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Monthly Archives: March 2012

The living answer

“Religion is about having the right answers, and some of their answers are right… but I am about the process that takes you to the living answer… it will change you from the inside. There are a lot of smart people who are able to say a lot of right things from their brain because they have been told what the right answers are, but they don’t know Me at all.”
― William P. Young “The Shack”

I’m hardly a Bible expert:  I remember as many verses as I’ve forgotten. I don’t worship as formally as I did when I was a girl and there are times I feel guilty about it.

But I do know this:  I know Him and He knows me.

He’s with me on my walks.

I feel His nudge to pay attention to nagging thoughts or a blossoming ideas.

I see Him in my boys and grandchildren; laughing, talking and enjoying being together.

I feel Him around me, comforting me, hearing me, settling me.

So when some of the talking heads start spouting off their views on religion and reproduction and rapture?  I wonder if they’ve ever even met.

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Categories: Attitude, Faith, Forgiveness, Growth, Joy, Life, Personal, Politics, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 26 Comments

Seeing the need

So, there we were last Saturday, hubbs and me, seated at a corner table facing the rest of the restaurant as we waited for friends to join us for supper.  A perfect vantage point for people-watching and hubbs could check college basketball scores on the flat screens if he chose to. We chatted back and forth but soon found ourselves paying attention to the next table’s occupants.

We saw them when they first were seated: a young woman, in her thirties I think, and with her, three young boys.  The oldest faced me, his young face kissed by a smattering of freckles.  He was tall and lanky, maybe 10 years old at most.  To his left was his younger brother, who we guessed to be about 7.  The mother had her back to us and to her right was sat the littlest, a cute little boy between 3 and 4.  The boys settled in and seemed happy to be there.  Mom began texting  and perusing her iPad immediately, only raising her head to offer a scolding.  Frequently she left the table and went outside.  We couldn’t help but notice the oldest as he shared his pizza toppings with the littlest , and how he comforted him when asked for Mommy.  Mom came back and forth to the table so many times that we lost count.   A cluster of club-dressed women appeared and we soon learned that these ladies were Mom’s friends; the ones she couldn’t go out with that night because she had the kids.  She said it with such contempt that both hubbs and I recoiled.

It wasn’t long before Mom handed the boys her beloved iPad and let their pizza smeared fingers get busy.   This gave her the opportunity to grab her drink and sneak away to the bar, where she stood with her girlfriends for at least 30 minutes, her back to her children.  When the littlest one scored points on the game, he raised a chubby arm and gave a triumphant cry.  Bar Mom spun and shot a caustic look at the oldest, who clearly was failing the parental responsibilities she’d thrust upon his slim shoulders.

Eventually, and only after settling in the younger two, he warily approached the Mom.  At first, she put her arm around him and smiled as she introduced him to her friends.  But it wasn’t long before she tired of that and turned away from him and back to her friends; he stood where she’d left him, shifting his weight from one foot to another for a tortured forever.

To my right I heard Hubbs deep voice whisper, “You know, I’ve been that kid.  I’ve been that boy trying to get his parents out of the bar; I feel so badly for him.”

There comes a point in circumstances such as this when your heart scrambles to see what you might have missed.

When you hope there’s another truth besides the one being played out in front of you.

There’s comes a point when you realize how it’s possible to feel empathy and anger at the same moment.

There comes a point when you sadly realize that not every child enjoys the luxury of being wanted.

There comes an understanding, too, that there’s little an outsider can do.  We were strangers after all. Stranger danger.

We are parents.

We get it.

It’s demanding, stressful, and sometimes not that rewarding, quite frankly.

Sometimes you need a break.

But here’s the thing, sometimes you don’t get one. Why take it out on the kids?

I heard my mother’s words ringing in my head, “Children don’t ask to be here; the least they deserve is love and attention.”

Creating an opportunity, I walked past their table and, as I passed,  tapped the oldest on the shoulder.  When his brown eyes looked up into mine, I smiled and said warmly, “You sure are a wonderful big brother; what a nice job you’re doing!”   He beamed and shyly said, “Thank you,” and off I went.

Just because he doesn't raise his hand doesn't mean the need isn't there. google.images.com

Coming back a few minutes later, I noticed he’d changed positions and was facing me. And when his eyes locked on mine, I smiled and winked; his grin back told me he understood what I was doing.  Hubbs and I enjoyed several shy smiles cast our way for the rest of the time he sat there.

My efforts felt small and days later, here I am still  thinking about him.  I am thinking of him and hoping those few words of encouragement will sustain him the next time this occurs.

“Children don’t ask to be here; the least they deserve is love and attention.” – my Mom

  * * *

Have you ever found yourself in a similar predicament? 

How did you handle it? or What do you wish you’d done?

 

Categories: Faith, Family, Life, Mom, Personal, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Starting points

As I neared the check-out lines, I overheard one of the clerks saying something about Bangladesh to another. When he saw I was ready to be rang up, he quickly scampered over and got into position behind the till.  While he was scanning my purchases I asked, “did I hear you mention Bangladesh?” and he smiled shyly. “Yes Ma’am,” he said, with a heavy Hindi accent.  Smiling, I asked, “And how long has it been since you’ve been there?” His brown eyes, the color of warm honey, glistened “Two years, Ma’am.”

Impulsively, I told him that I was an immigrant once, am a citizen now and that I know what it’s like to be far from home.

Smiling broadly, he told about his Permanent Residence status and, in another two years (I heard yea-uhs), he can apply for citizenship.

“Well, that’s just wonderful; good luck to you” I said, smiling.

He handed me my packages and, grinning broadly, said, “Thank you, Ma’am, Thank you” and with a dip of his head, I knew he wasn’t talking about the purchases I’d just made.

“Maybe you had to leave in order to really miss a place; maybe you had to travel to figure out how beloved your starting point was.”
— Jodi Picoult

Our starting points couldn’t be more different but we enjoyed a kinship in the journey.

Categories: Friendship, Life, Quotes, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

on Acceptance

Growing up, I hated my curls.

H-a-t-e-d them.

They were temperamental, difficult and unruly.

My feelings about my hair were compounded by the fact that I had two sisters with bone-straight blond hair.

And then there was me.

Tumble-haired, curly, wild and unyielding, my hair refused to be tamed. I spent most of my time in braids and ponytails, wishing I could wear it down and swinging like my sisters could.

It wasn’t easy growing up as the younger sister to two blond bombshells.

Especially when you looked nothing like them.

Humidity?  Kapow – you’ve got hair with ‘tude.

Wind?  You’ve got tangles up the wazoo.

To this day, I wear it layered, use expensive products to manage it, and fight with it in summertime.

Then, I caught a view of something recently that completely changed how I feel:

2 1/2 year old Grand-daughter MJ's glorious curls ..

And as I listened to her mother, complain about this beautiful child’s gorgeous mane and how hard it was for her to manage, something in me shifted.

It occurred to me then that there was a reason I was given all that I was: I believe I was given these crazy curls to help a precious little someone understand that she’s absolutely perfect just the way God made her.

If I refuse to honor what He gave to me, how can I hope to foster self-acceptance in her?

I know one thing for sure: she’ll always have an ally in her Nana, who knows a thing or two about curls.

Me .. after an long day & a workout - yep- still curly!

And, just because her little face makes me smile, here’s a shot of wee MJ from the front:

"A grandchild is a gift from above; one to cherish, one to love." -Anonymous

Is there something about yourself that you’ve struggled to accept?

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Growth, Love, Personal, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 41 Comments

Yogi lessons

Yogi Bear; image from google.images.com

No, not that Yogi.

The other kind .. as in yoga. That’s right, yoga.

See, I’ve had this DVD sitting around for probably 6 months now. Just took the plastic off last week.  Popped it in after a long walk, thinking it might benefit me. And it did.

But wait – there’s more!

Tuesday night, after two days of 7 hour webinars, my neck felt as though it was made of concrete. Ding! I’ll do the yoga tape, I thought.

Oh the lessons I’ve learned:

  1. In grade school, when I would lay on my stomach and show off by touching my toes to the back of my head?  Not not happening now, unless it’s at gunpoint.
  2. I’m going to lose some poundage just doing the moves successfully.  (My .. ahem .. girls get in the way…)  However, having a little extra padding makes lying on a yoga mat even more comfy.
  3. Speaking of, I can doze off in under 2 minutes while stretched out on a hardwood floor.  That should tell you something about the effectiveness of the breathing exercises: a-m-a-z-i-n-g!
  4. Dust bunnies the size of house cats live under our exercise equipment.   Serenity now! Not.
  5. The stretches feel wonderful, but I have to resist my inner lizard to just go for it… which, more than likely, is the point.   Ah Grasshoppa, you get it now!

How about you?  Are you a Yogi? (practitioner of Yoga)

Here’s the DVD I’m enjoying; so far so good! Buy yours here .

Categories: Determination, Faith, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Products I love, Self Discovery, Share | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

The inner lizard

“When you are in a creative or appreciative zone, you literally have no access to your inner lizard, to that fear-based, non creative, shrieking little beasty who’s so afraid you’re going to be a bag lady.”
–Martha Beck

When your inner lizard appears, how do you silence her/him?

Categories: Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, fear, Growth, Life, News, Quotes, Share, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , , | 29 Comments

Genuine Sunshine & Inspirational Hugs

Over the past little bit, Dianna at These Days of Mine has been very kind and very busy – she’s been busy sharing with me the following blogging awards: the Sunshine Award, The Genuine Blog Award, the HUG Award and, just this week, the Very Inspiring Blog Award.    Wowza!   I am happy to be included and thank Dianna (and Sundae) for honoring me so.

OK, now onto the rules.  Accepting The Sunshine Award requires that I answer the following questions:

Favorite color:  Blue. I love Navy Blue, Royal Blue and Turquoise Blue. I love Baby Blue, Robin’s egg Blue and Sky Blue.  Yep, pretty sure I love Blue.

Aren't the colors here dreamy? pinterest.com

Favorite animal:    Dogs, cats, horses, pigs and cows.  A farm girl can’t be expected to choose!   Don’t mind chickens but geese scare me.

Favorite number:     Can’t think of one.

Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Diet Dr. Pepper.  And I remember the first Dr. Pepper I ever drank – we were visiting family in WA State when my uncle bought a case of them; driving our family up a mountain, Dad pulled off at a scenic rest stop where we played in the JULY snow and drank Dr. Peppers.  Mmm. 

source: google.images.com

Prefer Facebook or Twitter?   Have never tweeted and am losing interest in Facebook.

My passion:    I’m passionate about my marriage and I’m passionate about being a good example to my boys.  I’m passionate about how I dole out my time and to whom.  I’m passionate about a meal lovingly prepared and liberally shared. I’m passionate about the “little” things in life that make it delightful and I’m passionate about “big” things, too.  I’m passionate about learning.  What I’m passionate about really comes down to this: it’s what’s not negotiable. It’s what I could never, ever leave behind.  It’s how I behave and who I am whether anyone is around to know. I know, and that’s enough for me.

And of course, black leather Elvis … hello!

That's all right Mama ..

Prefer getting or giving presents:   Receiving gifts is always delightful but thinking of and finding “just that right little something” for another is the best.

Favorite pattern:  Blue & white …as in an antique china pattern.

Blue china; isn't it pretty?

Favorite day of the week:  Sundays

Favorite flower:  Lilacs

my 2011 Lilacs .. heavenly

The Genuine Blogger award doesn’t come with any stipulations, but I’m touched to receive it because it means that Dianna thinks I’m the real deal.  Thank you, friend.

One who knows how to show and to accept kindness will be a better friend than any possession. -Sophocles

As for the Hug (Hope Unites Globally) award, you can read its origins here. And the only requirement for accepting the HUG award is to pass it on to at least one person.  Ditto for the Very Inspiring Blog Award.

There are many wonderful people writing blogs and I can’t possibly highlight them all here — so today I am passing along these awards to a few of my favorites (see below).  They might not have time to accept right now but I hope you’ll make it a point to stop by their sites for a visit.    Cheers!

We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own. – Ben Sweetland

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Friendship, Fun, Gratitude, Joy, Life, Quotes, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 35 Comments

Whiskey on a Sunday

In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and as a tribute to all the “Mc’s” and “Mac’s” in my lineage, I give you this traditional Irish Blessing:

May you always have walls for the winds,

a roof for the rain,

tea beside the fire,

laughter to cheer you,

those you love near you,

and all your heart might desire.

To bless and to keep you …

And, of course, some Rovers to liven you! 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 * Have fun * Be Safe!

Categories: Attitude, Friendship, Holidays, Joy, Life, music, Relationships, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

The look

“You can say any fool thing to a dog, and the dog will give you this look that says, “My God, you’re right! I never would’ve thought of that!” – Dave Barry

I had just that kind of conversation with Frankie last night; his support never wavers!

:: Good Gravy - You're Brilliant!! ::

Do you converse with your pets?

For more about how Frankie came to be our fuzzy kid, click here.

Categories: Animals, Friendship, Fun, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , | 41 Comments

Walking distance

I work near someone whose personality grates on my nerves.  There’s no conflict; I make the effort to get along because that’s the right thing to do.  Having said that, her voice is the last thing I want to hear on a busy day, a quiet day, an aggravating day or, for that matter, any day ending in “y.”

EXIT RIGHT!! google.images.com

I read this quote and it not only gave me perspective, it made me laugh, too.

Tuck this away for the next time you find yourself in a similar situation:

“Don’t let others drive you crazy when you know perfectly well that it’s within walking distance.” ~Author Unknown

Have a great day friends!

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Fun, Grief, Joy, Life, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Self Discovery, Wisdom, Work | Tags: , , | 26 Comments

An ear what?

Ever been in the middle of a task only to find a particular song or phrase stuck in your head?  As in moved in and taken up residence?

I have and it happens to me often. And it can be charming or annoying as what.

Not charming: We're heeeere & we're not leaving!! google.images.com

Sometimes it’s a song that I learned in grade school: (Frere Jacques)

Sometimes it’s the theme to a TV show I enjoyed as a girl:

And sometimes … it’s a jingle I’ll never, ever, forget:

If you’ve ever experienced this, you, my friend, have had an earworm.

And now that I know what it is, maybe I can find a way to get this song out of my head!  Although I do think the little dog dude is kinda cute.

Got any songs stuck in your head?

Categories: Friendship, Fun, Life, music, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

On stillness

Exodus 14:14 - "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” image from pinterest.com

I’ve done it. I’ve stopped being a weekend warrior.

I’m no longer manic about accomplishing so much. Instead, I putz. And – to my surprise -I’ve gotten rather good at it.

Saturday mornings find me reading and lingering over coffee, instead of racing through a grocery store check-out line.   I take my time doing whatever – a load of laundry, sorting papers and sometimes – sometimes nothing at all. And when I get bored with the nothing, I bundle up for a walk with old dog.  I’ve quit listening to music every time; no more marching to the beat for me. Nope, I’m saying “no” to the mania.  Instead, I take in the quiet, the birds and his frequent sniffs and stops.   Nature restores me, the sunshine invigorates me and the exercise .. it delights me.

Sometimes, in the pace of day to day living, I feel a little bit like the pea in a shell game; the shells are moving and I get dizzy trying to keep up.

Mixing it up means a few of my chores get moved to another time in the week. It’s not like they’ll just do themselves: I don’t have a cook or housekeeper and most likely never will.  But what I’ve learned is this:  somewhere in these days, between the dizzy and the doing,  I’m making room for stillness. For down time.  For me time.

And I’m making room for Him, too.

How about you?  Do you make a conscious effort to be still?

Categories: Faith, Growth, Home, Joy, Life Lessons, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , | 30 Comments

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