Saturday, March 31, 2007

Baby Wash

Today the sun came out and stayed out ! What a blessing since it was moving day and also baby laundry day. I did the baby wash today for Melanie. It was great fun hanging up rows of diapers and tiny "onesies" Melanie has lots of pink print diapers which just make me smile to look at them.
99% of the moving is done. Emery is finished putting in a new sub floor in the bathroom and tonight I put the tiles down.
I made the young men a triple batch of rice crispy treats for all their hard work helping Melanie and Casi.
Its a pretty safe bet to say that everyone will sleep well tonight !

Friday, March 30, 2007

Baby Bunny in an Egg

A few years ago, 2001 to be exact, I purchased this Anne Geedes baby bunny in an egg. It's just one of my all time favorite Easter decorations. The little face looks so real, so new born baby like and she fits perfectly in the egg when its time to put her away after the holiday.

This week I am hoping to get some of my decorations up for the holiday. I am running behind on so many things right now.

Storms are all around us again tonight. The news is all about the rainfall and the damage done from flooding in some areas. Tomorrow, which is the big moving day for Melanie and Casi, is supposed to be nice weather. Just what we needed. We have had about 5 inches of rain in the last two days, so we are ready for some sunshine.

'Tis Spring

The day is as young as a newborn child;

The morning air is clear and mild.

Flowers are brilliantly blooming nearby

And welcome a visit from a butterfly.

A sligh, caring breeze blows through the trees

Giving soft motion to all the new leaves.

Clouds appear in front of my eyes

And form puffy pillows in bright blue skies.

A bird sings its song, as if to say,

"Thank you, Lord, for this beautiful day."

Shirley Ester

Dothan, Alabama

The Value of Wisdom

We live in a society that doesn’t really value wisdom. We seem to want to find out for ourselves what works and what doesn’t. Learn by hard knocks.
When I think about a wise person, woman or man, I have strong visuals. For me, a wise woman should be older, and I always see them with long gray or white hair. I am sure this comes from watching movies, reading books and a good imagination.
Wisdom comes from experience and experience comes with age. When I think of a wise man, my mind see’s clearly the stereotypic figures of a wise old monk, a medicine man, sage etc offering advice and the touch of a well weathered hand. It kinda seems weird to think of a wise man or wise woman having botox or having hair color from a bottle. We expect them to have risen above such things.
A sage is someone who has spent time figuring out life, learning, collecting wisdom and then the most important aspect, someone willing to share this wisdom with the goal of helping, no personal agenda, no baggage attached to it. Just sharing what is important, after all is said and done and what works.
I guess my thoughts today come in part from this inner struggle regarding dying my own hair. Such a simple thing really but it has ramifications, it says something, it speaks about how I view my own aging. I enjoy good health, vigor and lots of energy. That has nothing to do with aging, it has to do with my health, how I take care of myself and a bit of my genetics. But, I do know I am getting older, my childbearing years are over, I have entered into the third stage of womanhood, and I have no real desire to try to stay where I am, but to grow more in this life, to seek wisdom, to seek to share what I have learned.
To move beyond myself and take on a mantle of one who has learned a few things in life. 52 is not old, but its not young either. I am content in who I am and where I am and honestly don’t want to try and fool people into thinking I am younger than I am.
When we see the value of aging, the gold that is found in the voices of our elders, we may not feel so desperate to hang onto youth. When we see that with age, wisdom can come and can be shared.
Most of us can share stories of our grandparents and the wisdom they shared with us. The little bits they would share about life, about love, about the weather, about nature, about the nature of mankind, etc. We love those little tid bits and some dedicate a big portion of their writings about these wisdoms. Are we living in such a way that we are gathering wisdom to share with our children and grandchildren ? Think about what you know from life, think about what you experienced, share what worked and what didn’t. That is wisdom.
Be careful of wisdom from folks who have not lived what they teach and act like they have. At best they should at least share their failings and teach what did not work. That is wisdom too.

In other words, don’t get advice on how to cook, from an person with no kitchen.
My first rose of the new year. A perfect Yellow Rose of Texas !

The WHY of things

Last night I woke up around 1 am and looked out the back door to see if the rain had stopped. The sky was a weird pinkish orange, un-natural light from the school yard a few blocks away. I never like it when the sky looks that color. It happens when the air is wet and the sky is cloud filled. The lights carry in the moist air and makes the whole sky look like some Star Trek scene from another planet. For me, its one more of mans footprints that changes things too much. Oh of course I know how good they are for safety and all that, and that they are necessary, but I still don’t like the way they make the world around me look. So artificial. Like a silver Christmas tree.
In that brief moment by the back door, looking out at the pinkish orange sky, it occurred to me that I have had little time to really think lately. There are times and seasons in our lives and this happens to be a busy one, helping the kids get their house ready to move into and then the move, amidst all this rain and dampness. Paint is slow drying, the carpets were shampooed but they are not drying very quickly either, so delay after delay has been the norm. All these things have contributed to my lack of thinking time, that quiet time each day when I just think.
Yesterday I caught a glimpse of the Oprah show and saw it was about Breast Cancer. I started on my normal thought pattern when I saw the subject, “why do so many American woman have breast cancer, compared to other places in the world?” We are quick with treatments and medications to stop the cancer, but so slow in finding out WHY on earth there is so much of it in our nation. Much like western medicine as a whole, fast to treat the symptoms but never looking at WHY the symptoms have arrived. When I consult someone about natural treatments with herbs, I always warn them, herbal medicine takes weeks, or maybe a month or so to show real progress. Most folks want instant cure from any discomfort, so we as a people have medications that work fast, but then you often need to take an additional medication to counteract what the first one did. Or you see an ad on the television from an Lawyer saying, “if you took such and such drug, you may be eligible for a settlement.” followed by a commercial for that very drug. Some drug ads even say things like, “side effects may include death”. But we have demanded instant relief and so they provide drugs that do that, only many of them cause another problem.
Let me state here, I am not against medications and modern medicine, there are some really life saving things out there and we know first hand that without daily medication, our daughter would not be alive. But, we do go a bit overboard as a people, not willing to search for the cause with the same enthusiasm we have for so many other things in this life. Wouldn’t it be great to have a RACE FOR THE CAUSE, so we wouldn’t need to do a Race for the Cure ? If you build a certain kind of bridge and they all break, instead of repeatedly fixing them, and never looking into why they are breaking, it would be wise to find out WHY they keep breaking. Even with the huge weight problem in this country, find out why so many are emotionally eating. Our culture is missing the mark on finding out why children especially are feeling the need to stuff themselves with food. We know and say “its not what you are eating, but what’s eating you”. So why not address the real issues ? I think I know why…ever meet a family that looks great on the outside, so in control and so together looking, only to find out there is some serious problem behind closed doors ? We as a nation want to look good, look in control. Hate to admit that some of the things we do in modern times is not working. We are too rushed, too stressed, too after things, stuff. We are scattered family wise. Family is more than just a husband and wife and a couple kids. It should include aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and the like. There should be a support system of extended family members. In my time, we even knew our neighbors, some were just like extended family.
I don’t have the answers on how to solve all this, but I do know as people, we should all be looking into what really works for us and what doesn’t.
We all need time, time to think, to reason, to come up with solutions. To get beyond the moment and plan.
Its time for me to get some breakfast, get dressed and get to work helping Melanie pack. She is pretty frustrated at not being able to do any work right now. Extended family is important. This weekend, it will be a big family event getting them moved into their new house.
Once again we are now under tornado watch. Another heavy rain day with threat of high winds and large hail. The sky has darkened. People driving by have their headlights on and lights are on in the neighboring homes. The winds are picking up. It is strangely silent outside. The birds have all sought shelter. Thunder just rolled in, breaking the silence.

A Celtic Cross in the front garden

Tibetan prayer flags blowing in the wind

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Break in the Storms

Just around sunset there was a little break in the storm and for a brief moment there was a beautiful rainbow over our land. Clouds quickly rolled in and we had another round of storms and heavy rain. Lightning hit some gas storage tanks about 15 miles from us and caused a terrible fire. I hate having all this gas drilling going on in our area. There are rigs about every mile all around us.
Off to bed now, more storms tomorrow. How blessed we are that no tornados have touched down near us.

Stormy Texas

Storms have made their way into our part of Texas this afternoon. As I write, thunder is rumbling almost continuously. The sky has darkened to the point that lights are needed in the house. But with the storms, comes much needed rain. We are in a two year drought, it would be wonderful to have a rainy spring. Refreshing the earth. Our fruit trees and our grape vines are loaded with tiny fruit as if the bits of rain we have had awakened in them some need to
make up for lost time.
I am so thankful for the rain, but the storm part can just dissolve as far as I am concerned.
Last night, Melanie, Casi, their friend Matt and Emery and I went out for pizza, I got to see the latest ultra-sound pictures of Mei-Ling. They are so clear. You can actually see her hair. There looks like there is a lot of it and its standing straight up ! She is also sticking out her tongue in one picture. We are all so anxious to hold this little miracle, but we are sure willing to wait a month or so to do it. She needs to stay put just a bit longer.
The kids were hoping to get some more things moved to their new house tonight, but with all this rain, its probably going to be put off for a while.
Each and every day I am so thankful for my children and how much they bless our lives. They have married well, are happy, have made wonderful homes and have done nothing but made our lives richer.
Cutting this short, the lightning is too close now.

More Wildflower Photos

God Made This Day For Me
Edgar Guest

Jes' the sort o' weather and jes' the sort of sky
Which seem to suit my fancy, with the white clouds driftin' by
On a sea o' smooth blue water.
Oh, I ain't an egotist,
With an "I" in all my thinkin', but I'm willin' to insist
That the Lord who made us humans an' the birds in every tree
Knows my special sort o' weather an' he made this day fer me.
This is jes' my style o' weather--sunshine floodin' all the place,
An' the breezes from the eastward blowin' gently on my face;
An' the woods chock full o' singin' till you'd think birds never had
A single care to fret 'em or a grief to make 'em sad.
Oh, I settle down contented in the shadow of a tree,
An' tell myself right proudly that the day was made fer me.
It's my day, my sky an' sunshine, an' the temper o' the breeze--
Here's the weather I would fashion could I run things as I please:
Beauty dancin' all around me, music ringin' everywhere,
Like a weddin' celebration--why, I've plumb fergot my care
An' the tasks I should be doin' fer the rainy days to be,
While I'm huggin' the delusion that God made this day fer me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bluebonnets & Indian Paintbrush

As you can guess, life is pretty busy helping Melanie and Casi get their house ready to move into and also pack up and move in.
I did take some time yesterday to get some pictures of the spring wildflowers. I took these pictures just down the road from my house. I have not seen a yellow paintbrush before so was thrilled to get some pictures of one.
I took lots of pictures but had only time to load these for now.
Melanie had a Doctors visit today and all is well. The baby is doing great. She has some new ultra sound pictures that they say are fantastic. Hope to share them with you later.
I am off to do a bit more painting and clean some.
Today, its no glamour, just a tee shirt with paint on it and capri's that are multicolored from all the painting. What a sight !

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"The Secret"

Its been a while since I posted anything from "The Secret". Reading the book and watching the DVD has totally changed my outlook on life and time and time again, putting the wisdom from this book into practice has proved to work. I heard on the news that some folks are foregoing medical treatment and just using the teachings in the book as a way to treat their illnesses. "The Secret" does not advocate dropping life saving medication or medical attention for acute situations, it states just the opposite for acute situations, (page 126)
For some that hear about such things, it has caused a mentality close to the book burning days, but I think we all have heard stories much the same regarding Faith Healing and even natural treatments. Balance in life is always best and even then, in this country, we have the freedom to choose our treatments for the most part. I would not begin to say there is only one right choice for all, under every circumstance. There is no one choice for all.
Anyway, I can tell you something, what Emery and I are putting into practice from the book has worked. Even down to the small details of finding good parking places. It has taken a lot of work to change old mindsets and thought patterns.
The world seems so full of opportunities and potential when you look at life this way.
I hesitate to share this story because it seems a bit over the top but its the truth. I have been having some hip pain, no doubt a strained muscle or something from all the painting etc. I spoke my intention to feel good again and within two hours something totally miraculous happened. I remember seeing the words on the screen of the DVD saying, ASK, BELIEVE and RECEIVE and that is what I did. Sitting on the couch, I felt a spasm that I can only equate to when I was well into my pregnancy and the girls turned over. My whole mid section moved. I was frightened at first then thought, no this is a good thing, and at the very moment, in an instant, my hip pain left and never came back. I was healed of the pain. Now, I am not one of those emotionally charged sort of people that buys into any of that "I've been healed" sort of tent revival kind of stuff. I am the doubter in the camp .
But now, I knew my intention, this positive thought, this prayer for health would be answered. What happened was profound and instant and I knew right away, at the same exact moment, in both my heart and my brain, , that my intention spoken for being healed of the pain and feel fine again was granted. I asked, I believed and I received.

Dr John Hagelin, Quantum physicist and public policy expert says...." Our body is really the product of our thoughts. We're beginning to understand in medical science the degree to which the nature of thoughts and emotions actually determines the physical substance and function of our bodies.

I love the stories that many of you have emailed me of amazing happenings in your life since putting "The Secret" into practice .

The morning sky
Rain drops hanging off the fence

Just Thinking, And Self Checking

Living in a small town affords one the opportunity to watch folks for years and learn from their actions.
Rather slowly, and insidiously, my collection of exercise clothes has spilled over into every day wear. You know, the elastic waist pants, the big baggy tee shirts. No style. Anyone could wear them. The very items I wrote about some time ago on my blog when I talked about “getting the man out of my closet” have made their way back in.
Once again, I am getting rid of the unisex clothing and dressing more feminine.
Its so easy to fall back into lazy habits, so much easier than making changes that take some daily effort on our part. Same with dieting. Its easier to be lazy and have no resolve to change. Same with Positive thinking, it takes effort, daily, until it becomes habit.
No doubt I will never be a fashion queen, its not my nature to care so much about clothing that its on my mind a lot, but watching a neighbor mow the other day shed some light on my current clothing choices.
We have a man in town that is super nice. A bit odd, but really nice. He fixes things for people and has a heart of gold. Unmarried, always hoping to find Miss Right though.
But here is the catch, he is a slob. His hair is always wild, his cloths, baggy, sloppy, certainly never stylish. He drives old vehicles, lives in a house that is also his shop. Not a place to sit or be comfortable. Anyway, I watched him mow and thought to myself, appearance is rather a shallow form of judging a man or woman but…..there is that “but”.
But, appearance tells you something about a person. Like this man, sweet as can be but out of whack when it comes to having his life in order. No woman wants a man that looks like he rolled out of bed with his clothes on and never combs his hair, it says something about how he orders his life. Now, as I was thinking all this, there I was in a baggy old tee shirt, and paint splattered pants on. Not even sure I had combed my hair that morning. My socks were black, my shoes orange, my pants navy blue and my shirt was red. Frightening ! Admittedly, I was painting at the time, but there are days that the look is similar with no reason except laziness on my part, no its not really laziness, its more this thing of comfort and having favorite comfortable things, that happen to NOT match well.
This moment in time, when I realized that I could be portrayed much the same as this neighbor of ours, just a bit out of whack, kind of set me back a step or two in the lane of reality. Ouch ! Did my neighbors and friends see me like I saw this neighbor of ours?
Hope not, but the possibility did exist that I was setting a less than good example of womanliness.
So here I sit this morning, second day of realization regarding the man getting back in my closet along with some lazy habits. Yesterday, I styled my hair, put on a dress, nice shoes, changed my purse to match. Put on a bit of make-up. Noticed the gray hair showing and thought about my post on aging and felt totally torn. Maybe when its all gray I will not dye it. Maybe now I should opt to hide the skunk stripe in the front ? Its not an attempt to hide my age, but what is it then ? Feels a bit like putting on make-up to hide a blemish. My hair is neither gray or brown. Its Grawn or maybe that is Broay.
Anyway, I took care in my appearance yesterday. I was still comfortable. It took no time really. I had a healthy French Woman breakfast. Listened to Josh Groban. Headed off with Melanie to buy some paint. Stopped by to see my love in life and here is the best part. Emery came to the door of his work place, smiled so big and said, “you look beautiful today”. Aaaawwwwwwwwwww ! That was enough for me to know I had fallen off the look nice bandwagon and had to get back on. One can combine comfort and looking like a lady. Of course, I behave better eating wise when I am dressed nice too. If it had not been for our neighbor, reminding me that I could be like him, then today might just be another baggy cotton day.
I wandered around the land this morning, camera in hand. Rain drops stubbornly holding on to the plants and grasses. Patches of blue showing in the sky. Clouds running races across the morning sky.
Asparagus reaching out of the ground like the long fingers of the Jolly Green Giant.
Baby grapes and apricots growing before my eyes like time lapsed photography. Mullein turning up everywhere. Garlic growing in the spiral pattern that I planted them in, making me smile just to see this labyrinth of green. Shallots in little bouquets. Red cabbage leafs, roof tops to tiny fairies. Wisteria dripping sweet blossoms, lavender and white. Rose bushes full of buds, giving me visions of vases full of color and fragrance.
Hollyhock leaves poking out from the earth. Lilies in bloom. Just another wonderful day. Probably time to watch, Under the Tuscan Sun again, to renew my commitment to living spherically and with childlike enthusiasm. To seize the moment !

Monday, March 26, 2007

Growing Older and Liking it

Yesterday, Emery took me out for lunch to our favorite Chinese restaurant. We needed a break from the hard work we had been doing, so a leisurely lunch sounded perfect for us. There were some people going in the restaurant before us, a young couple, probably around 30 with what I am assuming to be his grandmother. They were not American born folks and I will explain why I even mention this fact as I go along. The young couple held hands with the grandmother, beamed with pride to anyone looking their way. Held the door for her as if she was the queen. It was 100% sincere respect and more than that, love and a word we hardly use any more, honor. The grandmother was tiny, full of wrinkles, had hair pulled back tightly, wore clothes that were neat and tidy but a bit ethnic and certainly not chic by modern standards. You had the idea she had worn much the same style most of her life. The young couple proudly walked with this elder as if they had the most prized possession on earth with them. Tears filled my eyes for the sheer beauty of this love and respect. I had seen a similar thing one time at Wal-Mart when I was waiting in line to get fabric cut. A group of young people, maybe early 20's, about 6 of them, with a tiny old lady, maybe their great grandmother. Same nationality as the couple I saw yesterday. The elder woman was needing some white fabric and the young people stood near her, helping, holding even the thread she needed. She was their queen. They softly asked if this was what she wanted or that. She spoke back to them kindly and her eyes were filled with pride for these young ones attending to her every need. She too was wrinkled and dressed old fashioned. No face life for her and probably no fancy night creams. No hair dye either. Her gray hair was her crown. She didn't run from aging, she wore it as a mantle of pride and for that she was respected. Both women walked with head held high. You could tell they had worked hard in life, but were respectable for many reasons and one was their age.
I thought about these two woman much of the day yesterday. We don't see much of that kind of reverence for elders in our culture. But maybe that's because most folks keep running from aging. We keep turning from it, trying to avoid it, feel ashamed of it, try to erase it. How would our young people ever know to respect it, since we ourselves don't.
I think we all have a duty to be our best physically. Stay healthy and in good shape, but not so sure about this demand for the fountain of youth. I think we should dress with care and look our best, but to fight something that is part of life, well that is sorta sad.
Men don't seem so caught up in this battle to retain a youthful look. At least not to the same extent. We talk as woman about equal rights with men etc, but we sure have not come to the same place as they are when it comes to aging and looking our age.
Yeah I know about the men who get face lifts etc but by far they are not the majority. We as woman accept men for the changes that take place as they age. We vote in presidents that have gray hair and wrinkles. But if a woman runs, she would have to look like a magazine cover. Seems like some sort of double standard to me. We as woman are not accepting our body changes with age as men do. It is not equal and we are reinforcing this way. The ads for staying young are not geared to men. Why ? They wouldn't buy into such madness.

I say, rebel ! Accept and respect your changes. Cause if we don't accept and respect ourselves, then no one else will and we will pass on this mad race to fight nature on to our daughters, our grand-daughters.
I loved seeing this couple yesterday with their grandmother. She was honored for what she was, a woman who had done much, seen much and lived much. She was loved for just what she was, an elder who was wise beyond those who held her hand. She was respected for holding her head up high, even with her wrinkles and age clearing showing on her face and hands.
We as Americans could learn something from this....we could learn to like aging and respect ourselves enough to not want to run from the appearance of growing older.
Just imagine, if nothing else, waking up in the morning, looking in the mirror, washing your face and loving it. Imagine not having to put on anti-aging stuff, dying your hair, spending countless dollars on trying to be younger looking than reality. Try to imagine, the freedom of being like a man in America, who does so little to fight age showing on his face and then maybe you can imagine true equality in that aspect of life. I am not much of a woman's libber, but on this subject I think we could do well with our own attitudes changing.

Couldn't seem to get a picture to load, so this post is sans photo

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Another Busy Day

Once again I woke up with my feet running. Laundry to do, mowing to be done under the clothesline, (this rainy weather has really made the grass grow fast) We found a snake out front so I was not about to go barefoot to hang clothes in the tall grass. Then off to Melanie's house to paint and get a few things done. Ended up mowing her half acre while I was there too. My sneakers are bright green from grass stains. Good thing they are the old pair.

The babies room is all painted. Just some trim and then wash and wax the hardwood floors. I am tired, that bone weary kind of tired. That's not a bad thing in my book, its a good thing. Gives you a sense that you have worked hard.

The wild flowers are appearing in this part of Texas. I saw some blue bonnets and Indian Paint brushes along the road side. A tiny grape Hyacinth appeared on my front lawn today so I snapped a picture of it. I am looking forward to a long hike where wildflowers dot the landscape with color. Our part of Texas is full of wildflowers of so many varieties. What a blessing to see them along every road side, even on a simple trip to town.

Time for me to get myself some food. I sure could go for a nice relaxing French meal about now. Complete with a glass of chilled wine.

Sunshine and Nature !

A walk in nature provides you with lots of insight. When I was wandering around this morning, I saw enough to let me know, that just about anyone could have invented the wheel. Its everywhere in the natural world for us to see. Ants homes, the sun, the moon, oranges, some rocks, flower heads, and on and on. We mimic nature in so many ways, the colors we choose for our rooms, the paintings we hang, the wallpaper designs we hang in our homes etc. Yet so few people go out and enjoy the real thing on a regular basis. Malls are almost always busy, but I have never had to wait in line at the state park to get on the trail and to be honest its almost a surprise when someone passes by on a trail. There just are not many people out there.

In my little town, people walk. Its common to see 30 people pass by my house on any given day, just walking. We recently had a visitor at the house that lives in the city and she asked, "is everyone in this town health conscious or something, there are so many people walking by?"

For the most part there are a lot of people concerned about their health in this town, but there is also a love for being outside in nature. Its a spiritual thing, to connect with God in the great outdoors.

Even if you live in a big city, you can look up at the clouds or watch the cycle of the seasons show themselves on the trees. And most folk can drive to a bit more "uncivilized" area to just sit in the majesty of natures blessings. You see this is part of the simple living thing. It costs next to nothing to walk along a trail or sit on a rock and just observe. But it takes time to get acquainted with silence or the quiet sounds of nature. In that space of being, we have to be alone with our own thoughts. We tend to look inside and there is nothing to do but be real with yourself and that makes some folks a bit frightened.

My parents were not the hiking type. Not the sit on the floor and play with their kids type either. It was the way with that generation for most folks. But they loved car rides and we would take off to the wilds and drive past so many beautiful scenes. We would picnic on the roadside where you could smell the woods or an ocean breeze. I loved those moments of being out in nature so much more than the hours of driving, but even the driving gave me a glimpse of the beauty awaiting to be explored when I was grown.

Children flourish in an environment filled with hikes and long walks along the beach. It stretches their mind, they think about deep things, they ask profound questions and they learn that you can be amused without having a toy or gadget in their hands.

Our children would always bring home some bit of fallen bark, a rock, a stick or some such thing. A treasure. They could look at that item and remember the fun of running along a trail, or standing at some body of water, skimming stones with their daddy. Relationship building times. Not time along sitting at the computer or playing some game on their XBox. Emery and I can stroll along, talking about life. No man made distractions like television calling us apart. No on your own adventures. Time together, holding hands, laughing, enjoying the same thing.

When the children were little they would see their mommy and daddy holding hands and poke their little hands in between ours. The cost, just the price of getting into the state park, or maybe it was just along the beach and then the cost was nothing.

No hours in a mall, telling little ones you can't have that or buying things we didn't need. Just simple pleasure, making memories and growing up children that didn't need "stuff" to sooth their spirits as adults.

Heading off to paint the nursery for Melanie. The sunshine is wonderful today. Life is good.

So many blessings all around me.
Tuk Tuk is never far from me when I am outside, today he stood watching me from the grape vines !

Friday, March 23, 2007

A Present for Mei-Ling Fah

My Aunt, who happens to be one of the nicest ladies in the world, made a beautiful baby afghan, hat and booties for Mei-Ling. It came in the mail today, all wrapped up in brown paper like a proper package should be. Melanie was so excited opening it, knowing that this gift will be so cherished because each stitch is made with love. Mei-Ling will have a Great-great aunt who is such a special person. And what a beautiful gift for a very special wee one.

Spring is in the Air

Thought I would share some pictures that I took this afternoon. Melanie and I were out wandering around, checking the progress of the garden.
The first picture is the pasture, full of Shepherds purse, followed by some rather romantic ladybugs.
Next is just a pretty dandelion so bright and yellow. Ready to be picked with a handful of others and made into dandelion syrup
For many years, on and off I have Tibetan prayer flags strung across the yard. I just like the idea of my prayers being carried on the wind. My old ones had completely disintegrated from the elements so this week we put up new ones in two locations around the place.
For the most part my day has been rather simple.
Quiet afternoon, spent chatting with Melanie and talking with Melissa on the phone. I sure miss her !
Toes toasty warm in knit socks, a big mug of coffee, sipped while watching the rain fall and finally able to load pictures onto the blog.

Thinking Blogger Award

Two very kind folk have nomintated Morning Ramble and Daily Wanderer for the Thinking Blogger Award. To be honest it kind of surprised me and most certainly flattered me. I am humbled by this attention.

I will spend some time thinking about the 5 blogs I consider to be Thinking Blogs. I have a good idea of which ones they are, but I just want to think about what I want to say about them. Hopefully tonight I will get that done.

So, Aisling of thank you for your kind words and a bow of gratitude to you.
and Rapunzel of bowing to you also in humble thanks.

The Garden and The Doctor, Two Very Different places

The sun has been hiding for the past few days, but still things are growing quickly in the warm spring air. Tiny grapes are appearing, along with plums and peaches. Potatoes plants are up and looking healthy.
Blackberries are in bloom and shallots have poked up from the rich brown soil. All with such promise for our family to enjoy in the coming months. This garden of ours is such a blessing, such a refuge when one needs a place to feel refreshed and hopeful.
Melanie had an appointment with her doctor today and I was shocked at what a negative man he is. He told tale after tale of horror stories to Melanie of all the things that can go wrong at birth. Certainly not the words to set an anxious new mom to be at ease.
The baby is fine, kicked the Doctor a few times and to be honest I thought to myself, “you go girl” he deserves a good kick. I understand the need to inform patients, I do, but this man has done nothing but paint the grimmest pictures for her and Casi, time after time, where the big city specialist, did nothing but congratulate them on doing so well and shared with them his optimism. He was wise and peppered his conversation with the truth and the concerns but not a full visit of the grim reaper talk.
I suspect in all walks of life there are folks that walk on the half empty side of life but I am not sure they know the effect of this on others. Its their own “woe is me” walk pushed onto the nearest listener. However, we have the choice to listen or not let it even go past the frontal lobe.
I felt bad for Melanie today in the office, she looked like my little girl. Tired worn out and a bit defenseless from the last week she has had. I sat there and forced him to be honest about what he was saying. The reality of his facts, they are extremely rare. He made them sound like a sure bet. I cornered him a couple times and he backed down. Mother hen was defending her chick, Yes, she is a married woman and quite capable of handling herself, but she is worn down, stressed, worried, and tired beyond tired. This man, in his scrubs did nothing to encourage her. I did damage control on the way home. I reminded her of the good things the specialist had told her. I pointed out this Doctors inconsistencies in his comments today and then we went out for breakfast, stopped by to see our husbands and had a good laugh.
Its so much better to look on the bright side of things. In life, what we worry about, often never takes place and even if it does, its usually not as bad as we imagined in our heads.

Life can be full of hope, if you choose it to be. It is for me, and our thoughts become reality, and I would much rather have happy thoughts.

potato plant in my garden

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thursday Thoughts

All day long I have tried to load pictures onto my blog but to no avail. I think its my ISP.
Its been another busy day painting and working on Melanie and Casi’s home. Tonight Steven and Priscilla came over to help too and Priscilla brought the entire evening meal with her for us. What a sweet daughter in law she is. She made a wonderful casserole, vegetable, deviled eggs and for dessert, cake and ice cream.
I feel so blessed to have such good kids.
This morning I worked some in the garden before heading off with Melanie to work on the house. I planted some herbs, and a few tomato plants. Also discovered some asparagus had come up and munched that up before I ever cooked it. Love it raw if its just been picked. Asparagus is a wonderful diuretic along with tasting so good.
Walking around the garden today made me so grateful for the things we can grow. Fo Ti is coming up nicely this year. I should have enough to share some with Melanie for her fence line. A great Chinese herb that is a good tonic for men.
The lilac bush is providing me with so many pretty blooms to cut for putting around the house. The wisteria is just beginning to bloom, its soft sweet scent wafting in through the open window. Nature is a gift to us. Soothing our busy lives with its beauty if we take time to look at it.
It is late and bed is calling me. Another long day and tomorrow will be much the same.
I am so full of gratitude for my strength and health.
I am also very grateful for some very dear friends who made life a bit easier for a loved one today. Thank you !

Freshly picked Asparagus
Lilacs from my garden

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

Now that Melanie is out of the hospital and their little house is waiting for them to move in, it’s a new kind of busy for us all. Emery and Casi are working on the big projects and Melanie and I are concentrating on the fun stuff like decorating. I sat Melanie in a chair, gave her strict orders to do nothing more than paint a tiny spot in the kitchen, while I painted some walls.
Melanie has planned well, she has a notebook filled with pictures of rooms and then paint samples to show us what color to paint where.
We hope to have them moved in there in a bit over a week.

I am still getting used to using Microsoft Vista, it’s a bit different but I suspect that in time I will be convinced life is better with it than without it. I LOVE my new computer. Its just fantastic and every day I learn something new about it.

Emery is on his way home and has plans to take me out for supper. Sounds good to me. I am tired.
Life just keeps getting better. Melanie is feeling good, Melissa got her package from us and she loved the Cinco De Mayo dress we found for her party and is enjoying the chocolate we put in the box too, maybe she will share with James: )
Steven and Priscilla heard the babies heartbeat on their last visit to the midwife, and Casi and Melanie will get all settled in their new home before the baby comes.

Will try to write a bit more later…

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Way Women Work

First off I want to let you know there is no connection between the picture tonight and the subject. Its just there are not a lot of pictures on my new computer yet, so the choices are rather limited.
Now onto the subject at hand. Tonight, I had a real “light bulb” moment as Oprah calls them.
Emery, Melanie, Casi and I went out for pizza tonight and then made our evening complete by heading off to the only store of any size in town, Wal-Mart. As Emery and I were standing in line ready to pay, there was a couple behind us, probably in their late 40’s or so. The woman did something that struck me as 100% womanly and to be honest a bit funny…simply because I work in the exact same manner and I believe most of us do when it comes to asking for an opinion from the man in our life about some purchase choice.
Here is how it went. The woman saw some dog chew toys in a display at the register area. She said, “oh we need to get the dog a new one of those things, one that doesn’t pick up leaves.” The man sort of nodded. I wasn’t really paying much attention at this point, but soon my attention was on nothing else as I saw clearly just how we women work. She pulls out four different toys, two furry and fluffy, pink stuffed things, surely the kind that would attract leaves like a magnet to them. Then a half stuffed one, there was a practical piece in the middle, then a very nubby plastic ring, yellow, functional and surely just what the man would choose out of the ones offered to him for his thought on which was best. Naturally, he picked the yellow nubby one. Naturally that is not the one she liked. It was if she offered it as a choice to be nice, as a token, but clearly with NO plans of letting that be THE ONE. She said, “oh, do you think that one is best, its so plain and so not cute..” He wisely commented with his head held down, “well, dear, its whatever you like”. “ You choose”. At this point she felt a bit unsure of her choice of the pink furry one and went to look back through the display. She pulled out a compromise toy. Stuffed animal like on part of it, but the center was a practical rubber ball thing. She offered that up as a new choice. By this time the man knew better than to really have an opinion. He mumbled something about, “whichever you like dear” and went on to notice the display of tiny tools. She forced him to pay attention by being cute and sweet. He still remained firm in saying, “ whichever you like dear”. He knew he wasn’t going to pick a winner anyway, and after all, the toy was not for him. He was not quite as interested as she was. She put the compromise toy in the basket and they both moved on to another subject.
I was struck by the obvious in this situation. We just ask them what they like without ever meaning to accept their choice if its something we already want ! On the way out of the store, I asked Emery if he knew this was the way we women operate and he sorta looked away and said, “oh not really” “ Guess I never noticed” Hummmm, I see, he was on to me. I was playing that same sort of game and he knew he should have the right answer, the one I wanted to hear. No, he wasn’t on to me even if I did such a stupid thing as to point out the way women work sometimes.
Life is fun, isn’t it ? That is a question for woman only, by the way. Men, need not try to answer that one : )

Fried Parsnips

Growing up, one of the best smells to me was when my mom was frying parsnips. I loved how they smelled but I loved the taste much more than that.
Today I fried up some parsnips for the family for lunch. Emery and Casi both came home for lunch and check up on Melanie.

I peel and slice the parsnips into french fry size and fry them in hot oil until they are golden brown, drain on a paper towel and enjoy

A True Morning Ramble

My morning stroll around our land yielded up the most wonderful sights and sounds. In the few days I was unable to take my customary walk, there was an explosion of new life. Tiny apricots now hang to the tree where just a week or two ago, they were tiny white flowers. Lilacs are weighing the bush down, their fragrance filling the air all around me. Buds on the grape vines are now leaves, growing before my eyes. The new grasses, so short just last week are now nearing knee height. Birds flying from branch to branch in search of nesting materials. I wondered what it would be like to not watch the unfolding of the seasons and of each day. Staying inside, away from the glories of nature just isn't an option for me. It is my soul food, my spiritual nourishment.
Melanie and I went to her new house this morning and walked her land, soaking in the colors of spring on this damp morning, the kind of morning that makes everything seem more intense in color but softer in how we soak them into our brain. She reminded me of me. Slow and easy steps as if to watch that nothing under foot gets crushed or trampled. Her eyes searching for tiny bits of beauty along with the great obvious ones. There was talk of where to plant this and where to hang the bird feeder she bought with birthday money. So many plans, life just starting.
If I can think of one gift Emery and I have given our girls it is a love of nature. They were taken on hikes from the time they could hold their heads up, strapped in packs and carried with joy along long winding trails. We stopped often to explain and point out things to them. Melanie actually walked the trails of Muir Woods before her first birthday. For us, that deserved a full page in her baby book. Since Melissa was our first, we probably would not have let her attempt that. We would have thought it too much for a wee one. Since Melissa was walking the woods, Melanie would not have settled to be doing any less, despite their age difference.
I think many of us feel that same way, but in reverse. Despite getting a bit older, there is no way I will settle for not being able to do what I did 30 years ago. There are many aspects to aging that is directly connected to our mindset. My mother in law was old, an old lady by the time she was in her early 50's. She decided to be old and let that attitude win out. I have an Aunt about that same age and she is no where near old. She is vital and strong, keeps up with all the modern technologies and is simply amazing. She decided not to be an old lady and she isn't.
Our thoughts become our reality. Even a lie, spoken long enough can become your truth. I know several folks that reality has long been replaced by delusions, and the delusions have become their new truth. Even documentation will not deter them from seeing things as they really are. I suspect they would even pass a lie detector test because the truth is so lost to them.
On the flip side, good truth, good thoughts can replace negative ones that perhaps were learned as children. Hearing as a child that you are no good, worthless etc can hang with you for ever unless you consciously change that thinking and replace what was a childhood truth that was really a lie, with a new and good truth about yourself.
I once heard someone say that they were the first impression I had of them. Meaning, appreciate and yes, love yourself so that is what you pass on as your first impression to someone else. Show your value, not in conceit, but in acceptance of who you are.
My morning ramble must come to an end, there are the daily chores that are waiting to be done.
This is a new day, this is a day to grab hold of joy and feel it. It is the day to write down 5 things you like about yourself and learn to appreciate who you are.
Tall meadow grasses and such

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Another Day in the Hospital

You know, life is always full of challenges but there are so many more blessings than hard times. I sat most of the day with Melanie, fixing her pillows, attending to her needs, holding her hand when they poked or prodded her and all the while I thought about what a blessing all three of my kids are to me. What joy they give, even when something hard like this is happening. Casi and Emery worked on the house some today, making it ready to be moved into. Melanie was so happy knowing that the two men she loves in this world were making her home ready for her. Trees were planted, fencing put up and tomorrow the babies room will be painted, well at least that is the plan.
Melanie was feeling a bit blue today, thinking about being on bed rest when she wants to be doing so much on their new home and just at that time, Melissa called her. Maybe some sister bond had Melissa call right at that time, whatever, it was perfect timing. Melanie's face lit up and the first smiles of the day formed on her pale face. They talked for quite a while. It did my heart good to see and hear how much love my girls have for each other. Can't ask for much more in life than to be surrounded with loving family. There is so much to be grateful for this weekend. That it appears no blood clots are in the lungs. One more test tomorrow to make 100% certain. That Mei-Ling Fah is strong and feisty. Kicking back at every single person that presses on her mommy's tummy. We feel so very blessed to have a fantastic small town hospital close by, staffed by wonderful, caring people. That modern medicine is available when needed. That we are close by to be at Melanie's side and for Casi and his tender love and care for his new bride. Maybe tomorrow, we will be able to bring Melanie home, feeling better and remain that way until its the right time for Mei-Ling to be born.
We actually found a Hello Kitty balloon that she had never had before !
Casi working on putting up a new fence around their property

Melanie News

Melanie is going to be in the hospital another day. Poor kid is so discouraged. They will be doing more tests tomorrow morning.
If anyone wants to send her an email with an encouraging word or two, here is the address.
Send the message to Melanie Lockwood
Harris Methodist Walls Regional Hospital is the location.
This has been a tough go of it for her.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Melanie's in the Hospital Again !

Last night after our evening meal, Melanie was suddenly unable to breath and felt like someone was sitting on her chest. Her color changed to a ghostly white. Needless to say we rushed her to the hospital. In addition to the other problems, she passed out in the Emergency room from blood pressure too low. The Doctors had concerns that she may have a pulmonary embolism. Test after test was done, some inconclusive, some suggesting that there was a clot. Today a CAT scan was done to find out for sure if that was the problem. We all remained hopeful that all was well and that it was just something simple. The Doctors, all remained hopeful too. By late this evening the results were back, there is NO embolism. It appears there were a few factors causing the symptoms. An upper respiratory infection and a lot of anxiety. Needless to say no one slept last night, and we are all feeling a bit stressed but all is well now and she is resting comfortably in the hospital labor and delivery area. She has had a few contractions but they have stopped now. Perhaps she will be home tomorrow. We feel so incredibly blessed with the good news that it is not a blood clot. Mei-Ling had maintained a good strong heart beat the entire time. Kicking anyone who touches her moms tummy.
I have nothing but praise for all the staff at Walls Regional Hospital. They are all amazingly skilled and compassionate.
We are going to bed tonight counting our blessings. God is good !

Melanie out on a "date" with Casi last week

Friday, March 16, 2007

Losing our Enthusiasm

I am not sure how it happens, but it does. To lots of folks too. People loose their enthusiasm over life.
Are there just that many people out there not living the life they dreamed of or want ? I remember not wanting to go to school perhaps but still waking up each day, excited about a new day. Knowing there would be something new and exciting to face. I had so many dreams as a kid and to be honest I still do. Its kept life fresh for me. I have no concept of life being anything but amazing. Sure there are the days that are not so great, but even in the darkest of days there is always hope. Hope keeps us going, keeps our hearts from sinking into some sort of pit.
If you know me well, you know there are very few times you will hear me say I am discouraged about something. The glass is never half empty for me ! From this, I can honestly say I am happy and feel blessed abundantly, every day.
It takes work, conscious though, to keep looking on the bright side of things. To, as I love to say, "live life with childlike enthusiasm". To see the world ahead of you as a place full of potential and discovery. There are some days I have to do some self talk to keep myself looking at the bright side of things.
I have realized that at age 50 and older, you can still dream and make those dreams come true. You don't have to settle for things staying where you don't want them to be. The world is still out there for us, ready to be discovered.
No need to just sit in the chair saying things like, "I wish things were different". Make them different, if nothing else, start thinking about the things you can do, the ways you can look at life with a more positive attitude. Our feelings are powerful things. If you have someone trying to push your chin down, to make you feel small and insignificant, do little exercises to strengthen yourself so your chin can remain held high, looking up, looking forward.
Dreams are free and for everyone, but they almost always require some inertia to make them reality.
Decide to hold on to the thing that made us full of idealism and hope, enthusiasm !

This mornings sunrise, a new day, full of possibilities

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Its a Thinking Kind of Morning, some thoughts on Anger

There is something about the combination of fog and soft music that sets the stage for me to do some deep thinking. Fog alone seems to make some folks feel pretty pensive and it has that effect on me too, but add some soft music and I am off to thinking some serious stuff.
Not long ago I saw on someone's blog that they were praying that God would bless them so their enemies would see that and see how favored they are or something. I suppose to prove some point to the enemy. Of course for something like that you would have to use an Old testament verse since in the new testament, with the teachings of Christ you would be more likely to consider you have no enemies or at least to pray they become blessed more than you are. As "luck" would have it, their claim to being blessed was sorta hit with a glitch and they became ill. It became a joke among many. The "Pride cometh before a fall" sort of thing. So much for looking blessed more than others. This sort of claim often backfires. So often this sort of behavior is rewarded in this manner simply because our hearts may not be filled with that love that should be part of our lives. "Ha ha look at me", is a saying that rarely works out well.
I am always taken back a bit by the differences in the two covenants. In one, its something to brag about overthrowing your enemies and in the second, you embrace your enemy. The reason I am mentioning this is that this mentality is not rare and its destructive not to the "intendee" ( most often they haven't a clue) but to the one harboring it and feeling it. It steals their joy, the joy from the ones they love and live with.
Harboring discord, a grudge, anger etc can take control of us and leave us acting like people we would never want to know. So often our anger takes on a life of its own and you loose track of what was the starting point of it all. Your imagination creates something far more powerful than the reality of it.
One affirmative thought is hundreds of times more powerful than one negative thought, that has been proved scientifically. The real strength comes in remaining true to what you know is the better road to take.
Personally, I can attest to the truth of that fact regarding the power of an affirmative thought. Being positive lets you maintain control over your own joy and takes others out of the command seat. And we all know that allowing things others have said and done, rule our thoughts and actions, leaves us with more negativity. It's always shocking to me when someone is still holding on to something that took place years ago or even months ago. They are missing out on seeing clearly the joy that stood before them, it is shrouded by the fog of anger.
Not long ago I received an email from someone asking about holding on to anger and wanted to know how to move past that. I have been thinking about this and wondering just what to say.
I was very angry for a couple years about the way my husbands family acted regarding our adopting our two nephews. There was no truth in what they thought were the facts, but they still made life difficult based on their conjured up ideas. The injustice of what they said made me angry.
The only help I found, the only real nitty gritty wisdom on the subject of anger, came from the Dalai Lama's book, "Healing Anger." The wisdom, the solutions, the actions, the rope of hope tossed to me by the words in this book, changed my life 100%.
Sometimes you just have to walk away from people who make you angry but walk away from being angry at them too. Sometimes you just have to put yourself in their situation, imagine you being raised just like they were, living their life and seeing your would probably not act any different. You have to learn to not react to what they say. See it as words only. Not give the words any power over us.

"The destructive effects of hatred are very visible, very obvious and immediate. For example, when a strong or forceful thought of hatred arises, at that very instant it overwhelms one totally and destroys one's peace and presence of mind. When that hateful thought is harboured inside, it makes one feel tense and uptight, and can cause loss of appetite, leading to loss of sleep, and so forth.
If we examine how anger or hateful thoughts arise in us, we will find that, generally speaking, they arise when we feel hurt, when we feel that we have been unfairly treated by someone against our expectations. If in that instant we examine carefully the way anger arises, there is a sense that it comes as a protector, comes as a friend that would help our battle or in taking revenge against the person who has inflicted harm on us. So the anger or hateful thought that arises appears to come as a shield or a protector. But in reality that is an illusion. It is a very delusory state of mind.
.... if one reacts to a situation in a negative way instead of in a tolerant way, not only is there no immediate benefit, but also a negative attitude and feeling is created which is the seed of one's future downfall. From the Buddhist point of view, the consequence of taking revenge has to be faced by the individual alone in his or he future life. So not only is there no immediate benefit, it is harmful in the long run for the individual.
.... at the moment that strong feelings of anger arise, no matter how hard one tries to adopt a dignified pose, one's face looks rather ugly. There is an unpleasant expression, and the vibration that the person sends is very hostile. People can sense it, and it is almost as if one can feel steam coming out of that person's body. Indeed not only are human beings capable of sensing it, but pets and other animals also try to avoid that person at that instant.
These are the immediate consequences of hatred. It brings about a very ugly, unpleasant physical transformation of the individual. In addition, when such intense anger and hatred arise, it makes the best part of our brain, which is the ability to judge between right and wrong and assess long-term and short-term consequences, become totally inoperable. It can no longer function. It is almost as if the person had become crazy. These are the negative effects of generating anger and hatred. When we think about these negative and destructive effects of anger and hatred, we realize that it is necessary to distance ourselves from such emotional explosions. Insofar as the destructive effects of anger and hateful thoughts are concerned, one cannot get protection from wealth; even if one is a millionaire, one is subject to these destructive effects of anger and hatred. Nor can education guarantee that one will be protected from these effects. Similarly, the law cannot guarantee protection. Even nuclear weapons, no matter how sophisticated the defense system may be, cannot give one protection or defend one from these effects. The only factor that can give refuge or protection from the destructive effects of anger and hatred is the practice of tolerance and patience. "

This teaching is an excerpt from "Healing Anger", a teaching by The Dalai Lama

Looking off the back porch this morning
flowers in bloom along the driveway

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Day in Color

The rains of yesterday caused an explosion of color on our land.
Lilacs are in bloom, the pear tree is full of tiny white flowers, the peach tree continues to grace the yard with pinks. Grape leaves are sprouting out of what looked like dead vines. It really is amazing to watch this transformation.
Never does a day go by that I am not filled with gratitude for this simple life that allows me the joy of rambling around with my camera in hand. Strolling through patches of shepherds purse and mint, hearing nothing but the wind and the birds sing.
Every once in a while I think about becoming a bit more modern. Questioning why I want to spin my own wool, hang up my clothes, gather eggs warm from the nests, and harvest food from our own gardens, but then I think about the serenity of these simple exercises and I know just why I do them. It keeps me connected to the things I love. Natures blessings, the unfolding of the seasons, the changing sky, the cycle of the day. It gives me opportunity to think, to dream, to sit in quietness.
Walking out to the hen house, I saw so many wonderful things. I stopped to smell the lilacs, I stopped to gather some shepherds purse and see how much it rained. I was able to look up at the sky and see the clouds race and dance above me. It simply is simple pleasures. No doubt about it, I am blessed !
The bottom picture was taken at the Botanic Gardens, the rest are from my own back yard.

Much To Catch Up....

In mid January, we saw the passing of my father and after nearly two years of caring for him, it was so hard to see him leave u...