Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Not Ready to Be Old and Sensible Just Yet

My day-to-day living has been altered a bit due to my husband's work shift changing and the kids moving out. I do my running around earlier in the morning now. Here's the thing: the morning after our town's very first nightly experience with temperatures much colder than they've been since last winter, I went to the grocery store. Yes, the night had been quite chilly, but by ten in the morning the thermometer had risen to the low 70's. Felt great! I wore my summery khaki capri pants, a favorite white shirt, and sandals. Again, very comfy. 

I arrived at the grocery store only to find it populated by short-cropped-gray-haired ladies in long-sleeved flannel shirts and those Michelin-man vests or L.L. Bean chore coats, jeans, and - get this - hiking boots! Their men were dressed the same. They looked very autumnal. 

Sure we all passed a giant pile of pumpkins by the front door of the store and stands of yellow, purple, and magenta mums, but other than that, it felt like a cool summer day, cloudless blue sky and all. 

What the heck? 

I have to confess, I was chuckling all through the aisles as I spotted more and more of these frost-triggered stalwarts. They were all constricted-looking, hunched over shopping lists, tense as if a snow storm was only minutes away and they'd better stock up and get back home! 

I thought to myself, "Oh dear, I don't like this one bit. I cannot allow myself to be a part of this group. It might rub off!" I shop in the early afternoon now and will continue to until I feel compelled to wear autumnal attire, too.

Friday, September 28, 2018

And Yet . . .

The weight of sin.

The overwhelming sensation of a broken world devouring itself.

I slump.

I weep.

I feel like I'm drowning.

And, yet, the sun shines...

. . . squirrels scamper . . .

. . . birds flit and chirp . . .

. . . flowers bloom and leaves change color drifting lazily to the ground.

My children suffer today. My nation's fabric tears.

I cry for them, shoulders shudder convulsively.

No help can I offer that will better their situations.

It's dark, dark, dark. They hurt hurt hurt.

Pain for them, I feel such pain for them.

And, yet, friends exist and love does, too . . .

. . . honor and dignity can be found all around . . .

. . . recovery happens every day and babies are born to good people . . .

. . . and God has good reasons for everything that happens whether I understand or not.

Hope. Hope. Hope.

Hope lifts me, restores my soul, lightens the heaviness of my heart.

And the sun and the squirrels, the flowers and the leaves,

And honor and dignity and recovery and babies remind me that even though life is lived amidst the sinfulness of mankind and a cursed world, God sees fit to shed His grace on us.

His goodness.

His love.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Autumnal Stirrings

Autumn

Beautiful in Oregon

But . . .
. . . it is the promise of winter around the corner.

Winter in Oregon
Gray
Wet
Gray
Have I mentioned gray?

Depression
Lethargy
Sleepiness

This Oregon Seasonal Affective Disorder hits hardest after New Year's, though it begins to intensify much earlier. . .

And it's bad.

We who experience this loathsome sunless slow-motion suffocation dread it this year more than usual.

We don't know why.

But we do.

Looming forbidding haunting - can't shake it.

The sunshine this week is deceptive - but we'll take it.

We'll take it all in.

We'll throw our chore lists to the winds and soak up the sun, as much as we are able, steeping our minds in it in the hope that its memory will somehow see us through. . .

. . . the gray.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Embrace the Red-Eye Day

The area under my eye is red and puffy from a soap allergy flare-up. It looks like I ran into a door.

I almost didn't go to my morning hair appointment today. Realizing just how much my hair needed a trim up, I went anyway. It needed to be done, ugly eye or no.

After I informed my hair stylist what the red puffiness was, that it didn't hurt, and could she please take care to keep sprays and soaps away, she was very chill. No big deal. We went on to talk about our yard projects, the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, and how cute her little boy looked when stuffing fresh-picked blackberries into his greedy two-year old mouth under the summer sun.

My stylist, along with other staff and customers in the salon, were interested in interacting with me, not my eye. So encouraged was I by this friendliness that I decided to tackle the grocery shopping which I had felt shy to do because of my shiner.

Again, no one cared. Same smiles. Same courtesy. No staring. No one even seemed to notice.

How silly of me! How great that I fought my vanity and in turn discovered anew that this world is full of great people. We are human beings, after all, with bodies that do what they want when they want. This is understood.

Today's most welcomed reminder lifts my spirits. I hope the sharing lifts your as well.

There is much good in this old world, if we just have the eyes to see it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Liberty Applies to the Commander in Chief, Too

John McCain was a war hero, a brave and loyal soldier.

He was a devoted senator, too.

America is a compassionate country that honors its heroes and hard-working politicians upon their deaths. This is good and proper.

The outpouring of affection and gratitude showed to Senator McCain comes voluntarily and from the heart. Also, from the heart, is the silence of those who found McCain less than stellar in his conduct toward them and others. Respectfulness is to keep silent rather than respond negatively. Our parents taught that if we don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all.

I wonder if that is what our President had going through his mind in the first days after the news of McCain's passing?

You see, McCain was not kind to President Trump. Even in his final words, which were read after his passing, he takes potshots at the President's policies, policies applauded by half the country.

I heard Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of President and Mrs. George W. Bush, say she thinks it's fitting that the Maverick got the last word.

Did he? In a sense I suppose he did. He cannot hear responses anymore. His words, after spoken, linger for a moment and then are gone. No chance for rebuttal, not that anyone would want to.

But were his last words healing words, respectful of all the citizens of this country and its President? Interspersed with very moving and beautiful sentiments were snipes meant to demean the President, to throw egg on his face at a time when Trump couldn't tweet back because his belief in respecting the dead wouldn't allow it. Who is the better person here, the bully or the one who kept his mouth shut for a few days rather than blurt unkind - albeit probably accurate - sentiments? Well, let's not go there.

What is Trump supposed to say in light of the fact that McCain 'got the last word' with him? Seriously?

I think it took a lot of self-control for President Trump to keep his lips together and not say anything rude, which we all know he is quite capable of doing. Instead, he waited a bit, kept his cool. He chose the time he would say the presidential words the office demanded. What does it matter that they came a few days later? Who has the right to demand what he says, when he says it, how he says it?

It's called liberty. Liberty applies to the Commander in Chief, too.

For all those who vilify President Trump - for every single time he doesn't do or say exactly what they demand he do and say - I say grow up. He's free to pick and choose his own words and the timing of them, whether you like it or not.

That being said, I do wish the Senator's family comfort in the days, months, and years ahead. I pray that they'll have the strength the next days require, and that they'll feel the love the country has for them and for their father/dad, who was after all, a human being and a loved one first and foremost.

R.I.P. Senator McCain. You will long be remembered for your service.


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Why Hate on Jordan Peterson?

Food for thought:
"There are plenty of reasons for individual readers to dislike Jordan Peterson. . . . There are many legitimate reasons to disagree with him on a number of subjects, and many people of good will do. But there is no coherent reason for the left's obliterating and irrational hatred of Jordan Peterson. What, then, accounts for it? 
It is because the left, while it currently seems ascendant in our houses of culture and art, has in fact entered its decadent late phase, and it is deeply vulnerable. The left is afraid not of Peterson, but of the ideas he promotes, which are completely inconsistent with identity politics of any kind."

~~ as quoted in the WSJ, Caitlin Flanagan writing at the Atlantic's website, Aug. 9, 2018

Definition of the Liberal Paradigm

An agreeing 'Yes!' burst from my lungs as I read the following excerpt. It's from a recent Wall Street Journal article entitled If America Is Divided, So Is Europe. In it the author, Tunku Varadarajan, recounts his interview with Mr. Ryszard Legutko, a professor of ancient philosophy who also represents Poland's conservative governing party at the European Parliament.

 "The EU's elites, Mr. Legutko says, are unbending in their belief that 'one has to be liberal in order to be respectable, that whoever is not a liberal is either stupid or dangerous, or both.' Seconds later,  he corrects himself: 'I mean the elites of the West, including those of the United States. Being liberal is the litmus test of political decency. This is today's orthodoxy. If you criticize it, or you're against it, you're disqualified.' The world has 'shrunk,' Mr. Legutko laments, 'and the liberal paradigm seems to be omnipresent.'

"What is that paradigm? 'A liberal is somebody who will come up to you and tell you, 'I will organize your life for you. I will tell you what kind of liberty you will have. And then you can do whatever you like.' His response - and Poland's as a sovereign entity - is unequivocal: 'Don't organize my liberty for me. Do not try to create a blueprint according to which an entire society must function.' That's why, he says, Poland is a 'a dissident member of the EU, and the primary reason why it has been attacked so much. Not because we did something outrageous, but because of who we refuse to be.'"

If you doubt that this is a prevailing paradigm here in the U.S., think about the recent remarks made by Santa Barbara Councilman Jason Dominguez.

“Unfortunately, common sense is just not common. We have to regulate every aspect of people’s lives.”
Oh dear.

No, Councilman Dominguez's is not an isolated point of view, it is a rampant, deep-seated, liberal one.

I concur with Mr. Legutko's response: "Do not organize my liberty for me. Do not try to create a blueprint according to which an entire society must function."

I sometimes wonder if Patrick Henry were to speak his sentiments today, what would be the outcome? Liberty?
"What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
I encourage you to click on the link above (the word 'sentiments'). Read Henry's entire speech. It's not long. You may see similarities between 18th century British and 21st century liberals.

Frightening.



*July 7-8, 2018, Weekend Edition Wall Street Journal




Thursday, August 09, 2018

Summer Heart

Since my husband and I moved away from where my parents lived, the season we spent the most time with them was summer.

Warmly welcoming each of us to the vast playground that was their country estate - The Hill - Mom and Dad hand cranked homemade ice cream, Dad barbecued tasty meats on his ancient barbecue, he cut juicy watermelons into drippy wedges - the rinds of which were gleefully thrown off the deck for cattle and deer - and Mom kept the pool crystal clear and clean, her bathing cap always close at hand.

Family gathered from far and wide to spend an invigorating and relaxing weekend together goofing off, enjoying scrumptious food, and telling stories.

The kids rode motorcycles, gathered chicken eggs from the henhouse, fed Dad's wild turkeys, played pool, shot guns, swam, played with cousins, and picked fat, deep purple blackberries.

I can still hear the unrestrained laughter, the croaking of frogs, and chirping of crickets. I smell roses and irises, taste potluck offerings delivered to the kitchen with cheer by each family, see bats swooping in the twilight sky.

I feel the thrill of sliding or diving or jumping into the huge pool, recollect the energy in my kids' little bodies as I teach them to swim and to see and to listen to life in the country.

The summer air smelled of crispy dry pasture grasses and hot evergreen trees, freshly watered verdant lawn, and sometimes the promise of a storm. Electrical storms, with their sticky humidity, frequent in the hot days of July and August, brought with them excitement in noise and flashes, contentment in the delicious warm rain which relaxed already smiling faces.

Underfoot crunchy pine needles offered up friendly seasonal scents, while hot sidewalks caused barefeet to quickly hop, skip, and jump onto damp lawn.

Summer on The Hill was a sensory feast! Memories linger, I hope as long as I live, comforting and encouraging me.

What a lovely thing to recall the goodness of time spent with my parents.

I ache for them, but more than that I am grateful that they were, indeed, mine.