Monday, November 30, 2015

A Lifelong Love Affair With Words

Few people who know me fail to see my passion for the printed word.

It becomes painfully obvious to several people in my life, namely, my husband, my children and the clerks at the library desk that I love to read.

I also love to write. Writing to me is just another form of reading, a narcissistic one, to be sure. My lifelong commitment to my husband was clinched when I heard him say in answer to my complaint that he's not a 'word' guy, "That's why I need you." For me, it's all about the words. He charmed me with my own needs. I'll be the first to admit that writing gets less attention than reading because writing is plain work, whereas reading anything (and yes even the back of a shampoo bottle) is pure pleasure (read obsession here). But it's not for a lack of ideas. There are those spending ledgers of a compulsive budget-er that my mother-in-law sent me waiting to be made into a story. The two novels I've almost finished but not quite. The musical that needs scoring. The recipes with background stories I'm planning on giving my girls someday. My father's memoirs he entrusted my mother and I with publishing and that friend whose memoirs I'm committed to helping with. And the list goes on. I'm not going to divulge everything, just in case...

I realize that I often push down this need to write because, well, life is so insistent. My regular job as a piano teacher and accompanist is scheduled daily and whatever falls between the cracks must keep the household going, and that consists of cooking, and a moderate amount of cleaning.

Also there is that nagging voice that says. "You're too old to begin writing." I think just exposing this nasty little voice helps it to dissipate, doesn't it? I'm not really just starting. And anyway, every day I procrastinate only gives weight to this fear. And so, I won't.

I am soon to be an empty-nester. Although the usual grieving is following me around like a hungry cat, it occurred to me today (light bulb moment) that perhaps now is the time for my writing to blossom.

I'm committing to you, my dear blog readers that I am not giving up on my dream of being published. Thanks for being the first to get splashed with my ink. Someday, please remind me that you read me first:-)

Friday, November 27, 2015

Post T Day

Well, it's over again. Thankfulness piles on top of thankfulness. It's a glut of good things, it's overhaving.
We are the recipients of so much, and to whom much is given, much is required.

So let's get busy. What are we waiting for?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Empty Nest Full Heart

No, I'm not quite an empty nester, but I'm so close it scares the tears out of me.

A surprising thing has happened. I find that I am as awkward and fumbly at this stage as a new mom. I'm a baby to the 'parenting adults' stage.. One day I'm giving advice and praying like mad they're ok and the next I'm relishing having more time to myself, and trying not to feel guilty. I cry as much as I did postpartum.

It has dawned on me with horror and with a bit of wisdom gained purely from having lived to see it that I only got the usual time to raise them and now whatever gaps, omissions or glaring mistakes we made as parents will go down in history. It's a wrap. But it's far from over.

I remember the first week of parenting when everything was new and I was in awe of my new baby. I have similar reactions to my new adult children. I am learning things from them. The primary lesson being: THEY ARE NOT ME. They are all refreshingly different from me and from each other. There is something delightful about having adult conversations with your children in which you sometimes hear yourself, but not always. In spite of our faults as parents, they are becoming productive adults who enrich others. I am so proud of them and so excited for the future, their future.

As for me, the future will hold more learning, more understanding of my own parents and grandparents. (At this point in the narrative, my mother smiles.) It is what I hope for them as well.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


On the outside of a certain wall I know there is a dirt field. Weeds have grown up and died, trash has accumulated over time and the entire area seems an unfit place for any growth or prosperity.
If you stood on this side of the wall for any length of time, you would be hungry, thirsty, and would reap no benefit from any form of civilization, excepting the well built wall, of course. The wall is too tall to see over, so you could not see what was on the other side--

--Unless you were able to fly up above the wall and see over it to the other side. 

On the other side is a thriving center of prosperity. On the other side, people bring their pets to have them groomed. They donate clothes to the needy. They dine in and have pizza, wings, and enjoy coffee at an outdoor cafe on a beautiful patio. They buy groceries, have medicines dispensed, get pedicures, manicures, haircuts and drop off clothes to be dry-cleaned. Teenagers skateboard around the lot and neighbors often chat congenially when they meet in this square. No one gives a bother about the dirt lot on the other side, except to wonder when  it will be developed.

It's all a matter of perspective. 

This is how life can be. Often we are so close to a healthy and wholesome existence, and don't know it. We must pass by and even through the empty barren dirt lot to get to the other side, the side where health and wholeness are so obvious that we almost forget about the dirt lot. 

If you are walking through the dirt lot right now, or even have been stuck there for a while, do not lose hope that there is something on the other side. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't there. 

I've been learning that we are so ever-loving impatient to have things our way that we often forget that God has the perspective of all of time. We do not. We want things, and we want them now. Sometimes not getting what you want is a gift in itself. Trust the One with the bird's eye perspective. He sees through all the walls.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Let the Cycle Be Broken

I made my mother curse yesterday.

While I admit that first sentence was a cheap literary hook, it is nonetheless true. I was asking her about her father and more pointedly how he talked to her. I wanted to hear the actual words, not just the ‘blankety-blank’ she’d said before. Apparently he had quite the dark vocabularic collection. I’m not sure where my grandfather learned to talk in that way but I’ve heard his father was a sailor. Maybe it was passed down. One thing is certain. It did not pass down to my mother.

While I appreciate the many traits that both my grandparents passed on to my mom, it is difficult to understand why the mere sight of my mother seemed to incite her father to anger. In his defense it seems he had some mental issues and even checked himself into a mental health facility for a rather drastic treatment of a frontal lobotomy. As he seemed unable to keep regular work, due to this or because of the times – it was early in the Great Depression - there was seldom adequate food, clean clothing, and no semblance of a regular schedule of mealtimes or bedtimes. My grandmother, although a self-educated woman only formally completed  the eighth grade.

Studies show that children who are raised with this kind of abuse dole it out to their offspring. By all rights my upbringing should have been similar or even worse. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, if you had speculated on what kind of life my mother was going to have after growing up in a home where absolute squalor and verbal abuse dominated, you would be off the mark.  That is why I never heard her repeat those words until yesterday, and only at my urging.

You see, at a young age she transferred her affection to her heavenly Father and imitated Him instead of her earthly father. She was a pastor’s wife during my growing up years, and a gentle loving mother. She has maintained a warm relationship with her siblings. In what could be her retirement, she owns partnership in a local Business College, teaching and giving encouragement and guidance to students who have lost their way, both in life and employment. She hosts coffees for the neighbors in her community, encouraging the women, often giving money here or there to people who need it. She holds a bachelor’s degree and is by far the most well-read in her peer group. My mother, a soft-spoken and extremely articulate woman has spent her 84 years in giving back to the world and her God. Not only that but all four of her children are successful, upwardly mobile citizens who have followed her example of faith and altruism. I’d call this breaking the cycle.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Always Mercy

Being a new devoted Doctor Who fan, I can't resist a stab at some thoughts on Episode 2 of Season 9. Aficionado's may wish to go and fetch a cup of tea whilst I give a little insight to the rest of you.

The Doctor Who series is a BBC original television show which began in 1963, went into dormancy in 1989 and experienced a revival beginning in 2005. It features the Doctor, a Time Lord who travels through time in a  Blue British Police Box called the TARDIS (acronym for time and relative dimension in space).

The vulnerability and ultimate triumph of mercy is showcased quite brilliantly. The Doctor responds to an ominous and pitiable summons from Davros, the creator of the Daleks, robotic machines who are quite possibly the biggest evil threat he faces. We are shown a flashback where the Doctor has saved Davros' life as a child, and during the course of the episode we learn that it is the Doctor's compassion for this boy-turned-evil-mastermind that has allowed the birth of so much evil, and indeed been the primary reason for the predicament that the Doctor and his friends find themselves in at the moment. We are drawn in horrified fascination to the Daleks whose individual and collective mantra is 'EXTERMINATE!', but we are also drawn to the Doctor because he is good, and it doesn't hurt that he is usually able to get out of fantastically bad circumstances, managing to also rescue his companions and any other such innocents.

As Davros begins to tighten the noose on the Doctor he makes a pitiful plea for the Doctor to help him see the sunset and even sheds real tears. There is some cheesy comment about how they are in this moment on the same side, and the Doctor's compassion once again leads him to offer help by giving some of his lifeforce to the (apparently) dying Davros. He finds himself, in his attempt to help, led into a trap, being drained of energy which is used to strengthen the Daleks even more.

This tragedy is then turned to victory when the Doctor's current companion Clara, trapped in a Dalek's apparatus is able to articulate 'mercy' through the Dalek's voice box - which concept is unknown to the Daleks, but enabled by the Doctor's sacrifice of energy - to recognize her and save her. 'Always mercy.' the Doctor says, in what appears to be a spiritually teaching moment.

At one point a question is posed, 'Davros made the Daleks, but who made Davros?' As far as I can determine, the question is never answered, within this episode anyway.

You connect the dots. I did.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Post 9/11 Reflection

America has lost her first love.
In a friendly argument with my mother last night, I was forced to define the America of yesterday and contrast it with the America of today. We debated the term "Christian nation" and I wondered about the differences in the world she and I remember and the America we see unfolding before our bewildered eyes.
If America were in a marriage, it would be high time for some counseling.

Watching 9/11 stories made me yearn for the unity that we had during that time, although I was deeply saddened that it came with an unbelievable price. My mother and her generation remember a similar solidarity over the second world war.
Perhaps our rose colored glasses obscure a bit but who does not remember with fondness the solidarity we enjoyed during times of national crisis?

The moral base for our decisions then, and throughout our history (and one might argue, excepting the blight of slavery), was a sturdy and active love for each other simply because we share the identity of 'American'. And behind that moral base was an identity rooted in the preciousness of every human life and the belief in the freedom of the individual. Lest you mistake my meaning, the preciousness of all human life and the freedom of the individual derives from our Creator. And so, as my mother and I agreed, throughout our history our nation was characterized and informed by "Christian values". The ability to "love your neighbor as yourself"  is perhaps the pinnacle of a successful society.

We are now on the precipice of a national divorce. News stations pit story against story, and people march in the street over their particular brand of lifestyle demands. It's the government's fault. "It's Washington" says Washington. It's Fox News. Its CNN. It's the President. It's Hilary. It's the schools.  Ascribing blame to an untouchable villain is an effective way to sidestep my responsibility. But it feels so good to tell it. 

It sounds an awful lot like the garden. 
It was the woman. 
It was the serpent.

I imagine a scenario during 9/11 where no one helps their neighbor because they don't share the same political or religious beliefs. That would be the true nightmare. 
We are in that crisis. Yes, we have severe political division. Yes, we disagree sharply on major lifestyle issues. Are they irreconcilable? Not if love covers a multitude of sins. 

Hand wringing might satisfy for a moment, but it accomplishes nothing positive. We are not asked to police some person we see on YouTube. We are confronted only with our neighbors, co-workers and our families. Loving them truly takes all our time anyway. It's time to remember who we are and be it.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

What I Do and Don't Know

A cursory look at the news or any social media may cause instant fear and depression. The fact is, that any one of a number of catastrophes both happen and are within the realm of possibility. Bad things happen, and the news of them spreads like wildfire.

Honestly, none of us knows tomorrow's events with any degree of certainty. Focusing on the imaginary unknown, by linking it with some current event is like making movies in your own mind and then watching them in real time.

I would guess that I am average in that I spend equal amounts of time thinking about what could go wrong as I do wildly fantasizing about what could go right. Neither are efficiently productive. You could argue that focusing on the positive is what causes good vibes and energy. I couldn't agree more. Still, it is action that gets things moving. Thinking about a steak dinner will not cook it, though it may be more likely to lead to my cooking it. In the same way, thinking about social anarchy may not cause social anarchy, but it will certainly cause me to be more sensitive to any form of it, and lead me to an abnormal distrust of my neighbor. We often play 'telephone' with our own thoughts, jumping to conclusions that are a product of our imagination, and not reality. It is said that many of the radical facebook posts that proclaim outlandish conclusions are based on a sense of public fear and cause readers to be gullible enough to swallow outright lies, simply because they contain a small amount of truth. Any post that gets your goat may fall in this category.

The more analytical among us may argue that gathering information helps us to understand the times, and a knowledge of history informs the future. All true, and yet, to what end?

The only realm in which I have true influence is more than likely the space around me for ten to twenty yards or so in either direction. In this age of instant information, we maybe lulled into thinking of ourselves as 'omnipowerful' as we are  'artificially omniscient'. Why, then, do I find it so hard to focus on that space and seek to live in an imaginary world of my own making?

I find it far easier to blame the current administration than to walk a few feet and give some love to my neighbor or family member when giving love would make a small but real difference.

Yes, tomorrow is uncertain. Today's moment is the only one that is stone concrete and crystal clear. I must not reject it or flee from it to some other ethereal place out of either fear or laziness. To do this is not to truly live the gift of my own life.

I must remember that tomorrow's uncertainty includes a certainty. God. That is what I know.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The House that Jack Built

The things we earn along the way are not always what we expect to learn.

In the middle of a reader's theater project the most unexpected thing I learned was that children under ten cannot hold a binder with one arm comfortably. Therefore it is hard to hold a script with one hand and turn pages with another.

Also, while reader's theater is prop and costume free, it is not without it's own set of challenges, the least being the actual reading skills of the children. My class consists of excellent readers, even the youngest, who cannot read fluently but certainly keeps up his end of the part by memorizing and lip syncing with the others.

I also think I figured out who Jack is. If you're interested check out the poem The House that Jack Built and see if you agree. Then place your comment here.

It Takes a Village

If Hillary Clinton is - hey whatever happened to the Rodham? - famous for one thing it is the phrase that begins like this. She didn't make it up, but rather used an African proverb for the title of her book by that name.

I'm going to pirate it once again to make a point in another direction.

It takes a village to keep an American comfortable.

Having been a comfortable American for over five decades, and having traveled to the Middle East and Europe I feel quite certain that comfort is the core of the American dream. One of the first things that jarred me to reality while visiting foreign shores is that there are certain things I feel accustomed to enjoying that are exclusively American. Many of these are indeed enjoyed all over the world, but not to the extent that I have taken for granted here at home, nor were they available to the generations before me.

Each morning when I wake up, I can count on the following:

A state of the art sewage system will quietly take care of my morning's business
The water from my tap has been through countless filters and is certifiably drinkable
Electricity is delivered to every outlet and appliance in my house
24/7 internet is available
Phone service is uninterrupted
Weekly garbage trucks remove refuse and monthly street sweepers clean my street
The mail is delivered 6 days a week to a box that is secure
If I call 911 someone will answer, emergency staff is on the way
There is an abundant supply of fresh food at competitive prices at my grocery store
The streets I drive on are equipped with traffic lights that prevent accidents by controlling the flow of traffic
There are at least seven churches within a five mile radius of my house, all of whom operate without government restriction
There are gas stations in every point of the city, with pumps that are regularly inspected
I will be notified regarding my voting place and registration
A local library holds nearly any book I want to borrow, for free, without censure
I may choose any number of schools in the area for my child
I may sell my personal items out of my own garage
I enjoy free speech wherever I go
My bank is backed by the federal government and I enjoy a free checking account
Public bathrooms are free

These amenities of my modern life  represent tens of thousands of everyday Americans doing their job, often without thanks. I wish to offer my heartfelt thanks to the unseen person, for the internet call center person who resets my box, the post office person who sorts my mail, the electrician who wired my house 30 years ago, the dispatcher for the garbage company, the engineer who planned my local streetlights, the school board chairperson who oversees education in my area, the person who cleans the MacDonald's bathroom, the person who keeps the gas pumps safe, the anonymous donor to the library - I'm just scratching the surface...

You get my point. I am indebted to so many that I will never see. Living in the lap of luxury sometimes finds me grumpy when only one of these things temporarily hits a snag. Wow. Really? I'm resetting my attitude of gratitude here and now.

Count me one thankful American in the village.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Partial Disclosure

Nothing gets me doing housework like planning to write.

There are a thousand things to be done before I sit down. This is why, perhaps, I am not a currently publishing author.

Lest you get the wrong impression and think that my house is always clean, I feel I must offer a disclaimer in fairness to, well, truly clean housekeepers everywhere. Wherever they are. I usually stay away out of guilt.

I learned a new word last month. I shall use it here if only by example. If you can guess the word (I did manage to throw it onto social media once, so if you follow me you may have read it) please do comment and let me know.

So about the writing. (currently exhibiting new word)

A free verse poem ran around in my head as I was walking the dog at the park, which is by the way an excellent place to write as an alternative to actually sitting down at a keyboard, music or otherwise. This is inspired by one of my daughters, whose own writing craft cuts like an exacto through life's most poignant moments.

I offer a rough draft here:

It's a long road
that road with bridesmaid dresses
Friday nights with dinner for one
moments of dire self-doubt
going places to see things
to find people
and shaking the dust from the boys that walked away off your feet

But I traveled it once

At the end of it I found myself 
sitting across from your father
learning that he was Mr. Right
perfect for me?

Keep walking 

I would be lying if I said that I didn't thank God for the boys that walked away. Not because I didn't love them, but because they were doing the right thing, only we can rarely see that when our eyes are clouded by tears.

This is perhaps the reason I try to do anything other than write. It turns your life inside out for the scrutiny of your readers.  I think I have a floor I need to vacuum.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tax Table Update

After being on hold to the IRS for 37 minutes (complete with obligatory musical serenade) I have been shoved into some sort of white noise that feels suspiciously like I was pushed off the 'on hold' grid.
What should I do?
Press 0?
Hang up and start over?
Keep waiting?

Tax Table

According to our tax preparer, we owe a lot of money to the IRS. So much so that we set up monthly payments and are currently still working on paying it off, estimating that we may still be paying by tax time next year.

Imagine our surprise when we received a letter stating the amount we owed was actually less than a third of that amount.

I'm on hold to the IRS right now to double check that I've read everything right. While I'm on hold I have plenty of time to eat breakfast.

A verse comes to mind:
"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies."

Remaining in hope that "goodness and mercy will follow".

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tomorrowland: A Review (Spoiler Alert)

If you, like me, always thought of Tomorrowland as a magical kind of place that you wanted to go to, then you too will go to the movie Tomorowland with anticipation, as I did.

I wish I could say that it was what I expected. I even wish I could say it was unexpected, and delightfully so. I wish I could say I liked it. I really wanted to. After all, the world of tomorrow should be everything we wish today to be and more.

Instead, the ever grumpy Frank Walker, played by the dashingly handsome but jadedly grumpy George Clooney dominated the atmosphere. It was like spending two solid hours with George Clooney and he was unhappy for most of it. Of course the story explained why he was grumpy. Of course he smiled a little in the end, which helped. A little.

The most innovative thing about the movie was the stunning time travel scene that honestly snagged me right off when I saw the trailer. Clever as it was, the evolution of the plot never surpassed that interesting editing trick.
The story:
NASA is shutting down the space program and destroying the rocket launch. Our heroine Casey, played brilliantly by Brit Robertson, a disappointed adolescent, enters by breaking into NASA with a remote controlled homemade drone with the goal of shutting down the cranes that are set to demolish the equipment, and soon finds herself in jail. As she is picking up her personal effects after posting bail, she finds a 'magic button' which propels her to another world when she touches it.

We then go back in time to the era when space exploration was at its heyday and we meet Clooney's character as a not-so-grumpy child. He visits the World's Fair in 1962, hoping to win a prize for his invention, a homemade personal jet-pack. He's rebuffed by the contest's sole judge, Nix, played by a grumpy Hugh Laurie. There's nothing we can really work with here, Laurie always plays grumpy parts. Walker is also given a 'magic button' from an enigmatic, but not really human girl named Athena, and it follows that he is smitten with the girl and the button, which takes him to the future, a sterile, highly mobile society where movement of every dimension seems paramount. The celestial city of the future is disappointingly familiar - crowded and busy, but most importantly for young Frank, his jet-pack is repaired by a mechanical genius of a robot.

We go back and forth from the present and the future many times with the characters, and in the end we find that the main characters, Frank and Casey, with the help of the droid girl Athena are the true Saviors of civilization. According to the IMDB blurb about the movie the future is in their collective memory.

Here's my problem. I don't much like the world of the present as portrayed by the movie - the modern ills of poverty, obesity, war, natural disaster, and the dismantling of the space program, which seems to have been the pinnacle of technological achievement, at least by the movie's standards. I don't like the world of Tomorrowland either, as it offered only more feindishly power-hungry leaders (although here I must say Laurie's portrayal of the evil Nix sizzled).

And then there was the question, or rather set of questions, I'm still trying to unravel enough to even ask:
If the vision of the demise of Tomorrowland was true, did Frank, Casey and Athena  save the present world and the future story of Tomorowland with one fell swoop? Both civilizations seemed on the brink, but Tomorrowland more definitively so. And did Casey save the world just by thinking she could, or by destroying Nix, or by throwing a bomb? Why couldn't Walker, a genius after all, have gotten his mental act togther if all it took was a triumph of positive mental thought? What was the spark in Casey's character that turned the tide?  Being gutsy? Being clever? Being positive? Thinking she could?

My takeaway is confusion. I wished that I could sum up the story with a recognizable thesis, but I just can't. It was a jumble to me. Perhaps I missed something?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Partial Book Review of Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar, and Swabbing the Deck

How do you run your life? Do you push yourself, pull yourself or follow yourself?

I ran across a snappy little book yesterday during my whirlwind trip to the library that was written by a high school drop-out. He also happens to be the son of the author of the famous book Jonathon Livingston Seagull. I have not yet read it, but back in my high school and college days it was being read and discussed nearly everywhere. (note to self: Read Jonathon Livingston Seagull)

After dropping out of high school and becoming an emancipated minor, the author of Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar went on to teach himself computer programming and work for Apple. Timing surely had a part in his success due to the fact that in the 80's the industry was in dire need of young kids who intuitively could understand and perform programming, but this young man made a name for himself by literally taking charge of his own education.

There are many lessons to learn from his example, the first and foremost not being 'you should drop out of school immediately'. The fan site for Jonathon Livingston Seagull quotes on its cover page, "This is a story for those who follow their hearts.", and "This is a story for those who yearn to fly their own way."  Clearly, yet ironically in spite of his early emancipation, this boy managed to glean from the spirit of his father's famous work. The nugget from the book, written in a humorous pirate-buccaneering theme, that resonates for me is the admonition to "follow your energy". By this he meant that rather than force yourself into things, you should pay attention to what you're most interested in doing and let this be your guide.

As a fairly confirmed right brainer, I'd been doing this for years, but with much guilt. I've been following myself rather than pushing myself but feeling as if I really should be pushing a lot more. Sample inner conversation: 'I should make a schedule for when I mop the kitchen floor. No I'll do it when I'm ready, when I want to.' Strangely, the 'deck gets swabbed' with some regularity, even if I don't plan it. When the time is right, it happens. Midway through my 50's, I doubt I'll change this modus operandi  much. But now I've been given permission.

I haven't finished the book yet. But so far it's already delivered the finest gift a book can give, confirmation of something I already knew but couldn't put into words.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Good vs Evil

Woke up this fine morning from the middle of a dream where I was being held captive by a sadistic scientist. There was fear, anger and a question in my own mind about whether or not he'd kill me and the others that he'd entrapped in his wacky hi-tech complex where elevators turned into passageways and back into elevators that lead to other rooms. Adding to the threat of death was the question of how he'd kill us, and the very real possibility that it would involve terror and torture of some kind since he'd already given us some hints that involved animal cruelty. Survival was my sole motivation, and I hoped I'd be rescued when I strategically placed my backpack in front of a window hoping that my family would see it and know where I was.

Although waking up was the best part of this dream, I'm fascinated by what the dream gave my imagination, and what it told me about myself. You see, I've been on a fifty six year long faith journey that has certainly included ups, downs, doubt, zeal and probably a very typical American Christian mindset. The problem of evil in my personal life has been limited to the banal. In other words, I have yet to meet a real life sadistic scientist, and the possibility of being captured and held hostage by one is remote. That doesn't mean I'm a stranger to evil, just that using the term evil would be a little dramatic when describing my problems.


Unless you believe, as I do, that unseen forces of good and evil are at work everywhere. You see, everyday I fight the urge to be self absorbed, to be greedy, to be deceitful about my motives, to meditate on fear, and to let survival swallow real life as it passes through me. The pull to the dark side is real.

But, there's always a window somewhere. Just like in my dream prison, I have the sunlight of good streaming in. The choice to walk in step with evil is always a prison, but a real world of good exists brighter and bigger outside. Just like my dream, it all happens in the mind.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How to Train Your Dragon

We all have an inner dragon. That voice of woe that brings us the hot breath of doom and gloom. That sneaky little nagging, doubtful, worrisome whisper that we nurse almost hourly. "I'll never get out of debt."  "She is smarter than me."  "I don't think I have what it takes to realize my dreams." and my personal favorite, "When is the other shoe going to drop?"

If you deny you have one, I will challenge the fact that you are even alive.

Anyway, lately I've been challenged to talk to myself the way I'd like to be talked to. "I will be out of debt."  "I am intelligent."  "I have what it takes to realize my dreams."  And so, I've been doing it. It feels a little funny at first, almost like bragging. But that doesn't stop me. I've realized that in some weird way I've been superstitious about my life and tried to worry about things as a buffer for them actually happening. Sometimes I even feel proud of myself for thinking ahead about some natural disaster as if it's so crazy it couldn't happen , and now I've prevented it. So you see, I do feel my own thoughts are powerful, but I've been using them in a back door sort of way.

I've begun to be intentional about my thoughts, and about the things I say that I will do.

And do you know what? I feel as if I've walked out of a prison of my own making. The dragon is being trained.

Monday, April 27, 2015


What the world needs now is compassion.

Compassion is the cushion that shields our fragile hearts from the jagged edges of the reality of death, sickness and hatred.

When turning on the news, or even opening up my inbox, my first reaction is judgment, a knee jerk reaction to distance myself from catastrophe. That isn't, can't be me. But on one level it is, and it is with myself that I dole out the most compassion. I see why I mess up. I see how I could be misunderstood.

Compassion is love's cousin in workclothes. In order to give compassion I must suspend judgment and stand in the mud with someone. I'd like to be able to do this in Baltimore for both the protesters and the police. I am miles away, and yet, they are in my living room.

As with all of these situations about which I can actually do nothing, I can frame an attitude which will ripple out all the way to Baltimore. So can you.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lying sick a-bed

While taking to my bed I have the opportunity to appreciate in retrospect and in future anticipation the joy and wonder of health. 
That in itself is a gift.
Thank you, sickness. Thou art a friend.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Random Activities

The ultimate multitasking is sending my daughter her tax refund via app while waiting at urgent care. 
The juxtaposition of pain and delight is not lost on us! 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A New Level of Outrage

I don't know about you, but posting a video of burning another human alive has raised my ire up a few million notches. It's not that the atrocity has not been done before, sadly. It's the exploitation of evil that seems unbelievable.

So, my fellow human beings, my Muslim, Christian, Agnostic and Atheist friends, can we all agree that this is not ok?

People who do this must be stopped by the civilized world. 

All that is required for evil to continue is for good men to do or say nothing. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Miraculous Day

What is every day, if not a miracle? 

The act of breathing, of moving, of communicating and working with others is nothing short of miraculous. 

These everyday acts are simply the beginning.

Then there are the pysiological events we are witness to, the many cellular functions that facilitate the healing of a scratch, getting over a cold, replacing old hairs that fall out of our head, the growing of new skin cells each hour. And on a larger scale within society there is the navigating through traffic, with most everyone paying attention to the law, so that we get from one place to another in our multi-ton vehicles  and arrive safely at our destination in one peice. There is the societal organization we have instituted of our own free will that holds each one of us responsible for our own actions, and ensures the contiuation of that society. 

From the birth of a child to the wisdom of old age, and the renewal of the generations, the pattern of life is often so familiar that we can easily move through our lives without the wonder that should accompany such grandeur.

There is the current of time, that rhythm of seasons and days that keep us from either boredom or chaos, constantly replacing the old with the fresh and new. There is the renewal of love and friendship as we grow with one another, giving to and forgiving repeatedly those we choose to love. Perhaps most miraculous are the moments in time when love overcomes those posers, fear and hate, and triumphs as it ultimately will. 

The entire Universe is a miracle, as the earth's solar system, within the galaxies, all works as a whole yet contains such diversity that even still we have not been able to begin to plumb its depth. We are the crowning glory of creation, as our Creator made us in His image. We are like Him, and in Him we live, move and are. 

Sometimes I forget who I am. At such times the daily miracles of life are covered in fear, doubt, worry and a sludge of negativity. But just because I don't see them does not at all mean they are not real. This January, as the earth itself reminds me that the old must go to make room for the new, I'm renewing my mind again. I'm climbing out of the dead leaves of yesterday and growing more steadily into the knowlege and wonder of who I am. 

You can too.