Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dreaming of roses...

"One of the most tragic things I know about human nature
is that all of us tend to put off living.
We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon,
instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today."
~ Dale Carnegie ~

Image Source
     In 1977 the Space Shuttle program was just getting off the ground... literally.  I was fifteen, in the 9th grade, and wrote for the school newspaper.  As the date for the first Shuttle launch approached, I wrote a letter to NASA asking to be the first student journalist in space.  "To be able to write for all of the future astronauts."

     Now, 34 years later, the Shuttle program has been grounded... literally.  The next space program is still six years away at least, but privately funded shuttles into our orbit have become possible.

     Perhaps when I am sixty, I shall take a trip and write for the hopeful astronauts in all of us.  Those of us that still reach for the stars and dream of rose shaped galaxies...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What do you wish for fall?


Windows Wallpaper

      There are so many "favorite" times of the year. 

     Sunrises that are the color of mangoes with lavender clouds.  Unexpected double rainbows that fill the sky from one horizon to the other.   The smell of the first summer bar-b-que and leaping cannonball style into an ice cold pool on the first really hot day.  First day of school.  Football season and tailgating.  Brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows on the trees after the first cold snap.  Biting into a crisp apple pulled off the tree.  Laughter of trick-or-treaters at the door.   Falling asleep on the sofa after eating too much Thanksgiving turkey.  Moon glow on the first snow.  Snuggling in front of a bonfire on a cold winter night. Christmas caroling with family and friends.  The first crocus bursting through the frost covered ground.  Cherry blossoms.  Tulip gardens.  Baseball.



     My wish for fall is the hope that the "firsts" of the season will make all my senses rejoice with the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feel of autumn in all its splendor.  That I will "fall" into a successful writing career, and "fall" into financial stability.  That my fears will "fall" away, along with all of my pain.   That I will once again "fall" in love with myself... and have someone fall in love with me.

Join us!
     As I wish for myself... so I also wish for you.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Windows of Opportunity...

Frank Lloyd Wright ~ Avery Coonley Playhouse: Triptych Window, 1912

     I want my windows of opportunity to be as fascinating as a Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass window.  Something unique and creative.

     I've had many opportunities in life... and many windows.  I've learned that sometimes we have to take what we think is a door closed in our face and turn it into a window.  Some windows we open, only to later learn that perhaps we should not have climbed through them... perhaps we should have left them as a closed door.

     But the fascinating thing about doors and windows is that you can always change them.  Take them off their hinges, or out of their frames.  You can think "outside the box" and turn something that is plain, boring, or undesirable into something new. 

     Just by adding a little color, a plain sheet of glass became a work of art that will be admired for generations to come.

     I had a lot to think about this weekend.  Doors I had opened that I now wish I had left closed.  Windows I ignored that I now wish I had climbed through.  But I still have those opportunities.  The choice to change.  Learn.  Grow.

     All it will take is to think outside the box... and add a little color...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Our Fathers...


(Image Source)
      My Father was a carpenter. 

     I mean that in a literal sense, and not in a religious figurative way.  While he was a Civil Engineer for most of his professional career, he was at heart a carpenter.

     There is a church window similar to this one in St. Andrews, Florida that he rebuilt the frame.  He had to invent his own steaming chamber in order to get the wood to bend.

     My Father was not someone who looked at a problem and said "that's impossible."  He was someone who took time to think about something and find a way to make it possible.

     Our Father was the same way.  And this time I do mean Father in a spiritual, religious sense.

     I've found it difficult as an adult to accept "organized" religions because I feel that they are just one man's interpretation of the Bible.  A simple man who reads words written thousands of years ago and then regurgitates them to believers in ways that suit his needs or theirs.  For most of my adult life I have wandered in and out of "churches," preferring to hear The Word as I walked on the beach pouring out my heart.

     I believe that is what He meant when He said that wherever two or three are gathered, He will be there.  He looked at what He knew could become a problem, and found a way to make it possible.

     I'm far away from the beaches now.  But I know that as long as I immerse myself in His Word, pour out my heart to Him, and find other believers to be around... that He will be there.

     ...I never walk alone because my Father was a carpenter who found ways to make an impossible problem... possible....

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Secrets in a Home...

Anne Frank House (Image Source)
     If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the windows are its eyes.  Not only do they allow others to look in, but they also allow us to look out.

     When I was a child we took a vacation to the Netherlands.  We visited the Anne Frank House, the Keukenhof Gardens, and Madurodam, the city of miniatures.

     But the memories that have stayed with me the longest are those of walking around the villages and glancing in the front windows of homes.  Not only were their front gardens incredible, but the houses were built so that you could look straight in through the front window and out the back window.  And the gardens... the secret gardens... in the rear of the homes were even more spectacular than the ones in the front.

Image Source

     I think of Anne Frank, hiding away in that attic with only a tiny window to look out on the world.  A tree the only sign of "life" at times for her.  I think of her missing out on all the color, the beautiful flowers, and the scents of spring.

     I think of secrets and how they can destroy lives... families... homes.

     Looking in those windows at those "secret" gardens were good memories from my childhood.  Years later in my town home, I created my own "secret" garden in my back yard where I could relax at the end of the day and enjoy the spring rains and the scent of the Confederate Jasmine in bloom.

     I think that the only secrets a home should have... families should have... are secret gardens...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Second Chances...


Image Source
     I miss my cats, but one in particular.  Oreo.  I bottle raised him from two days old after he was found in a parking lot.  I was "maww maww" to him.  He bolted out of the car the day we were leaving to drive to Texas and ran away.  My neighbor found him and now has him.  He just turned eight years old and I missed his birthday.

     Last weekend I happened upon one of the local no-kill animal shelters and they had a six month old tuxedo kitten named Felix up for adoption.  As soon as I reached for him in the cage he started purring so loud I could hear him before I touched him.

     This weekend, Felix will get a second chance and get to come home with me.  He'll get a new name... and a new life.

     Second chances.... they all deserve them...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What do I wish to immerse myself in?

     It is Wishcasting Wednesday and once again Jamie Ridler has posed a question to make us think about what is most important in our lives.

     What do I wish to immerse myself in?

     As I think of this question, the one thing that comes to mind is a cleansing water... a baptismal of sorts.  The ability to wash away my past, cleanse my soul, cleanse myself of all that was "before" to make room for a future that is free of the things that make me afraid, make me worried.  I was baptized several years ago to confirm my faith, but now what I wish for is a baptismal that will confirm myself.  A washing away of all that I was to make the person I am now free to love, free to trust, free to be who it is I was meant to be.  There are times when the person that I once was is fearful of the future and that keeps me from achieving my goals because I cannot move. 

     If I can wash away those fears... wash away my past... that is what I wish to immerse myself in...  a cleansing wash.

     As I wish for myself... I also wish for you...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It takes a village...

Parker, Florida
     I tried to find a picture of my back patio, or the "Serenity" deck off the master bedroom, photographed from the big windows off the rear of town home I had in Florida.  But for as many happy memories as I had of that home... it was my "kinder, gentler" self that deleted them because it was still painful to look at what I'd lost.

     I'd also decided a while ago that I wasn't going to make this blog my own personal soapbox where I preached on the controversial issues that are near and dear to my heart, but this evening I'm going to break that rule.

     I'm not a mother.  Unless you count being a cat and dog mom.  So I really don't have any hands on experience being a mom.  I was a step-monster for about a year, but I don't think that really counts either.  I'm also not a huge fan of the Clinton's, but politics aren't what I want to talk about.

     Today I read about a young woman who was arrested yesterday for being an "accessory after the fact" of murder.  She is 18.  There are more charges pending, and I have a feeling that she was more than just an "accessory after the fact."

      That almost sounds like it is something she might have put on as a second thought... like a pair of earrings or a necklace.  But in reality, she was most likely the instigator in the murder of a 16 year old boy who did nothing more than fall in love with her for two weeks.  And because of that, he was beaten and had his throat slashed before being dumped, naked, in a culvert where he lay decomposing in the hot Florida sun for a month before his body was found.

     What saddens me almost as much as the death of this young man (almost, but not as much) is that I've known this young woman for about ten years.  The mobile home that she and her parents lived in was right up against my back fence.  For ten years I heard every argument, every cry, every plea from her mother for change.  I heard her father throw all of her bedroom furniture, including her bed, off their back deck in a desperate attempt to keep her from lying and hiding things from them.  I'd heard her mother sobbing when she didn't come home at night because she was out sleeping around with older boys.  I'd hear the local police lecturing them on what would happen next if she was caught shoplifting or vandalizing homes again.  I'd listened to her excuses for getting suspended or expelled from school for fighting.

     But not once in those ten years did I make an effort to befriend her, guide her, or help her with her (now obvious) emotional struggles.  In fact, I built a fence up around my back yard to keep her from gaining access to me or my dogs.

     When Hilary Clinton first suggested that it took a village to raise a child, I ignored it as a politically motivated vote getter.  Which it probably was, but it was also very true.

     I asked a friend, a teacher, when I found out the news today... what has happened to children these days?  I don't remember us being that wild when I was young.  Was it the economy?  Was it the environment?  How did we get to this place where children are becoming murderers?

     I thought about it all afternoon.  How tragic it was that not only was one life lost, but another... and another... and another.  Of the three people arrested so far for the death of this young man, only one of them is over the age of 19... and he is just 25.  More arrests are expected, and I'm certain that they will all be as young.

     Parents expect teachers to "teach" their children morals and values.  Right from wrong.  Good from bad.  But it can't be just teachers that set the example for children... nor should it be just parents.

     It takes a village to raise a child.

Cold Snap...

Carolina Wren (Image Source)
     I know that I'm supposed to be blogging about windows and taking pictures, but I couldn't resist this extra blog for the day.

     We had a cold snap last night.  I say "cold" in a loose, rhetorical way.  After a summer of triple digit temperatures, a drop into the low 60's/high 50's overnight seems heavenly.  At least to someone snuggled under a quilt with a pug heater on the bed.

     On my way into work this morning I spotted a tiny Carolina Wren sitting right in the middle of the sliding doorway where the heat of the blowers designed to keep out flies and other bugs would warm her.  Carolina Wrens are sensitive to cold weather, and this little one was shocked by the sudden temperature drop overnight.  While her thought process for keeping warm was a smart one... she was right in the path of someones boot to be squished or kicked.

     I gently picked her up and took her to the bushes nearby to set her out of harm's way, but she decided she liked the warmth of my hand around her and didn't want to leave.  So I covered her up again and walked her through the building, saying Good Morning to everyone as we went.  When I felt her wiggling against my hand, I knew she had warmed up enough to fly and so walked her out of the building.

     She hopped into the bushes, then flew away, chattering to me as she went.

     Yes, you're very welcome.  It was nice to meet you too.  Thank you for blessing me this morning.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Somewhere...

     I was going to blog today about watching the hummingbirds from my back window.  We've counted three of them so far, and this little one seems to be the "owner" of the feeder, chasing off trespassers, squeaking and fussing at them, then coming back to buzz our heads, sounding like a bumblebee on steroids.  I'm definitely going to have to get more feeders now that I know there is a hungry hummer population in the neighborhood.  I'm hoping that because the feeder hangs from a small ledge under cover of the patio, she might be tempted to nest on the ledge in the spring where we can see the babies.  Hummingbirds amaze me with how fast their wings beat, and how much energy such a tiny bird can have.  Their personalities are 100 times bigger than they are and we laugh as she fusses loudly at the other two when she chases them off.

     But then I caught sight of the rainbows on my walls and floor.  A week or so after I posted my first "windows" blog with the picture of my kitchen window, I hung a crystal in the window.  Now I have rainbows dancing around the house in the afternoons.  When I see them I'm reminded of "Wizard of Oz" and am tempted to break out in song... "Somewhere Over the Rainbow...."  Fortunately for the dogs I manage to restrain myself.  But just barely.    I love that movie though.  The first time I saw it I was spending Easter at Great-Grandma Ruby's house... it must have been 1968 and I was probably six years old.  I remember being torn between watching the movie and looking out the window to see if the Easter Bunny was on his way down the street.  It seems that Grandma Ruby told me at some point that I if I didn't go to sleep, the Easter Bunny would never come and so I reluctantly laid down on the pallet on the floor. 

     I had nightmares about those flying monkeys.

     The Easter Bunny came, and somewhere over the rainbow the wicked witch was dead. All my grandparents are gone now, but I have good memories of times spent with them.  Those days seem like they were centuries ago, time has zoomed by ... a hummingbird flitting like an iridescent fairy around our heads.

     I feel blessed whenever I see rainbows and hummingbirds...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Time travelling...

View from our cabin window ~ Hideaway Cove, Homer, Alaska
     I went to Alaska for the first time in May 2008.  It was beautiful... incredible... amazing... I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the mountains and everything there.

     I have always loved to travel.  Another one of those things from my childhood.  Seeing new places, learning new things, meeting new people.

     Saint Augustine said "The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page."

     Reading is also something I love.

     "Traveling is almost like talking with those of other centuries." ~ Rene Descartes

     When I travel I like to feel as if I have gone back in time.  In the High Desert of California, I used to close my eyes and imagine the hills and valleys as the Indians might have lived in them... with thousands of antelope running free.

     In Europe, in the century old churches, I imagined the monks... standing in the church where Mozart was baptized... looking through the windows where he once stood... and looked...

     Time stands still... and yet...

     Time moves on...
     I love history.....

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Be Strong...

     There is a blog that I subscribe to, Daily Integrative Divination by Saxz Stephens, and the one that I received yesterday had a very powerful message:

     "...run up to your fears and say hello, little one, and you will find they are often much smaller than you can imagine. be as a horse, running to things in strength not away from things in fear, and you will see your life emerge with power before your very eyes."

     I've been running from things my whole life.  Not just my fears, but my anger, my problems, and my own self.  It was how I grew up I suppose.  When I was young and we moved every two years with my father's military assignments I imagine that I just thought we were "running" from everything.  We would go to a new city and life would start all over again.  While I realize now that we weren't really running from things, as a young child all I knew was that all that was familiar had to be left behind, so it was easier if I didn't become too attached to anything.  Everything was subject to being lost, changed, or forgotten.

     I didn't realize until recently that I had included myself in those things I wasn't very attached to.  Not that I had any thoughts about ending my life, but it feels as if I had a very detached view of myself.  "I was what I was."  I had goals and desires... most of which I've achieved... but still I feel as if I have "settled" for what life has given me.  I take things in stride... I am content... I am "lukewarm."

     I want to be a horse... not a rabbit anymore.  I want to run to things with strength.  I'm ready for having "more."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wildfires...

Image Source
     It's hot in Texas.  This summer has had record breaking heat and we are in the worst drought in decades.  Wildfires have burnt thousands of homes and tens of thousands of acres of land.  The fires have even been seen from space, as this picture taken from a window in the International Space Station shows.

     In better (wetter) years, fires might have been intentionally set to clear underbrush, allowing the land to refresh and regenerate.  National parks and forests do it frequently in order to prevent the damage a catastrophic wildfire caused by lightning or someones carelessness.

     When I lived in California, a wildfire that was started by a micro burst knocking over a transformer power pole raged all the way up to the property line where I was living.  You would have thought that being in the desert, there wouldn't be much to burn, but the tumbleweeds burned like they were made of kerosene and the wind blew them across the sand.

     I watched as the ten foot tall flames approached, hoping that the firemen would be able to knock it back before it reached us.  When they pounded on my front door and told me to get out NOW, I had just minutes to gather what I could and leave.

     In those minutes, I looked frantically around to see what I could take that was something I couldn't live without if the worst happened.  As my eyes scanned the house... camera?  computer?  stereo?  television? ... I finally grabbed an overnight makeup bag with my prescription medicines and contact lens cleaners, a few bottles of water, and my dogs.  The fire was knocked back without damaging my home, but I was lucky that we had kept the brush cleared away from the house.

     The Oakland Fire Department has prepared a list of things to take when evacuating that I plan on gathering in advance as much as possible and just keeping them in a duffel bag in the garage that I can grab and go.

     When I lived in Florida, hurricanes were what we worried about and I kept emergency supplies that I refreshed at the start of each season.  In California, it was earthquakes that we prepared for and kept a lidded trash barrel in the garage filled with supplies.

     No matter where you live, natural disasters are a part of life.  Wildfires, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, blizzards ... and now after 9/11 we worry about terrorist attacks.  Having a plan, having ready supplies in case of the worst will make surviving easier.   I call it a Murphy's Law Plan... if I have it ready... I will hopefully never need it.

     Be safe...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Art of Being Bold...

Image Source
     I've become a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright's art and architecture.  Especially his stained glass windows. 

     I really love his use of bold colors and geometric designs.

     The art of being bold...

     I've also become more bold in my own life.  I am speaking out more for what I want and what I need. 

     Not too long ago I asked myself "Who was I before I started to put myself last?" As a result I have boldly decided that it is time to put myself first again.

     Someone who is bold is defined as being fearless and adventurous.  Willing and eager to face danger or adventure with a sense of confidence and fearlessness.  Showing originality.

     I don't know about being willing and eager to face danger, but I like to feel that I can face new adventures with a sense of confidence, and that my writing shows thought-provoking originality.  That my writing "boldly" stands out and becomes easily noticed.

     Being bold about putting your own needs first can sometimes be considered "impudent or presumptuous; lacking in modesty or impolitely assertive."  But honestly, if we are to survive we must often put our own needs first.  It is not an act of selfishness, but an act of self-preservation.

     My Aunt Nancy has told me frequently that we sometimes need to follow the advice of airline safety briefings... "Put your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others."

     She gives such good advice...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What guidance do you wish for?

     It is Wishcasting Wednesday, and Jamie Ridler Studios has posted a thought-provoking question again that makes me stop and look at my life.

Sunrise... and a dirty car window...

     I hate when that happens.

     Well, hate is really too strong of a word.  I don't really hate it.  I sort of fear it.  And I hate being afraid of things.  I fear it because when I stop and look at my life based on the question that Jamie has posed I have to accept that there are things in my life that need addressing.

     Just when I think I have everything under control... a house drops on me.

     When I look at what guidance I need (wish for) in my life right now, I realize that there are areas in my life that I have no control.

     I wish for guidance in my finances (and wish for financial abundance that would require said guidance!).

     I wish for guidance in my search for a "day" job that will align with my goals of writing full time.

     I wish for guidance in getting the clutter in my life under control ~ literally... the ability to let go of the material things I've been carrying for too many years that have become the source of nightmares which then become emotional clutter in my mind.

     I've realized that when I free myself of the "things" that I cling to ... those security blankets stitched together with pieces of my past and hopes for my future ... that I will be able to enjoy and relax in the present.

     As I wish for myself... so I also wish for you.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Once Upon a Time...

Panama City, Florida
     Long, long ago and far, far away there once was a fair maiden who would sit at this window and look out at the world passing by her castle.  She would watch as friends and neighbors came and went, busy with their lives.  Sometimes she would sit with the windows open, enjoying the cool breezes that would blow across the bay, and listen to the song of birds in the oak trees nearby.

     Her travels had brought her to this place in the hope of rebuilding relationships with family and friends, and so she made this castle her home.  She worked hard to decorate it so that it was comforting not only for herself, but for all who entered.

     For ten years, these castle walls held all of her hopes and dreams.   Until one day she decided to leave this place that had been so comforting to her, to leave behind all that was familiar and friendly, to travel to a distant land and begin her life again.

     So begins most bedtime stories and fairy tales... once upon a times and long, long agos...

     The fair maiden traveled in the up and down ways of nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and bedtime stories ...

     She smiled at the memories of all that she had lost and all she had gained.  Her heart sang with all she had learned and all she had shared because in her travels she had finally learned the secret to happiness...

     That no matter how your story begins... your happily ever after is always of your own making...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Moon Dance...

Full moon at sunrise seen from my car window
     I love a full moon.  Looking at it, I'm just in awe at the beauty and imagining the men who have circled it... walked on its surface... and returned from it.

     I especially love what I call the Moon Dance.  When the sun and moon are in the same morning sky, slow dancing as one rises and the other sets.

     I can sit and watch it for hours... at night as it rises and again in the morning as it sets.  Looking at the surface of it, those craters that make up the face of the "man in the moon."  Thinking of all that the moon has witnessed, all of the changes on the face of the earth while its own face remained unchanged.

     The last few nights at moon rise we have been visited by a hummingbird as it drinks from the Moon Flowers as they open.  I've been here for a year and this is the first time I've seen a hummingbird.  It flies like a small angel, zipping between the vines, sipping the sweet nectar as it hovers.

     I've always associated hummingbirds with ones that I've loved who have passed, and as bearers of blessings.  They were one of my grandmother's favorite birds.  The day a former brother-in-law passed away, both his mother and I saw a hummingbird at the exact same time as I was consoling her over the phone.  It comforted both of us.

     Tonight as the full moon rises again, I think I will do a slow dance, knowing that my life is richly blessed.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9-11

View from the top of 1WTC taken Labor Day weekend 2001
    Looking down from the top of 1 World Trade Center tower on Labor Day 2001, I was amazed at how high up I was and how small everything looked on the streets below.  People were almost indistinguishable, cars and buses were just little ants moving back and forth.

     A week later I was flying to a business meeting in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and scheduled to land in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania just before lunch.  As the small commuter plane I was on circled over Atlanta, Georgia, the pilot announced that there were some delays in connecting flights and to check with the gate when we departed.

     I wonder now what he was thinking.  Knowing that at least one plane had already crashed into the towers, was he worried that his flight might be next?  His calm voice and demeanor didn't indicate that our country was about to be thrown into a state of confusion and panic, and that we would enter into a war within weeks.

     As I walked into the terminal, I saw that all the flights were cancelled and I called the secretary back at the office to ask if she could let the NJ office know I would be delayed.  She cut me off and just said, "Get out of there.  Leave as soon as you can and come home."  Her voice was shaking and I could tell she had been crying.

     Before I could ask what was going on, I saw it.  Everyone had been transfixed by the televisions, and walking past one I saw the Pentagon in flames, and then shots of the World Trade Center towers smoking.

     I was able to get a rental car and get out of the airport just 20 minutes before they locked it down.  The six hour drive home was spent crying on the phone trying to reach a friend who worked at the Pentagon, and taking calls from family who were worried I was still in the air.

     Ten years later I saw for the first time images of people who chose to jump rather than burn, and I'm haunted by this picture.

     Ten years later, I am still reevaluating my life in terms of how precious it is and how quickly it can change.  Each day is a gift that I am grateful for, each day a chance to make a difference.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Slowing down...


Sunset from my car window...
     I was driving home last night and was able to catch this beautiful sunset.  I slowed down to enjoy it and realized that sometimes slowing down can be a good thing.

     My life the last few years has seemed like I hit the fast forward button.  It is hard to believe I have been in Texas for a year now and this is the first sunset I've really seen.

     In Florida I saw more sunrises than sunsets... walking the dogs along East Bay, the three of us would often stop and watch in awe as the sun rose over the water.  It was almost as if the dogs were just as stunned by the beauty as I was.

     Here in Texas, I have seen the sunrise a few times as I was driving to work, but I've always been in too much of a hurry to stop and marvel at it.  At night, our house isn't situated where we can easily see the sunset.

     Slowing down last night to enjoy the beauty of the evening was a reminder to me that I need to make more time to enjoy the simple pleasures and beauty that is all around me.  I can't slow down time... but I can slow down to enjoy it...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Option Windows...

Town Hall, Basel, Switzerland
     In our lives we often have many doors and windows that open to us.  We can choose to walk through them, look through them, or just stand back and admire them.

     Not knowing what lies beyond that door, we sometimes hesitate to open it.  The fear of the unknown can hold us back from taking that step across a threshold that might actually give us what we need, or have been looking for.

     That fear becomes bars across the windows and doors, keeping us a prisoner and preventing us from experiencing what life has to offer... what the world has to offer.

     There have been times when my fear kept me from moving forward, or kept me tied to the past.

     No longer.

     Today, I open doors and windows to experience all that I can.  Good or bad, those doors and windows help me to grow and learn.  They bring people into my life who become friends... and family.  They give me experiences to draw from when I write... or when I speak.

     I am grateful today for the options that the doors and windows in my life present to me...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Reflections...


          Have you ever noticed how those people who stand outside of your life and try to tell you how to live often complain the most about things that they do themselves?   It is a common psychological thought that the things that annoy us the most in others are the things that we need to look at closer in our own lives.      

         Often it is easier to tell someone else how to live than it is to admit to ourselves that we don't have a clue... or have made a bad choice. 
 
        I remember once talking to an ex-husband as he complained about how much his mom was driving him up the wall with her manipulations and control tactics.  I had to laugh because everything he said she was doing to him had been things he had once done to me. 

     Years later after my first fiction novel was published ("Trooper's Run") he sent me a text message and was just livid that I had "written a book like that about him."  Again I had to laugh as I sent him a text message back and told him to get over himself, that my life no longer revolved around him.  When he responded that people were asking if he was actually that dangerous, I told him he might want to take a good look in the mirror because the character wasn't based on him, but if he and friends thought that it was, it might be time for a reality check.

    When I find myself annoyed with the actions or behavior of another, I keep that in mind and look at what in my own life might be reflected in their behavior that I need to reconsider.

     While imitation might be the highest form of flattery... there are times when we need to stop and ask ourselves... am I doing something I would want others to do to me?

     Think about it....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What path do you wish to follow?

View of Salzburg, Austria from a Salzburg Castle window
     I love how Jaime Ridler's prompts for Wishcasting Wednesday make me stop and think.

     Once again I had thought drafted a blog and had a picture prepared, but them realized it was Wednesday (holiday Mondays really throw my week a curve!).

     What path do I wish to follow?  There are oh so many choices that are running through my mind, but I think the truth really is that I want to follow a path of honesty.

     Not that I've ever had an issue with being honest... in fact, I've been told more than once that I'm brutally honest.  But the one person I've always had trouble being honest with is myself.  The truth is that I find it easier to lie to myself than I do to others.

     "Oh, that meant nothing to me, no worries."  "What?  Of course I would be happy to change my plans for you!"

     Here is the question I really want Jaime to pose... "Who were you before you put yourself last?"  Because in putting myself first... or at least second after my faith... I am following a path of honesty to myself.

     As I wish for myself... so I also wish for you...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Windows of Honor...


III Corps Phantom Warrior, Ft. Hood, TX
     I've been working at Ft. Hood now for a year, and each day that passes I have more and more respect for the men and woman who serve our country.
      Yesterday we honored those who "labor" ~ the workers of America ~ the ones whose blood, sweat and tears made this country what it is.
      Next Sunday we will honor those who were lost on 9/11/01 ~ those who died in the attacks, and those who died trying to save them.
     In November, not only will we honor all military veterans, but here at Ft. Hood, we will honor those who died in a senseless attack in 2009.
     As we honor and remember those who have worked, died, or fought for our country ... whether it is this week, this month, or this year ... there is one thing that we must never forget, and that is that life is precious.  Life is sweet.  Life can all too often end before we expect it to.
     Walking back to my desk today after taking this picture out the window of the building I work in, I stopped to talk to one of the janitorial workers.  She seemed sad so I asked how she was doing.  "Oh, I've had better days.  My niece died on Sunday."
     Her 32 year old niece had an aggressive form of Multiple Sclerosis, and had been living with them for the past three years.  She leaves behind a young son, and an aunt and uncle who grieve for her like they've lost a daughter.
     When I got home this afternoon, I read a shared post on Facebook that was an editorial column on CNN.com written by LZ Granderson.  "Hug Your Children While You Can."
     I think my view from the window today reminds me that I need to hug those I love and cherish each and every day while I can.
{{{{{{{{{{YOU}}}}}}}}}}
     Consider yourself hugged....

Monday, September 5, 2011

Courage...

Town Hall, Basel, Switzerland
For years I had wanted to return to Germany where some of the best of my childhood memories were made. But there was always something or someone keeping me from going... most of it fear based.

The person I was with for a long time was afraid to go because he hated flying, and going alone wasn't an option. I had no friends or family there, no excuses to visit.

When I was finally free of him, I was afraid to spend the money because it seemed like such an extravagance and for years he had told me I was unworthy of even the smallest happiness.

There came a day when I confronted all my fears and realized that I was worthy. I did have value. I did matter.

Courage is not the absence of fear. It is embracing it, understanding it, and taking away the control it has over you. Courage is action, not reaction, in spite of fear.

For Christmas 2007 I gave my self the gift of courage. I took a Rhine River cruise with Uniworld and made some wonderful new memories.

What fear has kept you from being happy?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A window to the world...

Eastgate Christian Fellowship live stream...
     As part of this month's goal to take pictures of the windows in my life, I had planned on taking a picture of the outside of one of my windows and blogging about looking at life from the outside in.  But that will have to wait for another day. 
     God works in mysterious ways, and for me lately, He has been working pretty hard at showing me where I need to grow.
     When I lived in Florida, Eastgate Christian Fellowship was where I felt at home.  I could feel so much love in the room that it brought me to tears the first few times I went.  I would sit in the back, in an out of way corner and just try to not make noise as I sobbed silently, overcome with the feeling of finally being welcomed home.
     I haven't found that feeling yet since being in Texas, but I keep looking.  In the meantime, I log in online with my "window to the world."
    This morning's message on "A Love That Ruins Our Labels" was from Luke 19:1-10 and again it was what I needed to hear.
     I'm facing a new challenge in my life right now that is so painful that I can't even begin to describe it.  But today's message through Rob Woodrum tells me that I am right where God wants me, and that I am on the path that He has chosen for me.  I know that with Him in my life, there is nothing I cannot handle.
      Thank God.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Soul searching...

     They say that the eyes are windows to the soul.  I know that lately I've been doing a lot of soul searching about my life... what I want... what I don't want.  It has been "eye opening," to say the least.
     I had a conversation with my mom last night about the choices we've made in our lives.  Things we wish we could have done differently.  I told her that even though I knew I had made some decisions that might not have been the best for me later, at the time I was making them based on things I felt in my soul were the right choices for me.  Friends and family may not have agreed with my choices, but they didn't have to.  They were my choices and I was the one who was going to have to live with them.

     Right or wrong, those choices have made me who I am today.  I've learned, grown, thrived, and matured.    To say that I regretted the choices I made, would be saying I regret who I am today, and I just can't do that.

     I know that I am a better person for the choices I've made... and someone I like.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Looking through the past...

Looking out my Writing Room window
     I've always wanted my own library and "study" where I could hide away and write.  I'm finally creating it, and I'm excited.

     Hanging in my window is a gift from my friend, Janette.  It is a painting on glass of Frankfurt, Germany in 1646.

    Whenever I look at it, I am reminded of the years I spent as a child in Germany and my friendship with her that has withstood so much over the past 40 years.

     I'm reminded of walking through Frankfurt as a child, and again as an adult a few years ago when I went on a Christmas cruise.

     But the thing that really centers me now is how I can "see through" the past.  I can look back at my past and realize that those things I thought I could never survive... I did.  I made it through them.

     By being able to "see through" the past, I can also see that the past is no longer in front of me and solid.  It is no longer a path I choose to walk because I'm looking forward and making choices based on the lessons I learned from being able to see clearly "through the past."

     The sticker on my computer says "Serendipity."  It is one of my favorite words.  It means the accidental discovery of something pleasant.  I'm sure that when Janette found the glass painting she felt that it would be a nice gift for me since our friendship began in Germany... and because of that, it has become a serendipitous gift for me in all that it reveals.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

30 days hath September...

     A new month... a new day... a new goal....  A friend of mine, Melissa, who is a wonderful life coach posted a link on her facebook page about trying something new for 30 days.  I liked the idea of taking a picture every day and had thought about catching the sunrise each morning... unfortunately the sun is getting up later than I am, and I don't believe my boss would appreciate me coming in later each morning just because I wanted the watch the sun come up.... although it probably would make my morning more pleasant.
     Several years ago when I took a Christmas trip to Europe, I was fascinated with the beautiful doors that were on almost every building and did a small photo portfolio of doors.  I had wanted to make a coffee-table book of Southern doors taken around the holidays after seeing some of the beautiful old homes along Beach Drive in Panama City, FL after I returned.
     But for this month, I'm going to focus on the views from windows in my life... at home... work... or from my car.  All too often I get caught up in the busy-ness of my day and don't notice the things outside my windows... and being a cubical pod person at work without a window, often I'm completely unaware of weather changes.  I hope that with this exercise in observation I will learn to see things from new perspectives...
The view from my kitchen window...