Sunday, January 29, 2012

Who's Truth?

Today is what I call a respite day…a breather from the hustle-bustle of life. It’s been one of those weeks where demands have been plentiful so I may not even get out of my jammies!

On days where stillness is offered I tend to retreat inward to renew and rejuvenate the sense of self while also taking inventory along with searching for a topic or two to address in my writing.  

As often happens I drift mindlessly through the pages of the internet welcoming an outwardly induced focus which interestingly enough came by way of a quote by Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper. It stated, “Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it's not because they enjoy solitude. It's because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.”

Ouch…perhaps she’s correct and what if it is?  The times I’ve felt lonely I might have eluded that it was because I did enjoy alone-time, being by myself, blah, blah, blah…I can’t help but wonder the applicable tendencies in my own lifetime and if so, what would it matter?

In addition to my own being and self-analysis, I reflect on individuals in my life who have suffered and endured numerous disappointments and disenchantments at the hands of others and would they admit to truth in this statement?

Would you?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Thank you for being a Friend....

In memory of my friend Joan,
a small reminder...

Time waits for no one.
treasure every moment you have.

You will treasure it even more when
you can share it with someone special.

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
it's about caring and loving your relatives and friends while you can touch and see them, and they are still among us."

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Good Grief....

Gathering after the book signing...
Joan is the lady on my right... (blue sweatshirt, blue jeans)

Blessings, as do friends come in a variety of packages sharing a wealth of gifts that may go unrecognized until the unspeakable occurs. This is precisely what happened this week as a treasured friend suddenly passed away.

Joan and I shared many passions; first and foremost teaching and children, but particularly the child harboring difficult circumstances. We shared the wonderment and significance of dreams and God’s role in our lives. We both felt you could never have enough colored pens and our mutual love of writing was a source of much banter. Our conversations came easy and frequently took us to diverse worlds in a matter of minutes.

Joan displayed her flamboyant personality with dazzling, sparkly tiara’s and boas. She was comical, witty and engaging but always candid and direct—she spoke her heart. Joan encompassed many traits I aspire to embrace.
True to life, the glitzy exterior hid significant life’s struggles which made Joan stronger but nothing more noteworthy than the death of her husband of forty years in Sept., 2008. In Feb., 2011 Joan’s best friend Judy died who was our school librarian, followed by her beloved dog and Lizzy, her classroom pet lizard.

When I was notified of Joan’s unexpected death on Tuesday in my inner being I believed Joan died of a broken heart. Too much loss, too much sadness…
It was through these circumstances I was even more thankful for the occurrence of my book signing in Ohio in November in which I was able to see Joan. She talked of her pride in my accomplishment and spoke of her own interest in publishing a book entitled, ‘Good Grief’. She had a desire to support others through the grieving process with laughter and joy.

I wish she would have gotten around to writing this book as many of us might benefit from it right now. Her friends will gather in Ohio today to celebrate her life, and it was truly one worth celebrating. Although I will only be there in spirit I know Joan entered Heaven’s gates uniting with Judy and Doug with her ostentatious gaudiness of Mardi gras beads around her neck and a crown of glory exclaiming, ‘Dear God, let the party begin!’
"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die. "
Thomas Campbell

Monday, January 16, 2012

Alive in the Moment...

Sylvia Hall

"If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people."
By Thich Nhat Hanh 

My grandmother, Sylvia Hall-Hepler born October 14, 1901 -the anchor of our family is within me. She resides in the resilience and unassuming strength that drives my personal human spirit beyond life’s early stumbling blocks.
Sylvia standing (on right) with her siblings
As I delve deeply into the six acquired crates (read here) of old photos, letters and newspaper clippings that document people and events in my family linking back to my great-great grandmother I’m faced with an altered interpretation of family ties.  The attainment of these commemorations has taken me down memory lane; in addition, it has invariably linked points of information and answered questions although presenting other enquiries.

I’d like to begin with an apology to my grandmother. You see, in past conversations about obtaining my teaching and master’s degree, I proclaimed to all I spoke with that I was the first in my family to go to college; it turns out that is not exactly true.

Grandma's graduation announcement (click to enlarge)

On June 13, 1918 my grandmother graduated from Tiffin High School. In viewing her past report cards she excelled in spelling and literature; so I must come by my love of reading and writing naturally which makes me proud! Grandma didn’t do so well in U.S. History, Chemistry or Math. Hah! I guess I am her granddaughter; those are the subjects I could truly do without and never made the best of grades in those areas.

Her 9th-12th grade report cards (click to enlarge)
It seems when my alma mater, Bowling Green State University was founded in 1914 it began as Bowling Green State Normal College. Tuition was free in those early years and the college offered a 1-year short course for rural teachers which my grandmother was a part. A letter dated Aug. 24, 1920 to her uncle my grandma wrote of the courses she was taking and was soon to leave the rigors of the university to teach in Rockaway, Ohio.

School of children in front of the one room school house in Rockaway, Ohio.

To my sister Dawn and me, both ended up in teaching, the passing of the torch was without fanfare although nostalgia embraces tight the early conception.
Grandma was a tough durable woman who holds my heart at the core of her being. She remains in my nucleus as she whispers endorsements through similar likes, dislikes as well as choice of vocation. I clutch this melancholy softly keeping her alive within the palm of my hand.
"Other things may change us, but we start and end with family."
by Anthony Brandt

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hey! It's me, Angel-Kitty!

Man, I believed I’d never escape that closet.  I was engulfed with darkness so long I feared I might be going blind…scared the beejeebies out of me…did you think I was still in there since it took me so long to reveal the end of my tale?  (see below if you missed the first part of my story...)
Well, this is what came to pass and I’m kind of embarrassed to expose myself. I bellowed for Hurricane to release me and he had the audacity to park himself outside that door with his nose snug to the crack like a hot dog in a bun then proceeded to sigh…I knew he was taunting me and quite euphoric I was wedged in that clandestine space-just gave HIM more room to sprawl out on the bed for his midafternoon siesta.   

And there he parked himself- TICK-TOCK! …TICK-TOCK! …TICK-TOCK!
He situated himself safely outside as hundreds of beady eyes of Little D’s stuffed friends stared and gawked at my worries through the blackness. I was taunted and tormented... AND STUCK!

…ahhh, what’s that? Hurricane? Did you hear that? Don’t leave me brother…

…to that he just exhaled heavier leaving me to hover and scrunch into the nearest corner-
TH-WACK!  THUD!  Ahhhh-go away, go away I pleaded to the noises!

My hackles rose and whiskers erected to heights that cat-apulted me into the swirling abyss engulfing me into a deep catnap. (CAT-do you get it? Me a cat? -never mind…)
Hurricane jostled me awake by the myriad of ruckus he was creating outside the chambers.  In reality, his bark was as unbearable as cymbals crashing in the beginning band. I’m mortified to concede that it scared the pee right out of me.  I WAS in that closet a long time, you know…

But as you figured, I am free relatively unscathed—only rosy cheeks of humiliation compounded by teasing and tormenting of one brother who refused to be of any assistance AT ALL!

…BROTHERS! I’d be glad to surrender mine! Anyone want one?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hey, it's me- Angel-Kitty!

...still a bit dazed, but intact!

Okay, my Nee Nee told me of the remarks made on my previous story about Hurricane setting off the alarm. If you missed it, here is a link to my last tale.

Anyway, now that the holidays are complete I can finally get back on here and respond and I must say, by the thoughts shared, it seems no one believed me? OR they thought I was being too hard on poor ol’ Hurricane!
Hah, last time I trust you guys to protect me!

At any rate, perhaps this narrative will convince you of my innocence.

It began like any other day; same scenario: humans getting ironed clothes on, lunches in boxes, morning meal eaten ready to head out the door and poor despicable Hurricane gives them those sad puppy dog eyes-you know the ones. Oh my gosh, I am being left all alone in this house with no one to dote on me, booo-hooo.

GeezLouise, who does he think I am? Chopped dog food?
I saunter past the ‘pathetic storm’ and whip my tail in his face…nothing!

I make another attempt. This time when I stroll by I accidently-on-purpose step on his nose… ‘Oh I am so sorry brother! I truly didn’t mean that. Did I hurt you? …truly, I’m really sorry!’~

Zero…nil…nilch~ Heavens to Betsy ‘whirlwind’, ‘Snap out of it’!
WHALLOP! I clobber him on the snout with my paw to get a response and react he did!

…the pursuit begins…OVER, UNDER, IN, OUT, BELOW, ABOVE! Hah, this is so much fun!
That is until I scurry into Little D’s closet to hide and SLAM! ….the door fastens behind me….STUCK!!…'Hey there Hurricane, could you open the door for me brother?’

‘uhhh, did I tell you that you are my favorite brother?  ...yep, love you man...’
Silence….'Hurricane? you out there?'

Sunday, January 1, 2012

365 days in a word...

Happy New Year!!!

So, what resolutions have you made or broken yet?  You know, it IS already twelve hours into the new year…Actually, I don’t believe in setting myself up for failure so NO! I have made no resolutions nor do I intend to create any.

On the other hand, I did hear from a blogger friend, Peggy K who offered a suggestion that actually sounded like a grand substitute. She mulls over her life and comes up with a word, or sometimes one comes upon her that she can live by for the year such as ‘Simplify’ or ‘Gratitude’.
That proposition sounded feasible to me, so for the past 24 hours I have been trying to ponder a satisfactory word—

Ummm, let’s see, ‘Thrifty’ …nah… sounds too cheap!
‘Gratitude?’ well, truth be told, I don’t lack in that department.
How about ‘Giving’? I would kinda like to think I do that already-what do you think?
‘Practical’? No, actually the opposite might be a better fit! At times I’m too sensible for my own good.
‘Helpful’? ‘Sensitive’? ‘Responsible’?
Well, after much deliberation I actually think the word ‘present’ as in to (be) present in what it is I’m doing. At times as a result of the many obligations, demands and expectations life throws at me I’m not focused on the moment.  Or just as bad, I’m wondering what else it is I should be doing or what else is next on my list to do…So YES, my word for this year is to (be) present…now I need to go write it throughout my house!

Happy New Year my friends!
...and whatever journey 2012 takes you on
let it be full of promise, hope and love.