Saturday, November 30, 2013

cracked ...

I will always love this picture.
My heart is cracking today.  You can read why at the bottom of [this page].  'Nuff said for now.  It's hard to type when tears flood.

November went by too quickly, and all my best intentions for writing every day fell to the wayside.  It feels like all the words have escaped, and I've thought about what it would be like to never write again.  I still don't know if I will be able to find the words again.  It seems like more than just my heart has been cracked when I stop and think about life.  There is a moment in time where I can throw that dart and say "it started here."  It is a lot farther back than most would think.  It has been "a series of unfortunate events" that began in 2001 that shook the ground I thought was solid underneath me.  Shook me more than I thought.

To find my footing again, I've been reaching for what used to be the distraction that kept me focused when nothing seemed to be right in my world.

Hand work.  Creative nonsense.  Crafting this or that.

I painted a Bur oak acorn with glitter paint to decorate my November tree.  I also made some cinnamon clove ornaments.  I know the recipe calls for just cinnamon, but I like adding cloves for a good strong scent.  I painted the back side of them with gold paint, then stamped the front with a leaf stamp dipped in the gold paint.

The new 2013 Hallmark Beauty of the Birds ornament decorates my mini tree as well.

I haven't had my tree up since February 2013 and Mardi Gras.  Once upon a time it would be up every single month with seasonal ornaments.

January 2013.  December 2012.  Fall 2012.

Seasons changed.  I changed.  Life changed.

It is time for me to take back the seasons of my life.  I'm not sure what direction we will be going in for the seasons ahead.  But this I know for sure ... the ones that I love and trust with my heart, will travel those roads with me ~ with or without words.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

memorable events ...

Last Thursday I read [this post] by Robin Dance at Pensive.Me.  It made me laugh, but also later made me grateful that I had read it.

Friday was my 3rd wedding anniversary, and my husband and I went fishing with his niece, her sig other, and one of her daughters.  It could have been one of those "memorable events" in a negative way ... the boat died in the middle of the bay, after dark, and we spent about 2 1/2 hours on the water, in the cold, before being rescued.

But what made it a good memorable event was being able to see all the stars ~ and shooting stars ~ without the city lights hiding them.  Watching the moonrise, large and orange in the sky.  Watching dolphins fishing in the moonlight, close enough to hear the 'pshhhht' of their blow holes as they came up for air.  Loons on the channel marker shuffling and talking in the dark.

Saturday, we drove to watch a college football game, stopping to take in the beauty along the Chipola River, and visiting with some of my husband's family along the way.

But what really made it a good memorable day was the game itself.  I've
never been to a college football game.  Saturday I found out just how contagious they are ... in a good way.  Along with about 65,000 of my new best friends, I laughed, yelled, screamed, whooped and hollered so much I don't have much of a voice this morning.

But it was a good thing.
Final score ...
Seminoles 80
Vandals 14

Go Noles!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

without words ...

The days have been flying by. Work takes up ten hours between getting there and getting home.  If I'm lucky, I might get eight hours of intermittent sleep (most of that spent worrying about things happening at work).  That leaves me six hours a day to "be" ... be a wife, be a dog & cat mom, be a writer, or just be me.  Even weekends seem to be crammed full of things to do ... playing catch-up during the week.

Something always slips through the cracks.

Sometime over last weekend, Oreo brought a friend home for dinner ... and forgot to eat her.  Monday morning I found the stiff carcass of a squirrel stashed behind the television when I tracked down that funky smell of decomp.  Thank goodness for lavender scented Pine Sol.

I'm still trying to finish reading "a million little ways" and am down to the last two chapters.  One quote has stuck in my mind and I keep going back to it again and again.  Apparently it is something that resonates deep within me.

"But your would would be different if you were not in it.  And your brave yes might just be what we're waiting for.  Yes, I will believe, I will move, I will open my eyes, I will show up." 
["a million little ways" by Emily P. Freeman p170]

Words have escaped me.  I read blogs, emails, and books ... and feel my own words creeping in and out of the shadows.  I start to write ... and stop.  Questioning whether or not I need to speak.  There are times when I feel I've said too much ... revealed too much of my soul.  I suppose this is what they call a writer's block, but it isn't that I can't think of what to say ... the block is self-imposed.  More like a gate that I've closed.

"But if she begins to feel compelled to ration it, to hoard, and hold her art tightly in both hands, it might be time to sink into God again.  It might be time to be still, to break the alabaster jar that holds her sweet-smelling gift and release the art back into the hands of God."
["a million little ways" by Emily P. Freeman p162]

I'm making a point to sink again ... but this time with hope ... faith ... love ... and a yes.

Friday, November 15, 2013

5 minutes: tree

GO:

I love old trees, and the south has lots of them.  Oaks.  Pines.  Magnolias.  Trees that reach for the sky with trunks too large to wrap your arms around and roots that dig deep into the soil.

Trees that could tell stories and secrets.

I took this picture exactly one year ago, on a long walk when my life and my family felt like the roots were being pulled up, the branches broken and thrown down.

I wanted to be like this tree ~ tall, weathered from the storms but still standing.

Families are like trees sometimes.  Branches spreading far and wide, reaching to the sky, helping some learn to fly.  Sometimes they are too large to really wrap your arms around, and other times, you want to just wrap your arms around them again and again.  Roots that dig deep into the soul.  Families that could tell stories and secrets.

Looking back at this past year, I realize ... I am this tree.  Tall.  Weathered from the storm.  But still standing.

STOP

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."
~ James 1:2 MSG ~
Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Revelation

  When I was in high school, my best friend and I saw the movie "The Late, Great Planet Earth." It was supposed to be all about the end-times and how the prophesies were coming to pass. I was 17 at the time, and I remember that we walked out of the movie theater too stunned for words. For hours. The world was coming to an end, and soon, very soon. I didn't know what to say or think. We just walked around the plaza in silence.

  Needless to say, obviously the world didn't end as quickly as we were scared into thinking it was. Still, it was 35 years before I had the courage to really read all of the Book of Revelations. I was *that* terrified.

  From beginning ~ Revelation 1:1 "This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John," to end ~ Revelation 22:21 "May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people." the Book of Revelations is about a vision ~ maybe even a dream or nightmare ~ that John had.  

  It is a book that has been interpreted ~ and misinterpreted ~ for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.  Scholars have tried to tie current day events to things described by John and have only added to the confusion and fear.  Many have tried to predict the exact time and place for the Second Coming ... only to be laughed at later and disappear in shame and humiliation when their "end time" date came and went.

  This is what I know for sure ... all we are given is today.  There are no guarantees for tomorrow whether you are a believer or not.  You may go to sleep tonight and never wake again.  There are not even any guarantees for today.  You may wake in the morning and be dead by the end of the day.

  I believe that if there is a message for us in the Book of Revelations, it is simply this ...

  Enjoy each day.  Cherish the ones you love.  Be at peace with everyone.  Do your best work, not because someone is keeping a tally of it, but because giving our best is what we were created to do.  Don't live to fail ... live to succeed, even if just for that 24 hours, do your best.  Honor each other.  Love.  Laugh.  Forgive.  Make mistakes because none of us are perfect, but own those mistakes.  Learn from them.  Move on.  Grow.  Thrive.

  Make each day your best, because that is all you ever get.  One day ... at a time.  Live it.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

thank you to the volunteers ...

Today is going to be a difficult day for me ... but I'm thankful for those who work at and volunteer at no-kill animal shelters across the country.  I know how hard it is to care for or foster animals that have been abandoned and abused.  It is a selfless job, putting your heart on your sleeve every time you look in their eyes.  Seeing them shake or cower in a corner, knowing that their trust has been broken.

Thank you to all who rescue.  To all who hug.  To all who wait patiently with treats in their hands for that scared dog or cat to learn to trust again... to learn that not all people are mean.

Thank you to those who help walk, feed, medically treat, or home one of those who have been abandoned, surrendered, lost or abused.  Thank you for loving them and giving them hope again.  Thank you for opening your hearts ... and your arms ... and your homes.

All of my "kids" ... my "furbabies" have been rescues ... and we thank you.

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

thank you to the chef ...

I love how flavors can comfort and make or bring back memories of good times.  When I smell gingerbread cookies, I'm transported back to Germany ... Rhine River cruise ... Lebkuchen cookies.

Thank you to the cooks and chefs and bakers who work magic in kitchens to create those incredible tastes, smells, and memories.

Thank you to all those who cook at home, even those who just boil water for eggs or coffee ... feeding a family is like feeding the soul sometimes.  The heart of a home is the kitchen, and you are the beat of that heart.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

thank you for the words

Dear writers and authors and librarians ...

Thank you for those first friends.  For being safe places for me to hide when I was new kid at school.  For making me feel like I wasn't alone.  For taking me places I'd never been ... and eventually went ... and want to go to some day still.

Thank you for teaching me about love ... life ... justice ... truth ... sharing ... forgiveness ... loss ... grief ... hope.

Thank you for opening my eyes ... and my world.

Cindi

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

showing up to wait ...

a million little ways ... continues

"We arrived here as art and we spend our lives uncovering the beauty we have to offer~not just the work of our hands but the shape of our hearts."  [p129]

"Our limits can be gifts if we let them be.  They might show up like failure, season of life, fatigue, disability, grief, burnout.  But the limits tell us important things about ourselves.  They help us draw lines for margin.  They pave the way for vulnerability.  They sometimes show us what our passion isn't.  And that can be just as important as knowing what it is.  In some cases, our limitations can actually become our inspiration."  [p133]

"But courage is not the absence of fear.  If you wait to feel courageous before you release our art, you might be waiting forever." ... "Courage is about more than simply believing in yourself, more than making art with confidence and living life without fear."  [p135]

"Show up as you are with what you've been given.  And don't allow the voice of doubt and discouragement to hold you back."  [p144]

"When you finally show up ready to release your art by being the person you believe you are created to be, there may be nothing more disheartening than to be asked to wait."  ... "But the waiting can also grow us, shape us from the inside out for sacred work."  [p147]

thank you for the music that plays in my soul ...

Dear Music Makers;

Thank you for making me dance.

Thank you for the words you write ... for the way you take sounds and notes and make them dance together in the air.

Thank you for making my heart sing ... and sometimes me ~ really loud in the car even if I do look like a crazed wacko when I'm stopped at a light.  Thank you for freeing me and giving me a way to express my joy ... and sometimes my grief.

Thank you for the music.

Cindi

Monday, November 4, 2013

thank you to my friends ...

Dear You ...

Thank you for your encouraging words ... for unexpected gifts ... for grace.  Thank you for acceptance ... for understanding ... for listening ... for just being there when I need someone to talk to.

Thank you for honesty ... for truth ... for being unafraid to speak out ... or speak up.

Thank you for being you.

Cindi

listening ...

a million little ways ... 

"Art makes it possible for us to remember both the beauty and the horrific, the lovely and the loss.  Art numbs the wound just enough for us to be able to access the sources of it, to reach down into the depths and pull it up to examine."
~
"The beauty of art is that it separates us enough from our own pain in order to make it safe to approach."
~
"As important as it is to embrace the gifts you have and the unique ways you can offer hope to others, you also need to recognize and embrace what brings out the hope in you."  [p108]

"We have to pay attention to what grieves us and be willing to be fully human, both in what makes us come alive and in what has the capacity to shut us down." [p117]

"When we resist living within our ordinary days, we are in danger of losing a sense of ourselves.  We don't need to walk away from our routines and daily rhythms to find something more interesting.  More often we need to wake up to them."  [p118]

"What would it take for you to pull your dream out again, to stop taunting it with cruel names, and to simply listen to what it has to say?  No filters.  No back talk.  No eye rolls.  Dare to handle it, to hold it in your hands and consider it with kindness and compassion."  [p120]

Sunday, November 3, 2013

thank you for your service ...

Dear Military Members and Your Families;

Thank you.

Thank you for your sacrifices, for those who gave all, for those who gave some, and for those who left pieces of yourselves on battlefields.

Thank you for your dedication, your service, your determination, and your belief in our country and what it stands for ... for what it stood for when our founding fathers first came together to create this place we call home.

Thank you to your families, for the times they are without you ... for the times they are with you.  For the times they have to pack up and move away from family and friends and start all over again because you've been assigned to a new base, a new post, or a new assignment.  I know how hard it can be to be a military transient ... especially as a child.  Thank you for sacrificing stability for service.

Thank you for standing up when others did not ... or could not.  Thank you for stepping forward when others did not ... or could not.  Thank you for all you have done and given for those who could not ... or would not.

Thank you.

Cindi

lines in the sand ...

light reveals a virgin beach
in our morning walk.  the receding tide left
new sand, free of footprints.
ever so lightly we
step, and a pattern appears.

images of the ebb and flow of
night waters.

thin lines, like water's footprints,
have left a memory in the sand.
echos of the tide.

small prints, evenly spaced
appear in the sand before us. the
night prowl of a stray cat
dancing along the shore.

Friday, November 1, 2013

5 minutes: grace

GO:

Grace.  A gift we didn't put on the list to Santa, but a gift we received anyway.
Grace.  Lifted me out of the darkness, and brought me back into the light.
Grace.  Extended and embraced.

By His Grace I am here today.  By His Grace I am loved.  By His Grace I am free.

Grace.

A word that says so much.  An action that gives so much.

Grace.

STOP.
Five Minute Friday

november

november breaks in
ombre reds, thinly
veiled in lavender.
early
morning clouds
bringing the
essence of
rain.