Feeling Kinda’ Squirrelly

Squirrel Advice:

Always keep your eyes open and watch where you are going.

Even though you have food stored, always come to the table with an empty stomach.

…and if there is no food on the table, dance on it!

Living in the Gap

February 29, 2012 – Portrait of a Hospital Waiting Room

The scent of coffee permeated the air, breaking up the hospital scents of flowers, bandages, and antiseptics. The room was lined with rows of chairs connected by wooden armrests. The choices were the groups of teal with crisscrossed lines of aqua and tangerine or the more chaotic pattern of grey, beige, brown, mauve, and purple squares with likewise opposing circle colors in them connecting into stripes. Irregular lines of teal, brown, and beige of the carpet were constructed to hide the dust of our lives. We each thought we blended into the sea of waiting people, waiting for news. Actually, we might have had that in common, but we each had our own story. The middle age man with the dark green baseball cap with gold NRA letters, the middle-aged woman with smoke lines beneath her hollow cheeks, the plump elderly woman with the red scarf and book and her husband in the wheel chair, the old man in blue/green plaid p.js attached to a cane, the golden-jeweled lady sneaking food from her McDonalds bag stuffed in her purse, the young girl wrapped in a leopard print fluffy blanket…who were these people and who were they waiting and praying for?

Kindles, ipods, cell phones, earphones, and computers were as prominent as the people behind them. Ruffling of magazines and shuffling of book pages drifted as conversations floated among us. Some were between us and others to some invisible person on the other side of our cell phones. Cell phones rang and beeped as the morning news shows chattered and slipped into the water color pictures of daffodils, lilacs, and rivers that hung upon the walls; the walls that held us while we were waiting, waiting for news.

Each of us was different yet connected by white bags stuffed with patient contents, name neatly typed on a label and carefully placed on the bag. Each name, someone loved by the person carrying the bag. We have all become clock watchers; minute by minute, hour by hour, we watch the hands on the wall clock slowly move.  The chipper British accented lady and tall graying gentleman with red shirts escorted us “waiters” to and from the areas for news…patient preps, doctor consults, and patient rooms. They became our hope; hope that we’d be the next one called with news… And we each sat, white bags within reach, ready to grab when hope came.

Angels, Family, And Friends

I am thankful for faith. I depend on God to see me through life. I know He has angels looking after me. He has gifted me with wonderful family members and fabulous friends. I appreciate all who are a part of my life. I am grateful for I am blessed.

Angel of Summer

My people of summer are not here merely for the season. They are the ones who lift me up when I am down. They warm my heart all year round. They energize me and bring happiness into my life.

Friendship

Friends are the ones I know intimately. We share both our joys and sorrows and see one another through the thick of it. Most of us go way back and the newer ones seem as if we’ve known each other forever. We are bonded in time.

Angel of the Heart

My heart people are the ones who live with me on a soul level. We connect through our hearts. We empathize; truly feel one another’s emotions. These are the people who really get me, and they still love me for who I am.

Living in the Gap

February 28, 2012 – Magical Mystical Morning

This morning the sun illuminated the world with a full bright intensity I haven’t seen this winter. The golden light cast a peculiar shimmer on the objects in my yard. The robins scattered throughout my lawn appeared to be winged tangerines flitting from the ground to their cedar castle.  A single grey squirrel became a feather duster swiping the rail of the tall black fence. Even the vinca sparkled like amethysts on a carpet of velvet. The tweets and caws overhead and car horns and tire screeches reminded me I wasn’t living a fairytale.

Finding Middle Ground

Everything blends together for beauty and purpose.

We hold one another up and we grow together in our experience.

We come to the assistance of others and we all prosper.

We benefit from the comfort of the shade and the light of the sun.

Our differences compliment one another while our likeness keeps us in agreement.

We learn to compromise, adjust, and thrive.

Sometimes we provide the peace, and other times we simply bask in its presence.

When we provide and accept support, the outcome is a peaceful scene.

Living in the Gap

February 27, 2012 – Uninvited

Pissy mood. Snapped. Said ugly words. Cried. Felt better… Yes, the ugly exists here too at times. Thank goodness it didn’t take up permanent residence.

A Dress Of Elegance

“I like the way you handled that confrontation between those children. None of them are yours, right? You’re the daycare provider?”

“Yes, I am.” I notice her exotic beauty, the long dark hair, sparkling brown eyes, scarlet lipstick with matching manicured nails, and the poised manner in which she speaks. Children shriek in the background as they roll and tumble in the colorful balls. The smell of grease and french fries permeate the air.

“I’d like to place my daughter in your care. Do you have an opening?”

“I’m sorry I’m not taking any more children at this time.”

“Will you give me your name and number so I can call you later and talk with you about it?” I do the oddest thing; I give her my information. I never hand over information like that to complete strangers. Why do I trust her? Is it her gentle manner? Or is it the innocence I detect behind those deep dark eyes?  Maybe it is the simple fact that she is a mom looking for quality care for her child.

She calls that night. Again, I tell her I am not accepting more children at this time.

She calls again the next night. I repeat the same line.

“Is it because I’m Middle Eastern that you won’t watch my child?”

“I’m sorry I don’t understand.”

“I can assure you we aren’t like the ones you hear about on the news. We are peaceful. We are from Jordan.”

Still, I am completely unaware of what she means. At this time in my life, I am ignorant of such happenings in the world. I ask my husband what she means and he explains relations between the countries and tells me about terrorism.

She calls again the next night. Again, she assures me she has no motivation except in the interest of her child. Finally, I break and agree that when the children go to school in the fall, I’ll take her child into my care.

I instantly adore this little girl. Her smile and bright eyes tug at my heart. I delight in her laughter. Dana snuggles in my lap while I read to her or we watch television. She is both smart and obedient. The mother is a pleasure as well. Saheera. The name is as lovely as the woman.

I meet Saheera’s parents when they come in for a visit from Jordan. They are lovely people and offer their home to me if I am ever to visit Jordan. They mail a gift to their daughter for me. It is the most gorgeous gown (I think it’s called a dishca, I’m sure my spelling is incorrect) I have ever seen. I know I will never wear it in public. But I try it on and feel like an exotic princess while I wear it around the house. I remember my days of dress up as a little girl.

I finger the shiny fabric. My fingers slide across the slick silken threads, occasionally bumping over the metalic embroidery and tiny beads.

About a year later the family is relocated due to employment. At first we email back and forth, but eventually we lose contact.

The dress still hangs in the back of my closet. Every time I see it, I think of this beautiful woman with the big browned eyed girl who loved to eat “rose” (her reference to rice).

Living in the Gap

February 26, 2012 – An act of kindness

The rain wasn’t heavy but the wind slapped it across the windshield. He grabbed his raincoat as he got out of the truck. He walked to my side and helped me out, placing his jacket over my head to shield me from both the wind and the rain while he went without cover. The wind tugged the hood over my eyes as he guided me across the street. We laughed as he shook the water from his head and I waved the coat through the air to scatter the drops before heading into the store.

Unlocking The Heart

“I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.” Virginia Woolf

How much we share of our lives is our choice.

We all know how sad and lonely it feels to be left out, but it is equally heartbreaking to refuse to let others in.

We all need to feel loved and accepted.

We all benefit in sharing our lives and love with others.

Offer your friendship to someone. You might just be the one thing they need. More surprising, you might find it is the one thing you need.

Show a bit of compassion to someone. Accept a gesture of generosity offered to you.

Soften your heart. Take a chance. Your life will be richer.

Living in the Gap

February 25, 2012 – tornado watch

A warm rushing wind boosts my spirits along with the leaves and twigs it lifts in its wake. I stand in the backyard listening and watching. The swooshing drowns out any other sounds with the exception of small limbs and pinecones popping against the house. Dark clouds roll across the sky while the lower limbs of a pine curtsy to the dancing bushes below it. The whir of the wind lowers to a whine and then picks up to a roar, creating its own beat to nature’s song. Dusk falls, filling in the spaces between the clouds until all is shadowed.

In Celebration of You

The world is your stage.

You have practiced long enough.

You are ready.

The time is now.

Give the performance of your life.

Dance. Laugh. Sing.

Give it all you’ve got.

Celebrate the wonders of you.

You are the star.

Shine On.

photo credit: www.sodahead.com

Living in the Gap

February 24, 2012 –  from streetlight to starlight

My surroundings were lit by streetlights and headlights as I drove down the road.  I watched as the pink aura of the city lights grew brighter and larger. A tiny sliver of moon sat higher in the darker sky. A pencil thin outline sketched the moon hidden beneath the veil. A few stars and planets brightly stood at attention to the sides of the moon, as if they were the moon’s very own streetlights illuminating its heavenly path.

Out Of Season Or In Perfect Time?

Whatever you do, do it with all your might. Work at it, early and late, in season and out of season, not leaving a stone unturned, and never deferring for a single hour that which can be done just as well now. ~P. T. Barnum

Dirt Man and I were walking through one of our city parks a few weeks ago and came across these lovely trees. Perhaps they are simply trees in which we are unfamiliar or possibly due to the unusually warm temperatures here they are blooming out of season. Often we do things seasonally as there seems to be a time in which we do all things.

We tend to forget the beauty in the element of surprise. We were surprised at the beauty of these flowers in midwinter.

We can choose to be beautiful anytime. We don’t need a season to be kind. Kindness is carried within the heart all year long. We need only reach out to others to share our generosity.

Compassion runs deep and stretches far and wide. Jump on the train and ride with us. See who you can touch, in or off season.

Don’t let the time of year of people in your life keep your from being your beautiful self.

Dare yourself to bloom in the dead of winter.

Break out of your bud. Flourish.

Be the flower out of season.

Be beautiful. Be yourself.

Living in the Gap

February 23, 2012 – The reality of pain

“It’s really big.” He says this of the herniated disc and goes on to mention removing it and fusing vertebrae. Then there is the mention of screws, plates, and a rod. He gives us the ins and outs of surgery (possibly five hours in the OR) and post op mobility. I can’t help but stare at the films. I had no idea it was that bad. I knew he was in pain, but now I realize he has just kept on going when he most likely wanted to throw in the towel. I don’t like knowing he is in pain. Dirt Man seems relatively calm, but I feel his anxiety as the lines furrow across his forehead. I’m not sure whether to be at peace or worried by the excitement of the young skilled surgeon. Instead of being either, I place it in God’s hands.

****Dirt Man is scheduled for back surgery on Tuesday. I’m sure the next few weeks will be busy and draining. As I often do in life, I’ll be flying back the seat of my pants…will post if and when I can. I might have lots of time, and then again I might have little…will promise to get back to my blog when I can.

Who Says Johnsons Means No More Tears?

She plugged the tub and tipped the Avon whale to add a few drops into the running water. We stripped our clothes off as she made sure we had soap and wash cloths. She turned off the water, and told us we could play a bit while she did some other things. As soon as she was out of sight, I slipped out of the tub, closed the door, and turned the water back on. I poured the remainder of the bubble bath in and splashed.

“Not enough bubbles”, Cindy complained. I emptied the container of my sister’s shampoo beneath the running faucet. We dumped the entire bottle of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo on our heads. We lathered our hair, dunking our heads into the tub to dilute the thick gel. We stretched and pulled our own hair and laughed as we tugged at one another’s tresses. We climbed onto the end of the tub and onto the sink so we could see ourselves in the mirror on the medicine cabinet. We jumped back into the tub from the sink. Water and suds splashed everywhere.

“Oh no, we’re losing our bubbles.” Cindy frowned beneath her elongated white soap-capped head. I climbed up on the radiator to see if Kay was outside. I saw her at the far end of the yard. I ran to the kitchen and came back with a bottle of Joy dishwashing liquid.

“Oh boy, lemons!” I handed the bottle to Cindy who squirted it all over the tub and surrounding walls. We splished, and we splashed. We laughed. We were overwhelmed with joy and Joy. I zoomed the whale in and out of the suds, and Cindy refilled the Joy bottled with water and sprayed me. We swapped. We continued to play with our soapy hair and then we sudded our faces and pretend-shaved each other. We sopped and soaped the entire bathroom, giggling all the while.

Suddenly we heard stomping and screaming as the bathroom door swung open. Kay’s face was tomato red, and her eyes seemed to triple in size as she scanned the room wall to wall, floor to ceiling.

“You wasted my shampoo. You wait till I get you outta’ there!” As she turned her back to grab a towel out of the closet, Cindy and I looked at each other and we knew what we had to do. I took off first with her only a step behind me, flinging a trail of suds with us. We slipped, sloshed, and ran right through the house, out the front door, over the bank of phlox and into the safety of Mrs. Kidd’s yard. The crazy screaming teenage girl was only a few feet behind us. My sister had transformed into a mutant, and for the first time in my life I was petrified of her. Her eyes were blazing coals, and I swear steam was rising from the top of her shiny black hair. She was waving her arms through the air and shrieking like a lunatic. We headed to the other side of the yard and hid behind some bushes.

We looked up to find Kay towering over us. With her high cheek bones, black hair, and dark complexion, she looked like an Indian on the warpath, and we were very afraid. However, her only weapons were her hands. She grabbed each of us by an arm and pulled us to our feet. She pushed us by our shoulders all the way up the hill. Our naked butts were coated in dirt and fresh grass cuttings as well as the rest of our bodies. She spanked each of us, and with heads dripping Johnson’s No More Tears, we cried. She stuck us back into the tub of suds and washed us down, rinsed the soap out of our hair, and towel dried us. Second time in the tub was no where near as fun as the first time.

Living in the Gap

February 22, 2012 – Cotton Candy Sky

Dusk appeared as if a cotton candy machine had spit balls of pink sugar throughout the sky. Even the contrails were pink. The lowest splatters in the sky were the brightest. I felt as if I could reach out and grab a handful. Later I was showing Dirt Man the pics I took, and he told me he had watched the sky at the same time and thought about how the pictures would be if he’d been able to capture the moment; glad I was able to capture it for him.

The Importance Of A Solid Foundation

Society has a way of entangling us in its tentacles.

People pull and tug on us and things seem to ensnare us.

We step away from our roots a bit as we become stifled with the needs of others.

We end up neglecting the ones who mean the most to us. We even forget to take care of our own needs.

We are lured by fads, get caught up in the craze, and lose sight of what is right tin front of us.

When we drift from what’s important, we lose our focus; remember what’s essential in life.

Sometimes we must use both our eyes and our hearts to see.

Breathe. Take a look around. Feel your environment.

Make choices that empower you but also support others.

When we forget who we are and the stuff we’re made of, our color fades away. We blend into the background.

Our core values are the two legs we stand on…we need to dig our feet in the ground so our integrity can not be swayed or bought.

We each have a purpose. We might not know our higher purpose, but our daily purpose is to live each moment with intention. We have the ability to make things happen.

Strong foundations weather change and stand the test of time. Yes, a solid foundation endures a lifetime.

We are defined by our beliefs…our lives are guided by our trusts and doubts.

We become the choices we make.

When we have solid foundations we don’t look for others to blame because we know we are the inventors of our lives.

When we have a solid foundation we won’t lose ground. Regardless of entanglements we’ll continue the course.

We will live our lives with meaning.

We will make a positive impact in our own little niche of this world.

****Living in the Gap

February 21, 2012 – Inappropriate laughter

My family has been in town visiting. We sit down to dinner. Dirt Man starts saying grace. My sister’s dog comes up to the table and moans. Dirt Man stops and tells the dog, “Sorry, buddy. The Lord comes first.” And he continues the blessing. My mom gets so tickled she starts laughing and is trying to hold it back. I open my eyes and watch her holding her hand over her mouth, her face is scrunched up and turning blue, tears are running down her face, and she is gasping trying not to giggle. I try to hold back my laughter and poke my sister to look at my mom. We lose it and when we start laughing my mom cuts loose. Everyone looks up, and Dirt Man lets out a small chuckle but continues while the crazy woman and her two crazy daughters shake the table as we stifle our snickers.

Prism Of Love

How often we turn our bodies into prisons

as we carry our hearts around like inmates.

We hold back our love until we feel it’s deserved;

we want to be assured we’re loved in return.

Why are we so selfish with something of endless supply?

We can turn our bodies into prisms allowing our sunshine

to cast rainbows on the world.

Like a rainbow, love bends, radiates, and stretches,

giving hope to all it reaches.

Love penetrates the darkness and catches the world on fire.

Light the globe with the colors of love.

****Living in the Moment

February 20, 2012 – Reading

I’m sitting here reading from my kindle and listening to the conversations around me. I can hear the television from downstairs. The landline rings with a telemarketer and my phone beeps with a text message, both while the dogs wrestle across the floor. Scents of home cooking drift from the kitchen. Smelling the country style food and not being the one cooking takes me back to my grandmother’s house…oh, the days of smelling those aromas with watering mouth, just waiting to take a bite. The rain pounds outside and the smoke alarms blares inside. Someone turns on the kitchen exhaust fan, and someone else opens and closes the door. Another person fans the smoke alarm (wrong one), and I get up and fan the other one. I return to my kindle. Lots of action all around me and in my book…I’m just enjoying having a house full of family.