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Posts Tagged ‘appreciation’

The one thing I need to leave behind is good memories. (Michael Landon)

So many things clutter our attic. I find my wedding dress, yellowed with age, and remember a poem I wrote after my parents died:

LAST VISIT TO THE HOUSE I CALLED HOME

Dust encases the old homestead.

Encyclopedias from 1963,

boxes of unused pencils,

 

skeins of yarn with faded fifty-cent

mark-down stickers,

a broken clock.

 

Most of the saved items are gone,

Dumpster and shredder items wait.

Bags of cancelled checks

 

on Mom’s closed account.

She died years ago.

Dad’s will to maintain dissolved, too.

 

In the back yard his loss leaked

into the naked, open space

leaving it flat, withered.

 

Before the property grew sullen,

I planted seeds for annuals that sprouted into

a tiny-stemmed miniature garden.

 

They dwarfed next to tomato vines

Dad tied to hand-cut posts.

Sunlight coaxed

 

white blossoms into green and then red fruit.

Inside the house Mom made soups that

took all day to blend the chicken

 

with onions, carrots, celery

into a fragrance that filled every nook.

I try to recall an ancient, lingering scent

 

but it was taken for granted

too long ago. I find my wedding gown

in an eaves closet,

 

zipped in plastic.

I had changed my name and moved on.

The yellowed department-store receipt

 

remains attached to the wire hanger.

I wipe off the grime and carry what-was-me

into what-is-me now.

 

The door locks for the last time.

The sun leaves a sliver of itself

on a pink horizon,

 

a visible color beyond reach,

like memories, both dark and light,

locked inside things left behind.

 

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Cooperation is the thorough conviction that nobody gets there unless everybody gets there. (Virginia Burden)

Among Facebook’s satirical cartoons, pet pictures, brags and complaints I see a post that jolts me. Someone I know has lost her home to a tornado. Several other people declare themselves safe.

Global warming. Yes. It affects weather. That cause can’t be abandoned. Cleanup help for victims remains. Now.

My contribution seems small because it is small. Yet if it helps another living creature it isn’t nothing. The whole isn’t up to me—not if I’m on a team for the good of all.

A small stained-glass angel picture hangs from my back window. Rain mists our backyard. The grass is a swamp. The angel reminds me that blessings remain. Somehow.

Suffering is part of the human experience. Peace fits in the picture when someone, somewhere brings a moment of light long enough for other individuals to see that light exists. For anyone. For everyone. As soon as we learn to share a goodness no one individual can own. Sounds simple.

Too bad simple isn’t easy. It is possible…

 

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If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters. (Harvey Mackay)


When people learn I had two books published, The Curse Under the Freckles and Stinky, Rotten Threats, they often ask if I get writer’s block. Uh, yeah, plenty of times. Especially when I try to write sunshine when I have mud in my shoes, socks, and brain. Heart and head, mind and pen need to be connected first. Somehow.

I tread water on a Sunday afternoon as dark skies invade the blue. The dark wins for now. I know blue lives on the other side, but for how long? I heard news earlier about someone who was accused of a crime. From what I’d understood about the situation, it seems to be a setup. Why? I don’t know.

Save the world—if only I could. Law. Three letters in one word is nowhere near enough. My paper remains blank. No answers.

One hug for a friend. Hope. Many prayers.

In the meantime, I swim through water or through injustice. Giving up is not an option. Peace and integrity are. May they win.

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Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase. (Martin Luther King Jr.)

A limping dog blocks traffic as he fights to get to roadkill, the dead animal no longer recognizable. At an exercise class two people share difficult places in their lives with me. The news blasts one horror story after another.

The May sun shines on all. I just had another birthday. Another beginning. A step forward.

My glasses are adequate, barely, during the daytime. At least until after cataract surgery I avoid driving at night. Hearing aids help if I want to hear the phone, a conversation, opportunities to learn or give.

However, sweet, bitter, and sour affect everyone—and everything. All I need to do is listen to other people’s stories. And see their sharing as a gift.

One step, to embrace this moment. The whole staircase? Mine is cluttered now. No way can I clear it all at once.

May there be adventure and serendipity along the way. May we find peace together. By seeing one another as individuals, by listening. Heart and ears wide open.

 

 

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It is very important to know who you are. To make decisions. To show who you are. (Malala Yousafzai)

 

With a little watering my amaryllis grew long stems. How? Not only can I barely tell the difference between a cactus and a rose, my botany-world confidence dies with a first-planted seed. The amaryllis bulb was a gift. However, a bloom hasn’t appeared. Yet.

The house, friends, family, writing, an impossible agenda keep me more than busy. I stop and ask: How important are my plants to me? I don’t like the answer. Plants fit in my should-be category.

Perhaps, on some level, the flower in the only-pot-I-could-find realizes that the occasional sips it receives are token, like the required stamp on a mailed envelope, or a mind-free entry code.

One minor adjustment in my approach—it may bring a flower—or not. The drink I pour into the pot can become a gift, a symbol, an intentional moment. Water for one form of life. Water for me.

One minor change can let me know who I am.

Life, as imperfect as it is, shared. This moment. Somehow made holy.

 

 

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Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise. (Sigmund Freud)

“Hey, let’s take her shopping for Mother’s Day?” A suggestion made by a super-special, many-years-younger person.

My husband thinks it’s a great idea. We have the time. Rare.

I am not a shopper. I’m a get-what-is-needed-and-run kind of individual. However, since Jay is recovering from knee surgery, I figure we won’t have time for extensive searches. Point out something good enough and I’m fine.

After all, no one can tell Arthur Ritis to take a hike. For good. They can’t buy me a few extra years to change choices I made in the past or wash away memories. Time can’t be extended. Magic wands to heal the ills of my friends exist in unwritten fairy tales.

We arrive and I hold my breath. More clothes? Very few items come in chihuahua-length leg sizes. Moreover, department-store mirrors are entirely too honest. They exaggerate wrinkles and add inches to my waist. (I have a vivid imagination.)

“Purses!” my aware friend calls. She points out the worn corners in mine.

“Nothing to try on.” I smile.

She leads the way, asks a few questions and leads the way through the aisles.

“Buying a purse?” a customer asks. She hands me a coupon.

“Even better.” Mission accomplished.

“Next time you need a wallet.” My friend leads the way toward the mall where Jay waits.

Next time. Yes! I am grateful to take reality in small portions.

 

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If I don’t ask “Why me?” after my victories, I cannot ask “Why me?” after my setbacks and disasters. ( Arthur Ashe )

As usual, I’m multitasking, poorly. The image of sweeping the beach at low tide hits me. The tide comes in before I’ve put the broom back in the closet. A missing cell phone. A forgotten load of wash—from last night waiting to be spun. My husband’s TED hose soaking in the sink. I wonder how fast I can dry them. He needs them now.

The phone rings. Shannon asks how I am and then says she has good news. She is getting a new kidney. Today. At 1:30.

Wow! Shannon has been alive because dialysis has been giving her some good days.

Shortly after the designated gift of life is expected, she calls again. The match is not as complete as it is supposed to be. I hold my breath. She remains calm.

“I’m still at the top of the list.”

The top of the list. The top of the transplant list. She sees blessings despite big-time disappointment.

Top-of-the-list for a transplant means imminent need. Yet, Shannon wastes no time with why-me.

The tide of confusion continues inside the house. It will end. Eventually. In the meantime, sun reaches through the window. Hope arrives. Her name is Shannon Owens.

 

 

 

 

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