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Monday, September 19, 2011

Evolution

Relationships.

 That one word can bring us warm good feelings or send us running and screaming in the opposite direction.  Unless you’re a hermit up in the hills, you can’t escape it, relationships are all around us. From the moment we’re born we’re in one; the parent-child relationship, which then flows like a river into several others, the sibling relationship, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents.  These are the biological relationships that are decided for you, good or bad these are the first steps of careful navigation.

Friends, acquaintances, co-workers these are the ones we get to choose, in the early days, our parents may choose our friends/playmates. As we grow older we have more say so in whom we let enter into our lives.  For some, it’s the “family” we thankfully get to choose.

Now this being said, all these relationships can add or detract from what we hold of value in our lives.  Each relationship is unique although you can certainly see similarities from one to another. A friend can remind you of a cousin, grandparents can be strict version of your own parents or the total opposite, by spoiling you rotten when you’re a kid.

No matter which one it is, they all go through its ups and downs. It goes through changes, some that are barely noticeable, some that are so dramatic you wonder how your life isn’t nominated for an Oscar or Emmy each year.

Just like the seasons, our relationships go through much needed phases. It is up to us to decide if will survive through each season; will it survive the “harsh winter”, the bad times, and blossom again in the “spring”?  If we don’t adjust to these changes, allow each of the parties involved to grow, express themselves, it will wither like a flower with no sunlight.  How many people do you know that are stuck in a rut, be it a parent & child, always at odds, never willing to hear the other out for fear of losing control? How many siblings hold on to the rivalries and disagreements of our youth? How many grandparents find it so difficult to let go and see their grandchildren as adults with opinions that no longer agree whole-heartedly with everything they say? Do we even begin to ask about the spouses who can’t see past the “person you were when we got married” or are still trying to “mold” them into the perfect spouse to the detriment of the marriage?

As much as we want to be recognized for who we are, we need to also recognize who and why we continue to let people into our lives and to what level we allow their behavior to affect us.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lighthouse



I’ve always had affinity for lighthouses but, it’s more than just the picture perfect postcard aspect. Certainly we are all aware of their purpose, to guide ships safely home from dangerous areas at sea and through the storms by shining that beacon of light.  This elegantly understated structure, beautifully & prominently perched atop the cliffs, watching over the ships at sea whether its placid or turbulent; much like God protecting, guiding & lighting our way --- all we have to do is seek Him. 

Not only should we constantly seek God’s direction, we need to follow where He is leading us, the timing is hardly ever something that matches our own; be patient, listen, trust. Faith for me is having the courage to move through the uncertainties, the insecurities and fears.

As I ponder the direction of my own life, God has placed a desire in my heart to accomplish more, through assisting and encouraging others, be it by “lending a helping hand”, listening, advising and just being the best person I can be; not for selfish gain, not to be remembered as just having done good things, but to move people to do the same.  Connecting with, one life touching another, encouragement goes a long way; it’s the safe harbor when we feel like we’ve lost our way.

How splendid would it be if we’d all look out for, guide one another, just as that lighthouse on the cliff, following God’s example; shining brightly, that light within, encouraging one another, building each other up, growing in faith throughout life’s journey, in the calm & the storm, illuminating as it should be, the selflessness of extending ourselves for the greater good.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Philippians 2:3-4

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"Nobody"

I’m ok with being a “nobody”. I don’t mind having a “small life”, living simply. Now by no means when I refer to being a “nobody” or “small life” do I myself consider it to be insignificant- quite the contrary, the terms “nobody” and “small life” refer to “the world’s or society’s view of success”. 

For me even the smallest details of my life hold great significance. These details are like pieces of a puzzle; events, people, places all fitting together for the larger picture, “a greater purpose” if you will.

As a young teen, “making it BIG” was being anywhere but living in the projects (subsidized housing) and making more money than I could spend in one lifetime.  Today, I have quite a different view, at this stage in my life it takes on a whole new meaning for me. Enjoying my simple life (even when filled with the daily chaos of work, school schedules, family activities, etc) is always a balancing act of sorts; family, friends, healthy choices, the ability to work to support my family, getting to know who I am, being comfortable in my own skin, embracing the good & the bad, all along knowing that God allows these things to happen for a greater purpose, HIS purpose. This is easier said than done at times, however, when I tend to get anxious and fall into the “trap” of comparing myself to what the world deems as success, with the barrage of messages from the media and sometimes from those around me, I take time to pray, I make it a priority to make time for God.  For me, it can be as simple as shutting my eyes for a brief moment & taking a few deep breaths, sitting out in the backyard and listening to the leaves rustle in the breeze, or reading verses in the Bible until I’m at peace.  One verse in particular has been “calling out” to me:

Jeremiah 29:11-13
New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

I’m human, I’m not perfect, I’ll make mistakes along the way; stumbles along the way are inevitable, but knowing I’ll get through it…whatever “It” is, with God’s help gets me through.  I’m not always happy during the struggles, but then again, who is?... when I take that moment or two, and meditate, pray, reflect on the lesson that is to be learned, I’m grateful, stronger and able to pass along any insight gleaned and encourage those who may be going through something similar. 

 Having faith, the process of and the determination to continue to grow in my faith allows me never to let my life get completely out of hand, or bigger than what God is meant for me to handle at any given time.

Again I say, so what if I’m a “nobody” according to the world, I am a “somebody” and valued by God and THAT is what matters.

Monday, May 23, 2011

HOME

HOME… a simple word that can mean so very much & can be perceived in many different ways; to some, it may just be a physical place – a residence, an apartment, condo or house you go to at the end of a very busy day. For others, it can be a longing, a reminder of emptiness, a place filled with memories they’d rather forget. For some it’s a physical place, and a feeling of comfort or just the feeling itself no matter where you might be.

There’s a well known saying “Home is where the heart is”,  I’ve come to realize either through experiences or just the fact that I’m “getting older” this has become truer than ever for me.

Throughout my life, I have had many “homes” not all where a physical residence for an extended period, but the feelings of LOVE, Belonging, Peace, & Joy – “home” has been time spent with a dear friend, being a “source of comfort or encouragement” for someone, an unspoken understanding with a family member or close friend (because we know each other so well), a familiar sound or scent can create that as well.

During a conversation with my daughters the other day, they mentioned how much they enjoy the new neighborhood and house we recently moved into & both mentioned in unison that this “really feels like home”.  I smiled and knew exactly what they meant because I feel this way too, maybe because of the neighborhood’s location, the tree-lined streets, the numerous neighbors taking early evening strolls, the fact that in an odd way the increase in square footage inside and out somehow brings us closer together (the mere fact that we’re not living “all on top of each other”  eases the need for “more space”), perhaps it’s the combination of these things that allow for more of a family connection and those very feelings represent “home”.

These circumstances that lead me here, today, the memories, the experiences that allow me to “feel” home in a myriad of places are all due to the grace and love of God.  Not all my experiences and lessons have been pleasant ones, however, with by the pure Grace of God, He has “picked me up & dusted me off” to start anew, even when my strength isn’t enough, I lean on HIM and that glorious grace, well that is the ultimate feeling of “HOME”.  Trusting in HIM, and learning that it’s His purpose and timing (not mine) – that’s the “home” here on Earth.

As I reflect on these events, places and people that gave me that “home” feeling brought to mind some family and friends that are no longer here with us and some that may be leaving us sooner than we’d like.  I am saddened (selfishly wishing I had them here moments longer) yet I am filled with an unexplainable peace.

It’s human nature to fear (even for a moment) leaving “this world” – but blind faith & the realization that even our greatest day on Earth pales in comparison to the Beauty & Everlasting Love of Eternity with God.

“HOME”.



Monday, March 21, 2011

Cries of Change

She’s gone --- or shall I say that person never really existed; that blurry “vision”, that what was “to be expected”, that never truly manifested into being.

The “take one for the team” the “do what you have to do” – it’s all well and good until someone gets hurt; how long can that last? Until someone does –hurt?

That attitude of get it done at all costs is great for some things, however, how does it help when all the drive is “a means to an end”? When it becomes your life and doesn’t allow you to enjoy the “life” you’ve tried so hard to build in the minefield of experiences you’ve had to navigate since childhood.

I often feel as if I’m doing a disservice to those I hold so dear. The “put on a brave face” and get through it learned behavior. What seemed like a good idea at the time and a way to cope that now seems to have had damaging effects.

How incredibly horrible it is to feel that while everyone says “be yourself” the “yourself” you are is not allowed to have “an off day”; perfection must prevail or “all the pressures” of life are somehow deliberately & maliciously tossed to someone else; not so. Heaven forbid I should be allowed to be human, want more out of these limited days we are all given.

I have no idea who this girl was “supposed to be”; the big bold attitude, the brave face put on for the world is now a suffocating mask hiding all that was to be.

Peeling back the layers of this facade cause pain not only for the wearer of this mask but for those closest to her; those who do not understand the need to remove this falsehood, nor do they comprehend (and in most cases refuse to acknowledge) the deep cries of pain this metamorphosis causes.

Not knowing who you are, is quite painful and just the realization of “this can’t be all there is” –is enough to bulldoze the strongest of spirits, with the tiniest weak spot.

Contributions to “this life” that “just is” are not appreciated, so how can it be expected that the excavation of self be a welcomed event? Foolish to believe that someone, anyone would understand.

Forward

Forward, progression…movement from the past – It is not possible with only the movement of the lips.

Sounds, words dropping like lead to ground encasing the feet and unable to push forward.

It is impossible to carry all the weight of the baggage of times gone by.  The constant reminders of what you choose not to forget are like cement laden bags we must continually drag up a muddy hill.

The movement, if any, is sloppy, slow and then ultimately impossible to continue.

That pocket of time is just that – a moment that no longer exists, so why must the pain and destruction of that moment live on and destroy my present?

Does the present and future have such little value to you that it is overshadowed by a past that cannot be changed?

I choose to let go, because life along with its joys also has its burdens – I choose not to continue to carry them daily and risk being drowned by the overwhelming current that swept away what once was good.

I choose to learn and move --- MOVE FORWARD

Acknowledge the moment for what it was, to gain something positive from it, however small and move from it.

Make your choice, as I have made mine; I cannot, I will not allow a moment to become a recurring burden that will defeat the purpose of a union.

Let it go and move forward, in the same direction or hold steadfast to that past that apparently is of more value to you and remain stagnant or move ever so slowly in an entirely different direction. If this be your choice you have no one to blame but yourself.




Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Courage, Faith & Vision

Blindfolded, holding Your hand, gaining courage to truly see the Vision for my Life. 

(This is what I felt tonight, what was placed on my heart, so I say it out loud and I was guided to write it all down.)

It’s not about knowing all the answers, not even one. Faith takes courage, the strength to let go of fear-based, false sense of comfort; Odd, yet true.

Thinking things through and over analyzing are two very different things. Making sound choices after thoughtful consideration is always best (thinking things through), rather than second guessing yourself (over analyzing), and your God given intuition. How dare we second guess God? Yet it happens more often than we’d care to admit, more often than I’d like to admit to myself.  I’ve endured many things in this life, things that I work through daily, things I’d rather not remember so I set them aside; foolishly thinking I’ve locked them away.  I haven’t, I’ve only postponed the lessons to be learned and because I’ve done so, some of these lessons pile up and come at me at a rapid fire pace. If only, I was willing to learn and listen when I was supposed to.

So I frantically, try to think my way out of it rather than trusting God. Again, foolish, I know.  This is not to say that I should sit back and do absolutely nothing, certainly not, for God has Blessed me with for lack of a better term a good “gut-feeling” detector, a sound mind (although some decisions in life may show otherwise, but that was pure stubbornness on my part), a passion for writing and the willingness to speak about it all.

Yet, I need to learn how to take a moment , perhaps more than just a moment, sit back, close my eyes, LISTEN & FEEL what God is telling me, where He is leading me.  How could I possibly hear God if I’m tuned into all the “noise” I surround myself with in this busy world of mine? So I must sit back, breathe deep, listen & feel.

It’s easy to see the obvious Blessings, my family, our health, our home and even the current job I’m not so fond of.  It’s harder to see the hidden Blessings; the ones that come in “lesson plan” form.  The ones that make us wonder “why”, “where to now”, “when”, the answers won’t be heard nor felt if we stand there making a fuss, stomping our feet like a spoiled little child demanding it all now. I must remember this is the ultimate “parent /child” relationship and like any good “parent” why would there be a reward for “bad behavior” such as the demanding to know the “where, why and when” when we clearly can’t hear and obviously not ready.

Embracing the things we endure isn’t easy, but somehow, I know the Blessing is in the getting through it and taking the lesson from it for our own sake and perhaps to encourage or teach someone else along the way.

I know that there is more I need to do with my life, but right now I feel that I must learn more, endure more prior to the “doing more”; so as hard as it is to patiently learn what needs to be taught, I must be a willing pupil.  Let the lessons continue…

Friday, February 11, 2011

This Woman's Prayer

Thank you Lord, for loving me so completely, for though I am not worthy.  Thank you for your guidance although I may not always follow. 

You wait lovingly & patiently as only a Father could.

When dark clouds of doubt creep in, You lift me up and push me forward.

Lord, redirect my path when I go astray, light the way in my hour of darkness, as I foolishly follow the ways of the world.

Forgive me for impatiently forging ahead when I'm not ready or traveling on roads I need not be on.

Lord, continue to love me as no one else could; hold me close, fill me with your love, renew my faith, give me strength & courage to walk the path destined for me, develop in me compassion unending.

Teach me to be a better person, a parent who encourages, a parent who is just, a wife, a daughter, a sister that not only leads but listens and follows when necessary.

Thank you for your grace & everlasting love.

Amen.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Be it a whisper or a scream, I have a voice, do you even hear the sound?

Do you hear me? Are you listening?

As I look upon the title I have given my Blog, “This Woman’s Voice”, I have to say it came quite naturally and is indeed appropriate.

I write because it is me, it’s who I am, it’s the breath in my lungs, the blood coursing through me veins to deny this would be to ask me to cease to exist. It’s the release of pressures, the melting away of sadness and doubt, the food for a creative soul reaching out to the world, looking inward to water a seed that so needs to be nurtured in order to blossom into something I am meant to be.

To share subtle thoughts, feelings, bold opinions, the spark that starts wonderful conversations or a raging debate, the exchange of ideas is invigorating. I hope that somehow my life’s experiences, those heartfelt expressions evoke emotion and change in others and give me the strength to push forward.  I pray they bring comfort to those that need it, tough love lessons to those that deserve it and a wakeup call sounding the alarm.

I have been told that I write solely because I feel “the need to have the whole world hear me”. It’s so much more than that, but I cannot discount that there is some merit to that somewhat painful comment.

I do write for the very reasons I’ve mentioned earlier, and yes, I write to be heard. Who on this earth wants to be forever silenced, to have so much to say, to open their mouth and not a sound to be heard? Perhaps I continue to write because quite often I’ve felt that those closest to me have never taken the time to not only hear me but to truly listen to “my voice”.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Kaleidoscope



I saw a striking photograph today and the form of the object and reflections from the sunlight reminded me of a kaleidoscope. It brought me back to a time in my childhood when things were so beautifully simple. The memory that flashed in my mind was that of me enjoying this simple toy, outdoors, my little face lifted up soaking up the sunlight, gentle breeze slowly swaying my ponytail back and forth.  Looking through that kaleidoscope, twisting it this way and that, those bright bold colors creating unimaginable shapes, simple yet so beautiful.

That’s when it dawned on me; I want my life to be like that kaleidoscope.

[1]Wikipedia defines a kaleidoscope “as a circle of mirrors containing loose, colored objects such as beads or pebbles and bits of glass. As the viewer looks into one end, light entering the other end creates a colorful pattern, due to the reflection off the mirrors.”

Now let’s think about that for a minute, what better way to describe a joyous, purposeful life. How many times have we felt that life has given us loose ends, pieces that one couldn’t possibly think would fit together, let alone create something interesting, bright, bold and beautiful.  Everyone prefers shiny pretty beads to pebbles and bits of glass, but life has a way of tossing in those annoying “pebbles”, things we’d rather not do, jobs we might not be fond of, events that are just downright bothersome, sometimes even people. Bits of glass, those sharp unexpected shards that cut, sting, hurt and make us bleed in one way shape or form; those emotional upsets that at times stop us in our tracks even momentarily. Those mirrors and reflections from the light, how you present yourself to the world, how you hold yourself accountable for your actions, how others perceive you; separately it seems like one colossal mess and yes, it can be just that, a big mess, if we choose to see it that way.

I’d rather combine it all, the pretty bright happy moments, the life lessons learned with the pebbles and bits of glass, never easy but in hindsight so incredibly valuable, they are in a way the small gifts of wisdom we collect over time. The mirrors showing us what we’ve done, the good or bad, reflecting who we are or what we will become and the light, yes the light, the guidance of God. That light can be warm and comforting or bright and glaring as need be in that particular moment of our life.

Together the combination of forms, colors and shapes our lives can take is unimaginable. The excitement, joy and uncertainty of the new, the learned experiences of the past working as one to create something unique is a Blessing.

I may not know exactly what life has in store, or where I’m headed but I will try my best each day to remember that be it a shiny pretty bead, a pebble or a bit of glass, it will come together in the end just fine as long as the reflection in that mirror continues to bask in the glow of the light.



[1] From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  2011


Friday, January 28, 2011

The Quest for Better Education Leads to a Mom behind bars


A parents job is to nurture, protect, do and give the best we can for our children, is it not? I am baffled by the recent events that occurred in Akron, OH.  For those that haven’t heard, a mom by the name of Kelley Williams-Bolar was arrested and sentenced to 10 days in jail for “falsifying documents” allowing her daughters to attend a school in a better neighborhood.  Let it be known, that the children’s grandfather resides in the neighborhood where this “better school” is located.

They say that Justice is Blind…in this case I believe justice was Blind, Deaf and Mute!  Now I am not advocating that everyone go breaking laws just to suit their needs, but really, a 10 day jail sentence and charged with multiple felony counts? Really? Really?  What was this judge thinking? There are better ways to make an example of someone, not to mention better ways to spend tax dollars for the citizens of Akron, OH.  While we are on the topic of tax dollars, let’s examine the school board’s response to the outrage once this story broke out; the school board cited that the reason for their investigation, yes you read this correctly, their investigation (how much of Akron’s tax dollars went into this, is yet to be made public), was because the residents of this affluent neighborhood pay taxes to support the schools in the area.  This has got to win the award for one of the weakest, explanations for targeting the under privileged I have heard to date.  Tax dollars? In case I missed something here, tax dollars were spent to prosecute a mother seeking to give her kids an opportunity to succeed, excel in a school where resources flow freely for educational tools, where her children can go to school without having to worry about the atmosphere and troubles in their assigned school zone.

So let’s say for arguments sake, we go along with the “tax dollar” excuse, need the school board be reminded that the grandfather of these children lives in the neighborhood and has been paying taxes that support this school.  This grandfather has been paying taxes for school children to be educated with the best possible chance of success in his neighborhood and he has no young children that even attend the school.  Why would it be so horrible if his hard earned tax dollars, which he is already paying mind you, go towards the education of his grandchildren?  Does anyone else see the “big hole” in the school board’s story? Or is it just me?

Now many are accusing the school board of racism, but I’ll go further and say that it may not only be that but separation of class or economic status (as is more “pc” to say today) as well.  Are only the affluent worthy of a top-notch education? Should anyone be denied the same opportunities because their families may not be able to afford the big houses and fancy cars that go along with the ritzy neighborhoods? Are families in the inner-cities to be valued less? Is the message here, if you earn less you’re worth less? (Pun intended). I think not!

What does this whole situation say about the sad state of affairs our nation’s educational system is in? To me, it speaks VOLUMES.  To say that “the world isn’t fair” in this case is nothing but a “cop-out”, it’s the equivalent to burying our heads in the sand and ignoring the issue.  People will argue that what this mother did was wrong, that she is showing her children how to circumvent the system; what I see here is an act of selflessness, a parent willing to do whatever it takes to give her children a chance at a future just as bright as any of those other children in that neighborhood.  I’ve heard comments made that “running” from these troubled schools and enrolling children in “good schools” isn’t the answer. “Fight or flight” this case shows it’s one and the same, fighting for a better education and fleeing to a better school. Perhaps, more parents should do this, leave our troubled, severely budget deprived local schools, “invade” and overcrowd the “good schools”. Perhaps this is the only way school boards across the nation will “get the hint” and finally realize what it’s like to have overcrowded classrooms, budgets spread so thinly that copy paper, pencils, textbooks and other learning tools become “hot commodities”; maybe then, they will understand what those “troubled” schools have to contend with in order to educate “the less fortunate”. 

This poses the question: Why aren’t all schools “good” schools? Why aren’t all schools provided the resources to provide a world class education?

There are lessons to be learned here:

1.      Break the law and there are consequences, but PLEASE let the “punishment fit the crime”. If they wanted to “make an example” out of this mom for falsifying documents and not paying the taxes owed, they could have set up community service in that very school district; a price I’m sure this mother and any other caring parent would be willing to pay. (I know that I’m not above cleaning classrooms or toilets, if it meant my children could attend a better school)

2.      Children deserve to be afforded great opportunities in order to achieve greatness. There is no excuse for separation of economic status when it comes to education, it’s not right and we cannot turn a blind eye any longer.

3.      “Fight or Flight”, “fight the good fight”, our children need us, not just our biological children, but children across this nation need us. It’s not someone else’s problem, it’s our problem and we had better put on our thinking caps, stop drawing lines in the sand and own up to it.

If we don’t work together to show our kids they are valued, then the future and its consequences due to our lack of action is more than I can bear. We need to make intelligent choices, if not, what’s next, death row sentence for making our kids eat their vegetables?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Society needs GPS, we've certainly lost direction.

In light of recent events in Tucson, AZ once again I take time in my busy life to truly count my Blessings.  Yet again, it was “just another ordinary day” for many people in that city.  Let me start by saying that my prayers go out to the families that were directly affected.  I cannot even imagine the pain and hurt Christina Taylor Green’s family (the 9yr old girl who died that day) is going through and all the healing that will need to take place in the years or even decades to come.

I am always happy to hear the updates on the progress Rep. Gabby Giffords is making.  She was there amongst “the people”, reaching out to the community, meet and greets, answering concerns of the people she represents.

I am even saddened by the pain the family of shooter must be feeling. They also must be going through the “why did this happen?” as most of us are wondering as well.

How is it that the greatest nation in the world cannot seem to disagree without violence? Now I’m not sitting here with “rose-colored glasses”, I know that throughout history there have been turbulent times, marches that turn into riots when protestors get out of hand, cowards who prey on the unsuspecting public, it seems never ending but it still does not make sense to me. 

We’ve all had a “heated” discussion or disagreement but does it ever need to escalate to such a level where innocents lose their lives? No, it does not.

Another question that continues to come up is whether or not if “the average Joe” would have received the same media attention and superb medical treatment as Rep. Gabby Giffords.  Again, I am overjoyed at the progress of her healing, but I just can’t help but wonder…if that was my neighbor, your neighbor, a paycheck to paycheck citizen, a homeless person caught in the cross-fire, would all the same resources be available? The very fact that this question even has to be asked is embarrassing and troubling to me. (And I don’t doubt that somewhere out there someone else was probably asking themselves this very question) In a “perfect” world, this wouldn’t even exist, but then again, this world is far from perfect these days. 

Another thing I just cannot comprehend is how or why we as individuals, a nation tend to focus so intently on the negativity around us.  I don’t proclaim to be the poster child for positive thinking all day, every day, but I try daily to get myself in that mind frame and more and more want to believe that there is more good than bad in the world. Does that make me foolish or optimistic?  I struggle, just like most, but there has to be a way to “agree to disagree” to “hear out” others around us without shutting out possibilities for change, for improvement, without killing each other.

There will always be disagreements, neighbor vs. neighbor, students & teachers, parents & children, Republicans & Democrats. How can we look our children in the face, preach to them to “work it out”, “get along” when adults have such a bad track record at this? 

How do we begin to “get there from here”? These events bring forth more questions than answers, but can we turn this into an opportunity to be open to working towards bettering ourselves, our families, our communities, our nation and God willing our world?...


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Organic vs. Preservatives & Pesticides

It’s all the rage these days…you hear it everywhere – Organic or Preservatives & pesticides?

How about we go a step further and ask ourselves this question…NOT about our foods, but about our lives.

Are we living “organically” or are we filling up our lives with useless time consuming “preservatives” making everything last longer than it should & look pretty on the outside? Are we using excuses like “pesticides” and telling ourselves it’s for our own good?

Think about it for a minute, how many of us are truly living life as we should? Are we truly happy?  Do we just exist in “obligation mode” doing one thing after another just because it has to get done? What the hell kind of living is that?  Now, I’m not advocating to release yourself of all your responsibilities like caring for your needs or that of your family…no, you should still work or go to school and pay your rent / mortgage, because Lord knows, YOU’RE not staying here with me without a J-O-B.  (LOL). So all my friends and family better keep their jobs and stay in their OWN houses…(LOL)

What I’m wondering is how many of us, really get to know ourselves before diving head first into other relationships or the labels society (and sometimes we do it too) places on us, like parent, child, student, employee, wife, mother, etc. Did we take time to cultivate our talents, our curiosities? Is there a time when people just give up, and why?

Is it ok to dream the impossible dream in adulthood? Remember that grand imagination and the “nothing can get in my way” attitude we had in our youth? Dreaming is great if it doesn’t get in the way of life, right? But can you really live a life without a dream? 

You always hear about being true to yourself (organic); doing what you love, but what if you love SO many things? How do you narrow that down & if you do, are you cheating yourself out of something potentially great? I often ask myself how many other people feel like there are not enough lifetimes to get it all done. Does anyone else out there “go with the flow”, “go through the motions” just because its easier than having that “check & balance” conversation with yourself and laying it all out there? Those are the “preservatives” I’m talking about, the “let me just do this” to make the peace, the “I’d better just go” because I have to.  How many of us hide behind our excuses? Ok, fine, I’ll say it…I’ve done it more than once. How about you? You can get through it for a while and if you have a shred of “sense of self” that nagging feeling comes to haunt you like a pimple coming to the surface on school picture day; its big, its there, staring you right in the face and like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction it “won’t be ignored”!!!

I can speak for myself, right now if there was such a thing as “career-oriented” ADD, I’d be the one to have it. Seriously, I’ve made lists, I’ve talked to people, I’ve prayed and prayed some more, I’ve cried, I’ve gotten angry at my jobs, at my bosses and at myself.  I guess putting it nicely and as comically as I can, my list of things I have done would have some peoples head spinning, it’s like following a road map with 97 loopdy-loops.

So I will wake up another day, take a long hard look at myself and ask…who are you? What have you learned from what you’ve done thus far? And where do we go from here?...


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Celebration Tree

It’s January 16, 2011 and yes, my Christmas tree is STILL up. Yes, I know...It’s the middle of January and my tree is still up.
It’s an artificial tree but the emotions derived from its presence are anything but.
It was my first white tree, much like a blank canvas, I suppose that is the spark that started it all in the first place. The creative soul in me just had to have it; so up it went, the lights, like the sparkling stars in a beautiful night’s sky, the shiny bulbs reflecting the light and all the little extras that made it “just right”.
Now I know the tree has become the symbol of the Christmas season, the birth of Christ, the good in mankind, the hope for better days. My question to you is … “why stop there?”…just because the calendar says so? …No, not for me. I like the way it makes me feel and I’m not ready to “take it all down and put it away in a box”; to be contained until someone deems it proper to bring out again.
It’s become more than a “Christmas tree” to me this year. It’s a reminder to celebrate, to reflect, and to take a moment to enjoy the glow.
Listen, life can be hard, this simple little tree is a big reminder that I am not alone in life’s struggles, in its twists and turns and unexpected moments.
Whatever you believe…in God, the Universe, in Mother Earth, the knowing, and the blind faith that something, someone much bigger than us can help us through is of great comfort to me.
Right now, it’s not a Christmas tree, it’s become my “Celebration tree”, it’s been there while we brought in the New Year, and it will still be up throughout the month of January as we celebrate both of my lovely daughters’ birthdays. Perhaps, I’ll hang Valentines and cupids on it in February or President’s Day momentos my little one makes at school.  We’ll have shamrocks and leprechuans in March along with spring flowers and Easter eggs as we go into April.
Maybe, just maybe, we’ll celebrate the most random or “everyday” things, like finishing all the homework or getting dinner on the table on time and no one complaining, or even rejoice in the fact that the dog didn’t steal a piece of chicken from anyone’s plate.
Who says that the calendar has to dictate what, when and how I choose to celebrate, acknowledge and experience the moments in MY life …in my family’s life.
No, it’s “not normal”, it’s not conventional, but then again, anyone who REALLY knows me knows how I struggle with the whole “fitting into the norm” thing…who wants that? A world full of all the same, no quirky differences; So there it is, that simple little tree in the corner shining bright in the darkness of the room, the flood of emotions that fill me as I gaze upon it…the peace, the glowing lights, the sheer joy brings forth hope, excitement and anticipation of a new day--- a new beginning.
The great reminder of how I felt all those years ago, as a small child on Christmas morning.  I want that--- I need that… to greet each day with the same hopes and excitement as a child greets the long awaited Christmas morning.
So there my tree stands, to remind me of my Blessings, to remind me to greet each day with joy and eagerness, to be open to what God lays before me, to rejoice in whatever brings a smile to my face, to fully experience this life of mine, to take the good with the bad, ride the highs and hang tight through the lows.
So I sit here in the room enjoying the glowing lights on this tree—our “Celebration tree” , with a renewed spirit and determination to enjoy the life I’ve been given, be who I am, have the fearlessness and wonder of a child--- ready to do more than merely exist, to experience and be engaged in the moments of my life.
Yes, it’s January 16, 2011 and my tree is still up.