Saturday’s Child

satplay

 

This Saturday’s child avoided work most of the day.  Now, I’m trying to catch up on business and housework.

The kids and I played.  One of my favorite things about having children is that you have an excuse to play like a kid.  Here, they are outside of the world-famous Target posing in some weird gestalt style.   I love my kids and enjoy their company!

Keeping this short and sweet.  I have work to do.

Thrilling Thursday

“Thursday’s child has far to go.”


Don’t we all?

Life is often compared to a journey because it is a great analogy.   A journey takes place in linear time.  It has a beginning and an end.  It can cover distances i.e.  from earth to the moon and back.  Or it can be an inner journey.

Journeys change us in some way.  We’re older than when we started if even only by a day.  We add the experiences of our journey to all the other experiences we carry.  We learn, we get wiser, we get more forgetful, we get angrier or more bitter.  The rigors of a journey can exhaust us or give us a new lease on life.

When looking for a clip or photo to go along with today’s theme, I couldn’t get the Beatles “Long and Winding Road” out of my head.  Many people find it sad.  I find it thoughtful.  It seems less a plea to a former love and more of a prayer to me.

The tempo and the rhythm of this song remind me of times when the journey is a slow and thoughtful dance.  I close my eyes and waltz up the road with my satin skirt swishing in time with the silent melody that pulls me forward.

Grace: A Warm Spark

snowday

“Tuesdays child is full of grace.”

Tuesdays are perfect days to notice grace at work in the world.  It’s also a perfect day to have tacos.  Taco Tuesdays make menu planning easier.  (Note to self: Tuesdays are dedicated to tacos and grace.) But, back to grace. . .

Grace as defined by Merriam Webster’s on-line dictionary is:

(Working on fixing this indentation.)

“unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification” (1)
Grace can be a hard concept to grasp.  You can’t touch it, or eat it , or hear it or see it directly but we do experience it.   It takes practice to recognize it.  The more we recognize grace as a vital and active part of our lives, the more we feel its impact.  Think of grace as pure gift.  We don’t earn it.  It’s not a reward.  It’s a gift given just because we are loved by something beyond ourselves.
We’re the faucet.  Grace is the water.  We live in a parched world.
This love we receive in the form of grace is a darn good thing.  We would be lost without it. . . really lost.  The gift of grace makes us worthy of redemption.  Grace is what allows us to participate in that redemption via our acts of kindness and love.
It’s up to each of us to choose to participate.  Will I allow love and kindness to flow through me?  Will I be a sign of hope to others.  Will I be that “one warm spark in the heart of an arctic crystal”? (2.)
So, on this first day of 2013 a cold and frosty one in the Pacific Northwest, Tuesdays are dedicated to grace and the act of manifesting that grace in the world.   We just have to show up and cooperate.
Footnotes:
1.) http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/grace
2.) Herman Melville, Moby Dick.

Celebrate the Wonder

Lately, I’ve been giving this blog a lot of thought.  I feel drawn toward a more integrated approach, something that connects the pieces of my life into a more coherent whole.  My life usually feels like a bunch of weird pieces that may or may not be connected to each other.  Since I am the thread I know that isn’t true but finding a way to express that has escaped me until today.

As I observe the early morning ritual of reading my e-mails, I find this in the body of a blog update.  Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/beyondblue/2012/12/7-ways-to-celebrate-christmas-year-round-2.html#ixzz2GMoZ9bbV

7. Hang onto wonder.

And to preserve the creativity and optimism of my right brain well after Santa’s visit, I am going to remind myself of the words of Francis P. Church, who published the editorial, “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Clause” in 1987:

The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world….You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernatural beauty and glory beyond.

While my poetry may lack literary merit and my ability to be a romantic is someone compromised by a rather stoic view of life,  I do possess a mustard seed-size or more of faith and love.  Faith and love are the glue that holds my life together.  This is not something I often admit.  So, I’m climbing out on a limb when I decide to use those two concepts as the guiding principles behind my writing here.

Then. in a flash of inexplicable inspiration, I remember this old nursery rhyme.  While its written version can be traced to 1838, the oral version may go back to the 1570s.  I love old things and I used to love old and middle English.  This simple old rhyme will help provide a framework to my writing in the days ahead until I think of a new direction. . .

Monday’s child is fair of face
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.[1]
 ^ a b c I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), pp. 309-10.

 

The Taste of Freedom

“A human being is not one thing among others; things determine each other, but man is ultimately self-determining. What he becomes – within the limits of endowment and environment- he has made out of himself. In the concentration camps, for example, in this living laboratory and on this testing ground, we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualized depends on decisions but not on conditions.”
― Viktor E. FranklMan’s Search for Meaning

I awake longing for a greater understanding of freedom. I know I am free even when I don’t feel free.   Thoughts of breakfast and hot coffee push out the cerebral and philosophic this Sunday morning.  Comfort anchors me in the now.  It tethers me to the ordinary.  The kitchen floor needs sweeping.

My mind pushes freedom over a cliff.  I don’t  know what to do with freedom.  My identity is rooted in captivity.  There, I see it.  I am a prisoner of myself, of the past and the future all at once.  This will never do.  Now that I have caught this glimpse of truth, there is no going back.

The last few weeks flew by in a flurry of hurried moments full of every emotion.  I have had the feeling that I was standing upon a ledge contemplating a leap into a new way of being, something greater than before, something new and unknown and frightening.  The familiar, no matter how uncomfortable is at least known.  Fear and dread wrap themselves around an eager excitement.    Letting go does not come easily.

It is so easy to forget how freedom tastes.

 

 

Ambling on a Rambling Path

Image source: by Jennnifer at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Denali_National_Park.jpg

Among cows there is a pecking order.

When it’s time to eat or be milked, the lead cow will start her trip back to the barn.  The lesser cows fall into place and follow her home.  They make trails in the pasture, trails they will walk on time and time again.  My thoughts follow the familiar.  The roads they’ve carved in my head are easy to follow.  I do it without thinking.

As a child, I spent a lot of time watching cows, specifically our milk cow and calf and later the small herd that pastured on my grandfather’s farm.  I had a healthy respect for them, their size, their slightly unpredictable nature.    I developed almost an animal sense.  I knew when not to turn my back.  I learned that their pawing at the ground with their hooves was a sign they were trying to establish dominance among each other.  I knew if they turned a side to me that the best thing I could do was to ignore them.  Even a small child can’t allow a cow to be the boss.

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Hooks

Words are just the hooks I hang my life on.

Some times the hooks are like the ones in the back of the fifth/sixth grade classroom.  The carefully, colored counties of Oregon were pinned up neatly on the sliding cork board while our coats lurked underneath like empty prisoners.

Some times the coats fell off and lurked around the bottom like sleepy escapees from a gulag among the umbrellas and rain boots.  It was a half-hearted attempt to find freedom.  On Friday, that week’s “Sergeant at Arms” would carry out their duty and impose order on all those coats.  Chaos and disorder were not to be tolerated for long.  As for that Sergeant of Arms,   it was never clear exactly what a “Sergeant at Arms” duty was.  Why would anyone ever need to keep order at a meeting and how did a meeting have anything to do with the classroom?  None of us where going to openly oppose Sister Emily.  Even the boldest child was still a little bit afraid of her.  We didn’t need a Sergeant at Arms.  We did need an occasional organizer of coats and miscellany.  And, we needed hooks to hang our lives on.

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Writing Me Whole

Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness by Ariel Gore.  It’s the book I’m reading.   Pieces of me stare back from in between the words on every page.

” . . . the act of writing our lives has an intrinsically healing effect. . .[women] by telling their stories, they begin to see their experiences — especially their negative experiences — as part of a longer life narrative.  When we can see the big picture, and begin to understand some  part of the vast context in which things happen, that seeing eases the resonance of whatever it is that haunts us”  (Gore 92).

That is exactly what I’ve been doing or trying to do.  How did she know?

Trapped in my own head, in my own life, I thought that this was my little secret.  A moment’s thought would have told me how wrong I was.  Not that I didn’t already know.  I just didn’t want to think about it.  Part of me wanted it to be all about me.  To be all mine, something I didn’t have to share or explain or justify.  I wanted something that belonged to me alone.  I wanted my own private outlet.  I wanted a way to create something that was not of bone or muscle but of words and ideas, things that couldn’t be captured, that didn’t need watching or caring.  I wanted words to smear across pages.  I could walk away from these words and forget all about them.

Wanting an outlet, wanting not to care, no one was more surprised than I to discover that I do care.  The words that I thought came too easily bound themselves to me.  They became my children.  I still love them when they mess up, when they don’t do what I want them to do.  I love them because they are a part of me.  I love them because they can also stand alone. . . at least some of them time.

They are more than children.  They have given birth to a new me, a me that I didn’t really know before I committed to writing a blog.

I like this new me better.  She’s deeper, more thoughtful.  She sees things I don’t see.  She gazes at a bigger picture and occasionally takes the time to reassure me that “Everything will be OK. Trust.”

And, most of the time, I do trust that she knows something I don’t, this new me that I find looking back at me in between the posts and the pages.   I like this story so much better than the one I was haphazardly compiling in between one catastrophe and the next.  Things that once haunted me with a vengeance don’t interrupt my sleep at night.

Writing has to take a lot of the credit.  Writing is knitting the pieces back together again.  I am writing myself whole and it feels good.

 

 

Quickly Pass the Days

Under the strong light of a morning mirror, I note the deepening lines at the top of my upper lip.  Who is this person?  I don’t remember growing older.  My body might feel older.  I struggle a little to climb out of a car.  My bones and muscles often ache in ways both new and familiar. Where has time gone?  What has it done to me?

The passage of time taunts me with a brash familiarity.

As much as I want to break free of its grip entirely, I know that is not possible.  We are creatures of time.  Time doesn’t capture us in amber, preserving us for all eternity.  We are ashes and to ashes we shall return.

This thought is too heavy to hold while crunching a bowl of cereal.  Forgetting the morning mirror, I sit down to write, to collect my thoughts, to find my center again in a world that seems to be moving too fast.  Escape isn’t possible.  The memory of the morning’s sighting of the deep lines around my mouth haunts me like a silly tune I can’t forget.

My mind shuffles through its list of music like an old jukebox perused by an impatient teen-age girl.  She knows nothing of wrinkles and yet she picks “The Days of Wine and Roses” as the tune for the morning.  I scoff at her selection.  She can be cavalier about aging.  I can not.  Soon, I want to yell at this girl.  How could she be so cruel?  How could she pick a song that puts salt in my morning wound?  And yet, the melody soothes as it teases me about my age.

Memories carry me away.  The song pulls me in and I remember love. . . loves both lost and found.  I remember the feeling of isolation and loneliness that haunted so many of my years.  I remember the joy of new adventures and sharing of the good times.  Some of the people from the past stand beside me now. Bittersweet feelings of gratitude and loss blend.  This is the benefit of time, the knowing that “everything will pass,” knowing that you can feel many contradictory things at once and still survive, still maintain a center and a sense of self.

There are things worse than growing older.  Not growing at all.  Dying.

Wrinkles and the bittersweet passage of time are no longer just reasons to mourn losses.  They are also reasons to celebrate.  My spirit goes dancing.  The “Days of Wine and Roses” plays in the background.  All is right with the world, with time and with wrinkles.  Things are as they should be.

 

I am the person behind the words printed here. I write because my heart will not allow me the option of NOT writing. It has taken me half a life time to discover this basic truth, but now that I have, writing is as natural as breathing. This is where my breath takes the form of words.

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The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)
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