minimalistic, yet cramped shell.

Well…it works for a while. Silence. Solitude. Eventually I got lonely and sent up a few flares to a select few and said “Wanna come over?”…It’s safer for me here.  Come on! ….come over!…I’ll make room!!!  But I get no takers because they can see that it’s a tight squeeze for one, much less a table for two, and the odds that I had bathed were slim to none. But I stay there. In the silence….solitude….scared, till the festering funk that is my confines becomes too toxic to live in.

I stuck my head out today…and there was light…and fresh air…and room to stretch my legs. Oddly enough….no one attacked. It felt good.

there had come a point where I  changed my focus from “ME” on the inside to “THEM” on the outside…and I could only talk to THEM – OUT THERE. I found that some people’s crisis were still going on. Some just needed a pat on the back.  Some were just waiting on a clean pair of Big GIRL PANTIES and some were waiting for major reinforcements. I couldn’t contribute to anyone as long as all I saw was the inside of my own shell. So today, I outgrew my shell.

My Father died 11 days ago. I FEARED feeling too much. I FEARED not feeling enough. I found out that what I felt was just right and that the only one keeping score…was me.

I love each and every one of you


Copyright 2011 Juliana Wathen

The eye of the storm…..

Like any experienced gulf coast resident I know how to prepare for a hurricane. In July, my father was given six months to live. As with any storm I knew this timetable could change. He had been a tropical disturbance for years brewing in the gulf that we all kept a weary eye on. And now he was gaining strength and about to make landfall.

So I put into practice what I knew. I monitored the storm day to day and made the necessary adjustments as it accelerated and the cone that projected it’s path narrowed. I made a plan and I prepared.

I thought I was in the clear or at least on the clean side of the storm. I thought all my preparations would serve me well. I had given up on any further attempts to “connect” with my father. It just wasn’t going to happen. So I made the best peace about him that I could. I moved into preparation mode and poured over papers and information about the five steps of dying, burial policies and what benefits would be due to my mother. I tended to the business of dying and the necessities for survival.

As landfall grew closer I wrote an obituary, put together a slide show of photos of his life and began to prepare his eulogy. So many things I never knew came to light as the timeline took shape of the life he lived and the experiences that formed his opinions and attitudes towards his family and life.

He passed the afternoon of September 15th at 3:55pm. Little did I realize that that would be the calm eye of the storm and that the dirty side of damaging winds and devastating floods would follow me home after the service, after everything and everyone else had been tended to.

I came home to my own fears and my own disappointments. The guests who came to the memorial service were a virtual timeline of my own life. Teachers, friends, family as well as ex-lovers and former friends all doing “The right thing” and coming to the service for a man few knew and many had never even met. They came for my sake and the sake of my family. It brought up good memories and bad from my life. It had little to do with my father. Memories of a former classmate and close childhood friend whose mother came to pay respects and to remind me her son had been gone 17 yrs. She wondered aloud if we still remembered him. I do – everyday. Teachers were there to remind me to see the life lesson. Family was there to remind me that it was my mothers grief and recovery that was most important. My friends were there to remind me that I never have to face the world alone unless I just need to.

I felt I needed to this time. I hid myself away from phone calls, texts and visits. I needed to let go of the man I never felt close to or loved by. And it was just one of my challenges. At the memorial I had embraced the woman I had at one time given my heart to and felt her momentary comfort – only to have to let it go all over again. I watched the friend I  love so dearly walk in and walk out like a brief blip on the radar.

I found myself trying for days to ride out the worse of the storm after the service. Battered by the winds and drowning in the flood waters I have struggled to hang on. And then it dawned on me tonight to take control. To not wait for the winds to die and the storm to pass because life is like a storm and it never really leaves. Like a merry-go- round it spins round and round and the closer to the edge you are ,the dizzier you get and the harder it is to hold on. I had been riding the edge of the storm and was exhausted and delirious.

A voice said…..”Move to the center. Relax and be calm”.

Can it really be that simple? Just change your grip and move to the middle. There is a peace  and quiet there. I crave it. I need it. Tonight I will rest in that peace.

I love each and every one of you


Copyright 2011 Juliana Wathen

A message….

If you call ..and I don’t answer…it is because I cannot speak.

If you write…and I do not respond…it’s because I have no words

If you don’t see me….have faith that I am within

I love each and every one of you.





Traveling Light…..

Denver Jenkins Wathen Jr. left this world September 15, 2011 at 3:55pm the same way he came into it March 22, 1931, surrounded by family.

It was not the ending any of us would have predicted, but one I think none of us would ever trade.

I have learned more about my father in the last few weeks than he ever cared to tell me in all my 48 yrs. I’ve looked thru his records, a disintegrating birth certificate, diplomas, military discharge papers, divorce decrees and  every picture I could find. I peeled back the layers of wrapping paper and found a person in the center of the box.

He was not perfect, just human. Subject to all the hazards and consequences we all must face through life. I was able to see the things that jaded him and the circumstances that made him shy away from being the husband and father we wished he could have been.

None of us will ever know the real Denver, what he thought or what he felt.  But I think I got as close as I was ever meant to these final days.

God wanted me to SEE him as  a fellow human being. Just a person who filled his bag with life experiences and at the end had to stand at the dock and empty that bag piece by piece, re-examining each experience  till the only thing left in the bottom of the bag was the coin for the Ferryman.

Today he set his burdens down and tonight he is traveling light once again.


I love each and every one of you


Copyright 2011 Juliana Wathen




Coins for the ferryman…..

5 am came early and 9:15pm seems so late. Days last forever and nights crawl by.

A bottle of Windex, 2 cans of Fabreze, a canister of Clorox wipes and3 rolls of paper towels: my sister in laws and I clean thru the day to help pass the time between visitors, nurses and aids.

Prayers are said, tears are shed, the sign of the cross is made. The smell of cigars and fresh rosemary fill the evening air. A message is delivered in her ear and she has her peace at last. All she needed to know was that she and all she did for him mattered. Eventually it all quiets down till all you hear is the hum of the old refrigerator and the whirl of a box fan.

He struggles in the back room, silently searching his pockets for a coin to pay the ferryman.


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