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Keepers

To Keepers, To all those I love

It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that fixing, the repairing, reheating, renewing. Just once, I told myself, I wanted to be wasteful.

Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there would always be more.

Then my father died, and on that cold autumn morning in the chill of his room, I was struck with the pain of realizing that sometimes, there isn’t any “more.”

Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away… never to return. So―while we have it―it is best to love it and care for it; fix it when it is broken and heal it when it is sick.

This is true for marriage, and old cars, and children with bad report cards, and dogs with bad hips, and aging parents…and grandparents, and on and on.

We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we keep.

Like a best friend that has moved away or a classmate we never wanted to leave, or a new friend.

There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special. Actually, everyone is special, and so we should really try to keep them close.

Years ago I received something like this from someone who thought I was a ‘keeper’ and then I sent it to the people I thought of in the same way. And today, on this special day of love and friendship, while cleaning out files, I found this, and remember how I felt back when my special someone told me I was a keeper, how I smiled, and how today I was glad that I had not thrown it away.

If you are reading this and know someone who fills your life with love and laughter, the ‘keepers’ in your life, tell them so.


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Fire Storm

 

I should be in bed, but this has become a new way for me, a forbidden thrill, like sneaking to the fridge and having the last bit of ice cream that someone said I could not have.

My bare feet glide across the smooth tiles as I find my way, drawn toward the echoes of silence, to that place where memories wait, just there… in the cooling of the last of the night.

A firestorm dances on the horizon anxious to be born, just as trembling waves of excitement build within me as I smile, knowing you are not far, still sleeping… knowing that even in slumber you will feel the void and reach out for me.

 

 


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Just ten seconds

About a month ago, I wrote about the art of communicating. And I do believe it is an art. A wise man once said that it takes a certain degree of insight to know when to speak and when to be silent.

I love silence, most of the time. There is a magical mystic about a glance without words, a touch that tells all. But there are also times when silence is like a shape knife that penetrates deep, wounding the spirit, creating a gap that allows doubt to push aside other fragile emotions that try to stay positive.

One word. Just one, many two or three, can flood the heart with sunshine. A simple "hello". Or "thinking of you".

I have timed this gesture, it takes less that 10 seconds. But oh, the joy these seconds can bring.

In this world where we move about at a reckless speed, how sad that we cannot spare 10 seconds.


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Relationships

There is a saying that life is stranger than fiction. Probably true, but both run the same track, and each can cause as much joy or misery as the other. When writing fiction, my characters do not always do what I want them to do. They have a tendency to go off half-cocked causing me to re-think my original thoughts, creating a lot of backtracking. Okay, I mean, what do I know about relationships? 

I think one of the most frustrating issues relating to a new relationship, be it fiction or real life, is communication. It does not matter if it's in the classroom, workplace, boardroom, a walk in the park, a project or a new romance. Lots to think about.

Just for fun, let's talk romance. A lot of thought and data has been acquired to help the novice or the one who keeps looking, toward the road to paradise.

I found, just to name a few, that there are fifteen emotional stages and a lot of do’s and don’ts. Also, ten golden rules, eight basic rules, seven thoughts to remember. Even the Huffington Post offers four tips to getting it right.

Ah, but just waiting to pop up their ugly heads are hurt feelings, misunderstandings, misconception of words and actions. Heavy stuff!

It has been said a new relationship has a lot in common with the plants in your garden. Wow! Black thumb here. But to be specific: Give it time. Give it space. Feed it well. Don’t over water. Pull the weeds before they take over, etc., etc., etc.…….

Oh, groan. Right now, research is taking most of my time, and it is so easy to get lost and not move on to the writing. Sometimes I compare the beginning of a new book to the weeks right before childbirth. You sit and ponder the premise of having prepared well, your ideas, and story line.

You ask yourself if you are capable, equipped with all the items this new life is going to need. Again, on it goes. Ah, the questions!

Fiction or life? The parallels are remarkable, scary, actually but, if given a choice, I think I’ll take diving into writing a new book any day to the supposed trauma of starting a new relationship.

And with both, although you try to get it right, and you really do want to get it right, the Google page usually defaults to:

Sorry, something went wrong. Try again later.

Don’t think so. Maybe? Probably, sure.


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CHRISTMAS ALL YEAR LONG ~ From Our Home to Yours

Our calendar tells us that it is almost December 25th, time for us to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus. What a joyous time Christmas is, or it should be. History has set aside this day in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ, but what a joy it would be if the message of Christmas could live all year long. I do not mean the scurrying about, the shopping, but the thought of giving, of love.

I feel sad when I hear people say that they hate this time of year, so much to do, too many demands on time and money. It does not have to be this way, but, unfortunately, we have lost the message taught so long ago.

There was a man born, and He is called the Son of God, the Christ. Some call Him just a prophet, and others, who do not believe at all, just a man who grew up and decided to become a teacher. Labels can get in the way of what is truly important, and the answer to his identity cannot be found anywhere but in our hearts and souls, but I thank God that His message still lives among us.

Jesus lived in a time where murders and thieves played havoc on the land, where corrupt politicians used their power for personal gain. People were hungry and homeless. There were riots, some found the courage to speak out, the hope that by taking a stand, life might get better, but others caused chaos for hidden agendas. And war ravaged the land.

Even though we have evolved from the clay tablet to the internet, nothing much has changed. Jesus taught compassion, honesty, tolerance. He asked us to open our minds and hearts, to live our lives looking for good among others no matter their beliefs, and to share with those who have less, to give, and His most important lesson was that we LOVE.

I pray we can turn our thought to how blessed we are, and to pray, or, at least, use our minds and hearts and resources for those who go forth to make a difference in the lives of those who have less. Those who are homeless and hungry or just struggling to make ends meet. To reach out and uplift those who protect and defend, who put their lives on hold to give comfort to someone who is ill. To make sure our neighbor is warm and well. The angry and afraid, the depressed and alone, the abused and discarded. We don’t have to look far to find someone in need, we just have to look.

We need to remember there is only One God. It matters not what we call Him. God bless us all, now and forever, and Merry Christmas to all.


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STAYING IN TOUCH

When was the last time you sat down and wrote a letter or even a short note to a friend or family member? Do you go on-line to send greeting cards? During the holidays, are you just too pushed to find the time to sit at your desk and reflect on memories that draw you to someone you love, someone that makes you smile?
I have been guilty of this, but one day I pushed the clutter on my desk to one side and pick up my pen, warmed by the need to share my thoughts.

Dear friend,

Oh, how I have missed you.

As I wrote, I remembered a time long ago. My mother loved to write letters. Her thoughts would flow across the page, pertinent facts, silly or rambling reflections; it didn’t matter. I would sit and watch her, usually resting my head on folded arms on the kitchen table. My eyes would follow her hand as she quickly wrote…her renderings elegant, the script beautiful. I would watch her face, maybe a smile, a muffled bit of laughter as she penned a funny happening, or as she gently bit her lip if the words reflected something troubling. She would write and write, hardly aware, I think, that I was there, although there were times when she would ask me to refill her coffee cup, not wanting to take the time to put down her pen and complete this simple chore.

In her quiet but positive way, she taught me the importance of writing; to say thank you for a gift received, or just to stay in touch. Once a month we made a trip to the large department store in the next town. We would get on the bus that would take us to this wonderland of goodies; everything from soft, silky underpinning to the stationary department, the primary reason for our trip.

Oh, my goodness. Even as I type this, a delightful thrill races through me as I remember those times as we settled down for the twenty-minute bus ride. How she always seemed to maneuver our conservation toward me. She had a way of delicately extracting bits of what I felt; my dreams, my image of who I was or wanted to be, thoughts I had unconsciously tucked away. I have almost forgotten how skilled she was.
My mother was the best. Her values resolute, never compromised, always held to the highest level, and although she tried, it was no easy task to instill in me all she knew I must learn. However, I did learn to appreciate the value of staying in touch.

Our first stop, as we entered the store, would usually be the stationary department. She believed in individuality. She would never dream of telling me what to buy, but each trip, as we looked at all the wonderful pieces of writing materials available, I always ended up purchasing the same stationary. It came in a box of fifty sheets, made by a company named Montag, the color of dark cream. It was simple but beautiful, and just like me, no curlicues, no frills.

Yes, I remember these times and this grand lady who tried to teach me so much, and as I pick up my Parker pen, filled with brown ink, and reach for a new sheet of my dark cream stationary, my joy is simply beyond description as I write ―

Dear Friend,

Oh, how I have missed you.


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This morning I awoke to the sweet smell of freshly washed earth. We were blessed with a powerful 12-hour rain, raging at times, and then just a steady dribble that kept me guessing as to when it might be okay to do the weekly grocery shopping without the hassle of my temperamental umbrella.

I know the people in the mid-west and east might think me crazy expressing my joy with rain when they have lost so much, and I have prayed for their recovery.

Life, unfortunately, is never fair or balanced, be it the weather or burdens we are asked to carry. 

As I stood in the rain for a while, I noticed the sorry state of my gardenia bush. I am known to have a black thumb when it comes to nurturing plants, but as I gazed at two flowering stems, I realized this bush personified more than an outside plant.  It represented, at least to me, life.

 Two blossoms drew my eyes, one young and thriving, and the other old yet still fragrant, offering the last it had to give.

We should never forget the beauty found in something old. If we remember what we have learned it is not hard to cherish what has been given.

It it is up to each individual to search for balance, to take what is put in our path and move forward, alone or finding the courage to ask for help.


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