On Superheros

pete with schlitz

At 6’2” and 245 pounds, he is probably the size of any ordinary superhero, but you see he isn’t ordinary. He’s my Daddy. He doesn’t exert bionic strength or invisible powers. A great story teller with a wicked sense of humor doesn’t need those. Daddy doesn’t wear a cape either, but there’s something incredibly domineering yet comforting about those dark blue Dickie uniforms.

So, they say I’m too old to believe in fairy tales, but I say I’m not too old to believe in miracles, in whatever form they arrive.

I’ve extended my stay from one week to two…I’m off to see my superhero.

 

A Sense Of Calm

We went on an eight mile canoe/kayak trip with friends yesterday. I thought I’d share a few photos with you. In a few days I’ll be leaving for a week. See you when I get back.

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I hope these provided you with the same peaceful feeling as they did me.

Humor Gets Us Through

A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road. ~Henry Ward Beecher 

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Humor often gets us through the darkest hours.

As you know this is a stressful time for our family, but we still have our light-hearted moments. Our parents are good for this. One such episode follows. Be reminded my folks are in their early eighties and not into all the new technology, and my father is a little hard of hearing.

Dad: I caught the tail end of the news. I think they said that guy shot her with an iPod.

Mom: You can’t shoot someone with an iPod. That’s a musical instrument.

Hope I gave you a laugh for the day. The conversation sure tickled me.

Yesterday I Cried

“…you know that a good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit.” ― Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning

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I cried yesterday.

I cried over a lost manuscript.

What kind of a woman, though her heart is breaking, doesn’t shed a tear over her father’s medical diagnosis but cries over a stupid lost manuscript?

And yet I knew the lost manuscript was not the reason I was crying, but merely the breaking point.

I cried for the loss of words, those which had been written, those yet to be written, and those hidden in the heart.

I cried for the little girl cowering within this grown woman, petrified at the thought of life without her Daddy.

I cried for time, the hours slipping through my fingers and into oblivion.

I prayed. I prayed for my father. I prayed for my family.  I accepted reality. I told God the way it was…I didn’t have it in me to start my novel over. I told him I’d take its loss as a sign I wasn’t meant to write it. I told Him how dear it was to my heart, and I asked if I was meant to write it to please help me find the manuscript. I was at peace.

I opened my laptop back up…the manuscript file was open, right in front of my face. It was there all along, but I couldn’t see it. Perhaps stress had clouded my vision. Perhaps I just couldn’t see for looking.

I’ve had all the time in the world to write this book, and I’ve used every excuse I could find not to complete it. Mainly, it’s not good enough, and I can’t do it. And now, here I am running against time…

…And now I have a job to do. I must finish my story for the man who blessed me with the gift of story. He’s the greatest story teller I’ve ever known. I owe him this.

Loving Is Living

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Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving. – Kahlil Gibran

While we try to manage our lives, we have no control on the process of life. We will live only the number of days we are granted, regardless of health. This is a difficult concept to accept when it pertains to someone you love. Worse is seeing someone you love in pain and decline in vitality. Still, it is much the cycle of life.

While we live our lives externally, we are also living internally. Perhaps much of our external lives are tests to our inner characteristics. Our faith, acceptance, ability to forgive, capacity to love and trust, strength to endure, and tenacity to seek are the qualities that shape us throughout our lifetimes.

I’ve learned a few things in this lifetime:

Be quick to forgive because what you are holding onto will hold you back.

Don’t wait for people to “earn” your respect. Everyone deserves it unless they give you sufficient reason to withdraw it.

Accept people for who they are. It is not our job to judge or change them. This doesn’t mean you’re condoning corrupt behavior. It means you’re allowing control of the situation to rest where it should…within that person.

Never give up hope. Miracles happen all the time. The miracle might not be what we expect. It might come in the process or after the unwanted result.

Find the good in every person you meet and a lesson in every experience. We are put here to love and to learn.

Always be grateful. Often the largest blessings come in disguise. Gratitude determines attitude.

Most of all, love to your fullest and you will live without regret.

Where I come from we place our utmost value on our people. It is the connection of community in which we thrive. This doesn’t happen without faith, love, respect, and compassion.

The best I can do is rest in the assurance of faith, for I cannot see the whole picture.  We tend to focus on “what” things are and want to know “why”. After the fact, we are often blessed with the grace to see things “why they were” as opposed to “what they were”.  It is what we do during the course that defines us.

Don’t take love for granted. Verbalize it. Show your affection in the ways you can.

****If I am not visiting and commenting on your blogs or posting on mine as you’d like, I offer my sincere apologies and hope you will forgive me. My father is seriously ill. Currently my family needs me as much as I need them. I will be traveling back and forth from my home to my parents during surgeries and treatments. I will not have a constant source of internet. At this point, I do not have a specific travel agenda, but I’m just putting this out here so you might understand my possible absence from here. Today, tell someone who needs to hear it how much they mean to you…love and live to the depths of your soul.

Inglewood Lavender Farm

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” ― Alice Walker, The Color Purple

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Purple has been my favorite color for most of my life. I had a short love affair with orange once but it was over almost before it started. Every shade of purple inspires me. The scent of lavender comforts me. You can imagine the thrill of visiting a lavender farm would be for me.

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A few years back I’d heard a lavender farm had opened up in my hometown stomping grounds. I couldn’t wait to see for myself. I had wanted to visit while the plants were in full bloom. Timing was off. Well, not so much the timing. We were there, but got lost. This visit we tried again even though they had already cultivated the crops.

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They have a couple of Maremma dogs who herd the sheep and greet the visitors.

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The lavender farm is located on an historic estate. The gift shop is loaded with lavender products. This year they distilled essential oils. I purchased both grosso (purple lavender) and melissa (white lavender) essential oils. I found the oils are stronger than those I’ve purchased from health food stores and online. Perhaps it is a more pure form since it’s coming from the source rather than going through several handlers. I also purchased some lavender and orange tea bags that also contains bergamot…haven’t tried it yet but am sure it’ll be wonderful.

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Inglewood Farm is located in beautiful Nelson County (Arrington, Virginia).

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If you’re unable to visit the lavender farm but would like to purchase products, they sell them online as well.

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Daze Of The Journey

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. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity. ~Albert Einstein

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We are each on a journey. Whether you walk, stroll, tiptoe, or run, every step involves the practice of awareness. We generally know where we are and what we are doing. We know how we feel about the situation at hand even if it’s contradictory to appearances.

Our actions and reactions to what we see, hear, think, and feel paint a portrait. When we reflect upon these behaviors our physical journey becomes a spiritual one. In a sense, we are journaling the journey even if we are not physically writing it on paper. We are living and learning every step of the way.

We are wildflowers in the woods. While rooted to the ground, we stretch to the sun and sway with the wind. We can exercise our freedom and question our belief system without compromising self. It is from the questioning in which we discover self and solidify our relationship with spirit.

Do you ever question whether you have chosen the path you are walking or whether the path has chosen you? You are both a contributor to all you meet along your way as well as a receiver.

The answers we seek are within us. We must learn to trust ourselves.

Pay attention. Look and listen. Not just to others, but to your heart and soul. Every step, every consideration, is one step closer to self.

Do you journal? Do you write about your days or your daze? Do you prefer to do your reflection in thought or ink?

On Top Of The World In The Center Of The Universe

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hearts. ~Henry David Thoreau

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Have you ever experienced a place of wholeness in life? Perhaps you’ve reached within and felt peace. Maybe you’ve stumbled across a spot in the woods where you were connected in spirit. These places whether physical or internal give us a sense of self and connection at the same time. They provide peace and truth. These sacred places humble us to the power of life, and yet complete us even if only for the time being. What a sensation, this belonging to oneself and the universe.

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I’ve found this time and space within myself on occasion, but there are some places in the midst of nature that invoke this for me. My two favorites are a particular riverside property, and the other atop a mountain we often hike. This weekend I was blessed to visit both.

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Saturday night we cooked out and enjoyed the company of family on the river. On Sunday we accompanied my husband’s cousins and their eighty year old father on a hike to Spy Rock. What an honor it was to be a part of this special trip. His uncle walks with a cane and it is not a simple trail. It required a group effort of all parties to accomplish this.

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When we reached the rock top of the mountain, we each took in the majestic view of the many mountains surrounded by clouds.  Fog traveled through the ridges and settled over the peaks. I scanned the faces of those around me. The contentment on their faces was exactly what I felt in my heart. The expression of satisfaction across the uncle’s face is one I will carry with me. It reminds me accomplishment is what we make of it. The only mountains we need climb are the ones of our choosing.

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Always remember, my friends, you don’t have to save the world, only yourself. And somehow in doing that, you become a vital unit in doing the other.

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Have you found the sanctuary within yourself? Do you have a physical sanctuary (not speaking of churches or synagogues here)? Is there a place or a time of the day when you have a definite sense of connection? Where is your place of truth?

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A Stroll Through Stumpy Lake

Since DirtMan and I neglected Wylie (our labradoodle) by leaving her with Oldest instead of taking her with us canoeing on Saturday, we followed through with our promise to take her out on Sunday. Yes, we talk to our dog like she’s a person, and yes she understands us. If you have a pet, you know what I mean. Anyway, we took her for a short hike on Sunday. We had never been to Stumpy Lake Park, but it has a few short trails which were what we were looking for. The parking is quite limited considering it’s a city park with a golf course. It also has a nice kayak/canoe launch which we plan to try out another day. With wagging tail and nose to the ground Wylie led the way.

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While admiring the various shades of green fungi I noticed this huge eyed bug. It didn’t move, so I assumed the specks on it were fungus and it was dead. WRONG! I about had a heart attack as it scurried across the log as I was crouching over it for a photo. apparently, those specks were bits of dry wood from where it had been boring through the tree.

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Quite a work of art, isn’t it? Nature can surely paint a canvas or build a statue out of thin air!

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This little guy hopped out of nowhere! Ok, he was actually beneath the log. DirtMan commented to me how we think we’re looking at nothing and then we look closer and see all sorts of things.

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IMG_4639I love the way the sun filters through the branches and casts reflections across the black water. It takes a gloomy setting and transforms it into a bright and beautiful scene.

IMG_4641Check out these knees…looks like a woodland fairy to me. See two knees and an elbow emerging from the muck? Ok, I have an overactive imagination!

IMG_4645DirtMan pointed this out to me for a photo. I asked why, and he replied, “It’s a single shaded flower with sunlight filtering in highlighting it.” He further explained it looked like the sort of thing I usually photograph due to some philosophy about it rolling through my head. Eh, maybe he’s right so I snapped a shot.

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Eleven Questions And Eleven Answers, Or Maybe More!

“Albert grunted. “Do you know what happens to lads who ask too many questions?”

Mort thought for a moment.

“No,” he said eventually, “what?”

There was silence.

Then Albert straightened up and said, “Damned if I know. Probably they get answers, and serve ’em right.”

― Terry Pratchett, Mort

This photo has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but I like it...so there!

This photo has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but I like it…so there!

Ask me a question and an answer or a ramble or a rant you will receive! My friend, Becky, threw some questions at me and here are my answers:

1.  The one book you read over and over again.

I reread lots of books through the years, but there are two I’ve read multiple times since high school. They are To Kill a Mockingbird and A Separate Peace.

2.  Meal planner or just open the fridge and see what you have and throw it together kind of cook?

Both. I have a vague idea when I shop, but after I’m home I often stray from my intended plan.

3.  Favorite curse word.

I’m an equal opportunist!They all slip out according to situation. You know a tiny, quiet one if I drop something and big, loud consecutive ones if I stub my toe!  I admit the majority of my “bad words” are mostly in my head and are said under my breath.

4.  Which is the better album – Dark Side of the Moon or The Wall?

Perhaps the answer depends on whether I’ve had a drink or not! I’ll say The Wall…however, Dark Side when I was much younger.

5.  In the movie of your life, who would play you?

Would anyone stoop that low? My life is way too boring for a movie. I’ve been told my celebrity “somewhat look alike” is Debra Winger. I’d be thrilled to be represented by Meg Ryan though!

6.  Best decision you ever made?

I recently replied to the hubby that something or another was the best thing I ever did or bought, and now for the life of me I can’t remember what it was…guess I’m getting old or maybe it really wasn’t the BEST THING EVER! So I’m going to go with experimenting with Essential Oils for holistic medicine, aromatherapy, and natural cleaning products.

7.  What’s your guilty pleasure?

Good wine, craft beer, chocolate, cheese…see a pattern here? Oh, was I only supposed to name one item? And if it doesn’t include food, it is art quilting or sitting by a river. I know totally different things, but they feed different but equally important parts of my soul.

8.  How did you meet your significant other?

In the darkroom in high school. Seriously, well, sort of! I knew him, but not well. After he graduated he was in from college and his sister whom I’d become friends with played matchmaker. She told him I was asking about him and told me he was asking about me…neither was true. Anyway, he was dropping by the school to develop some photos and sent me a message to meet him there. And here we are thirty-three years later!

9.  Coffee, tea or soda in the morning?

Coffee, black, no frills! I like to savor every sip. If I’m out and about I’ll do a super sweet Starbucks. If I wake up with a migraine, I can’t do coffee period and go with a Pepsi.

10. Favorite noodle type.

I LOVE any type of pasta. I’d say angel hair is probably my favorite, doesn’t matter whether I’m using a red or white sauce. A blog friend recently replaced her rice with angel hair in her fried rice recipe…I’m itching to try it for myself.

11.  Why did you start blogging to begin with?

Hmmm….I think my family was tired of listening to me TALKING. ALL. THE. TIME! Really, I’d joined a writing group and my friend suggested I start a blog. I didn’t even know what a blog was at the time. She even set it up for me. The cool thing about my friend is we were friends in elementary school and hadn’t seen each other in over thirty years. She found me on Facebook and discovered we lived in the same city which is about two hundred miles from where we grew up. And we have lots of common interests, mainly writing, and photography, and wine. And then she moved away… 😥