Sunday, September 4, 2016

the hole in my heart ...

i can't believe it has been four months when it still hurts like it was yesterday 
i picture you sitting like this, ears listening for the sound of my voice, and watching for me from one side of the Rainbow Bridge 
oh, how i wish i could see you again, and feel the weight of you leaning into me
your cold nose pushing into my hand to rub the smart bump on the top of your head
to hear your tail thumping on the bed when i reach over and massage your back when you are having a bad dream

i miss you so much 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

things i learned in august ...

how to tell a ripe pear from a not ripe pear

there can be grace and forgiveness in families

sometimes you just have to do what you can do, and let go of the rest of it

people who contemplate killing a cat by a hit in the head with a shovel should experience it for themselves first

unexplored roads are opportunities for new sights to see

a rooster's self-esteem is not to be questioned.

my peace and serenity can be found at the beach. every.single.time.
sometimes, there is nothing more important than dropping everything for a hug

i write better with zombie movies playing in the background

life is precious, no matter how small or how brief. treasure it.

our impact in this life has far reaching ripples of effect that you may never know about. don't miss an opportunity to be kind, to speak love, and to uplift and empower someone ~ even yourself. you are more important than you think in the life of someone.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

morning coffee

i am awake, more than i realize
change has been coming, and i feel as if i am on the edge of it
my toes hanging over, and i bend to see what is next
balancing on the ledge of what is to see what will be
i wave my arms like they were wings and i was about to leap
from the security of the nest and fly,
but i'm only trying to keep my balance

we balance our lives at times
juggling between what we want and what we have
sometimes forced to settle into the now
created by the yesterday
and afraid of the tomorrow

i'm impatient for the morning coffee
the smell of roasted hazelnuts
making my mouth water
i go back and forth to the coffee maker
pouring each little bit in my cup as it brews

i think sometimes that is how i face life
mouth watering
taking in little bits at a time

at times i want what i had
more than i want what i have
and i'm speaking of strictly material things
as if my life was perfect when i had them
i think of things and wonder where i packed them
not believing i would have sold/given/left "that"

but i did
i did because somewhere along the times
of past changes, they became part of who i was
which was a person i no longer wanted to be

i hid my imperfections, my fears and loneliness
in those things i had, pretending life was perfect
my life was perfect because i had things

today i can say that my life isn't perfect
and that those things never made it perfect
and if given a choice between
perfect and not perfect
i would choose not perfect

because it is in those not perfect moments
of a not perfect life with not perfect things
and not perfect people
i found the truth, i found grace
i found forgiveness, i found love
i found peace

Sunday, August 7, 2016

once upon a time ...

i've been participating
this week in a [writing
challenge] and in the 
process have been 
bouncing between here
and [there] as the topics
varied. i've also been
working through some 
self-discovery devotionals,
one of which told us to
write our wildest goal,
our biggest dream,
and seal it in a bottle
tossed in the sea, to
let fate ~ God~  carry
it where it needed to be
to make it a reality. i messaged a
friend who flies frequently to places
across the sea and asked if she would 
drop my bottle in the Rhine River or another
river or sea in Europe. but not wanting to wait for
me to find a small bottle, or wait for her next trip
i'm writing this story in a bottle and setting it adrift in the
electronic sea. this is my biggest dream, my wildest goal, and my story.
once upon a time, there was a young girl who wanted nothing more than
to have a large house that she could fill with unwanted dogs and cats and
children like herself. children that felt unloved, unwanted, and alone. 
children who could never make friends because they were always the new kid
at school, or because of the braces on their legs, or the thick bifocal glasses they
wore, or the red hair and freckles they had. children who just wanted to belong
somewhere, anywhere, that they didn't stand out or feel different. like the "island 
of lost toys," she wanted to have a house where everyone was welcomed, and everyone
felt loved. so she created a life for herself where all that was possible, and all that she
wanted would come true. she worked hard to learn all that she could to make her wildest goal
come true. she went to school and learned how to listen, and as she grew, she realized that 
she had a very special talent, one that was very rare. she began to understand how it was
that she sometimes knew things about people. not in a psychic-read-your-mind kind of way,
but emotionally she could sense and feel what someone was feeling. it gave her more 
compassion and understanding when she met people. but in time, being an empath began
to take a toll on her. she was overwhelmed with emotions that weren't always her own, and
it exhausted her. she began to feel physical pain because she had forgotten the first rule in
flying was to put your own oxygen mask on first. so she stepped back from her life and 
broke connections with people that were draining her spirit. she moved away to a place
where she knew no one and had no connections. where she could refocus her attention on
her dreams and goals. she had never stopped wanting a large house where she could take in 
unwanted dogs and cats, and other animals. so she wrote her business thesis into her first fiction 
novel. a dream of restoring an abandoned business center and large grocery store into an
indoor dog daycare center, with all of the smaller stores each becoming connected by the dog
theme. each time she passed a large shopping center with a grocery store anchor she envisioned
the "what ifs" of how she would remodel it. each time she passed a large house for sale, she
looked at it with eyes of possibilities. she had hoped her books would do well, perhaps not on 
a bestseller list, but maybe picked up as a lifetime movie of the week. she wanted them to at least
provide an income that would make her life and dreams sustainable. she began to have dreams
of what she knew would become her next book. a book about isolation, and feeling unwanted,
alone and unloved. she knew that book would turn those feelings around for the readers who
might share the same feelings and that in writing her book, she would finally realize that she
had always been wanted, and was never alone or unloved. that there was One who was always
there, who always kept His promises. she knew that if she could write that book, the readers would
also come to realize that they had always been wanted, loved, and never alone.  so she sat down one
night and wrote her deepest desires, her wildest goals, and her biggest dreams and put them in a 
bottle. she carried the bottle to a river of hope and put it in the waters that gave life and love. she
also carried those deepest desires, wildest goals, and biggest dreams deep in her heart, which
she gave to the One who had loved her before time began, and who had given her life and hope.
she set her heart adrift in that river of hope, and in the waters that gave life and love. she set herself free.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

what i learned in july ...

i started doing this list with emily p freeman, who last did it in may, and not since due to travel to italy, summer family and quiet times.  i hope that she starts doing it again because i always like to learn, and especially from someone whose books i have read and learned from.
things i learned in july

  1. no matter the cost, sometimes you just have to splurge on fresh cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries from the grocery store because if you are going to splurge on something, it should be something good for you ... and because the deer like to eat the ones growing in the garden.
  2. taking a different way home doesn't mean that you are lost, it means that you are an adventurer exploring new roads.
  3. when you do not have any cameras in the car, you will see a doe and her still freckled fawn. when you have a camera, you will never see her again.  it is known as the photographer's murphy's law.
  4. if you have three beautiful sunny days, and put laundry out on the line the fourth day, even when there are no clouds in the sky, it will rain. this weather anomaly is also known to happen when you wash your car or have a perfect hair day without an umbrella. (and the sun will come out, tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun) (now see if you can get THAT song out of your head!)
  5. there are no jobs that are "beneath" you when you don't have a job and need one. because even when you take an entry level cashier position, and you have an MBA there will be things you can learn ... about yourself and others.
  6. there really are some things that are better left unsaid. when listening to someone talk, focus on their words to really hear what they are saying, not just how they are sounding. before you respond, think how you would feel if someone said the words you are about to say to you. if you wouldn't appreciate it, chances are the person you are listening to wouldn't either.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

words for wednesday ...

The Tortoise Trainer by Osman Hamdi Bey (1842-1910)
he had realized as a young boy how soothing it was to just stop what he was doing in the middle of the day and watch the tortoises. their slow, deliberate movements made him slow down and think about the things that were important. as he got older, and his life more hectic and chaotic, the lesson of the tortoises stayed with him. his students thought that his passion for tortoises was one of his eccentric tendencies, but they, in turn, learned how the observation of them calmed them before exams. tortoises don't do anything rash, they think about their movements and choices because it takes so much effort to move with the weight of their shells. that pause before decisions makes them more likely to make the right decision rather than one based on emotions.
Osman often found himself talking over decisions with the tortoises, as if they could understand what he was saying, or even speak themselves. but he found that when he voiced his thoughts to them, often beginning a conversation with "I was just wondering if you could solve a little argument?"and the pros and cons of any decision he had to make, he would make better choices. he attributed it to the wisdom of the tortoises, but deep inside he knew that just stopping to think allowed him to make wiser choices.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

forced to reconsider ...

Alfred Stevens "Cat"
the box had arrived the week before, but her sorrow was so deep, the fog of grief tiptoeing into her heart like little cat's feet, that she couldn't bring herself to open it. seeing his handwriting on the label brought back the memories of the times they had shared together ... times they would never share again. 
finally, she had walked in the garden that he had planted for her, and when she saw that he had planted her favorite blue pansies in the shape of a heart, she knew it was time.  
he had sent the box his last morning, enclosing a note telling her how much he loved and cherished her, and that he couldn't wait to see again. he told her that the gift enclosed reminded him of her. small but fierce. independent but holding a part of his heart that made him realize how much he needed her.  he had found it in a little shop, and the old Chinese woman who had sold it to him told him that it was the year of the tiger and an auspicious gift for his fiancĂ©e who had been born in a tiger year and under the water sign. 
of course, he hadn't believed in any of that, being a Christian missionary, but he knew of her fondness for cats. he told her he would be arriving back in San Francisco in a month's time and that since he would soon need to return to the church he was planting, he asked if she would marry him sooner than they had planned because he never wanted to be that far away from her again.
the telegram had arrived two days after he had sent the box, telling her of the fever that had taken hold of him and robbed her of the life they had planned together.
his body had been buried in China, almost immediately after he had died.  so strong was the fear of the fever, that the ship's captain with whom he had arranged his passage back to her had refused to allow the plain box casket that carried his body on board.
as she held the blue pansy close to her heart, and his last letter to her fell to the floor amidst her tears, she knew that the life she had imagined was still possible and that she would continue his work in China. 

i've been reading"The One Year Book of Hope Devotional" by Nancy Guthrie. it is "daily readings to give you hope when life has let you down." her story is a heartbreaking one of back-to-back deaths of two babies from a rare disorder called Zellweg Syndrome. reading her words, and the strength and faith she has had humbles me, and while my own losses are nothing compared to hers, it does not minimize mine. they are exactly the same, but completely different.
in her book, it was the following passage that made me connect with this picture, and with my own life story ... [see Losing Your Life pg 100-101]
"He has given you the gift of being forced to reconsider the very purpose of your life.  Those who are sailing through a comfortable life at this point have not yet been forced to carefully consider their lives and surrender their dreams.  but because you have been shaken to the core, you see clearly that if you cling to your own plans and desires, you will never discover the freedom and joy found in losing your life for Jesus."

Saturday, July 9, 2016

under construction dreams...

 it has been quite a while, years perhaps, that i've had the house dreams. i may have blogged about them before, i don't remember now. but the dream has come back and i now know what it means, which for as bizarre as it is to dream of moving into old houses that are falling down for repairs and filled with amazing and beautiful antiques... it is actually comforting.

this time the house was in Alaska, on a great deal of land and we were being tasked with caretaking for a large herd of cattle (which is a new development in the dream) and we were also setting up house with friends of ours and their many children and animals (also a new development, tho not an unpleasant consideration).  but enough of that. i'm quite certain that i could finance a small country with the fees to have my dreams dissected and no one would still know what they meant.

but i babble because it has been a day that started before dawn, and an active day of learning and moving so i am tired and slightly brain-fried with all the new information i must absorb by osmosis at some point.

late last night i discovered curious pictures on my cell phone, 62 of them in fact, that i have no recollection of taking.  apart from these three (of 30) that were so overexposed, it was hard to identify what they are of, the others were clear enough to identify my jeans and the inside of my car.  but i don't know why these were so over exposed because the ones before and after them were not, and i clearly was not intentional in taking them.  the first one on the upper right seems to have the appearance of the shadow of a man (or men) in the lower portion of the picture. the one in the middle looks a little as if it could be a hummingbird in flight or the profile of someone's face. and the last one looks almost like a distant shore seen through the fog while out on the water.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

GINA ...

today i was watching some of those mandatory in-processing training videos (Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz) and there was something new that surprised me in a way, but then again not.

years ago when i was teaching human resources classes at a university (2005-2008), i would show the movie "Gattaca" as an example of what kind of changes we can look forward to in the future of human resources.

that day is here.

a new anti-discrimination law was passed called GINA which stands for Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008.  it took effect on 21 November 2009.
my first thought was to wonder when the government was going to start collecting DNA samples for everyone or if they have somehow already begun collecting it in ways that we are unaware of.
then i read this, and i've highlighted sections that made me raise my eyebrows because after reading it, i wondered if they really thought their exceptions to the rule were narrow because it seems that their idea of gathering DNA could be simply based on hearsay and gossip.  the thoughts in red italics are mine, and i'm not normally a conspiracy theorist, but it just seems like the narrow exceptions are really not so narrow.

Rules Against Acquiring Genetic Information
It will usually be unlawful for a covered entity to get genetic information. There are six narrow exceptions to this prohibition:
  • Inadvertent acquisitions of genetic information do not violate GINA, such as in situations where a manager or supervisor overhears someone talking about a family member’s illness. this seems like a broad policy for "inadvertent acquisitions" and it does not seem to restrict who is doing the talking and if they are talking about their own family or someone else's family.
  • Genetic information (such as family medical history) may be obtained as part of health or genetic services, including wellness programs, offered by the employer on a voluntary basis, if certain specific requirements are met.  what are the specific requirements?  most large corporations offer wellness programs, so will they also be collecting DNA if you participate in one?
  • Family medical history may be acquired as part of the certification process for FMLA leave (or leave under similar state or local laws or pursuant to an employer policy), where an employee is asking for leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition.  to my knowledge, family medical history has never been a part of the certification process for the Family Medical Leave Act in the past.  are they going to ask just for the history of the person you would leave to care for, or will they want generations past now?
  • Genetic information may be acquired through commercially and publicly available documents like newspapers, as long as the employer is not searching those sources with the intent of finding genetic information or accessing sources from which they are likely to acquire genetic information (such as websites and on-line discussion groups that focus on issues such as genetic testing of individuals and genetic discrimination).  so... if you join an online support group for say ALS or Parkinsons or parents of autistic children or cancer or whatever ... and the employer overhears someone talking (see first bullet) can he "accidently" find said support group online and then flag an employee's file for genetic issues?  
  • Genetic information may be acquired through a genetic monitoring program that monitors the biological effects of toxic substances in the workplace where the monitoring is required by law or, under carefully defined conditions, where the program is voluntary. anyone working in a manufacturing plant with any kind of chemicals could now be required to submit DNA, which the government could potentially request for their own reasons?
  • Acquisition of genetic information of employees by employers who engage in DNA testing for law enforcement purposes as a forensic lab or for purposes of human remains identification is permitted, but the genetic information may only be used for analysis of DNA markers for quality control to detect sample contamination. under the "umbrella" of possible crime scene contamination, every law enforcement officer will now have to submit DNA.  just because they say it may only be used for quality control, doesn't mean that it won't be entered into a computer program that will be accessible to the government for other purposes.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

things i learned in June ...

i happen to know that emily p freeman whom i joined last month on her blog has been in italy for the past 10 or so days at a writer's retreat (and i am deeply envious) so i'm not sure if there will be a link-up for the end of june, which is actually okay as long as she posts many pictures of italy when she gets back to her blog.

where may was a month of loss and grief, june was a month of disappointments when after 160 job applications since the end of january and 8 interviews (6 of them in june alone), i still was without a job until the very last two days of the month.  it is a part-time job of which i will say that beggars cannot be choosers. it was also a month for three surgeries, one almost surgery, a potentially lethal infection, and receiving good news about now cancer free sisters. there was one other major disappointment and it was in me by an 18-year-old young woman of which i am sorry

june was a month of flowers and green trees.  a month of deer without fear, as if they know hunting season isn't for several months yet. it was a month of bumblebees and honey bees. it was a month of fear fought with faith, a month of on my knees prayer.

if you could tell your 18-year-old self some advice that might change your life, what would you say? knowing full well that if you changed something in your past, you might lose something that is very precious to you now. would that change your advice to yourself? would your 18-year-old self listen to your advice?

 dear 18-year-old you;

I wanted to write you something for your 18th birthday, now that you’re an adult, now that you’re going off to college and making decisions for your life. I wanted to write something that I wish someone had told me when I was 18, something that might have made my life different. It’s pretty hard to try and fit 36 years of experiences into one letter, and equally hard to find just one or two things that I think would make a difference for you.

So this is from me. What you choose to do with it is up to you. 

You don’t understand yet what it is like to want to do something so badly that it rips your heart out when you realize that you won’t be able to do it. You’ve never had to want for anything.

I’m not saying that as a bad thing. I guess that would be one piece of advice that I might be able to give you. Don’t make assumptions about other people’s lives or experiences, especially when you’ve never had to walk in their shoes. Open your heart, and your mind, when it comes to other people. Not everyone has had a life as good as yours.

Yes, dad made mistakes when you were young, he’s not perfect. But no one is, other than Jesus. We all make mistakes. We all have regrets. We all wish we could have made some different decisions in our past. But we are stuck with the lives we have lived. There aren’t do-overs in life. You learn from your mistakes, pick up the pieces and move on. Maybe one day you will understand that, and I hope, sincerely hope, that when you do understand it that it won’t come with as much pain as some life lessons can give.

But here is the thing that sometimes is the hardest to accept about those painful mistakes and lessons … when you look back at them with regret, you have to ask yourself, honestly, if you would change them because for as painful as they are, they usually give you the most priceless things in your life. Mom might consider Dad a mistake in her life, but that mistake gave her you, and I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t trade you for anything in the universe. Dad wouldn’t trade you for anything either.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” [Romans 8:28 NLT]

God also called us to treat others as we want to be treated. That would be the other piece of advice I think might help make a difference in your life. I know it is probably the hardest also. It is hard to put aside our hurts. I know. I’ve been there. Got a t-shirt. But when we hold onto those hurts, when we treat someone coldly because of how we feel they treated us, the person who gets hurt the most, in the long run, is ourselves.

If you feel Dad puts you last in his life, ask yourself where is he in your life? I don’t think you even put him on your list, and I get that. There have been times in my life when I’ve been so hurt by people that I’ve completely written them out of my life. But you can’t have it both ways. You can’t blame him for not putting you first in his life when you don’t return his phone calls or write to him, or respond to messages. Yeah, I know it sucks to have that thrown back at you, but this is what being an adult is. Taking some of the responsibility for the things that happen to us.

I know dad loves you but just doesn’t know how to connect with you, and that was and always will be the truth. But just because he hasn’t always been able to meet your expectations of what kind of a dad he should be, it doesn’t mean he loves you any less. That is the drawback of loving someone conditionally. It’s one-sided and it will always, always, always hurt and disappoint you.

I don’t expect you to change overnight because of what I’ve said. In truth, I don’t think my words will make any difference. Now. But maybe in 10 years or 20 years, or maybe if you have your own children, you might remember this letter and realize that what I say isn’t meant to hurt you or make you angry, but it is said with love and the hope that you won’t hurt as much as I did when I had to learn to love dad again. Maybe for you, you’ll learn faster than I did, with less resentment, and you won’t miss out on as much of his life as I missed out on with dad. Maybe he wasn’t there for you when you were growing up, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be there for you as a grown woman.

You are an amazing young woman with the entire universe at your fingertips. You are going to change lives. I hope that one of them will be dad’s life.

I don’t expect you to respond to this. I’m just asking that you don’t slam and lock that door in his face. Leave it open, be willing to accept him as he is now, changed, humbled, and regretful of the things he missed out on with you. He’s not a bad man. Don’t shut him out of your life. Even if all you ever do is occasionally send him a card or letter that says hello, just please don’t shut him out. You mean everything to him. You always have, and you always will.

Love, 54-year-old me