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more blessings counted...

Sunday, May 29, 2011
I had encounter with someone last week that caused me to pause and consider my blessings. I have mentioned something in this vein before, but after talking to a friend I had not seen in a while, I am reminded we all need to be thankful for things that never happened: in the sense of the Robert Frost poem we all had to memorize in junior high school about the 'road not taken'. It gave me a great and greater appreciation for the way my life has played out, and an awareness of things that don't happen can be of greater import along the 'path' than the things that make a noticeable, memorable impact.

The friend is someone I used to see every day when she was my supervisor at work, but I have not found the time to sit and talk with for months and months. I saw her last week, and inquired about life in general. She knew from the last time we had conversation, that she has been through some really rough spots recently.  I knew she was committed to providing encouragment and comfort to a significant other who has had monunental health problems: months long hospital stay and extensive rehab.  But he is fairly stable and she seems to be content. 

Her daughter, (who lives with the ex-exhusband) just graduated from high school a week ago, and is planning to start tech. school to get trained in dental hygiene, called to report she is pregnant. She has already been to the dr. for her first prenatal check, and the baby-daddy did go with her. But what a long row to start at her age, with so much potential/promise out there, getting farther and farther away...

So I can feel a sharp pain in my chest, and think 'what a heartache! To think, as a Mom,  that you had finally gotten the last child safely through the wailing and gnashing of high school and looking forward to seeing her start out into the world to pursue her dreams, jumping out of the nest... and now this. Wow. 

I saw someone recently (connected to SF and my former life) who asked about family, just doing the two minute 'lets' update' standing in the produce department. He asked about daughters and got the happy dance as my initial response. Then the Cliff Notes summary of their lives: happy, healthy, financially independent.
What a blessing. Thank You Very Much.

ready for the rapture?

Saturday, May 21, 2011
I have been pondering for several days what I would most like to be doing if it is true that the world will really end in about an hour. According to some Biblical crackpot, the end is more than emminent.

So here's what I propose: meet me at the beach, and we will sit in the sand chairs, with our toes in the water, under the shade of a palm tree (I just love the sound the leaves make when the wind blows), and drink ice-y cold beer, have a tray of lime-flavored chips and chilled salsa sitting close at hand. And be ready to be sucked up out of your shoes by a giant vacuum like event. But honestly: if heaven will be even better than we can imagine: that's pretty much what we will be doing for all eternity as far as I am concerned.

If they are getting up a load - I am reaalllly looking forward to being on the train.

from sweater weather to tank tops...

Friday, May 20, 2011
The people I know who were raised in Pennsylvania have this expression they apply to whatever the current weather is: "This sure is strange weather we are having". It is apparently terminology that, no matter what sort of routine or abnormal  things are occuring in the atmosphere within in the bounds of the state, is applicable. No matter the meterological conditions, it is always 'strange'.  I remember going up there once in the middle of summer, with kids wearing shorts, t-shirts and sandals, and having to make a bee-line for the sweatshirt store as soon as we crossed the state line and opened the door.

Not only is the weather strange, the people might be just a wee small tad as well. (plus they think a cold glass for tea is not supposed to be sweet!!! Why do they think we drink iced tea at all?)

So when I left home on Thursday morning to go to south GA, I had on a fleece jacket, since it has been so unseasonably cool all week. Then after a couple of hours of yard work, was down to a tank top. It was (to my way of thinking) a pretty productive time, though I doubt anyone else would take notice of my bushwhacking efforts... Probably partially due to the fact that my goal was primarily to get shrubbery trimmed back from being too close to the house, so yes, I guess so: nothing actually shows! But I did get a lot done, and was able to go with the attitude that the only way to tackle such a monumental task is in increments. Thanks: WS, who showed up with perfect timing with a Chain Saw... oh, wow! If I was not deathly afraid of them, I would be a  modern day Paul Bunyan and go charging off into the woods, cutting a swath - but honestly do not want to even be there when it is blasting out ear-ringing decibles, churning out a rooster tail of sawdust... vewy scarey!

Did not have nearly enough time to do all the things I would have liked, but with a little assistance from hired help believe that I will eventually accomplish the goal. The problem, as I have discovered, is that yard work is like trying to get all the clothes washed when your kids are little. Especially if you are 'outnumbered':  they can dirty, change, leave a trail of garments strewn along faster than you can get them washed, dried, folded and back in the drawer.

Are you familiar with the expression 'herding cats'? Well, it took me a long time to figure this one out, but I have begun to realize that when you plant stuff, (and mostly stuff you don't actually get credit for, but you just look the other way for ten years or so and let un-wanted, invasive 'volunteers' go to seed and spread,  take over when you are not paying close attention), and suddenly find you have to spend the rest of your life trying to whip it into shape. Constantly trying to keep it under control, which is nutty, since the whole reason you went and paid good money for it is in the hope that I would grow and change!

I long ago decided I would not fertilize a lawn: what's the point of that??? To make more work for yourself!

the season of commencing...

Sunday, May 15, 2011
I spent a couple of days last week (actually just yesterday and the day before) observing a family being happy, celebrating milestones. A truly joyous occasion for all concerned. Nothing makes you smile like seeing someone else being delighted with life. Lots of happy tears, seeing freshly minted gradautes trooping down the aisle headed into a life filled with possiblities.

There are so many occasions that families come together to provide support in times of hardship and misery, the past couple of days were especially delight-filled to observe. Watching parents, siblings, cousins, miscellaneous hangers-on, assorted passers-by and lots of total strangers sharing congratualtory hugs and wishing gowned and mortarboarded young people 'Best of Luck!!' as you charge off out there into the waiting world.

The other semi-unexpected event of happy-ness was a kinda, sorta, somewhat surprise birthday party where the birthday-ee knew/expected she was to attend a party, but unware she was the 'honoree' for the event. She knew to wear party clothes, but not that everyone would be wearing little conical party hats for her benefit. So watching all the friends and family visit, renew acquaintance, meet the formerly unknown and see the anticipation of waiting the arrival of the Birthday 'Girl' was equally amusing.

A day filled with smiles and laughter, sweet remembrances of shared experiences.  Nothing more delightful than having all the people you love  mostest and bestest in the world gather for your benefit, then be serenaded with a sweet, happy, silly, off key song. Except maybe cupcakes (topped with edible flowers and made with a generous helping of affection) to eat, and lots of photos to remember such a day that was perfect in every way, including weather, showers of love and bouncy kids chasing balloons.

Congratulations: FAS. Happy Birthday, JFTS.

"not really interested in harp music"...???

Wednesday, May 4, 2011
We have been enjoying, off and on, for several years, going downtown to St. Luke UMC once a month on the first Tuesday to have lunch and enjoy some sort of  musical 'recital'. Usually someone local who sings, or plays some type instrument, occasionally a traveling troupe of gospel singers or out-of-town talent imported for the occasion. The entertainment last month (which I sadly missed) was a very gifted local young man who sings gospel music, with recorded accompinment, who happens to be blind. For May, yesterday, there was a harpist who lives in the Atlanta area. She brought along a friend who played the piano. It was quite good: you don't often encounter someone willing to put the effort into developing and maintaining such unusual skills. They both work professionally, doing contract work in the metro area.

I had asked Paul if he wanted to go, and was planning to go across town and get his sister to take for the lunch and music. So we had three reservations for the catered lunch, which is prepared by the chef and kitchen staff at St. Luke and always a good hot meal. Then we got to talking about going down there on Monday night - when I told him my 'plan' was for me to get the sister down there, and he would take her home, so I could  go to the Respite Care program (across the street from the fellowship hall) and finish up the planting business I started several weeks ago.  My mom attended the program for several years and I go occaionally to re-plant seasonal annuals, and keep in touch with the workers/volunteers there, who are so  sweet, compassionate in their caregiving witth participants.

I had another flat of annuals and needed to get them put in pots to add color in their little 'secret garden'. Plus move some wonderfully blooming fragrantly smelling Confederate jasmine that needed to be scooted over close to a fence it ws intended to climb on for support and decoration. And a rose some noodle-head had planted in the complete shade.

But he said he thought he was not really all that much interested in harp music and that he thought he would pass on making the effort to get down there for lunch. Needless to say: that tossed a monkey wrench in my plans. So I had to leave home at 8:30 to get it all done before going out to the north side of town to pick up the sister.

It all worked out: but the questions we formulated for him when we were talking, while going down town for the luncheon: "What do you plan to do when you get to the Pearly Gates, and standing in line to have your wings and halo issued? Ask if you can go over there and get in the line where they are being given the little pre-school rhythm band instruments like triangles, tambourines, and wooden blocks to bang together? Refuse to attend the harp-playing class? Say: 'I don't need lessons'?"

'Not really interested in harp music'? That's defnitely not me! ..."When I get where I'm going , there'll be only happy tears"...
I've heard talk of people who were apparently standing behind the door when they were passing out common sense, but I cannot imagine getting up there and being recalcitrant. I am going to be so thankful just to get in the door, I will be doing the happy dance the whole time.