Posts Tagged ‘Maya Angelou quote’

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. (Maya Angelou)

Ella finds two dolls inside the top floor of the dollhouse set up in the library. The male figure is noticeably smaller than the female doll. Nevertheless, they become Daughter and Daddy. Daughter and Daddy are their names.

One staircase and three floors is incidental. No problem. The characters move to the higher levels as if walls and open air did not exist. Hops are required on stairs. I become Daddy. Ella is Daughter.

When I comment that the leap from Daughter’s bedroom to attic has been a doozy, Ella does not respond. Either she is too involved in the game, or the slang term doozy is outdated.

“Carry me to bed, Daddy,” she says.

One plastic doll next to the other looks more like the letter X. But I have been living in the real world too long.


And the same scenarios repeat. In cycles so rapid day and night have no meaning. The relationship between child and father does.

“Carry me to bed, Daddy.” Followed by, “Daughter needs ear drops.”

And Daddy carries Daughter safely—over the chasm of rooms that have no entrance or exit. Her ear infection disappears within two minutes per the library clock, and perhaps four trips up one set of toy stairs and one jump into the impossible.

I am Grandmother. Playing a role. When I first sat down on the floor my mind was immersed in the plot for a short story for grownups. It got sidelined temporarily. Somewhere between make-believe and the profound. In make-believe I enter the imagination of a little girl with special needs and special love.

Daddy is always available, whether he is big enough for the task or not. He shines. Daughter’s physical problems dissolve. Ella idolizes her father.

I speak in hushed tones. This is a library. Ella talks as if she were in the toy room in my house. A woman sits at an adjoining table. She does not complain. When Grandpa pulls out his car keys as we get ready to go, Ella offers to drive.

The woman bursts out laughing. She has been amused, not annoyed. I am happy to have the job of grandma.

Ella has left a few blessings behind.

Ella back view at Mt. Airy Park April 2015


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Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. (Arthur Ashe)

I can tell by the expression on a young friend’s face her news isn’t good. “No change in the tumors,” she says.

She reports no noticeable response to her chemotherapy regimen. She needs a miracle. Now. Something so dramatic it belongs in science fiction. An event the media could exploit. I want a cure that turns a staunch atheist into a street preacher. But I stay with the reality and look her in the eye.

I thank her for continuing to stand upright, giving what she has—sometimes more. I tell her about her innate goodness and hope she is able to recognize it, too. She shares an upbeat moment she had when she volunteered at vacation bible school.

You’re the one who helped me,” a little boy said with enthusiasm. She had taken time with him on a project he had found difficult. I have no idea how well she felt that day. Nevertheless, she saw the beauty in the everyday, the glue-sticky-fingered mundane. I pray for that innate beauty to shrink her tumors. Eventually. Somehow. No matter how impossible that seems to be.

She does what she can…

Loss, I want to avoid it. That wish doesn’t come true, even in less serious matters. Today is the last day for a favorite aerobics instructor. She has found a full time job in her field. My good-byes are one of many.

Then I ask a member of the class how she is doing. She seems quieter than usual. Her brother-in-law has recently died. She is concerned for her husband as well. He was his only sibling.

Fortunately she is a hugger. I use my arms as comfort. They are the only tools I have. The woman’s brother-in-law will not return. But her smile tells me my arms are enough. For now.

This moment leads into the next as it plants possibilities into a limited, yet amazingly full existence.

not reduced by what happens to me Optimism Revolution


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There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that receives it. (Edith Wharton)

As I dust the front windowsill I realize my birthday cards have been on display for almost two months. Some of the messages are serious and genuine, some silly. I celebrate all of them. The cards are an opportunity for gratitude.

However, there is a fine line between gratitude and clutter. If I saved every thoughtful token I have ever received from friends, hoarding would replace genuine appreciation. The sun can’t shine through paper, even beautifully illustrated paper. I will save some cards for future illustration-inspiration. One friend copied a quote on slick paper. It will make a great bookmark.

No one thing lasts forever. Resentments can clutter, too. Sometimes people act in ways that reflect deep hurt—then they fling their pain around as weapons against those who have injured them. They take no responsibility for their choices. As long as the ball of discontent rolls, there is no time to recognize the loss of both logic and common sense. And the discontent grows deeper.

Hate caused Problems MoveOn.org

I think about that as I linger over the cards and shut out unhelpful thoughts concerning a recent situation that doesn’t directly involve me. It affects someone I care about. Nevertheless, it threatens my serenity. I have no control over another person’s choices. Light without shadow doesn’t exist in the real world. And resentments and anger can block out sun for years, sometimes a lifetime. I can’t help anyone if I play that game. Lashing out with quick judgment is tempting, but leads only to more lashing out.

I sigh and then pray for the highest good for the folk who would wish harm. Within minutes I notice that my breathing feels freer. The sky appears brighter, even though gray fills the clouds with promised rain.

However, the mirror reflecting the candle can shine on and on and on… Thanks to all my friends. For all you give and for all you are.


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