#atozchallenge: Water

20160428_071233.jpgI am so grateful for water. I was thinking about that while washing dishes the other night.  We use water to carry the dirt away from everything we wash – our dishes, our clothes, our cars, our pets, our bodies, everything.  If that were the only benefit of water, that alone would be enough.

The complexity of what water does inside our bodies is another mind boggling subject.  We are composed of 50 – 75% water and all our basic functions depend on having enough of it inside the cells, outside the cells, in the bloodstream. Every biochemical reaction in our bodies takes place in water and we can’t produce it ourselves, nor store adequate amounts of it.  We have to take it in, or we die rather quickly.

And so we have a planet to live on that is watered with a beautiful closed system of purification and re-use of water, that has vast amounts of water stored underground, and seas and oceans, lakes and streams almost everywhere.  It is a perfect match for our needs. That being said, some of us have to work a lot harder for water than others.  Some of us never have to consider how precious our water is and are wasteful of it, taking it for granted.

I’m not going to get real technical about water. I just want everyone to have a chance to think about water and how marvelous it is, in all its forms from rain to snow to steam.  The beautiful clouds in the sky, the inspiring waterfalls that we flock to view, the cool lake that we jump into to cool off, the sprinkler that brings relief to our grass and plants and trees.  Water is, well, kind of miraculous really.  Just sayin’…

A Season of Crying

 

I felt it coming as I was reading that morning, and it did several times. The words on the page set the tone for the whole day. The tears came again as I gave Mom a good morning hug, and again in church, and again as I talked with my friend, and oddly, again when I stopped to “air up” my tires at the WaWa station.

I’m brought into these seasons of crying not by hormone imbalance – that I recognize and this isn’t it. It happens when I realize that I’m on to something important, maybe life changing, certainly life enriching.  It happens when I become aware that I’m learning something, not by my own doing, by through God’s hand, his methods, his inspiration.  It’s so cool, it makes me cry.

Suddenly, I feel kind of raw, hyper-aware of people and circumstances around me.  There is possible meaning, potential meaning in EVERYTHING because I feel God in action and I have no idea what he’s going to do next.

I guess, to start with, I’m just so impressed that he’s dealing with me, on a personal level, giving me something I didn’t have before.  That happened, with the aforementioned book.  Later, the same subject came up with a little more to think about as I listened to the sermon. And the friend thing…  I think it’s pretty common to lose it when a friend who knows you well notices that something is going on. All it took was a sympathetic word and I was crying again.  Sorry Christine (haha, and thanks).

The hyper-awareness part comes when I realize that I’m being taken care of by someone in high places who is listening in on every conversation, every thought and is literally everywhere around me, even as close as the air I breathe. Small favors are no longer coincidences, they are blessings and assurances.

How does the gas station work it’s way in there, you might wonder.  Lately I seem to be searching for air pumps at gas stations all the time.  I felt pretty lucky when I started finding that they accepted credit cards and I didn’t have to hunt for change.  But last Sunday when I pulled into the WaWa, I found an air pump labeled FREE AIR! What unexpected generosity…  It was a sweet machine with good instructions.  It gave me a digital reading for each tire before it pumped it up to the amount I punched in.  And I was crying again because it was cold and raining and I was grateful for something that worked, worked well.

Today, to match this season I’m in, the sky is also crying and I feel somehow aligned with it. We were made to have seasons, the sky and I, and I’m glad for that.  Just sayin’…

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lots of tears out there…

Know how I feel about my mom?

Dear Mom,

Good morning and I’m thinking about you as I sit in a quiet house having the morning’s first cup of coffee in “your mug”, the one you didn’t want to send off to Good Will when you moved.   I’m saving it for you.  I like it too.

I just want to tell you that I feel so blessed, at my age, to be able to write a letter to my mom and have her be able to read it.  A lot of people don’t get the chance.  That you are still here is partly because you are not that much older than I am, only 18 years, and partly because you navigated the storms of life pretty well.  You probably don’t feel like you did it all intentionally but you did make many simple decisions to be patient, to be faithful, to not worry, to work, to ask for help, to trust others, to love and to be flexible.  They all add up.

And now we are in a different season.  For the first time since you were a teenager, you are exploring who you are by yourself.  Once again, I am so amazed at your ability to try things and come to conclusions about them.  While many who lose a spouse would retreat and let themselves be forgotten, instead you are reaching out to your family and friends and being a part of their lives.  You’ve concluded that you don’t like to be living alone – a good thing to know.  I am so looking forward to spending time with you again, not just to visit, but to have those longer shared experiences.

Now that my own children are out of the house and working on their lives and careers, it is a comfort to me to know that you have been through that part of motherhood.  You’ve seen us kids make bad decisions, go through tough times, lose people we love, wrestle with faith, take risks.  You lived through it, and because of that I know I can too.

I’ve always wanted to spend more time with you – you were a fun mom – but even more so as I became aware of you as an interesting person, not just a mom.  I loved interviewing you a couple years ago and finding out details of your early years with your own parents and siblings.  As someone who reads and recognizes a good story, I realized I was hearing one.  There is a tendency as a child to think you know your parents, after all you grew up with them.  What it really means is that they know you much better than you know them.  I look forward to learning more about you.

I will see you in less than a week.  We will talk, share our morning coffee times, read together, do a jigsaw puzzle or two, take some pictures of us together, sort through life, laugh, remember…. I look forward to it.  So grateful for the time.  Love you Mom.

Thanksgiving in Detail (lots of strokes to this picture…)

The Day Before

There are fourteen of us tonight.  Tomorrow there will be more for the big meal. Our family does this frequently, big gatherings, reunions, and we have expectations.  People will take turns making the meals since we are usually together for several days.  We will take turns  shopping for groceries and washing the dishes.  Beds have been scouted out and stashes of blankets and pillows have been scattered around the houses where we are gathering.  We want to be together, as many of us as can make it, because of one thing we agree on – we are thankful for family.

the reigning seniors and responsible parties
the reigning seniors and responsible parties

I am always a little surprised to hear that many people find us odd, a family that enjoys getting together.  Many people do not have this kind of tradition or this kind of family.  My mom and dad are the reigning seniors.  There is my generation consisting of myself and three of my brothers and their families.  And then there is the youngest generation, our children, ranging from fourteen to mid thirties in age.  They are students, prospective parents, house flippers,  a veterinarian, a geologist, an aeronautical engineer, a vegan, a hunter,  There is a lot of news to exchange and the place buzzes with conversation.

Food is always being prepared or consumed or both.  It seems one meal is barely finished before the next one needs to be started.  There is no room in the fridg.  This year Jon is sharing some vegan recipes with us.  Brother Bob has brought ingredients for his famous muffin breakfast.  Mom has been baking cookies, pies and cranberry bread for weeks.  There is a “happy” turkey (happy while alive, not so much now).  The kitchen is not very large and it is always full of people. We make at least five full pots of coffee a day.  We don’t fit around one table very well, although it is a huge table.

Thanksgiving Day

My family is staying in a snug 2 bedroom condo a few yards away from the one my parents live in.  My mom is an early riser and when she’s up and making the first pot of coffee for the day she turns on the outside lights.  I wait for that signal before going over for a moment of quiet reflection and planning.  Since FOOD is going to be the  name of the game most of the day, she had a breakfast casserole ready for the oven.  Loaves of bread and bagels were ready by the toaster.  It wasn’t long before the crowd assembled – and then the food was gone.  Fortunately we have a nearly seamless way of moving on to the next eating experience.

There was a brief break in the eating while we made a call to my aunt in Florida to sing happy birthday to her.  Actually we sang it twice – once on her voice mail and one live performance when she called back.  She is 90 and knows how to use a cell phone. Kudos.

.I am so glad the younger crowd embraces cooking with gusto.  I am so glad that Walmart is open on the holiday.  No matter how much planning takes place, with this many people, something is always missing or running out.  After a trip to the store the kitchen was again crowded with  Jon, Jamie and Julie turning out Buffalo Cauliflower, Killer Veggie Tray and Guacamole Supreme.  The turkey got bathed, dried, seasoned and placed in the oven to cook, leaving room for the Tofurkey to slide in beside it later.  The dressing was mixed up and put in the crock pot.  The potatoes were pealed.  The pies were set out to thaw.

a moment in the constant flow of food prep
a moment in the constant flow of food prep
wash, peel, chop, arrange, cook, stir, EAT
wash, peel, chop, arrange, cook, stir, EAT
potatoes enough for an army
potatoes enough for an army

1:30 pm

The football game is underway, accompanied by football food.  Today we do not have hunger to tell us what time of day it is.  Everyone has their favorite snack and drink and we are hoping that the continual trickle of food does not hamper our enjoyment of the grand finale.  My latest “chore” was getting the next jigsaw puzzle prepared for the afternoon.  It is a tradition at our gatherings to do puzzles and we have done two already.  There is a bonding that takes place between those willing to devote hours to staring at little pieces of cardboard.  We know who we are.  The last one was 2,000 pieces and we could hardly fit it on the table.  This next one is only 1500 and I’m hoping it will last through the evening.

this was an awesome puzzle!!
this was an awesome puzzle!!

My brother who lives in this area has left to be with his wife’s family as they celebrate the holiday a few miles away.  Somehow a miracle will happen and they will eat two Thanksgiving dinners back to back.  I am in the quiet of my condo, me and the turkey.

There is no end to the things I am thankful for.  How is all this possible? It is not a matter of deserving this plenty, this comfort, safety and fellowship.  There are many others who should have more, but don’t. I also have to consider that we may not always have what we have now. But while we have it, let us not forget to be grateful and generous.  The memory of these times, precious times, might be what sustains us in the future. I’m just sayin’ it’s best we pay attention.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Being Home, Being Restored

I love to travel. I love to be home.  Even though there is a lot here to be responsible for, and when I’m gone nature does it’s thing pretty much unchecked (the husband did mow the lawn) it is still a place that restores me. It begs me to take part, to pull a weed, pick up a few fallen branches, smell the mint and the rosemary, touch a mossy rock, marvel at a single strand of spider silk floating from somewhere to who knows where, hold my ears when the cicadas get all fired up. At some point there will come colder weather and it will change, but for now it is still the hot, humid, green glory of summer. Nature is more than amazing, it is God’s gift showing his thoughfulness, his love of beauty and drama, his attention to detail, his desire to nurture and uplift, his power to take down and start anew

If you need a spot of beauty in your day, come take a morning walk with me through the Oneacrewoods.

one of many paths
one of many paths

shapes, colors, texture, variety for our eyes to see
shapes, colors, texture, variety for our eyes to see

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A Small Gift

It’s Monday morning.  I’m dressed and sitting at my desk thinking about the day ahead. Last week I repotted a houseplant and brought it to live on my desk in front of the  glass doors where it would get a lot of southern exposure.  I noticed a large drop of water at the tip of a leaf.  And then I saw that every leaf that was turned in the same orientation had a large crystal clear drop of water – the whole plant was decorated at the tips of these leaves only.  The rest of the plant was dry.  Such a beautiful thing… just sayin’.

I could have missed it.  Thankful for eyes to se...
I could have missed it. Thankful for eyes to se…

Thanksgiving Day

 

thank-you-quote2
Today is a thanksgiving holiday for me.  I’m just taking a day off after two weeks and several thousand miles of travel to be thankful for making it there and back once again. I have “that thought” every time I leave home that I might not be back again, ever.  I’m not upset or overly morbid about it – it’s more a realization that there is no promise of longevity or a trouble free life given to anyone. Stuff happens, no matter how careful you are.Read More »

F for Fingers

fingers that play (to the beat)
fingers that play (to the beat)
fingers that work (and take a beating)
fingers that work (and take a beating)
adjusting and healing
adjusting and healing
steering in the right direction
steering in the right direction
keeping the truck on the road
keeping the truck on the road
um... oh well, you know
um… oh well, you know
learning
learning
providing diversion and entertainment
providing diversion and entertainment
keeping up with events on the news
keeping up with events on the news
etching an award for a deserving teacher
etching an award for a deserving teacher
ready to type the next post
ready to type the next post

Fingers – think of all they do. Think of what life would be like without them… Think of how awesome it is that they obey orders that start way up in your head without you even having to think about it.  We are wonderfully made!  Have you ever really looked at the hands and fingers of the people you love? These are fingers from my family and friends doing what they do for fun and for making a living.

 

Contact Me

I have chosen today to be thankful for my eyesight – sight being an awesome gift on any day, but today my awareness is way up there.  Most days I stumble to the bathroom after the alarm rings and look for my contact lenses.  They’ve been soaking for at least six hours (and if it’s not that long you might go blind when you put them in) in a little container of peroxide solution.  The container has a little cage marked R for the right contact and another one for the left, unmarked.  Putting them in is always a little tricky because of the many odd things those little pieces of plastic can do – like folding themselves in half, turning themselves inside out, fastening themselves to the end of your finger instead of your eyeball, getting themselves stuck in your hair… I could go on.

Today there was no particular trouble getting them in and then began the adjustment from poor unaided vision to somewhat less poor aided vision.  I think everyone gets used to the way the world is supposed to look out of their own eyes and I have accepted the fact that contacts do not give me perfectly corrected vision.  Everything seemed pretty clear within a few feet but as I started walking into larger rooms I had the distinct sensation that I had one overly huge left eyeball.  I couldn’t think of anything that could cause this very strange feeling, one I’d never felt before.  I decided to listen to the little voice telling me that something was not right and went back before the mirror for another look.  It was scary to think it might look as weird as it felt.

I have done things like putting the left contact into the right eye, and vice versa, which is probably good exercise for my brain but is definitely not what the eyes are used to or comfortable with. Hoping it was something like that, I took the left contact out and examined it.  Nothing wrong there. And then I realized that I was actually looking closely at a small thing and was seeing it, which would not be possible without aided vision. There was still a contact in my eye.  I had been wearing two of them, in one eye, on top of each other.  How about that?

See how a little, ridiculous event can suddenly lighten up a day? I don’t have a tumor behind my eyeball! I am so grateful that I can again see at my accustomed level of blindness!  I guess what I’m saying here is that no matter what’s wrong with us there can be a beautiful moment of  awareness of something that’s still right, or nearly so, and that’s a good thing.  Have a great day!