Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A song to sing

I bought a Mary Engelbreit desk calendar yesterday, with a quote for each week along with her sweet artwork.

This week's quote is a Chinese proverb: "A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song." What a beautiful thought, especially for these days when there are so many more questions than answers.

I wonder if it's a "coincidence" that I woke up this morning with a song in my heart and on my lips! What a wonderful way to start my day.

This evening my son's cat gave birth to kittens, and this was the first time I've seen a birth (except for my own children, of course!)..... what a joy!

Soon, of course, we'll have the not-so-easy task of finding homes for the kittens. Meanwhile, this should become quite a lively household!

Have a wonderful New Year!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.
--Emily Dickinson

Why does the "thing with feathers" in this poem sing the tune without the words?

It struck me today that the music of hope is never lost................ even when words escape us.

Where do I hear the song of hope today?
Or, am I lost in the cacophony of the endless cycle of bad news over the airways?

Today, I want to take some time, turn off all of the noisy electronics, quiet my mind.......... and open my heart to hope. I can remember being young, and teachers saying excitedly "shhhh... we have to be quiet to hear the beautiful sounds of nature". I want to capture that quiet of expectancy........... so I can hear the beautiful song of hope.

I want to share the experience with you, too. Do you hear what I hear?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My almost-a-month without a computer!

Whew, I am now the owner of a brand new computer. I am so thankful!

I have missed my blogging friends! Yes, I did say "friends", didn't I? Keeping up with each other through blogs is not quite the same as gathering around the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, but it is definitely a gift in my life!

So, what have I been doing this month? Well, I've been BUSY attending classes preparing me to be a "tax professional" this income tax season. Then, as soon as I got my computer up and running this morning (it took me 3 hours!!!!) I sat down and did some computer-based training.

Speaking as one fluent in "instant gratification via the credit card", I'm SO happy that I held out for real money to buy the computer. I can now attest that I CAN WAIT!

Then, as a testimony to God's perfect timing, a man who specializes in "hauling off junk, and finding ways to recycle" came knocking on my door this morning. So, he now has my old broken computer, as well as a perfectly good printer that simply doesn't "fit" with Windows Vista.

I feel like I'm almost missing out on Advent this year. I'm grateful for my lesson in waiting, though. Isn't Advent about waiting? "Oh come, oh come Emmanuel"!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Computer Crash!

I'm suffering from withdrawal!

My computer crashed, and I've been told I just need to get a new computer.

Well, that won't happen til at least the middle of December.................. so I'll really have some catching up to do when I have more than just a few minutes during my lunch hour to keep up with my friends in cyberspace!

Meanwhile, I choose to look at this as a gift of time to concentrate on other things.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A new candle photo!

Ta Da! A brand new candle photo for my blog!

I've been thinking that the one I had was just TOO DARK!

I think I'll be happy with this new photo (or not...... I can always change!)

What do you think???

"trick" candle

not just
any candle,
in the store;
you can try-
I just
keep on
trusting God
through the dark
moments that seem
like they will never end.
Faith holds on till one little spark
brightens my heart and once again
the bright light is shining - God was there all the time!

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Kodak moment -- wish I was good with a camera!

What a Kodak moment I enjoyed this evening!

The setting -- a very bubbly bubble-bath, and a very curious cat!

Midnight is a female version of Sylvester (of Tweety-bird fame)........ mostly black, with a white tummy, neck, and paws. I've inherited her from my children, who heard her crying outside one night around midnight, and proceeded to hide her in my son's room for a couple of days before letting me know that we had a new member of the family. She was a thin, undernourished kitten way back then. Now, she's a sweet thing who tends to carry her toys around, talk to them, and clean them. Do you think she's behaving like a little girl with a doll, and mothering her toys?

Anyway, she kept batting at the bubbles, looking VERY surprised, and pulling back her paw, shaking it and licking it clean......... with an expression that clearly said YUCK, this doesn't taste good! I had a good laugh, and laughter is definitely good medicine! :~)

"The Secret Life of Bees"....... what a movie!

Yesterday I went to the movies, which is something I haven't done in a L-O-N-G time! Did you know that weekend matinee prices are now only good for the FIRST movie of the day???

I saw "The Secret Life of Bees", and it touched me on SO many levels. All I can say about the critics is BALDERDASH! Am I the only one whose favorite movies are usually panned by the critics? Then, the movies that win the awards often just leave me shaking my head.

Watching the horrendous treatment of African-Americans less than 50 years ago made my heart ache. No matter your political views, don't you think that it is just wonderful progress that a man who is NOT WHITE is this close to being elected President of the United States of America?

May was a sweet character in the movie.......... who carried with her a terrible sadness, and took that sadness to God by writing it down on a slip of paper, and putting that paper between the stones in a rock wall that she had built. She chose feeling the sadness, then letting it go, instead of choosing to be numb. What an inspiration!

As those of you who have read my blog know, my mother died when I was very young. In the movie, Lilly's mother also died when Lilly was young. She, too, grew up knowing almost nothing about her mother. Near the end of the movie, Lilly was given the gift of the sure knowledge that she had been loved by her mother. I sat there and quietly cried for so much of the movie.

I'm so grateful that I attended the movie with a dear friend, and with my grown daughter (who also loved the book AND the movie!). I was able (for once) to let my emotions out, and allow others to just be there with me.

You just never know when God is going to hand you the gift of a little bit of healing.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I voted!

What a wonderful idea to allow early voting!

If today's line was any clue, next Tuesday should be BUSY! I do appreciate the privilege of being able to vote. :~)

My friend's mother.......... my mother

Today I attended the funeral for the mother of a dear friend. In the quiet moments before the service began, I finally, almost 45 years after the fact, said "good-bye" to my mother.

You see, I was 5 years old when my mother made her journey to the other side, and I was too young to know what happened. Then, the topic of my mother was absolutely TABOO for the remainder of my childhood. For years, I've kept that taboo alive...... except for a conversation here or there with my older sister.

As the coffin was closed before the service, I just started crying, feeling the pain of never having said good-bye. A voice in my heart said "you can say good-bye now"....... so that's just what I did.

I'm so sad for my dear friend, in the loss of her mother. At the same time, I'm so grateful for the chance, at last, to say good-bye to mine.

My dear friend had the privilege of being there with her mother, as she died. She told me how special it was for her to be there, singing to her and praying for her.

I came home after the funeral and called my older sister. I asked her if anyone was with my mother. She said, no, that she didn't think any of the family was there. So, now I'm crying again. I'm so thankful that our attitudes toward death and dying have changed, thanks to organizations such as Hospice. My dear friend's mother had the gift of her daughter's presence. My comfort lies in the knowing that my mother was not truly alone........ God was there.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Being real, no matter what

Life is full of uncertainty and change, isn't it?

Right now, my whole life is in flux!

On the inside, I'm finally learning to access anger, which I've refused to even SEE for decades. Instead, that anger turned into depression. Believe me, this is scary stuff for me! At times I feel like a broken piece of pottery, held together by glue....... and the glue is not holding very well! Ah, but I trust in the process.

On the outside, of course, there's the financial crisis in the world, and the financial instability in my home, as I wait one more month to see if my grown son will "get it together" enough to pay his portion of our joint car insurance policy and pay SOMETHING toward household expenses.

Now, my 94 year old stepmother is in the hospital, and will need to spend some time in a physical rehabilitation facility. My father, who hasn't spent a night away from her in over 40 years, is having trouble coping. He told me over the phone (they live a 10-hour drive away from me!) that, when you get to be his age, (88), you want some stability in your life..... and he's not sure from day to day which of my 2 brothers is going to be able to help him out.

I empathized with him, of course, followed quickly by the thought that when I was a little girl, I needed some stability in my life too. Instead, I was in the care of a stepmother who was a rage-aholic, and I never knew when I was going to do the wrong thing and spark that rage! It's no wonder that any trace of anger in myself scares me enough to bury it! I didn't say any of that, of course!

I titled this post "being real, no matter what", didn't I? Well, the reason for that is that I woke up this morning from a dream in which I was spending this ridiculous (for me) amount of money for some kind of fancy fake fingernails. They looked beautiful, but they were so uncomfortable. I was trying to sing, but couldn't do it very well, because I couldn't get my mind off of those ridiculous fake nails! Part of me wanted them off, but part of me loved the way they looked.

What a high price I've paid most of my life for burying my emotions under a fake smile, no matter what. I don't want that any more. I want to be real. I've been "stuffing my face" to try to hold my emotions below the surface for the past few days. That's not working either.

So, here I am writing, and deciding to trust in God to hold me together. He's the potter, I'm the clay. He created me with these emotions, and God doesn't make junk. I know that God can help me acknowledge these emotions, and at the same time live a life in a loving way.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Staying connected

Whew- where has the time gone since September 22, when I last posted?

It seems I've been so busy, I've only had time to check out blogs for a few minutes here and there, and NO TIME to write! It's amazing how much I miss my friends in the blog-world!

I've been blessed lately, in that my son now has a SWEET girlfriend, and they are starting to eat some meals with me and play a game of Rummikub or two now and then. My daughter still comes home from college, too. Even when she's there, she calls to keep in touch. I'm so proud of her! She's struggling in biology (who wouldn't?), but she's not dropping the course. Instead, she's getting a tutor, and joining a study group!

It feels SO good to be connected with my kids, even when they don't HAVE TO stay connected.

I have a feeling that God feels the same way when I take the time to be connected to God. I'm starting to see that, as important as prayer is to staying connected.......... it takes more than that to REALLY have a connection with Him. It takes ACTION, by reaching out to others, sharing the love that we've been given.

Last night, I helped with the "Parents' Night Out" at our church. I had been having SUCH a challenging week, and I was feeling absolutely BURNT OUT! You know, as soon as we headed to the playground with the children, I felt like a new person! What a joy! I'm so glad we're doing that! It's a win-win for everyonee. :~)

Monday, September 22, 2008

As summer turns to fall.......

Ah, the invigorating changing of seasons!

Yesterday I found my way to the beach. It felt like an appropriate way to say "good-bye" to summer!

The beach was DEFINITELY different! Yes, there were a few brave people actually IN the water! My dear friend and I, however, were very grateful we thought to bring sweatshirts!

During the summer, sitting in our beach chairs brings a lovely sense of absolute relaxation as the sun warms us all the way to our bones. Yes, we walk the beach, but even that feels soothing.

Yesterday, there was NO sitting in the beach chairs! We simply walked, watching the birds huddled on the ground with their feathers all puffed out. I was absolutely energized!

So, I say "good bye to summer"......... and I rejoice in the coming of a new season. Yes the pleasures are different. Each day, and each new season, comes bearing its own gift. May we each take the time to "unwrap the ribbons!"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My first try at a MEME

Thank you for inspiration, Jayne!

I've never done a MEME before, and Jayne asked anyone who would like to particpate to play along.

1.How many songs are on your iPod?
I don't even OWN an iPod!
2. What music would you want played at your funeral?
I would like to end with a hymn that we sing in the Episcopal church..... and I don't know the title, but it has a glorious refrain "And I will raise them up, and I will raise them up, and I will raise them up on the last day!"
3.What magazines do you have subscriptions to?
"Ladies Home Journal", but I hardly read it any more. I also subscribe to "The Week", which is a pretty good weekly overview of what's happening in the world. Lastly, I subscribe to "Heart-Healthy Living".
4. What is your favorite scent?
5. If you had a million dollars that you could only spend on yourself, what would you do with it?
Pay off my indebtedness (of course!), go back to college; buy a "downtown" home, so I could walk more than drive my car; buy a hybrid car, have massages and pedicures regularly, and travel regularly to see my far-flung family.
6. What is your theme song?
"Unwritten" ....... because the rest of my life story is still unwritten!
7. Do you trust easily?
8. Do you generally think before you act, or act before you think?
Definitely think first, then think again, then question my first thought........ eventually, I act!
9.Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days?
I was unhappy when the household cat's kitten died. I'm also unhappy about the polarization in the United States, and the fact that campaigns seem to focus on personalities more than on policies!
10. Do you have a good body-image?
11. Is being tagged fun?
12. If you had more hours in the day, how would you spend that time?
Exercising, blogging, spending time with friends, cleaning and decorating my house.
13. What have you been seriously addicted to lately?
Watching political coverage on TV, and/or watching Hurricane coverage on TV.
14. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
Jayne is warm, caring, artistic, and comfortable-in-her-own-skin.
15. What’s the last song that got stuck in your head?
The song I wrote about in question 2. :~)
16.What’s your favorite item of clothing?
My black palazzo pants.
17. Do you think Rice Crispies are yummy?
No. Give me Kashi Go-Lean cereal or good old-fashioned oatmeal any day!
18. If you had $100 to give away, who would you give it to?
The "Rector's Discretionary Fund" at my church.
19. What items could you not go without during the day?
My "nature sounds" alarm clock. It's so nice to go to sleep to soothing sounds, and to wake up to a cheerful bird chirping!
20. What should you be doing right now?
Relaxing! It's been a busy, stressful week so far! (And, this certainly counts as relaxation for me!)

I shall follow Jayne's lead and not tag a soul. Anyone who wants to play along is welcome.
Please let me know if you play!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Anyone hear Glenn Campbell singing "Galveston"?

I don't remember all of the words to the song, but in the past couple of days I've been hearing Glenn Campbell singing in my memory.

I've never been to Galveston, but today my heart sighs for the people living with their new reality.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The calm after the storm passes

Well, Hanna passes by my little corner of the world. Whew!

It's surprising to me, now that the rush of preparation is over, how tired I am! God gave us this wonderful gift called adrenaline, that enables us to keep going and going when necessary.

Not only am I tired, but I seem to have lost my sense of direction. Yesterday I woke up without a single notion of what I wanted to accomplish! I decided, with the help of a dear friend, to make it a day of recreation. Have you ever heard that word explained as "re-creation"? My friend and I ate a healthy breakfast together, and then got ourselves to the beach. Hanna left many gifts of shells on the beach. We enjoyed treasure-hunting!

Later that evening, I watched a movie I would definitely recommend for those who enjoy a good character-driven drama. It's called "Autumn Hearts -- a new beginning".

All in all, I feel ready to start the week, with prayers on my lips for all of those who may now be facing Hurricane Ike.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ready or not.....

I live on the southeast coast, and my schedule has been VERY BUSY getting ready for Hanna.

I'm very grateful that we have the advance warning, and I cannot imagine how it must have been "in the old days" to have a storm like that arise out of the blue.

That said, the week leading up to a hurricane is SO stressful! In a way, it reminds me of the week before Christmas, when we're all so busy making preparations, and it seems like we're never REALLY ready.

Somehow, this time, I feel a sense of serenity through all the mayhem. I'm doing what I can, and then, it's time to trust in God that no matter what happens to my home and my possessions, my family and I will be OK.

Ready or not.............. here the storm comes! And, then there's Ike. Ah, the price I pay to live near the beach!

I just know I'm not alone.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Finding Balance

When I think of balance, I remember how as a young girl I loved to walk up higher than the ground. My apartment building had an enclosed area with a tree in the middle, and benches in a square. I loved getting up on those benches and walking (or running!) around and around, jumping from bench to bench. I'd often walk along the curb instead of on the sidewalk, just to enjoy keeping my balance on the narrow space!

My life has gotten BUSY these last couple of weeks! So, how do I find my balance? How do I keep my connections with God and with my friends, take care of myself, AND do the extra work I've added to my schedule?

Some days, I'm energized, as I move from activity to activity, keeping my balance.
Other days, I'm overwhelmed. It doesn't help that I'm a "political junky", and have difficulty tuning out of the drama afforded by this year's election. (Never fear, readers.....this blog is NOT going to turn into a political blog!)

How do I keep my balance? For me, right now, that means making a special effort to be REALLY PRESENT in the activity I'm doing......... whatever that may be. I'm finding a surprise! If I'm with my friends, I'm NOT thinking about classes and the studying I need to do. One night I was having difficulty getting my mind to settle down for sleep, prayer, reading, or anything. I started singing a hymn (and I DO love singing hymns!) There was grace in that moment, and I found my balance again.

There IS joy in the journey right now. I've forgotten how fun it is to walk along a narrow place!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's all worth it in the end!

Inspired by Daisybug's poetry, along with her pictures of her laughing baby boy HERE ,
I'm feeling gratitude today for my grown son.
He, too, was a sweet, laughing baby once.
Then, he became a shy, but happy little boy.
Then, sometime during adolescence, the nightmare began.
I know now that the nightmare is called marijuana, which led to, oh so many other problems.
During those years, I was the crazy mother who tried EVERYTHING to make things right, only nothing worked.
Even a month at an expensive treatment center didn't seem to work.
Then, as he turned 18, he found himself in a court-ordered outpatient alcohol program....... and he turned his life around.
Now, at 21, he's a hardworking, polite, fun-to-be-around young man......... and yes, I'm proud.

Yes, it's all worth it in the end!

What a week!

What a week this has been!

I started out last Saturday by taking Cindy to college. Ah, the exercise one can get when the dormitory is on the 3rd floor! Move-in was a zoo, and somehow the mattress topper got lost in the shuffle. So, we found our way to a nearby Target to get a replacement. (That's AFTER going to the Wal-mart right across the street from the university, only to find that they had NO TWIN X-L BEDDING! -- WHAT ARE THEY THINKING??)

Now, I'm only an hour's drive away from the university.......... but still, imagine my surprise when my daughter called and said "I'm coming back home" that very afternoon! It seems her roommates "didn't even make sure I was awake to go to the barbeque". That was her first lesson in college reality -- you're responsible for waking YOURSELF up! She headed right back the next day, and is doing fine now. :~)

Meanwhile, my girlfriends took very good care of me, and escorted me to the beach on Saturday afternoon. Beach therapy.......... just what the doctor ordered! Aren't friends just the greatest blessing?!

Then, Monday I started my own classes -- I'm taking the H & R Block tax course, so that perhaps I can earn some money to pay for this college education! So far the course is not difficult, but you know, it's been a long time since I had to come home from a long day of work and DO HOMEWORK.

What's next? Well, a sinus infection, thank you very much.

I'm finally feeling human again........

Now, I'm off to check on my favorite blogs! I've missed you all!

Monday, August 11, 2008

"The greatest mistake"

I found a new "gadget to add to my blog!

Today's inspiration: "The greatest mistake you can make in life isto be continually fearing you will make one."

How many times have I started a post, only to say "naahhhh, that will just be silly!"

How many times have I wanted to branch out and try something new, only to say "I'll just mess it up".

What exactly is SO TERRIBLE about making a mistake? I've heard it said that if you're not making mistakes, then you're probably not doing very much.

Life is too short to keep postponing DOING things because I can't yet do them perfectly!
It takes courage to try anyway....... and a good sense of humor to laugh at myself when I goof!

Some days I'm better at "trying anyway" than other days. You know, I think that I'm happier when I find the courage to take a risk!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Just what my spirit needs!

I've been wandering around in blogworld, and found a poem that is JUST what my spirit needs!

Sometimes we need to "just BE".

Please follow me to "Spiritually Directed", "Let your God love you".
Thank you, Roberta!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Just for laughs

For any of you bloggers who need a chuckle, follow me to "Tales from a Cafe Chick"........

You'll find a laugh or two, I'm sure!

Of college and mountains

Oh, can you see my distress at having neglected this blog for OVER 2 WEEKS!

I just returned from a retreat at Colorado Springs, and I feel SO MUCH BETTER now!

The beauty of the mountains, and especially the "Garden of the Gods", just took my breath away! (The altitude took my breath away a little, too).

So........ let's see what's happened since I last posted! The clock is ticking towards August 16, when my daughter Cindy moves into the college dorm. I'm SO excited for her! We've been to orientation, bought a laptop computer and a "twin XL" sheet and comforter set. She's broken off with her boyfriend, and seems to be just having a great time right now!

As for me, I'm just thrilled to have taken the leap and headed off across the country all on my own! I even did some hiking at the Garden of the Gods. I kind young man took a picture of me on the trail.............. and I have proof that I really did it!

Now, if I could just learn how to post pictures on the blog...................... sigh.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Reading List

I found this on The Crimson Rambler : Thank you, Rambler!

My instructions were to post the list on my blog, and enbolden the titles that I have read. So, here they are......... comments welcome. Tell me, my internet friends, is there an absolute favorite of yours here that I need to read?

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Ah, apparently I've not even read 1/3 of the books on this list!
I do hope you'll let me know any of YOUR favorites that I've missed, and I say "thank you" in advance!

By the way, my 3 favorites are:
1. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens ( I had an EXCELLENT literature teacher when I read this one in school! What a difference a good teacher makes!)
2. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
3. Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The leap of faith

"The leap of faith is not so much a leap of thought as of action. One must. . .dare to act wholeheartedly without absolute certainty." -- William Sloane Coffin

I read this quote in a book today, and then I did some searching on the internet to find out who William Sloane Coffin was. WOW! He was quite the example of an individual lighting one small candle, rather than just cursing the darkness! He was active with the freedom riders in the 60's, and has since then been a voice for social justice in many ways. Some other inspiring quotes from William Sloane Coffin:

"The world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love."

"To be avoided at all costs is the solace of opinion without the pain of thought."

"Clearly the trick in life is to die young as late as possible."

Coffin's word-play on "responsible" truly defines how I yearn to live my life:
"to be responsible -- response-able -- able to respond to God's visionary and creative love".

As soon as I finish posting, I'll be heading to my public library's website, to see if any of his books are available!

By the way, I've made a leap of faith in the past few days.............. I've decided, wholeheartedly, to embrace a friendship that has been on the rocks. Can I be absolutely certain that I won't be hurt deeply again? Well, no. The risk, however, is WELL WORTH IT, to be able to enjoy the riches of friendship. :~)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Celebrating Freedom

Well, I have neglected this blog, haven't I?

Sometimes, I just need a "time-out" from computer time.

Today, being Independence Day in the U.S.A, I am celebrating freedom!

For me, the freedoms I celebrate today are:

freedom from letting fear rule my life
freedom to be open and real in my relationships
freedom to enjoy the beauty in today.

Each day is a gift............ untie the ribbons!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Finally, my second poem inspired by The Miss Rumphius Effect (see link to her blog in my blogroll!). Her Tuesday Poetry Stretch was to write a poem in the form of a Rictameter.

I have spent most of my years "watching life happen" instead of actively pursuing the life I want.
Just this evening I felt myself slipping into that "I want to hide out from life" state of mind.
I wrote this poem instead! :~)

Not just dreaming
And watching life happen
Present in this very moment
Participating fully, engaging
my senses, emotions, actions
Failing, trying again
Not giving up

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A day at the beach? NOT today!

Today was NOT the day at the beach that I had planned.

We FINALLY got some rain, so I'm grateful for that! It was getting so dry and dusty around here...... while the midwest is flooding.

I DID get to learn a new game. I played Othello for the first time. If anyone is looking for a challenging, interesting, quick game that is played by 2 people ------- I'd say give Othello a try!
Isn't it nice when we can have our plans change, and yet enjoy the day?!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Feeling like a "grown-up"

When I started this blog, I noted that my sister always said "life begins at 50".

Well, I'm getting closer and closer to that magic number, and I've had the most amazing feeling today................. I actually "feel like a grown-up"!

I know, I know........ you might say that I've been an adult for years! Somehow, though, I have had this feeling of being an imposter. I spent my whole childhood anticipating the wonderful life I would have when I got away from my abusive household and "became an adult."

Imagine my surprise, when I found out that all of my problems didn't suddenly go away, just because I reached a magic age! I'm finally learning that the coping mechanisms I developed to survive my childhood have NOT WORKED VERY WELL as an adult.

So, after almost 3 years of therapy, and just about that long as a member of a 12-step group, I had the most amazing realization today. I don't feel like an imposter! I feel like an adult! WOW!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Catching up . . .

It's been TOO LONG since I've posted.

I've been in that proverbial, not-so-fun place called "between a rock and a hard place".

With perseverence, hope, prayers, and lots of support, I'm getting closer and closer to the edge of this difficult place! The view on the other side is breathtaking, too.

Here's a sampling of the things I've learned lately:

  • Not all surprises in life are wonderful.
  • Sometimes even the closest of friendships can come apart at the seams.
  • I CAN deal with difficulties, without running to food or another "drug of choice" for solace.
  • I've learned how to use a power drill........ and learned how to ask the nice folks at Home Depot for help. They may laugh later, but they didn't laugh at me to my face!
  • I can cry in front of a friend, and she'll be OK with that!
  • Even (or maybe ESPECIALLY) when facing big obstacles, it's important to allow myself some rest.
  • I don't have to face my problems alone, and it's OK to not have all of the answers.
  • "Be still and know that I am God" is a Bible verse that is easier said than done.
  • When I do manage to be still and trust in God, I wonder "why didn't I do this sooner?"!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A joy and a challenge

Today my feelings are so mixed up! I'm joyful, and I'm melancholy. I'm hopeful and I'm feeling insecure.

Today, my daughter and her father are spending some time together! It has been over four years since my divorce, and I've encouraged my daughter to keep in contact with her father. That, however, hasn't happened much at all in the last 3 years or so.

My daugher is now 18, and will be graduating from high school next month. Somehow, it seems that it is now easier for connection to happen between Cindy and her dad. It's an answer to my prayers, and I'm so happy for them both!

Why is it that a little part of me is afraid that she won't want to be a part of my life as much, now that she is becoming part of her father's life? My daughter has so much love to give, I know that she has enough for both of us.

It IS true, however, and an absolutely ESSENTIAL part of her "growing up", that she won't want to be as much a part of my life now. So, I'm melancholy. The letting go isn't easy. My challenge is to accept my feelings for what they are........ part of the human experience....... and a big part of what makes our lives rich, full, and worth living.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Keeping the memory alive

Today has been an interesting day for me, and for my memories.

My mother died when I was quite young, but I do have a beautiful memory of my mother singing...... and sharing the joy of watching some birds. Maybe THAT'S why I so enjoy the birds today! I've always loved singing, too, especially in church. No matter how low I'm feeling, joining in the singing of hymns brings joy to my spirit.

This morning, while singing a hymn in church, I had the unmistakeable sensation that my mother was singing along. That was quite an experience!

Then, a few minutes ago I was reading Saturday's post over at "Journey of Grace" (the link's in my bloglist!) with some beautiful pictures of roses. As I read about the special person's memory evoked by those roses, I was transported back to Massachusetts, to my Uncle Earle's rose garden, and I was warmed by the memories I have of my dear Uncle.............. the person who brought grace, love, and caring to my childhood.

I think I'm going to have to do some research, and find out if there is such a thing as a rose that is good for a beginner gardener with a serious "brown thumb". Thank you, Jayne, for the inspiration! :~)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Of cats and modems

Whew! I'm back online!!!!!

Friday afternoon (and today's Wednesday!) my son called to tell me that someone left a drink near my modem. My son has this darling, curious, speedy cat named Midnight. Well, Midnight knocked over the drink, and my thus my modem died.

I tried going to a store and buying a modem. After 6 hours of talking with technical support people who all kept telling me that it was the OTHER company's problem..... I decided to order a modem from my internet service provider.

So, now, with NO phone conversations needed at all, I'm happily back in Google-world! YAY!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

just one more post!

I just HAVE to share this blog post I found!
An udge and a wink, and a thought about how "things come from nothing very much, start from unpromising beginnings, and I am an unpromising beginning, and I could start something too."

What inspiration! :~)

Graduation update

I just have to say that I'm SO proud of my daughter!

We've moved past the "poor me, my favorite Aunt cannot come". In fact, Cindy received a letter from her Aunt, explaining the news. Now, Cindy plans on writing BACK to tell Aunt Martha that she understands. :~)

It's such a joy to see my caring daughter reach out and give back some of the love she's been given.

Meanwhile, we're moving into the mode of planning a celebration! I don't know what that's going to look like yet, but I trust that it will be something memorable. Instead of racking my brain trying to figure out what would make it memorable for Cindy, I've simply asked HER to tell me!

As a divorced mom, I was also struggling with whether to include Cindy's dad and his family in celebration plans. Why do I always immediately think that I'M responsible for arranging things for him and his family??? I'm NOT MARRIED TO HIM any more! So, I did an amazing (for me anyway) thing. I called him on the phone, told him the date and time of the graduation, and said that if he and his family wanted to celebrate with Cindy, they would need to arrange it with her!

Do I sound like I'm learning what's my responsibility and what isn't? I think so, and, for today, that's a wonderful feeling.


The beauty I have found in this day is the beauty of friendship.

It used to be that I didn't know how to "make friends". I was the girl standing on the edges of the playground, wishing that I could find the courage to try and reach out.

Now, I'm so grateful for the friends with whom I can be REAL! Today I spent some time with just such a friend. We ate lunch and then went for a 2-mile walk. I was able to open up, and share about some of my current struggles, and she was able to do the same. Did we solve all of our problems? Well, no. It was amazing though, how we each helped the other see different possibilities. AND, we got some exercise at the same time! :~)

Hooray for friendship!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A "god" called food

I finally did it! I've been reading "The Miss Rumphius Effect" blog for a while now, and I kept thinking that SOON, maybe, I'll write a poem for the Monday Poetry Stretch!

This week's topic was "FOOD". Here's my "first time try". It's a limerick about food. Enjoy!

There once was a "god" I called food
It always brightened my mood!
I'm upset, I'd say;
take this feeling away
quickly, or I'll come unglued!

Ah, sweet was the feeling of peace
that filled me after each feast!
What it did to my waist
as I gobbled in haste
Dare I say it? The word is obese!

Now I'm learning to say
take that darn stuff away!
I've had enough
of that fattening stuff;
I'll FEEL my emotions today!

So now food is back in its place
I'm no longer stuffing my face!
I eat what I need
and enjoy it indeed
slowly, for life's not a race!

Monday, April 28, 2008

The economy is hitting home....... sigh

The economy is hitting home.

In the "big picture", this may seem trivial. In my household, it's not.

My daughter is graduating from high school this June! YAY, Cindy!

Her Aunt Martha (my dear sister!) was planning on flying down from Massachusetts to join in the celebration. Everyone was so excited! Cindy and her boyfriend were going to go camping with Aunt Martha after the graduation. What fun!

Well, to make a long story short, the stock market's woes have hit my sister and her husband in the pocketbook. The good news is, she has found a job! The sad news is, she won't be able to come to the graduation as planned.

My darling daughter has had WAY more than her share of disappointments in life. It was so hard for me to see her disappointment again. What did she say? "It's nothing new".

So, how do I "light a candle" and bring some joy into this picture? Hmmmmm, that's going to take some prayer and some creative thinking.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Running out of gas!

Today, I just have to share a story about my son!

I am posting early in the morning, which is VERY unusual, because I awakened at 5 a.m. to go pick up my son from work.

Why, you might ask, did he need the ride? On second thought, maybe the title of the post was a clue. (You've gotta remember that it's EARLY!)

My son chose to go to work on an almost-empty tank of gas. The only thing he didn't think about was gravity! As he was climbing up a tall bridge................. sigh.............. he ran out of gas. Then, he made the decision to walk the rest of the way to work, so his car was towed! Ah, the wisdom of a 21-year old with much growing up still to do.

As we were driving home, I told him that one day (probably by the time he's MY age!) he'll LAUGH when he remembers this day. He's not laughing today.

I read an on-line post this morning about solitude, and how important being "face-to-face" with myself and my feelings is so important. For me, taking the time for solitude, and connection with God, is just as important as keeping gasoline in my car! Coasting along through life, I might get by without it for a while. I just NEVER know when I'll run into a steep hill I need to climb. When the unexpected gets here, I definitely want some gasoline in my spiritual tank. :~)

Monday, April 21, 2008

A pair of sneakers, and Spring cleaning!

This weekend I learned that a simple pair of sneakers can make a huge difference in my day!

I'm housework-challenged, to say the least. I've been receiving e-mails from FLY-Lady, and THINKING about putting some of her ideas to the test in my life.

One of her suggestions is to put on a pair of sneakers and tie up the laces. The suggestion goes on to promise that I'll be amazed at the improvement of my efficiency! Hmmmmmmm, I said. I can't imagine how THAT will make a difference; and I'm so much more COMFORTABLE without my shoes on.

Well, upon returning home from a walk yesterday, I started cleaning my house. I went whizzing from one task to the next with amazing speed. I didn't even REALIZE until later that, yes, I still had my sneakers on with the laces tied!

So, did the sneakers make me more efficient? I can't say for sure. Maybe it was a coincidence. I guess they put some "bounce" in my step! :~) I'll have to test that theory out again! Thank you FLY Lady!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Celebrating Friendship

It's Saturday!

Today I'm celebrating friendship in so many ways.

One friend, who is starting a new chapter in her life, needed help moving this morning. So, another friend from work and I helped her pack up and bring some things to her apartment. Arriving with some of her cherished items, we had a mini celebration! This afternoon, other friends are helping her get settled when the moving truck arrives with the rest.

In a little while, I'll be heading to another friend's apartment, where the "fearsome foursome" are getting together for some friendly games and a meal. I'm SO grateful to have found a group of friends who enjoy the budget-friendly entertainment provided by sitting around a table and playing games!

When I finish blogging, I'm headed to the library to pick up a book of poetry for 4 voices. I'm hoping I'll find some friends at church who will agree to put together a performance of one of the poems for our upcoming talent show for a good cause. :~)

Friendship is one of the most wonderful gifts I've been given. Today, I'm grateful for friends. What's the best way to have a friend? B-1!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The more you relax, the more you feel

I'm feeling absolutely THRILLED to be a part of the blog world right now.

I was about to give up on finding the "thing of beauty" for today's post.

"Miss Rumphius Effect" has a Monday poetry stretch each week, inviting blogging poets to share write a certain type of poem to share on Thursday.

One of today's poems was JUST what I needed to read...............
The more you relax, the more you feel , posted by Jeannie on her blog "Things that make me say". This poem certainly qualifies as my daily "thing of beauty".

"When I grow up" (LOL -- really now!) I want to write poetry half as well as Jeannie writes!
Each day, as a person who's in recovery from "stuffing my feelings", I hope I can remember to relax, and FEEL!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Better late than never!

Wow, has it really been almost a month since I posted here?
Time truly does fly!

Better late than never, here I am again! Whew, the candle is getting dim, isn't it?
Just in time, I opened my e-mail the other day, and found some encouragement to keep writing. Thank you, Jayne! :)

A quote I read in "Body + Soul" magazine today:
"When you commit your dreams to paper, you give them a place to take root."

I'd add that commiting my dreams to the "blog-world" is giving them a place to take root, too!
And, as challenged as I am with keeping up with paper............ I think that in the blog-world, I'm much more likely to be able to find those written-down dreams again!

Not too long ago, I didn't have any dreams for myself........... just dreams for my kids.
Now, I'm beginning to have dreams for myself, too!
One of those dreams is writing poetry. I'm beginning to think that to write poetry, I need to develop an "eye" for the simple beauty in life.

Today, the simple beauty I noticed was some music on Public Radio. I looked on the playlist, and it was called ANONYMOUS: Sonata Chiquitana. It was a simple piece, with just a few instruments........... a flute, an oboe, maybe a clarinet, and a couple of others. The music lifted my spirits, and brought a smile to my face.

I can't wait to find out what beauty I notice in my little corner of the world tomorrow! Maybe it will be a sight, maybe a sound, maybe an act of kindness that I notice. I've heard it said that we usually find what we're looking for!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Reflections of Holy Week

Today is Saturday of Holy Week.

This is my first year celebrating Holy Week and Easter within the Episcopal community. What an experience this week has been!

I heard this statement from a church member before Lent began. He said "People often ask why we Episcopalians don't have revivals like other churches do." He went on to say that he realized that we do have a "revival", and that time is called "Lent and Holy Week". I couldn't quite see what he meant then. Now, I absolutely agree!

During this week, I've become increasingly physically tired, as I've added a church service to each day's activities. In church, we've heard messages lamenting that the 3 religions believing in the "God of Abraham", Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, just CANNOT get along peacefully. We've been asked to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem". We've remembered the events over 2000 years ago, leading up to Jesus' crucifixion. We've spent extra time in prayer, remembering how Jesus asked his disciples "Could you not watch with me one hour?"

Today is a day "between", awaiting the joy of Jesus' resurrection.

Meanwhile, may we all find a way to live together peacably.

And, I'd like to end by quoting a T-shirt I saw recently.

"God bless the whole world --- NO EXCEPTIONS!"

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Where do I go?

Where do I go?

Where do I go
when my mind disappears.....?
Can anyone help me?
Is there someone who hears?

Silly me, don't I know
God can calm all my fears?

No need to run,
There is no need to hide.........
I'll always have help!
If in Him I'll abide

Silly me, yes I know
God can calm all my fears!

-------- original poem, written today, March 11, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A day to just "be"

Today I took a day to just "be",
to let my feelings
rise to the surface,
bring tears to my eyes,
then subside.

That's so much better
than stuffing them down,
pretending I'm fine,
while really, I'm
dying inside.

Somehow I feel now
I have swept a room clean
inside my heart.
My mind is now free --
there's nothing to hide.

Have I wasted this day?
No, I have energy now
and I don't regret
taking time to just "be"
and bring healing inside.

This is an orginal poem, written today, as I took a day just to "be".
All in all, I think it has been a good investment.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Here I Go!

Well, here I go.....................
Did you hear the splash as I jumped into the world of blogging?

This blog is dedicated to my sister, who told me that "Life begins at 50!" I'm getting close to my life beginning, and I'm starting to get excited!

I've spent most of my life "watching my life happen", and it's time for me to clear away the debris so that I can begin "living my life", one day at a time.

It's time to light a candle, and bring light to my little corner of the world. I hope to share some of that light with you.

What will this blog look like?

I'm not sure..................... but I'm ready to jump in and find out!