Is Blood Thicker Than Water?

It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.  ~Johann Schiller

Everyone is familiar with the saying “blood is thicker than water”. I wonder if it’s really true and to what context it might be. I’ve been reading different things people have posted on Facebook, blogs, etc… in relation to that.

I honestly don’t know of anyone that would love an adoptive child any less than their biological child. I also have friends who are the adoptive children of parents who have biological children as well. These friends of mine were not any less loved than their siblings. So, in this respect I disagree with the saying. I also know that if I found that either of my children had been switched at birth (Come on, folks, this has happened in a few instances.), that I would not love them any less. Love is a binding of hearts not blood.

I also know that most of us feel free to complain about our siblings, but how dare anyone else say anything bad about them. They belong to us. They are “ours” , right? However, how far would we actually stand behind them? Would we choose blood over moral and ethical issues? I suppose it would depend on the situation. I think it is possible to love a person and not the actions of a person. Most of us have people related to us that make choices we are not proud of, but just because we might not like their lifestyles does not mean we don’t love them. I think it is possible to support a person but not stand behind their conduct. I suppose it can be a very fine line at times.

Most of us have dear friends or family friends, as we call them, that mean as much and sometimes more than family members. Another saying comes to mind. “You can choose your friends but not your family.” I know I have friends that I love as much as my siblings. I suppose the love I do have for my family doesn’t come from blood bonds but from a connections of growing together through the years. I don’t love them simply because I have to but because I choose to.

I would say it all comes down to how people are raised, but I don’t think that is true either. Unfortunately, the news everyday shows us examples of people who don’t care for life or relationship. They hurt their own children, parents, siblings, friends, and complete strangers. I think it comes down to the heart of the matter…how good someone is inside. Do they have love in them or not? When you do, you extend it to others. When you don’t, it is shown by your callous behavior toward others.

I conclude that I do not agree that blood is thicker than water. We might put up with more from family members than we would from other people, but that is probably because the relationship is deeper. We know them on an entirely different level. These are people that possibly if we were not related, we would not choose to friend them. Though I strongly feel that family relationships are important, I feel intimate relationships must be built on respect, honesty, love, and compassion. So I suppose the deciding factor would be the situation in question and whether the blood or the water held all those attributes.

Breaking Up With The One Called Worry

Mama’s Losin’ It – Prompt #5

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you can not see the shadow” – Helen Keller

I have always been a worrier. I was an anxious child. I was concerned about things that probably never crossed most children’s minds. I was cautious. I didn’t take chances. I thought things through and weighed consequences before I made decisions. I think this was mostly brought on by the influence of my mother who was, and still is, a constant worrier. With six children, I suppose she had lots to worry about. I would listen to her warnings and see how my siblings should have listened and saved themselves pain and grief. I made sure not to make the same mistakes.

As I turned into a teenager, I began to take more chances. I was just careful about not letting my mother find out. Still, I worried about home, life, finances, grades, and other typical teenage angst. I went into marriage and motherhood with those very same concerns over every little detail of living. It was to the point that I was not really living.

While I’ve always known God, I did not know how to hand burdens over. Well, I knew how to hand them over, I just continued to take them back. I prayed and even occasionally bargained. And I continued to worry.

Then, I was held up at gunpoint. The anxiety reached an all time high that evolved into outright panic attacks. I tried medication, therapy, and religion. It all worked to a degree. The panic attacks subsided. I continued with life. However, I still lived in the shadows.

Finally, I turned my face to the sunshine of God. I embraced Him into my soul. I learned to trust Him, and lay my burdens down. It was in this trust that I was able to let go of an existence based on worry and control. When I let go of control, I allowed myself the freedom and the peace to really live.

Yes, I still try to grab the reins on occasion, but I realize what I am doing, and I back off. The ultimate fear of a parent is the harm of a child. I’ve been there, but I’ve learned to rely on the grace of God to get me through. I have no control over the actions of others or the workings of the universe…so I know to worry obsessively is of no use to anyone. I’ve gotten the late night/early morning call from a child. I know that breath-stealing fear that rips from your heart to your hips. It happened when Oldest totaled his motorcycle and again last night when Youngest was in a skateboarding accident. (Other than staples in his head, gashes, scrapes, and pain, he is fine.) Fear can be paralyzing. Though, I was worried sick, I handed it over to God. When it involves your children, accepting God’s divine intervention without your help is the most difficult thing a mother can do. It is also the bravest and smartest thing I have ever done. I don’t know how I would have made it out of the shadows and into the sunlight without the comfort and strength of the One in charge. Certainly if He can create the mountains, seas, you, and me, He can handle the small stuff.

Curiosity Might Have Killed The Cat, But It Might Saved Somebody Else!

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers. ~Voltaire

Levels of allowable curiosity are dictated to us throughout our lives, and ultimately we become the dictators to curiosity seekers. As infants we are encouraged to explore our worlds. By the time we are toddlers, we are somewhat restrained. As teenagers we are forbidden. As adults, we are selective and set limitations.

I remember as a child being told to stop doing certain things because I might possibly get hurt or break something. I was instructed not to ask certain questions because it wasn’t acceptable or that people might think me odd. I remember feeling embarrassed and also stifled. Then, I turned around and did the very same things to my own children. I can not begin to tell you the stunts my kids pulled or the experiments they conducted all in the name of science. Often, I was game as long as I knew what it involved, no destruction to property, and no injury to them. However, if I walked in on one I wasn’t told about, it was usually trouble. I think they may have gotten shocked a time or two or had some foul mixture smoking in the house. We had telephones and computers taken apart and put back together. Most of the time quite successfully with only a screw or two left over! Then of course, there were many broken objects. I remember once my youngest breaking an umbrella as he was attempting to “parasail” down the street on his skateboard. Then there was the time Oldest pulled Youngest in the snow on a skateboard with his bike…that one made the local news with the reporter trying it and busting his rear!

What is it that shifts in our brains to cause this change, this lack of wonderment? Is it a time-released air of responsibility? Is it how we were raised? Is it the fear of the opinions of those around us? Why do we stop questioning? Why do we automatically accept the theories of others? Why do we assume they know more than we are capable of learning?

Curiosity is the root of the most wonderful and universal discoveries. Curiosity is the inventor of many great things. Curiosity has found cures for diseases. Curiosity is a cure for boredom. Curiosity goes where the level headed party pooper dares not to dive.

I suppose without some sort of restrictions, curiosity can be dangerous. Certain situations must be explored with proper precautions as there can be consequences such as chemical reactions or physical harm.

When does curiosity become nosiness? I think it is when the object of our curiosity turns from ideas to people. When we are more entertained by learning about our neighbors than learning how to do something new, we’ve traded in curiosity for nosiness. I think when we are more interested in the personal lives of celebrities than the wonders of the universe, we have crossed that line.

May the great minds of scientists, researchers, and others never stop wondering. May they continue to ask questions and seek answers. As long as we remain inquisitive, we are open to growth. May we each live with a healthy dose of curiosity inside. May we never stop reaching and learning.

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. ~Albert Einstein

Sunday Scribblings prompt is “Curious”.

Halloween From One Generation To The Next

Growing up we were not allowed to go trick or treating. My mother was too spooked about the tales of people lacing candy with drugs or sticking razor blades in apples. I was allowed to “dress up” with whatever my imagination could come up with and go next door to my babysitter’s house. I usually grabbed my dad’s clothes and made myself a hobo. I loved going down the hill to Mrs. Kidd’s house. She always made homemade popcorn balls and candy or caramel apples. And the best part was that she made a special treat bag just for me which meant that mine was much bigger, and I got all of the leftovers the next day. My father always took us to the local general store and let us pick out all the junk we wanted. My mom turned out all of our lights and pretended we were not at home. Candy was never handed out at our house.

However, I envied the excitement of the kids at school. They talked for weeks about their costumes. When they found out I couldn’t trick or treat, they looked at me like I was walking around with two heads. (Now, that would’ve been a great costume!) I’ll never forget gorging on my friend, Tee’s candy forever after Halloween. I was in awe at the stash she always had. She would have an entire paper grocery sack filled to the top. Now of course, she had to approve what pieces, she’d allowed me to have, but hey any was better than none!

I suppose it was my lack of Halloween participation that propelled me to go all out with my kids. They always had a choice of whether they wanted store bought or homemade costumes. They did a bit of each through the years. We always went to the carnivals and fests that were held at church and school. They trick or treated through our neighborhood. Dirt Man or myself went with them until they were old enough to go together or in a group with their friends. It was a big deal for them to be able to ditch us and venture out on their own. And like any good mom, I did go through their candy to make sure each piece was properly sealed and appeared tamper-free.

As an adult, I have only once gone to a Halloween party. When I was a hairdresser, we dressed up every year. It was a lot of fun. We were just a bunch of overgrown kids. We were fairly elaborate in our costumes. Most of us made our own. I was Pippy Longstocking one year and a red Crayola crayon another year. I have pictures, but I have no idea where I stashed them…sorry, no photos today!

I still love Halloween. It gives me the opportunity to see certain children that I seldom see. We generally get around a hundred trick or treaters every year. That means I buy a lot of candy. And if I don’t give it all out, it means chocolate for me! And I ALWAYS buy the good stuff. However, one year I gave out toothbrushes. (I worked for a dentist, what can I say?) It was expensive, and the kids were way unappreciative! They wanted CANDY!!!! Really, I can’t say that I blame them.

This was when Oldest was old enough to pick out his own costume. He originally picked out a Barbie costume (which he vehemently denies to this day!), and I coerced him to choose GI Joe instead.

The pictures are stashed away so I couldn’t readily get my hands on the ones of the two of them dressed up, but I did run across this one. I don’t even think it was Halloween here, Oldest had a fascination with clowns and was always dressing himself as one, and youngest wanted to do something, too. He didn’t want the “goop” on his face, so he opted for a headband and was a “girl”. I have a gazillion photos of Oldest in different homemade clown attires and various clown make up. He now hates clowns and says they spook him…go figure!

My Spin on Halloween.

Kiptopeke State Park

Dirt Man, Wylie,and I hiked the trails of Kiptopeke State Park on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The trails consist of boardwalks along the beach as well as the beachfront, sandy trails, grass trails through fields, bridges through swampy areas, and earthen wooded trails. We walked a bit along the paved road as well. I prefer to stay off of gravel and asphalt as it is hard on the back and feet. We only needed to walk a short ways on the road to get back to another trail. We ended up hiking six miles. I liked the variety of the trails and the wildlife which varied between lots of deer, a few squirrels, and an unbelievable amount of migratory birds. I will get back to the birds later in this post.

Because steel was scarce during World War I and II, the government experimented in having concrete ships built. At the beginning of World War II, the government contracted to have a fleet of twenty-four ships constructed. After the war, ten of those were sunk as breakwater here in Virginia.

The Fall colors were spectacular against a beautiful blue sky. Today was comfortable, slightly cool while on the waterfront.

It was a gorgeous day with the beautiful sunshine and the sounds changing from the lapping of the water, wildlife scurrying through the leaves to the comforting melodies of the lovely song birds.

I am not nearly as quick as I’d like to be with my camera. Dirt Man and Wylie were romping around on the beach and he went down…by the time I got a shot, they look like they are taking a leisurely stroll.

This is a dilapidated house that sat near the main high way and to the side of a field that we hiked around to get back into the woods. As usual, I found myself thinking about the long ago occupants and their lives. This sits among an area where they are trying to grow a forest. There is a wide grass trail surrounded by young trees on each side. Some day it is going to be magnificent. But I doubt that it will reach that maturity during my lifetime.

This is a bench sitting at one of the beach overlooks at the end of one of the trails. I usually complain about people defacing public property, but at least, this one has a nice message.

I had to take a picture of the cirrus clouds. The thin wispy streams streaked the sky here and there adding character to the bright blue background.

This is Taylor Pond which is a borrow pit that had been dug for material for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. This trail and the native plant garden were just opened to the public less than two weeks ago. This is a newly acquired twenty-six acreas that totals the park at 570 acreas. I took the picture of the diving ducks from one of the newly built wildlife viewing blinds. There is an area to the side where there are hundreds of newly planted trees which were planted in an effort to restore the area as migratory songbird habitat. 

The deer were plentiful. I got a few pictures, but they were usually faster than I was with my camera. This shot is the closet one I got. They are smaller than the average deer. This deer is on a trail along side of the migratory bird netting. They use the netting to capture and band the birds for migratory study.

The number of birds banded each year range from 6,000 – 8,000. They are carefully examined, data recorded, banded, and then released. This organization conducts migratory songbird research, raptor research, and butterfly research. On today, October 23, 2010, according to the chart posted they had 5,067 new birds, 93 species, and 71 recaptures. They had a huge listing of today’s sightings.

The butterfly garden is beautiful. There is a path of white crushed oyster shells. I have no idea what these lovely purple flowers are.

I have no idea what these pretty fuchia flowers are either!

However, I do recognize the daisy family when I see them!

Seeing this sign tucked away in the trees between the migratory bird watch observation tower and the road was the highlight of our hike. I love coming  upon gems of history like this! Totally awesome!

Tourinns Motor Court and Restraunt This is a photo I found online. It is actually a postcard circa 1959. It appears to have been not only a motel, but a restaurant as well. Now how cool is that?!

First Landing In The Fall

Remember my first hike? The ten miler that nearly killed me? We decided to go back there this past weekend for another hike through the early Autumn foliage. The leaves were just starting to drift into scarlet and golden hues. It was a beautiful day with a light breeze in the air. This time we hiked different trails and totaled around seven miles. We brought Wylie with us, and she LOVED it.

Those are not rocks or gravel along the shore but oyster shells. This is the result of seeding which is an ecological effort is to restore the Virginia native oyster.

This is just one shot of the lovely colors that intermingled with the evergreens and Spanish moss thorughout the swamp and creek areas.

I thought this looked really cool the way the tree roots appear to be lifting themselves up out of the water. Fact is that the water is eroding the bank area and sand/soil away from the tree root system.

As soon as we walked onto the first trail we could hear that woodpecker going to town. Apparently, he (or his friends) has finished with these trees and moved on. There were a few different areas that we could hear them pecking, although it sounds more like beating a drum. We tried to get a visual, but he was a sly little devil. It was as if he was taunting us. We’d peer out for him and he’d quiet down. As soon as we were about to move on, he’d start banging again.

This is one of the pictures I took of the reflection of the forest in the swamp. The water is almost black (tannic), but when the light hits it a certain way, everything else bounces off the water. It was breathtaking.

Most of the trails are natural which means they are dirt (ground) and softened with pine needles. There are sticks, occasional stones, and lots of roots. There are bridges that cover swamp areas and a few hard surfaces or gravel trails, mostly where bikes are permitted.

After we unloaded our packs, (did I mention that I carried a pack with a gallon of water? Heavy! Have to carry a gallon a day when we are in Utah, plus food, first aid, and supplies!) we ventured out to another short trail just to see where it led. There was a mass Indian gravesite where sixty-four bodies had been re-interred. We read the stone and looked at the site. We walked down the trail but turned around because we weren’t sure where it led. Upon returning, we found out that it was a mock Indian village with a chief lodge, sweat house, and more. The next time we go there, we will be sure to visit that area.

Enchanted swamp? Dirt Man says this effect has something to do with the light filtering and reflecting the sky against the water. I don’t claim to understand what he told me…I just point and shoot my camera, so I beg to differ. Besides, magic and mystery sound much more appealing to me than technical explanations. But that’s the differnce between analytical engineers and creative spirits (I have no title!). Bottom line –  opposites attract!

Announcement

I realize that some of you that read my blog are not into poetry and might be disappointed that I’ve posted quite a bit of it lately. I’ve decided to start a new blog for poetry only. My poetry will now be posted here http://suzicatepoetry.wordpress.com/  My aim is to post a poem a day, but chances are high that it won’t happen. However, things will be back to normal, probably five postings a week here at The Water Witch’s Daughter. This will be the place for essays, philosophical musings, and everyday random thoughts! Thanks for reading. ~SuziCate

The Runner

 

He ran

Its what he did

Fast and far and furious

Bones in balance

Bright- eyed and alert

Like a thoroughbred racehorse

Burning muscles rippling

Sweat glistening off rosy skin

Heart pounding and blood flowing

The crowds cheered for the champion

From blue ribbons to trophies

And on to medals made of gold

He ran for his life

He ran toward his dream

Until the freak accident

That stole the movement from his legs

But he kept running

Wind in his face, he pressed on

Championing for worthy causes

Inspiring the young to reach for the moon

He raced from his wheelchair

Challenged others to do their best

He kept on running

Because champions never stop

 

Prompt is “Champion”.

Unleash (Two Poems)

 Wylie

Unleashed

Leading the way

Protecting her herd

Dog gone wild

Tail in the air

Nose to the ground

Dog gone wild

Woods to roam

Scents to sniff

Running and panting

Dog gone wild

People to greet

With a lick and a wag

Animals to chase

Waters to test

Dog gone wild

Trails to run

Bridges to cross

Sticks to fetch

Dreams to live

Dog gone wild

 

“Lost Boat” by Silvia

 

 

 

The Lighthouse

I call my children of the sea

To come home safely to me

I beckon them with open arm

And warn them of imminent harm

In the harbor I await

In me rests their fate

I relay signals with my lights

guiding them in dark of nights

When the air is foggy and thick

I send sound to reach them quick

But even in the light of day

Things happen out of my way

An uncontrollable crash of wave

my very own I’m unable to save

I cry to my lost children of the sea

To please come home safely to me

 

 

 

A Daily Harvest

 Sunday Scribblings Prompt: Harvest

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2:A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
 
The true harvest of my life is intangible-a little stardust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched.” Henry David Thoreau

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven

My harvest is the fruit of my labors whether it being my role as a wife, mother, or friend. It is the rewards of intentional living. It is a beautiful feeling to me to watch the efforts of having raised my children pay off. Sometimes, it comes in small samples. It might be one of my children helping someone in need, or helping out around the house without being asked. It might comes in the gift of them cooking for me or overhearing them actually say something nice about me to a friend. Or it might come in a simpler form such as a hug. It might come in watching them make a good decision on their own. It comes in little everyday moments that assure me that we’ve all done ok by one another. It resonates in manners, actions, and relationships.

The harvest of a marriage is mutual love and respect. I get back everything I put into it and even more. It is watching dreams come true together. It is knowing that as I am about to stumble, literally or figuratively, there is a hand stronger and larger than mine that is ready to pull me up. It is knowing the needs of another person without being told and having them know yours. It is that quiet presence of a kindred soul in the room with you. It is going to bed together at night and waking up beside one another in the morning. It is that continuity of life and love in a shared space. It is that appendage of your own being.

What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action.” Meister Eckhart

I find that I often plant seeds of good intention but fail to follow through. I mean I really have great plans to do many things, but never seem to get around to actually doing them. It seems there isn’t enough time. Sometimes it has been things I would like to do or make for other people and haven’t had the time or energy. Other times, it has been things I’d like to do for myself…like write that book that rolling around in my head. I’m really not sure if I am more lazy or just more afraid of failure. Or maybe I am just complacent?  I realize things don’t just happen on their own. If I want things to happen, I must be the catalyst.

In the big scheme of things, much of those things don’t matter. It is the small meaningful things that are important. There are the plans that go into dinners, taking care of the house, and the needs of others that count. The seeds that go into our every day living and our relationships are what matters in the long run. That is the produce that I tend and reap profit. The planting of love, respect, kindness, generosity, and honesty yields the very same produce.

There have been times that I have had obligations that I really did not want to fulfill. I just wanted to spend the time alone. However, most times guilt has gotten my rear in gear. And I must admit that I have seldom been disappointed. I am almost always blessed when I donate my services to others.

“We must give more in order to get more. It is the generous giving of ourselves that produces the generous harvest.” Orison Swett Marden

When I do things for other people, I benefit as much if not more than they do. I feel good inside. I feel connected. I know I’ve made a difference. And many times it comes back in other ways. It’s like a chain. You do something, then someone else does, and so on and so on. Eventually, you may be the one being helped. Of course there is also the universal law of what goes around comes around or the tenfold blessing of God. Seriously, don’t you find that when you are doing good in the world, things seem to fall in place for you? I have felt this way at times. And then there are times, that I am selfish and it seems that everything falls apart. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.

I do know that making connections and giving of myself out of heartfelt kindness does result in a fruitful life of love and happiness. Even when I am tired or short tempered, I feel better in the end if I have done my share.

Recently, I had a friend call me and ask me if I could sew some things for her classroom. She had cut her hand badly and was unable to finish her student projects before school started. I was more than happy to help her. She was thrilled that I did it. She even brought me Cheesecake Factory cheesecake which I actually passed on to my family. (See, everyone benefits!) Her gratitude made me feel good that I was able to help out. I know she would do the same for me. What I envisioned when I was sewing these cute little over-the-chair desk organizers was the smile on each little tots face as they came in and saw them. Anyway, because of that she referred me to another one of our friends for a paid sewing job. I didn’t accept that assignment, but I was offered the opportunity to make money on the side had I been interested. Sometimes, blessings travel in circles. When we give of ourselves, we can never be certain of the harvest we will reap.

I realize there is so much more that I can and should be doing to help my own community. I am not nearly as active as I used to be. I know I need to make an effort. Lately, I have been more concerned with helping someone I know. Time is short, and there are times and circumstances that call for us to focus on those that we love rather than strangers. When the time is right, I will get back out there and do my share. For now, I will plant my seeds closer to my heart and as the harvest comes in, I intend to enjoy each and every moment of happiness.