Friday, December 28, 2012

The Joy Evolution

This morning I went in to check on Emma. The twins are now almost six months old. She was up on her hands and knees screaming at me because I insist she is tired and needs a nap. It is a new beginning.

We have gone through many new beginnings with the twins. From the first signs of recognition to solid foods, each change has been a new journey into a new phase of their lives. I realized that I am still going through phases. Even at my beautifully ripe age of sixty-six, I am evolving, becoming someone different. What goes on inside of me does not have to affect what happens on the outside. In fact, what goes on on my outside truly affects what goes on inside. I call it joy evolution. The more I smile and find the positive in all things, the more my happiness increases. The more my happiness increases, the more I feel beautiful.

My great niece sent an email to me. She called me youthful and high spirited. It gave me pause to think. First of all, I consider myself youthful inside and out. I love high spirited, because I feel the energy inside and love sharing it. Age is just a number. Our lives evolve more each day.

For this approaching new year, I wish you the joy evolution. You have an opportunity to make your life so much richer. It only takes a smile and positive thinking. The joy increases daily.

Happy New Year, my friends. May your blessings many and your joy abounding in 2013.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hope in a Snowflake

The rain hit the windshield a little thicker than normal. I put my nose next to the window for a closer look. Snow! By golly, that is snow mixed with rain!!! The first snow of winter.

The timing was good. My heart was heavy with the events of the day before. I couldn't quite get my usual light spirit on as I prepared to meet customers all morning at the store. But now I had snow. I turned up my radio allowing the Christmas music to wash over me. It was a new day and a day to move forward.

I am not going to write about the tragedy for we all know the information, and we all are changed. I write today about hope. I write about taking pain and creating something positive. I write about love for all people. I write about action.

I live in a very warm pocket of humanity. I always have been surrounded by loving people and a warm home with plenty of food. When I was laid off, I discovered a life I had not imagined where I wasn't sure where I would live or where I would find  money to move forward. I discovered desperation in my life. I am not sorry for these lessons in living. I found a new compassion for those who have so little. I have been humbled by this experience and perhaps made more understanding of others who live in such different places and in lives that are nothing like mine. Those who live as have generations before them trying to just survive day to day with starvation, war, homelessness, violence. These are my people, too. It doesn't matter whether they live in Oregon or in Africa or China or the North Pole. We are all one people whose survival depends on one another.

In my time of despair, I found my writing. I found an outlet that gave me a voice as well as a place for reflection. I had worked with kids at risk and know that they search until they find their gifts. I know that schools cutting programs, teachers and counselors will result in more violence.

It is time for hope. It is time for the peacemakers to do their jobs. It is time for those who seek good to be active. It is time for us all to care about each other. Time to seek the goodness in others. It is time to put away blame and heal as individuals and as nations.

I went to work yesterday with tears in my eyes and determination to make a difference. I worked hard to find the smile in each customer. I wished them a happy holiday by looking directly into their eyes and meaning every word. I touched the arms of those looking for sympathy cards and gave them my warmest regards. I did not just wait on customers. I cared about each and every one. A gentleman came into the store full of grumpiness. He snapped at one of our workers. I waited on him at the register noticing that his hands were purple. I looked into his eyes and told him that I hoped he would feel better soon. His anger abated and his manner changed. It is so simple this love we can give one another. Instead of talking about ourselves, we need to listen and care about those around us. Instead of barreling through our lives, we need to see the people around us. Oh, people, we are hope. We are the answer.

It is a time of good cheer. Good cheer that may not be easy to find, but it is there. Small steps lead to great strides.

A snowflake is one of God's most fragile creations, but look what they can when they stick together...Anon.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Finding the Spirit

What a mixed bag!!! I go from being pumped now that the holidays are here then crashing to a quick low that takes me a bit to understand. It's all about finding the spirit. Sometimes I think I find the spirit among the spirits.

December is a very difficult time for me. My mother passed on December 14. My daughter and I had our falling out the beginning of last December. We lost a good friend on New Year's Eve. December is a wonderful, horrible time.

"Sometimes I just want to cry," I told my friend.

"You know I feel the same. I just miss everyone,"she replied.

I know we are not alone in this feeling. We all have memories that take us back to a time when family was together celebrating. Many have children and grandchildren living away from them. We raise our children to have wings then sort of wish we could clip them and bring them home once more. Tis the season.

I put energy into this celebrating the holidays. I work hard at keeping the sadness and loss at bay. I work on myself trying to improve on last year's model. Even if I feel the blues coming my way, I'm learning to replace the sad with something new. I have wonderful memories to draw on and beautiful grandchildren to love and adore. The scent of evergreen. Bright packages under the tree. Watching the tree lights and remembering. There is so much good to chase away the sad.

I think the spirits of my family members now gone help me to find the Christmas spirit for it does lie within the human heart and is ours to share maybe even after we are gone and in what we leave behind.

I hope you will all look at my care list and keep these people in your thoughts. For many this is a time of terrible loss and pain. We do indeed share this world with one another. I love the words of No Man is an Island which I learned long ago.

No man is an island
No man stands alone
Each man's joy is joy to me
Each man's grief is my own
We need one another
So I will defend
Each man as my brother
Each man as my friend.

Finding the spirit........

Monday, December 3, 2012

We know by what's left behind........

Each night I go to sleep, I look at two pieces of artwork sitting on the wall next to my bed. Pictures painted by their hands. The last school year pictures that I have of them from two years ago sit in the frames with the pictures. A small lamb that my sister sent when the babies were born sits in between the paintings. The drawings my granddaughters left behind remind me of the last day I was with them and the love we have for one another.

My daughter-in-law asked if  I would wash the windows. About 30 inches from the floor all of the glass in the back doors and French doors have dirty smears. Oddly enough, the smears are about the height of Millie's (the Airedale) nose. I look at them and am filled with love for this big lummox of a dog. I'm reminded of my past pets and another big dog named Odie. They are indeed the remnants of loving pets.

Sometimes I come home from babysitting the twins. I come home smelling a bit of baby burp accompanied by a discolored shoulder where one of the two managed to spit up. No matter where I put the burp cloth, the babies seem to miss it. Honestly, I smile every time I take off the offended shirt remembering the feel of a grandchild's head on my shoulder. A grandma's cheek resting on the tiny head of the infant are memories I cherish. I can feel each of my grandchildren's downy heads by just closing my eyes.

I remember how Mom refused to wash the glass of the window in the kitchen hall. Her grandchildren all lived far away. When they came home, they left behind their fingerprints and sometimes a cheek smudge against the kitchen window. She recalled each moment of the visit by the spots on the window glass. She smiled and probably said to my dad, "I sure miss those kids."

I find that I am a little slower in cleaning up after my grandchildren come to visit. I sit for a minute with a smile on my face and savor the time we shared. The little smudges are those tiny toes and fingers I love so much. That little bit of spit up on my shoulder and the sticky spot on my face where a little mouth found my cheek can wait a bit longer to take care of. The game on the table or a few crumbs on a plate remind me of my older grandchildren.

We know by what's left behind........someday they will know, too.