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Posts Tagged ‘positive attitudes’

screened vision

(screened vision, black and white, not easily read and slightly off-center)

The most important thing is to be whatever you are without shame. (Rod Steiger)

Even if I had the X-ray vision of the Superman I watched long before flat-screened TV and Netflix, I doubt I could understand human motivation. Friendships with the folk who share a similar sense of empathy, are easy. Those who can’t see a relationship between weapons and death, are difficult for me to figure out.

Someone I know tells a story about direct experience with an individual wielding a gun—at her. No pause for recognition of her experience, the person she tells continues with a statistics-game. No awareness of the damage done by violence.

Yet, this man is worthwhile, genuine in what he does. I have no intention of turning away from him. Argument proves nothing.

A photo taken through a screen isn’t the same as a picture taken in the cold and ice—as it develops. The picture isn’t the same as the photographed space.

Life continues without a set pattern. I need to be who I am, speak my own truth and respect the truth of another. Sometimes this respect is as difficult as seeing through two separate screens, made of vastly different experiences.

Peace. Five letters, each one separated by centuries of misunderstanding. Nevertheless, an essential goal. For all.

 

 

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seasonsAdopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

“Are those flowers real?” friends ask when they see the pastel arrangement of out-of-season blooms on my table.

They aren’t. I bought the vase from a struggling-artist neighbor. The arrangement matched an oil painting created by my husband’s grandmother, although my subconscious made the decision, and let me know about it later. The fact that my black thumb couldn’t kill the blossoms, chose first.

The notion of forever warmth and sunshine—without effort—is appealing.

Sure, I realize utopia doesn’t exist, even in storybook land. Either the flying unicorn runs into some adventure or the bored preschooler falls asleep before his bedtime tale ends.

Now February, the elongated 28-day month, shows its power in Midwest America. This thin-blooded, needs-another-blanket individual, shivers. (My husband wears shorts until the thermometer dips below zero.)

I don’t sparkle in the sun the way snow on a bare tree does. The secret of nature is patience. No season, day, month, year, or life lasts forever. The darker moments carry disguised blessings. Without the difficult times in my life, I suspect I could take what I have for granted.

My purchased flowers are not real; it is okay to enjoy them, as artificial. In the meantime, I celebrate the fact that I have indoor heat, a warm coat, and opportunities to give to others. Opportunities I hope will warm the spirit of somebody else since mother nature’s timing, warm or cold, doesn’t budge.

Patience? I haven’t arrived on that perfect path yet. I still rely on artificial flowers as a reminder that their fresh counterparts will reappear. In their own time.

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hands united (3)_LI“I don’t think of all the misery, but of all the beauty that still remains.” (Anne Frank)

Chaos reigns in national news. I blush when I consider how the American citizen appears to people in other countries—if certain groups remain the example. To be the greatest country means to be an instrument for peace—for all. However, greatness requires an emphasis on action, not boasts.

I applaud the many people who speak out, especially those who manage to point out wrongs without including pejorative and prejudicial terms. Or profanity. Without tossing hatred at hatred. Fire never puts out fire.

When I hear the ugly on TV, I groan. Of course, I react! The challenge comes with opportunities to magnify a horrified response: Bullied calls to war. Refusals to notice hurricane victims not in the continental US. Religion without acceptance of different nations and people.

However, there is nothing simple about choosing what is sometimes called a higher road. There are no quick solutions or instant gratifications along its path. I’ve fallen from a metaphorical mountain bridge now and then.

Fortunately, along the road again I find friends, incredible friends. We share how we think and feel, honestly. And, we speak “…the beauty that still remains.”

One of these friends told a story of a small boy who practiced his one line in a Christmas pageant. As innkeeper he needed to tell Joseph and Mary there was no room in the inn. However, when he saw his classmates and looked in their eyes, he couldn’t follow through. He said, “Come on in…” I don’t know how the play ended. I can only wish.

My wish for the world? Anne Frank pointed out beauty. It could not save her, but it exists. Inside anyone who notices. For the human-race, may all divisions merge. Into possibilities.

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angels three-dimensionI trust that everything happens for a reason, even when we’re not wise enough to see it. (Oprah Winfrey)

The same oh-so-bright Christmas song I heard ten minutes ago, plays on my car’s radio. In that recent-past moment I experienced gratitude—for my grandchildren, for a best friend 41-years-younger than I am, for a slowly healing foot. Long drives are uncomfortable, but the pain isn’t too bad on short sprints. I can and will accelerate as needed.

Now, I watch as a turkey vulture flees from an oncoming car, his carrion meal oozing red on the side of the road. His prey is no longer recognizable. While the bird waits to feast again, one Christmas song eases into another, no pause for outside world experiences. An ambulance passes through a busy intersection. A firetruck follows. A fender-bender a few blocks away stops traffic.

My life is not made of intangible sunshine and sweet carols. It isn’t eaten-up by darkness either. I meet a human angel now and then, generally when least expected.

Balance. Easy to say, not as simple to achieve. If I celebrated something else, Hanukkah, Kwanza, nothing, or another day alive, the challenges would be the same.

Peace upon all. Through all.

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boot and angel (2)_LIEmbrace the glorious mess that you are. (Elizabeth Gilbert)

Our angel fell from her Christmas tree perch last year. Several times. Jay and I referred to her as fallen. She couldn’t maintain a lofty position balanced on a wire stub with fake green needles attached. I can’t blame the angel. The treetop offered insufficient support. Her last dive cracked her plastic cone innards.

This year we replaced the fractured guardian with a similar angel. She too reigned lopsided. A younger family member set her straight with steady, understanding hands. Our girl has mechanical know-how. The current tree is smaller. However, I wonder if one angel didn’t recognize another, at least metaphorically.

Another metaphor appears at the bottom of my own being—a post-surgical orthopedic boot. A small mechanical can opener didn’t fall on my right foot. I dropped the darned thing. No cracked bones showed on an x-ray and I did not have surgery. However, my swollen foot needs protection. A regular shoe would be a vise-grip-pliers substitute.

I am a glorious mess. Nevertheless, I am alive.

A good, fun friend died recently. I talk to him in my thoughts, with no reply. At least on this side of time. For now, I celebrate the temporary rises and falls, the human frailties, the holes and fabric of lace woven from one day into another.

…From one perfectly imperfect, alive moment into the next. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or Hanukkah. Or, simply celebrate being if holidays aren’t your thing.

May life bring beauty and joy into the everyday.

 

 

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both books (2)_LI

I’m growing older, but not up. (Jimmy Buffett)

The tension in my neck tells me I am not in synch with the world as it is. Mass natural disasters are difficult enough to understand; mass hatred is another. I don’t need to delineate any of it. The blind can hear about it, and the deaf can read closed-caption. The unaffected remain in a narrow, wire-thin margin.

Pain begins before the first commercial on any news channel. Gentle heat helps my muscles. Distraction, blended with love, helps my spirit.

My husband and I take Dakota to afternoon kindergarten on Thursdays. Dakota asks me to sit in the back seat with him. We discuss the six-year-old boy world and his unique observations along the familiar route.

This young man notices details: The recycling truck has two steering wheels and two sets of brakes… He discerns how a toy train track fits together. His mechanical expertise will probably surpass mine before he reaches third grade!

During a rare pause Dakota notices the back cover of my second book, Stinky Rotten Threats. It is on the back seat between us.

“Isn’t that your picture? Why is it there?”

I smile. When I am with this young man, my intention is to focus on him. My successes, failures, and mundane trips to the doctor or post office don’t come up. He probably assumes I don’t pretend to pilot a plane without knowing what an instrument panel is. However, other than stocking the refrigerator with his favorite cheese and hot sauce, he wouldn’t know what else fills my day.

“This is what I do, buddy. I write. This is my second book.” (The first was The Curse Under the Freckles.)

“Wow,” he says flipping through the pages without looking at them. “It must have taken you more than an hour and a half.”

Dakota’s notion of numbers and time hasn’t developed yet. I realize I want world change overnight, in my spirit, even if my head knows a sudden transformation is as impossible as writing a middle-grade fantasy adventure in an hour and a half. The Star League Chronicles fights evil—not with fists and swords, but with truth. Even in make-believe, a story takes more than one page for goodness to win.

“Two years,” I answer. “It took me two years.”

He doesn’t say anything, but I suspect he thinks I must be mighty slow.

I don’t mind. Slow is the general idea. My neck thanks me. Growing up all the way isn’t recommended anyway.

 

 

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We are born believing. A man bears beliefs as a tree bears apples. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

A friend is doing me a favor. My right hand has limited strength. A fractured metacarpal, age, and arthritis have limited my joint flexibility. Maneuvering a Lovenox injection into my belly prior to a diagnostic procedure would be like repairing eyeglass screws with vise grips. Who knows what I would stick with the needle? A thumb, wrist, or table top in a bizarre flip move—if I managed to remove the tricky cap.

Not only does J. arrive to help me at 7:30 in the morning on five consecutive days, she brings in the newspaper—and one morning she delivers a bag of apples. Farmers’ market fresh. The photo below is no longer accurate. I had two ripe red beauties for lunch today. Four have been baked, cinnamon sweet. Yum, maybe one more now.

A pre-school neighbor has an EpiPen dependent peanut allergy. Even so, for the experience, her parents took her door-to-door to greet neighbors on Halloween. I gave the little girl two dollars to spend on a treat for herself earlier Tuesday morning. However, the snacks we shared with visiting princesses and superheroes were not safe for her.

I offered her an apple. She was thrilled. J.’s gift expanded. Something as simple as a piece of fruit has made a child happy.

The apple has further symbolism for me. I belong to a spiritual group that is, yes, named after a fruit. Many years ago, before I joined, a young woman read a Scripture quote, “You are the apple of my eye.” Several members were pregnant, and round as apples. They laughed. The name stuck, long after the developing children were born, and became parents.

Now, we are grandparents. Ephemeral fruit, hoping to nurture life in a different way. Acceptance of ourselves and others, the ability to listen, change at any age, live and not simply exist—no matter how ugly the world may become.

Once fresh fruit rots it can become compost. It nourishes the soil. Rotten places inside me, any human, can disappear into the past…if I let go. And accept a humility that wasn’t in my agenda.

An apple seed. A thank you. A belief that grows through kindness, yet never calls itself perfect. Gratitude, renewed each day…

Thanks, J.

 

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