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Archive for February, 2017

Change yourself to change the world. Keep it personal today. (Horoscope for Taurus, February 25)

I usually read my horoscope in the daily newspaper, not because it rules my day. I’m curious. Sometimes the advice is so vague it could fit any situation; other times it fits in an odd serendipitous way—like accidentally opening a how-to book to the right page—without effort.

Last night my husband and I went to a fun, well-attended family wedding. I noticed we were seated at a table with relatives who have polar political views. Yet, we did not discuss them. We shared our love for one another. Our lives as they are. I felt blessed. When we separated, I experienced a sense of loss, a longing to see these good people again as soon as possible.

If we had delved into our differences, I suspect the bond could have been tested. The differences need mending. Among families and in the world. However, the breaks can’t be healed in a single discussion. They can’t be adjusted within the us-versus-them void.

Have I changed my mind about laws that affect the poor, the immigrant, the marginalized? Absolutely not. That does not mean I need to react with name-calling. What I say reflects who I am. May the power of the written and spoken word add healing, not pain. Eventually…

can-we-risk-peace

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Right now, I am trying to be in a place of calm, a place where I can chill out and then handle the chaos of life better. You don’t just get it overnight; you have to work at it. It’s a daily struggle. (Jackée Harry)

I have a bookcase, better described as cheap than inexpensive. It is a strictly functional piece. The back is as thin as a pizza box and leaves some shelves open, vulnerable. Perhaps, a dark wall showing through would make a nice decorative touch. However, my office also serves as a toy room. (Stuffed cow, twin watering cans, and children’s books get the sturdier case.) The room’s ambience has a more turned-over toy box look than showroom feel.

Items from my shelf frequently fall out against the wall. However, an old phone book has dropped from the top and set off an avalanche. Books, papers, and notebooks followed like sheep to slaughter.

Okay, I guess it’s time to organize. Not reorganize. Most of my life is filed under miscellaneous.

First, I empty the bookcase and place it against the desk instead of the wall. If my system doesn’t work, escaped items can be retrieved under the desk. As backup I have a stack of magazines in the way—to protect computer wires. Yes, someday I’ll get a nicer bookshelf. For now, I’ll deal with what I have. I’m satisfied with functional.

Each stack of items becomes less defined in the small area. How did all this fit in one bookcase to begin with? Ooh!  Sun Magazine. Did I finish reading this July article? I am hesitant to throw away my favorite periodicals. Focus, Terry, focus.

Somewhere in the chaos I find the manuscript for an unpublished story I wrote fourteen years ago, not bad, but it needs editing and development. Time to keep on trucking—continue to steps two and three. In the present, possibilities to follow.

I think about real life, how much I’d like to tackle the whole of a world situation, settle it. Now. I can only send out a pebble onto the water and let the ripples flow. Toward justice, peace, recognition of all people.  I pick up one item in my mess and face my limits as well as my strengths. The existence of a flaw does not deny a talent. For anyone.

The three photos of my mundane work space below combine to show art coming from chaos. In this picture, a MiFrame program did most of the work. In the everyday, it isn’t as easy.

I see you; you see me. As we are. We grow from there.

organizing

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Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous. (Albert Einstein)

My sacred agenda is being tested. The sky is blue and the outside temperature holds in the low sixties—for a few hours anyway. My husband and I plan to explore a new subdivision in the neighborhood, to see how many new homes have sprung-up, while we enjoy spring in February.

And my mate is taking a lot longer to get ready than I expected. I tend to take on a little too much and move as if I were rushing out of a burning building. He enjoys the spontaneity possible in retirement.

Finally…finally we set out—at least an hour later than I wanted. However, he must have been listening to angel time. I was deifying my plans.

In the new development, Jay and I meet an incredible couple who are also walking along a cul-de-sac toward the back of the newer section. Three lots display sold signs; each area has not yet been excavated.

M and D will be moving into the neighborhood next week. They are much younger than we are. Nevertheless, we share common interests with them. I am buoyed by their capacity to actively care for others. Their church, close to the poorest areas of the city, assists the homeless.

“What items do you need most?” I ask.

“Socks and gloves,” M answers.

I remember a pair of socks we received in the mail as a gift after donating to an Indian foundation. I have never worn the socks because they don’t match anything I own.  A thought crosses my mind. Obviously, I have more than I need.

I have two more pair of socks that have never been worn, as well as red gloves I’ve been saving for that day when one of my old-faithful-pink-knitted-bargain-store specials, falls from my pocket and finds its way under the tires of a truck in a parking lot. 

The items are not as thick as I would like them to be. Maybe they would be useful in layers. I suspect the church will accept cash for whatever their ministry needs.

“I’ll drop some things off at your house after you move in,” I say. “And just leave a bag outside.”

Perhaps we will see M and D again after I drop off a bag or two. Maybe not. Either way, these two people were blessings.

I forgot about all the miscellaneous chores that were so essential a few hours earlier, and I focused on ways I could help someone else. Sure, the laundry can’t wait forever, but a rinse cycle that begins a few hours late won’t delay the world’s spin on its axis.

Something or someone? I’m grateful for the difference.

socks-and-gloves_li

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Joy is the simplest form of gratitude. (Karl Barth)

Today is Groundhog’s Day, although the critter isn’t on my mind as I drive a familiar route home. The sun is out. Six weeks until spring—or six times seven days of winter, however you want to look at it. Essentially, the cold doesn’t last forever. Nothing does.

Right now, I look at the strong contrast between blue and shadow. I think about hope and try to see its expression in nature, in recent events. Not many of those moments fit into the world scene, although a few examples of courage stand out, people risking high-ranking positions to protect folk ousted because of prejudice, fear, hate.

In my middle-grade fantasies I write about good being stronger than evil. (The first book came out in 2015; the second should appear in May.) In the real world, I pray for awareness. How do I find it and stay with its power? Good can only be strong when it shines past the gray, inside the gray, despite the gray.

Tomorrow, or at any moment, the dullness can reappear. I celebrate the temporary and all that leads to gratitude.

I’m home before I realize my car is in the driveway. My gratitude list is not yet completed…

blue-sky_li

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