Monday, 25 June 2007

Everything- Lifehouse

Faith in a song. The words say it further commment is needed

Friday, 22 June 2007

Friday Five --On time! Summertime memories

And from the home of RevGals, here is this week's Friday Five..

1. Favorite summer food(s) and beverage(s)
Iced tea with fresh mint
Fruit salad with big chunks of watermelon

2. Song that "says" summer to you. (Need not be about summer explicitly.)
Summer Breeze by Seals and Crofts

3. A childhood summer memory
Endless car vacations with my family. I wanted to
a) Read
b) Swim

The rest was lost on me, except for a few memories of museums (Chicago's Science and Industry, San Francisco's Exploratorium) and tourist attractions (The Gateway Arch in St. Louis stands out.)

4. An adult summer memory
Sunrise on the beach with friends -- always a very special moment. And summer in Northern California with the cool foggy mornings and warm afternoons...perfect!

5. Describe a wonderful summer day you'd like to have in the near future. (weather, location, activities)
I want to visit Provence, and enjoy the fruits of summer, sitting at a village cafe, talking, eating, taking in the surroundings...and finally, truly relaxing for the first time in I don't know when.

Optional: Does your place of worship do anything differently in the summer? (Fewer services, casual dress, etc.)
Less services, less formal, more music and discussion and new versions of worship

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Thoughts for today...

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.

- Mahatma Gandhi

We can do no great things, only small things with great love

- Mother Teresa

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.

- The Buddha

Great acts are made up of small deeds

- Lao Tzu

You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.

- Seneca

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world.
- Mohammed

The highest form of wisdom is kindness

- The Talmud

That kind of takes the wind out of the "I can't save the world so why should I even try " excuse!

Just my random thoughts for today...

Mommy, I touched a snake!!!

My nine year old is visiting her dad in Pennsylvania for the summer. I love her daily updates on her adventures away from home.

Today she called me all excited..."Mommy there was this wildlife exhibit...and I touched a black snake!"

I was astounded by her bravery.

This is a child who has had a fear of snakes that seems to have started at birth.

Before she could talk, she would flail in panic in her bath as though something was on her feet. She would awaken in terror in the night, doing the same...kicking and screaming in terror. When she began to talk, her bathtime and nighttime terrors were accompanied by a scream of "NAKE! NAKE!" I was baffled.

It was not until we made a trip to a science museum that I understood what she had been trying to say...she took one look at the reptile exhibit and screamed, trying to pull in her feet and hide..."Nake! NAKE!" she yelled from under her blanket. We were standing in front of the snake cages. As far as I know, that was the very first time she ever saw a snake. And yet her fear had predated that exposure by months.

A few time before, she has tried to approach a snake. She has watched, from a distance of several yards, while I handled a boa at a mall nature booth. But her terror prevented her from coming any closer.

But today, she gathered her bravery and TOUCHED a snake. "It's cool and soft, Mommy" she told me, her voice bursting with pride. "And I touched it!"

I stand in awe -- she has faced a fear that has haunted her throughout her entire life. At nine years old.

How many of us are so brave as to touch our greatest fear?

Of course, there is a price for me to pay for her triumph...she wants me to go on the Great Bear roller coaster at Hershey Park when I go up there later this summer.

I am TERRIFIED of rollar coasters! But unfortunately, unlike with snakes, just touching the ride doesn't count.

I only hope at the end of July, I will be as brave as my 9 year old daughter...but her example is going to be a hard one to follow!

Friday, 15 June 2007

Does "I love you" have an expiration date?

Another Sex in the City inspired post....

In one episode, Carrie tells Big that she loves him. He responds with some comment totally off subject, and she gets annoyed. She concludes that an unreturned "I love you" has about the same shelf life as a dairy product...about a week.

In another episode (or maybe the same one? ) Samantha sums up the problem men and women have with those three little words...

You can tell a man you hate him and have the best sex of your life. But tell him "I love you" and you'll probably never see him again.

Is that really true? Has love become so scarce that people have to ration it out, choosing to walk away instead of loving in return? What are we so scared of?

And what about the love between two people when a relationship ends? Does it stay out there in the universe, somewhere in the background like an inconspicuous piece in a big collage? Just an eye or a hand or a bit of color within the big picure?

Or does that expire too...souring and congealing -- needing to be put out with the week's peelings and egg shells like that carton of milk from the back of the fridge that no one wants to open?

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Friday Five -- a Bit Late!

I just discovered that one of the blog rings to which I belong has a Friday Five --- a set of questions to journal/blog. So here is last week's post, and here are my answers. I'd love to hear from y'all, too on these...if you put these on your blog, be sure to send me a link!

This week's questions are about an ideal get-away to somewhere far from the daily stresses of life....

Describe your location, in general or specific terms

Warm but not hot. Breezy. Green. Lots and lots of water. No bugs. Time (no real deadline to leave.) Money not a worry. Access to diving gear, snorkles, sailboat. Someone special with me. Or a very good friend at least.


1) What book(s) will you bring? Whatever book I am reading when I go (today that is Jules and Jim), a journal to write in, and something inspirational (probably something on meditation)

2) What music accompanies you? Vivaldi, R Carlos Nakai

3) What essentials of everyday living must you take (as in the health and beauty aids aisle variety)? Shampoo, soap, lotion, deodorant, and lip balm

4) What technological gadgets if any, will you take with you or do you leave it all behind? I would take something on which to play my music, a book light for nighttime journaling on the beach

5) What culinary delights will you partake in while there? Fresh fruit -- lots of it, all cut up and ready for me to snack. Mangoes, peaches, apricots, nectarines, oranges, berries, guava, passion fruit. Nuts...almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pine nuts. Homemade whole grain bread. preferably with dried fruit and nuts in it. And cool, clear water with a bit of lime.

As a bonus question, what makes for a perfect day on vacation for you? Beautiful scenery, warm weather, cool breezes, sunshine, friends or even better, someone I love.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

I've been tagged! Here are my 8 facts...and my victims list!

Monday, June 11, 2007
I've been tagged:
I was tagged by Kievas, so here are my 8 random facts about me....and my victims list! But first, here are the rules:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

3.At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

My facts:

1) I like to go to adventure/thriller movies all by myself. Other movies are great with a date or group...but I enjoy a thriller more alone.

2) I tried coffee once and hated it. Never tried it again.

3) When I was little, I told my mom I wanted to be a dancer in a cage like I saw in a James Bond movie on TV. To her credit, she did not panic. Nor laugh!

4) Also as a small child, I told her I was going to marry Omar Sharif when I grew up. (After seeing him as Nick Arnstein in Funny Girl)

5) My dream car is a Lamborghini Diablo. Red.

6) My favorite city for walking around, relaxing, and talking with people is San Francisco.

7) I am almost finished with a Mormon novel set in and around Denver, Colorado

8) I believe in reincarnation. No doubts on this one.

Okay, now for the victims! Claudette, Hugh, Rachel, David, Sister Todja, Kat, Connie, and Molly Dog (a blogging dog).

A video that shows us what we're here for...

I was tagged by Kievas, and went to his site to check it out...there I saw this video. When I finished watching it, and wiped the tears from my eyes, I knew I had to add it to my own blog as well.

The scene at the end where her eyes and the eyes of the child meet -- you can actually see the change in that child's face as they experience the love and the energy (the chi?) this amazing woman offers.

Those who know me, know that for years I have wanted to be a hospital chaplain. I have no delusions that I can be even a fraction of the compassionate being that Mother Teresa is, but perhaps this is G-d's way of letting me be of some use to a few people in need. Hopefully, in the autumn of 2008, I'll be able to start my certification for the chaplaincy program.

Thank you, Kievas, for the tag...and for sharing this video.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Oh heck, I really am like Carrie!

For a long time...even before I ever saw the HBO series Sex in the City, my friends told me I was just like Carrie. I didn't have HBO, so I didn't know who Carrie was except that she was on a series that I assumed featured a lot of sex. I didn't get the connection at all.

Then Sex in the City came to network TV. And I got hooked! They were right...

Of course, there is the obvious...Carrie is a writer, I am a writer. But I quickly saw there was more...

Like Carrie, I really and truly believe in the possibility of love happy ever one episode she said:
I'm looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can't-live-without-each-other love.

Yup, that's me. Not the cynical, cold and fearful Miranda, the rules obsessed Charlotte or the "just the sex please" Samantha. Nope. I am the Carrie-esque believer in true love. The hopeless romantic to the core.

And like Carrie, I've had a lot of near misses. But I still believe. Maybe it goes with being a writer. Maybe it's harder to be a lawyer or a public relations specialist or work in an art gallery and maintain that belief in the white knight. As a writer, we are aware of the meaning that a single word can hold -- and of the incredible value that three words (or the absence of those three words) can contain.

And we won't even go into the shoes! I had a dozen pairs of $200+ shoes before I hit age 21! The semi-annual Nordstrom shoe sale is still something I have to avoid if I want to pay my bills. And the fact that I'm working on a high end shoe catalog right now...well, let's just say, I left my credit cards locked away!

And now, even the settings from Sex in the City are showing up! Friday night, I went out for dinner and dancing. And as I walked into the restaurant with friends and my boyfriend, I stopped cold...there in front of me, right out of Sex in the City, were the beds. The beds you were supposed to eat on! They were real! It was all I could do not to laugh out loud!

Unfortunately, no one in my group was willing to sit on the beds for our dinner so we dined at a regular table. Next to a bed. While I wondered what it would be like to sit there on the red velvet, relaxing against the pillows and eating a meal right out of a television show.

My friends have wondered why I didn't blog about Sex in the City before...and I kept meaning to. I guess it took some red velvet canopy beds to push me over the edge.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Creature Comforts ---or what makes me feel warm and cozy

You hear a lot about comfort foods..macaroni and cheese always seems to be high on the list...but what about other comforts? What makes you feel good and cozy and safe and loved?

My little girl says it's her

  • Build-A-Bear pets (none of which are actually bears)
  • snuggling on mom's shoulder while we watch tv or a movie
  • going for a walk in Pennsylvania in the autumn and kicking leaves
  • feeding ducks at the park

My teenager says:

  • curling up in a warm bed with quilts and blankets
  • sitting with friends and talking
  • swinging on an old fashioned playground swing and still trying to reach the sky with her feet
  • a liitle coffee shop -- any cozy little coffee shop
  • her old white quilt

And for me...

  • A warm hug from a friend
  • Hearing any love song I haven't heard in a long time, but still remember every word when I do hear it...and singing along
  • Sitting outside at a sidewalk cafe in a city with music playing nearby and soft breeze blowing (it was all I could do not to plant myself when I saw the perfect one in D.C. last week! But my kids were anxious to get to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum so I had to walk by without stopping!)
  • A soft couch with lots of big pillows
  • Warm socks when my feet are cold

So what are your favorite 4 or 5 or 6 creature comforts? What simple things make you feel soooooo good?

Mysteries of Blogger....

I wrote and published a post on June 5th. It is in my archives, but invisible. Where has my first June post gone?

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Going home to someplace you never knew was home

(Written in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania)

A year ago this past April, I loaded up my car and my two daughters and the most precious of our possessions and left Central Pennsylvania for Florida. I am from Florida. It's the place where I grew up, where I know every road and shortcut and the best beaches and the best places to play hooky from work on a beautiful day (thank you Pam Houston for teaching me how important it is to know where to misbehave!)

I was never very happy in Pennsylvania...I knew that the people who lived here were generally from here and I thought they had no interest in newcomers. I saw the sky as usually grey, and winters felt cold, damp and long. I was glad to get back to Florida, to the land of beaches and palm trees and festivals outdoors all winter long. I've been happy there. My career is doing well, my daughter who faced the challenges of Juvenile Arthritis is doing better and both girls are excelling in school.

Friday I came back to Pennsylvania for my son's high school graduation. He lives with his dad up here. And since I arrived, I've discovered something disconcerting.

This place that I could not wait to leave in the rear view mirror, feels like home.

I am confused.

Or rather I was. As I sat high atop a hill overlooking the green valleys and farm land below me, a cool fresh breeze blowing the trees gently, I realized the truth.

View looking down over Elizabethtown
It was not the place I did not like. It was my life in this place.

When I lived here, I lived in a big 227 year old house that needed an endless amount of work. There were electrical, plumbing, heating and maintenance challenges. There were always too many things to fix to ever allow for spending money on things of beauty or comfortable furniture. The walls and ceiling and floors seeped 200 plus years of dust and dirt no matter how often I swept or vacuumed or wiped or scrubbed.

In the summer the house was hot. In the winter it was cold.

And for most of the time here, I was in a very bad marriage. It was sad and ugly and destructive to my self esteem and happiness. Peace and happiness were elusive.

And last but certainly not least, I was broke and financially dependent.

The combination of all of those factors made me hate where I lived. Made me run as soon as I finally gathered the strength and the money to go.

And now I am back. Visiting. And perhaps finally seeing this place for all it really is instead of as a part of my miserable life.

View from the Masonic Home
It is beautiful.

In my haste to escape, I overlooked so much of the beauty. I turned my back on good friends and even more potential good friends I could not see through my struggles.

For the past three days, I have been the recipient of countless hugs. In stores, restaurants, schools and homes, I have been asked over and over if I am back. Even the woman who handed me my iced tea at Wendy's was glad to see me and asked where I had been.

Without even realizing, I became a part of this town. I had a home. I just never knew it until now.

I cannot regret leaving. I think I needed to go away to find my footing, to understand my strengths and weaknesses and learn to trust myself. I need to go to the place I always thought of as home through all my years away to find out where I already had a home.

Is it time to come home for good?