Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

While I refuse to make resolutions for the reason that they only set me up for failure I do voice these sentiments to all of you, my family which I’ve always professed encompasses friends and fellow bloggers as each of you along with your words and actions reside within me.

May you be blessed with richness in family and friends.
May you find wealth in ordinary opportunities.
May you find strength to overcome everyday obstacles and challenges,
and power in those that seem insurmountable.
May you find wisdom to triumph over situations that refute logic.
May you find understanding in circumstances that harbor resentment.
May you find tolerance and forgiveness within your heart
to prevail the deceit of others.
May you find honesty to look in the mirror at your shortcomings, and
May you look at others with patience, empathy and compassion, and
in each daily commonplace happening
May you be surrounded by joy, love and laughter.

Welcome 2011~

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Early blogging...

We leave behind a bit of ourselves wherever we have been~

Today has been a day of purging, cleaning and dismantling Christmas. I attain such pleasure from the holiday decorations but am keen on the seasonal trinkets being placed back in their perspective boxes just as well. I feel a sense of peace and calm when the house is uncluttered; interestingly enough much like my personality!

So it is on this date that I came upon some aged books I’d stashed away for safe keeping; one being a photograph album displaying nature scenes such as rainbows, sun rises and sun sets and snow. Under each picture was a typed verse or caption that my dearest and best friend Linda and I had either written ourselves or found to accompany each one. The volume was quite gripping given that I’d forgotten I even had it but more so since she AND our memories have been so prevalent in my mind as of late.

In junior and senior high school we played sports together, were co-editors of the yearbook, spent time at each other’s family and shared a strong emotional connection. Life happens as it does and we haven’t spoken in a massive number of years. However, finding this album brought her to mind and heart as well as instigated the wonderment of blogging in its infancy. Isn’t it reminiscent of what we do today? Darn, and to imagine that possibly we could been pioneers in this field!

The sweetest sound is the silence of peace...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Facts of Five...and Updates~

If you are a new follower let me give details of Facts of Five. It was a model I used when I taught students with special needs in a self contained classroom. I presented a category such as ‘Five Cartoons’ or ‘Five flavors of Kool-aid’ and the students had to consider an idea that fit the group. It was fun and thought generating yet in the meantime, I was able to get to know what was important to my students.

So today, a few days removed from Christmas the category is ‘updates’.

1.) Our new baby, affectionately named Angelina Jolie by C.A.R.A. has been re-named; well, kinda… Even with the grand names suggested Nicholas had a strong retort to changing her given name so her label continues to be Angelina, the Jolie part was dropped and so I tenderly call her Angel-Kitty or Angel. She is without doubt was our Christmas angel!

2.) However, on that note, I’m afraid Hurricane might disagree with Angelina being an Angel-Kitty. She is quite the defender and won’t be out-muscled by a mere thing as a dog. She can hiss and swat with the best of them and has certainly stood her ground with Hurricane. For those of you who have requested pictures of their ‘bonding’ moments; well, it’s difficult to near impossible to capture ‘chasing’ with a still camera. Though, it’s not for a lack of trying!

3.) Christmas Day was a blessing as I continue to marvel at the immense gifts bestowed upon our family and no, not the material ones. Every single one of our basic needs is met with plentitude. We have an abundance of cherished friends and family which contains my lovely blog community; I am grateful~

4.) For the first time since 1947 North Carolina has had a white Christmas…No, we didn’t exactly wake to the fragile flakes, but it was designated as such since it fell before midnight. However, upon waking the day after Christmas, outside was a blanket of white silencing the world forcing us to remain ‘still’ continuing to focus on family.

5.) Which brings me to Maddy…Nicholas’ best friend is visiting from Ohio. By the grace of God her flight was perfectly timed prior to the impending storm arriving early evening on Christmas Day. Laughter and love are ringing through the rafters of our home.

“A good memory is one that can remember the day's blessings and forget the day's troubles”

Sunday, December 26, 2010

From our house to yours...

 The break of day bid us good morning with our world in a sanctuary of white. Consequently, what was intended to be shared in this space will be delayed until tomorrow. Instead, you will unearth an account of aesthetic beauty through the photo montage.

From our house to yours…

at 112 Sycamore Creek Dr.

Santa has already visited and in his wake left His own Christmas magic...

So sit for a spell...

or would you prefer this chair?

and we can catch up with old friends

or more recent friends...

If you desire, we can watch the children 
doing whatever children do in the snow...

or just while away the hours watching for birds and reflecting
on our gifts...

We could also head out of doors to play a little basketball?

sledding or snowboarding is a possibility...

If you wish, we could hang out and
and allow memories to settle upon us...

We could also choose to bow down
from the strength of our burdens

or take inventory in the monstrosity
our gifts and blessings.

Whatever the choosing enjoy your day~


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas~

                    ...For unto us a child is born...~ Isaiah 9:6


May you have the gift of faith,

the blessing of hope

and the peace of His love

at Christmas and always.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Our New Baby....

Since the incident two years ago this Christmas that stole from us our lovely cat Ginger, we've closed and locked our hearts unwilling to get emotionally involved with another kitty. (Read about it here) This created a dilemma for me since I grew up with cats and can't imagine a life without one, however, the tragedy of Ginger-Roozer kept our desire at a distance.

I was prepared months ago but my husband was still and continues to be heart-broken so I unfaltering added a kitty to my Christmas list; in fact a kitty was the ONLY thing on my list! My husband at last gave his blessing~

Today my son and I traveled to Petsmart where kitties are on display from the Carolina Animal Rescue and Adoption. Nicholas and I instantly set eyes our on ’Angelina Jolie’ and it was love at first sight! We held and cuddled her in our arms and when we posed the question as to why she hadn’t been adopted, the store clerk said she hadn’t cuddled with anyone for the two months of her viewing so few people weren’t attracted to her.

I presume she knew what she was waiting for and things happen for a reason because she nestled right into our laps and purred away as if to say ‘finally!’

We brought our new baby home last night and set in motion the process of acclimating ‘her’ into our lives; mostly Hurricane. She has no name yet other than her given name and that just doesn’t do her justice; perhaps, ‘Angel-Kitty’ or ‘Noel’? What do you think of Torie, short for Tornado so we could have a Hurricane and a Tornado? Sophie, Molly or Gabby? How about Zora or Black Ice?

Whatever her name, she’s found a place in our hearts.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Most Blessed Gift...

“Each difficult moment has the potential to open my eyes and open my heart”

by Myla Kabat-Zinn

Ahhhh, Christmas vacation time…very well received to be sure!

As noted in my previous posts, the earlier period of weeks in the life of a special education teacher, namely ME, have been hectic and stressful indeed with the enmeshment of work and home prior to the holidays. However, the quote above has been actively occurring as I’ve been afforded the opportunity to do some self-evaluation and self-inventory; thank you Angela and Beth.

Anyway, the hustle-bustle has been upon us and in the luxury I’ve blessed myself with the reading of amazing writings of my blog community; visit any number of them on the side-bar and you will truly be given a gift I assure you! As stands to reason the themes revolve around the Christmas holidays; music, traditions, memories which have compelled me to appraise my thoughts and feelings in the direction of this celebration as well.

I have to be honest and admit Christmas has never been my preferred holiday. One, I don’t like all the commercialism which robs the time of year of the true meaning; the birth of the blessed baby Jesus. Two, past holiday stress with a childhood filled with a multitude of dysfunctions has truly tainted my perception and I have a propensity to look at the negative rather than the positive regarding this season.

Here is the change occurring…one of my followers, Mildred (thank you Dear and you can view her post here) posted yesterday about Christmas memories and revealed some depictions that immediately launched my travels to past recollections. One such was the Simplicity pattern that guides me to the images of my divorced single mother of five children. At the time entrenched in domestic violence and functioning on three jobs to provide us with basic necessities as well as Christmas gifts.

My mom was an exceptional woman who crocheted and sewed, although I didn’t appreciate it at the time since as a young girl, I wanted to wear what others were wearing and not an article of clothing my mother had created. However, with these talents, my sister and I were given clothes for our Barbie dolls. As I conversed with Mildred I reported I’d try to unearth them so this break of day I prodded through tucked away memorabilia of old and nudged the musty smells to discover my treasures displayed below.

I can hear my sister now; Dawn will be calling to accuse me of stealing her Barbie clothes. I’ll just have to inform her it was actually Barbie who ‘borrowed’ them to widen her wardrobe and just failed to return them! HeeHee…

But the true gift is this: throughout the days and weeks leading up to the here and now, I’ve been forced to ‘re-frame’ my thoughts and perceptions of people, happenings and holidays. As intricate as the incidences were, it was moreover a present to me.

So, what does life force you to do at times, particularly this time of year? What gifts have you given to yourself?

I will give my utmost effort to leave behind the sadness this holiday entails and embrace it with a new vision. And it begins with a thank you to my mom who has always given us the best of herself when times were beyond exhausting and difficult, as she continues to do on a fixed retirement income. She’s still the mom and I’m still the little girl…

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ummm, just a thought~

I ceremoniously have been handed the reins of Hurricane, our golden retriever since the inception of the time amendment. Meaning, it is now my job and pleasure to take Hurricane for his evening strolls with the addition of an hour to Scott’s work schedule via drive time. This added duty enables my husband to come home and partake in quality family time. Unless the skies are collapsing around us or it is bitterly arctic, I welcome the opportunity.

This afternoon, although a splash of nip infiltrated the air we set about our journey in the neighborhood. Hurricane is an extremely powerful creature and he’s been taught when other dogs approach to lie on his belly and ‘wait’ for others to pass before we continue on, so he’s not jumping all over other dogs and people. This way I don’t have to attempt to control him without pulling my arms out of their socket. Well, I’ll tell you a secret; this is about as effective as telling a toddler not to touch a shiny glass ornament hanging on the Christmas tree. It just doesn’t always happen!

We were marching at a somewhat brisk pace when Hurricane spotted a gentleman with his gaze downward strolling at a deliberate slow rate as if mulling over a thought in his mind. Hurricane glanced upward and immediately bellied-down with his muzzle placed between his two front paws. The man stopped in close enough proximity to reach out and touch Hurricane, to which he did.

Being the loving, attention hungry dog he is, he sat straight up and placed his head beneath the man’s hand indicating the desire to be petted. The man’s slight smile signified Hurricane’s behavior was acceptable and welcomed.

We stood momentarily, both sets of eyes fixed on Hurricane’s salutation and contentment at being stroked and caressed when I finally commented to Hurricane, ‘There, did that make you happy?’

To which the man fleetingly peeked into my eyes and replied, ‘It sure made me happy!’

I proceeded on while a thought crept into my mind; what trouble-free gestures do we present over the course of any given day that has the power to make someone happy? Or to add joy to a somewhat seemingly dismal day?

I for one will attempt to be more cognizant of that power within my grasp.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

On this day...

On this day of your life, Tracy, we believe God wants you to know ... that letting go makes you wealthier~

Wealth is never measured by what you have, but by what you can give away. You are rich with money when you can afford to donate. You are rich with love when you can give love freely. You are rich with God when you can behold your enemy with compassion.

An incident occurred earlier in the school year that shook my very soul, rocked my world (read here) to say the very least. Being verbally raped by a colleague disturbed me beyond belief and it skewed my views of my entire world, more than ever my teaching that was once my sacred domain; that encounter robbed me of every ounce of confidence and assuredness I possessed replaced by fearfulness, deep sadness, and self-loathing. I entered a world of hiding, avoidance and self-destruction. (another writing)

Fast forward to today…my bags packed with a plethora of healing gear; my writing, reading, support of cherished friends and my loving husband, self-scrutinizing, etc…I’ve been blanketed with forgiveness. I am now able to talk with this individual. My heart no longer soars into my throat when I spot her in the vicinity, I can acknowledge her with a shadowed salutation and even engage in conversation at a more comfortable level linking eyes.

She’s no longer dressed with the veil of evil spirit she wore months ago and regardless of how she may view the connection between us, I for one, am wealthy beyond gold. Forgiving is not forgetting, but the truest gift I could bestow upon myself is regarding my enemy with compassion. Merry Christmas to me!

What wealth will you seek out this day, this week before Christmas?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

a special thank you...

This break of day truly brought a serendipitous moment to my world by virtue of a snow day! Yes, my friends, all the prayers and positive thoughts encircling me yesterday have been attended to; we have a rare day off school as a result of a wintry mixture Mother Nature provided.

The theme of the past couple of days has been the impending stress from a multitude of reasons; IEP’s, eligibility reports, lesson plans, meetings and progress reports…then there’s the holiday stress, the book that needs to get to the publisher; need I go on?

Growing up in northwest Ohio snow days were somewhat plentiful but nonetheless, a delight! Those blustery icy days offered spontaneous minutes of NO plans, NO ‘have-to’s’ and the gift of time to fill the hours with activities of my own choosing.

All too often, a jigsaw puzzle adorned our kitchen table and all passers-by were lured to fill in a piece or two, or resisting the temptation to plop themselves down and work on it. When the puzzle no longer held our interest we bundled up to venture outside to investigate the engaging landscape that resulted from the winds and delicate flakes. We trudged to the river to lace on our skates for daring acts of bravery conducted by innocence and child-hood enchantment!

Today set in motion that child-hood magic-an infrequent gift of time to soften the stress within, to breathe a bit lighter and take on choice events which will undoubtedly consist of working on my book and yes, putting in piece, or two of the puzzle gracing the dining room table.

Thank you God!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Life as a Dog...and Christmas~

Merry Christmas to my family and friends!
My gift to you is this excerpt from my soon to be published book,
Life as a Dog...

Oh Christmas Tree oh, Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches, and your blue sparkling lights and your glittery ornaments and the attractive burgundy ribbons that dangle from your boughs.

Whoa, when my humans put up this lovely evergreen tree in our living room, my first thought was, ‘what the heck!’ because I wasn’t quite sure what the point was. Then Little D told me that Christmas was a holiday where the birth of Jesus Christ was celebrated. Wow! Someone else is having a birthday like I did. I asked Little D if we could take Jesus to DQ for ice cream but he just smiled, patted me on the head and said that He wasn’t alive anymore. Rather, Jesus was all around us, but in a special place called Heaven waiting for those who have yet to die. I really don’t understand the meaning of this holiday but even so the tree is quite exquisite.

The tree glimmered with blue lights in the darkened room. Big D sat on the floor leaning against the couch while gawking up at the glowing showpiece. I curled up between his legs and rested my head on his thigh: this action seems to encourage story time as well as gentle strokes upon my head. I truly wanted to hear and understand this holiday. But rather then delve into why the celebration was sacred; he let me know he felt a sense of sadness this season regardless of the joyful illusion. I wanted to hear more so I met his eyes to signal my interest so he’d go on with his speaking.

He murmured softly into the air, and I felt his sorrow as he tenderly caressed my ears, my face. He began, “Last year Hurricane, you were just a little guy and it was your first Christmas. Your kitty-brother Ginger would race through the remnants of torn paper and empty boxes littering the floor in the family room aside the tree enticing you to chase him. Ginger would hide under a pile of brightly colored wrapping and peer through an opening to watch you approach and then he’d bound out and the chase would be set in motion once more. It was a splendid day!”

I continued to listen to Big D’s reminiscing words. “Tragedy struck the next evening. Ginger Roozer wanted to go for his nightly scouring of the neighborhood. After a couple hours when he hadn’t appeared at the door, Nee Nee went out in search for the plump ginger feline. After ignored attempts at calling him, she walked the perimeter of the house and was startled by a delicate whimper. She faced the sound and found Ginger Roozer lying in the pine straw next to the steps. He gazed up at her with pleading frightened eyes. Hurricane, Nee Nee says she will never forget the terrified alarmed look on his face.”

I was captivated by Big D’s words and feared the ending, although I thought he needed to tell his story so I allowed him to continue. “Nee Nee called him and he gave a faint meow as if to beg for help. Ginger was unable to move so she ran into the house for a towel and yelled that something had happened to Ginger. I ran outside on the porch and called him to come to me but he was unable to move. Nee Nee scooped him in her arms and after frantic calls to locate an open emergency veterinarian clinic we were off.

“The drive to the Vet Hospital felt like an eternity and we were greeted by the receptionist at the door. She seized the bundle that held Ginger. We sat frenzied awaiting any news on our beloved pet. The Doctor came to us with the grim news; my kitty-brother had been shot with a BB gun. A pellet entered his back and hit directly on the spine paralyzing him; it was best to have him put to sleep rather than to live a life of misery and prolonged pain.”

My heart broke for my kitty-brother Ginger. Being a babyish sprite of ten weeks, I was so wrapped up in my own being I hadn’t picked up on the sadness of my human family. I was really sorry. I felt Big D’s grief. I licked Big D’s hand to pass along my sympathies. I also had an powerful longing to take away his pain. After such a personal loss is that even possible?

Cuddling with Big D, I couldn’t help but remind him of a quote I once heard by Chief Seattle; ‘there is no death, only a change of worlds.’ I wanted to reassure Big D that Ginger Roozer was no longer with our family in our world, but in the Heaven-world with Jesus. As we speak, Ginger is racing after a cat-nip mouse across the mounds of vibrantly decorated package wrap. The thought forced a smile to my heart as the lights flicker on the branches; thinking of you too Ginger Roozer, thinking of you, too…

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Facts of Five...and Christmas Music~

Ahhh, we finally have our Christmas tree up; my son was convinced we were the last family on this planet to have adorned the house in its Christmas finest.  I certainly assured him we weren't~

So you see, being the Carolina Tar Heel fans we are, the tree is encased with yep, you got it; blue lights! More on that later, however it is time to share the next episode of Facts of Five!

If you are a new follower let me give details of Facts of Five. It was a model I used when I taught students with special needs in a self contained classroom. I presented a category such as ‘Five Cartoons’ or ‘Five flavors of Kool-aid’ and the students had to consider an idea that fit the group. It was fun and thought generating yet in the meantime, I was able to get to know what was important to my students.

So our category for today is ‘Five Favorite Christmas songs~ okay, I’ll begin…

1.) Silent Night- When I was young my three older brothers served in the military. While attending Christmas Eve. service it was customary to light candles at the end of the ceremony and sing this particular hymn. I was positioned next to my mom during this ritual and as I glanced at her face tears were streaming down her cheeks. I was moved to see my mother’s pain and worry that only a parent of children in war can feel. This song is sung by many, but I only see and think of my mom. The song sung by Andrea Bocelli is simply spine tingling but so is the one by Celtic Women... I’ll let you decide for yourself.

2.) Oh Holy Night- Any version will do but oh my gosh… that particular song sung by Johnny Mathis simply melts me into a puddle…have a listen by clicking on the title of the song. I remember my grandmother who always liked when I stood beside her in church because she told me what a great singing voice I had. She was probably just saying that to make me happy, but hey, it did! well as any song sung by ol' Johnny! However, Celine Dion has a lovely rendition of this as well.

3.) Mary did you Know? - is another favorite. It centers on Mary giving birth to Jesus who releases us from all the inequities of the Earth and really isn’t that the essence of this Christmas season? As with all Christmas music, there are a dozen artists who sing a given song, but personally I enjoy Kenny Rogers’ performance which is a duet along with Wyonna Judd. His deep burly voice warms my insides…

4.) Joy to the World- Again, countless presentations but the single from Amy Grant just liberates my heart. Amy Grant is a favorite singer of mine anyway, but the orchestra is magnificent and her voice angelic. I enjoy all of her music as well. But then again, Mannheim Streamroller also conducts a nice version of this particular song...ummm~

5.) White Christmas- by Bing Crosby which may be last but certainly not least. When I hear that smooth voice, goodness gracious turns me into putty. The movie by the same title is also my husband and my favorite movie. We wait until our son is in bed; he goes to bed early Christmas Eve. so Santa won’t find him awake, then we cuddle with popcorn and watch the movie. This is one of our traditions of the holiday season.

While I had a very difficult time pinning down my top five, I’d have to say with confidence; well I think it’s with confidence. I do like Christmas Cannon by Trans Siberian Orchestra, and yeah, I like Jingle Bell Rock by Brenda Lee and oh, I can’t forget God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by Bare Naked Ladies…Oh Shoot, I forgot I also like I'll be Home for Chirstmas by Karen Carpenter and Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano...wait a minute, perhaps one of my favorite is Michael W. Smith's What Child is This...

Goodness Gracious, perhaps I can’t decide…regardless, I love Christmas music!
So now, could YOU name your top 5?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

This Too Shall Pass....

My first week back to school from track-out has been frantic and I could speak that is an understatement. It was overflowing with early mornings and late nights, writing IEP’s and reports for children, meetings, contacting parents to set up those conferences and oh yeah, by the way, I’m suppose to teach? And be a mom? And be a wife?

That type of day/week aggravates and disturbs me; I’m not one who typically likes the rapid chaotic pace of life. My idea of a joyous day is waking up in the early hours to expend quiet time with ‘me’ partaking in reading and writing, casually preparing for my day sharing moments with my boys, actively engaged with my children at school then returning to the sanctuary of my home and being fully occupied in family.

That, my friends has certainly been distant from this week’s undertakings, and I can sincerely utter next week as well with more meetings, progress reports, blah, blah, blah….those sorts of days or weeks do not suit my soul.

Which brings me to this little guy:

…a Precious Moments’ figurine with the inscription “This Too Shall Pass”. Those words are my personal mantra for difficult times. I sing them, repeat them, yell them to the top of the world, really I don’t, but often feel like it. My point being, I try to remind myself that tough moments don’t last nevertheless resilient fighting spirits carry on.

I don’t have this figurine, although I use to. He was given to me when I was encountering horrendous moments in my life that lasted months into years. I clung to Him like a child with a security blanket. As those tumultuous moments faded into a life of recovery I passed Him on to a friend or colleague who was suffering and hurting. My single direction was when this individual no longer believed it crucial to cling to Him in that desperate manner, then he/she would pass the figurine on to one another person in need.

Years later when obstacles bombarded my door yet again He was returned to me, then I in turned passed him to one more; like I said, his whereabouts today are a mystery to me although I know He’s providing comfort and solace to a hurting soul.

This week, His image came to mind and while he is not in my possession, He is in my heart. I intend to carry Him and His message bravely into the next week so chaotic moments become quiet ones and frenzied flashes befall calm.

This Too Shall Pass…

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How are YOU Challenged?

The free glider, the eagle
swooshing down swiftly,
soaring like a jet
pretending now to be a branch,
now dead leaves, then a kite.
While its wings lift with the wind,
the eagle coasts and flow above the injured sparrow;
its eyes glitter with the savage thought of attack.
Then suddenly it turns away from its prey,
as serenely as a brook.
It floats smoothly across the tree tops,
a sense of freedom on its wings,
the eagle flies high while it searches for prey
more competitive.

I wrote this poem in high school although I couldn't tell you the specific age; at least thirty three years ago. I also couldn’t identify the challenge presented to me or the significance of these words, yet I can speculate.

However, these words came to mind this morning upon receiving an e-mail from a cherished college friend whose life has taken on noteworthy challenges. She is unemployed and like millions of Americans her benefits have shriveled and died. She is in a controlling emotionally abusive relationship as well as in school for acceptance into a program to unlock future job choices. Ultimately difficult challenges await her.

Which brings me to the question I present to you; how you do confront adversity? Do you pay little to no attention to the seemingly insignificant obstacles like that of the eagle and the inauspicious sparrow?

Are the challenges you face on a physical plane or more of a psychological/emotional level? When the situation is critical are you more apt to wait for boredom to strike and explore competition?

…just curious~

(this photo was taken off an aol website...)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Just a reminder...'s so very cold here today for the south. We reached a high of 38 degrees so I thought I'd post a photo of these lovely tiger lillies to remind us of the warmer temps and the gifts of beauty and aroma that a flower can bring.

While I'm at it, another mention was brought about by a good friend who sent the following to me in an e-mail and I thought of all of you, my readers and followers. And to be honest, it was a good remembrance for me as well.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend.. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 &70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love ... I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face.

So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore..

I've even earned the right to be wrong.So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).

And a special shout out to my friend Kathie who specifically wrote about the topic of aging in her blog:  Give her a read~

Sunday, December 5, 2010

On this day....

Yesterday nature displayed the first snowfall of the season dressing the outdoors with the beautiful delicacy that only snow can impart. What is strange about this occurrence is I live in North Carolina; therefore snow in NC in early December just doesn’t equivocate.

Nonetheless my eyes flitted from one entity to the next in an attempt to recharge my dehydration of the beauty in my world…there is nothing more exquisite than the pure unique flecks that gently descend and disguise the terrain. My child-like perception of the snowfall maintains it is God’s intention to quiet the busy-ness of the world by limiting travel and demanding we stop and take notice of the superb loveliness. At times, the inconvenience provides spontaneous time with family and time with self.

In light of this happening and the current pursuit for the elusive Christmas spirit, I was presented with a delightful surprise upon awakening to read my message from God that I receive daily via Face Book: On this day, God wants you to know that the voice of God is best heard in silence. All too often loud events and daily busyness cloud your vision of God. Take some time to slow down; let there be silence, let there be peace. Calm your mind and let your inner voice re-emerge from the silence. Allow yourself to see visions, allow yourself to dream dreams; and you may hear the voice of God reaching out to you.

While I don’t actively share in these messages on a day to day basis, the meaning today was welcomed and clear; busy lives mandate quiet and often we don’t provide or afford it for ourselves or for our family. Perhaps in my quest to find that mysterious gaily mood of the season the snow was my invitation.

To commence this inspiration, I will become sparing in allotting my time to insignificant things and activities. I will ignite the fire and calm my mind, allow my inner voice to re-emerge from the silence.

Today my family is attending a Christmas concert of the Trans Siberian Orchestra; something my eleven year old son has been requesting since early November. Our initial hesitancy was to dismiss this opportunity because of finances; in light of the economy, do we really need to spend the money? However, in honor of the season, we are attending; a gift we as a family desire and not because we ‘have’ to but because we ‘want’ to. A blessed Sunday to all…

Friday, December 3, 2010

Do you have the Holiday Spirit?

It is with enormous sadness that I momentary look out my window at all the merriment displayed; strands of evergreen and wreaths draped on doorways and windows, illumination glistening on eaves, trees and roof tops and music serenading in stores as a steady reminder of the upcoming Christmas season.

It is a time when I recognize and am reminded what a particularly difficult time of year this is for countless individuals in our world. People are unemployed, money is sparse as benefits have run dry; compounding the decision of whether to buy gifts or groceries. There is a remarkable sadness that has blanketed the world as individuals are grieving for lost loved ones, fatal illness have been diagnosed and tragedies have abounded.

Yet, we struggle with who is on our shopping list, how much shall we spend on each individual and is it enough? Do I have an abundance of decorations? Who will attend my party? We frantically search for the illusive gift with the purpose to make that special someone content and pleased. We attempt to out-shine our neighbors with lights, glitter and glitz packaging with it insurmountable stress.

Is this what the Lord, our God had in mind with the birth of Jesus Christ? It is during these hectic frantic times that I am reminded that the season is more than the gaily decorated gifts, or the amount of presents under the tree. It is more beautiful than that of the elucidation of our decorations dressing our homes and the sweet smells of cookies baking.

I personally rummage around for the Christmas spirit each season only to fall short, so while I continue to try to find the false delight I pray for the fortitude to seek it only within my heart.

And in closing, where do you find yours and does it go missing in action this time of year?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ode to Today....

Ode to today; temperatures are dropping like acorns from an oak, the wind is blustery, and the last bit of foliage is hanging on for dear life! And I, my friends must return to work; CRAP!

I know such despicable and ineffective words coming from a writer’s mouth. However, I must delve into the world of lesson plans, IEP’s, calm the fears of parents, ready children for those useless tests ‘they’ insist we give, love, nurture, mother… after two and a half weeks off I do declare I am not ready! Excuse me for opening the day so grouchy and cantankerous! It’s typically not my nature, but it is today!

However, to switch gears I thought I’d post a story from my book that is contracted to be published: My Life as a Dog...resting on its shoulders the entry will not only to add a brightness to my day but it will also give a flavor to several of you who have asked what the book is about. The stories and excerpts are written on the everyday, mundane world of our golden retriever’s life.

My Life as a Dog….and the 12 Step Program~

Okay, I’m a lost and broken dog. I have a terrible confession: I have a sock fetish which according to the dictionary means an obsessive or unhealthy preoccupation or attachment with an object.

But there, I said it and often heard that the first step in overcoming an addiction is to admit I have a problem. It is a terrible problem. I can’t get enough socks which is even more of a problem because they aren’t my socks! Well, they eventually become my socks because I chew and tear so many holes in them that no one can wear the foot coverings by time I’m done with them, but that’s beside the point. You see, they are my family’s socks. I can’t help myself and I am so ashamed of myself. Whenever I see a sock in the laundry basket I have to go grab it, stretch it until I hear that priceless sound ripping; AAHHHH, a sound of satisfaction! Tear it, shred it, and grate it; that is when they are at their best!

I like to get into Big Daddy’s running shoes and even though he has tucked them deep into the toe of the shoe, I stick my nose in until I can reach just a teensy-weensy thread and pull it out. Yeah, I know, the smell is pretty unpleasant and you’d think that would deter me, but I guess that tells you how desperate my dilemma is.

I’ve even been known to chase Little Daddy around the house when he’s taking his shoes off so I can grab a sliver of the cloth and help in pulling it off his foot. If I do that, then at least the taste is in my mouth and there’s a better chance I can keep it since I put the entire sock in my jawbone and slobber all over it. They don’t like to touch it when it is coated with dribble. Then, I dash into my favorite upstairs hiding place; under the bed. I know, I know, I’m a big dog but I can still fit under the bed and no one comes in after me. The beauty of that is they know I have the upper hand so they go to the cabinet in the bathroom and get a biscuit to entice me to come out. When I hear that box, I immediately go to my bed, the heck with the sock!…a quest for a later time and date. Besides, I have the best of both worlds; a biscuit AND the sock!

Yes, it is true. I go to great lengths to feed my addiction; I follow Nee Nee up the stairs biting at her heals until she gives them up, or until I trip her. Sorry, Nee Nee! Or, I stand on my hind legs at the washer and dryer searching for strays, and I park myself politely at the dryer while clothes are being folded to quickly grab one that may fall on the floor. I’m getting’ pretty good at ‘Snatch-and-Go’s’.

So while I’ve admitted my compulsion I’m not ready to follow Step 6 OR Step 7; were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character and humbly ask God to remove my shortcomings …ummm, should I? …NAAAHHHHH, I like socks too much and how else can I keep my family entertained by my antics?

I love this life…

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NaNoWriMo Drop-out!

Here it is, November 30th and I can officially tag myself as NaNoWriMo ‘Drop-Out! I’ve ‘dropped out’ of a few things in my life; failed relationships, a pick up volleyball game, a few rambunctious parties, and even a church that just wasn’t my niche. Once I got ‘Kicked-out’ of Sunday school and even 4-H club but don’t be too hard on me, I was only ten or eleven and I was just trying to blend in on both accounts.

But golly, I truthfully never meant to be a drop-out of NaNo. That surely rings out like I’m a quitter; ugh! Typically, committment means a great deal to me so when I make one, I follow through to the end, I soldier on and all that stuff...well, that was until; hmmm...

For those of you who don’t know what NaNO is, let me explain. The entire month of November is dedicated to writing a novel of a minimum of 50,000 words. Individuals, who are writers, or aspire to be writers, work diligently to wrap up the arduous task of crossing this goal line before midnight on the last day of the month; I aspired as well!

I signed up for the contest and anxiously awaited for opening day. For the first week, I typed, I typed and typed some more. My diligence led to an accomplishment of 6,393 words. Although temporarily, I was neglecting my husband and my son as well as ignoring the book I had just signed a contract to complete. My Life as a Dog… manuscript needed to be wrapped up so it could be sent to the editor. What was a gal to do?

Something had to give…so guess what it was? Yes, NaNoWriMo…hence, I’m a drop out! However, the dictionary defines a drop out to mean to withdraw from participation or membership. Gosh, that sounds so much better, doesn’t it? I had such high aspirations, too.

But here it is, closing day of the challenge and I’m no further along than the 6,393 words I’d compiled the first seven days. Again, UGH!!! I try my very best not to live off of Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda’s…I could’ve done it had I just not slept, I should have just sucked it up and plunged through to the end or I would have finished if I’d sacrificed everything; family included…

Even though I didn’t finish, I congratulate all my friends and those in the blog community who did complete the goal! Hurray for you! I mean that sincerely! You have a great deal to be proud of, so CONGRATULATIONS!

…and in closing, a toast to next year’s competition! Furthermore, may I not be a Drop-Out!

Here contains an earlier post to my quandry:

Monday, November 29, 2010

Honey, he's HOME!!!

I had the best sleep last night I've had since my son, Nicholas left last Saturday. If you stopped by last week, you caught my post on my boy being away from home for the holidays. If not, you can catch it here:

As you can imagine, I could hardly contain myself or focus on much of anything until his plane touched down Sunday at 3:50pm. As much as we longed for his laugh, smiles and endless chatter, he had a marvelous time! I continue to gather such evidence from stories and experiences he shares from days in Ohio. And pictures...he loves to take photos so the following are memories he important to him that tells of his week with family!

a journey begins with a thousand steps...

Maddy, his best friend~

Golden Trees...
The cabins they stayed in; check out the wagon wheels...
...along the way...

A blanket of leaves...

Glassy wonder...

I love the beautiful sky...

And you can NOT leave the great Buckeye state without a donut
with scarlet and gray sprinkles...

As for this Mom, I'm sure glad he's home!

Every parting is a form of death, as every reunion is a type of heaven.
by Tryon Edwards