Monday, November 30, 2009

Considering It

I'm seriously considering posting every day in December, too.

Christmas Spirit is bubbling up.

Maybe it can cheer?

Maybe I can keep myself cheered?

What d'ya think?

Thirty Days of November

NaBloPoMo. National Blog Post Month. A post a day for the month of November.

I did it.

The month began with irritation at people who did not behave appropriately.

It ended with refreshment because of those who did.

One of my favorite things to do is seek wisdom, advice, refreshment, guidance when I'm having a hard time with the elements of daily living. Never sure where is the help or from where it will appear. Sure, though, from whom it comes.

Normally one who tantrums against commercialism during our winter holidays, this year I decided to take a different approach. Rather than let my foot step onto the bah-humbug path, I've decidedly set my foot on the path I want. For a change. You can't fight City Hall, you can't fight glitzy advertising, greed, and manipulation at Christmas.

But while meandering store aisles you can see past the glitz and greed. You can see shining faces of children in stores, a hundred lights reflected in their wide eyes. You can notice excitement in women who select just the right ingredients, fingers feeling for ripeness, freshness, for nothing else will do. You can observe uncertain yet eager men carefully selecting gifts for adored wives and children.

Sure, there are bobbing-headed, over-scheduled children coughing, wheezing, and boogering in dozens of shopping carts. And yes, most of the women appear bedraggled, fed up. Certainly crabby men at Christmas are a dime a dozen. But if you search, you will find. Maybe not in every store. Maybe not every day. But look. You'll see. The Spirit of Christmas lives...quietly.

This year I choose to watch the bubbles on the simmering eggs, smell the love in the fresh cinnamon rolls, taste the voluntary surrender of the early morning hours in tender turkey. I choose to seek out the lovely, the kind, the giddy, the joy in strangers. I will smile at them and they will smile at me. Kindred spirits who refuse to let the dark into our lighted souls.

My personal desire this Christmas? To create joy for others and for myself. To create a place of refreshment, the comfort of home. Soft candle flames, aromas sweet and savory, peace in word and deed. Creation, honor, attention. The unconditional love of family united. To keep kindness safe here in my nest, and to carry it with me when away. To share.

After a mid-year experience of the larger family divided my sights are ever more honed on the one true thing: love. Division created by its absence taught me the lesson well, for the void is cold, hard, uninhabitable.

No longer numb to what I've taken for granted I feel sincere love this Season - it shines and rings and scents my heart with its sincerity.

Good, when compared with evil, glimmers all the more.

Seek the good and you shall find.

Thanks be to God, the giver of all good gifts!

Now where is my tea? My footstool? A long month of typing is over.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Simple Things - Part Two

Tom's grandma started a tradition when he was one year old. Cinnamon Rolls for Thanks-giving breakfast. Homemade. To die for.

Of course this tradition had to live on. Of course I took up the baton for I was the one married to the man whose taste buds and sentimentality insisted it be so. Cinnamon Rolls were as important - maybe more so - that turkey on the November Holiday.

Sometimes I balk. No one likes feeling taken for granted.

But magic happens twice when I make the things.

First, when I remove them from the oven. They smell like.....love.

Second, Thanks-giving morning when each family member meanders - sleepy eyed and warm from bed - into the kitchen to select the roll for them, the smiling happen, the sniffing happens. Then - when I watch for it - each loved one gives me a quick appreciative glance. I don't know if they even know they do it, but they do.

Not that I need appreciation.

But it sure is nice!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Simple Things - Part One

Sometimes I feel dull in a world that seems much more sophisticated than I.

Probably that is how I should feel. Because it's true.

But little things, little teeny tiny things catch my attention and I feel connected. Not to the big sophisticated world, no, but to something else. Something real. Something seemingly insignificant but in reality quite awesome.

The little bubbles in the pan when it's about to reach its boiling point, the tiny bubbles covering the eggs in that same pan, these intrigue me. I stare. Transfixed.

"Do the sophisticated take time to notice this very relaxing, beautiful happening?"

I wonder.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Last Thought of Thanksgiving

To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything God has given to us--and God has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of God's love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from God. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.

~~ Thomas Merton

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thoughts of Thanksgiving - Day Eleven

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving. ~~ H. W. Westermayer
Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Show your love, fill your heart.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thoughts of Thanksgiving - Day Ten

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.

~~ Johannes A. Gaertner

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thoughts of Thanksgiving - Day Eight

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. ~~ Albert Schweitzer

Carly Says it Best

"These are the good old days." ~~ Carly Simon

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Before

Today is the last day before the holidays begin to enter the front door, eyes shining, eagerness, gifts in hand, giving, taking, and love. Lots of love.

It takes energy to meet this energy.

Too many years I've met the holidays exhausted. I push myself too hard beforehand. Over planning. Okay, yeah, fretting. "It must be perfect."

Growing wiser with the years at last. Leaving allowance for spontaneity, the unexpected wonder that tags along with the Holiday Spirit. Too often I shoo it away. "Leave me alone. I'm tired. You aren't expected."

This year I hope to welcome fresh ideas, new ways, new people, quiet and noise. Everything that rises.

We'll see.

For today, I am resting, I am hopeful, open to all.

Micro-management has been shut inside a locker, along with expectation. Locker chained and padlocked.

Simplicity greeted.

Something good this way comes.

I feel it in my bones.

Thoughts of Thanksgiving - Day Seven















The human spirit is incredibly strong, bountiful and miraculously resilient! Even in hard and trying times such as these, it is important to fill our hearts and minds with childlike wonderment at the miracle of being human. Look around this holiday season and SEE the light in children’s eyes, HEAR the laughter in your homes and SPEAK of your love to your family and friends. Fill your inner kettle with love and hope and you will know what it is to be thankful
. ~~ Karen Binder-Brynes, Ph.D.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thoughts of Thanksgiving - Day Six

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~~ Melodie Beattie

# 35


Do not be ashamed
of
simplicity
or small means.
~~ I Ching 


Simplicity is the hallmark of the superior person, ostentation, the hallmark of the inferior person. If you are following the path of the superior person you are the equal of any person on earth. There is no need, therefore, to present false appearances; even with slender means, or no means at all, the sentiment of the heart can be expressed. It is not for the value of your gift that you are appreciated, but for the sentiment with which it is given and the value you hold in the eyes of the receiver.


-- wu wei

Friday, November 20, 2009

Of Buckets and Sidewalks

I love reading the Facebook and blog musings of young moms. Excitement, awe, emotions all over the map as they lovingly scrutinize their little ones obliviously encountering life. Under mother's watchful eyes, ears, and hands Baby discovers life in his own way, on his own terms. No rush. Just wide open gulping of all that is available to experience. Mommy simply marvels at the uninhibited growth. Not only at what her child encounters and expresses but at her own response. Contemplating this powerful awakening between mother and baby, and baby and his world, renews.

When I set a bucket on my lawn and leave it there too long the grass turns yellow, then brown. Seems to die. It does come back if I remove the bucket. But no amount of time can coax the blades to save themselves. The bucket must be lifted.

This reminds me of pessimism. The bucket, representing the heavy hand of life, pressing down preventing essentials from reaching the lawn. The lawn gives up. It waits for outside forces to remove the obstacle so it can flourish again.

When concrete is poured over flower seeds they sprout anyway, probing for microscopic weaknesses in the concrete. Making their way to the surface they soak in the sun, the rain, whatever they need to thrive and express their own form of beauty.

This reminds me of optimism, concrete representing the harshness of life. Dense, deep concrete is not an obstacle for a seemingly fragile plant so much as a challenge which supports creativity, encourages strength and perseverance. The seed will simply not be stopped.

Growth is a process. Movement is required. Flexibility, too.

One can recoil from life, depend on outside forces for sustenance, exist in a holding pattern.

Or one can carry on, embrace the curiosities of growth and its hardship, both of which benefit in due time. To probe, explore, watch, adjust, and seize the day is to seek vitality, meaning, beauty. Holding happiness in our own hands is a choice. So is giving it to another to hold and dispense.

As in the hearts of children, like flowers that shatter concrete, meaningful existence is there for the finding. All it takes is willingness to reach, to find, to discover, to persevere under the heavy hand of life.

To grow.

Thoughts Of Thanksgiving - Day Five


If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'Thank you,' that would suffice. ~~ Meister Eckhart

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Our Stuff's Better"

Pulled the laundry out of the washer today.

Plunk! Onto the floor landed the slender white iTunes remote. It'd been in Cassie's pocket.

"Oh no," I thought. "I've ruined it."

Then, through my mind went Steve Jobs' words from the movie I watched last week, Pirates of the Silicon Valley. In one of the last scenes in the movie Bill Gates greedily, cold-heartedly brags that he stole from Apple to make his lousy, buggy Windows. Steve utters quietly, softly, more to himself than to Gates, "Our stuff is better."

IT IS!!!

I handed the remote to Caroline, she tested it on the computer, it still works perfectly. Even after being drenched in soapy water, bounced, and spun vigorously in our front loading washing machine.

Cassie held the excellent device aloft and triumphantly proclaimed, "It's a MAC!!"

Think Different!

Thoughts Of Thanksgiving - Day Four

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful. ~~ Buddha

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thoughts Of Thanksgiving - Day Three




You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink. ~~ G.K. Chesterton

Unusual Joy, Part Two

This year has been an illuminating one for me as far as food is concerned. I'm different now than I was 12 months ago.

Since I've been trying to eat seasonal foods I have found revitalized pleasure in the process. The anticipation, the appropriateness, the patience all seem to swell the experience. Quite enjoyable.

Just now the pleasure of an orange's oily spray has reached my nose. As Caroline jabs her finger into its rind, peeling it back to get to the juicy sections, citrus aroma freshens the entire room.

Recently harvested nuts roasting in the cast iron skillet do the same thing - reach the nose, trigger a smile.

And pumpkin pies, cookies, muffins from giant gourds split, cooked, and pureed. Mmmm...

Lemonade no longer appeals.

Yams do. Apples do. Potatoes do.

Sunday evening Tom and I put in our order with the butcher for a fresh turkey. Fresh. Naturally raised, naturally fed, humanely killed. To be eaten with gratitude next week.

Another nourishing season, late autumn.

For taste buds, mind, heart, and spirit.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thoughts Of Thanksgiving - Day Two

Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary. ~~Margaret Cousins

Unusual Joy

Why am I get so tickled when I open my boxes of produce and other organic goods from the farm?

My friend, Marianne, invited me to a co-op situation where several of us order supplies which are delivered to Marianne's home from out of town. All sorts of things!

Yesterday I found organic eggs in one of the boxes - deep orange yolks! Whoo-hoo!

And beautiful leeks, plump garlic, red and yellow onions, three kinds of potatoes, and forty pounds of firm, gorgeous apples.

A fat, smooth pumpkin. Organic, juicy raisins. A quart of delicious maple syrup! Oh the joy!!

And cod liver oil. Yes, you read cod liver oil. Seems the stuff, considered a sacred food in some cultures, is packed full of essentials. Foul tasting, health restoring excellence. Grandma was right. Who knew?

Maybe the uninhibited thrill is simply my instincts letting me know I'm in the presence of vital sustenance. My body says YES!

Thanksgiving is going to be more fun than ever as I share this bounty with family and friends. (No, not the cod liver oil!)

Thanks, Marianne!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thoughts Of Thanksgiving - Day One

In addition to my daily postings for NaBloPoMo I shall list a Quote a Day pertaining to the upcoming Holiday.

Beginning today and ending Thanksgiving Day.
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

~~Marcel Proust

Attitude Adjustment

I need to whine less and listen more.

And love more.

My life is really really easy, really good.

Yet, I snivel.

Enough of THAT.

People I know and love are suffering. How can I help them when my eyes are on my stupid complaints.

I can't.

"Eyes off yourself, darling. Join the human race."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

# 24





In cultivating oneself,
it is best to root out bad habits
and tolerate those that are harmless.

~~ I Ching


If you are too weak to overcome habits that are obviously bad for you, your future is indeed bleak. While temporary pleasures may accompany bad habits, they are, in the long run, detrimental to you and even in the short run weaken you. Acquiring a long-run problem in exchange for a short-run pleasure is not a good bargain. It takes strength and determination to rid yourself of bad habits that control  you, but by so doing, you will gain control, increase your strength, and have a better life. A superior person is always in control of his habits. To be successful in rooting out bad habits, it is, however, wise to tolerate harmless habits for a time; if you are too strict with yourself, you may fail in your purpose.


-- wu wei

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Uh Huh...

Cassie, Caroline, and I each experienced our very own, bona fide funk.

"What is the MATTER with us??"

We all asked. Looked at each other. Shrugged. Groaned.

Laughed.

"It's Friday the 13th!"

Aha!!

Take-out Chinese food did the trick.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Drops


The rain is raining all around
It rains on field and tree
It rains on the umbrellas here
And on the ships at sea.


~~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Man's Best Friend




People who have dogs are healthier than those who don't, I read somewhere. The reason is that the pups need walking and feeding along with other care, all of which gives a person exercise and purpose. In addition to increasing our physical health, agreeable dogs support our sometimes frazzled emotional health because they accept us for who we are. They are happy to join us wherever invited. They are warm and friendly. They are playful. They are satisfied with whatever we can do for them. 


Which only makes us want to do more for the joyful beings. 


Sam turned six in October. He still acts like a pup. We keep him trim and fit. I was talking to Joe about how carefully we monitor Sam's health. The beagle has gained five pounds due to an outside stressful situation forcing itself into our lives, creating a broken routine. Less walks for us all. 


Sammy's rounder belly signaled to us that we need to settle down, get back into our routine. And we have. His belly is shrinking. So are ours.


Joe and I agreed that it would be much easier to lose weight if there was no way to procure food, if someone else was completely responsible. "Here's breakfast." "Here's lunch." "Here's a three o'clock snack." "And here's supper." Additionally, if someone invited us to walk or play and we had no choice but to go - we eagerly joined in the fun -  how much easier it would be to maintain health.


Alas, it's not so simple. We really wouldn't want to give up our freedom of food and exercise choice anyway. 


But Sammy does get us moving even when the sky darkens and the wind chills and the rain drips. We go for him. He loves it! And we love him. We always return home rosy-cheeked, relaxed, and smiling...


...enough writing about it. The idea is splendid! 


Pardon me, the pup and I are heading out for a stroll. Wish you could come along!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

# 65




Do not complain.

Enjoy the good fortune

you still possess. 


 ~~ I Ching

"In an undesirable situation or confronted with a loss, the inferior person bitterly complains and curses his luck. The superior person remembers the good things still left to him and smiles. He knows that the seemingly undesirable situation or loss will ultimately be a benefit to him; thus, he responds in a positive way. One is sad; one is glad. Each is in charge of his response; each has set the pattern for the continuing course of events."


wu wei

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Then Came Donna

(I wrote this back in August of 2007. It was buried on my computer, just brought to light last night. It made me smile. I hope you find encouragement and maybe a smile, too.)


A few miles beyond 'I can't take anymore' you'll find 'I just plain give up.' No more looking, hoping, or pondering the possibilities. Forget it.

That's where God met me on a warm Wednesday. He hurled a surprise right smack in front of me, completely out of the blue. If I didn't know better - and I'm not sure that I do - it was almost as if he were smirking and chuckling while doing a jig at my reaction, for it was a good one.

I live between the two nastiest old women God ever bestowed upon this earth. For 20 years I've been snapped at, hen-pecked, frowned upon, criticized, judged, my kids have been harassed, my dog has been abused, Tom and I have been falsely accused, the police have been called over nothing, my door has been violently knocked on only to be opened to one of the two yelling at me for some dumb thing such as my tree's branches were "hanging over the fence again!", or one of the kids dared to go "into my yard to fetch a ball without asking!, or "Your car is parked in front of my house!" Nooo, it's parked on the public street in front of my house, but oooooh maybe 6 inches beyond the property line if you eyeball it across the hood, tilt your head, and squint. Endless nastiness.

In my subsequent, unrealistically shell-shocked condition I'd begun to think that there were no sweet elderly women anymore, that they'd become extinct. The truth of the matter is that I have two particularly wonderful long-distance aunts, and there's a sweet lady at church I chit-chat with, and if I dig back far enough I can easily think of at least half a dozen truly kind octogenarians. But after 20 years of daily flinchy, twitchy fear at the sight and sound of these two grouchies, I had become too sardonic to notice - barring my aunties and acquaintance at church - a single positive, encouraging 70-90 year old role model, the type I could aspire to become should I live so long. I had concluded that most old ladies are mean.

Then I met Donna. On that Wednesday.

Cassie, Caroline, and I were waiting our turns in the hair salon. In walked Donna. She sat down to wait and commented that the reason it was taking so long was because it was a boy getting his hair cut, and she smiled a cute, non-threatening smile which set me at ease. Expecting the cynicism I'm used to from women her age I was confused when I experienced none. She was just being silly, and it was refreshing.

Thirty-minutes later my weary, hardened heart found hope pulsating gently inside a once fusty, darkened chamber. Transformation! Donna and I had had a kindred-spirited conversation which transcended our ages. We talked about our kids, our dogs, our cars, our homes, our philosophies of life and motherhood, of marriage, and country living. She spoke, I listened. I spoke, she listened. She actually listened to me and commented on what I said without snooty superiority or one-upmanship - or grouchiness. We spoke of current events, of learning disabilities, of the Homestead Act in Oregon, and she asked me, with interest, about home schooling. She told how much she enjoyed raising calves and about the quilts she was making her grandchildren.

Suddenly, the hair dresser called her name, "Donna." To be jolted out of this enjoyable, nurturing discussion back to the salon environment left us startled.

"Boy, the time sure flew!" she smiled.

As I paid for my daughters' hair cuts Donna spoke animatedly with Cassie and Caroline. All three were relaxed and smiling. I turned to tell this kind lady good-bye and was compelled to hug her. She opened her arms and hugged me the way my grandma used to, as if I meant the world to her.

It wasn't until our meeting ended that I realized I had experienced a longed-for thing. Verbalizing what I was thinking, as is my nature, I told the girls how much I enjoyed meeting Donna and, "There is someone for you to look up to, a nice old lady. You know, you can decide now what kind of 80 year old you will be: a nice one like Donna, or a mean one like B. or P."

"Mama, you know what she said to us while you were paying?" Cassie interjected while I took a breath. "She told us to model ourselves after you because you are a wonderful mother." Caroline smiled and nodded.

Speechless.

After two decades of personal assaults on my abilities, my character, and my choices to have an elderly woman say THAT about me?! It was like sinking hot, hike-weary feet into a cool mountain stream. A welcomed rush of energizing refreshment!

Out of the blue came this softening agent, this salve for my thickly scarred heart. This woman who crossed my path had reversed a 20 year horror in half an hour. Her kindness replaced scar-tissue with hope, with evidence not often seen. Here was the proof I'd longed for that a woman can indeed gracefully age beyond 80, maintaining the exuberance and curiosity of youth, while nestled in the acquired wisdom and compassion of a life well-lived. Such a woman is a force for good in a too-often depressing and dismal world.

My shroud of despair lifted.

God, thank you for Donna.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Quietly Extraordinary

Ever notice the sometimes large degree of color variation among autumnal leaves clinging to a single tree?

Backyard silver maple. Green leaves, yellow leaves, brown leaves, and the occasional strikingly red, orange, gold leaf. All beautiful, some more so than others. Eye of the beholder, sure.

Reminds me of people, lives lived differently with differing perspectives, differing results.

The unavoidable notwithstanding, destinations are largely chosen. Not entirely. Certainly not upfront. Process guided by belief, optimism, love. Or by pessimism, bitterness, plain old apathy. Entire gamut in between.

Remarkably encouraging to happen upon - or be longtime witness to - a mindfully lived life, one tested and found attentive, eager, willing. A life uncommon. Noticed not because of its stash of material trinkets, not for status looming large over the impressionable, not for children begotten, place in line, nor ignorance, infamy, or obstinacy.

But rather a noble life lived in observation coupled with participation, expectant eyes trained on the unseen as well as the visible. A life appreciatively accepted, simultaneously offered, graced with peace, patience, self-restraint, understanding, honesty, and genuine kindness toward even the most undeserving.

From outside looking in it's been my impression that when the heart's posture is humility an existence well-spent in life's deeper delvings is a quiet, modest life especially as compared to noisy ambition, sputtering jealousy, and sniffing self-righteousness. Moreover, for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, the superior life vibrantly attracts attention and admiration, pitifully missed by those whose noses rub raw against the grindstone of obtusity.

Just as the few bright crimson leaves among a sea of pale green, yellow, and brown draw my eyes to their welcome specialness, so the quiet excellence of thoughtfully spent lives captures the attention of my inner being to possibility, even as my head bobs over the grindstone, my eyes alert yet often unfocused, my poor nose now healing now raw.

Spare me botany lessons.

Leave me simile.

Off I go to contemplate, for I am far from home.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Hmm...


When you're a mom of teens you find pictures like this on your desktop, labeled 'JB in Italy'.

Good taste, my young daughters have. Very good taste.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Sunny, Cold, and Roses

Growing near the front sidewalk are two quarter-century old cluster rose bushes. Myriads of tiny red flowers cheer those who walk past on their way to school, to work, home, or out for exercise. Each cluster blooms vigorously for quite some time, then dies so that new growth can bud and bloom, a generous cycle of beauty.

Regularly I prune back the crispy brown heads to make room for new glory. But no matter how thick my gloves or long my sleeves thorns jab, poke, and scratch my hands and arms. Battle wounds, I call them, for the bushes are taller than I and war against my flesh with their innumerable sharp defenses.

After completing the disagreeable chore satisfaction settles upon my countenance for the effort's result lingers. The bushes' luster returns. They become perky, pretty, tended even while I am disheveled and bleeding.

Sometimes I let my life get a bit too raggedy before I prune it back. I wait too long to discard external disturbances, to forgive mistakes mourned, to forget the negative, to embrace vitality, optimism, hope. Sometimes missteps linger in my thoughts long after they've gone impotent, yet I continue heeding their moribund ramifications. In my harboring, the battle wounds are not allowed to heal.

How easy to forgive! Remove decay. Begin anew! Freedom. Space. Contentment.

Perhaps someday I'll be quicker to recognize the languishment. But for today I shall embrace the chill morning air to clip the roses and in so doing clear not only ugliness from the yard but recently collected rubbish from my heart and mind.

Rewards aplenty.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Split Pea Soup and Mozart

Not particularly cold - about 36 degrees.

Cold enough to invigorate, quiet enough to stir the imagination. Hunger flits around the edges of consciousness, speaking clearly to Imagination. Madam Curiosity is invited to play.

They whisper merrily, "Cherie is alone. She's listening to Mozart, wearing her thick, woolly socks, warming her fingers - especially the swollen one - around a mug of hot jasmine tea. She's standing at the window gazing at the brilliant colors of autumn - and smiling peacefully. No question, she will play with us."

And the idea of creamy green pea soup is born.

My friends Hunger, Imagination, and Curiosity get the ball rolling. Skill and Experience join in.

Hunger inspires. Imagination plans the menu, lights a candle, selects captivating music. Curiosity finds herbs in the garden, ham hock and chicken stock in the freezer, garlic and onion in the cold room, a jar of peas in the back of the pantry, and leftover carrot sticks from the weekend party. Soon a kettle of soup is simmering, Soon the girls return from French class. Soon Tom enters the back door pleasantly humming.

"Something smells Good!"

Mozart's uplifting continues, woolly socks faithfully warm. Soup's aroma cheers. In the creative corner of my mind The Friends converse about winter possibilities.

My smile remains.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Friends

From the time these girls were six, three, and three, they've been best friends.

Together they set up for Cassie and Caroline's big Halloween Harvest Party a few days ago.

This long-time friend, sharer and keeper of girl-secrets, frequent slumber party participant, phone, MySpace, and FaceBook friend, and one time longtime neighbor cheerfully and with amazement told her dear friends - my daughters - that, "Every time we get together I learn something new about you guys!"

A true compli-ment. A testament to growth and friendship.

Full of life, intelli-gence, curiosity, courage, kindness, and a good dose of spunk these three are already making their mark on their world.

They are growing up just fine.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Daily November Post

O.K.

I'm going for it again this year.

A post a day for the entire month of November.

Can't guarantee I will be interesting.

Especially since right now I'm typing with one hand due to a badly sprained finger.

If Dave on Hell's Kitchen can win while enduring excruciating pain from a broken wrist during most of the competition, then I can figure this out with my light and momentary affliction.

The finger hurts like Hell's Kitchen though. I gotta tell ya.

And anyone who knows me very well at all knows I stubbornly resist taking meds - even ordinary pain pills.

Cowboy up!

Or something like that.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Why of the Name

Nearly three years ago I began this blog. It's a special place. It marks a stretch of my journey and will continue to.

A normal facet of my life is that people misunderstand me. They 'think' they know my meanings, but normally don't, because they don't listen. They hear a familiar refrain, a familiar thought or concept, something they can relate to and they apply their preconceptions to my words, my actions, my emotions. Most of the time they are wrong. I'm used to it. I'm used to not being heard - truly heard.

And I'm used to being truly known by a very very very few.

I know that many people misunderstand the title of my blog. They think I believe in them. No, I don't really know most of my readers. Even if I did, I don't generally believe in people. No. I believe in only one entity. My Creator. The only Good One who's always steady, always honest, always working for His purposes and those of his children - even when it doesn't necessarily seem so.

My blog's title is from a heartbreaking and at the same time fortifying Bob Dylan song which hit me hard and close to home three years ago. I cried - still do - every time I hear him sing it. I cry for him. I cry for me. Written for one of his 'Christian' albums, Bob shares what happens when a person seeks the Truth in the company of narrow-minded, unloving, shallow, ambitious people. I could relate then. I can relate now.

Bob persevered. He is still touring, still making music, making friends, discovering purpose, and experiencing the love of God. His experiences seem to have increased his understanding and wisdom. I wonder how wise his detractors are today?

For me, the taunts came from unexpected places and yet, in hindsight I see my naivete blinded me to the reality that noisy self-proclamation does not always the truth tell. In other words, I should have seen it coming - from where and from whom. My wounded heart was stunned to learn that 'religious' people can hurl the hardest, biggest stones. And that certain relations spare no one.

Here's the song that launched a blog.

They ask me how I feel and if my love is real and how I know I'll make it through.
And they, they look at me and frown. They'd like to drive me from this town. They don't want me around, 'Cause I believe in you.
They show me to the door. They say don't come back no more, 'cause I don't be like they'd like me to.
And I walk out on my own, a thousand miles from home, but I don't feel alone, 'Cause I believe in you.

I believe in you even through the tears and the the laughter.
I believe in you even though we be apart.
I believe in you even on the morning after.

Oh, when the dawn is nearing. Oh, when the night is disappearing.
Oh, this feeling's still here in my heart.

Don't let me drift too far. Keep me where you are, where I will always be renewed.
And that which you've given me today is worth more than I could pay.
And no matter what they say, I believe in you.

I believe in you when winter turns to summer.
I believe in you when white turns to black.
I believe in you even though I be outnumbered.

Oh, though the earth may shake me. Oh, though my friends forsake me.
Oh, even that couldn't make me go back.

Don't let me change my heart. Keep me set apart from all the plans they do pursue.
And I, I don't mind the pain, don't mind the driving rain.
I know I will sustain.
'Cause I Believe in You.

So, when I quote from Bob Dylan or share how he's quietly influenced my thinking and my spirit, or even if I just mention him in passing maybe you'll understand that to me he's more than a nasally-voiced, skinny guy with piercing blue eyes, a lyricist with 'odd' lyrics, and an unusual man with an eclectic following. No, to me he's a fellow traveler searching to find what is true, speaking that truth, calling it as he sees it, and living out his destiny with integrity.

As for this blog? Lord willing, it will remain. My cherished place of expression.

My imperfections are many, my joys unlimited, my sorrows deep, my laughter frequent, and my disappointment all too often. But these are parts of my life, real and true, unvarnished, stickery, and smooth. Life as it is this side of eternity. Honest, forgiving, contrite, right and wrong, wise and foolish, pleasant and ornery, and always on the seeking path. It's human. It's me.

And perchance it is you, too.