Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christ mas day and all hearts find their way home

As Bob and I were driving to dinner last night I saw a plethora of crows in flight as well as sitting on tree branches. I had a short thought at that moment that they don't think of this day or Christ mas as anything special or different. It is just another day in life for them. I don't even think they have thoughts about good days or bad. Maybe they do when they consider did they find food or not. As I sit here by my window that looks out to several horses, I see them standing today trying to stay out of the wetness and the look on their face doesn't indicate that they are thinking about too much else. So basically, it is left to humans only to consider the wonders of the world, love, peace, joy, happiness, salvation, sorrows, mistakes, making money, paying taxes, and the myriad of things we do everyday and think about everyday.

Thoughts of Christ mas can strike terror into the hearts of the very bravest as we begin to think about shopping, buying, wrapping, sending, opening, cooking, traveling, cleaning, meeting new people, and a few things I haven't even mentioned. At this point in time the life of a creature can seem pretty good. It seems as though they have been exempted from this world of free will and needing a saviour. So today is just like yesterday was or tomorrow will be except for the unknowns in their lives....survival. Yet many of us thank God everyday for giving us the beauty of his nature in it's simplest form or the complex order that we don't bother to contemplate usually. And, he gave many of those creatures the ability to be friends with humans and to give us his comfort, loyalty, and love his way...unconditionally.

So the creatures of the world are going about their daily busyness and those of us in the world that believe in Christ are preparing to celebrate. I'm not certain as to how Hallmark, Hershey's, Santa, Toys R Us, and a bunch of other things got into the celebration, but it's all good.
I just sent out Christ mas cards myself that said "Believe" with a Santa's sleigh sitting on a deck out in the woods. I loved the picture and what it represents for me. What I believe in is the love and compassion that fills a heart on or near Christ mas. It's usually there everyday anyway, but it blossoms and grows and almost bursts out of people during this time. Having a day to celebrate gives us the opportunity to focus on something besides our survival. Yet it is not about money, gifts, who has the most toys, or who didn't receive a gift. It's about LOVE. Webster's or your favorite dictionary tries to define it for us, but it is that which we cannot define yet seek most that really defines the word love. It is the reason for the season as they say.

Until one feels the spirit of Christ mas, there is no Christ mas.
For the spirit of Christ mas fulfils the greatest hunger of mankind.

May God bless you, your family, your friends, and those greatest of gifts, your creature friends.
Breath deeply of all this love and goodwill. Hold it. Let it out slowly. Share like crazy everyday.

Christ mas Eve

Sometimes it is the words to a song, a tree I see, a creature, or the things going on around me that give me the thoughts I share here.
This year it is a song. My new favorite Christ mas song is called Christmas Canon. It is part of an album by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Within the album there are many words that strike me and fill my thoughts.

On Christ mas eve I like to write when it's dark and the world seems to be still. It's not true at all as a mere quarter mile away is a very busy street and the world is not truly quiet. Vastly different from the day Jesus was born. The differences between what we know about then and what we have now are almost night and day. I wondered today what was in the mind of the young girl who was about to give birth to the Saviour child. What was it like to spend so much time traveling, walking and/or swaying on a donkey while your body is groaning with discomfort. And, all the while you have no idea if you will make it in time, will your travels be safe, and what will await you. Just imagine yourself on a trip, pulling into a city and finding out there aren't any available rooms, and by the way, you are about to give birth. Then someone tells you the only available place is the carport or the garage. No clean hospital or birthing center and.... did I mention it's cold outside?

Deep inside this Christmas Eve
Watching as the hours leave

In a few hours time will roll itself into a new day and it will be Christ mas. Unlike Thanksgiving, Christ mas is a world wide celebration for people anywhere in the world that believe in Christ and what came into this world on that night so long ago...a saviour.

He wondered what that child had thought
And when he slept what dreams he sought
And did the shepherds understand
all the hopes in that child's hands?
And how those hopes would still survive
As dreams within each newborns eyes

A friend from high school posted a story on Facebook today that made me weep with the thought of people who would not make it home to be with their loved ones for Christ mas...because they will have made it home to be with Christ instead. Such sorrow and yet happiness rolled into one event on a day we want to celebrate, have fun, make jokes, make a mess with wrapping paper, eat good food, share our hearts all because of one shining star and a small child born in a far a way land in the unlikely place of an animal barn with a manger for a bed.

Merry Christ mas - Merry Christ mas - Merry Christ mas - Merry Christ mas
The hope that he brings - The hope that he brings - The hope that he brings - The hope that he brings
This night We pray Our lives Will show
This dream He had Each child Still knows
We are waiting
We have not forgotten
On this night - On this night
On this very Christ mas night

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Flannel Sheets

Now that I've said flannel sheets I think I can just log out. Need I say more?

When you go anywhere to buy sheets you have to look at everything and sort of know just what you want. I mean there's thread count to consider: 200, 300, 400, 500, all the way up to 800 I heard recently. Then there is Egyptian cotton, combed cotton, 100% cotton, sateen, satin and I am probably missing a few.
Just say flannel and it seems there isn't much more to discuss.
Recently, I went into my local Costco where they had for sale new flannel sheets for 29.00 a set. Pretty dang reasonable and they had nice prints on them. So I bought a set, took them home, gave them a run through the washer and dryer, put them on the bed and waited to see what the husband would say when we got into bed.
By the time I climbed into bed I didn't care what he thought anymore because the sheets didn't feel cold, I stayed warm all night, and I haven't had to turn on the electric blanket since then. The good news was, he was having the same thoughts as I was. Unless it gets severely cold I don't think I'll need the electric blanket again, and all for the bargain price of 29.00. Non flannel sheets at Costco usually cost 45.00 or so.
I came across a set of flannel sheets in my basement so I must have purchased them before, but I don't recall having this experience. Makes me wonder why, unless wherever I was living at the time wasn't as cold as this old farm house in the pacific northwest. Maybe it's because they have improved the thread count....they just don't have to brag about it. After all, they're flannel sheets. Need I say more?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Consciously Cultivating Gratitude

Every November I spend the month really focusing on things I am grateful for. It isn't that I am not grateful the rest of the year, it is just a discipline I like to follow each year as we are headed towards a day of giving thanks. I also consider it preparation for Christ mas.
The entire season is all about family....yours, mine, our country, the world. It is a time for coming together everywhere (Thanksgiving is USA particular) for family, love, and sharing. We will do things we won't do the whole rest of the year.
For me, it is a time for personal reflection and high sentimentality (I get teary eyed a lot). I find myself wanting to shout "Happy Thanksgiving" to everyone in the grocery store as I depart even....and Christ mas causes that to get worse.
Life seems to be so different from when we were young and I can only imagine how it feels for say my mother, or my grandmother when she was still living. Yet some things never family traditions and what we are going to prepare for our Thanksgiving feast. There are foods people can't live without or Thanksgiving would not be complete. I was quite astounded when I learned at Bob's auntie Elaine's one of the foods was brussell sprouts, but each to his own (definitely not my favorite).

In all of this food preparation though, what is most important is the family and friends that come together - to break bread together and give thanks for all the good in their life. That can be as varied as the food set on the table, but just as predictable as the turkey that will  likely grace most tables.
I love the thought of breaking bread together from meals with just Bob and I to huge gatherings. I believe it to be very important and something we should do frequently. The sharing and caring of family and friends can never happen too often.

As I spend this month reflecting on what is important to me I find all sorts of little things that we take for granted in our everyday lives, but I truly appreciate that someone brought them to life by the grace of their imagination (inspiration from God/dess) and the ability to turn it into something real. Conveniences we all have such as cars, phones, showers, hot water heaters, toilets, refrigerators, stoves, wash machines, dryers, grocery stores, or as one cousin pointed out recently - Costo. I mean, I could go on all day. We have much to be grateful for just in the things that surround us everyday and make living easier. We haven't even gotten to what comes to us in nature everyday or from our friends and family.
We believe our wealth is what is in our bank accounts or on our asset list yet it is what we keep in the heart and that which makes our heart happy that is the most important.. always.

So what am I thankful for on this 24th day of giving conscious thought to the things that make my heart happy....
the man who holds me in his arms everyday and tells me he loves me and receives in kind from me, a safe and warm home, good food to share, unconditional love from 3 creatures that share our home, loving children that have turned into great adults, the continuation of life called grandchildren, parents, sisters, brothers, aunties, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, friends, employers, and co-workers, the people who have taught us along the way, the gift of a new day upon awakening, the wonderful energy surrounding the farm I live on provided by beautiful creatures (about 40 horses), the rise and set of the sun and the moon each day, the bounty of mother earth, the pleasure of unrestricted laughter and silly moments, the enduring devotion of steadfast friendships, the numerous shoulders that have shared the weight of past sorrows, for all the pages of memories in my book of time, for all I have and all I am able to give, and a host of things to long to list.
I am grateful for the abundance of blessings in my life.

Take a quiet moment during your gathering to renew your spirit and reflect on all that you are grateful for.

Break bread, hold hands, and take the words - LIVE  LAUGH  LOVE and surround them with everything you have today.

God/dess bless you.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Thank a Teacher.

If you have had an e-mail address for more than a minute, you have most likely received the e-mail that starts out saying....If you can read this - Thank a Teacher. It goes on to list many other things we can do because of a teacher. Here are my thoughts on this.

Some things at my home were pretty scary. I found school to be a sanctuary for the most part except for 1st grade. My kindergarten teacher's face still remains in my mind as the sweetest, nicest lady ever even though I cannot recall her name. I attended Kindergarten at a public school but was sent to a Catholic school for first grade. I lasted there for a mere two weeks  because I found the nun/teacher to be abusive and mean and I felt I had enough of that already going on in my life. So much so that I came home after the first two weeks and announced to my father that he could beat me until I died, but I was not going back to that school another day. And I didn't....and, I am still here to talk about it. I actually went on to have a rather stern and unkind 1st grade teacher at the public school. The good news is that from then on out I had mostly great teachers. A few were just good teachers, and a handful were outstanding.
What makes a teacher "outstanding" is probably different for each and everyoneof us. For me I think it has to do with inspiring me, relating to me, and whether or not I feel the teacher actually cared about me. Maybe they recognized the hungry need I had for all of the above.
The first teacher I remember thinking was outstanding was my science teacher from the 7th grade. I was attending Lathrop Junior High in Santa Ana, CA. The teacher's name was Jack Grissom ( I think I have it spelled correctly). I don't know if Jack was an actual first name or if it was like a JFK thing. He was strict, funny, fair, and he sparked a desire in me to learn. I wanted to get good grades just to please him. I think he did that for everyone in the class because I recall even the worst students all got good grades....just for him.
We moved again that summer from Santa Ana to Hawthorne. I mention moving again because we did that a lot. I lived in at least 11 different cities and approximately 7 states by this time. dad was not in the military.
 I went to Hawthorne Intermediate School during the 8th grade. My main teacher everyday there was Mr. Dana. I had another teacher for English. I cannot recall her name either although I remember her face and the way she did her hair. She told me once I should get into writing. Every time someone compliments me on something I wrote, I think of her. But back to Mr. Dana. I feel as though I have managed my life mostly because of what I learned from him. He taught us all the practical things one needs to know to get by in the real world. If you want to do something that requires more knowledge in a particular area, then you need that extra in your education, but for your daily life you need to know how to create a budget, and back then, fill out your tax return, and know how to balance a bank statement. I still do these things all the time with the skills I received in his classroom. It is paying homage to his teaching every year when I do my taxes myself. Mr. Dana was interested in having us be well-rounded individuals who could manage our lives ourselves. Invaluable. He would tease my friend Tricia and I and called us the Mad Market Hoppers. Most everyday after school, Tricia and I would go over the a market that was just a block away to moon over the 2 "older" boys we thought were out of this world. He related to us and cared for us.
Also at this same school was a wonderful music teacher, Mr. Mock. I did not go on to be a musician nor do I sing well enough to pursue that as an occupation ( I sing well enough to amuse myself). Yet, this teacher still had the ability to make me feel special and therefor always on my mind as  an outstanding teacher. I came across a music folder from his class the other day. That is how important he was in my life. I still carry the sheet music in that folder in my important paper file.
In the 9th grade, I went to Leuzinger High School. My house was right across the street from the school, but my home was in Hawthorne and the school was in Lawndale. My 2 outstanding teachers there were Mr. Fleenor and Mr. Strayhan. Mr. Fleenor was my English teacher. He was so exacting sometimes, but still had a great sense of humor and made us like Shakespeare even if we didn't want to. He made me laugh most every day. I don't think it was his intention, it just happened. Mr. Strayhan taught Spanish. I cannot speak Spanish to this day. I recall a few words here and there, but I can pronounce them with perfection....I know how to roll my rrrrrrrrrrrr's just like he taught us. He gave me some responsibility in his classroom, made me feel special, and would allow me to chat with him for a few minutes most everyday after class.
I've had other good teachers in my life including Ms. Dearing at Riverside City College, and the Mueller's at Mueller College of Holistic Studies, yet it is the teachers who capture our hearts when we are young that I believe stay with us for the rest of lives always being that voice in the back of our minds making us do it the way they taught us.
Many times I have thought about telling these teachers how special they are to me and that same amount of times I have not completed the tasks or forgotten it until the next time it pops into my head. What brought this up for me recently was a discussion on Facebook by some Leuzinger Alumni. Someone stated that Mr. Dana was alive and well. Someone had told me YEARS ago that he had died. I decided to not let another opportunity slip through my fingers until time ran out. I found Mr. Dana and Mr. Mock via the Internet. I have not been able to find Mr. Grissom. I believe (and once again I could be wrong) that Mr. Fleenor and Mr Strayhan are gone, but if you know differently, let me know. I would love to be able to tell them thank you also.
That I can do anything in life including work on the computer I am typing this on is owed to a teacher. In reality, most everyone we interact with is a teacher of some sort. It seems to be those "official" teachers that have captured a special spot in our hearts that keeps the fire burning to learn and do well for them.
For the teachers I have mentioned here, I must say "Thank You". The grace of God and maybe a teacher brought you to a place where you decided to teach. You then touched a place in my heart where you will forever remain a special person.
I wish procrastination was not part of my middle name so I could have found and told those other teachers how special they are to me. So I am suggesting that if you have yet to share similar thoughts, you should get to it since one never knows what tomorrow will bring.

I must also say thanks to every library I have ever visited. No particular person to thank or teacher, but I have learned a lot by reading books and been allowed the freedom to imagine whatever I wanted. Dreamt of the possibilities of me.

No matter what halls I walk down or roads I travel, the person I am, the person I have been, or the person I will be tomorrow has been influenced by a teacher. Teacher... Be one. Get one. Thank one!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 and it's another glorious day

Today is the ten year anniversary for that shocking and horrifying day referred to only as 9/11. Everyone knows what you mean when you say 9/11. Well, most everyone old enough to know. I have heard about the Holocaust, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and many other events. I "know" about John F Kennedy being assassinated, Vietnam, and 9/11.
It is actually a stunningly beautiful day here where I live. I don't recall what the weather was like on 9-11-01 as I was already at work that day. I worked in a call center and I was on a call with a customer who asked if I knew what was going on and then proceeded to tell me what she knew so far. At my break, I watched what was being shown on the news. I saw when the second tower fell. Unbelievable.

I don't know what age it is when we begin to know things about ourselves, but somehow I feel as though I have always been patriotic. I loved saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school, I love hearing someone sing our national anthem (but only if they sing it straight and true...none of that "interpretation" crap (that's a right of an American)), and when I see our military bands marching and playing I get choked with emotion. I loved learning the flag ceremony in Girl Scouts. I am sentimental. I am patriotic. I love America. When I put my hand on my heart, I mean it. I AM ALL AMERICAN. As I said on Face book today....I am a John Wayne kind of girl. Fiercely loving of this country. All that is good about her and all that needs some help. I wouldn't want to live any where else. And I have thought about that. Just like any job you have has it's good points and bad points, or any relationship, or each of us individually, every country in the world has it's good points and bad. I kind of prefer what we have going on here over any other country in the world.
My father has traveled many places in the world and he found a plethora of things to dislike about America, but on the other hand, he never lived in on of those countries as their citizen. Otherwise, he might have thought better about where he came from. If he had ever broken the law in one of those countries and gotten caught, I don't think he would have liked the consequences. We are not perfect, America and I, but I think we have more good things going on than not.
As I listened many times to my father disliking America, I had to point out to him that zillions of people want to come to America. I don't see zillions of them wanting to leave. I would be curious to know how many of the people that leave their home countries to come to America, actually return to their country of birth by choice. Now why would that be? There may be many countries where very few of the citizens would choose to leave and some countries where many choose to leave. I don't know this for certain so this is only my opinion and not a known fact by me, but....I think very few Americans who were born and raised here choose to leave and move to another country and become a citizen of that country. We have wealthy citizens who have enough money to have homes in multiple places and they have enjoyed the topography and climate of that place, or even the way those people live day to day so they want to go there frequently or live there part time, but they do not want citizenship in that country. They do not want to give up being an American. I believe the percentage of Americans who give up their citizenship to be quite tiny or minuscule in comparison to those that come here and want to become an American citizen.

The people who made 9/11 a reality of horror through what I think is crazy religious beliefs don't get the concept of having the right to believe what you want and allowing others to believe what they want. You are allowed to be different. It is a basic right and a founding father's imagination coming to fruition. Dreaming. Believing. Discussing. Sharing. Joining together with others to make it come true. Fighting. Defending. Preserving. Progressing. America. We the people.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Lunch with God

I have a file on my computer where I save things that have been sent to me. I have decided to share these now and again instead of just keeping them to myself. I especially love things that inspire me or just make me feel good. This little story is one of them.

There once was a little boy who wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six pack of root beer, and he started on his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old woman looked hungry so he offered her a Twinkie. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Once again, she smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word. As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman, and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever.

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?". He replied, "I had lunch with God". But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? She's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!". Meanwhile, the older woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and asked, :Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?" She replied, "I ate Twinkies in the park with God." But before her son responded, she added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."

Never underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a day around for someone or turn a life around.

This makes me think of the day a few years back when I went to the nursing home where my very old  (96)grandmother lived. It turned out to be the last time I really interacted with her before she passed away, but on that day as I walked into the nursing home I walked towards  the woman I thought was my grandmother. She was wearing a pinkish colored outfit, and this woman  gave me the most beautiful smile ever (a kind of apple Annie smile) and I thought just how joyful she looked. But then I felt slight confusion and wondered if it really was my grandmother because the facial structure seemed somehow a little off. I went to check with the nurse who insured me it was my grandmother.....without her teeth. Now the grandmother I knew would never run around without her teeth, but as she neared the end I think some release happened, she took out her teeth for freedom, and gave me that huge great smile. It wasn't very long until she was having lunch with God for real.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The heart is a delicate thing

I was wandering around the grocery store doing normal life things and thinking about Fire, the oldest horse at the farm as well as some other things that are going on.
It seems that Fire may be in the end stages of her life. This past weekend she had a fever and a racing heart. In the process of trying to determine what was wrong the vet took a belly tap. The fluid showed that Fire had cancer. No idea how long she has had it, but it seems as though it has spread and there is no way to tell how long she has left. Fire is the horse that knocked me over two years ago and trampled me breaking my left shoulder (not on purpose and not out of meanness). And I love her. She is a beautiful, delicate looking little Arabian with the prettiest prance ever, and the way she twirls her tail over to poop is amazing. She is mostly black (with some gray sneaking in), but she has a wonderful cinnamon color around her nose that I just adore.
It just seemed crazy to be grocery shopping knowing what's going on in the world and how many hearts are beating in this world and how many will stop during the time I was in the store. Of course there is the miracle of life and in those same amount of minutes I am in the store, many new hearts will start beating and begin their earthly journey. All new little creatures are more than adorable and capture my heart including the little tiny cottontail bunny that lives close to my house. It is so cute and it could fit in the palm of my hand. Yet everyday I have to worry over it hoping it's okay and that some predator won't get it, or that it won't race across the street and get hit by a car. Life is precarious and oh so short sometimes.
As strong as the heart is, it appears to be so delicate of a thing, like fine lace. I read that it beats about 100,000 times or so every 24 hours and depending on how long you live it will beat between 2 to 3 billion times in a life that goes to the 80's. Quite amazing don't you think considering how often it gets broken by friendships, family doings, children, and we haven't even talked about the thing that consumes our heart most often.......LOVE?
I have often said that life is too short. I usually follow that up with the thought that you should have fun at every given opportunity during that short time. I still think that although I can't feel the laugh right now while I am contemplating the shortness of things.
While I am typing this, my husband is here in the same room playing his guitar and singing all kinds of songs....some by the way that just escape me and I wonder where in the world they ever came from, but he just now started singing "a burning ring of Fire".
The hearts truest beat strong and true and to know the feeling of the burning ring of Fire.
Love. Fire. Hearts. Beginnings. Endings.
Life is short. Live it fully. Laugh out loud. Love in the burning ring of Fire.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Nature and Humans.....more alike than we think

A few months ago I was out on the side yard taking pictures and realized as I was looking at the dandelions that grow abundantly here since we don't use pesticides were in various stages that reminded me of the human cycle.

Interesting concept I took some pictures. I think the dandelions show off this cycle more so than many plants because of the changes that their flower goes through. This set me off on a long thought process about life in general and how fragile it really is yet at the same time seems so strong. I don't think most people relate their life cycle to that of the rest of nature but maybe they should. Our culture here in the United States doesn't really want to deal with death and we seem to avoid talking about it or dealing with it if we can. Yet it is inevitable and happens everyday in nature as with humans.
It seems as though most plants and animals are compelled to do things a certain way no matter what and yet sometimes what they do to survive in their environment is interesting. What specifically comes to mind for me are the Aspen trees that grow with a crink in their trunk. I see this happen most frequently in places where it snows. Possible the weight of the snow bends the tree, yet some how it straightens itself and continues to grow skyward. I am sure that someone has studied this and can explain it to me, but I prefer to continue through life enjoying these little interesting miracles of nature.
I remember one of my favorite stories from Wayne Dyer where he was talking about his foster mother telling him that everything ever needed to make a tomato was in this one little seed. He thought that if he cut the seed open he would see all, but alas, that didn't happen, but the miracle was still contained there in that seed....just waiting.
The circle of life.
It exists everywhere.
Even in weeds.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

the finale of The Glimmering

     She smiled again, her eyes roaming eagerly around the room. And then they lit on something, and she drew in her breath.
    "Oh....even those? Are those free?" she asked hesitantly. I followed her longing gaze to the red shoes across the room.
    "The employment office, well, they finally found me a part-time job, a very good one. It's a real chance for me, for all three of us. And I get to start tomorrow, but I was worried sick about.....about what I would wear."
    I nodded, my heart pounding so I could barely breathe.
    "We have two or three lovely dresses that have that shade of red in them," I told her excitedly. "I was just admiring them earlier, and I bet they'll fit you. Also, we've got a great children's section."
    When the girls and I wrapped her packages an hour later and offered her a ride home, I noticed a very strange thing. Something I'll probably never fully understand if I live to be a hundred.
    I put the pretty, red shoes in the top of the last sack, and as I folded it closed on them, I thought....Well, don't think I'm crazy, I thought  I saw them glimmering.
    The girls were exhausted that night and went to bed early. I tucked Susan in and listened to her prayers, then went into Kathy's room.
    On her dresser was a large and rare rock, full of pieces of glistening quartz. The light from her lamp reflected off it and sent sparkles in a thousand directions.
    "Oh, Kathy, it's beautiful! Where'd you find it?" I breathed, touching the exquisite thing carefully.
    "In the road today, Mommy."
    "But I thought there was only a feed sack...." I began, then stopped as tears started behind my eyes. There had been a dirty, old feed sack out there, and there had been a treasure, too, hidden, possibly, under it.
    The trick was to look past the dinginess, beyond it to the treasure. Past the everyday to the glimmer. Past the despair, to the sparkle of hope.
    "Honey, can I ask you something?" I whispered, searching her eyes. "How do you know when something is glimmering?"
    And my little dreamer, my little girl who had never bothered to learn differently, looked at me as though I had asked a stupid question.
    "Just about everything glimmers, Mommy, if you look."    :)

from Jeanne -
This entire story reminds me of a saying by Einstein.

     There are two ways to live your life: One is as though nothing is a miracle, and the other is as though everything is a miracle.
     Choose Miracles!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Glimmering continued.....

I crossed the room and looked at them closely. Glimmering? Although I didn't pretend to know the precise definition of this personal word of Kathy's, I had to agree with Susan. I could see no glimmer or magic to these shoes though they were pretty.
"Girls, you can help me straighten the folded piles. And when we have a customer, you can help me package up their things for them, okay?"
Kathy jumped up and down in delight. Susan only nodded, looking slightly bored.
The afternoon seemed to drag on forever. We had one or two people come in every 15 minutes or so, who would select things which we would wrap for them. I found myself feeling more and more resentment towards Emma.
This had been a wasted afternoon. As far as I could tell, no one had desperately needed the clothes they came to find today. Our being closed for the day would have caused very little inconvenience for anyone. Those who dropped by could have come back next week.
   And then at about 4 o'clock a young woman came in, holding a little girl about Kathy's age by the hand while a little boy held onto her skirt, sucking his thumb. I tried not to stare though I was, I have to admit I was shocked at her appearance.
    The people who had wandered in and out of the clothes closet all afternoon had been less fortunate than my family, certainly. They had worn clothes that had seen better days and were, in many cases, rather threadbare.
But this young woman, who didn't look to be much out of her teens, was wearing skimpy sandals though it was it was a brisk, cold day. She had a thin sweater over a flimsy, summer dress, nearly worn through in places. Her children were dressed more warmly, in layers, but they wore more patches than material.
     The little girl was so thin it broke my heart to see standing in the same room with my well - fed, healthy girls. And the little boy's nose ran. He coughed hoarsely and constantly.
"May I....may I help you?" I offered, swallowing to keep down the lump that was growing in my throat.
    She gave me a thin, shy smile.
    "Well, I...I heard about this place from the lady downtown at the employment office. She said...well, she said things here were free."
Her voice had trickled to a whisper, and I rushed to cover her embarrassment, to try to make her feel welcome.
    "Yes, of course, they are, and you're welcome to take your time and browse. If I can help you find anything, just, please, ask me."

to be continued

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Glimmering continued.....

"Jane, two people have canceled out on me today, people that said they'd work in the church clothes closet. I'm having such a hard time getting people to help there. We're always open from 1 to 5 on Wednesdays, and I'm afraid if we're not open today, somebody might be left in the lurch. I'd just hate that."
I felt my level of irritation rising. This was what turned some people off about Emma. She was always thinking that is we didn't do enough to help the sick, the less fortunate, the homeless in our town, something awful was going to happen.
Like her comment just now - somebody might be left in a lurch. So what if someone wasn't able to find clothing for her family this week at our church's free clothes closet? Would the world come to a screeching halt? Would it really make any difference at all in the long run?
Besides, how much good did Emma's clothes-closet, food-pantry, and sleeping hall projects really accomplish anyway? When push came to shove, weren't they like a finger in the dike of poverty and hopelessness? Wasn't it childishly naive to think you could do anybody and real, lasting good that way?
"Oh, Emma, I don't know....." I began, groping in my mind for a decent excuse. But for the life of me, I couldn't come up with one on the spur of the moment. I finished with a resigned sigh. "Oh, all right. But I'll have to bring the girls with me. When do you want us?
A few minutes before 1 o'clock, I found myself unlocking the door to the large room that housed Emma's clothes closet. My girls peeked eagerly around me.
"Wow, stuff here sure is old," Susan observed with a wrinkle of her nose.
"Well, of course, things are a little old Susan. Everything here was donated by someone, and everything has been used before. But I think all the clothing is in good condition and certainly clean with lots of wear left in it."
Kathy, meanwhile, darted happily from the coat racks to the dress corner to the children's section, oohing and aahing over everything she came across.
"Mommy, Mommy! Look at these! Magic slippers just like Dorothy wore in Oz!"
Kathy held up a pair of red pumps from the shoe racks, her eyes round as bright quarters.
"My, how pretty," I agreed sincerely. The shoes hardly looked worn and were, indeed, of very expensive soft leather.
Susan rolled her eyes. "Kathy, grow up. There's no such place as Oz and no such thing as magic slippers. Those are just some dumb, old shoes somebody rich got tired of or something."
"But they're glimmering!" Kathy insisted.

to be continued......

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Glimmering by Vicki Grove

Years and years ago, 1987 to be exact, I was sitting in a waiting room somewhere and picked up a magazine to read during "my wait". I liked this article enough to copy it and save it all these years and would now like to share it with you.

"Look, Susie, something's out there! Maybe treasure, maybe diamonds or something!"
Hearing Kathy's words and smiling to myself, I opened the kitchen door and looked out to see my two girls as I knew I'd find them. Kathy was dancing up and down with excitement, and her older sister, Susan, was standing nearby, shaking her head in mild exasperation, beginning her usual admonishment.
"Kathy, grow up. There's no treasure on our old dirt road. There never has been, there never will be. Some feed sack or something just blew off a truck." "But it's shining!" "It's not shining, silly. The wind is just catching it and blowing it a little. It's just a dirty, old feed sack." "But it's glimmering!"
This was so typical, Kathy, ever the dreamer, and Susan, ever the realist. Stifling my growing amusement, I leaned further out the door to call them.
"Why don't you two take a walk down the road and see what it is, just to settle things?" I suggested.
"Why do that? It's just an old feed .." "Susan," I interrupted, "please? Just humor your sister and your mother."
With an elaborate sigh, Susan shrugged her shoulders and began plodding purposefully down the road with her sister fairly dancing and skipping at her heels, barely tethered to the earth.
I watched them move away, filled with love and wonder that two children of mine could be so different.
The phone broke my revery, pulling me back inside the house. "Hello, Jane? Hi, it's Emma. Did I catch you at a bad time?" "Oh, hi Emma. No. No, not at all, " I said watching the girls through the window now. They had reached the mysterious object in the road which, evidently, was, as Susan had vehemently predicted, a dirty, old feed sack. I saw Susan pick it up gingerly and then trow it into the ditch.
 "I was here in the kitchen, planning lunch and watching the kids play out back. What can I do for you?"
"Funny you should ask that." Emma said, and something about the tone of her voice put me on guard. Emma volunteered for several projects around the community and worked hard at recruiting other workers. I felt my shoulders tighten and wished I hadn't told her so blithely that I wasn't doing anything.

to be continued.....

Friday, May 20, 2011

How to know which way to go ????

This question is surrounded by many of the thoughts that have been ruminating in my brain for awhile and that have kept me busy and not posting.
Last weekend Bob and I went for a drive to pick up a special fuchsia that I had to order. It was in a city way south of here and we had to drive by Renton where my grandparents lived when I was young. Things are never the way you remember them....why is that? The reason I mention taking this drive is because the web site of this greenhouse had their own hand drawn map that you could print and use to get to their location. Now this map had very straight lines and seemed very straightforward. Bob even asked if I knew if the person who drew the map was an architect or something.
So on our way down I asked Bob to take me by my grandparents old house first which he did. It is painted a nice color and has an attractive front door, but other things around the property have, the peach tree that I have the fondest memories of, is gone. HOW COULD THEY DO THAT?????
Anyway, as we proceeded south from there, we used the GPS that's on my phone just for kicks (we didn't really think we would need it because of the map). Welllllllll, life is never so simple and straightforward either, so if we hadn't had the GPS, we would have had a total adventure drive for sure. Getting there actually involved several curvy roads, a fork in the road where you had to choose, and many more miles than the map seemed to indicate.

Basically, a lot like life don't you think?
So how does one know which way to go sometimes when you don't have GPS to figure it all out for you?
I'm still working on that one. I don't have a sure fire map, that's for sure. I have to ask myself everyday lately, who am I, who do I want to be, were am I going, could I just win the lotto, what work am I supposed to be doing???? It just goes on and seems endless.
I have often said to myself and others - "You have a plan and God has a plan, and your (meaning whoever is the You) plan doesn't work". I can accept that, and I believe it to be true, but right now, I wish the GPS would click on and lead me straight and true to my next gig.

As I was strolling through the halls of the local hospital where I have been volunteering, I actually looked up and saw a sign that asked that question. It had a map showing how to get most anywhere in the facility. There is always that one little place that says "You are here". Maybe I don't have to be anywhere else or be doing anything else.....maybe I am "HERE"!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

eye candy

I have friends that tell me the stuff around my house on shelves and in little nooks and crannies are eye candy....and they are. Today, however, my eye was delighted at every turn by the glories of nature just hanging around outside.
The birds were singing up a storm. My hummingbirds that hung out with me all winter are still here and some others have joined the group. There are usually some geese that leave rather copious amounts of poop in what we call the outdoor arena area, but 2 have been hanging a little closer to the house now and then. A lot of the bird families that were here last year are back and have been searching for the perfect home. I am uncertain as to what species is living the life in our kitchen fan ducting, but you should have heard them when they discovered the spot, I am certain I heard one of them say " Oh honey, look how nice and dry it is in here. It's so private and quiet. Can you believe our good fortune?" Wait until I need to turn the fan on....will they be surprised.
 Bob went out to put some wire up so they couldn't get in there and he found a ton of old hay so someone had tried before to live in there. Even though Bob pulled out all the old hay and wired up the opening, they somehow have found a small place to nest in although they aren't little teeny birds and every now and again I hear them chatting away.
The Gold Finch is the state bird and I think I have seen 2 recently. We have a ton of very robust robins and a massive collection of crows. When they all land in the pasture, I call it the crow collective.
The barn and the arena have been taken over by swallows and I think there are some starlings as well.
We have also had some woodpeckers flit through and some blue jays  that live between here and the end of the block. I need a handbook on the northwest birds to figure who all is in the neighborhood at times.

The birds are enough to tie up my attention, but the trees that are blooming right now are just stunning. Even the trees that are just budding out and won't get any flowers are pretty amazing. I feel like I need a camera all the time and I wish I could just snap constantly and still be able to drive. Of course, that would most likely get me a big fat ticket if not a trip downtown.

Today, Bob and I spent time working in the green house together to re pot old plants and to get all the new little fuchsia starts into their new homes. I also have some beautiful begonias. I don't know why I fell in love with begonias, but I think it is their really cool leaves. Some have that iridescent look to them and some are shaped like angel wings, and on top of that, you get pretty awesome blooms......what's not to love.

At some point in the afternoon, the horses got a turn out from their paddocks to grazing pastures. They only get that on the weekends during the spring to the late fall. But here were the horses grazing within feet of us while we were working. It is an amazing feeling and I fell in love with the farm all over again. (I never fell out of love, I just fell in love again)

the bottom line .... I got my hands in some dirt, the sun was shining now and again, the horses were spreading their love, the plants are growing (you can hear them if you listen closely) and that handsome husband of mine was being my personal eye candy while he helped me get it all done. Life is pretty darn fine.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Old Dan Tucker

I always have good intentions of writing, and I have had plenty of thoughts ruminating around in my mind, but that is where they have stayed.
Today, I am writing about Dan Tucker, a significant person in my life who has now passed on.
When I first met Dan, I was at a singles party being annoyed by someone and wanting to escape. It turned out it was a friend of Dan's, but I never did know if he sent the friend to annoy me so he could rescue me, or he just came to rescue me because he saw the annoyance and the imminent flight look on my face.

He always told me he was a weekend warrior. That meant he worked hard during the week, focusing on his job, and played as hard on the weekend. He took me on my first adventure of camping on the beach in Mexico which is a story of its own for another day and we had many fun outings with the Corvette club he belonged to at the time.
He grocery shopped and cooked for me. He found great pleasure in enjoying a fine meal and many were the days I came home to wonderful smells and was happy those great smells were at our house.
We had some interesting and fun adventures together, had our highs and lows.
What I will always remember about Dan is what a friend he was.

Dan worked as a salesman all his life. He was awesome at it and he was respected by many, customers as well as other salesmen. He came home from work one day and told me about some customers he had that were from Japan. They had visited Dan in his office several times working out details for an order. He told me this one day that they had called him Tucker-san (I think that's how you would spell it) which is an expression of honor and respect. And I called him that myself on many occasions because it was so right on.
Dan allowed me the space to be who and what I wanted, no matter what. He didn't have a pre-conceived notion about me that I had to adhere to. I went from being a medical assistant to a massage practitioner and he thought that was wonderful even when it seemed financially challenging at times.

Dan dug into things with a gusto. I remember when his annoying friend gave Dan some stamp collection as payment towards a personal loan. Dan went to the library and checked out some books to learn if there was any value in the stamps. He was quite excited one evening when he thought he found several stamps worth what he thought was 50.00. What we later discovered was really where the decimal point was, making the worth .50. We had a good laugh but it was the beginning of a wonderful hobby for Dan that sustained him for many years. He became an honored and respected member of a Philatelic society in California as well as in Utah when we moved there. He became very knowledgeable about stamp collecting and loved the treasure hunt until a few years ago.

Dan also brought many friends into my life. There were many people who belonged to the Corvette club and several friends from other times. I introduced him to my friends as well and we have had many a good time, had a few fun adventures, and enjoyed good meals with great conversation.

There is a quote by B.A. Stanley that says "He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much".
He must have known Dan Tucker. A good friend and a fine man.

I need to thank Dan for the time he was in my life and the great gift I believe to this day that he gave me by leaving. I still cannot fathom what could lead him to leave a good life and go off to be alone knowing things would only get worse for him except that final gift lurking somewhere inside him in a crazy way.
If I failed him in any way or didn't love him enough, I hope he can and did forgive me.

What I imagine Dan doing today is fishing somewhere in the sunshine having a great time. Maybe playing a little guitar with his father since he never got to do that on earth.

May the moon light your way until the wind sets you free old friend.

Good bye Tucker-san. You are always in my heart.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wild horses run free forever

Well, that's what Rod Stewart sings anyway. The reality is this.....there are very few wild horses anymore. What I really wanted to talk about and what this song really makes me think of is a horse friend that was euthanized recently. Hopefully she is running wild and free with Diva now along with some of their other friends who have passed on.
I believe in euthanasia, but that doesn't make it any easier when you see it happen. It happened over a week ago now and I am just getting to where I can write about it. It was an exceptionally sad experience.
I realized that I had been really lucky in the past and had somehow missed those moments when other animals in my life had to be put down.
Anjenue was a really nice girl. She had many friends at the barn including Fire who is very old and was best of buds with Diva. She was also a mother to two horses. Coco is her son and is owned by the same person who owned her. Her daughter is Chatelaine who is owned by my sister Suzanne. Suzanne said Anjenue was never a trouble. She didn't get sick and she didn't cause any trouble. She was just a nice horse. In the end, being a nice horse didn't matter because her hooves had severe problems and she was in terrible pain.
I made promises to Diva to watch over Fire, Aria, Bronte, and Chatelaine and now I have made more promises to watch over Kahlua, Jocco, Coco, and Karuba. My little barn duties are expanding quite a bit.

Zoe the cat is sitting in a small space right where my left knee is and she just nudged me so I would give her some more attention. For extra emphasis she ripped some of my papers. Guess I better wrap this up.

Sunday was a beautiful day here. Bob and I went to Camano Island for the day. We took Abby and Tika with us for extra fun and extra challenges. We haven't played the Ipod in the car for awhile, but we did that day and that is when I heard this song again. It immediately brought a picture of a beautiful sunny day, rolling grassy hills with Diva and Anjenue just running wild and free. You looked wonderful ladies.
I'll keep to my promises and think of you often. Thank you for enriching my life.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Naked trees

not so naked cause I'm a growing them fern things
 As you must know if you know me at all, I love trees. I love them all the year long and spend much time oohing and ahhhing depending on the time of the year. Spring of course is always great when trees that have flowers pop open and just watching the leaves bud can make a girl happy cause you KNOW that spring is in full swing. The fall is probably my most favorite time because the fall leaf colors are simply out of this world. My husband calls me the keeper of the leaves  because I collect leaves as I have mentioned to do arts and crafts. One of the aunties has even asked me if I am still "doing" that leaf thing.  Oh yes.... of course. I will never get tired of the beauty of fall leaves even as they are drying up. Sometimes what happens as they are drying up makes them much more interesting.
Now naked trees have been catching my attention this winter. As I drive around I find myself intrigued with not only the trunk of the tree, but how it's branches are, does it have moss and lichen or vines from some other plant, bird nests, left over leaves or berries??
The state government is very concerned with people texting and chatting on the phone while driving, but I have found myself much more distracted by all the glorious trees and stupendous colors of the fall leaves. I have had to be very careful not to get myself killed and just when I thought I was safe, well here are all of these very cool looking naked trees. What's a girl to do??
Bob and I went for a drive towards the end of December not too long after it had snowed to view some of the trees and open land. Heck, the big leaf maple in my neighbors yard that I can see from my bedroom window is just stunning.
I have been volunteering 2 days a week at the local hospital and every time I leave the parking garage I come across 4 trees in a row with some larger size berries on them that look cool. I do need to take my camera with me. I also need to take a walk to the end of the street where another neighbor has an old apple tree with a few apples still hanging in there. I just love the look of it for some reason I have yet to define.
Some of the trees have interesting little hideaways and I am certain that the fairies dwell there. Down one road out in the country there is a row of sycamore trees that line both sides of the road, and I am sure one of the trees held Rapunzel at one time or another. What creatures do they harbor, what birds are nesting there and who comes to visit???? The naked trees stand quietly and majestically keeping as many secrets to themselves as possible. This wood nymph wants to know them all.

big leaf maple from bedroom window

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Starting a New Year

Well, it is still dark here as I sit down to write with the sun barely beginning to glance over the edge of my world. The barest of crescent moon is fairly low in the sky and I am wondering what the new year will bring.

Oops, gotta stop here for a few minutes. I brought the hummingbird feeders in after dark so they wouldn't
 freeze up, but my little buddies just whizzed by to let me know they are up and they are hovering in the places where they feeders usually hang.

Woodinville is aptly named because it is very woodsy without being in the mountains.Who knew just 20 minutes from Seattle on the freeway would be a tree heaven. I love that part and from the first moment that I saw Woodinville many, many years ago I wanted to live here. Because of the trees (and the clouds) we don't get to view the sunrise and sunset. We get some of the colors in the sky like this morning when it is clear. Just beautiful. That deep orangey-red glow peeking through the trees. Today will be glorious even though we still have a winter wonderland hanging out. If you drive 15 minutes away, there is no snow left to speak of.

I'm not a person to set New Year's goals. I try every day to live my best and it can't get any better than that in my mind. When I worked at Marriott Rewards they wanted everyone to set goals when they did their monthly phone call monitoring. That always stymied me because it was the same story. I told them to just pick one for me because my mind can't even think in the goal setting mind. I get up every day and go to work to do the very best I can on that day....and everyday.
There are always things I would like to be better at doing but right now nothing specific comes to mind.

Still I wonder, where is the world going this next year. Will it get worse, will it get better? What's in store for me and the people I love and care about?????
I know what I would like to have happen in 2011. More of the good things I already have. Then if the perfect job came along that allowed me to work part time so I could still take care of the dogs (Abby and Tika say "yeah mom, don't forget about us"), the house, Bob, and the time I spend with the horses, well, that would be awesome. To be happy and healthy are a part of that everyday thing, but I am sure there is room for improvement. The time and finances to go visit family living elsewhere and to maybe explore some new locale. Oooooh, where would we go???? Just fantasize here a bit, like if you could win the lottery and you would know exactly where you wanted to go. Okay......I'm going to go daydream here a tad as I finish my coffee.
Have a fabulous day today. May the New Year bring you much love, health, happiness, abundance, and hammock time for day dreams.

You may have to set up your hammock indoors for's kinda chilly out there.