Wednesday, October 22, 2014

just do something


About a week ago before I got sidelined from about 50 chigger bites (but that's another story for another day) I cut down two trees that were growing very weirdly (is weirdly a word?) in my yard.  They were skinny and tall with all kinds of shoots springing up from the ground.   My dad said they grow that way because they are being crowded, dwarfed by larger trees.  They are reaching upward for the light and can't develop properly.  I cut them down using a tool that sliced into the many branches easily.  It took a while to do and I was left with a large pile of debris to get rid of.




As I sorted through the branches today cutting them into smaller pieces to bag them, I thought about the way we get things done.  Little by little.  Sometimes one tiny bit at a time.  Just moving forward one step, sometimes one inch at a time.

I've always seen parallels of my spiritual journey in the physical world.  And I'm most apt to recognize those parallels when I'm doing something physical by myself.  A big chore can seem like too much to handle until we break it down into parts.   What's important is that we begin.... and continue moving in the right direction.

So I began... and didn't intend to finish today, but I did.  My goal was to begin but once I did I just kept at it.






So my new motto is that everyday we can do something...  just a little bit to move forward.   Sometimes we finish a job.  Sometimes we just keep moving in the right direction because there is  no actual end to it even though much good can be accomplished along the way.  It can be anything done thoughtfully.

exercise a little more
eat a little healthier
pray a little more
be a little more compassionate
come closer to forgiving
rake a small pile of leaves, trim one bush
make the world a little more beautiful
call one person who is lonely
smile more often
laugh at someone's dumb joke
read something positive
walk a little quicker
encourage someone
listen a little longer
be a little more patient

This list could go on and on......

We all walk different paths and are on different journeys.  I've discovered we may really want to blaze a trail and yet things don't always go our way.  Someone can even walk down a certain path and have smooth sailing while another can travel the same path and have tons of adversity while doing it.  Why?  It's a mystery and life isn't always fair... and things happen.

So let it go and let God sort all that out.

Just do something every day.... to move in the right direction.

We'll get there... and do a lot of good along the way.










Sunday, October 12, 2014

out and about


I've cycled many miles this week and gotten to know my city better.  It's a different and refreshing perspective to get around on a bicycle and explore things up close and personal.    Parks, Lady Bird Lake... the new boardwalk.   Though these cell phone photos don't show many people it's actually a very active place especially on the weekends.  There are happy active people and dogs everywhere!  

My bike stays in the back of the truck now.   I'm finally branching out further than my own neighborhood and I'm loving it!









Friday, October 3, 2014

Today

Friday evening. It really couldn't be more delightful as I sit outside now sipping a glass of cabernet.    The wind picks up now and then.... not enough to be harsh, but just enough to blow away any mosquitoes that might be thinking about landing on my exposed arms and legs.   The humidity left as well, and now the air includes that hint of fall that I seem to wait all year for.



I'm reflecting about my day and reminded that life is to be lived or else you're dying... My dad just quoted something like that to me when I spoke to him on the phone earlier.  I'm not sure what he was getting at exactly, but he was in a chipper mood telling me all about various things.  He says my name, "Kath", numerous times as we talk and I like to hear it.  He found some fried chicken he liked at Safeway... and better pomegranates at Fred Myers ... we discussed current events, yard work and drinking wine and Hungarian food.  I told him a package I mailed should arrive for him today and he can expect some home-baked goodies for his dessert tonight.

I'm thankful for life as it is today .... it's not perfect, but it's good.

I sit here watching Norman enjoying the green grass in his yard.  Early this morning I did trimming and bagging and tying up dead branches and debris after purchasing a new tool that makes yard work do-able... and almost fun!   I'm enjoying looking out at the work of my own hands now .... Even earlier than that I changed three bulbs on the truck.  I figured out how to replace the left brake and blinker lights and did it by myself after running out to Auto Zone.  I spoke to a man there who had lost his wife five years earlier.  Sadly he said it's gotten somewhat more difficult again for him because he just lost his dog.... another connection to his wife....  Like I told my dad today... the missing and hurt won't ever stop... but we can experience the joys life brings each and every day…. and savor….



I had some unexpected tears today as I met with my doctor for my first colonoscopy.  I looked at the anatomy pictures on the wall as I waited for the doctor to come into the room and I lost my breath, got choked up and tears instantly filled my eyes.   I had to look away.  Edd got his at 54 and here I am the same age scheduling mine for the first time.  If he had gotten it at 50 as they suggest he may have lived.    He may not have been so far along with his cancer.  That really bothered him but I always tried to lessen the blow and regret he felt… with my words and my actions…. That's what we do for those we love fiercely.

The days come and go and they bring many gifts.   Friendship.   Love.  Insight.  Wisdom.  Joy.  Tears.  Laughter.  Strength to work.  Courage to be open to possibility.  Changing seasons and new perspectives.  Cool refreshing breezes.  Interaction with loved ones and strangers.

Today was full...




Sunday, September 28, 2014

words beautifully expressed





“Sometimes I touch the things you used to touch, looking for echoes of your fingers.” ― Iain Thomas




“If nothing else, one day you can look someone straight in the eyes and say “But I lived through it. And it made me who I am today.”  - Iain Thomas

Some things we feel we won't live though.  But miraculously we do.  

~~~~~~~

I never used to take my turn.  I always gave my turn away.  I helped others have a great turn.  After they had all gotten a turn, then maybe I could go, if there was time and it didn't bother anyone.  Now I take my turn, as a radical act.  -Anne Lamott

I love this one…. and I've felt this way.  Felt I gave and gave and when I finally took my turn some people I thought cared rejected me and thought I had no right to take my turn.  That stung for a while.  But shame on those who don't let you take your turn.

~~~~~~~

...you really do not get over the biggest losses, you don't pass through grief in any organized way, and it takes years and infinitely more tears than people want to allot you. Yet the gift of grief is incalculable, in giving you back to yourself.    -Anne Lamott

This is something I could never imagine or anticipate.  In all my trying and working through, this timetable is not my own.  

~~~~~~~

“Someone you haven’t even met yet is wondering what it’d be like to know someone like you.”  - Iain Thomas

I remember being a little girl and thinking there was someone out there, somewhere, for me.  Before I even knew him or saw his face.  It was a mystery not yet revealed.  If we are alive there is still much mystery and sometimes I think it would be nice to have someone want to stay.

~~~~~~~

…. and yet the world keeps on spinning, and in our grief, rage, and fear a few people keep on loving us and showing up. It's all motion and stasis, change and stagnation.  Awful stuff happens and beautiful stuff happens, and it's all part of the big picture.  -Anne Lamott

And so it does… and so it is.





Wednesday, September 24, 2014

some recent goings on

I just returned from a trip once again to the Oregon Coast.  It's beautiful.  Hauntingly so.  It makes me feel so alive to walk out into that cool Northwest air along the Pacific ocean and just breathe in the freshness.  The smell of the salty air gives me a high.



As much as it gives me joy it also brings a fresh sadness as Mom isn't there anymore.  I know it will always feel this way to me.  I miss her.

I'm learning to deal with life as it IS.  Reality.  It takes time to ladder yourself up again after you feel as though you've fallen.  We all feel it.  Whether it's a big loss, a series of little ones…. I'm learning we're all fighting some kind of battle.

But it was sweet to be with my dad.  He hurts so.  And I discovered something significant.  Not that I didn't already know it but… one of the most important things in my life… if not THE most important thing in my life… the thing that gives me the most peace and happiness … is when I know the people I love are doing okay.  That they aren't hurting.  It's hard not to be able to do anything about the suffering of someone I love.    And often we can't.  All we can do is tell them… and show them… that we care.



Two weeks ago I went with a few friends on a Segway tour of Austin.  I thought for sure I would crash this motorized contraption, but once I got the hang of it it was great fun!  We zipped all over town with a guide who brought us down sidewalks, over roads and bridges for miles… stopping here and there to learn something new.









I'm feeling the air change ever so slightly now from scorching summer to more tolerable fall… The nicest time in Texas is ahead and will be here once again … and I can't wait!


Sunset on the Oregon Coast

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

thoughts about change and consequences… and fear

The clouds were moving across the sky so quickly this morning…. It made me think about how life can change so fast.  And that is true.  Events can occur that we had no idea were about to happen and then life takes on a whole new look.  Reality changes from what it was moments before.



But some things change or reach an explosive head which is unfortunately predictable with some degree of accuracy.  People go on and on… and on… with their dysfunctional, dangerous behaviors taking risks that eventually bring them to unfortunate and unwelcome consequences.  

So yes, life can change fast.  Sort of.  

It can change fast for those who had nothing to do with the other person's risky and foolish behavior.  Like the person who makes the decision to drive drunk and kills another driver in an auto accident.   While one person made the choice to get in that car drugged up or intoxicated, another was just leaving work to go home to his wife and children… but never made it.

Which one here is really the victim?

I've heard people "down on their luck" talk so much about being victims that it's making me numb.  So many just continue the same behaviors that will only lead to the same dead-end results.  I see them unwilling to work.  Continuing to make ridiculous choices.  So many have this illogical sense of entitlement or arrogance thinking that some jobs are beneath them but they have criminal records (all undeserved and unfair they believe) that keep them from getting other jobs.  They're unwilling to just work hard, stick to it, don't give up…  and work their way back up the ladder.  

Choices.  Consequences.  There is a natural correlation.  The two are related.

The frustrating thing about loving someone who is always the "victim" is that they just don't get it.  And there isn't anything you can do to help them if they don't get it.   

Where then is your responsibility when you care about someone like this?  Someone who continues to hurt their own self and spreads it outward to those who love them and … to the innocents?  

I wish I knew.

I had a strong thought last evening about the F-word in my life.  FEAR.  It has at time rendered me paralyzed with bone-deep weariness.  Totally captivating me.  Binding and controlling me with chords I could not break free of.  But that will be my fight.  My persistent enemy is Fear but it will not cause me to become useless or to retreat.  True there is much I am not in control of but I will remember to lean into the One who is the Prince of Peace.  I will love and help where I can and let go to let others fight the battles that they have seemingly so persistently chosen for themselves.   

I can't take away the consequences of others wrong choices as much as I might like to… but I have some say as to how I react to it… as sad as it might be.


People like to say that it is all about the family. But lots of people do not have rich networks of hilarious uncles and adorable cousins, who all live nearby, to help them. Many people have truly awful families: insane, abusive, repressive. So we work hard, we enjoy life as we can, we endure. We try to help ourselves and one another. We try to be more present and less petty. Some days go better than others. We look for solace in nature and art and maybe, if we are lucky, the quiet satisfaction of our homes. Is solace meaning? I don't know. But it's pretty close. 
-Anne Lamott from Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair

Friday, August 29, 2014

the week past


It's Friday.  It's been a busy week.  My date book is full of write-ins and scratch outs, 
reminders and notes.

I like to look ahead, but it's also encouraging to look back and see all that was
 accomplished and learned.

Refrigerator finally got repaired today.  The good thing about that is I asked if the work would be covered since it is only one month out of the 1-year warranty.  "Yes" they said.  Especially nice since it's a very expensive repair job.  I also asked their insurance department if they would cover some food loss.  "Yes" again.  An extra $100 is also nice!

Reminded me that if you don't ask you won't get… so why not at least ask? 

Sold one of the properties Edd purchased years ago.  Though I gave away what I could have made from the sale I feel good about it.  My conscience is clear and I have peace.  Everyone is responsible for their own conscience and that gives me peace too.

A group of widows and widowers I help with did some fun things and I'm happy I can help organize and plan.  We saw Fiddler on the Roof last night performed by the Trinity Street Players and it was a wonderful show.  Such talent …. and one of my favorite stories. 

A family member got the job he's been waiting… and waiting for…. 
I did more seeking and pondering and moving forward….
I exercised, read, danced, ate healthy… fresh greens and fruit smoothies every day…

I worked in the garden…and feel strong.




And this….. 
This is my blessed view as I work at my desk.   I have a warm 
cuddly pooch underfoot soaking in the sunshine.

And beautiful hummingbirds come to a feeder on the window about three feet from my face!

Good for my soul and the view is great!








Good for the body is the work of the body, good for the soul the work of the soul, and good for either the work of the other.  ~Henry David Thoreau