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...

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.


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...

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!

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.

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...

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