Monday, October 31, 2011

Autumn Dance...


I Heart This
 
October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came -
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.
~George Cooper ~ "October's Party"
    

     I remember Halloweens as a child spent in Germany.  Mom would paint the big front window of our apartment that we had (neun und dreißig westfalen Straße, Bierstadt).  She would usually paint a scene from "Its the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."

     We would rake up great piles of leaves, then run and jump in them.  Farmers in the nearby town of Bierstadt would open their barn doors and clean out the stalls.  There would be apples and plums in the orchard behind our apartment buildings.
I Heart Pippi

     On Halloween I would usually dress up as Pippi Longstocking (Pippi Langstrumpf), and we would go up and down our street to where the families had one table set up in front of the building, rather than kids going up and down the three story buildings.  I was a tom-boy like her and remember one year when someone under a table reached out and grabbed one of my legs. 

     I didn't stick around long enough to see if I broke his nose when I gave him a hard kick with my other foot.

     Today at work I'm dressed in a poodle skirt... but I think next year... I shall be Pippi again...

No longer haunted...

Haunted by the past...
     I used to have nightmares that began with an image like this.  A path through dark woods that lead to a doorway in the middle of mountain.

     When I entered the doorway, there was a long hallway with doors and rooms off of both sides of the hall.  Each door I opened was to a room filled with curtained rooms within the room, and at the opposite wall was another door that lead to another room and door.

     In my nightmare, I would wander through the rooms, looking past curtains, trying to find something I desperately needed but not really knowing what it was.  The farther into the mountain I went, the louder the whispers behind the curtains became.  When I would look to see who was whispering... there would be no one there.

     I wanted to wake up... I wanted to leave... but I had not found what I needed to escape and so I would continue looking for it until the fear overwhelmed me and I would force myself to wake.

     Once in one of the nightmares, I saw a note handwritten on a table that simply said "He will try to kill you."  For a month after that nightmare, I lived in constant worry about what would happen to me.

     At the time, I was trapped in an unhappy marriage, feeling as though I had nowhere to turn, nowhere to go, and no one I could trust.  His anger terrified me, as well as his hints about what he would do to me and my family if I tried to leave him.  There is a scene in the movie Con Air where one of the characters talked about what he was imprisoned for... his girlfriend had cheated on him and someone said that he must have killed her.  The convict replied that he hadn't, but he had killed all of her family... and her dog.  When we watched that scene in the movie, my husband turned to me and told me I needed to remember it.

     Many years later I faced my fears and left him... and the nightmares finally ended.

     I believe now that the thing I was searching so desperately for in my nightmares was my own self-confidence.  The strength to stand up to him and defy him.  Courage.  Resolve.  Those whispers were my own self-doubts... the curtained rooms the parts of me that I hid from him to try to protect myself.

     My life with him no longer haunts me and it has been a very long time since I've had a similar nightmare.  I've come to believe that those "ghosts" we sometimes see, hear, or feel in a room are the shades of ourselves that we try to run from.  Shadows of who we were... projections of who we wish we were...  I also have come to believe that when we face those "ghosts" we can banish those of the past... and assume those projections we want to be...

      What is haunting you this hallowed eve?

"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before..."
~
Edgar Allan Poe ~ The Raven ~

Sunday, October 30, 2011

You are the Life of All Things...

     "Grandfather, Great Spirit, once more behold me on earth and lean to hear my feeble voice. You lived first, and you are older than all need, older than all prayer. All things belong to you -- the two-legged, the four-legged, the wings of the air, and all green things that live.
     "You have set the powers of the four quarters of the earth to cross each other. You have made me cross the good road and road of difficulties, and where they cross, the place is holy. Day in, day out, forevermore, you are the life of things."
~ Black Elk (1863-1950) ~


"3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
~ John 1:3-5 NIV ~

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending."
~ Maria Robinson ~

     We have always had choices... and we have always had chances. 

     Make them. 

     Take them. 

     Live in the light because if you let the darkness in... it will consume you. 

     Make a new ending to your beginning...

     I believe in you.

     I believe.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What do you wish to let go of?


We Heart This...

Lately I've been worried about finances.  Okay, maybe not lately.  Maybe all the time.

This move from Florida to Texas cost me a lot... not just in a financial sense (which it did) but also in the friends I lost in the process.

We've been here over a year now, and my husband still hasn't been able to find a job.  Bills continue to add up, even with us cutting back to the barest of barest necessities.  My books aren't selling like I had hoped, and since my computer was destroyed, I've not been able to get another one to start working on a new book or keep in touch with family and friends like I used to be able to do.

I feel alone, overwhelmed... and afraid.

I wish to let go of fear... loneliness... and the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.  I wish to let go of my grip on what I can see... and freely accept the blessings of those I can't see.  I wish to be able to let go... and let God.
Join me for Wishcasting Wednesdays with Jamie Ridler Studios!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fingernail Moons...

Found on We Heart It
     This morning on the way to work there was a beautiful fingernail moon in the just barely turning pink sunrise sky.

     I love looking at the moon in all of its phases.

     The fingernail moon makes me think of Stephen King's book The Stand.  By far my favorite of all his books.  It is a story about good vs. evil.

     In it, the character of Tom Cullen refers to the moon ... "M-O-O-N, that spells sore feet" as how he spells almost everything.  When the main "good" characters go off to face their fate and the "bad" characters, Tom is told to return back when he sees the "fingernail moon."

"The place where you made your stand never mattered. 
Only that you were there ... and still on your feet."
~ Stephen King from The Stand ~

     I made a stand a few months ago for how I wanted to live... how I wanted to be treated and respected.  It was a difficult and painful battle of wills... but it was worth it, and it is a battle I would do again if necessary.

     When we feel that we aren't being treated or respected in a way that we want... ask yourself first if you believe you are worthy of being treated better.  If you cannot find value in yourself, in how you feel about yourself, or how you look at yourself... how can you expect anyone to treat you differently?

     The first step to change is to look in the mirror.  Mohandas Gandhi said "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

 "1 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
 3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good."
~ Titus 2:1-3 NIV ~

     "Worthy of respect..."  To respect ourselves... to respect others... to teach by example what is good.  When we live a life we can be proud of... when we can look ourselves in the mirror and not be ashamed of what we see in our own eyes...

"6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God."
~ 2 Timothy 1:6-8 NIV ~

     We must love ourselves as we were loved... because He believed we were worthy...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Courageous...

     I went on a date with my husband last week.  We had dinner out at a Chinese buffet restaurant and then went to a movie.   When we got the tickets for the movie ~ Courageous ~ I thought it was just going to be a cops and robbers type of movie.  Which it was in a sense, just not how I expected it to be, so I was pleasantly disappointed.
Courageous
     The "robbers" in this movie were time, work, fear of responsibility, and all that takes fathers away from their children and families ... including death and prison.

     Three of the men pictured here, were the "cops" but the one main character not shown who had the largest role in stopping the "robbers" is God, our Lord and Father.

     I won't say any more about the movie because I don't want to spoil it for anyone, and it is something that I feel everyone ... fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, aunts, and uncles ... should go see.  It is even something our pastor would like to get for movie night at church.

     There is a book by the same name that goes deeper into the characters, also two workbooks ~ The Resolution for Men and The Resolution for Women ~ and also a Resolution which can be signed and framed.  I recommend all.

"But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
~ Joshua 24 ~

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Compassion...

Compassion...
This is what the Lord Almighty says:  "Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.  Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor.  In your hearts do not plot evil against each other."
Zechariah 7:9-10 NIV
     Compassion...
     Come... passion.

     When we live our lives with compassion... when we passionately live our lives showing compassion for others... we bless others and are blessed in return.  When we reach out to help... show mercy... we are sharing God's will for us and sharing His love... and compassion... for us.

     He didn't have to give us a second chance after Adam and Eve disobeyed him.  He didn't have to give us a third chance when he flooded the Earth and allowed Noah to save his family and the animals of the Earth.  He didn't have to give us a fourth chance when He gave us His son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins.

     If you stop and think of how many times God has shown compassion for us... shown mercy on us... when He could have administered true justice... how can you not have compassion for others?  We, who so often deserve so little from Him, are blessed beyond measure by His compassion for us. 

     All He asks from us in return is to pass it on.  To pay it forward.

     Come... passion.

     Compassion.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

What were they thinking?

     Of all the things that happened on this day in history... the one that makes me wonder "What were they thinking?" happened in 1797.

     Andre-Jacques Garnerin made the first parachute jump from a hot air balloon with a basket attached.  He leapt from about 6,500 ft over Monceau Park in Paris using a 23-foot-diameter parachute made of white canvas.

     I'm pretty sure that was when the Darwin Awards were unofficially started.

     The first hot air balloon was made in 1783, the same year that the first "practical" parachute was created.  Da Vinci (1452-1519) had sketched them several centuries earlier, and in 1617 Faust Vrancic made the first jump from a tower in Venice with a rigid frame parachute.

     A Frenchman, Jean Pierre Blanchard, was probably the first person to actually use a soft parachute with a live body. In 1785, he dropped a dog in a basket, to which a parachute was attached, from a hot air balloon. 

     I'm hope that the dog survived to bite Jean Pierre in the derriere.

     That gave man about thirteen years to get his "Hey Bubba, hold my beer 'n watch this!" down pat.

     Now, don't get me wrong... I've been up in a hot air balloon over the High Desert of Lancaster, California.  Darn near froze my toes off, but it was a beautiful sunrise, and an experience I wouldn't have missed.  I've also watched people bungie jump from hot air balloons.

     No, that is NOT on my bucket list.

     Sometimes there are just things that people do that make you scratch your head and wonder "What were they thinking?"

     But with daring innovation and imagination... we make what might have seemed impossible, improbably, or insane become history making advancements.  Da Vinci dreamed about parachutes, never knowing that one day man would be taking a step on the moon. 

     Where to next?

"Limitations live only in our minds.  But if we use our imagination, our possibilities become limitless."
~ Jamie Paolinetti ~ 

I found it on We Heart It!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Catfish...

Image Source
"They used to tank cod from Alaska all the way to China. They'd keep them in vats in the ship. By the time the codfish reached China, the flesh was mush and tasteless. So this guy came up with the idea that if you put these cods in these big vats, put some catfish in with them and the catfish will keep the cod agile. And there are those people who are catfish in life. And they keep you on your toes. They keep you guessing, they keep you thinking, they keep you fresh. And I thank god for the catfish because we would be droll, boring and dull if we didn't have somebody nipping at our fin."
~ Vince Pierce ~ 'Catfish' ~

     A few weeks ago I watched a movie on a Saturday while David was out fishing for catfish.  At first I wasn't interested in it very much because it was a homemade documentary.  I don't really care for reality shows because they often seem to be created simply to humiliate people who have a dream.  Much like the movie 'Dinner for Smucks' ~ although that one did really have a happy ending and a good lesson.

     'Catfish,' however, was about the power of social media to destroy people.  Without giving away too much, because I do think that it is an excellent cautionary tale that everyone should watch, it is a documentary about deception, rejection, and loneliness.

     I've heard people refer to the Internet as the anti-Christ, and could never understand how a 'thing' could be the anti-Christ, but over the past year I have seen social media destroy lives and tear apart families.  People have committed suicide because of cyber-bullying.  Marriages have ended because of cyber-affairs that either become real or cause one person to leave in the hopes of making it real.  Lies are told and gossip spread.

     In one way it has created a way for us to connect and reach out to others.  To learn, communicate, and share knowledge.  But it has also become a weapon of mass destruction.

     I still don't believe that the Internet is the anti-Christ... but I do see Satan's hand in it...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What do you wish to make time for?

     It is Wishcasting Wednesday again, and Jaime Ridler Studios has posted another thought provoking question.

     Time seems to be something we never have enough of, and so far man has not discovered how to make more of it.  We spend time wishing we could go back in time to change the things we regret, correct mistakes, or bad decisions.  When we are young, we spend all our time wishing we were older.  When we get older, we spend time wishing we could be younger.

     This past Sunday, my uncle ~ my father's twin brother ~ died of the same disease that took my father in 2007.   The last words my father had time to say to me were "I wish we had talked more."  After his death, Uncle Ron became a surrogate father to me, making time to talk to me daily until his own health began to worsen and he no longer had the time to talk as we once did.

WeHeartIt
     My wish for this Wednesday is that we all make time to talk to those we love.  Time to spend giving hugs.  Take time to listen.  I wish we had more time....

To breathe and walk in Heaven...

     Encarta's online World English Dictionary includes the following definition under the word father:  man acting as parent: a man who brings up and looks after a child as if he were its father.  One of the definitions under the word uncle is kindly older man: an older male person who gives support, protection, and advice.

     My father passed in March 2007, and my Uncle Ron ~ his twin brother ~ stepped up as a surrogate father to me for the past four years.  It felt as if I had a second chance to have the kind of relationship with my father that I had always wanted.  For almost a year we talked daily... without having to sneak around like I had with my own father.  Gradually we began talking less often... once a week... every other week... once a month....  The last time I had a good, long conversation with him was in May.  We talked for 45 minutes.

     My father died of pulmonary fibrosis.  A horrible, painful lung disease.  This past Sunday, 16 October 2011, at 6:10 in the evening, my uncle passed from the same disease.

     He has "...finished his final project and made the transition to his heavenly home. He is now with good friends and family that he hasn't seen for awhile. Although he is no longer here, his smile and good words are in our hearts. He made the transition with peace."

     "...he was never one to stay past closing time. His projects are finished, his tools are put away (exactly where they go)."

     In October 2008, my Aunt Linda ~ their baby sister ~ passed from complications of lung cancer.  At the memorial service for her in November, we sang one of her favorite hymns that she would sing to her children when they fought...

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.
With God as our father, brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother, in perfect harmony.
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

     As we sang that morning, I had a clear vision of my father and my aunt walking hand-in-hand down a tree lined dirt road.  Healthy, happy, and breathing in Heaven.  Knowing that they, and their parents, were there to greet Uncle Ron makes the hurt of losing them seem smaller, and the hope of walking with them again one day a joy to look forward to.
     

WeHeartIt

Monday, October 17, 2011

Music from the heart...

WeHeartIt
18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,
19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,
20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
~ Ephesians 5:18-20 ~

     Have you ever noticed that the word heart is centered around the word ear?  Is that because when we hear with love, words that are spoken with love, or music that is played with love it touches our hearts?

     My husband, David, has the gift of music.  He can play by heart... hearing a song in church, on the radio or TV a few times and then playing it by ear.  He can play the piano, guitar, bass guitar, mandolin,  banjo, or drums.  He doesn't read music, but music speaks to his heart.

       When I hear him play, my heart sings because we both know that God is using him as His 'musical instrument' with the gift He gave David.

     Music has brought miracles to our lives.  Music in the church has brought sobriety into our home, peace to our souls, and love into our hearts.  I cannot find the words to express the joy that has been in my heart the past several weeks with all the miracles that we have been blessed with.

Except for these...
thank You.  
Thank You
Thank You.  
Thank You, Lord, from the bottom of my heart.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Have a little faith...

"Faith, indeed, has up to the present not been able to move real mountains....
But it can put mountains where there are none."
~ Friedrich Nietzche, Human, All Too Human, 1879 ~

Image Source
     Two weeks ago, our office took a field trip for our End of Fiscal Year Debriefing.  We went to the Mayborn Planetarium and Space Theater.  It was an incredible experience.  We saw two movies: Stars and Cosmic Collisions.  We also went on a roller coaster ride on Jupiter's moon Io.  It was out of this world (pun intended)!

     After the shows, however, a person in a position of authority decided it was necessary to proclaim his faith in God and his disbelief in how the scientific community believes stars, galaxies, planets and moons are formed.  Because of his position, it came across to most as if he was telling us what we were to believe.

     I'm a Christian and I believe in God.

     I don't have a problem with freedom of religion or freedom of speech.  I respect and honor those who fought or died for those freedoms we so often take for granted.
     But what I have a problem with are those who want to "define" God, or force their religion or beliefs on me.  I have a problem with those who want to interpret the Bible in ways that fit their lives rather than fitting their lives to the Bible.

     The way I see it... God doesn't need us telling Him how to do things.  If He wants to create Heaven by using a cosmic collision... who am I to argue with His methods?  If He wants to create life by trying out different "makes and models" before settling on one that will survive... who am I to say He is wrong?

     Problems start when people try to fit God into our image.  We try to fit Him into a box of our standards, to define Him on our terms, to dictate how He can or can't do things.

     When you have faith, true faith, you don't question how God does things.  You just believe that He does.  That He can.  That He will.

     You don't need faith to move mountains.  But you need faith to know that God does.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

G.R.I.T.S.

"I ain't a redneck.
I'm a Southern girl with attitude."
~ unk ~

     Girls Raised in the South.  We knows who we are.  We cain't hide behind our pretty faces or hide our accents ~ 'specially if ya tick us off.  And there ain't nuthin' wrong with bein' a G.R.I.T.S.  We are proud.  We are strong.  We are lots of fun to hang 'round.

     We like to sing loud to our car radios... and in church.  We like to dance in the rain... or in the kitchen.  We like to hang out down at the pond with our man 'n watch him haul in a huge catfish 'cause we knows the eatin's are gonna be good.  Ain't nuthin' like catfish, collard greens, hushpuppies and cheese grits fer supper!

     The wild hawg population here in Texas is so outta control that they trap 'em, kill 'em and give 'em away fer free.  Free!  Can you 'magine?  Big ol' fat stinkin' hawg.  Good eatin'!  Only thing is that you gotta skin 'em and butcher 'em yerself.

     Yep.  Fer real.

     Two weekends ago this G.R.I.T.S. (born in Illinois) hauled one of them big ol' hawgs home in my car (all the winders open, thank you God).  80 pounds.  Big.  Really stinkin'.  Then I helped my man, who really is a redneck, skin, bleed out and butcher it.

     I think I deserve a medal for not tossin' my grits.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Matthew 13:13

13 This is why I speak to them in parables:
   “Though seeing, they do not see;
   though hearing, they do not hear or understand.


Gutenberg Bible

     I've seen several blogs lately that choose to blog on a number.  One of them serendipitious (which is one of my favorite words), posts and comments on 12 photos taken throughout her day, the 12th of every month.  I love it.  Love her photos, and love her thoughts.

     Another, Unfolding Creatively, posts every Tuesday on five of her favorite finds on Etsy.

     I have decided for the next year plus to blog on New Testament verse 13 scriptures and how they impact my life.  Not only will it help me to learn the Bible, but it will put me in constant communication with God and His Word.

     This past week I read a church publication that talked about how a pastor realized she could minister through her novels.  She said that Jesus spoke in parables because they made lessons easier for people to understand.  They were examples of how the Word could be applied to their lives without sounding like rigid commands that the people had been accustomed to by the priests of the past. 

     Reading her words, and knowing the spiritual threads I have woven though my novels so far, I feel called to make a greater effort to write my next book in a manner that will hopefully minister to someone who needs to hear a word of encouragement and hope.

     I am excited!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How do you wish to be loved?

Trooper on top of me after my first of many eye surgeries
following my retinal tear,
and Tink (RIP) in December 2004.
     I wish to be loved like my dogs love me.

     I smile when I hear the song Like My Dog by Billy Currington.  His song is a little on the funny sarcastic side of telling his girlfriend all the things she complains about, but it still makes me smile when I hear it.

     My dogs love me unconditionally.  They trust me.  They make me laugh when they play silly games of chase with each other, or when they grab one of their toys and make a game playing alone.  They snuggle with me when I am sick or sad.  When I need to talk, they listen intently.  When I need to think, they don't ask questions I'm not ready to answer.  When I'm angry, they don't continue to push my buttons or argue back with me.  When I am afraid, Trooper pushes me back from the things I fear and stands ready to defend me even when he is shaking in fear himself.  When I am cold in bed in the winter months, Henry (my pug after Tink) will sneak under the covers and snuggle up to me like a little hot pug bottle.  They love me just as I am.  Thick or thin. White hair too soon (thanx Grandpa) or dyed red.  Scary no-makeup-no-contact-lens-coke-bottle-glasses-I'll-turn-you-to-stone-face or someone not afraid to be photographed in Wal-Mart.

     I wish to be loved like my dogs love me... and I am.

Join us for Wishcasting Wednesdays!

As I wish for myself, so I also wish for you!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rain clouds...


Image Source

"Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm,
but to add color to my sunset sky"
~ Rabindranath Tagore ~ 1861-1941 ~
~ Indian Poet, Nobel Prize for Literature 1913 ~

     A little rain fell our way over the weekend.  Two full days of rain that came at a slow and steady pace to gradually soak into the parched dry ground here in Texas.

     I danced in it, and I'm sure the neighbors appreciated that I was wearing clothes.

     Often in life we feel overwhelmed by the clouds that keep us feeling in the dark.  Shadowing our joy or raining on our parades.  Whether they are literal clouds, or just the figurative clouds of people who want to keep us down... we sometimes forget that behind the clouds... after the rain... the sun still shines.

     Our perspective on the clouds and rain that falls in our lives can be changed to recognize them as what they really are ... shade to bring cool breezes ... water to refresh us and quench our thirst ... maker of rainbows ... colors in our sunsets.

Image Source

    

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Direction...

"May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God
and into the patience of Christ."
~ 2 Thessalonians 3:5 ~

Image Source

     I'd like to believe that this sign was pointing up... towards Heaven... rather than forward down the street.

     If we use the Bible to guide us through life... to give us direction... to give us peace and patience... I believe that not only will we find that town called Happy in our lives... but we will find happiness here and in Heaven.  We will find patience... love... and peace.

     In my life, especially in recent years, I have had many people who want to give me direction on how I should be living... what I should be doing.  Some of them disguise it as care and concern for me, but when all the pushing, shoving, kicking and screaming was done... it was really more for their own self interest. 

     Others have tried to disguise it as Biblical precepts and discipleship... something which causes me great concern because how many 'interpretations' there are already of the Bible.  If its pages were made of glass, they would have never lasted the centuries because of how many ways they have been bended and folded to fit into someones life.

     Our spiritual walks with God are personal... conversations with the One who has given all for us and who alone can give us the strength... and direction... to be more like Him.

     All you have to do is listen...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Allergies...

     I didn't used to have allergies.  When doctors and nurses would ask me if I was allergic to anything, I would always tell them that I was allergic to my brother and step-father because I had a severe personality disorder reaction to them.

     Really.  I did.  Tell them that... and had a bad reaction when I was around them.

     Since being in Texas, however, it seems that every night is a struggle to breathe.  For the first six months I was here my nose bled every day.  Now it seems that after a year of being 'cat-free' when the O-kitty abandoned car and ran off as I was leaving Florida... I've become allergic to cats.

Image Source

     Dexter (the rocker kitten formerly known as Felix) had to go back to the Second Chance shelter when I realized that my breathing skills had dramatically decreased in the two weeks I had him. 

     The final clue (I am after all a slow learner) was when he paused to catnap on my chest while we were watching TV one night and the roof of my mouth started to swell down.

     Panic.

     So I am again cat-free... broken hearted but at least able to breathe.

     I suppose one has to have priorities in life that aren't just cute and cuddly...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Reading...

"We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading."
~ B.F. Skinner ~
     Books were my first friends.

     Every time we moved when I was a child ... which was fairly often and always in the middle of a school year ... the first place I remember finding were the school and city libraries.  Books were my refuge.  They didn't call me carrot top... four eyes (excuse me, that's six eyes to you... I was wearing bifocals by the 2nd grade!).  They didn't tease me about my freckles... or the braces on my legs... or on my teeth.

     I could escape from the taunts in books, where I had hundreds of friends and go to wonderful places like the Emerald City.  I could solve mysteries with Nancy Drew.  I could have wonderful pets... a dog named Lassie or Toto, or a horse named Black Beauty.

     When I was in high school, my cousin Sharon sent me a book by M. M. KayeThe Far Pavilions became my favorite book to disappear into when I wanted to hide from the world.  India was exotic and the rich detail of the rise and fall of the British reign was my first introduction to the mysteries of history.

     I still have that copy.  The cover is worn and taped together.  Pages are brown and smell like old paper.  I've managed to collect all of the books that M.M. Kaye wrote, and even corresponded with her briefly before she died.

     M.M. Kaye was for me, what J.K. Rowling has been for millions of people since the first Harry Potter book was published.

     She gave me a love of reading... and for that I am forever grateful.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Finding meaning...

“The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”
~ Mitch Albom ~


Panama City, Florida

     Sometimes the simplest answers to the most complex questions come when we least expect them... and where we least expect to find them.  All we have to do is stop and listen.

     When I was considering a job change years ago that would come with a significant cut in pay but put me closer geographically to my dad, I went for a walk on this beach to try to decide what I was going to do.  As I walked along the water's edge, listening to the surf and picking through the shells in the sand, I tossed out a 'fleece' to my Higher Power, asking for guidance.

     "If this is what You want me to do, let me find a Moon Snail shell because I haven't seen one yet in my walk and I need to know that this is Your will and not my own."


     Ten steps later, I found the shell I was seeking, but it was not as I had pictured in my mind's eye.  The shell I imagined was perfect, shiny and not worn from being tossed by the waves again and again on the beach.

     The shell I found was old, weathered, had chips and a small hole where another snail had drilled and lunched on it.  As I held it in my hand, disappointment on my face, I heard a voice in my head...

     "True, it is not what you imagined, but it is what you asked for."

     Sometimes when we find meaning in our lives, it isn't what we had first imagined that our lives would be like... or what that meaning would be.

     But it is always what we need to find...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What do you wish to do one day?

     Wednesdays have become my favorite day because of Jamie Ridler's Wishcasting Wednesday prompts.  I used to just like them because it meant the work week was on the downhill slide from here... and where I worked before I took every other Wednesday off.


Image Source
      Thinking about this prompt question, however, makes me think of something that Erma Bombeck wrote towards the end of her life.  If I Had my Life to Live Over.

     I don't want to wish to do something "one day."  I want to wish to do everything today.  I don't want to wait to use the good china, or go back to Europe, or dance in the rain with someone I love.

     I don't want to continue to watch life pass me by while I'm waiting for the right time, the right price, or the right person.

     I want grass stains from rolling down hills and rolling with laughter...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Strength...

The strongest have their moments of fatigue
~ Friedrich Nietzsche ~
German classical scholar and philosopher, 1844-1900

   A tree is only as strong as its roots.
A family is only as strong as its ties.
Faith is only as strong as the believer.

Dorset, England (MS Windows wallpaper image)
   28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

     Rest... what a heavenly thought. 

     The message at church yesterday made me realize that I have been carrying too much on my shoulders of late.  No wonder my back hurts.  No wonder also that I have been repeating lessons I thought I had learned long ago.  I've not let go of my burdens and have held tight to the reins of the wild horses that have dragged me back and forth across the country.

      I witnessed miracles yesterday.  Small, perhaps indistinguishable to others, but miracles nonetheless.  Faith in the absence of all else in our life is a miracle.  Laughter in the face of pain is a miracle.  Strength in the face of exhaustion is a miracle.   Love... is a miracle.  


Sunday, October 2, 2011

How can you not ...?

Image Source
     Not long ago I was accused of worshiping the Universe... as if it was some pagan deity.

     But if you have ever stopped to look up at the night sky, with all of the stars and planets in our galaxy...

     ... watched the sun rise over oceans teeming with life...

     ... stood at the foot of a mountain and listened to the cry of an eagle as it soared overhead...

     ... stopped to feel the rain fall on your face ... or listen to the whisper of the wind in the trees ...

     ... bent to smell the perfume of a wildflower ... laughed at the sight of a young lamb kicking up its heels and running along the fence line of a clover field in bloom ...

     ... looked into the eyes of a newborn baby ... or held the softly wrinkled hand of a loved one as they passed from this life to the next ...

     How can you not be amazed at the beauty and glory of the Universe around us?  How can you not feel blessed and called to worship the miracles?

     How can you not drop to your knees in gratitude for all that is?

     How can you not?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October...

Image Source
A harvest moon shall light the way
Where ghosts and goblins dare to stray.
Leaves turn color before they fall
Midnight hush broken by owl's call.
Fields once tall and green
Lay brown and fallow, a frosty gleam.
October bedtime prayers are said
"Protect us from the living dead."
Bats fly hunting late at night
Yellow eyes glowing in moonlight.
A howl, a scream, a haunting sound
Skeletal hands reaching from the ground.
You're not afraid, or so you said
So pull yourself from under your bed!
~ Cindi ~ 2011