Posts tagged: thanks

A Perfect Mother’s Day

So Mother’s Day is this Sunday. I am looking forward to continuing my family tradition of spending the day with my boys (my twin sons and their dad) seeing an action movie. This year’s choice: The Avengers.

A little eye candy never hurts.

My mom passed away in 2000. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her. She was a very special lady, and I miss her. I especially ache to share with her events from my boys’ lives that she’s missed since she’s been gone: all their school achievements, the funny and witty things they’ve done, the plays they’ve performed in and the artwork, stories, and movies they’ve created. As a Spiritualist, I believe she checks in on us, and I know she’s seen and experienced these things in whatever way that is possible from her place on the Other Side. Still, it would be nice to have her here in person.

Mom with my niece, Samantha, who is now 18.

I hope I’ve made my mother proud over the years. I’ve tried to be as good at mothering as she was. She wasn’t perfect, and neither am I. Still, I find myself thinking more and more about how she parented my brother and me, and I think we turned out pretty well. I ask her often to watch over my sons, to help them in their struggles, and to give me patience and understanding when I’m dealing with my dad. I know she sends energy to those ends, and I’m grateful.

So a perfect Mother’s Day might not be entirely possible for me, since my mom is no longer in the body, and I can’t hug her as I’d like to. But I know I’ll have a good Mother’s Day this Sunday because I get to spend it with my family, doing something that I know we’ll all enjoy.

My talented sons recently made a book trailer for my new novel, Merlyn’s Raven. I hope you’ll check it out. And if you’re so inclined, a copy of the e-book might make a nice gift for your mom. Or buy her a Kindle and load it up with some of your favorite titles. I highly recommend the book Mars Needs Moms by Berkeley Breathed. Do read the book–I hear the movie’s not nearly as wonderful.

I wish all mothers a bright and beautiful Mother’s Day celebration. May the loving bonds we share with our moms and our children continue to strengthen and enrich our lives.

Rainy Days and Mondays…

…don’t always get me down, but…

Actually, I love Mondays. Ever since I left Corporate America and began my career as a self-employed person, I have taken Mondays off. This is mostly because I tend to work on the weekends, and everyone deserves a break. I look forward to the quiet pace of my Mondays, when I can take things as they come while doing chores around the house, writing, and generally playing catch-up from the week before.

Today’s Monday is pretty dreary. It’s rained steadily since last night, and I now have a moat to cross when I go in and out of my front door. There’s a new lake in my backyard, and the poor dog dreads going outside for fear of soaking his dainty little feet. I’ve spent the day responding to correspondence with business associates, putting out minor fires connected with my business, and writing materials for my publisher. Soon I will leave the house, drive through the rain to drop something off at my cousin’s, and then brave the terrible highway traffic and the crazy-weather drivers to pick up my boys from school. More than anything, I find myself wishing I could simply teleport them home with one of those “I Dream of Jeannie” nods. DOINK! They’re here!

Alas, I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Still, the gentle drumming of the rain on the roof has lulled me into a state of quiet and reflection. It’s like an invitation from the Universe to take a few moments to just sit and be. Like many folks, I find it challenging to do nothing. Yet I understand that it is in this stillness, this silent peace, that Spirit speaks the most distinctly to us.

I urge you to try it. Sit still for a few moments and just breathe. In. Out. In. Out. When thoughts intrude, just bring your focus back to your breath. In. Out. In. Out. Allow yourself to be replenished by the silence and the stillness.

I give thanks on this rainy Monday for reminding me of this valuable lesson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perspective

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I was having one of those days.

I have been filled with anxiety recently. Maybe it’s because work has not been booming and I’m concerned about finances. Maybe it’s because I finally took the plunge by making my business into an LLC and I’m worried I made a bad decision. Maybe it’s all the extra work that seems to be never-ending yet doesn’t seem to help me get any nearer to my goals. Maybe it’s the church responsibilities, worries over my aging father, concerns about my husband and his job, problems around our house, extra bills, and the fact that my teenaged sons seem to be becoming more distant every day. All of these thoughts swirl through my brain at any given moment, and I sometimes feel like I’m in a tornado of chaos.

Yesterday, I got a nice helping of icing on the cake.

My boys both currently have braces on their teeth. I like our orthodontics office, the doctors, assistants, and staff. It’s in a fairly convenient location, but one thing I don’t appreciate is that sometimes, they insist that they boys come in for appointments in the middle of the day. One son currently needs x-rays, which the office only does until 2:30 in the afternoon. I couldn’t book an after-school appointment for him, something I find extremely irritating. I don’t like to pull my boys out of school for any reason short of a death in the family or a major illness. In my opinion, school is the most important thing children do, and their education should not be disrupted if it’s at all avoidable. I was irritated anyway about having to make this appointment for both of my boys in the middle of the day, and it didn’t help that they would have to miss lunch at school and eat in the car on the way to and from the doctor’s office. I had to make sure I packed lunches for them both and brought their toothbrushes with me so they could be presentable for the orthodontist when they finished eating. More stress, but nothing a mom can’t handle. Or at least, a normal mom.

Unfortunately, we were running a few minutes late for our appointment. My one son is terribly self-conscious at times and gets embarrassed easily when he doesn’t understand the procedure for something. He is still getting used to his new high school and wasn’t on the ball yesterday about how to go about dismissal from class. I had to have the front office find him when it was time for him to leave, which added extra time to what I had carefully allotted for the commute to the doctor. Since I hate to be late, this made me even more anxious, and I had to drive like a maniac to get to the appointment. So after all this, we rushed into the office only to be told by the receptionist that we didn’t have appointments scheduled. They’re NEXT Tuesday.

I thought my head was going to explode.

So. I made a mistake. I tend to be very meticulous about scheduling things and it rarely happens, but apparently I wrote the appointments down on the wrong Tuesday in November. I can’t say how it happened, but it did. And I was absolutely furious with myself. Not only did I get the appointment wrong, but I pulled my boys out of school on the wrong day. Now I’d have to go through the whole insane rigamaroll AGAIN next week–the writing notes to school about it, the extra driving to and from work on my day off, the lunch-and-did-they-eat? stress, the timing of it all–just the thought of having to do it all again and making them miss more school nearly drove me to tears.

In fact, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. I didn’t want to act like a complete idiot in front of my children, but I was doing a slow boil all the way back to school. I teetered back and forth between wanting to hit something hard enough to break my fingers and needing to collapse in a wailing heap. I dropped the boys back off at school, dreading the fact that I would be going home to sit around in misery for an hour and then get back in the car to pick them up again. It seemed all I ever did was drive to and from school, and the thought of doing it one more time made me absolutely morose. But I dropped the boys back off and headed the car toward home. Maybe I’d just go into my bedroom, lie down on the bed, and cry. That sounded like a good option.

But something stopped me from doing that.

As I got off the highway at my regular exit and slowed the car for the stop light at the end of the ramp, I noticed two people at the side of the road. One was a young man, standing and shielding his eyes against the glare of the Indian-summer sun. The other was a young woman seated in the dust at his feet, holding a hand-written sign that read, “Homeless and Hungry.” She rubbed her rounded belly as she held the sign. She was pregnant.

The first thought that went through my mind wasn’t very loving. It was, “Oh my God! She’s homeless, and she got pregnant? What was she thinking?” But then I realized that this thought was extremely judgmental and not very fair. I didn’t know anything about this woman’s life. Maybe just a few weeks ago, she’d had a job and a place to live, thinking that her life was stable and that she’d have an easy time raising her baby. Maybe she didn’t have any loved ones to help her or to take care of her. Maybe her family kicked her out when they discovered she was pregnant.

As I drove toward home, I couldn’t stop thinking about her. What must that be like for her, to be pregnant with nowhere to go and no money to speak of? How terribly worried she must be about her baby. Was she getting enough to eat to nourish her body and the baby’s? What if she had to give birth on the side of the road because no hospital would help her without insurance? What if she had problems nursing and couldn’t feed the baby? How would she diaper it? Where would they sleep at night? I realized as I turned familiar corner after familiar corner that my worries and anxieties were really nothing when compared to hers. I had a pleasant home, a source of income, two healthy children, a loving husband. I had a crock-pot full of lasagna cooking in my kitchen, and I could afford to send my boys to private school and to put braces on their teeth. I had a really wonderful life, even on days when I made stupid scheduling mistakes and cried angry tears over my frustrations. What did she have?

When I got home, I ran into the house and grabbed a shopping back from my cupboard. I stood in the panty, trying to decide what I could take to her. I wished I could give her something cold, but I didn’t know how she’d be able to keep it that way. I wanted to make her sandwiches, but I didn’t know if she liked pepperoni and salami, the only two lunch meats I had. I settled on packing a 2-liter bottle of 7-Up, two plastic cups, a box of cherry bars, several individual servings of applesauce with spoons, napkins, several packages of peanut butter crackers, and the two ripe pears I had in the refrigerator. It wasn’t much, but it was something.

I drove back to the highway exit, anxious that maybe the cops had stopped by and made them move along. They were still there. I parked at a nearby restaurant and walked across two lanes of traffic to get to them. As I approached, the young man, still standing, smiled tentatively at me. I smiled, too, and said hello. I walked over to the girl in the dust.

She looked up at me. Her face was pale and tired. Her skin was milky-white, so pale I was afraid it would burn in the bright November sunshine. I wished I’d thought to bring her some sunscreen. She was young, maybe 18 or 19, maybe not even an adult yet. Her nose and lip were pierced with thin silver rings, and I thought about my nieces, girls around the same age. My eyes filled with tears. I don’t think she could see them, though, because of my dark sunglasses.

I crouched down next to her with the shopping bag. “Hi,” I said. “I saw you before when I was driving by, and I wanted to bring some things for you. It’s not much, just a few small things to eat, some fresh fruit for you and the baby.” I stopped, not wanting to babble, not trusting myself to say anything more. She put her hand on the handle of the bag. It was shaking.

She looked me in the eye. “Thank you,” she said. “Thank you very much.”

I briefly touched her bare shoulder. I am a touchy person–it comes with being a service provider, a massage therapist, my belief in the healing power of touch. “Take care of yourself now,” I said. “Take care of yourself, and the baby.”

I walked away. I went back to my car with tears streaming down my cheeks. I drove to the bank to run an errand, and my heart felt lighter. My anxiety was gone.

That girl doesn’t realize it, but she was a gift to me. She may not see much in her life to be happy about right now, but she brought some much-needed perspective to mine. She touched me in a way that was deep and profound. I don’t think I’ll ever forget her.

I feel anxious again today, but I’m going to try not to let it get the best of me. I keep seeing her in my mind, sitting in the dirt, the sun glaring down, her hand on her belly. If she can be calm in the midst of all that, then I certainly can try to find some peace, too. We are two different women in two different sets of circumstances, but we are still connected. Our life journeys are distinctive, but we had a brief moment in time when we were linked. We each gave the other something that was needed. I know I am grateful to her, even though I didn’t say “thanks.”

I’m saying it now.

As the Beatles Say…

“It was 20 years ago today…”

In the week of July 14, 1990, the following happened:

After meeting with West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev reluctantly gives his blessing to a united Germany in NATO, stressing that a united Germany must choose its alliance. President George Herbert Walker Bush welcomed Gorbachev’s change of position. Removing the last big obstacle to a single German state, Poland declares itself “entirely satisfied” with firm new border guarantees. Reunification is expected to come December 2 with all-German elections. President Mikhail S. Gorbachev orders the immediate diversification of the Soviet Union’s state-run radio and television system, so that all political movements will have access to the airwaves, ending the Communist Party’s monopoly.

In news closer to my neck of the woods:

Cincinnati native and baseball star Pete Rose is sentenced to five months in prison and fined $50 thousand for cheating on his taxes. Rose failed to report $354 thousand in income from baseball memorabilia sales autograph appearances and from monies made from gambling, for which he was banned from baseball.

Bestselling books include:

Coyote Waits – Tony Hillerman

The Burden of Proof – Scott Turow

Message From NAM – Danielle Steel

The Stand – Stephen King

the-stand

An Inconvenient Woman – Dominick Dunne

Dave Barry Turns 40 – Dave Barry

Men At Work – George F. Will

Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton – Edward Rice

Barbarians At The Gate – Bryan Burrough/John Helyar

Top albums include:

I’m Breathless – Madonna

Please Hammer Don’t Hurt Em – M.C. Hammer

Poison – Bell Biv DeVoe

Pretty Woman – Soundtrack

Wilson Phillips – Wilson Phillips

Step by Step – News Kids on the Block

Violator – Depeche Mode

Soul Provider – Michael Bolton

Brigade – Heart

Shut Up and Dance – Paula Abdul

I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got – Sinead O’Connor

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And playing at the movies:

Die Hard 2 – Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, William Atherton, John Amos

Ghost – Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg

Days Of Thunder – Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman

Disney’s – The Jungle Book (reissue)

Ford Fairlane – Andrew Dice Clay

Quick Change – Bill Murray, Geena Davis, Randy Quaid, Jason Robards

Dick Tracy – Warren Beatty, Madonna

Total Recall – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Another 48 Hours – Edie Murphy, Nick Nolte

The Jetsons

Robocop – Peter Weller

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Navy Seals – Charlie Sheen, Michael Biehn, Joanne Whalley-Kilmer, Bill Paxton

Pretty Woman – Richard Gere, Julia Roberts

Betsy’s Wedding – Alan Alda, Molly Ringwald

Thanks to Mr. Pop History for that walk down memory lane.

July 14 is also Bastille Day, named for the storming of the Bastille prison that marked the beginning of the French Revolution. So, for all my French readers and fans of all things French, “Vive la France!”

Most important to me, however, is that July 14 marks the day that I made the most important commitment of my life. It’s the day I got all dressed up in a frilly white gown, rode to the church in a horse-drawn carriage, walked down the aisle on the arm of my tuxedo-clad father, and married my best friend. Several things stand out in my mind about that evening: it was warm, but it wasn’t stifling hot like I expected it to be; the priest presiding over the ceremony had a broken arm; I giggled when I saw there were gnats in my bouquet of silk flowers; the overwhelming feeling of gratitude and love I had when I saw so many of my friends and family in the congregation; looking at the sparkling diamonds on my finger after we exchanged rings, dazzled and amazed; kissing my new husband while flashes went off all around us. It was a beautiful ceremony, a loud, fun reception, and a wonderful honeymoon on the East Coast.

It was 20 years ago today. And it was the start of the best years of my life.

My husband is still my best friend. He’s the one I think of first whenever something exciting happens, or when I need someone to console me. He’s a great listener, a fixer, a get-it-done kind of guy, with a wicked sense of humor and killer blue eyes. He’s a wonderful father to our two boys; he’s an amazing writer, musician, thinker, and partner. He has sacrificed so many of his own dreams for our family, and I couldn’t be more grateful to him for that.

I hope someday I can help him to realize the dreams he has yet to achieve. I hope that, when our boys are out of school and off on their own, we can travel, see the places we’ve dreamed about, and maybe retire in a nice little cottage by the sea or a lake. I hope that we both live to be very old and healthy as horses so we can continue to appreciate our lives and each other. I hope that we’ll have grandchildren and great-grandchildren to cherish, but that we’ll always put each other first in our lives.

Happy 20th anniversary, Keith. I cherish you and the life we’ve built together. Let’s build some more, babe.
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Overcome

Have you ever had one of those moments when you’re overcome with emotion?

I went on my usual walk this morning, a path that’s a little over 2 miles at our local county park. It’s a meandering paved trail that goes up and down hills and around curves, and it circles a large lake. I like to go early in the morning when it’s quiet and fairly deserted. I usually pass a handful of joggers or dog-walkers on the trail, and I enjoy the solitude. Today’s weather was a bit more brisk than usual; frost dusted the greenery choking the sides of the path, and I could see my breath as I huffed and puffed up and down the hills. My hands and ears were cold, and I was walking faster than normal because of the low temperatures. But then, as I rounded a short bluff, I saw a sight that looked a lot like this:

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The beauty of the lake, and the sight of the mist rising in the sunshine, stopped me in my tracks. My eyes filled up with tears. I can’t explain the feeling I had, but it was so overwhelming I had to stop walking for a minute to catch my breath. A profound sense of awe and gratitude filled me, a wave of emotion that I’ve felt before in fleeting moments. So I stayed in that moment, breathing, watching, allowing the feeling to wash over and through me, so grateful to just be alive to experience that incredible sense of joy. The song playing on my iPod was Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising, and it seemed the perfect soundtrack for this moment suspended in time.

I left the park with a light heart. I hope to carry it with me through everything I do today.

These are the moments we live for, even though they may be few, short, and far between. They are the moments of sheer ecstasy in the simplest thing: freezing air searing our lungs, the scent of water, mist hanging like lace in the air, birds streaking across the blue sky. These are glimpses of such powerful beauty that we stand still, unable to move, able only to soak them in, admire them, appreciate them. They remind us of what we are: travelers together on this planet, all of us searching for happiness and peace. God is in these moments, I believe, and we can reach out and connect with that Divine Presence at an intimate, awesome level.

I hope you will have one of these moments today, too, and experience the blessing that comes with it.

Thanks and Apologies

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to check out the new blog. It’s a work-in-progress (as are most things in my life), and I’m still getting used to it. This also means I’m still trying to understand how it all works. As a general rule, I’m not the quickest study when it comes to technology; as such, I often make errors and learn as I go. Which is why I need to apologize to several readers (Christine and two others) who kindly left comments on the first blog, which I then accidentally deleted. I promise–I now know that the DELETE button in the approval queue doesn’t just delete the comment from that list. It sends it off into the ethers of the Internet, never to be seen again. From now on, I shall stay my itchy DELETE finger and reserve its use for offensive comments only. 

Tracy, another commenter, asked if I would talk about clairvoyance in an upcoming post. Look for that in the next couple of days. 

Until then, take care…and watch out for those DELETE buttons.

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