Friday, February 22, 2008

Good Grief

The worst, most devastating emotion I have ever experienced is grief. At times the tremendous weight of it settled over me and left me powerless to breathe. At other times it attacked with such ferocious lightning speed and strength that I was but a blade of grass in a hurricane.

Years have passed...some of them long and dark...and scars remain. The pain still comes, like the phantom limb pain to an amputee--its cause invisible and incomprehensible to bystanders.

And I give thanks! Thanks for the gifts of love so deep that they warrant such a price. Thanks for the memories that are strong enough to survive the storm and bring me smiles--and even tears--again. Thanks for the lessons learned, so that I may listen, and know, and share the grief of a friend.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

In Gratitude

I had a most wonderful day today, start to finish. I give thanks for each and every moment and participant. I made a point, I made a contribution, I ran into an old friend, I breathed deeply, I exercised my body, mind and spirit, and my Valentine returneth.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cultivating Peace

There's a website that I visit regularly which has a slogan: Cultivate Peace. The first time I read those words they jumped right off of my monitor and into my consciousness, and they've been swimming around there ever since.

How do I cultivate peace?

I have always had a strong desire for a peaceful environment. I do not like conflict. So I do my best to see both sides of an argument, to understand a point of view other than my own, to respect others, to be considerate, to soothe hurt feelings, to drive friendly (okay, so I slip once in awhile), to donate to good causes, to vote my conscience, to pray for others...basically to just do unto others as I would have them do unto me. And I hole up four miles north of nowhere in seclusion.

So, for the most part, I have peace in my environment.

But caged inside my head is a mynah bird. It screeches at me throughout the day. "You idiot." "You look like crap today." "Can't you get something done?" "You should be...fill in the blank...better; healthier; thinner; more motivated; more disciplined; ...more!" It can't escape its cage, and I can't escape its shrieks.

I want to replace this destructive shrill with a nice peaceful dove, that will coo softly in my ear tender phrases...words of peace.

I'm working on it.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Dr Seuss

Dr Seuss was really smart.
With rhyming words he did his part
to make us laugh and make us start
to understand that books are art.

I liked his books when I was seven.
Hop on Pop was phonics heaven.
He had his rhyming engines revvin',
inventing noothbrush, zamp, and grevin.

When I grew up it was divine
to read his books to children mine,
and they as well did like them fine.
Oh, for those days I sometimes pine.

But nowadays with deeper pleasure
than for which there is a measure
I read to those who are my treasure--
the perfect cure for stress and pressure.

It matters not if I must read
Go, Dog. Go! till my eyes bleed.
Two year olds with playful greed
constant repetition need!

Yes, Dr. Seuss was one smart guy.
Within each story's plot may lie
a deeper truth in which to try
to live and learn and grow. Goodbye!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Who cares if we're in a recession? I'm a fortune-aire!

"Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, and the other gold."

I had lunch with my best friend from junior high and high school a few weeks ago. She said, "I'll never forget, one of the first things you said to me was that you had enough friends. I don't know what made me stick around." Lousy first impression, that's me.

The funny thing was that I didn't have very many friends. In fact, I was pretty much in the habit of having only one friend at a time...at least only one best friend. It took quite a few years and a really good example to teach me the concept of a circle of friends.

I still make a pretty bad first impression. One dear friend looked back on our first meeting and described me as 'standoffish.' Another, very sweetly, says that I observe people before I decide if they are worthy of my emotional investment. (That's why she made the inner circle...she 'gets' me.) I may be slow to make friends, but once I do, I hang on to them!

My oldest friend moved into the neighborhood when we were in the fourth grade. I don't talk to her often, but I love her as much as ever.

The friend I learned the most from is waiting on the other side now, and I can't wait to see her when I get there.

Another one lives just down the road. I talk to her almost every day.

One lives across the country, and she takes me in when life turns upside down.

One taught me how to bake cookies, and shared books and secrets and big phone bills.

It's quite a collection really: a retiree, a photographer, a PhD, a realtor, a sister, a teacher, two redheads (!)...and I'm keeping my eyes open and my radar on.

There's a quote I love that says, "However rare true love may be, it is less so than true friendship," (La Rochefoucauld -1665). I have been miraculously blessed with many truly rare treasures! I may not be so good at making first impressions, but I'm a whiz at recognizing the good investments!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Trees

As I'm listening to the wind gusting through the trees this morning, it reminds me how thankful I am for them. The oak tree in the blog's title picture is one of the ones right outside my office window. We have lots of oaks and some elms up here at the house, and some plum and peach and china berry down at the cabin. I'd like to plant some pecan trees...I miss the ones from our old house.

We also have lots...LOTS...of mesquite and huisache, which are really just giant thorny weeds needing to be cleared.

My favorite tree is a pine tree, and I'm very worried about it. It thrived out here for years, but it's been looking pretty unhealthy for the past year or so.

It's not a very beneficial tree, or one well adapted to our area probably, but OH! it is so full of memories and sentiment. We got it as a seedling in a McDonald's happy meal when Jared was in first grade. We planted it in a pot until it got too big for the pot, and then we planted it in the side yard at our old house. When we moved out here, Jared was 14 and was determined to bring it with us. So my sweet husband started digging, by hand, and somehow they managed to move the tree (which was about ten to twelve feet tall by that time) and a huge root ball that he dug up, and planted them out here.

When I look at that tree I see my sweet eager little boy...and my determined teenager...and his oh-so-practical dad who is soft-hearted enough to be impractical when it counts. This is sort of our Giving Tree in reverse, and oh how I want it to be here forever.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Under Construction

After sitting idle for far too long, I swept away some cobwebs tonight. So here's to a fresh start and some new construction...for my blog and me.
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