Tai Chi and Polenta

Sunrise Jan 3Some days, I feel so happy to be alive that I’m compelled to do a shout-out to our maker.

It started with polenta. Last night, a friend said “Why don’t you cook up some polenta and I’ll grill vegetables and we can enjoy a nice, healthy dinner.”

For those who know me, I know you won’t be surprised when I say, placing all work on hold, I immediately googled “Polenta” and thanks to today’s technology, came up with a “Cheesy Polenta” which sounded not-so-difficult to make. I drove to the store and bought all the ingredients — and I mean, all of them, as I don’t typically drink whole milk, or eat butter, or corn meal. Long story short, the polenta was fantastic and accompanied with grilled vegetables, I was feeling ever so top-chef-ish.

This morning, the same friend and I headed out for a walk along the bay, warmed by a spectacular sun and promises of a great day ahead. We walked to the water’s edge, eucalyptus leaves and angel’s caps crunching under our feet along the way. There, we stopped to relax, breathe, and focus on the horizon. Stepping into our first Tai Chi form, I smiled at the two of us and our new-found bravery. We knew walkers on the path were going to scoff, but we didn’t care. It was super.

Bidding my friend a good day, I came home – checked my emails. Awesome, no work-related fire drills — and remembered the left over polenta. Happily, I reheated a dainty portion (OK, fine – a huge bowl full) and sat down to watch the sunlight wake up a eucalyptus tree and listen to the birds greet the morning.

It simply doesn’t get better than this.

And so I shout: Thank you, God!

 

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Floating Peep

Easters come and they go. Some Easters are happy memories in the making; others, not so much. This Easter was one of those memorable ones.

EASTER SUNSETI followed His path through Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, celebrating His resurrection on Easter Sunday. It is amazing to me how I can hear the gospel year after year, and each time, learn something new. In the gospel of John, he talks about “the disciple whom Jesus loved...” Wait a minute! He only loved one of them? Which one? Interestingly, I was asked to read scripture at the Maundy Thursday service. I read John 13:21-35. This phrase can be found there and several other places in the Bible too. Well I questioned it, but didn’t want to embarrass myself and ask Pastor. Would you believe that on Good Friday, as Pastor gave his homily, he spoke of this very scripture and explained that “that disciple” is you and me.

And so I continue to grow in my Christian faith. And I leaned heavily on it this year, as for some reason it was harder than last. Sitting in our old pew – yes, you tend to claim one and call it yours forever — but this time, alone. I opened the church bulletin to find my husband’s name in print several times, as his daughters had donated lilies to the church in his memory. I attended an early service so that I could go to brunch later that morning. My stepdaughters would undoubtedly be attending late service — and so, I sat alone, fighting off melancholy. It was not about me, I reminded myself. It was about Jesus, who gave up His life for me. It was about His resurrection and the promise that came with it.

And so I think this is what faith is all about. It is the balancing act between life’s realities and remembering that promise made so long ago and having faith in it. It is getting past the sadness and loneliness and looking for those beautiful signs of new life, and new hope, that come with each Easter season. It is truly remembering that God did not promise us an easy life, but He did promise He would be with us every step of the way. And for me, He has and I am so thankful.

PEEP FLOATING

So, it was time for me to find a new way to celebrate an old holiday. Bolstered with provisions of chocolate in our pockets, my daughter and I set sail on two kayaks; watched a beautiful Easter sunset, and freed a Peep!

(No, we didn’t leave him there for a seagull to choke on, but it made for a great laugh, and a wonderful ending to this Easter Sunday!)

Celebrate life!

 

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Tears are the Tool

MORNING LIGHTMy husband died in June 2012. My sister died a few months before that. Six months ago, I decided to move back home, where I grew up — this would get me closer to family and undoubtedly, speed up the grieving process.

Really?

This just in: They are all gone. I can’t bring any of them back.

This has taken some time. And tears. Lots of tears. But this morning, finally, I woke with a sense of promise in my heart and a smile in my eyes as I considered the opportunities. So what is it that I want to share with you this morning?

I think it’s this: Grief takes time and tears are the tool. Don’t be afraid to cry. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge that things will never be the same. It is only then that you can see what lies ahead of you.

Finally, today, I was able to retrace the steps I used to walk as a child — and smile. And mean it. No regrets. Cross over the bridge that my sis and I used to stand on and throw rocks into the creek below. Past the old theater where twenty-five cents would get you in for a Saturday matinee. Past the grocery store where we would turn our soda bottles in for pennies, and then turn right around and buy tootsie rolls with our new-found loot.

OLD WHEELS

It became crystal clear as I approached the flower market. “Hi!” I said, optimism dripping. “How many lilacs can I buy with $8.00?”

“None. You gotta buy a bunch and they’re $22.50.” He said, grimly, obviously not from these parts.

I stuffed my lousy $8.00 back in my pocket and continued my walk. As I rounded the curve, I turned back and stuck my tongue out at him. There! My sister would have been proud of that move. I laughed out loud.

 

Nope, things will never be the same, except for one thing: my heart. It is filled with happy memories that no one can take away and it is time to fill it with some new ones!

lilacsHappy Easter!

 

 

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I Will Miss You, Sweet Harry and Sally

CATS MOVINGSometimes, life is so incredibly hard. I had to surrender Harry and Sally yesterday. This came after months of trying everything I could to correct a “bad behavior”, but to no avail. Some of you know the whole story; others don’t. (Harry and Sally are in a safe place, and ideally, will be adopted by just the right companion.)

What I wanted to share is this: When you suffer a loss, oftentimes, it brings up other losses and the going can get rough. I want to say thanks to my daughters, and to my wonderful friends, who came to my support once again. I also want to encourage you — and you know who you are — when you’re feeling the deep sadness of a loss, reach out for help. Don’t stuff it all in. Unpack it. Let it out. Talk about it.

My prayer today, that dear Harry and Sally will find a wonderful home where they can be at peace and enjoy many more days in the sun.

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Color Me Blue

I have been unable to blog lately. Working through something. So, why I stew in my blue, I receive this from my daughter, and my heart turns a lovely warm yellow!
The journey begins.  The cab was early.  The plane is on time.  Everything was done, organized, arranged and confirmed.  From Dulles to Dallas to Sedona, I am sitting by myself in a row of three seats.  Yep.  Little ‘ol me.  Space.  I am filled with excitement and anticipation, as I have been feeling the energy of this event building in the last few weeks.  From test achievement to depression to sad lunch to joyful birthday weekend in an unforgettable snow…don’t think I don’t feel you Universe, that push that nudges me from behind, crowding my space, waiting for me to make a move, any action.  But instead I sit still in myself and feel it.  And I don’t go to class.  And I don’t fake the lunch.  And I listen and feel.  I recognize the okayness of the moment even in it’s dampness.  That makes me breathe.  And I don’t get tighter.  I feel and trust in you and I am free.  Now I realize that nudge behind me was you all along.  Finally I recognize you God, but I have never really liked that name.  There seem to be so many conflicting ideas of what you are, too much room for getting it wrong.  And that is the funny part, all of those ideas are right, because how you show up for me is mine.  And how you show up for him is his.  And my filter of love is purple, his is yellow.  We are looking, feeling, the same love, but it looks purple from here.  Yellow from there.  I like yellow too.  I can feel yellow.  I can at least be open to yellow because what I know is that we are all looking at the same thing, love.
So my story today begins with an awakening, to love and God, on the plane and what could matter more?  My story will continue when, in the arms of the others also arriving here today, we lift each other up in healing love.  Red, yellow, purple, orange, green, blue…and we all meld together into one amazing, magnetic rainbow, that yes, is magical.  No doubt this colorful force has powers, super powers, that some can’t fathom.  It is true and real, my purple self has felt it so many times now there is no room left for doubt.  And to live in a space without doubt dragging you back, well, that is freedom.  Quiet, powerful, colorful, super-powered freedom, that once felt, never dies.
If for a moment you feel weighed down with doubt, meaning you have a brief forgetting, and you go unconscious to love, no worries.  That freedom you know will immediately shine through the cracks of your doubt and blast the darkness.  You won’t lose your freedom.  You never lost it in the first place…you were looking for purple.  And maybe it was yellow that day.
_____________
I love you, dear daughter — Always.
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Rockin’ This Day!

Sunrise Jan 3I started out early, resolutions in tow. The air was cold on my face but the promise of this day filled me up with warm optimism.

It is so quiet at this hour; the birds are still sleeping. Where are they? Where do they go at night?

I pick up my pace. A biker flies by. I’m walking in sand. Hard work. Not really. I smile and thank God for this sunrise.

The half-way mark. I hug a giant fuzzy robe that happens to have a grown daughter wrapped up inside! I pat her head and feel beyond fortunate.

She makes me coffee and we cuddle together and watch the water birds fishing in the shallow tide. We hear a seal bark and my daughter decides to take her kayak out and find him. I head back home, a smile on my face.

Seagulls Look Away

The sun is on my back now and the morning is in full bloom. Filled with the joy of it all, I say a few words to the seagulls as I pass them on the path. They look away, perhaps concerned that I’m deranged. Could be.

I remember that I’m out of coffee and walk past my home, to the grocery store. With coffee, bananas and bottled water, I return home in the glow of my “You-just-walked-four-miles-and-it-felt-great! — ness.”

Thank you for this day, God! I’m going to rock this day!

 

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Christmas Ramblings

Pastor's Christmas TreeFourth Sunday in Advent. Time to prepare for His birth. No time to prepare. Prepare what? Prepare my heart. Love one another. Human kindness. That’s all He asks of us. It’s so simple. It’s so hard. Why is it so hard? I miss you. God bless you and keep you in His loving care. I will try harder. It’s not hard. Sometimes it’s hard. But you are with me every step of the way. You promised.

Thank you God for all my blessings.

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