Tuesday, July 31, 2007

One of Our Biggest Blessings


Mei-Ling and Melanie came for a visit this morning and naturally I had the camera ready.
This wee one has already gotten to the point where she knows the sound of the camera being turned on and looks right at it. She is such a happy baby, its just hard to remember that she has so many health issues.

She has had so much fun at Grammies house that a nap was soon in order. Here she is sound asleep in her bright red pram.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Count Your Blessings Monday

It's a bit difficult to count my blessings each Monday, simply because there are so many and I never know which ones to choose..if I listed them all, the list would grow into a book.
I have to think about today, how it started, and consider the thoughts of the last week, take into account the events that have taken place in the past few days and draw a list from these things.
Our family is blessed, richly blessed.
the blessing of love, acceptance and compassion.
the blessing of kindness by friends, and loved ones.
the blessing of joy and happiness, the deep kind, the kind that carries you through any rough sea.
the blessing of the written word.
the blessing of self expression, art forms and language.
the blessing of good mental health, you never realize that until you encounter someone who suffers from emotional problems.
the blessing of hope and dreams of the future.
the blessing of children.
the blessing of meditation and prayer.
the blessing of natures gifts.
the blessing of the seasons.
the blessing of hand holding and kisses, long walks with the one you love.
the blessing of a good marriage.
the blessing of health and vitality.
the blessing of moonlit nights and glow in the dark stars on our bedroom ceiling, yes we have them in our rather formal bedroom !
the blessing of imperfection.
the blessing of spontaneity.
the blessing of breath and heartbeats.
there are so many more, but suffice that to be enough on this evening.

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Goodwill was really Good Today


Another wonderful day at Goodwill thrift store. I found 8 cassette tapes, 2 Altan, 2 Clannad, 2 Lorenna McKennitt and 2 of Renaissance dance music. All music I love ! Then the best find was these two like new bags from J Clayton International http://www.jclaytoninternational.com/jclayton/ One is the business bag that sells for nearly $50 new, perfect for my knitting needles and knitting books. The other is the "Classic" bag which sells for $40. Perfect for keeping my craft supplies in or maybe just as a purse, can't decide yet. There are wonderful pockets inside. Each bag was $3 each ! I felt so blessed, so thrilled to find just the music I love too. We have an old car, 1991...we are a bit eccentric about old cars, we just hold on to them until they die and since Emery takes such good care of them, they live for a long time, anyway the car has a cassette player in it. New music is always fun.
It's almost like all the things I have wanted are just popping up in front of me lately. Its almost a bit freaky, but certainly great...I am not complaining at all.
Emery took me out shopping tonight for the new kitchen cabinets. What fun it is to be doing the kitchen over. All this storage space will be fantastic. I can't wait till the work is all done. Its wonderful having Emery so handy and able to do all the work himself, saves a bundle of money and things get done just the way we want and his workmanship is amazing.

Perfectionism





Life is a teacher, that is if you take the time to be an observer and a student. Many years ago I took pictures on one of the first dates Emery and I had together. As it could happen in the old days, the film broke in the camera and the only way to fix the problem was to open the camera in a dark place and remove the film. As dark as the room seemed to be, it wasn't a "dark room" and the film was slightly over exposed. When Emery saw the pictures he thought I ought to just throw them out as they were light and not perfect. He was a perfectionist. I laughed and said, "no way, someday they will be treasures even in their imperfection". I kept them. Of course now, these pictures are treasures, not for the quality of them, but for the very moment in time they captured and the memories they awaken. New love, first dates, all that wonder and magic of a beginning that has kept on giving joy through all these years. Emery is a wise man. He is a student of life and listens for and observes the lessons. Yes, I gush about him often, but with good reason. He is one of the few people in the world that was a resilient child. Overcoming a life most of us cannot even imagine. He is not stuck in a world that no longer exists for him. Emery has realized that perfectionism is a manifestation of trying to make order in a persons world that is internally out of whack. As if keeping things well ordered on the outside, gives a person control in some area of life, but it never fixes anything. Matter of fact, it usually makes your life and the lives of those around you, miserable. It's almost a sure thing, (there are exceptions to every rule of course) but almost every time you see a perfectionist, they have internal struggles that make them feel out of control inside. Emery learned long ago from those photos that this perfectionism is really just sweating the small stuff and as the title of one of my favorite book says, "its all small stuff".
Learning from life, taking hold of the lessons to be learned is the one true sign of a wise person.
Once you can understand the why of things, you can move past them. You know, the truthful saying by Dr Phil, "You can't change what you don't acknowledge". Most of the time, pride keeps us from acknowledging things that are in need of change within us. Humility and honesty are such strong foundations for wisdom. I admire Emery for seeing the light ! He is a happy man because of learning from life. (he still acknowledges that perfectionism is something he will always have to watch out for) His childhood was wracked with chaos, with bits of emotional shrapnel that surface from time to time and need to be seen for what they are.
Emery and I had reason to talk about those pictures last night. Dealing with a recent situation that is difficult at best, influence from outside our immediate family.
It's a far more relaxed life to move past the place where we feel everything has to be perfect and understand that it rarely is. That being a perfectionist is the very thing that makes people talk about you. The most casual observer can usually see right through the cover up. You want things to be perfect, perhaps in the way your home looks, or severely judge others by this standard of perfection you have devised, but then you are a total wreck emotionally and/or your life is a sham and behind your 4 walls, nothing is right. It's pretty clear for others to see and the joke becomes the story people tell about you. It becomes what you are known for behind your back. Your perfectionism has the joke. People laugh and smirk every time you mess up, its like the ultimate, ha ha ha, event. Better to acknowledge life is not perfect, it never will be and certainly don't expect to order the world to your specifications.
In this little book, "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, and its all small stuff" by Richard Carlson, PhD
he writes...."I've yet to meet an absolute perfectionist whose life was filled with inner peace. The need for perfection and the desire for inner tranquility conflict with each other. Whenever we are attached to having something a certain way, better than it already is, we are, almost by definition, engaged in a loosing battle. Rather than be content and grateful for what we have, we are focused with what's wrong with something and our need to fix it. When we are zeroed in on what's wrong, it implies we are dissatisfied, discontent.
Whether it's related to ourselves--a disorganized closet, a scratch on the car, an imperfect accomplishment, a few pounds we would like to lose--or someone else's "imperfections" --the way someone looks, behaves, or lives their life--the very act of focusing on imperfection pulls us away from our goal of being kind and gentle. This strategy has nothing to do with ceasing to do your very best but with being overly attached and focused on what's wrong with life. It's about realizing that while there's always a better way to do something, this doesn't mean that you can't enjoy and appreciate the way things already are.
The solution here is to catch yourself when you fall into your habit of insisting that things should be other than they are. Gently remind yourself that life is okay the way it is, right now. In the absence of your judgement, everything would be fine. As you begin to eliminate your need for perfection in all areas of your life, you'll begin to discover the perfection in life itself."
I practice dealing with imperfection all the time... in myself. There will always be things I want to change and grow in, that is a good thing, but learning to accept that I am not perfect is the real goal.
Emery, October 21, 1978 Rockport, MA, over exposed pictures that we now treasure
A book everyone should read

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Beautiful Service









It's been years since I have been to a church service that has left me feeling good when I walked out the door. Today was so refreshing, so calming, so holy, so beautiful. The preacher preached a fantastic sermon, the music was exceptional, the people were friendly and sincere. We felt so welcomed and then the baptism, which was more a healing dedication type thing was so filled with love and beauty that it left me silent.
Mei-Ling was her delightful self, full of smiles, that is until the healing holy water was put on her, then she cried, but only for a moment !
It was simply a beautiful day.

Here is the morning in pictures !

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A new day

The road before me, familiar but today it feels new and is showing some element missed in the hundreds of times I have seen it. At the intersection of our road, waiting for traffic to clear so I could cross, the road our home is on, lay like a giant piece of licorice ribbon candy, hill after hill, with a stripe of yellow down the middle. Trees in the valleys appearing to be down on the tops of the hills, the green tops brushing the road, but its only an illusion. Their solid brown trunks hidden by the hillside. Homes full of families, reminding me of tiny play railroad houses, these, real but unknown to me, real love inside the walls and no doubt real struggles.
Flowers planted in yards, some tended with care, some planted rather randomly and lacking attention, much like a child's hair needing to be combed.
Today, Mei-Ling will be christened...and in the true flavor of individuality, the very one we nurtured and helped give wings to in our children, this child will be christened in a church that marches to a different drum beat. A unity church,
naturally there will be pictures later of the big day

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Poetry Find

This poem is good. And although the title is a bit misleading, (it has nothing to do with worshipping the dead, as in dead people), but about worshipping things that have no life, it hits the nail on the head about our love with things.
Found it on the web.

A Poem by Larry Lyle
Worshiping the Dead

We must stop equating happiness with possessions
One has nothing to do with the other
I am in total amazement of this obsession we have with objects
Unfeeling, unloving, and incapable of returning affection
They are inanimate, cold, with no life of their own
Yet, we are all collectors,
Acquirers of the dead
Why do we forsake life for the lifeless?
There is so much alive,
So much to love, so much to touch
Love is truly in the air
So why do we invariably turn our attention to that which cannot accept
It makes no sense,
Not when the entirety of the human race is starved of love
So today, I choose to touch a heart
To give a smile
To be uplifting to my fellow man
All of which will cost me nothing
All of which will add immeasurable beauty and riches to my life
Memories that will be everlasting
For the treasures of living are many
None of which are iron, wooden or crystallized
In truth, you may take all you need
but the crime is needing more than you need
For if you do, you will face the wrong direction and all will pass you by
For life is not of acquiring, but of releasing
Not of possessing, but of personal freedoms
Not of taking all you can, but of giving all you have
And above all, life is for the living
Living each moment totally and completely, lovingly and peacefully
It is about struggling, and lessons to be learned
Horizons to reach, and mountains to climb
But it is not, and I repeat, it is not, about worshiping the dead.

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Being Real, Being You

So much talk on blog land about living this way or that way. We set ourselves up sometimes to roll in the mud of being discontent. We read blogs, reading only the stuff that they want us to see. We see only clean houses, pretty houses, sweet families. We look at our own reality and think, gee whiz I want life like that, so pretty, so serene, so different from where I am. So we set out to imitate, we seek to be like, we put on another skin, only to find out it doesn't fit, because the core of our being is shaped differently.
Anyone who knows me well, or has known me for any length of time, knows I am a firm believer in individuality. I march to my own drum beat and every single time I try to push that mindset down and try to conform to any kind of mold, I get uncomfortable. It never works. I need to be me.
You all know that simple living is for me. None of this rush rush, mad dash, grab it all, keep up with the Jones' for me. I like not being tied to the grid. If suddenly the world lost power, well I want to just carry on, no bump in the road that I can't get over. I have felt this way since I was a young teen. Its nothing new. When I lived in Southern California, I was the most miserable person. I hated the life there. It was full of "impressions" and "keeping up appearances". It was hard to find a person that had time to sit back and talk about the meaning of life. I lived in a house with no land. I lived in a house with no breathing room.
Now here in blogland, I watch people take a left turn, a right turn, a left again and on and on until they end up where they started, but along the way they purchased so much to go along with whatever road they were on, that now they have all this stuff to deal with for a life they never really wanted to live, but only thought changing the circumstances and surroundings would change the stuff that is internal. The personal peace stuff. The who you are inside stuff.
My life is 100% right for me, but not for everyone else. But even though my life is right for me, its not a perfect life. There are illnesses, worries, days when dishes don't get done, times when if you came to visit, I would have to move stuff off a chair for you to sit down on. Dust abounds, and the other day there were actually cob webs on my dining room light that made it look like something from The Adams Family.
There is always the unsettled-ness of finding the right kind of eating for us. I love health food, but get weary of having to figure out meals, and I then miss having a plump donut filled with stuff I can't pronounce and fat enough for a month. Sure, sure they make healthy donuts and yeah I have recipes for them too, but what is better than a glazed chocolate dunkin donut, of nearly 300 calories ! I suddenly don't like to exercise, something I have always loved. So life here is not perfect. Close to it though.
If you like your appliances, go for it ! If you like your red meat, oh I just can't say go for it on that one, sorry. Red meat is just not good. Colon cancer, fat, the poor old steer, your heart, the list is long, just can't give ya that one, sorry. If you like going out to eat, go for it. If you like sparkly clothes, go for it. If you like huge houses and can afford it, go for it. If you like only wood heat, go for it. If you like hanging out clothes, go for it, I do. If you like having 20 children go for it, and God bless you ! If you want no children or 1 child, go for it. You get the point. Live your life and not someone elses. If you want to wear your hair short, do it.
I spent time trying so hard to fit into the Mennonite world. What a bad mix for me. I am outspoken, feisty, talk about what I read, am open minded and hate dresses. I worked at it, convinced it would make me happy. Thought God was telling me to be that way or at least that is what everyone there told me. Here I was angry inside, like pushing a square peg into a round hole. It hurt, it didn't fit and sure enough, it wasn't what God wanted for me. There are many doors into eternal bliss. I am a better person walking far and fast from that way of life. God had something much different in store for me.
Which reminds me, I heard something on the radio the other day about "Bible Thumpers" so called because they use the bible to measure up other peoples faults, not their own. Ouch.
I think Christianity is the only religion where folks are more concerned with other peoples righteousness than they are with their own.
Anyway, be true to your own journey in life. Sit down, make a list of the things you really love in life. Write down 50 things that make you happy. As long as they are not harmful, against your moral values, live them. Surround yourself with the things that make you feel good about your life. Don't read some other blog and say, oh yeah I want to be them. You never will be them or have their life. You can take some things from their life that you know will make you happy. There are some folks that have a real knack for decorating and seeing what they have done makes you feel happy, then go for it, do the same or something like it. But whole life style changes are serious and need to be looked at carefully. Look before you leap so you are not having to head back to the old way cause the new way just didn't fit into your circumstances.
And final word of advice, taken from Henry David Thoreau's Walden "I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. If there is not a new man, how can the new clothes be made to fit? If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes. All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be. Perhaps we should never procure a new suit, however ragged or dirty the old, until we have so conducted, so enterprised or sailed in some way, that we feel like new men in the old, and that to retain it would be like keeping new wine in old bottles. Our moulting season, like that of the fowls, must be a crisis in our lives. The loon retires to solitary ponds to spend it. Thus also the snake casts its slough, and the caterpillar its wormy coat, by an internal industry and expansion; for clothes are but our outmost cuticle and mortal coil. Otherwise we shall be found sailing under false colors, and be inevitably cashiered at last by our own opinion, as well as that of mankind. " Wise man this Henry David...
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
painting by my daughter Melanie, shows its ok to be different

True Success

Success: To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded! ~Ralph Waldo Emerson~
My beloved gentle man personifies this quote. You are so well loved Emery, and have shown the world that there is such a thing as a resilient child. Moving so far beyond where you came from.
I just wanted to share with the world, the wonder of this man I call my best friend, husband and who has passed on to our children the most complete example of how to be successful

Friday, July 27, 2007

Night Beauty




As the moon passes across the night sky, there is beauty all around. Fireflies light up the sky like tiny fairy folk dancing through the dark blue night. Flowers blooming, delicate and rich in color, so vibrant in the cameras flash. Night sounds appear, singing, humming a tune that belongs only to the moon and the stars. Coyote yip and howl, it sounds so lonesome.
This night is filled with life.

Count it All Joy

Life is strange at times. This morning I woke feeling so filled with joy, so full of the wonder of life and then the phone rang....no bad thing happened, no accident, no illness but rather the kind of call that reminds me of the story of Job. Job 1:9 "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. 10 "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. Then Job was tested to the core of his being.
The test of mine this morning was not like Jobs, thank God, but yet, it was in a way. The very peace I wrote about was removed in an instant. Stolen, no wait, I allowed it to be taken by someone for a brief time. The part that went wrong was that I allowed myself to be taken in, pulled into the negativity. Pulled into the quicksand before I even knew what happened. It's extended family stuff. Isn't that always the worst ? As fast as water drops leap about on a hot griddle the subjects changed. It was hard to keep steady and finally I swore. Yes, I swore and hung up. I don't swear, anyone who knows me knows that for me to say a bad word, things have got to be very very bad indeed. I used a phrase for things "not so" or "preposterous". Something you might find in a bulls barn, and then I hung up the phone. It's not the swear that bothers me, it's the loosing of my temper, the allowing myself to be pushed into acting in a way I don't want to act. Maybe it wasn't being pushed so much as being pulled in. Have to think about which it was. More of a pulled in, sucked into the mire.
The point is, it was a hard experience and I feel that I failed to show compassion to someone that really is in need of it. But in this same instant I am thinking bible texts like, 2 Tim 3:
1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
I really like the last 5 words of that text and am working hard on making the situation fit as it sure would make me feel better, but.. yes, there is that 3 letter word..B-U-T... I wanted to be more Christ like, more in control of what I say when faced with, (total lack of a word for what it was) along with what I felt, and how I reacted. Stronger in maintaining kindness without compromising my standard. Fortunately, Emery has stepped in and has attempted to take care of the situation one more time. It's a long old story. Probably every family has one to some extent. And there are times when wisdom blended with compassion calls for there to be no more contact, and this is one of those times.
I need to say the verse below over and over to myself today...remembering it for times like today when difficult situations arise. Now, to find my joy in today one more time ! Maybe I will just go back to bed, get up again and redo this morning without the phone call.
James 1: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
All of us face difficulties, hard things, thorns in our sides, people that push all the right buttons to make us forget where we want to be in how we feel and act. We learn from these experiences, and hopefully we become better people from them. The Dalai Lama says "I must emphasize again that merely thinking that compassion and reason and patience are good will not be enough to develop them. We must wait for difficulties to arise and then attempt to practice them. And who creates such opportunities? Not our friends, of course, but our enemies. They are the ones who give us the most trouble, So if we truly wish to learn, we should consider enemies to be our best teacher!"

Overwhelmed by the beauty of life


This is one of those mornings when I feel overwhelmed by the beauty of life. As I sit here at the computer, my heart is so full. No, nothing earth shattering happened to make me feel this way, nothing profound, just life as it is. It's hard to explain. I feel so amazingly blessed, a wonderful husband, that I can laugh with, cry with, feel safe with, and feel a depth of love that I cannot even try to explain. I am blessed with children who tell me all the time what a good mother I am. I just blush and say thank you, but inside it motivates me on to be kinder, more generous, more loving to them. I feel so blessed that I have never had to work outside the home since starting our family. For Emery and I that was important. I quit work as soon as we found out we were having a child. I still love being home...it is a haven, and a fortress against the hard things in the world. I am sheltered from so many storms of life by the life we have chosen. But, yet within me there is still Independence and freedom, I am never held back from doing what I want. We are blessed to have what we need and most of what we want. I would want to see Melanie and Mei-Ling healed, but God has other plans, of which I cannot question, not in the way of I can't ask Him why, I just mean I have to accept His plans regardless of not being able to understand them.
I am constantly filled by the beauty of nature, of the colors, the scents, the shapes designs of things. And by the sense of peace that fills me from knowing God. Yes, I question his existence, I doubt and I chase after explanations of Him, but through it all, He is there, constant, smiling I am sure at my never ending childlike questions. I feel like somehow I got stuck in that stage of childhood where the questions are endless. God never seems to tire of the questioning and certainly doesn't grow impatient with me. I feel His fatherly smile and know that all the good things in my life are His gifts to me.
Daily, and without ever forgetting, I am so filled with gratitude for my good health, for all my energy and for the enthusiasm I feel each day for life.
So many things have filled my heart this day. The laughter shared this morning with my beloved, silly things, jokes and teases about my grocery shopping spending. The sadness of seeing him go out the door, I miss him the hours he works. He is my best friend. The note found on my keyboard after he left. The joy of this simple life and the years of living it. Of walking barefoot in the grass, freedom to be me. Its just one of those mornings when tears of joy flow.
I have had this hymn running through my mind all morning...

It Is Well with My Soul

1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Refrain:
It is well with my soul,
it is well, it is well with my soul.
2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and hath shed his own blood for my soul.
(Refrain)
3. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
(Refrain)
4. And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
even so, it is well with my soul.
(Refrain)

Show and Tell Friday


There are certain things in our family that are traditions for several generations. Bearing the middle name of St Clair is on and the other tradition is wearing this baby dress. In the first picture, my grandmother, Alexandra Mae born in 1902 is wearing it. She as about 8 months old in the photo. My mother wore that dress, as did each of my sisters and then I did too. My sisters daughter wore it when she was Christened in the Methodist church in 1971. Melissa Mae wore it when she was 8 months old as did Melanie. It hangs now in our guest room, needing some repair work done to it before Mei-Ling can wear it. Mei-Ling will be the 5th generation to wear this dress. I have always felt honored to be the one has this small frail piece of history to pass on to the next generation.
Please visit Kelli's blog to see all the others who are sharing in the fun of Show and Tell Friday
http://kellishouse.blogspot.com/

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Storms from the south

In minutes, the air changes, cooler, filled with some element of tangible unsettled-ness. I felt a strange sort of anticipation for this storm. So many dragonflies...they seemed to be flocking towards some safer area. A large egret, fighting the winds to escape the rain filled clouds that were ready to break open. Leaves ripped from tree branches too soon, flying to the ground in round about ways, delaying their landing as long as possible. Sprinkling of rain first, then more and more drops fall, just as I make it to the back porch, it is pouring out. The rains explode the fragrance cells or whatever they are on the plants, the trees, the flowers, the grass and the soil, making the whole outdoors alive with fresh scents that draw you to raise your nose and sniff at the air, trying to identify what these wonderful scents are.
I love the rain today, it has turned this very room into a sepia scene. Taking on a touch of the old photograph look. Rain now falls in steady streams off the side of the house, falling below to the plants we have put in a row, to be watered by this run-off.
Just another ordinary day with extraordinary life bursting forth all around me.
Oh a bit of a p.s. here...that snake I was so worried about stepping on this morning, well when I went out to check the mail, there he was dead in the road, run over by a car or a truck. Guess I won't be worried about seeing him any more.

Non-Violent Parenting

I was reading through some of my other blog posts and came across this story I had posted quite a while ago on that blog. I love this story, it is so opposite of how most of us deal with problems, yet it speaks of such parental wisdom and honest seeking of answers. Emery and I did not always show this kind of wisdom, but it was always our goal to and it still is our goal. Parenting doesn't end when your children grow up and leave the nest, parenting just changes a bit. If you have done the job right, then parenting young adults becomes more listening, offering advice WHEN ASKED and sharing lifes lessons, not as a lecture, but as wisdom. A child is never too grown for a hug and words of encouragement.
NON-VIOLENT PARENTING
Dr. Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and founder of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Non-violence, in his June 9 lecture at the University of Puerto Rico, shared the following story as an example of "non-violence in parenting":"I was 16 years old and living with my parents at the institute my grandfather had founded 18 miles outside of Durban, South Africa, in the middle of the sugar plantations. We were deep in the country and had no neighbours, so my two sisters and I would always look forward to going to town to visit friends or go to the movies.One day, my father asked me to drive him to town for an all-day conference, and I jumped at the chance. Since I was going to town, my mother gave me a list of groceries she needed and, since I had all day in town, my father ask me to take care of several pending chores, such as getting the car serviced. When I dropped my father off that morning, he said, 'I will meet you here at 5:00 p.m., and we will go home together.'After hurriedly completing my chores, I went straight to the nearest movie theatre. I got so engrossed in a John Wayne double-feature that I forgot the time. It was 5:30 before I remembered. By the time I ran to the garage and got the car and hurried to where my father was waiting for me, it was almost 6:00.He anxiously asked me, 'Why were you late?' I was so ashamed of telling him I was watching a John Wayne western movie that I said, 'The car wasn't ready, so I had to wait,' not realizing that he had already called the garage. When he caught me in the lie, he said: 'There's something wrong in the way I brought you up that didn't give you the confidence to tell me the truth. In order to figure out where I went wrong with you, I'm going to walk home 18 miles and think about it.'So, dressed in his suit and dress shoes, he began to walk home in the dark on mostly unpaved, unlit roads. I couldn't leave him, so for five-and-a-half hours I drove behind him, watching my father go through this agony for a stupid lie that I uttered.I decided then and there that I was never going to lie again. I often think about that episode and wonder, if he had punished me the way we punish our children, whether I would have learned a lesson at all. I don't think so. I would have suffered the punishment and gone on doing the same thing. But this single non-violent action was so powerful that it is still as if it happened yesterday. That is the power of non-violence."
Emery and the children, all but Melissa, who was working that day. Time spent with the children bore such wonderful fruit.

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The Birth of A New Day

I was surprised by the cold-ness of the wet grass this morning. The dew heavy, weighing the tiny blades of green down. My bare feet now wet with clinging bits of dried grass all stuck to them. One more step would lead me to a better spot to take a picture of the morning sky, and then another step and another would carry me off to the enchanting colors of this new born day.
I suddenly remembered the large snake everyone in the family had been seeing. One day this rat snake was in the wood stored in the beams of Emery's work shop. I didn't like going in there now, wondering if something was slithering over my head, dark darting eyes watching me. Gives me the creeps ! For the next few steps in the wet grass I was mindful of where my feet landed, but then the power of the moment became stronger than worry over stepping on a snake with my bare feet. Huge bumble bees dived into the morning glories, hungry to do their work.
Leaves from the old worn out cottonwood tree are already falling to the ground. The tree is tired, leaning over with age. The morning is full of beauty. The amount of growth in this unusual wet, less hot summer is amazing. Time to head back to the house, breakfast to be made...my path clearly visible in the dew laden grass, wandering paths, just as the sights have taken me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

As Day is Done





Just as the sun was setting tonight, this was the view from our front porch.

Gathering and Harvesting


Hens fly out of the hen house anxious for some juicy tid bit to eat. I check the nest boxes and gather up the days eggs. Greens and browns..the green eggs will always make me think of the book "Green Eggs and Ham". The youngest of the hens head back to the hen house for their turn at the grain. Its often a tough life to be the youngest in the flock. The rooster heads off to check on his "gals". Head held high, he raises his voice high.
With the eggs gathered and the chickens all fed, I head off to the garden to find a few ripe tomatoes to slice as a treat with our evening meal. Its a good life, this simple life. Wandering from one little job to the next, listening to the birds sing, watching the butterflies flutter from one flower to the next, and breathing deep, the fresh air. Nothing rushed, nothing demanding more of me than I can give. Just good old fashioned daily chores.

Mei-Ling Smiles for Grammie


Mei-Ling has to put up with Grammie taking lots of pictures of her. Today was no exception.
I took some of the plain clothes out of storage and put them on her. It was like going back in time. She looked so cute in the little black leather shoes, black stockings and simple dress. In the last picture she did look like she was saying to me, "you want me to smile again ?" It's hard to imagine but she will be three months old in just a couple of days. Time sure flies !

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Advice


Recently I rejoined a list I had been on several years ago. It has a lot of young women on the list who from time to time ask for advice, but rarely do they take it. What they really want, is what this poem say so well below. I just had to share it as it speaks volumes of truth, except the last line is not the road I would take ! But it is true, we all want acceptance, someone to listen and from time to time asking for advice is just a forum for complaining.


Nobody Wants Advice
by Phil Simborg
Some people ask you for advice,

When what they really want is approval.
People ask you for advice,

When they are really looking for your support.
There are people that ask you for advice,

But what they really want is a chance to complain.
Some people ask you for advice,

When they really don’t want you to do anything but listen.
There are people who ask you for advice,

That are only happy to hear your advice if you agree with them.
There are those who ask you for advice,

When they are actually looking to have you to blame if things go wrong.
But once in a while; once in a great while,

Someone may ask you for advice,

Because they really want your advice.

When that happens, RUN!