Thursday, June 27, 2013

rituals ...

Early morning, and a young boy is dropped off by his mother at the summer school day care program where I am working part time. I watch as she tears off a corner of paper from one of the flyer reminders telling parents that we will be closed on the 4th of July and what the dress code is. The two of them hold it tightly and heads together they talk quietly together. I hear a soft "Amen" as she gives him the paper then turns to leave. He slips the paper into a pocket, and as I watch him during the day, I see that when he is anxious ... a dispute over a toy, or a reprimand for being too loud ... he reaches into that pocket.

A girl dropped off not long after the boy performs a ritual of touches with her mother before they separate. Right fingers clasp together, then left fingers, after the umbrella the girl is carrying is shifted into her right hand. The mother gives a quick kiss on her daughter's forehead, and she in turn gives her mother a kiss back. They say goodbyes peppered with "I love yous."

We all have them. Those simple rituals. A mother's prayer. A touch, a kiss, "I love you too." Things, actions or a simple word that connects you to someone in a way that no one else gets. They create rituals that bind you in love, make you feel secure, and gives you "home" in your heart.

They give you more.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

X is for ...

Lately, I have been accused of being an xanthippe.
I've come to believe though that it is more beneficial to be xenodochial.

I suffer often from xerophthalmia.

Every so often I see a xiphosuran by the house.
I've never seen a xeme, although you'd think that is odd, considering where I live it is actually more likely I would see a xebec.

I also recently saw a xenurine on the side of the road, but I couldn't tell you exactly what it was, it was quite an unflattering pose, probably for [this] book.  But I was delighted to see this live young'n while on a Sunday drive.
Channeling Robert DeNiro ... "You lookin' at me?"
One day I would like to have an outdoor xystus,
surrounded by xerophyllum.
I think I would enjoy that.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

a Sunday drive #1

  Recently a friend wished me rainbows.
Today on a rainy Sunday drive ... I found several.Image
Beautifully following me for almost an hour around town...
This was near one of my favorite hidden beach spots.
A rainbow of color in these wild flowers.

Friday, June 21, 2013

5 minutes: Rhythm

  The rhythm of light rain on the skylight wakens me, and as I shift in bed, Trooper's tail takes up a rhythm matching the sound of the rain.  Distant thunder from the approaching storm rhythmically rolls, and Trooper's tail picks up speed.  He hates thunder and knows that if he beats the drum I call my bed, I will become fully awake and reassure him that he will be safe.

  I drive to another job interview, and as I listen to the rhythm of the road under my tires, I am grateful for the friends who helped me get a new alternator installed.  While the rhythm of my walk to my summer part-time job gave me time to listen to the rhythm of sounds around me and think of all that has changed the rhythm of my life ... my aching joints told me that it would not be a rhythm I could keep up for long.  The rhythm of friendships come to mind ~ the safe trust in the give and take, knowing that even if the roles were reversed, the rhythm would be the same.

  Home again, I listen to the rhythm of music filling my house.  I think of you, how we used to kitchen dance to the rhythm of Santana.  I long to hear the rhythm of your steps on the stairs, the rhythm of your heartbeat and breathing, and to know that you are safe.    

  Without you, there is no rhythm to my life.

Five Minute Friday

Monday, June 17, 2013

One morning ...

I was an eagle soaring over the mountains ...
I was an astronaut floating above Saturn's rings ...
I was a super hero zooming across the Atlantic ...
I was seated in a hang glider, the wind in my hair, circling in thermal air drafts ...
I was six years old again.
Then I opened my eyes and put my feet on the ground.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

selections #125

My tiny herb garden ~ L-R: rosemary, oregano, basil, lavender.
[my cilantro died after a spider mite (?) infestation]
When I'm cooking, I often forget that I've got them on the upstairs deck, but truthfully ...
I think I grew them just to rub the leaves between my hands and relax with the scent.
For six years I waited for these vines to bloom.
Now ... my last summer here ...
they are exploding in blossoms.

It is good to know that it will be here long after I'm gone...
Sunday Selections was originally started by Kim, of Frogpondsrock , as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files. It is now continued by River at Drifting through life and Sue at The Elephant's Child.  The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.
Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.

Friday, June 14, 2013

5 minutes: listen

The room is dark, save for the lights on the computer modem.  I listen to the fans blowing the hot air this way then that, and kick off the covers from my sweating-still-damp-from-a-cold-shower body.  I listen to Annie walk around the room and shake, her collar tags jingling like bells.  She comes over and sets her chin the the edge of the bed and I tell her to go back and lie down.  She doesn't listen and instead jumps up on the bed and flops down hard at the end where she can take advantage of both fans.  I close my eyes and listen to Trooper breathing, his head near mine, he feels safer sleeping at the head of the bed rather than the foot.  Too many long ago memories of a mean man kicking him from under the covers when he was a puppy.  It has been eight and a half years since those nights, but he still listens for the sound of movement in the dark and I know that he will eventually move off the bed before the sun wakes us all.  I listen to Oreo calling me in the dark down the hall.  He has woken up alone where he was sleeping on the cool tile floor in the bathroom, and so I call to him to let him know where I am.  He listens, calls, listens again as he walks into the bedroom, then jumps to the bed and walks on me before stopping on my chest and smacking me in the face with his head to tell me I should have woken him before I shut the lights off.  I listen to him purr as I rub his head and chin, then he moves to the pillow and settles down for the night.  I close my eyes again and talk to God, thanking Him for this day, and listen in the dark for His voice, His reassurance, His presence.  I listen to the sound of my own breathing and before I know it, I am listening to the cardinals and mockingbirds singing to the rising sun as the squirrels outside the window chatter that the day is a'wasting and I need get up.  I listen.
Five Minute Friday

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Parallel Universe Me ...

  I rearranged my bedroom the other night so that my desk now is to the right of the mirror closet doors.  I'm looking at a wall which I've put my calendar on, and other things my brain must remember to occasionally do.  I wish I could face it towards the window so I could look out over my serenity deck, however, the plugs and cords necessary for things to work ... wouldn't.

  Sitting here for the first time after rearranging the room, the dogs were wandering around behind me when suddenly, Annie spotted my parallel universe alter ego hiding in the closet.

  She growled fiercely, barked, then began to do that beagle baying noise that can be quite unnerving.

  For thirty minutes.

  Even though I was sitting right here, and she could turn her head to see me, it was my reflection in the mirror that made her go crazy.

  She's been comfortable with her own reflection in the mirror since last December, and I'm sure has seen my reflection when I have stood directly in front of it.  But she could not make the connection between me sitting off to the side, and the fact that she could see me in the mirror.  She was convinced it was my evil parallel universe alter ego.  The more I moved to try to comfort her, the more she growled at barked at my reflection ... yet she would turn her head to me and wag her tail.  She was so confused, and I was laughing so hard I could hardly breathe.

  I finally had to open the closet door and let her inspect the inside before she would relax and ignore it.

  Gotta love her bravery and willingness to protect me!

Living the dream...

  During the week I get an encouraging email from Mike Dooley and his Thoughts Become Things website.  Some days they are funny, some days they are right on target.  Often it is only the next day that I realize how closely they hit to how my day went, or what my mood was.  Most often they say something that really strikes me with how profound it is.  Like today.
  Now, of course, the whole bit about fitting into the jeans I wore back in the day ... not gonna happen.  But what struck me today was this statement:

"It's having a dream and wanting to live it so greatly that one would rather move with it and "fail" than succeed in another realm."

  I'm so "there."

  Once upon a time [like all good fairy tales start] I wanted to be the next bestselling author.  I wanted the J.K.-Rowlings-Stephenie-Meyer-Lana-Turner-discovered-at-a-drugstore-soda-counter success story.  I wanted to live "the good life" and in an abundant lifestyle that I would be happy to become accustomed to.

  I realized this morning that I'm so "there," only better.

  My blog and books have a small following.  The blog gets daily hits from around the world.  Occasionally a book sells.  My life is good.  It is, truly, good.  The fibromyalgia pain that almost crippled me a year and a half ago because of the stress I was under in my life is gone.  Gone.  I'm pain free.  I've learned that "abundance" is a relative term.  I don't have an abundance of things or money ... but I have all I need for right here and right now.  

  How much more do you need?

Monday, June 10, 2013

It's a small world after all...

I started my summer job today.
Day care for 85+/- elementary age children.
We watched Madagascar 3.
It was a cute movie,
but what was even cuter was hearing this song,
sung by 85 little voices,
perfectly in sync with the movie.

Priceless day.

At the end of the day,
the icing on the small world cake ...

I had spent the day working with someone who once was a student I worked with,
when he was at the United Cerebral Palsy Child Development Center.

I was fresh out of high school, an eighteen-year-old with big dreams.
He was a four-year-old pre-kindergarten student who wanted to get into everything.

So nice to see that he did.

Priceless day [squared].

Sunday, June 9, 2013

censoring normal ...

  Lately I've been feeling as if I need to censor my blog posts, knowing that there are people who read them to get "ammunition" to use against me.  I tried to blog about just the "window dressing" and the "sugar coating."  But that felt unnatural.

  I was changing who I was to fit who they think I should be.  I can't do that anymore.  Been there done that so many times before that the t-shirts have all shrunk.

  Then I read this post [Just Be... Normal] and realized that was the answer I had been looking for.

  Normal is more than just the setting on the washing machine.  It isn't just conforming.   Normal sometimes is loud and ugly.  Normal sometimes is hurtful and painful.  Normal isn't always pretty.

  I don't blog about my life hoping to get sympathy like I've been accused of.  I blog about the ugliness, the beauty, the pain, the joy, the hurt and the healing ... my "normal" ... because somewhere out there is someone who is feeling the same kind of "normal" that I am.  Someone who needs to know that they aren't alone, that they don't have to be afraid, that maybe, just maybe, they are "normal" too.

  This past four months I have learned a lot from my autism students.  The most important thing I've learned is that "normal" is a subjective term.  There were days when my "special" students were smarter and better behaved than those "normal" students they were supposed to be like.

  Why do we try to fit everyone into a "normal" sized box?  Why can't we just recognize that we each have our own special gifts, talents, and wings to fly?

  Why can't we realize that sometimes it is what happens "outside the box" that makes us feel "normal?"  One of my favorite quotes is this:  The true worth of your travels lies not in where you come to be at the journey's end, but in who you come to be along the way. ~ Unknown

  What if instead it said this:

The true worth of your life lies not in where you are in your journey
but who you came to be at the journey's end
~ Letting the Words Escape ~

Saturday, June 8, 2013

selections #124

[Disclaimer:  I promise that these are the last of the water lily pictures ~ but I was able to get to them early enough in the morning when they were still in open bloom and could not resist!  I have taken the liberty to filter them with a dry brush effect, as I did the last ones, and love how they came out.]

Sunday Selections [as it is Sunday in Australia when this meme starts] was originally brought to us by Kim of Frogpondsrock as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files.

The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life. The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent. Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.

As a teaser for an upcoming Selections collection ... I offer you [this link].
BUT ... my desktop computer is dying and I cannot download pictures from my SD cards anymore!
I'm not sure when I will participate next in the Sunday [in Australia] Selections.

Anticipation ... makes it all the sweeter!

Friday, June 7, 2013

5 minutes: fall

I hear the rain fall on the skylight,
and I wish I could fall into your arms tonight.

When you fell, I wanted so much to catch you,
but I knew it would be this fall
that would change it all.
The man you were, is no longer the man you are.
You have become the man you were meant to be.

Those who doubted and turned their backs will never know,
how the choice you made was so very difficult.
But it was so worth the reward in the end.

To be Redeemed. 

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, June 6, 2013

WHEN the ZA occurs...

Yesterday was the last day of school.
I'm actually going to miss those kids.
Even the ones that made me want to pull out my hair.

Last week I overheard a discussion between several of the sixth grade autism students.
It was totally serious.  Really.
It was all I could do to keep from FOCROFLOL.
[falling off chair rolling on floor laughing out loud]

They were discussing what to do WHEN [not if] the Zombie Apocalypse happens.

First you need to paint a blue cross on your forehead to indicate that you are not infected.
Then after gathering the food, clothing and weapons you needed,
meet at Mrs. M's classroom where you will be safe.

On the one hand, I think that it is a credit to Mrs. M that they feel her classroom is a safe place.
On the other, I have to wonder what they are hearing, watching or playing on the computer that makes them so convinced that there WILL be a zombie apocalypse.

When I was in the sixth grade all I ever worried about was whether or not the kids at my new school would tease me about my red hair, where the nearest library was, and when my Dad was going to be home from Viet Nam.  When he did come back and we moved to Florida, I added palmetto bugs and oily skin to my list of things to worry about.
I think I'll add blue face paint to my shopping list.
Just in case.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

howling with my pack ...

I've taken the liberty of awarding myself the Semper Fidelis award by way of Elephant's Child who in the past year has become part of my gathered family.  I would nominate her in return, however, that seems like it would be redundant.  But I will say this about her ... I treasure her.  Her words, her photos, her thoughts, her honesty.  The fact that I can be awake at midnight and know that she will be there to listen to me.  She has been there for me in more ways than one, and on nights when I was lost ... she was my GPS.  If ever I get the opportunity to travel again, my hope is to one day sit with her to watch the sunset, our feet up, and settled into that comfortable silence that says "Yes, you are home here.  Welcome."

The award comes with rules/conditions.

1 : Add the Semper Fidelis Award logo somewhere on your blog.
2: Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
3 : Nominate five bloggers whose loyalty, friendship you value and you consider being part of your "pack of wolves."
4 : Post something special for each one of your nominees and dedicate it to them. Such as a quote, saying, poem, picture. Anything you think would pertain to that person.
5 : Let the nominees know that you've nominated them.

The first two rules are simple.  Like EC, I had difficulty with three and four, but to avoid being a copycat, and because there are some bloggers that I look forward to reading like I look forward to the sun shine each morning, here are my nominations:

This Old House 2
I love the work that Karen does for finding forever homes for shelter dogs.
I love her honesty, and her bravery at times for not withholding her opinion on current events.
I love the encouragement she has given me in emails as we've chatted about common interests.
I love the work she has done on her house, her garden, and how beautiful she is ...
inside and out ...
Thank you, Karen.

I love love love Chris' photos.
Her birds, her trees, the snow, the flowers.
Seeing that she has a new blog post is always exciting because there is so much beauty in them.
Not just in her photographs, but in her words.
Simple and to the point.
Life.  Love.  Joy.  Family.  Happiness.
She brightens my day with her view of her world.
Thank you, Chris.

Chronicles of a Country Girl
I'm new to following Kate's blog, but that doesn't change how much I admire her work.
Her photos are incredible, but also her honesty and humor.
She's got a lot on her plate, but handles it with grace and beauty.
I've learned a lot from her.
Thank you, Kate.

creating space ...

  I'm joining this afternoon with Jamie Ridler Studios and wishfully (wistfully?) creating space ... even more than I have been lately.

  The space that I wish to create would begin with a home where this would be my "night light."  A place so isolated geographically that the night sky would glow and not be dimmed by city lights.

  A home where I could fall asleep to the sound of the wind in the trees, or the rain on the roof, and not be woken by the noises of traffic on the street or neighbors on a binge.

  A space where I would look forward to coming home to each afternoon, and miss when I had to leave for work in the morning.  Where I could grow vegetables, herbs and fruit.

  I long to create a space of minimalist living, where all we had was all we needed.  Nothing fancy, nothing extravagant, nothing that was unnecessary or simply decorative.  Where the rooms filled with memories were in our minds and hearts and never needed dusting...

Monday, June 3, 2013

destination unknown ...

When I was younger,
with less white hair and fewer worry wrinkles,
my most favorite thing to do when things became overwhelming
was to disappear into a book.

A lengthy, historical romance,
with more history than romance.

I would travel to places I had never been,
written about time long past.
I think sometimes I would actually begin to fade,
as I became part of the characters.

Books were, and always will be, my best friends.
They were my safe havens.

I think this summer will be a perfect time for me to fade away again,
destination unknown,
deep in the pages of a book.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Serenity Sunday ...

Sitting on my Serenity deck ... serene sounds of the water fountain, the scent of vanilla
Sharing the foot stool with Oreo ... Worry Free ... yes, I am ...
"Excuse me.  Do not misinterpret my affection." 
"This is my foot stool.  I do not share."

Saturday, June 1, 2013

selections #123

Just some odds and ends from the week...
This is a narrow leaf yucca.
It seemed to bloom overnight in the field where I run the dogs.
Close up of the flowers.  The plant itself is only about four feet tall.
My imagination keeps seeing these as sweet fairy faces with blond hair.
On Memorial Day (27 May) I was blessed with an invitation to dine with a co-worker & family.
This is the view from their dock, with just the sounds of the wind in the trees, an occasional frog ... and alligator!
This is an owlfly [more info here], whose antenna tickled Trooper's nose
when he investigated.
Sunday Selections was originally started by Kim, of Frogpondsrock ,
as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files.
It is now continued by River at Drifting through life and Sue at The Elephant's Child
The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent. 
Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.