Life is what happens while we wait for . . .
Dreams crest and wane, relationships start and end, doors open and close as we search for meaning. From the bits and pieces of what often seems like the trivial or brokenness of life, emerges new inspiration and courage. Reflective jottings and scraps start to form a mosaic, a narrative, a path or a recipe to share with others. Often it is from my journal, that I see just how blessed I am.
Pass that Torch Lives are like golden leaves that should be held, examined, absorbed and then distributed. I believe that is the precious responsibility for those of us left after meeting special people. To breathe life again into their words, stories, and gifts. To pay their lessons and loves forward.
Two Kingdoms I’m in my ninth or tenth year facilitating a women’s support group for survivors of abuse and domestic violence. For part of our meetings, we discuss chapters from an educational or inspirational book. Right now we are repeating a book that has been helpful in past years. Unfortunately, the subject of verbal abuse is one in which most women can relate.
Call of Fall When the calendar hits autumn, it’s officially beginning my “time of the year.” No, this is not my birthday or an anniversary. However, where I live, the weather starts to simmer down, dry out a bit, and invite me outdoors. That’s what happened this morning as I sat reading for my quiet time.
Treating the Sheep So many substance abusers, and those with anxiety or depression, have had more than one traumatic event occur in their childhoods. Violence, abuse, death, troubled parents. Those kinds of events change so much in the developing body and mind. Adult outcomes are particularly dismal for many without professional help.
Midnight at the Airport We were being held hostage by our airline company at a departure gate in the Los Angeles airport. We had arrived three hours early from our connecting flight. Then we waited and waited all day into the evening. Little communication, lots of delays, mounting frustration by other passengers. We lost all trust in promises.
Resiliency Obstacle Course Several years ago I mentioned to one of our pastors that most people could benefit from a group or class on “Becoming a Resilient Christian.” Learning how to handle the ups and downs of life. More recently he was pleased when my husband and I agreed to conduct the class for seven weeks.
Ditching Satellite Several months ago my thrifty husband suggested that we could save a lot of money by disconnecting ourselves from satellite TV service. This coming from a man, who in his pre-parenting era, could spend an entire weekend day with his TV! First I was amazed at his suggestion, then I became suspicious.
Last Days Last week while going to a prayer meeting, a car darted in front of our traveling vehicle. My husband slammed on the brakes and we missed an accident by a mere inch. The other driver could have been killed by his daring, let alone destroying at least two cars. Then a few days later, my husband was involved in an accident. The front of his car looked like a smashed tin can. Totaled.
A Baby Story The doctor called and told me that she wanted to induce labor two days earlier than expected. She was going on vacation and wanted to see me through delivery of our first baby. I was scared and thrilled. We would soon meet our baby and really become parents. After almost six years of marriage, this baby was so welcome.
Out of the Box Sitting with a friend, I listened to her describe “the worst year” of her life. Blindsided by the discovery of a personal betrayal in a lengthy marriage, she was left with the crumbs of indecision and heartache. “Having the rug pulled out from under you” or “hit in the gut” doesn’t do justice to the fallout from a partner’s lapse of moral judgment.
Showers of Curses I’m exhausted after cleaning the tiled shower. It’s one of my dreaded housekeeping jobs. I refuse to use caustic chemicals where I clean my body. So once every couple of months I spend about an hour with a collection of brushes scrubbing miles of grout with baking soda paste or some other concoction.
Little Bits of Judas I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone with the name of Judas. I understand that the meaning is a derivative of Judah. That the Hebrew origins had something to do with “confessing sin” and later the definition changed to “praise.” Usually when Judas is mentioned, Christians think of the man who was known as a betrayer or traitor of Jesus.
God Behind, God Ahead I wish... I wish I had followed the recommendations of several of my spiritual and professional mentors from years ago. The pastor who performed our wedding ceremony gave us a visitors/address book for our new home. I’m not sure when that disappeared but we didn’t keep it for long.
Kingdom Travelers Last week we attended a family reunion and traveled by air along with our son, daughter-in-law and grandson. The baby is now eight months old and this was his second airplane ride, along with various cars. He isn’t always thrilled about being constrained into an infant car seat, but he is a very mellow traveler.
Tiny Worlds As a child I owned a metal dollhouse, complete with plastic furniture and a plastic family. One could not really define their heritage since their bodies and clothes were a boring cream color. I remember one big sister had a short leg that did not allow her to properly stand. A tiny kitten was even included. However, I did wish that they had a car.
Spread Your Wings Last year my husband and I made our first transcontinental trip to visit friends in South Africa. We were awestruck at the vastness of that nation, the beauty of the landscapes, the fascinating history, and comparisons with our familiarities. The language, government and currency, the animals, the flowers, the weather.
In the Middle I am part of a privileged generation born in the middle of the 20th century. I have known people born in three centuries! My grandparents were born in the late 19th century, and my grandson is a 21st century baby. When I was much younger, I can still remember thinking with nostalgia that we would soon no longer have veterans of W.W. I. Now soon, we will be losing those veterans of W.W. II. And we will miss out on some great stories and personalities.
Sexy Prayers My husband and I have been practicing a change in the way we say our mealtime prayers. Often we are only together for one or two meals each day. After reviewing some of the recent research into gratitude, we’ve expanded our thankfulness. Of course, we thank our God for the food before us, but there is more.
Beautiful Weeds I encourage my husband to take photos of weeds. He usually carries his camera on our weekend dog walks. At the peril of lengthy pauses, I sometimes act as art director. Exploring the local arboretum, we have enjoyed discovering varieties of pretty weeds. Or at least they aren’t cultivated flowers.
Shiny Things One of the best parts of the Christmas season is all the decorative lights. When I was a child, Dad used to drive us around town on Christmas Eve to see the lights. And I remember the red candle wreath we had in one of our windows besides those huge bulbs on the tree with metal reflectors.
Family Heirlooms During a recent trip with my husband, we visited several contrasting parts of a larger community on the other side of our state. For several days we stayed near a Amish/Mennonite area that is known for simple life and good food. We indulged in homey comfort food, and I checked out a furniture store, some gift shops and a quilting shop.
Breaking Bad For the past few months my husband and I have been watching several television series. A family member recommended one of the shows, and the other tickled my historical-fiction interest. One of these shows has won numerous awards for talented writing and acting. Both are much more complicated that the average network programing.
Working Together Perhaps you have heard those jokes that include a group of three religious leaders and one guy becomes the laugh line. Well, last evening was no joke. My husband and I were among a group of healthcare providers who were invited to a special program at a hospital. Three local faith leaders have a radio program and also speak to community groups.
Convictions and Courage In my younger years I used to be fascinated with stories from Communist China and the Soviet Union. I was often intrigued and inspired by the great courage of those who had endured hardships to remain Christians in those cultures. In the intervening years I have been thankful for people still in those countries that they have been able to experience more freedom to worship.
Hurricane Life I never dreamed that I would one day live in a state that has threats from hurricanes. It took me several years to recover from the summer of 2004 when our area was hit by at least three hurricanes. Depending upon the intensity and duration of the wind, the house was battered by rotating rain gusts for hours or days.
Loving My Daughter I am blessed to have my adult children and their spouses living in my area. When my daughter has a day off from her job, we often meet for lunch or some activity. Today she picked me up and we ate at little Mexican restaurant, then headed to her house. I offered to help her organize the rapidly expanding nail polish collection consuming her home surface spaces.
Knowledge and Truth I enjoy learning. I believe my thirsty mind gets an endorphin release from new information. I can easily end up in a time-consuming cerebral rabbit-warren-of-tangents on the Internet. So much to read, and discuss, and process. I could spend eternity in some kind of metaphysical library.
Call Me Beloved We are expecting a grandchild in a few weeks. The family was informed of this baby’s gender, but we do not yet know his name. I have dropped a couple of names that I used to like, but I respect my children’s privacy in picking their own baby’s name. It will be nice to learn what this person will be called.
Olympic Events I used to watch the Olympic games and feel a sense of comradeship and pride with the young people who were similar to my age. Perhaps they challenged me to keep exercising and trying new things. Later when I watched the games, it dawned on me that those athletes could be my own children!
Soul Smoothies Last weekend I attended a presentation that taught us how to make our own Green Smoothies and other “raw food” recipes. Now I know how to use chia seeds to make my own jam, sprinkle seaweed, and other tricks. I am currently evaluating how I might change some aspects of my diet to incorporate more nutrients and less toxins.
Our Grand Father My husband and I are going to become grandparents soon. I can’t wait to meet this new little member of our family. Whom will he resemble? What will his parents name him? I am expecting a blessing. The color of his eyes or hair doesn’t really matter. I look forward to sharing family stories and memories with him, taking him places, discovering life together.
Two Little Ducks Recently my husband, brother, and I walked through several parks near my childhood home. In one park we encountered some Canadian geese families with their newly hatched goslings. One pair of geese had 11 very active offspring, while another pair had only one thriving baby. We were left to wonder if some baby stealing goes on in goose culture.
Heart Tattoos While I was stopped behind traffic I glanced to my right at an advertising vehicle in a parking lot. With a 4-color photo covering the side of the truck, the back of a shapely woman displayed her tattoo design. The truck sign read: “Nothing Lasts Forever. Remove your ex,”--Laser Tattoo Removal.
Look at Me When my children were very little, I discovered the importance of eye contact. This can result in behavior adjustment. Once past the age of nursing or being held in arms, little ones can be neglected for adult eye contact. They toddle around at knee or hip height, and often don’t connect face-to-face.
God Food I can be working in my study, reading in my living room, watching TV in the family room and hear my dog’s stomach growling. Regularly, for years, this poor guy’s stomach makes such loud noises that you would think he couldn’t sleep. I’ve considered recording these noises since they are so irregular and loud.
God Speaks This morning I was serenaded by a mockingbird as I left and returned to my neighborhood while walking. I used to be annoyed by this bland bird that inhabits the area. Mockingbirds aren’t much to look at and they can be very aggressive during nesting season. The dog and I have been bombed by scolding mockingbirds on several occasions.
Disability Culture I have a friend who is sight-impaired but in most regards she is more able than I am to be persistent, tenacious, and brave. She has taken on lifetime relationship challenges, career goals and spiritual journeys that many people would find overwhelming. She can get a little prickly about the use of the term “disability” in regard to her own situation or services offered to her.
Grandparent Alienation Those of us who provide services to families of divorce, and forms of dysfunctional relationships, acquire painful insights. We are familiar with the problem of “Parental Alienation.” Most recently I have heard the tearful stories from grandparents who have been restricted from seeing their grandchildren.
So Many Candles For weeks now I have been anticipating my next birthday with a mixture of excitement and dread. Several decades ago I lost much of the joy of advancing chronology. So about 10 years ago I realized that it makes turning older a whole lot more fun when something special is planned or revealed.
Owning or Renting? Our neighborhood has changed during the past 14 years. Not only have many home owners come and gone, but the house dwellers are different. I can recall a few years ago during the height of the home sales escalation, when many homes were valued about $75,000 more than they are currently valued.
Reverse Universe Years ago my daughter dreamed of being a model or actress. I think she got the acting bug from doing some skits for school. Anyway, a modeling company came to a nearby town for auditions, and she begged me to take her. I had no idea what I would do if she passed that audition, but I was pretty sure it was not a big risk at that point in her development.
My Slow Movement At points in my life, I have been a Speed Queen. I used to wish that I had taken shorthand and speed reading. I have been cursed to eat too fast since attending college. Given a bit of caffeine, I talk too fast. While shopping or dog walking my husband has asked me to “slow down.” I usually maintain a car speed of 5 miles over the limit. I turn the stove burners on high. I love recording my TV shows and zipping through commercials. Let’s just get to the important stuff.
Spiritual Orphans They sit in my church, or they don’t go to church. Some of them are my clients, neighbors and family members. They attend private or public education; sometimes they listen to humanistic philosophers, scientists or mystics. They watch, read or listen to ideas that startle, frighten or disturb their worldviews.
Surprised by Joy Seven or eight years ago I remember having a rather difficult encounter with an acquaintance. I believe we each disappointed the other in our responses. Several days after the event, when I was verbally confronted, I was shocked and surprised by the intensity of the reaction. The other person let me know in very uncertain terms that my behavior was unacceptable.
Playbook for Success Three of my family members have been busy creating their Fantasy Football teams. Several of them traveled to another state to “draft” with friends, and several met for hours with league members at a local restaurant. When I asked about the attraction for this activity, it’s all about the fun of pretending to manage a ball team.
Tale of Two Cancers Last week a young blogger died of brain cancer. I have been reading some of his early posts and I am amazed at his faith and courage in the face of such a relentless disease. At the same time I have been involved in regular visits with a counseling client who has Stage 4 cancer in at least three major organs.
The Listening Drought Occasionally, I wonder if I am really accomplishing much with the education that I have received. I have not recouped much of the financial investment that I have made over the years. I have only been engaged in 40-hour employment weeks for about seven years of my adult life. However, I realize...