Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Here When I Need You

Me, journaling in an olive grove in northern Italy, 2017
When I get to feeling this way - sort of lost in the dreary and solitude that yesterday felt so essentially necessary - I re-read my blogs.

I am a good writer. Why this continually surprises me, I do not know, but it does.

My words set me aright, comfort me, inspire and encourage me.

I don't know if my writing helps anyone else, but I do know it is there for me when I need it, like a trusted friend who completely understands and knows just what to say.

It's a rather remarkable thing when your own creation stuns you.

Gertrude: Copied and Pasted

“The one thing that everybody wants is to be free...not to be managed, threatened, directed, restrained, obliged, fearful, administered, they want none of these things they all want to feel free, the word discipline, and forbidden and investigated and imprisoned brings horror and fear into all hearts, they do not want to be afraid not more than is necessary in the ordinary business of living where one has to earn one's living and has to fear want and disease and death....The only thing that any one wants now is to be free, to be let alone, to live their life as they can, but not to be watched, controlled and scared, no no, not.

~ September, 1943” 
Gertrude Stein

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Be Merry in True Christmas Spirit

 La Vierge au Lys & Pieta,  by William-Adolph Bouguereau
Christmas isn't about glittery baubles, or colorful lights. It's not about cutesy movies, cookies, cards, or festive culinary delights. Gifts, and music, and wide-eyed children in brand new pajamas - sweet as they are - hold no candle to the true meaning of Christmas, the thing we who believe hold dear every day in our hearts, or should. Christmas is a remembrance that we are but creations of a loving Creator who sent a Messiah so that we may know the forgiveness of our sin, as well as true goodness, perfect love, and life beyond the grave, if we but have eyes to see and ears to hear. Christmas, after all, is about Jesus, born to provide and be The Way, The Truth, and the Life. Let us celebrate as we will, and find joy in doing so, but let us remember the truth of what we celebrate. May the love of God shine brighter in your heart than the most elaborate Christmas display in the world, and may His humble life and words - and especially the gift of salvation He offers - speak to you more clearly and beautifully than the most wondrous Christmas concert you may hear. May you feast on His love for you, and be purified by His grace. Let us sing and be merry, let gratitude rule our observances for unto us a Child is given. Jesus, our Savior. Merry Christmas, all! ⭐️

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


Beautiful in Oregon

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

Winter in Oregon
Have I mentioned gray?


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.