May Your Blessings Be Abundant

I wish for you a life of simple abundance; an abundance of necessary tools to learn to bend with the wind, stand strong against the tide, and forge trails across life’s arduous mountains.

I wish for you the gift of time, moments of explicit joy with those you love. I want you to open your hands wide and let time escape and settle in your heart. I wish for you time to touch the morning; to feel the cool wetness of dew as it clings to the grass beneath your feet. I wish for you the time to see birds in flight; to notice the perfection of each single feather that gives lift and how they join a myriad of others to create formation that soars the vast blue skies. I wish for you the stillness of time to hear that voice; the one that calls deep within and guides you among the living. I wish for you the opportunity of time to taste the salt of the ocean so that you may enjoy the sweet pungency of earth. I wish for you the time to smell the fragrance of daily living; the bittersweet scent of disappointment so that you may savor the aroma of fulfillment. I wish for you time to know the value of living.

I wish for you the gift of vision so that you might see the colorful rainbow of your life; the possibility of who you can become and the immeasurable value of who you are.

I wish for you the ability to take sorrow and weave it into a basket of hope; that you might know strength is developed through adversity, and character is built by conquering fear and overcoming obstacles.

I hope you will learn to accept defeat as a rung on the ladder of success. I wish you the wisdom to recognize success as you walk along its terrain and know the valleys and peaks are not measured upon the opinions of others.

I desire patience for you to wait your turn, to know your timing is not always yours to choose. I wish you to be able to let go of control and allow your life to flower of its own accord.

I wish for you prosperity; to know it does not always come in material form and the intuition to feel the richness laden within the layers of your soul.

I wish for you faith not only in times of distress; but to know you are always loved in every moment and in every situation.

I wish for you mercy upon your own mistakes and forgiveness toward others. I wish for you a grateful spirit; an appreciation of those around you and all you are offered in this life. I wish you grace to pave a life of love.

I wish for you a generous heart, compassionate soul, good intentions, and a life of positive influence.

I pray for many moments of happiness in your life, but more importantly joy because joy is not merely a feeling but a condition of existence. More than that I wish you peace, a comfort which resides deep within and transcends all understanding.

I wish you conservation of your own well-being: I pray for your good health that you will make wise choices and reap the benefits of walking in comfort to enjoy every step of your journey.

I ask that you know the difference between being alone and being lonely; that you will find comfort in yourself and strength in knowing you are never truly alone.

I wish for you trust in trying times and compassionate hands to reach out and pick you up when you are down.

I wish for you to know the importance of limitations but also the freedom and power to step outside of self imposed boundaries.

I wish you the desire to let go of anger and shame and replace them with a calm spirit and self-worth. I wish you acceptance of your past as it has created your beautiful soul of today.

I wish you work to challenge your being, play to enjoy life‘s pleasures, and rest to recharge your faculties. I wish you the opportunity to teach your craft and to serve others and the poise to receive the same. I wish you balance among your many interests and harmony in your life.

I pray your struggles are few and far between and never more than you can bear. I also pray you grow from your experiences and your healing be fully restored.

I wish for you clarity in times of chaos and discernment in times of doubt; that you will continue to reach when you feel nothing within your grasp.

I pray you recognize the many gifts in life that are free to those who reach for them. I pray you will continue to dance among the wildflowers while you reach for the stars.

I pray you will not feel you are entitled to life but blessed to live it.

I pray you will view the power of surrender as an act of acceptance; that you will both give and receive daily as needed.

I wish you immeasurable love and continuous light in all you encompass.

Whether your needs are physical or spiritual I pray your thirst might be quenched and your hunger satisfied all the days of your life; that you know your visit here is not absolute but life and love ring eternal.

May you find a piece of heaven in all you touch on earth.

May you may always live your life as poetry in motion.

2012: A Year of Living in the Gap

Attitude is in direct correlation to gratitude. I might glance at the twinkling of stars in a veil of shadow, feel a trickle of cool rain against my skin, or think momentarily at the vastness of the universe as I walk beneath trees reaching for the sky yet clinging to the earth. I pause for sunsets and rainbows, but what happens to all I encounter in between?

I live my life in the realm of my attention. Though I try to find the extraordinary in ordinary moments, I still feel I often let things in my life go unnoticed or unappreciated. While I claim to be aware of the essence of time, I don’t always act as if I am. Moments slide by and in reflection I wonder where they’ve gone and why I didn’t own it as it was passing. It is in this response to awareness that creates attentiveness.

My senses are drawn to stirrings of my heart/passions of my soul. These are the things that move me. I want to breathe these things. I want others to have the opportunity to breathe in this same beauty. I want to allow this gift of life to soak to the marrow of my bones.

I won’t make any New Years Resolutions as I’ve opted to concentrate on a way of life. For 2012, I’ve chosen the word “attentiveness”. I don’t wish to live the year in reflection but to be a part of it as it happens. I choose this year to take an ordinary moment or object daily and focus on it. I want to record the impact of tiny gestures and fleeting moments.

These words will be but tiny drops filling the vessel that waters my soul which in turn grows the flowers of my life. Why not choose a word rather than a resolution for your year? I invite you to join me on a quest of appreciation, to live in the gap. May we each find serenity and encounter grace along the way.

A Merry Christmas And A Blessed Season To You!

Christmas Tree in Chicago

Whether your décor is elegant or effortless,

your celebration extravagant or simple,

I wish you a Merry Christmas

and a Holiday Season spent with the people you love.

I pray you enjoy every moment and create wonderful memories.

I hope you are graced with the joy of giving

while exercising the capacity to receive.

May you be the Christmas spirit to strangers

and the Christmas light to those who know you.

May you be both generous and sensible.

May you have the wisdom to know what really is important

and feel the joy in the tiniest of gestures.

May your blessings be abundant.

May your time be well spent.

May you have all you need.

May you experience the true grace of this season.

May you know that you are loved beyond measure.

May you know you are blessed a million times over.

Special Shoes. Yeah, that’s what they called them!

 

 

Clink. Clank. Clunk. Clang.

“What’s that rattling sound?”

I sit very still in the circle, afraid to move, afraid I will rattle again and everyone will discover it’s the gravel stuck in the heel of my cheap shoes.

“Hey, your shoes are coming apart and you got gravel stuck in the bottom.”

Quick tip: If you don’t want anyone to know your shoes are worn, don’t sit with a group of kids Indian style with your shoe heels exposed…tough lesson for an eight year old.

“Why did your mom buy you such cheap shoes?” This comes from the same friend who exposes me to the other kids. The others seem to have moved on. I’m scarlet faced as I have no answers to her probing and embarrassing questions. I glance down at her bright orange Converse shoes and wish I had a pair.

That night I tell my mom the horrifying experience. She places the shoes in a paper bag and tells me to wear my old shoes until after my doctor‘s appointment. I am baffled because I am not sick. She explains she bought me cheap shoes so she can show the doctor how my feet turn and wear my shoes down. I look at my feet. They look fine to me. I pull my shoes out of the bag and examine them. I notice the sides of my shoes on the inner portions (insteps?) turn inward, almost as if my arches have fallen. Still, I think I walk fine. She tells me I might have to get corrective shoes to fix my feet. I shudder at the thought of brace-like contraptions on my feet. I dream of Cinderella shoes though I know that will definitely not be what I get, even if the doctor says my feet are fine.

It seems like only a few days and Mama and I are off to the city. We have to drive to a huge parking lot and take the bus over to the university. The bus ride alone makes me nervous, and then we have to cross the busy street with college students and working professionals clustered about. We are ushered from one waiting room and examining room to another. Each time I have to strip to an embarrassing nakedness of “underpants only” and be touched, poked, and prodded by a team of doctors and students. I am instructed to walk, bend, turn, reach, and jump. I want to cry. I hate this place more than any place I’ve ever gone. And this is only the first of many visits.

Then my mother and I head over to the “expensive” shoe shop. It’s one we can’t afford to shop at; one I’ve only walked by and glanced in the window. She hands the prescription to the salesman and he measures my feet. He places the box on the floor and pulls out the ugliest shoe I’ve ever seen. I slowly die inside. I can’t believe they expect me to wear these horrendous brown leather oxfords…they look like old man shoes, expensive old man shoes. To my dismay, my mother makes me wear them from the store. She even has the salesperson throw out my old shoes. I nearly die. The cashier tells my mother the price, and she nearly dies. I actually hear her breath catch in her throat and I wonder if she will ever exhale. I remember they cost forty-two dollars which was a lot of money back then for a pair of shoes. Heck, my mother probably paid less for a week of groceries.

Not only am I expected to wear them, I must wear them daily. I even have to wear them with dresses. I have to run in them and play kick ball with them on. There are absolutely no exceptions. I am reminded of their cost. I am told it is for my own good. I hate my life. I am the only one at school with “special shoes”. Yes, that’s what the grown ups called them. If they thought they were so dang special why didn’t they want to wear them?

I was the brunt of all jokes at school for the first day, and on occasion thereafter. It eventually turned to pity as the other girls were thankful they didn’t have to sport those “boy shoes” on their feet. I made it my goal to not let them slow me down. The only justice was that I still came in first or second in all the playground races. I roughed and scuffed those suckers (shoes) up! My mother was appalled at how I tore them up. They seemed less noticeable when the shine wore off. I don’t know who hated it more each time I had to get a new pair, me or my mother. Fortunately, I only had to wear corrective shoes for a year or two. In the meantime, my dad’s friend had a daughter who also had to wear “special shoes”. At least, hers were a pretty reddish burgundy color. Still, she and I spent many hours commiserating the sheer torture of having those ugly things on our feet. We both dreamed of patent leather Mary Janes and white canvas Keds like the other kids wore…we continued to dream as we donned our ugly boy shoes wherever our legs led us.

Needless to say, I had a real thing about shoes when my kids were little. I refused to buy them cheap television cartoon character shoes like many of the kids wore for play. I only purchased well made (yes, expensive) name brand shoes for my children. I hoped (and prayed) this would be enough to help their feet grow and form properly. I prayed they wouldn’t have to go through the pain I endured from other kids. This had plus and a minus side…my kids did grow up with nice feet; however they also now have expensive taste in shoes!

I also have a thing for pretty shoes. Still, I like functional. But I’m trying to make up for lost time…you do not want to know how many Keen Mary Jane shoes I own! So, yes I do own way more shoes than I need; especially considering the fact that I work from home and go barefoot unless I leave the house. I suppose some things from childhood haunt us forever….and don’t go judging me unless you were made to wear equally horrendous ugly brown leather oxfords!

Before you even ask; yes, I do donate shoes to Salvation Army at least twice a year. I go through my shoes and donate anything I haven’t worn. Dirt Man tried to convince me to donate a pair every time I purchase a new pair, but that just is not going to fly…besides he didn’t have to wear ugly “special shoes” when he was a kid so he isn’t allowed to judge me either!

Boop-boop-be-doop-It’s Betty Boop!

Christmas ornament gifted to myself!

Who would’ve thought I was a child in love with a sex symbol? In all fairness, I didn’t know Betty Boop was considered an “object of sexuality”. The Betty Boop I adored was an antique wooden doll. This doll, or maybe it was simply hearing my mother talk of this doll, linked me to the little girl my mother once was.

My mother kept the cracked and chipped wooden Betty swaddled in the protective layer of a towel and tucked in her bottom drawer of clothes. I often opened the drawer and carefully removed Betty. I’d cradle her and think of the story my mother had told me many, many times…the story of how Betty Boop became her very first ( and possibly her only) doll.

My mother had lost her own mother when she was about two and a half. At the age of five my mother became quite ill with pneumonia. Her next door neighbors were Dr. and Mrs. Horsley. Mrs. Horsley nursed my mother back to health. My mother recalls her spoon feeding her bread dipped in warm sweet milk. During this time, Mrs. Horsley gave her the Betty Boop doll. My mother, in turn, took superb care of Betty Boop. My mother is now seventy-eight which makes this doll seventy-three. I wonder if Mrs. Horsley ever had any idea of the incredible timeless value of her gifting that doll to my mother.

Christmas ornament from my friend, Patti.

Anyway, I have always secretly looked at Betty Boop commercial items without ever purchasing anything until this year. I bought myself a Christmas ornament. A week later a friend gave me a different Betty Boop ornament. Now, I want a coffee cup…No, I am not turning into a Betty Boop collector! Still, Betty Boop warms my heart.

In case you’re wondering, Betty Boop is still safe. She is tucked away at my sister’s house. My mom had four daughters and wasn’t sure which one to hand Betty over to. I thought it was an easy decision, though two of my sisters didn’t agree. Only one of us four sisters had daughters, so this is where Betty now resides…that is, until this sister decides which of her three daughters will receive Betty.

In case you’re interested in the history of Betty Boop.

Moonshine In The Daylight

Sometimes the end result of my hurriedness and lack of attention to detail astounds me. The other evening the moon was clearly floating among wispy clouds before the sun departed. I took a picture and quickly realized Dirt Man had the camera set on some “effect mode”. I didn’t delete the photo I took but continued with a few more shots. I put the camera away and never looked at the photographs I took until today. To my surprise, this is the photo taken in the special effect mode!

Taking Back The Night In The Christmas Light(s)

Recently I posted about my fear of going out alone at night. I decided it was time to steal back the night. With Wylie in tow, I took in the Christmas decorations in the neighborhood. I found it is difficult to take pictures with a ninety pound dog pulling me in the opposite direction. Wylie led the way, one sniff at a time while I followed in the glow of colored Christmas lights.
We saw this dude in the red suit every where we went. Seriously, he was in almost every other yard! 
 
 
There were only a couple of manger scenes, but the lighted deer lit up the neighborhood.
 
This Santa was my favorite. I don’t think Wylie ever lifted her nose from the ground to even see Santa at all.
 
I guess this is the neighborhood blow up version of the polar express!
Santa, snowmen, penguins, lights, and candy canes…this house has Christmas going on! 

Santa's on the roof making an early delivery!

Ho, Ho, Ho!

I’m Zentamental For Frogs!

I have discovered that all of mans unhappiness derives from only one source, not being able to sit quietly in a room. ~Blaise Pascal

Christmas present from my youngest son.

 

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

 

Christmas Ornaments With Meaning

I enjoy buying Christmas ornaments for my family. Each year I like to find a perfect ornament that speaks to me about each of them and myself. Why yes, I do buy myself an ornament each year as well! I’ve established an eclectic collection of ornaments that tell a family history though most people just think they look cute on the tree.

This year I found the perfect ornaments at The Christmas Store in Smithfield. Because I added them to my family’s stockings, I can’t show them to you yet. However, I can show you one of them. My youngest will be out of state for Christmas so we celebrated Christmas with him the other day, and he opened his ornament. He loved it as much as I did. The store had two lacrosse player ornaments, but I was especially tickled with this one because it happened to be his team colors. See for yourself how well I did with this one! I was tempted to paint his number on the jersey.

Lacrosse was my favorite of all the team sports my sons played. I sure miss lacrosse. More than that I sure am going to miss having my baby home for Christmas this year. It is one of those years of accepting…yes, they do grow up and move on and move out…but life is good.

Velvet Aversion

It was the prettiest dress I’d ever seen. It was dark green with a little bow between the lacy collar. It had short puffy sleeves and gathered in pleats at the waist. I wanted more than anything to be able to wear it, but I just couldn’t do it without crying.

I cringed at the thought of it sliding against my hair and over  the skin of my naked shoulders.

“Stop being a baby and let me put it on you.”

“No, it hurts me!”

“How can something so soft hurt you? Feel how smooth it is.”

Sure, it looked smooth. They just didn’t understand how it made me feel all over when I simply brushed my fingers across the fabric. A shiver of cold would shoot through my entire body at the slightest touch. I would literally shake.

They put tights on me so the velvet wouldn’t touch my legs and a sweater over the bodice so my hands would touch the sweater and not the dress. This was much worse. Hearing the yarn of the sweater crush against the velvet was sheer torture. The sound of my tights scraping against the dress sent me into hysterics. And when the dress folded between my legs where velvet rubbed against velvet was unbearable, much akin to the way hearing chalk scrape on a chalk board grates on the nerves.

More than anything, I wanted to be the pretty little girl in the beautiful green velvet dress. In secret, I practiced. I’d quickly touch the dress, shake, and do it again. Then I’d make myself hold the dress in my hands. My body would turn cold from the inside out, and I’d toss it to the floor. I never made it a full minute. The dress disappeared. Maybe Mama thought even the sight of the dress was too much for me to endure.

Then Santa Claus came to our house. I knew he was not really Santa. First of all, we didn’t believe in Santa at our house. Secondly, I would have recognized this pretend Santa’s voice anywhere. And Mama had already told me to pretend like I believed in Santa. She also told me not to let him know I knew who he really was because it would hurt his feelings.

Mama and Daddy coaxed me to sit on his lap after my immediate refusal. I would have happily sat on his lap if he hadn’t been wearing that costume. I scrunched my arms together so I did not touch his sleeves. He wanted to know what I wanted for Christmas. I wouldn’t answer. After much prodding, I told him I wanted white go-go boots like the dancers on the Ed Sullivan (or was it Red Skelton?) show.

I got down, and the grown ups kept talking. They laughed and couldn’t figure out why I was so afraid of him. I was not afraid of Daddy’s friend. I just didn’t want to touch his velvet suit.

Thank you, Mama and Daddy, for the white go-go boots.

Thank you, Mama, for accepting what none of us understood and never making me wear that beautiful dress again. And double thanks for not ever buying me another one.

Thank you, God, for bringing crushed velvet and velour into my life. Now, I can enjoy the beauty of velvet without the pain.

I’ve never been able to explain how the feel of velvet pushed my little soul out of the solar system. Touching cotton balls did the same thing to me. The strange thing is I can touch them both now…without shudders, shivers, or shakes.