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Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

circles of seasons (2)_LI

You pile up enough tomorrows and you’ll be left with nothing but a bunch of empty yesterdays. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to make today worth remembering. (Meredith Willson)

As I run toward the building my coat and the front of my pants soak with a waterfall-downpour.

“I’d wait if I were you,” a man calls from the curb.

However, my appointment is in five minutes. Enough time to sign in, not delay until Mother Nature’s mood settles.

“I swam in,” I tell staff at the Little Clinic. They took care of the preliminaries for me. I’ve been a regular customer for the past few days. One more to go.

“You are a beautiful person,” the nurse practitioner says as I slide down from my seat on the examination table, after receiving one more subcutaneous belly injection.

“So are you,” I answer.

This woman is a sunshine soul. A gift. She shares a positive attitude, an awareness that every individual has something to give. The tone for my day has been set.

I know. A needle in the abdomen? Not as uncomfortable as most folk would expect it to be—when the injector knows what she is doing. Moreover, I’ve been surrounded by so many examples of larger perspective, I can’t complain.

People I know face cancers with little hope of recovery. Friends deal with dementia, children into drugs, rejection from family. Even in these places I find amazing faith and hope in their stories. Prayer is good; presence and support are better.

Perhaps the moment can transcend the season.

The gentleman who suggested that I wait is no longer outside the building. I’m sure he meant to help. However, sometimes I need to head directly into a storm. With a friend or two and a good raincoat.

 

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Reading between the lines

 

One day I was speeding along at the typewriter, and my daughter—who was a child at the time—asked me, “Daddy, why are you writing so fast?” And I replied, “Because I want to see how the story turns out!” (Louis L’Amour, novelist)

My grandson and I were riding in the backseat of the car as my husband drove to kindergarten.

As we talked, Dakota picked up my second book in the Star League Chronicles. “What is your picture doing on the back?”

“Uh, I wrote the book.”

“Really?” he said. “It must have taken you at least a half-hour to write.”

“At least,” I responded. “Two years.”

My little buddy was amazed by my slow progress. I didn’t take umbrage. When my middle granddaughter saw my first book, The Curse Under the Freckles, she wanted to know where the pictures were. Grandparents, by my grandchildren’s measure, were invented as playmates, not boring adults who put together words on paper. And take years to write a single story.

Dakota and I enjoy becoming pretend pilots where the newbie Grandma-pilot does practice flights with a hundred passengers aboard. He decides how much gas a plane needs to fly cross-country. Five-dollars’ worth. Or we invent a game played in the gym with a mini football instead of a basketball.

In both plot and play, reality is suspended. Grandson and I open jet windows to shoo birds while Dakota snacks on cheese dipped in hot sauce. Literary subjects never come up.

Of course, the best fictional stories appear real as they unfold. Each life’s story has a beginning, middle, and end, often unplanned.

Sure, I wonder how my life will turn out. Change can happen in the last scene. However, savoring each day seems more satisfying than typing at deadline speed. Life’s end will come soon enough. In the meantime, I have a lot of seeds soaked in love to plant.

 

 

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alienI believe in an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out. (Arthur Hays Sulzberger)

When rain turns ground into mud, and mud spreads through everyday life, maybe I need a cleansing breath or two before getting out the spiritual mop.

A good imagination helps.

A creature like one of my grandchildren’s toys becomes an alien—the outer space variety. He has a name, but it isn’t pronounceable with a human tongue. I call him A-Z, because it is as close as earth interpretation can get. He lands close to a town and enters in the darkest hour of night.

A-Z sees only one person on the sidewalk. The alien’s intuition is strong enough to catch not only the individual’s language, but feelings. This character could be fictional—or it could be me. The alien sends messages of love. Does the earth resident receive them or see only differences?

Oh, I have ideas about how the person on the street could respond with fear and begin an intergalactic war. I also imagine a blind woman who isn’t limited by visual first impressions.

I believe in an open mind. But, exposed to the elements of reality, it gets muddy now and then. Time to return to real life…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The trouble with weather forecasting is that it’s right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it. (Patrick Young)

Icebergs in polar regions and desert heat rarely make weather channel news. In the part of the world where I roam, weather news has the reliability of gossip. Maybe the broadcast will fit. Maybe not.

In the meantime, life continues at the same continuous pace.

Right now, I am my own pain in the neck. More accurately, I have cervical damage, caused by carrying the same head for years. The weather irritates, but it didn’t create the problem.

Nature’s plan? Unpredictable. Like the flight of a lightning bug. The destination of a running toddler. The future of a random seed.

I have a book signing on Saturday from 1-4 PM. Several inches of snow could get in the way. If the forecast takes a just-kidding route, anyone who doesn’t need to be beamed up Star-Wars style is invited.

Nor’easters, hurricanes, and tornadoes are bullies without negative intention. I suspect casting blame is counterproductive. Action matters.

The tree in my backyard carries snow—on the second day of spring. Photo Booth’s Thermal Camera turns the snow blue, as if it were a lake. The pic doesn’t represent warmth or cold, however. The app on my iPad provides more game than fact. Something like predicting changeable weather.

We are all pawns in that realm. How I decide to deal with the challenge is another matter. Okay, I admit it. I’m still working on it. Ouch!

 

 

 

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seeds

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. Albert Einstein

Mother Nature and I are mere acquaintances in the plant-life realm. I could destroy the hardest-to-kill houseplants as well as a plastic rose or two. My thumb isn’t green; it has a gangrene touch.

Nevertheless, I’ve kept one plant alive since my father’s funeral, more than ten years ago. The plant blooms occasionally. Today I noticed what could be seeds on a leaf. In-the-know friends could tell me scientific facts about the foliage.

Instead I see metaphors. I see the unexpected. And recall my dad’s voice.

Hi there, eldest daughter. Remember when we went to LaRosa’s for lunch? Before I went to the nursing home. I looked forward to those lunches.

From somewhere in my past I hear advice he told me when I was an easily insulted teenager. “Consider the source.”

I have added a part two: Love anyway.

Seeds of concern may be planted with kindness, then fertilized with manure.

Actions centering on the safety of schools and the lives of immigrants, have been received as political insults.

Somehow discord is inevitable. Growth rarely occurs in direct straight lines. Art consists of both positive and negative space. Sunshine creates shadow.

I’d rather coast and take it easy, than work toward balance. Unfortunately, coasting doesn’t work on uphill slopes.

Beauty and mystery. Science and metaphor. Inside are unexpected seeds. Planted in the mind or in soil.

 

 

 

 

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arthritisDifficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict. (William Ellery Channing)

Be nice. Nice. Nice. The teachings of my childhood. Begin with following all rules with a smile and… I don’t remember what came after the and.

Since I happened to be a girl who grew up in the middle of the twentieth century, options were limited. Rarely mentioned. Mom, teacher, nurse. The arts? Forget it. Not practical. Difficulties during those days needed to be faced with stoic silence.

The result—any pain, sorrow, even joys I felt that weren’t shared by my family seemed bizarre, disconnected with anyone else. I see life differently since I learned the world’s inhabitants have as many similarities as differences.

Empathy is a gift. A celebration of shared humanity.

When people, or groups of people, mock mass deaths for political motives I cringe. Conflict? Inevitable. I’ve shared meals, laughs, celebrations with some of the mockers.

Growth in compassion seems as likely as studying the brain through decapitation. And yet, using a less graphic image, grapes and roses grow after deep pruning.

Do I back down? No. That’s the advice of early childhood, the place where I got lost. Instead I follow the advice of my arthritic hands. They throb.

Mother nature has been sending enough rain to flood rivers and streams to overload the land. Pestering my aching joints with action is the way to be nice, nice, nice to them.

I pray for more people to listen to the survivors of injustices. May the listeners place themselves in similar unjust circumstances, without rushing to judgments.

May the survivors recognize they are not alone. May I somehow not sever all connections with the people I see as creating harm.

An impossible request? Maybe. A-step-up-to-unlikely would be worth the effort. In the meantime, I sharpen empathy by choosing awareness in close-by places.

The man behind me in the checkout line at the grocery store has three items. I have at least thirty. He can go ahead of me. My tired mate who needs a nap doesn’t need to be awakened by the vacuum cleaner. And, I have a friend or two who could use a phone call this evening.

Maybe the larger world is no closer to repair, but my smaller realm has been blessed.

 

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rose in frameAppreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well. (Voltaire)

I’m struck by two profoundly different moments. The first, an original drawing received on a Christmas card, two months late. The artist died fifteen days before the holiday. The second, a red fabric rose given by my friend Cathy as a Valentine. She told me it was a thank-you for my ready smile.

Cathy’s welcoming approach to everyone results in a sunshine response. However, I’ll accept her gift and hug. Who started our friendship? I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. Living that friendship does matter.

The Christmas card has found a quiet display in the bedroom. The artist’s picture with his birth and death date appear on the back. I hear his voice in my memory. See you later. A wave and laugh. Not enough time for one more thank you, acknowledgement of his gifts for humor, art, affability.

I talk to him in the silence of my thoughts. About the nuances of art that appear simple, yet come with quick, aptly applied brush strokes. Then, I switch to travel stories and ask what it was like to ride a camel. No response from the other side; I would believe my mind had cracked if I caught his voice in the lamp or mirror.

Then, I realize the gifts of this day bring enough gratitude. One rose, Cathy. Three granddaughters. One almost-grandson and a simple wedding between his mom and my son is in the future. A tiny affair with a big impact—at least in my family’s life.

What is excellent in others belongs to us as well. May that excellence continue to grow because of the next step I take. May we meet in that space…

 

 

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