Pursuing the poetical, paradoxical, metaphorical, lyrical, artistical, majestical, and mystical.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Big Grapes

The nippers and loppers are waiting close by.  I'm heading out to the yard to prune back the grape vines and some shrubs.  If I have time, I will cut and clean up some dead plant stalks.  The shrubs and grapes and roses need shaped and cut back so they will bloom and set good fruit and flowers next year.  

I have a vision for my grape arbor, but so far it seems like I'm still learning.  I didn't cut it back enough last year and it made too much vine, set alot of fruit that didn't have the umph to come to maturity, small runt grapes that ended up being useless.  This year, my nippers will be ruthless.  

Sometimes it feels like God is ruthless when pruning me.  But I'm getting a shape.  He leaves some bud nodules and a structure that can bear heavy fruit someday, with branches that won't break from having weak spots at the elbows.  He doesn't want my branches to have to be propped up or create a wound that won't heal.  Those kind let disease in the tree.  The cuts have to be clean and slanted just right.  

I had a dream a couple of years ago.  The words, 'Grapes of Eschol' kept being repeated over and over again and I saw two men carrying a pole with this cluster of grapes slung over it.  This dream was like the story in scripture.  Each grape was as big as a baseball.    

When I did a study on the Valley of Eschol, it was a valley of decision, they got to choose which way they would live.  In fear or promise.  Even though the proof was in those amazing grapes they had a million reasons why not to go.  It is so interesting that most of the returned scouts couldn't give a good report. They saw the same thing as Caleb and Joshua, but perceived it differently. Or were too afraid of  taking the responsibility.  Only 2 brave hearted, visionaries
with enough courage to infect everyone.  Contagious courage and enthusiasm.  

Sometimes I'm so enthusiastically courageous it feels like with one match, the whole world will light up.  Let's go TAKE IT!  LET'S DO IT!   Just move, and trust that the Lord will be with.   

Sometimes I'm so fearful, doubtful and talk myself out of using the talents and gifts that have been given to me, because of what if it failed?  Scarier still what if succeeded beyond my wildest dreams, then what?  

The truth is this.  I want pruned, shaped, cared for so my future will have grapes of gigantic proportions.  Big.  Juicy.  Satisfying.  Filling.  Grapes of Eschol grapes for my fellow travelers.   

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Not Everything's Messy

Today, our bathroom needs scrubbed, the kitchen needs help, some cupboards need redone, and I wish someone would do the corners, the grunge that just builds up, the kind that needs the little attachment on the vac and a toothbrush.  The stove and fridge needs moved along with the washer and dryer.  Cleaned on and around and underneath.  And our bedroom?  Don't want to talk about it and really hope my mom isn't reading this.   And what do you do with the dust and spider webs and dog hair?  

And my body?  It seems like over the winter 15 lbs have slipped on.  Groan!  How?  This could really get me down, all these obvious dark shadows everyone can see on the outside of me and my house....

..........but then I'm reminded, this is also true:  

Today, my heart is cleaned out, my mind organized, my soul singing, my emotions in line, my insides-that nobody else can see are whole!  This is good!     

Maybe tomorrow I can scrub the bathroom.  Then the next day clean my room.  Who knows, maybe next month I'll have a party cuz the shadows you can't see and the shadows you can see are away visiting someone else.   Hmmmmm.      :)  

Ringing the Bell

About 4 years ago, I was in a little village called Bled in Slovenia.  It is famous for it's church on an island in the middle of a high mountain lake.  The village was poor, they were just switching to the Euro, and trying to become their own country again.  This ancient church was their claim to fame.  Handcrafted artisan wooden row boats with little canopies were available to rent. Wayne rowed three of us gals across.  It was surreal.  Tradition is that when couples get married in the church, the groom, if he is man enough carries the bride up these stairs.  There are a hundred plus!  We walked huffing and puffing to the top.  

One of the things on my bucket list was to pull on the rope that rang a church bell.  Surprised, I saw a rope hanging down in the middle of this centuries old church and wondered if this was my chance.  It seemed like such an unexpected gift.  A few other people tried to pull it, but it was locked!  Dead feeling.  I was really sad, because ever finding such an opportunity again would be hard.  One that was open to the public.  I was reconciled that at least I had touched it. 

About 20 minutes later from outside, I heard the bell singing and echoing over the lake, bouncing off the mountains.  Running as fast as these chubbly legs could carry me, I took my turn.  Didn't want to ever let go, couldn't hardly stop from pulling one more time.  It had a rhythm, flow that followed and was connected to the weight, like the rope sprang to life, waking up the sleeping bell.  It actually did sort of yawn a few times before it really got going.

Afterwards, I found a quiet secluded corner to let the tears of thanksgiving flow.  Couldn't really express to any of my travel partners what amazing thing had just happened.  Sometimes worship, like making love, is private.  I felt completely and  intimately cherished and loved. Known.   

More than a mark to check something off my 'bucket list' happened.  

Be Now

Yesterday, sitting on the bank of the river a question came. 

When was the last time you, or anyone I know, laid on a blanket, on the grass and simply watched the clouds?  Seriously wish I could hear or read your answers!   

When was the last time you laid out on a summer night, on the grass or on a trampoline and watched the stars?  Seriously wish I could hear or read your answers!  

When was your last 'NOW'?  30 years ago?  15?  A year?  This might make you jealous, but hopefully, help you crave more; my last 'now' was yesterday!  It's common.  I can't do without it. Must have it.  Make time for it.  Am on purpose because it is so important.  

We are told 'to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, whenever it is NOW'!     

Have you seen the sun blazing through a heart shaped cut-out in the  clouds?  Seen pictures
the clouds make?  Watched them race and swirl?  Almost felt the breath of God, playing?  

Seen a star twinkle red so hard, that you had to ask your companion if you were seeing things? 

Watched shooting stars that look like fireworks?  Thought of a shooting star as a gift?

Floated down the river for 2 hours, just you and God, playing?     

When people in our culture think of 'vegging' or relaxing, we typically think of geeking out on the computer or watching TV or a movie..... this is not filling us up, transforming us or replenishing our soul.  It's not wrong, like Doritos aren't wrong, but a matter of nutrition, of knowing what to crave so all your systems run at optimum.  Emotional, spiritual, physical, mental nutrition.  Satisfying to the core of your heart mind and soul!   

But what if you dared yourself to be.  Just BE.  Be quiet.  Be noticing.  Be seeing.  Be comfortable with only you.  Be relaxed.  Be absorbing.  Be a sponge.  Be without your cell phone.  Be without distractions.  Be with the One who wants to be with you.  Be present. Be rejuvenated.  Be restored.  Be emptied.  Be filled.  Be!  

If you haven't done it since you were 5, it might be a little uncomfortable, but stay with it!  

Here is a paraphrase of Eugene Peterson's from The Message:   "Come away with Me and rest a while, and learn the unforced rhythm of grace."

Doesn't that ring your bell?  If it doesn't, I dare to challenge you to oil the clanger in your bell for it probably hasn't been rung in a long long time!  If you don't have a bell, get one.   I love you!   :)   


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Maggie

Maggie is our golden retriever teenager.  She is in a grown up body, but still supple and loves to run.  Usually on our walks in the neighborhood or around the airport trail, she needs to be on a lead.  There is a small section where I can let her off to run, but I have to watch for other dogs and she has to obey me when I call her to come.  When she's leashed, we work and practice her simple commands.  Heal, over, sit, stay, etc.  She's really coming along and a great walking companion attuned with me and what I expect from her.  She really likes to please me.   I really like having her along!   

Everything changes when I take her out to the river.  It's private, no other people or dogs ~ pure freedom!   She can smell it and knows where we're going long before we get there. Freedom does have a scent, U2 says..... 

She has these long graceful legs, doe eyes that express and read everything along with a lush golden coat with white feathers streaming from her haunches and tail when she runs.  I get tears and a lump in my throat watching her.  She is so free, so beautiful, so full of joy doing what she was created to do naturally with ease.  After she has her fill of graceful running, I call her.  She stops, looks at me to make sure she heard right, crouches down and full throttle like a bullet train comes flying at me, stopping short of knocking me over.  Smiles, hoping she can go be free some more, but OK with the reality of being leashed again.  I like to see her free, but it feels like a wonderful compliment when this pup will come to me, giving up her freedom when I call.  At the river, I don't leash her, but I could.  But why?  I feel free there too, no leash.  Free to run.  Free to be.  She'll often lay with me with her front feet crossed, resting, watching the river flow like it's a good movie.  It's way better than a movie!    

Laying It Down

Books seem to jump off the shelf and into my arms, with perfect timing, exactly when I'm ready to receive what they offer and able digest it with any understanding.  The last time it happened was few weeks ago.  It was "Disarming the Narcissist" by Wendy T. Behary, which landed with precision and perfect timing.  

People I love have been hurt by me being one, and I have been hurt also. Then there are people in my life who have 'disarmed' me by loving me enough to be honest, hold up the mirror while staying committed.  They cushion me while I do the hard workout of taking responsibility and owning it.  

In movies, I always feel tense when the good guy carrying a gun is pointing at the bad guy with the gun, trying to force him to lay down his gun.  Sometimes the good guy tricks him into it. 

The best scene is when some noble, brave, courageous person walks up without any tricks up his sleeve and gently persuades the bad guy to give it up and he trustingly is able to.  He might have some consequences, but he also has a future. 

This book was pointed and honest, yet offered hope for a graceful future.  Squirm if you need to, I did; then untie these gifts.  Use them, wear them out!  

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*The art of mutual respect is an expression of the gift of generosity. 
*The art of self-disclosure is an expression of the gift of courage. 
*The art of discernment is an expression of the gift of truth. 
*The art of collaboration is an expression of the gift of shared effort. 
*The art of anticipating clashes is an expression of the gift of foresight. 
*The art of apology is an expression of the gift of responsibility. 
*The art of reflective listening is an expression of the gift of balance. 

from "Disarming the Narcissist" 




Jack 'n Joy

Did you ever have a Jack in the Box when you were a kid.  They were cute little half clowns attached at the hip to a spring, no legs, no freedom to EVER GET OUT OF THE BOX!  
 
It was a fun toy, but became a little annoying if you weren't the one winding the handle to music which wound to a fevered pitch.  The clown would then pop out from under the lid, making your heart jump.  Stretched to the limit of his nightshirt, afterwards he would collapse, crumpling as he got shoved down inside the darkness with the lid snapping shut to wait until someone wound him up again and let him out for a few minutes to smile his painted on smile.    

But poor guy, he could only be part of and attached to the box, performing over and over again at the whim of getting wound up again.  

Yesterday some friends talked about wanting to experience joy.  Not happiness, but joy.  It resonated with me too.  I have a real, normal, mixed life with jumping moments of great joy.
But, real abiding consistent genuine joy underlining the sentence of our life?  Not really. 

I know someone who has literally become a different person over the years.  He, like all of us has grown healthy, whole and holy.  A process which has released him, like me of being attached to that old familiar 'box'.  People have trouble recognizing him as anything other than that old 'Jack'.........but he's got pants on now, with legs!   
 
Let's quit trying to stuff each other back inside that box then slamming the lid!   

That click sounds so final and could be fatal...... to joy.    

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Loved Bad

God used men, Bill and Britt, speaking at a men's conference last Saturday to smear balm and healing salve on old wounds this morning as I listened to the newly posted audio.  Wounds that seem to heal,  but then get the scab ripped off got a good scrubbing with antiseptic.  Maybe the puss is totally gone?   The infection that the enemy of my soul didn't want healed.    

These guys declared the exact opposite of what others have disparagingly used to disqualify me from being a 'real disciple' or a positive asset as a wife, mother, travel team partner, servant or missionary.  Maybe there is another point of view?  Maybe I'm not disqualified after all?  
  
I have let the power of those accusations strip me of thinking there is any value in any arena of my life, including writing in a vulnerable way-what if someone just counts the times 'I' is used instead of hearing my heart?  Decided to never ask to go on a mission trip or sign up for a tour again.  Never serve again.   Started believing it's true~I'm just trouble. Not a servant.  Self Centered. Trouble. Selfish. Trouble.  Judged, criticized and condemned, tic tac toe.  It must be true.  Not picked for the team. Benched to be taught a lesson.  And the lesson got through alright!  You're right.......

The lessons I learn best are different and they tend to last.  I know I'm trouble, self centered, selfish-but please,I beg you, please love me anyways.  Pick me anyways, so I can grow and someday bear fruit.  Possibly change.   Don't "count the seeds in the apple, but the apples in the seed..................."

The Lord has been such a gentle kind teacher, showing me my edges then smoothing them by creating a safe environment to be fertilized, dug around, pruned, watered and 'sunshined down' on..... knowing if I never ever 'get better' in those areas, I'm accepted anyhow. Loved anyways. Cloud and Townsend coined the phrase, 'the opposite of bad isn't good, the opposite of bad is loved.   What a way to spend our lives, being loved and learning to love like this!  

Today there is clarity for  how much I have to be thankful for.  Our lifestyle, my husband, my Lord ~ they give me freedom to be, to meditate in huge long droughts, to not take man's opinions to heart, but God's. He is very fond of me, likes it that I want to be with Him!   Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so.    He picks me, every time and not as the last choice, but first choice, just like I am.  Could it be that really knowing we're loved like this makes us real lovers without an agenda, motive or manipulation?  There is something to the Golden Rule methinks...... empathy kicks in big time.  I don't want other people to feel bad like this, along with the opposite;  I have experienced this amazing life changing love and want others to feel like this!   Both.  The thing that defines those of us with a narcistic bent is a complete lack of empathy.   GIVE ME EMPATHY-CURE ME!  

Monday, January 26, 2009

Rocking Good Storm

In his bachelor days, Craig worked as a concrete cutter working on highways and tarmacs.  He had to live where they had work to do, so he called a 32' fifth wheel his 'suitcase on wheels'. He had it parked in a trailer park in Reno when one morning there was a huge wind storm.  In the high desert, they are dusty and real with few trees to break it up!  He was asleep, as he had been working all night.  Craig sleeps without anything on.   Even though the wind storm was real, as he slept dreamt he was in a terrible wind storm with his trailer teetering precariously on the edge of a huge chasm.   He didn't know how or why it was in this dangerous place, but knew he had to get out of what had suddenly become a death trap.  At some point he began sleep walking, or sleep creeping rather.  Like a ballet dancer on a balance beam he tiptoed delicately to the door, stopping many times to let the trailer get it's equilibrium.  When he finally made it to the door, he held his breath, gently twisted the handle and in one magnificent leap cleared the steps and landed in all his manly glory smack dab in the middle of the neighboring trailer's outdoor BBQ in broad daylight.  A short second before he landed, he woke up.   Casually greeted them and made some comment like, 'bad storm, huh' before he hurried back inside and back to sleep.  He had trouble for a while deciding if it was all just a nightmare.  All of it.     

Footprints and Signatures

Last night we watched a great video, a companion to 'Expelled' called 'Case for the Creator'.  Lee Strobel did a wonderful job like Ben Stein did, in presenting science that proves intelligent design.  The scientists they interviewed aren't what christians would call believers.  They don't claim a love relationship with or know this Creator.  They don't say you have to believe it as an act of faith.  But they do clearly say; we have to look at the signature, the footprints, the window that seems to purposely give us a glimse.   It was mind boggling, intriguing and thought provoking, like 'Expelled'.

Even though I enjoyed the movie so much I don't understand the 'DNA signature'.  But, as I was walking down to my beloved river today, I noticed footprints.  Tires, human feet, rabbit and deer tracks and something that I'm hoping was just a big, big dog, not a cougar!  :)  There was a trail, a signature left by whoever or whatever had been there. 

My unscientific mind innocently knows and recognizes God's unique fingerprint mostly outside, in nature.  Everywhere!    He wants me to see and know it is his handiwork, artistical, creative, beautiful and unique.   Fanciful faith?  

In one sunny day I experienced water laughing, eagles soaring, a sun dog, crisp crunchy frost, 3 planes circling overhead saluting in the bluest sky ever, prism dewdrops sprinkled like diamonds on the stiff frozen grass.......

This was just today.   Everyday can be stuffed full to the brim if we invite them by moving out of our 'nose to the grindstone' life and see.  Not asking, Lord be with me, but instead, please let me be with you!  

The sunshine was gloriously making the frost drip and melt before my eyes.  I could see, hear, touch, smell and taste that the Lord is good....


Thankful for a Witness

The other day's bizarre conversation had a witness which is good, for without it, 2 people would be let down and a big misunderstanding would have happened.  We could have really hurt each other.  Craig was the witness as I told a girlfriend, or thought I told a girlfriend that we would meet on Thursday from 12-3.  He and she both heard Wednesday 12-3.  Thursdays are her day to be in my vicinity and since I know this, knew thursday would work, but they BOTH heard me say Wednesday!   It was crazy.   I felt crazy, but there were witnesses who I need to believe.  

I was wondering about many things last night.  How many times have friendships, relationships been wounded because of the 'what you think you heard isn't what I thought I said'  merry go round.

Wednesday my friend would have come over and most likely I wouldn't have been here. Then when I was waiting and waiting for her thursday, she would have stayed home hurting from the day before and frustration would be growing on both sides.  

Today, after it warms up a bit, I'm going to go out to the river and be still.  Not even try to sort out anything confusing.  Looking ahead instead of looking back to try and understand is best.  There are some things that just can't be understood maybe?  What I can do is face the future with more tools, more practice, more skill, more knowledge, more being filled with the Spirit's counsel and help.    

 Like the main character was advised in 'Stranger Than Fiction', "don't do anything, just let the plot catch up with you."   




Sunday, January 25, 2009

There's a Rainbow Somewhere

Are there times in your life when it would be so reassuring to see a rainbow, a tangible sign of promise and hope?  Stories are wonderful, and the rainbow stories people have are the best. It would be wonderful to hear yours!   

There have been times when a rainbow would have been timely, needed and really helped to lift my spirit.  This summer on my way to Bellingham, I asked for one.  The weather, the sun, the direction was a prime rainbow palette.  No matter where I craned my neck or how hard I stared, a rainbow didn't appear.   

After a bit, sort of discouraged, talking to myself said, "Oh well, I know there is a rainbow somewhere, just can't see it -  forget about it."  Flippantly turned on my ipod to shuffle mode, plugged it in and the first song that came on was "Rainbow Connection".    We surely do have a God who likes to play.   

Like a Rock


Rocks at the beach, at the river, by a lake~they are irresistible!   Everyone knows heart rocks are my very favorite and I find them everywhere.  This rock powerfully made me ponder.  It has a barnacle sitting like a hat, no a crown, right in the center on top.  If you hold it with your hands on either side it will remind you of an Irish claddagh.  

The symbolism of a claddagh is that the hands stand for friendship, the crown for loyalty and the heart, love.   

When writing on my pile of heart shaped rocks, as I came upon this one, the word 'AWE'  was what I chose to put on in thick gold ink.  You can't see it very well, but it does seem to fit. 
 ~Be loyal,  treasure friendships and love.........just like a rock. ~ Awesome~

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bibliophile's love what?

Barnes and Noble, Borders, bookstores big and little make me drool. Indie ones being the cream de la creme, the surprise, the discovery that makes your day.  

Craig builds me another bookshelf, slaps his hands together thinking, 'whew, that'll take care of the BOOK PROBLEM'.  Little does he know that I have stacks of books waiting for a home, so it is filled immediately and we still have a book problem!   

My fantasies usually include books.  I'd like to bring my sleeping bag to Powell's in Portland and just live there for a month with my thermos, favorite pen and journal.  Or do a trip with books and bookstores either for dessert or the main course.  Legends like Strymish's New England Mobile Book Fair or the summer book fair in Hay-on-Wye in England where literally millions of books get touched, sold, traded and even junked. These are ON MY LIST!   Anyone want to come with me?  My stamina will outlast yours, I promise.  Well, maybe a couple of friends could go neck and neck with me till we're all passed out and cross-eyed, friends like Chris, Rhonda and possibly my mom.  

How a book smells, how it feels, what the cover is made of, the paper, the typeface, the bookplate.  Would words like 'caress then eat' conjure up what I feel when I hold a book?   Typically, in a bookstore I have two in one hand, one opened in the other and am so distracted by the hundreds on the shelf that I might be missing, that finally I discipline myself to the heaviest stack possible, carry them to a chair, which then stays occupied for hours. 

Vacuuming would describe it best.  Not a little dust devil with a miniature bag either, janitorial giant suction.  Or, picture a baleen whale diving to the bottom, sucking up piles of everything, sieving it, spitting out the useless and swallowing the nutritious.  Often at the end of the pile, there is a feeling of being disoriented.  After all, maybe I've traveled miles, eaten some surprises, met some fascinating stimulating people, thought new thoughts, gotten angry, felt sad, experienced new cultures or gone back in time.  Coming to again after such a feast is like a trip........and it's all free.

Speaking of which, it is impossible to go on without doing my best curtsy and expressing extreme gratefulness for the magical world of libraries and the words they dispense free of charge.  Thank you God, Hank Ford, the Rocketfellows, Vanderbuilders or whoever started them.......and all the Marian's out there.  Thank you!   From the bottom of my heart.   

This summer, I got rid of - purged, about 80% of my books.  Scariest thing ever.  Looking back, I think it was necessary, but partly it was a reaction, a way to scream, a line of demarcation on my time line of life.  A bold 'before and after' line.   So, there is room on my bookshelves for books for the first time in our lives!   I'm going to be selective, on purpose and start collecting. The first edition or condition isn't really important, but because I thoroughly chew up a book, make it my own by writing in it,  it sort of becomes a journal and really personal.  Mine.  We have enmeshed into each other, the author, the book and me (or is it I?)   :)   

Enthusiastically told Craig about my new 'reading program' I was going to put myself on; he looked totally puzzled, as there are piles of books by our bed, in the bathroom, every table and basket anywhere and everywhere.  Reading is what I do!  He was wondering, what's new?   

The thing is that over all these years there are certain authors who keep popping up being quoted over and over again and I haven't read them, just keep reading the reference to them. Some first hand opinions and introductions are in order now!   I could have some new best friends, well, some of them could be dead, huh?  You probably want to know my list? Sorry, you have to get your own.  Or come over, sit with me, have coffee and peruse my shelves that will soon be bulging again.  OK, OK!   G.K. Chesterton is one of them...........

Broken and Scratched

Are some car washes safe for trucks, or all of them?  Never even thought to question it when we lived in Colorado and I wanted to surprise Craig with a shiny clean truck.  We hadn't been married even a year, Tess was a baby, he was working full time and going to aero- tech school nights.  We were broke, trying to live together in an understanding way, having fun and having hard times both.  Remember those days?  He had a really gorgeous, custom, black Silverado pickup. Drove it proudly, looked yummy in it!  Because he was commuting long distances to work and school, he drove the VW rabbit and left me the truck.  One day I had the bright idea to take it to the car wash.  Getting the huge tires lined up right presented some trouble, but thought everything was OK, put it in neutral and let it grab and pull me through.  As soon as the big brush unfolded I heard this groaning that made my heart shake.  The big knuckle on the elbow of the brush started scraping on the front bumper, grinding a gash all the way to the rear bumper.  I couldn't stop it, get out or get help.  It had to finish on its own.  On the other side, I got out to assess the damage.  It was bad!  A 2 inch deep, 3 inch wide, 10? foot long wound on that beautiful black skin....

Craig was going to be meeting me in just a few minutes; not only was my surprise ruined -I was going to be in big trouble!   Not knowing if it would be a tirade, maybe a spanking, or a brutal "Stupid WOMAN" from him, I was cringing and cowering.   

He came, he saw, he was silent.  Calm even.  Then he asked quietly if I was alright and how did that happen?  No underlying daggers.  I was weeping in shame and mortification not expecting the bucketload of grace and the armful of mercy.  This became a cornerstone of the dynamics of our marriage.  A pattern.  Good ground to grow trust, intimacy and love.   Since then, I've always been able to run straight into his arms, instead of away, no matter how ghastly whatever I've done has been.  No shame.  No fear.  

Never one time in all of these 20 years has he ever mentioned this incident.  He will be surprised when he reads it, for he probably forgot about it.  

Last week, the windshield was icy on the car.  He leaves for work at 4:30 and was probably in a hurry.  Came in, filled a pitcher with warm water used it to de-ice and left the remaining water in it outside.  It was freezing that day.  I found my favorite pitcher, which is irreplaceable, with the bottom cracked off.  I was so mad at his carelessness, mad he had used that particular one, just plain mad.  He was going to get it when he got home......I had ammunition!    

As soon as he got home and the conversation started.....the picture of that gash in his truck flashed before my eyes.   I started doing 'transition labor' type breathing, bit my tongue,
told him I was sad about it but had a plan to use it out in my garden this summer to plant some flowers in.   He smiled his dimpled smile, I think he knew how much I was struggling.  

 It will be a little graceful bright spot, a marker to remember grace, mercy, love, forgiveness and compassion.  When we are young, these are just words.  As we mature, they have texture.  They have become part of the fabric of our lives, the strong threads, graceful threads.    

Bubbles of truth

Bill Kaloger is a story teller.  Stories stick with you forever!  He told me about the time he and his friend Michael were scuba diving with Michael's fancy new diving gizmo.  State of the art. Showed depth, direction etc,  maybe like an underwater GPS?  :)  Somehow they started having some kind of difficulty-Bill was running out of air and was trying to let him know that they needed to return to the top.  If you are deep, you have to ascend slowly which takes more air.  At Bill's signal, Michael nodded in agreement, looked at the gismo and began to descend.  A puzzled Bill caught up, tugged on Mike's flipper to get his attention and signaled again....we need to go up-to the top, now!  Mike again agreed, pointed at the gismo and started to descend once more.  Hurriedly, Bill caught up to him, (he's a merman) and seriously pulled and pointed up.  Michael agreed, yes, they were going to the top, pointed in exasperation at the gismo and gave him a 'what's wrong with you look' and started down again at which point Bill grabbed him and took off his own mouth piece to let the bubbles escape from the hose.  The bubbles were going up-the only direction they could go.  Opposite of what the computer said.    It was malfunctioning.  Gravity can't malfunction.  
 
   ~Adjust what you believe to be true, to what is true~
                    

Friday, January 23, 2009

Big twinkling

Another huge epiphany just jogged in my brain.  This all connects, stay with me..... 

Craig took me to Orcas to our favorite place to have a weekend honeymoon getaway some time ago.  I had my coffee in one hand and went out on the deck to look at the stars, take in the sound of the water lapping and 'be'.  After a while, this burning desire for a tangible sign, an answer to a very real question made me dare to ask God for a shooting star-as the answer.  (We have this shooting star thing, along with hundreds of other 'God kisses'.  More later.)   No shooting star, but instead, this one particular star kept twinkling like it was going to burst apart.  Big time twinkling, you couldn't miss it.  Meanwhile, I'm begging, pleading, sort of whining, then pouting at the missing shooting star.  A soft gentle voice says, 'Twinkle".  What?  Again louder "Twinkle!".   But I can't twinkle, I'm hurting, done, nothing left-how can I?   Now a ROAR, "JUST TWINKLE, LIKE THAT STAR!"  This got my attention.   "OK,  I will, but can you help me, please"  As soon as the words left my mouth this magnificent shooting star blazed across the sky with a long tail following it like an echo.  Would you have been crying, overcome, worshipping, in awe?  I was!  

When I got home, I googled, 'what makes stars twinkle'.  Turbulence.  Yup!  Turbulence causes the light to bend and fracture and we see and perceive it as twinkling. 
  
I'm a powerful magnet for 'turbulence'....24/7, 365 days a year!   Maybe I don't have to hate it or run from it.   Ok, don't get any smart ideas, I'm not going to invite it, but maybe just learn that when it is part of my atmosphere, twinkling is happening?  

Here's the trail.  There are 2 someone's in my life that have been a huge influence.  One has a big presence.  Everything is big- the good, the bad, the ugly, the tender,  the funny, the rescue, the teaching, the loving, the generosity, the hurting, the caring.  BIG, as in BIG! He helps big, challenges big, dreams big,  spanks hard, laughs loud, hugs big, and falls hard, lives big, smiles big.   Everything is hugely visible.   Think of a rock.  Craig is a rock too, only more camoflauged. The same, but different.

It's funny how encouragement, empowering, equipping, coaching, exhorting can be the same word and done with different means.  Craig's way is totally opposite.  Both ways get results.  My friend Bill Kaloger said that a horse with a rider can go faster even with the extra weight than a horse without a rider, because the rider is whipping, pushing, pulling, telling the horse it CAN!
   
I am writing and can't seem to stop- because of this big influence.  Maybe twinkling because of the turbulence?  Hmmm.

His banner over me is love...

Last February for Valentine's Day, we had a party at our house for all of the girls we know who didn't have someone to be with or somewhere to go that evening.  My desire was for them to feel romanced by the Lover of their soul!   As Kandi put it a while back, this is "Singles Awareness Day" for them, and doesn't feel so great! 

 It was so fun decorating, making things sparkle and thinking up little favors, to remind them how captivating they were.  About 19 gals came.  That morning I asked the Lord for a theme or a verse or some meaningful thought that would pull it all together succinctly.  Out of the blue that really old song, "He brought me to the banqueting house, his banner over me is love........"  popped into my head.  I looked up the verse and it just resonated with the 'take away' I 
wanted them to have in their hearts when they left.  Wow, thanks!   

Bought some big white heart shaped doilies, wrote the verse on sideways  and attached a long stick to the rounded side.  Voila, a banner!   Stuck them in the gift bags, which were going to be taken as they left.  

But there was this prompting to tell about it early, during dinner.  Told the story and then of how in England when the Queen is in residence in one of her palaces/homes, a banner is flown over it for all to see and know she is in that specific place at that time.  

Eileen, a friend that had had a really rough year with a nasty divorce and a fragmented situation with her children started telling us that she almost turned around and didn't come.  She was so discouraged and felt like she wouldn't be any fun and really didn't want to have any fun that night.  A reminder of her unwanted/rejected condition was horrible.  But she came anyways and her heart leapt and quickened at the banner story for she had begged the Lord to give her something that would give her hope and courage, something specific for her, so she would know He intimately cared.  He gave her THAT VERSE!   She too hadn't thought about it or heard that song in ages.  

It was our good God, moving in me, to move in her and move in that room of captivating, wanted, lovely, loved women and let them know, they are not alone.  They are romanced, invited to dance, cared for, delighted in.   It was amazing!  

If you get a nudge, go with it, it might just be the missing piece that someone else needs. Blessing each other is sometimes a simple offer,
     blowing on a dying ember,
        a cup of tea,
          an encouraging word, 
             a short simple note,
                lunch, 
                  a hug,
                    and sometimes a story...........

Your story is more important than you'll ever know!  

Brambles

Archived from facebook notes-'08

Tess, my oldest daughter and I went for a little R & R to Westport.  A seedy little cottage on the jetty was perfect.  Otters playing and feeding, seals and sea lions entertained us.  Reclining with a blanket, bundled up out under the starts on the porch not asking for anything - being together, enjoying each other was enough.  

We took a long walk to the lighthouse along the beach path, stopping along the way to pick up heart rocks and beach glass.   The walk was going to be long, I was loaded down from the beginning, so I scrounged a plastic bag from the ditch and put all the rocks and treasures from my bulging pockets in the bag behind a big pile of rocks to get later. 

The next morning before we left town, I parked as close as possible to go retrieve my bag of treasures down the path where I had stored them.  Two choices presented themselves.  Follow the path which was twice as long or cut across this field laced with stickery low lying blackberry brambles and save time.  I decided to risk the brambles.  It looked uncrossable without tearing up my pants and shoes.  Then a thought.  Just take a step, one step.  So I did.  Every 'next' step I took opened up a 'next' step which I couldn't see until I took the one before.  I had to move, take an action step. 

I quickly made it to the other side, grabbed my stash and because of the first success, went back to the edge of that bramble field and had the exact same impossible feeling that I couldn't possibly accomplish it; even though I had just come across it without mishap a few minutes ago.  Isn't that a strange thing?  It seemed daunting, impossible, undoable.  Again?  

Remembering that I just had to take a first step and the next would be made clear and open up before me helped me move into the bramble patch one more time.  This time it seemed like dancing effortlessly through a grid, smiling.  God smiled too!   :)  



 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Adding a comma

This post is so vulnerable that it's way worse than that dream of showing up in your nightgown or naked at school.  Or the dream of being on the track and trying and trying to catch up enough to even see the others and no matter how hard you try, you never get close, never even see them.  Not a glimse.  Always behind.  Never with.  

Last year the lover of my soul, my creator, my maker, my heavenly father named me.  It sounds wispy and imaginative so I can completely understand and am prepared for the laughter.  Especially when you hear what it is.   'Kathleen, beautiful one who sees and loves'....   It's kind of embarrassing.  And yet, He named me.  I know that I know - deep in my knower.   It has been a puzzle which this week became clearer.  I didn't hear exactly right, but saw it finally.  There's a comma missing, that I overlooked and yet only this week would I have even been able to understand the significance of that comma.    So seeing it properly it is 'Kathleen, beautiful one who sees, and loves'   Big difference!   Huge paradigm change, that comma after 'sees'.   

1)The 'beautiful' part.  Ok.  I have never been the barbie doll, cheerleader, boy candy, great body, desirable girl with a line of boys waiting in line knocking my door down.  Ever.  Vanity was the greatest sin, so being told you were cute when you were little or beautiful when you were an awkward teen was not encouraged.  I did know I was loved and delighted in, as a child and Craig, he thinks I'm gorgeous.  He has to, he's my love!  It is also a gift of unconditional love he gives me. I know what the Lord thinks of me and really understand deep down how he values me.  My size has always been bigger than normal.  Never have had the ability to have style, be chic, known how to wear my hair or clothes.  Being beautiful was something I have excepted that other people are, I'm not.  But that's not everything, so it's ok.  I am artistic, hospitable, affectionate, a good cook, etc.....     At times it feels like I'll never fit in, never be like other people.  Sometimes I feel part of the human race, most the time an introvert, painfully so. But beautiful?  No.   Getting on facebook and putting a profile picture up was huge.  First time I have been able to look at a picture and not wanted to throw up.  Healing needed to happen because being that self conscious is actually crippling and a sick form of self centeredness.   

2)The 'see' part:  What I have known all my life is that I see differently.  Notice.  I think and learn in metaphors, pictures, stories - so the disparities, the absurd, the contradictory, lies, humor, pain, curiosities, fear; they are obvious and I 'See' it in people, the environment and situations. Maybe have lots of intuition and perception? Don't know, as I've never been someone else.  See?  Yes.    Always known and thought of it as a gift.  The humbling part is that sometimes I might see, but not always all of it or correctly or all the time.   Groan!  

3)The 'love' part:  I've always been extremely affectionate across all borders, genders, age, species, size and physical handicaps.  It's comfortable when you don't have a physical bubble...... It has been a learning thing for me to be respectful of people who aren't comfortable with it.  I have wanted to love well more than anything and have failed at it more than anything. This is a constant grief, and yet, I thought it was the Lord's way of encouraging me to not stop trying.  Be resilient and keep learning and keep the desire to love first and foremost anyhow. 

So over the year, I have become used to being 'named' and the wonderful thing is how much I want to live up to it.  He believes in me!   I can't believe in me on my own, but because he believes in me-I can believe in me.......    

Ironically this has been the most difficult and painful year of my life.  Stretch marks, growth pains, bruises, scars, lessons learned, becoming tempered, learning composure, learning what not to do by doing it wrong, etc.  The year has been stuffed with it till I can hardly catch my breath and really need to replenish my adrenal system with red meat or something.  I have wanted to curl up, pull the covers over my head and be done.  Done done.  Discouraged to the point of never wanting to get up again.  And then this week.  My name is a calling, sort of.  The comma changed everything.  

Because I see and notice things, perceive and intuit things, if you've been reading my public journal this week some things have been made so clear to me about myself.  I can be cruel and cutting when I see things.  Ridicule when I notice the stupidities and incongruencies.    Seeing is one thing, but being unkind, exposing and slashing when I do- is just wrong.  My name with the comma added is calling me to more!  To see, which I can't help but doing, then respond by loving.  That's it. 

 I was just getting comfortable and feeling really good with my name.  Sort of special. Cushy.  

Now, I feel overwhelmed at the challenge, the call, the influence, the being chosen part.  But here's the deal;  He believes in me, so can I!  
He thinks I can, so I will.  
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 
Put a comma in it and let's take it to the next level!      

Gordy

Gordy is my father, really Craig's father.  He is kind, funny, generous,  hospitable and honorable.  At this time of life, he is caring for his wife of 60 years at home.  She is in advanced stages of Alzheimer's.  He is the son of norwegian pioneers, a farmer, dairyman; mostly a son of the earth.  When he was young, his mom would send him to go get wood but along the way he would get sidetracked chasing butterflies. This defines him.   Chores would get done along with playing.  When he had his 5 boys, he gave them this gift, hard work, play hard.  Both. 

Before he would turn the barn cleaner in the barn, which took out all the cow manure, he would start smacking his hands together making splat, splunk, sploosh sounds which got the cows all in the mood to do the same.  After they were all done with their 'in unison toilet', then he turned on the barn cleaner which washed it all down the drain.  Then he milked them without a mess. Brilliant!  :)

In the barn there was a phone.  When it rang a certain number of times, it was the house calling.  He had a border collie that he used to work the cows who either really hated the phone ringing or really liked it.  When it rang, on the first ring that dog would go jump on this one cows hind quarters and swing on it's tail until the ringing stopped.  Can you imagine how that 
cow HATED the phone to ring.  They always went in the same stanchion, so it was always the same cow.  It would have been entertaining to make the phone ring on purpose.  

They had a party line, which meant if the phone rang 1 short and 2 longs it was not to be picked up.  It was for someone else's house.  Lot's of eaves dropping happened though.  The kids would sometimes be curious and quietly listen in.  If the grandma's figured it out, they would start talking in norwegian.  

Gordy needed his boys to help him, but they were taught to become men very naturally.  He did a good job honoring every stage of their growth, always making them stretch, become competent, then giving more responsibility.  It was mutual respect and a 2 way street between father and son.  All 5 of the boys honor and respect their father.  Craig and Gordy talk at least twice a day, ask and receive advice, get each other's opinion, remind each other of funny memories,  give each other grief/razz, and have become the greatest of friends.  Which is a miracle, as there was a chunk of time that there was a separation of fellowship.  I love and respect Gordy so much, and as I was writing my tribute to Craig for our anniversary I know that the reason Craig is such a wholesome and healthy father and husband is because of the influence of his father.    


A Roosters and hens

Any time we lived in a place that would accommodate chickens, we had them.  In ND, we ordered 100 baby chicks in the early spring.  Raised them in the basement under warm lights until they were old enough for outside.  That fall, we butchered most of them.   Craig's dad and  a couple of  friends helped me. 

 Craig was going to help, but even though he grew up around hunting and butchering, his tender heart opposed him.  The first morning we had the hot water boiling, the table, the garbage cans, the knives, hatchet and anything else that would get us started.  Our goal was to process 10-15 a day.  

Gordon, my father in law, reminded  Craig that when you chop their heads off, if you use the hatchet and sort of thunk them first with the dull end they naturally stick their heads out for you and make it easy.  Craig is a trusting soul and believed his dad.  He's also really strong.    Matter of factly, he thunked the first one on the head while holding it's feet in the other hand.  It turned around and looked him right in the eye, like, "What was that for?".  He thunked it again firmly,  harder.  Same thing happened-it dazedly looked around at him, crushed that this gentle giant would be so rough.  Hating to disappoint me, Craig shook his head, tears running down his face and said, "Honey, you'll have to find someone else to do this part, I can't".  

Gordy came over faithfully every morning and cut the heads off 10 chickens so I could process them.  He would hold them while they bled, so they wouldn't run around and gush everywhere or get dirty.  I couldn't cut their heads off either, but the rest of the processing went well and I loved the freezer full for the winter.  I saved one and cooked it that first week but it was too real, too soon; none of us seemed very hungry.  What if it was Matilda?  It became easier after that.  

We never did get chickens to butcher after that, but in Lake Stevens, we got 12 chicks to raise to lay eggs.  By that fall they were laying and the next spring some of the hens got broody, nested and we had batches of chicks.  Watching and observing them was so interesting.  The babies obeyed that hen when she called them under her wings, sensing danger.  While I was out gardening they loved scratching in the newly tilled dirt for grubs and worms.  

We had a little white banty rooster.  He was a prince of a rooster.  His harem was very well taken care of, protected and provided for.  While they were feeding and digging, they could do it with complete abandon, as he watched out for danger.  He would  scratch up a worm now and then and offer it to his lady instead of eating it.  He was on guard the whole time they were outside of the pen.  One night, we forgot to lock the door.  When we got up in the morning there were white feathers spread over 1/2 acre of our yard.  A hen with 1 chick got killed, but the other chicks we found.  He must have put up a brave fight to the death trying to protect his family.   

I still miss fresh eggs that taste like eggs and a rooster welcoming the morning.  Don't think our neighbors would appreciate it though.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Teeter totters, trust and tails

If you're under 30, you probably won't know what in the world a teeter totter is!  All these 'safe'
playgrounds don't allow things that could hurt you.  They aren't much fun either.  We had one in every playground and along with it there was an unspoken ethical social rule that you always made sure the person on the opposite seat wasn't let down-no surprises or NO ONE would 
ever play with you again on that toy.  Getting on was easy, both people supporting each other until the up and down rhythm got going.  Giving each other butterflies was legal, jarring them a bit ok, but mostly it was mutual fun, I push off and go up, then you push off and go up.  If this simple board on a pivot was long enough, when you went up - it was a long ways down.  
Three years ago Brita and I were at a Mennonite 8th grade graduation for a nephew.  They don't know about or follow 'worldly' safety protocol.  Their playground was really exceptional and took me back to the freedom and playfulness of childhood.  Brita hadn't experienced this teeter totter thing, so at ages 46ish and 16ish, we, mother and daughter took our turn in line.  It was built on asphalt.  Before this event my height was 5'5.  After this event my spine was the length of a Hobbit's.  We were having a wonderful time I thought-it was the longest board I had ever
teeter tottered on.  For some reason, Brita started doubting that I was trustworthy.  She's my daughter, who I wouldn't hurt for anything.   She started feeling really vulnerable or something when she was the one up in the air, so completely catching me off guard, she jumped off when I was up in the air and let me crash.  It happened so fast that I didn't have time to put my feet down to cushion it, landed smack, bit my tongue and laid there in shock.  She couldn't believe what she had just done-it was a knee jerk reaction to her fear; protecting herself from getting hurt.    She helped me up and brushed me off.  I'm shorter, she's smarter.  

A couple of years later, she redeemed herself by coming to my aid at the ordering line at Wendy's.  She saw me coming from the restroom oblivious to the perfectly round toilet seat cover tucked inside my waistband hanging like a bustle.  She dashed across the dining room to the line, got right up behind me and urgently whispered, 'DON'T MOVE'.  I was freaked, as Brita has a bubble 3 feet around and doesn't volunteer very often to get up close and that personal.  It was so unusual in fact, that I obeyed while she discreetly wadded up the offending tail and threw it away. Only after she took away my shame, did she explain.   

   

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What? Me a satirist?

Continuing my own thread of learning here.....from wit and humor, to ridicule, to this;  satire.
Ridicule can kill, like criticism.  Wit is disguised and cloaked in humor.  Everyone else thinks it's funny-whole rooms of people in fact, but the one it is directed at knows and it is deadly.  A close relative is satire.  From what I've discovered it is;  ridiculing a fault in order to expose it, or correct it.  Anything or anyone is fair game.  Indignation, scorn, amusement directed towards the less than perfect one in the hope of somehow improving his weaknesses and shortcomings.  The subject feels attacked, derided, disrespected and unhonored.  All his follies, quirks, foibles and stupidities are held up and exposed to ridicule and contempt.  It can be a technique which attacks foolishness to make fun of it. It subtley blends humor and criticism to expose a fault or problem, ironically.  It's intent is to force a positive direction of improvement, rather than just tear down. 

These are not my words, but a paraphrase gleaned from a page of definitions- too many to give credit.   

Real tears are splashing around;  there are people who I love and respect so much, that haven't felt it or experienced it.  Here I am, Kathleen, a sometimes cutting satirist and didn't even know it till today!  Years and years of thinking I was being an encouragement, building up, giving, serving, offering friendship and relationship, but underneath-once in a while, satire was sandwiched in between these positive things, very subtle.  Subconsciously justifying it- it was for good, for reform, for exposure for change-vive la revolution!   

In the first place, satire takes talent.  Verbal ease and articulation.  Fast Pitch baby-we're not playing softball here.  Ummmm, would you, could you believe that I didn't (want to) know I was this good?  Didn't know I had the power?  Didn't know that my gender rendered it difficult all the way around.   Didn't know there could be any effect for good or bad?  Didn't know it mattered and was really confusing?  Words have such power and the written word has even more......

Finding that 'sweet spot' on my pen from now on will hopefully let me make 'home runs' often, but not at anyone else's expense.  No black and blue bruises on them or me. No broken bones, hearts or spirits-mine or theirs.    Can we all tap out and start over?  Begin again?  Love better? I'm so sorry, I was so wrong sometimes, will you forgive me?   Hugs, kisses and whisker rubs......

Wit or Humor?

Today, I used wit instead of humor.  It wasn't premeditated, although it was something only the other person and I would know.    It wasn't funny, even though I meant it to be good natured-banter.  Because of indulging in it, the good that I intended went unnoticed, unheard.  The stab and twist broke the bridge I wanted to build.  So I studied these words today and hopefully  will be on purpose to NOT indulge.  It took Craig to frame it - how other people saw and felt it from me, like a slash and then a comforting pat.     Sometimes I'm trying to point out an incongruity or something absurd, draw a comparison and use it to ask; can you see it too?  I had no idea that it felt aggressive to the other person!   Seriously!   Dumber than a box of rocks......although, when it is done to me, I hate it and feel terrible!   It HURTS!   I can be the victim, then the bully, and it goes on and on.....   
I don't want anyone hurt with sarcasm or cryptic hurtful words.  Lord, may I have an unlimited amount of 'redo' tickets?    My heartfelt desire is that I can become proficient in tenderness, compassion, loving, understanding, empathy and encouragement- so that people will see Jesus in my eyes, hear Him through my words and feel Him through my affection.  Tomorrow's a new day with no mistakes in it.  Whew!  Isn't the learning curve hard?  
                                       "You can't make gravy till you make gravy"   

Losing the 'list'

We hadn't been married 10 years yet when Craig came home exclaiming over a radio program he had heard, probably Focus on the Family or something.

 On it, an older gentleman who had been married for 70 years or so was asked what the secret to his happy and successful marriage was.  He told how before his wife and he were married they were counseled to write a list of 10 things that really irritated each them about the other person, keep it, and over the years decide on purpose to forgive each other ahead of time for those things.

On the honeymoon, fur was flying and he was so annoyed at something she did, so he looked for that list, knowing that if it was on it, he had to forgive her, carte blanche!  He could not find the list.  It was really truly lost.

From the time of their honeymoon till end of their marriage, when his wife did something that really bugged him or irritated him, he would say to himself, "Well, it must be one of those things on the list" and he would forgive her.   

Craig 'lost the list' on me long ago.  It gives me room to know true sorrow that brings about repentance and change.  It's good soil to thrive and grow in.  He's got the technique refined - I'm still trying to pass 'kindergarten' on that one!   

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bon Marche Star

Archived from facebook notes..... 

One Christmas, when Craig was working downtown Seattle at the Westin Building on 6th, I decided to meet him and ride home with him after work.  I had driven down with some friends who left me at the Bon Marche to hook up with him.  We planned to meet me under the Christmas star at 6:00.  It is an icon downtown, which can't be missed.  It seemed perfect and fool proof.  

I didn't have a phone or my wallet for some dumb reason.  His building was secure and only accessed by a security clearance card.  I waited and waited past the time he should have been there.  We always had a pact, if I stay put, he will come for me and find me.  This had always worked before.  After one hour, I started fretting and worrying, because it was cold and I felt so powerless, totally helpless.  My problem solving skills deteriorated!  I scrounged in my pockets and bag and found a couple quarters, found a phone and tried to call his cell.  No answer.  Now what?  Hurried back to my place under the star and waited.  Unbeknownst to me he had been going around the building, which is a block all total.  He had looked at the entrance where I had been waiting right before I went to the phone.  I wasn't there for just those few moments and we missed each other.   

He finally found me after some time and more trips around the block.  I started yelling and crying and accusing him.  He let me down!   My misery felt like his fault.   He let me rant and rave......then, when I finished, he quietly and lovingly looked at me and asked, "Were you scared?"  I fell into his arms and cried and cried, saying over and over again, "Yes, I was so scared and felt so hopeless and didn't know what to do."  He then explained that there was more than one star.  I had assumed there was only one. 

I was sorry and repentant and embarrassed all at once.  When I asked him to forgive me, he already had, before I asked and said, "For what?"  

That's tender- hearted loving- kindness.  That's grace in action.  That's the sweet life!  

Amazingly Plain and Brown

Exotic fruit looks so yummy, interesting and enticing.  I'm mostly drawn to it out of curiosity. Yet, have you ever tried processing a pomegranate?  The seeds are gorgeous in color and shape, but they are tenaciously horrible to get enough out to make a worthy contribution equal to the labor involved.  Those little jewel-like demons can do permanent damage staining your clothes!  The juice is great, but thousands of seeds only make a cup.  Sprinkle some around for pizzazz, but after a few, the interest wanes.  

Star fruit has a neat shape, but what a waste.  Kiwi is ok.  The thing is, that exotic fruits and vegetables are expensive, not always available when you need it the most, and usually picked green in order to transport it from Chile, Australia or Mexico.  Plus, it is susceptible to spoiling almost as soon as you get it home.  Still, at times I forget what I know and have been bedazzled by exotic fruit.  

I appreciate the plain brown potato in my life more and more.  They are inexpensive and always readily available.  You can buy them in bulk or one at a time.  They are always in season, they store well, for month if done right.  It seems like you have groceries if you have potatoes.  you can serve them every day and not get tired of them.  Even though they need cooked and seem bland on their own, that is part of the beauty of a plain brown potato.  You can dress them up or dress them down.  Add a little salt and pepper, sour cream and chives, bacon bits, broccoli or chili gravy. 

Finding new ways of cooking them is sort of fun.  They can be boiled, baked, grilled, sauteed, scalloped, skewered, mashed, riced, diced, sliced or fried, deep fried or broiled; becoming fries, tater tots, home fries or hash browns, lefse, dumplings, bread and more.  You can make a main meal of a baked potato with a bar of goodies to stack on top.  The skins are even good simply broiled with butter,salt and pepper for Jojo's.  Twice baked gives you easy pre-prep for a fancy dinner.  Potatoes compliment any dinner. 

Plain brown potatoes don't seem to feel insecure around the other flashy fruits and vegetables, they must sense their worth and value as a staple of life.  They don't get puffed up with their own egos thinking they're irreplaceable, because they see the rice and pasta on the shelf and know they are just the same-no more, no less.  They don't need to advertise, they sell themselves.  Having a potato famine would be disastrous!   We have become so used to having easy access, any time we need them.  We depend on them!   

I am married to a plain brown potato who is more precious than any words could express.  He is priceless.  He is my beloved and amazingly plain and brown.   

Archived from facebook notes....  

Getting our song back

Rerun 'o8- archived from facebook....which is deactivated for now.  



Last night Craig and I went to Lowes to get some full spectrum lights for the kitchen, the back room and our bedroom .  In the winter, I get sad from lack of sunshine.  We had heard that the proper lights really help.  We were having trouble finding them, so Craig asked this guy up on a ladder about them.  He said, "Oh yes, we have them.  A lady was just here getting some.  Her canary had quit singing."    

Here's to full spectrum lighting and canaries and finding our song again!    :)    

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sugar cube walls and hairballs

No,  it wasn't my cat coughing up hairballs, we don't have one anymore.  It was a very vivid dream last night, so real that it was a relief to wake up. 

Two things in this dream...coughing up hairballs and walls. 

 There's Hadrian's Wall, The Great Wall, The Berlin Wall, Londonderry Wall, Jerusalem Wall.  Some I've seen, some seen only in pictures.  

But back to the hairballs.....this was a nightmare!  Everytime I'd cough, a big hairball would come up in my throat and I would have to reach in and grab it to get it out for it would be stuck. After each one, this muddy clay would be sticking to my tongue and I'd have to scrape it off with a spoon.  It was grotesque!   Writing about it makes me sort of sick.  Viscerally sick!  And then this impression of walls and I kept hearing the word, 'walls'. 

 
Just for kicks I googled how to get rid of hairballs in cats.  Lubrication, either butter or mineral oil.  It helps it pass through, instead of blocking the intestines or coming 'up' again and again. 

This dream was early early this morning and I'm writing this at 8:30 at night after a wonderful day of worship, teaching, fellowship, water, sunshine, 2 eagles, a good meal, great coffee, more worship, more good teaching.  This day was the day frosted with butter-and drenched in the oil of gladness.   I'm gonna pass these hairballs and let them lay right here on this page, soaked in tears that will possibly drip down and  melt the wall around my heart protecting me; if it's just a sugar cube kind of wall and not stone that is!   Loving hurts, hairballs pass and walls can be breached or sometimes get torn down....with some creative strategy.  But me?  I'm all out of ideas and my climbing days are over, it feels like, so I sure hope it's a sugar cube wall after all.  



Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day full of play

This morning was a socked in, foggy, cold one.  Not very much to lift the lethargy of the morning. I asked Craig if we could drive North, and catch the Friday Harbor ferry even though it was less than hopeful.  Coffee, walking on the ferry, being together is just nice, no matter the outside circumstances.   We got to Anacortes and the sun was putting on a show.   I felt like a mole, up above ground for the first time; it made me scurry to put on my shades....which I haven't worn for months it feels like.   We missed the ferry by 15 minutes and the next wasn't till 2:30.  Bring on plan B, which was visiting my most favorite spot in the world-Deception Pass bridge.  We parked, walked down to the bluff underneath, spread a coat and soaked in the warmth along with the glorious view overlooking the tide being sucked through the channel  below.  Every single time I'm there, a huge granddaddy seal pops up and looks right at me.  With the distance, you might think it my imagination.  You can.  Today, he started doing barrel rolls in the wild white water rapids that the tide was creating-just to get our attention.  He would swim up under the bridge against the current underwater, then pop up and ride the current till it was calm and do it again.   When it was over, each time it looked like he would look up and smile invitingly.  He was playing.  That's all, playing.  It was so joyful to watch him enjoying his world, the moment.  When we left, an eagle literally escorted us down the road then flew off.   Good coffee, sunshine, the gifts which are free, a true companion to enjoy it with.   That's La Dolce Vita!   

Friday, January 16, 2009

The apple of his eye

It was only another woman and me on the elevator going to the 5th floor.  Short ride, short introduction and we parted ways.  It wasn't until later that week I recalled her face, her eyes and body language.  She looked tired, disappointed, un-enthused and like she wasn't expecting or dreaming much anymore.   She definitely didn't know or feel like the apple of anyone's eye. 

We have an idiom, 'the apple of his eye'.  An artist when he paints a portrait will often wait until the end to put that little stroke of white on the eye, reflecting light.   It makes the portrait come alive and the eyes dance.  This little sparkle is 'the apple'....... 

When I was little there were people whose eyes sparkled when they saw me.  I was the apple of their eye and knew it.  There are children and people who make my eyes twinkle when I see them, and they know it.  

Lovers have a shining that happens when they see each other and make eye contact, both know that they are the apple of each other's eye...... saying without words, you delight me! 

Sometimes, I think people can't recall ever being the apple of anyone's eye when they were small, let alone as an adult.   Abandoned, discarded, widowed, divorced or just simply alone not by choice, they are without someone to protect, love, cherish, cover them or lead them.  Even if they had that experience for a few fleeting moments as a child or young woman, they have forgotten what it was like, no memory, no recollection-life's experiences have blurred it.       

As Valentine's day comes around again, I feel compassion towards women.  It's not that I want them to get married, have a boyfriend, get chocolate or roses or the hallmark thing as much as wanting them to really, really comprehend that they are "THE APPLE OF GOD'S EYE".   If they have experienced it humanly, I pray they could remember it, so they will recognize it again with the Lover of their soul.  If they have never experienced it, I pray that you and I together would let our eyes light up when they walk into the room.....so they'll know what it feels like to be delighted in.   

The 'More'

Digesting this Jane Austen quote, "Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others",  led me on to this:  


Wikipedia quoting CS Lewis:   

Affection (storge) is fondness through familiarity, especially between family members or people who have otherwise found themselves together by chance.  It is described as the most natural, emotive, and widely diffused of loves; natural in that it is present without coercion; emotive because it is the result of fondness due to familiarity; and most widely diffused because it pays the least attention to those characteristics deemed 'valuable' or worthy of love and, as a result, is able to transcend most discriminating factors.  Ironically, its strength, however, is what makes it vulnerable.  Affection has the appearance of being 'built-in' or 'ready made', says Lewis, and as a result people come to expect, even to demand, its presence-irrespective of their behavior and its natural consequences.  

Friendship (philia) is a strong bond existing between people who share a common interest or activity.  Lewis explicitly says that his definition of friendship is narrower than mere companionship:  friendship in his sense only exists if there is something for the friendship to be 'about'.  It is the least natural of loves, states Lewis:  i.e., it is not biologically necessary to progeny like either affection (e.g., rearing a child), eros (e.g., creating a child) or charity (e.g., providing for a child).  It has the least association with impulse or emotion.  In spite of these characteristics, it was the belief of the ancients (Lewis himself, too) that it was the most admirable of loves because it looked not at the beloved (like eros), but it looked towards that 'about'- that thing because of which the relationship was formed.  This freed the participants in this friendship from self-consciousness.  Because they were looking towards something beyond or above themselves, the more who were looking towards that thing with them were welcomed with sincerity, which freed the relationship from jealousy.  And although the love may not be biologically necessary, it has, argued Lewis, civilization value.  The thing beyond or above themselves may be of monumental importance to society.  but without the benefit of friendship to blunt the loneliness of 'being the only person who sees this', or the idea that two heads are better than one, many advances in society may never have been embarked upon.  The relationships is by its nature selective, and therefore, exclusive.  

Caritas (agape) is an unconditional love directed towards one's neighbor which is not dependent on any lovable qualities that the object of love possesses.  Agape is the love that brings forth caring regardless of circumstance.  Lewis recognizes this as the greatest of loves, and sees it a s a specifically Christian virtue.  The chapter on the subject focuses on the need of subordinating the natural loves to the love of God, who is full of charitable love.  Lewis states that "He is so full, in fact, that it overflows, and He can't help but love us."  Lewis metaphorically compares love with a garden, charity with the gardening utensils, the lover as the gardener, and God as the elements of nature.  God's love and guidance act on our natural love (that cannot remain what it is by itself) as the sun and rain act on a garden:  without either, the object (metaphorically the garden; realistically love itself) would cease to be beautiful or worthy.  Lewis warns that those who exhibit charity must constantly check themselves that they do not flaunt-and thereby warp-this love  "But when you give to someone, don't tell your left hand what your right hand is doing."  Matt 6:3, which is its potential threat.

   






Winnie in the Window

Phil and Laurie Boyte are the most hospitable friends we know.  They let me use their house which is actually an estate on some acreage in the foothills above Auburn.  The propane tank was full so the pool would be heated, just for me.  I had 2 glorious weeks of almost solitude in a serene setting.  A black bear with long black floating fur on his haunches crossed the driveway about 50 feet from where I was watering flowers one morning.  I saw deer, fed the dogs and collected these mammoth sugar pinecones everyday, which I decorated our garlands with at Christmas.  I had a stack of books, my laptop, journal, ipod, great food and swimsuit and hours and hours to enjoy the sunshine.  

They are so hospitable that they don't ever lock the door and the house is freely used by the whole town.  Shaun had a friend pop over at 12 midnight to borrow his really expensive video camera.  People had a wedding rehearsal dinner there, the contractor came to finish some details, the pool man came to maintain it.  I dashed and hid quite a few times!   The mornings were wonderful, quiet and very restorative.   Remember I didn't have a key, they don't use one.  I was in this huge house alone and what with all the activity and communal sharing of the place, I locked myself in at night so I could relax.

One morning, dressed only in a sloppy old hip lenth tank top, I took my coffee out to the deck and as I heard the door closing behind me remembered that I hadn't turned the lock to unlock.  It closed firmly and clicked, locked.  None of the doors were accidentally left open the night before.  The closest neighbor was up the hill.  Trudging along outside in my skimpy nightclothes wasn't something I was eager for.  The neighbors probably wouldn't have let me in. I remembered that the pool house had some big fluffy beach towels stacked inside, but decided first to try the windows.  I needed one where I could manage to reach the floor once inside and also reach it from the deck.  The dining room one was the only one unlocked.  I kept asking myself what would Craig do?   Took off the screen, figured out how to take the window out, squirmed up and inside-to my waist.  Thinking I was very clever, I moved the decorative things on the sill so when I poured over to the other side nothing would break.  Except I didn't pour or ooze anywhere. 

I got stuck halfway, just like Winnie the Pooh, but not.   The view facing the woods just could not have been as cute, Pooh was a darling fuzzy bear!  Have you ever seen elephant seals harumph up onto rock, or a harbor seal heave itself onto a buoy?  Big bottomed girls CAN pull, tug, stuff and push that thing through windows that are too small when needed, I'm living proof.  Desperation makes creative strength.  It was such a relief to get inside.   I didn't lock the doors the rest of my stay.  Open door policy for me....

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Crying over crepes....

Amber and I had a wonderful trip in the UK for 5 weeks. I'm a grown woman and should have been thinking about lunar cycles --most normal women would prepare for this event that has been happening for 35 years once a month.  The trip was awesome till our Paris Day. Remembering Paris makes my teeth go sour.  Since we're all grown ups here, can I mention when we took the Chunnel to Paris for the day, that was the day I unexpectedly and desperately needed some feminine hygiene products and could not find ANYPLACE on the hop- on- hop off bus route to buy any.  Think about it, it's not a good thing to hop off and on anything in this condition.  Being very still is good.   Can I describe the tissue in the bathrooms as useless little tiny pink non-absorbant squares that break and tear as they come out of the dispensor.  This was so disappointing as the stalls needed money to enter and we hadn't any proper change for that inhospitable country.  When we finally found a bathroom, we had to find change-all that effort for a useless little shredded pink square that you wouldn't blow your nose on with any success.  Would it be ok to mention that I found only 1 bathroom the 1st 6 hours and 1 the next. It is this latter one I would like to have some sympathy extended for.  It was somewhere near Notre Dame that I dashed into a little restaurant and humbly asked to use the lou.  They graciously pointed downstairs.  When I entered, it was empty.  When I came out of my stall to do some laundry it was empty.  Part of the horror of this story is that at the time, my 'real woman' undergarments were the size of conveyer belts and the sink was the size of a cereal bowl.   This presented some challenges.  I was so distraught that I hadn't checked if they had a blow dryer type hand dryer, nope!  Here I am, embarrassing my country, huddled shamefacedly over what should have been a private project and in walks a woman and 2 men right behind her.  It was a common thing over there, coed rest rooms.  Are you blushing and feeling my pain?  I just threw every thing in the garbage and RAN upstairs.  Never should have done that-when there aren't any blow dryers, they have paper towels!  Paper towels would have been a creative solution!  Amber never did understand what I was so upset about.  It was unspeakable, I couldn't explain.  We were starving and finally found a crepe place that was still open.  The waiter was very hostile and rude.  The menu daunting after what I had just experienced and I had no idea what my seat would look like when I got up and then he would be really cranky AND wierded out, so I just put my head down on the table and cried like a baby.     He wasn't the kind of waiter you could ask to bring extra napkins.......   Amber thought it was because I couldn't read French.

Spikes on ice

Alaskan winters are not as windy as North Dakota ones, but just as cold.  The no wind thing makes the piles of ice and snow just grow into mountains in the parking lots, everywhere.  I was having some work done on my car so borrowed my roommates to go grocery shopping.  In those days, I was an office girl trouncing around in pain in high heels.  The parking lot was deep in ice lumps, clumps, ruts and slicker than snot.  Grocery carts do not work in these conditions.  
I grabbed one brown bag under each arm and had another 2 in each hand.  Trudged up and down
each row, over and over again looking for my car.  Was it stolen?  Did I lose my mind?  I finally went back to the bench outside to try and think.  It was freezing, so I put my bags down and hunkered into my coat with my hands in my pocket.  What strange set of keys were those?  
The right car was waiting right in front of me.....1st isle, 3rd car down.   Whew!   I hate spikes. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sharing a sopapilla

When we lived in Denver, there was a Mexican restaurant called Casa Benita.  It was as big as a small village.  How did the servers not get lost?  No matter how full you were at the end of a meal, you HAD to eat the sopapilla for dessert.  It was similar to an elephant ear from the fair, hot, deep fried, tender and fluffy, then drizzled with honey...... 

When we moved here, our first experience at La Hacienda was astonishingly different.  Same
dynamics of fullness after the mexican blue plate special and the complimentary sopapilla afterwards,  except, when the waiter asked us if we wanted both of them, we wisely and health- consciously declined both and laughingly told him we would just share one.  He scratched his head, shrugged and dutifully brought back what looked like one very small triangle of deep fried tortilla, like a chip, dabbed with a small puff of whipped cream and a small piece of a strawberry.  It looked pitiful and did I mention small?  It broke, of course, when Craig offered me my miniature bite.  He good-naturedly  licked up the remaining  crumbs.  But the look on his face and maybe on mine when the waiter set it down.....we looked at each other, looked at it, looked back at each other and howled like we had had 5 margaritas.  Did the waiter think it was funny?   

Grandaddy hairs?

When we were little, Grandma showed us how to catch a grandaddy-long-leg, hold it on our 
first finger, shout loudly to it saying, "Tell me where the cows are, or I'll kill you".  Invariably, 
it would lift one of it's long spindly legs, strike a pose, then point.   It was very entertaining to us, but probably wore out the poor spider.  

Once in a while at my age, I notice a  long hair in unmentionable places that remind me of those posed, pointing legs.  Mine is pointing north at the moment, I'm gonna kill it anyways.   

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tribute to my Loverbee

Jan 14th.  Our 20th year of being married. These 20 years have truly been 'almost paradisical'.  

The years when we were great friends and I sat on your lap to comb your beard,  let you know it was time for a haircut or teasingly said if you really liked grandma's property you would have to marry me, all the while dreaming of a tall dark handsome knight in shining armor.  It was a while until I recognized it was you-Shrek!  

You generously and willingly played with me and any children I had tagging along. Whenever my mermaid scales started drying up, and I needed to find water to swim in, you found it.  If I had to name the 2 top things I love so much, they are:  you really make me laugh and you are always willing to play.  When we couldn't rub 2 dimes together, do you remember the fake fire I made in the box turned sideways.  In the opening I drew flames of orange and red and yellow, glued tin foil on the back and candles burning low in between the flames and the foil to give an optical illusion. Rolled brown construction paper logs and a sheepskin rug in front.  You cued right in to the scene and instead of making fun of my childishness, asked, "where were the marshmallows', which we happily toasted.  Skinny dipping on the top of that mountain in Shoup, where the natural hot springs were; your creative mind had more fun adjusting the rock inlets and outlets to make the water the perfect temperature.

Reassuring me and driving slow, instead of taking offense when I would be terrified of losing our brakes going down steep hills.  When you whooped with joy when I revealed being pregnant with Tessa, you forever earned my trust and I knew I could rest in the shadow of your strength.  Not once did you act ashamed or trapped. Never had a guy put my boots on skiing, or help me up when I fell, or single me out to be treated cavalierly.  I finally experienced feeling cherished and treasured.  

The things we enjoyed were so simple and free.  The times at the beach when you would dig a hole for my baby belly to fit comfortably, so I could lay on my tummy and admire your body surfing techniques.  The time Lana and I looked out, a huge wave came and pounded you so good that when it went back out, your swim trunks were in a heap at your ankles.  I almost went into labor laughing at your innocent expression of confusion when you looked down.  Your nice, tight backside made me proud!  Yep, that's all mine...... 
 
Wearing only your cowboy boots and guitar, which your huge fingers could only play 3 (I think) chords on, you would make me swoon with 'Lady' by John Denver and 'Heaven' by Bryan Adams.  I was sunk, sing to me - I'm yours. 

You never fell into the groove of how our culture defines romance, instead, you have studied me for 20 years and know intimately and perfectly what floats my boat.  You win hands down in that department and I can't come close to making you feel how you make me feel.  

You made it possible for most of the things on my 'life list' to be checked off.  From the five weeks in the UK to getting my shoes polished and everything in between.  You have been involved in every way with raising the girls, supporting my desire to homeschool, knowing how important music is to me and providing the medium, from pianos to ipods.  You proudly wore my homely homemade shirts and haircuts. 
You bought me a mac laptop before I knew I needed one.  You encouraged me to use a cell phone early on so I would be safe on all my trips.  You cheerfully made reservations for my get- aways and gave me freedom to go when I was desperate for solitude and restoration.  You've been so generous trying the ballet, opera, ice skating with figure skates instead of hockey, taking me to bluegrass festivals instead of rock concerts, and not holding a grudge when I can't stand car racing, or monster trucks or football. 

You have consistently put your dreams on hold to make sure ours come true. You have never had this huge desire to change the world or make a difference with a big splash.  But you are the one rock in my world that doesn't ever crumble or move or leave.  You act so happy to build a garden shed for me, carry rocks for weeks for a rock wall, bring me compost instead of cut roses, which just die. 

You have led me to believe that I can put on tire chains in a storm along with hundreds of other empowering things.   If I had a metaphor for our life this is it:  
Last summer when we went motorcycle camping with  Doug and Judy, I was the one who had heard about a waterfall up the mountain and was able to talk everyone into going.  When we got there it was beautiful, but I so wanted to go to the top and see where it came off the rocks.  Being out of shape, 20 feet from the top, I felt like I couldn't go on.  You didn't want me to miss my goal, my dream, so came back and helped me get going again.  Talked me through to the top.  I may look like the go-getter, the visionary, the spunky one sometimes, but truly you make me look brave and courageous, successful and have helped me accomplish so many things by affirming, encouraging, recognizing and validating gifts I didn't know I had, then sitting back- an invisible coach, deliberately letting it look like I've lapped you.   Dumb as a fox.......   :)  
   
I remember the first time in our marriage when I started trusting you as the spiritual and therefore true, head of our home.  I felt like Lois as she is falling out of the helicopter which is falling off the roof of the skyscraper and just in the nick of time, Superman morphs into his real self and flies up, catches her before she plunged to her death and says to her, "I've got you".  She yells, "You've got me, but who's got you?"  I now, on a regular basis can easily put myself trustingly into your hands, for I know Who's got you in the palm of His hand and know you've got me in yours. 
 
I sincerely hope we have many more rolls of quarters to use up......   Your love has made me beautiful and given me a life uncommon.    

Scaring myself

Craig and I just dropped Tess and Brita off at the airport.  I left Craig at work and came home to only Maggie.  We left at 3:30 and I walked in the door about 7:30.   Tess needed me to text her a number that she had forgotten so she could make connections in Munich. Walking in the house, I realized my cell phone wasn't anywhere, so I picked up the house phone and called - to find it.  Finally found it under the seat in the car.  Came in, started to text Tess then saw the missed call light.  I opened it, thinking it was Craig or the girls.  It was our home phone.  This was scary!   I looked at the time again and it was just minutes before I walked in, or close to it.    Sheesh, someone was in the house using our home phone - calling me; probably.....um, my mind is racing, my heart thumping and my hands tingling.  Nothing has made my adrenaline spurt like this in a while!   I was almost ready to call Craig to see if he might be playing tricks or know something I didn't.  Right before I dialed, it hit my brain with a thunk,  parting the cloud.  It was me, calling my cell phone, remember?   Called Craig anyways, to see if he thought it was just as funny.  It's our 20th anniversary tomorrow, hope he will stay married to me even if I have some extremely short, short- term memory loss? Here's the deal.  We all know I'm REALLY NOT A MORNING PERSON!      :)    

Monday, January 12, 2009

Two step blogging.  One old 'story'-one new 'story'.....  This is a new one: 

Last Saturday after clicking/canceling 3 times in a row-I finally deactivated my facebook acct.  What I should have done is have the courtesy to say goodbye, so people wouldn't feel rejected.   I didn't know it even mattered....Sorry!   It wasn't anyone else, it's me who's the problem!  For some reason, after I would get off my heart would usually feel sad, not at the engagement that did happen, but all the connections not made or dropped or flopped.   I loved it, but then started to hate it.   There were only about 6 people that were really consistently interacting.  I kept removing people because I wanted my friend list to reflect what was real.  But hated anyone to feel unwanted.  I wanted them in real life, just not a blank on my wall.   I couldn't get it to be congruent.   Maybe some people don't enjoy writing, or it is hard for them.  Also, realized that most people work outside home, some have little ones, and full busy lives.  TV isn't in my life, so I had the luxury of checking in often, writing, commenting, posting, searching and reading about everyone else all I wanted.  It was really interesting.  Then, started feeling weird-I needed to get a life!    It was obvious I had NONE.   I used to have one, where did it go?   I want one again!   Finally...... I want and need a 'real' life, real connections, real
relationships, real faces.  This is good!  Friendships take alot of work, real work.  We can disappoint each other, hurt, comfort, encourage, exhort, stimulate....... 
This morning I sent out a few handwritten cards of encouragement, with stamps on.  Hopefully it will make someone smile, and that is what's real.  Sort of like warm muffins, or a hug.  They can hold it, touch it, stick it on the fridge...
We are all lonely, want desperately to be known and understood, heard and wanted.  A new desire is pulsing in my heart once again to help, serve, put a bandaide on these cuts, bruises
and wounds.  Others have lavished the same on me, so I can again.    This is the song ringing in my head: 

                                                              ~ Be The Center~
".....Be the fire in my heart, Be the wind in these sails, Be the reason that I live,  Jesus,  Jesus."

Real life, real time, facereal, instead of facebook?   :)    I survived and had a Great weekend without fb......     I'll probably come back sometime;  sharing pics and videos and songs was really fun and so easy!   
My empty calendar now has 3 coffee dates on it, I can't wait!