Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Christmas 2020

Christmas. This year sure is different. It's been a tough one. Many people and families have suffered this year. 


Life changes. And if you can't change with it... if you always want things to be the same... you will not survive very happily in this life. I have a family member who has not faired well with the changes that come with aging and losing loved ones. He refuses to see anything worthwhile in today's events or his experience with life. He doesn't see how important his life is and the input he could have in others' lives. I understand in many ways, but it's still very sad.


My earliest experiences and memories of Christmas are full of cozy warm family times. For so, so many years I woke in the night to see my stocking hung by the fireplace. I was allowed to get up and open it so I would usually bring it back to my warm bed and look at each item with delight! Often the chocolate was a little melted because, well...  the fireplace! Christmas morning my brother and I opened our gifts and then waited for my grandparents and uncle, another aunt and a cousin to arrive. I can still see them trudging up the usually snow-covered driveway with boxes and bags of items... presents and food...  We would stack the gifts according to the recipient and take turns opening each gift. Then of course would be a breakfast or nice meal.... and lots of cookies and baked goods!


I do remember my mom having to pick out gifts and put them on layaway every year. The store would hold all her items until she could pay in full. That was usually a week or so, maybe even a few days, before Christmas. She would pay a little at a time making payments for a couple months before Christmas. She didn't have the money to buy everything all at once. I'm sure my parents lived from paycheck to paycheck. She also opened up a Christmas Club account at the bank every year that she contributed to all throughout the year so she would have money saved for Christmas presents. I remember this very clearly. Mom was always a planner and budgeter and it wasn't until much later in life.... after I was out of the house and on my own... that my parents had more spending money to enjoy traveling and doing more things. Mom was a stay-at-home mother until we were much older and then she went back to school. She earned her college degree, then her Master's degree and became a teacher and children's librarian/media specialist. I think she earned a pretty decent paycheck then.


But ... not when we were little. Dad's conservative income is what we lived on and I sure didn't feel deprived. We lived on a country dirt road and there was always something fun to do.  Christmas included lots of cookie baking, mom doing some kind of artistic project like making tissue paper and foil snowflakes for the big picture window in the living room... putting up the Christmas tree and lights outside. For me as a kid I found it wonderful... but I'm sure the memories looking back now are magnified and even happier than they were at the time... because it was a time I felt secure and safe and surrounded by family... and lots of love.


As life changes some of the people who made the happy memories we look back on are no longer here. They are only in our hearts. Mom has been gone for almost eight years. My grandparents have been gone much longer. We depended on them to bring the Christmas spirit each year. To contribute to our happy experience and joy. I hear people my age talk about how Christmas isn't the same anymore and they are sad because those people who made it "the good ol' days" are missing. I feel that way sometimes as well, but I also know that my grandparents and parents must have felt that way too, even when they were making the wonderful memories for me.... so it's my responsibility now... my time.... to help create loving and sweet memories for the younger ones in my family... and it will be theirs to do one day as well.


We must never stop living. Never stop being involved in making others feel and see the joy that loving experiences can bring. Never stop contributing.


Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, August 1, 2020

be true to who you are



I've been thinking about this lately. Thinking about how much of myself I choose not to share because I think maybe it won't be embraced or accepted by someone else. We all do it. Many of us want to be accepted and feel as though we are on the same page as others right? .. but I think about all the times I choose to remain quiet and don't want to be disagreeable .... and even though that's okay...  I mean, who wants to be around someone always challenging your opinion or disagreeing? ... but I think for the most part we need to be our true selves, expressing what matters to us... and stating who we are
... but in a gentle humble way. Without the edge of superiority or putting someone else down.  Knowing why we believe what we do is super important too... and takes work... soul-searching and often time-consuming intelligent work.... often challenging ourselves.

Recently I was receiving messages from someone who continued to send videos and articles that I did not agree with. In fact they were offensive to me.  They were her beliefs, not mine. So I said so. Why? Because I did not want that person to think that was my opinion or belief. And if they cannot accept what I believe they are not really a friend.... because they do not know the REAL me.  I want people to know and like the real me... Not the me they think I am.

Maybe this comes with age. I think I'm mostly likable and still want to be liked. If we aren't no one will listen to us anyway.... but in some ways I don't care if I'm not liked if it's not for who I really am. I still try to find common ground, common opinions and topics that bring us together... peaceful interactions... and I always will, but sometimes..... most times... we need to speak our truth... and be true to ourselves... the core of who we are.

We have a lot to give when we do.


Saturday, May 23, 2020

home


















So much going on in life today. Covid-19. A global pandemic. Damn. Which basically effects everyone on the planet. I guess each person interprets the data according to their own biases and understanding and prejudices. Hopefully seeking TRUTH.  For me, I just make decisions that will cause me and my loved ones to be safe. I can't always control what others do though and that sometimes puts me at some risk.

Alas.....

My heart is just so broken ... concerned and sad. Not in a dangerous-let's-everyone-worry-about-Kathi way, but broken none the less. I doubt I'm alone in this place. I want to make the world stop. I want to quiet so much noise and voices. I need to retreat and just do what I need to do to be healthy, emotionally, physically and spiritually. No one needs to understand... except me. I've learned it's impossible to make others see all that's in your own heart. And honestly why should they want to? They have their own problems and concerns that need tending to. But I need to make decisions that make sense for me.

This morning I was brought to tears. It just came upon me. I was thinking of words. Words that are packed with meaning for me. Words that are powerful. And you know what the most important word was for me? The one that made my eyes fill with tears? The word I felt everyone in the whole gosh-darned world should be able to see the value of and find security and comfort in.... experience peace and refuge and safety in??

Oh, Jesus....

home

Home

HOME

HOME!!!!

Without it... we are doomed.

Home. Nurture and care for it. Love it. Love those who enter its door. Keep those out who will not value the same things you do. Make it beautiful. Make it your refuge and safe place. PROTECT IT. Keep it clean and preserve its purity. Speak love there. It doesn't need to be a mansion... in fact, the simpler the better. But there must be loving upkeep and tender care for each and every room. We must work to make it full of love and kindness ... and peace.....

Sigh....

Home.

Everyone needs one and should have one. Oh Lord, may it be. May we all see its value ....



Sunday, February 9, 2020

a new year

Looks like my poor little blog bypassed my favorite time of the year. Fall came and went. Christmas too. Life just moves along doesn't it?

Here it's February already and I'm thinking springtime thoughts, planting and watching things grow again. And I can't wait!!

But as I reflect I have such a strange mixture of joy and sadness. Joy from all all the things in my life that are just so GOOD. Sadness from things I can't seem to change or rise above. Ways I feel "stuck".

My motto for 2020 though is "If you can't climb a mountain, climb a hill."  Simple. Just do what you can, but do something to help yourself, to help others, to make things better. We can't solve all of life's problems, but we can move in the right direction.

Here are a few photos from the end of 2019... and grateful for a new year to experience more of the good stuff.




















Monday, September 16, 2019

carolina wren

I have at least 12 different kinds of birds that regularly visit the feeder and bird bath. I can't adequately express how much I've enjoyed seeing them eat the seed and drink from the clean water during this hot summer. They are all fun to watch but I especially like the carolina wren.

This little bird built its nest and had its babies in a birdhouse(box) that I put up in the springtime. When a bad storm blew through and destroyed the tree it was attached to I carefully put two of the babies back inside, unattached the house from the tree and set it on a stand. The mother and father bird continued to feed the young ones. One of babies died during the storm when it was thrown out onto the ground. I buried it in my flower garden.





This little friendly bird hangs around. I understand it's not the same bird since I've seen many of them. A couple of times it has come into my house when the back door was opened for too long and I had to gently shoo it out again. They seem very curious. I've learned that they generally eat bugs and snails and spiders so they don't frequent the bird feeder very much. I don't see them in the bird bath either the way I do so many other birds, but they definitely stay around my small back yard. I guess they are finding what they like among my plants and flowers. 

A few days ago one was making the biggest racket for a few hours on my back patio. I don't know what was wrong. Whether it was calling an alarm, claiming its territory, whether it was scared, or calling for its mate, I'll never know. I do have an idea though after looking at the photos I took. I think it may still be a young fledgling by the look of its fluffy feathers protruding... so maybe it was calling for a parent for assistance.








Last night the little bird endeared itself to me even more when I saw it sleeping in the corner on the eaves of my porch. I always wondered where these little birds go to sleep and I was happy that one felt safe enough to sleep in this place. I think it was the young one I saw on the porch a couple of days ago.


The carolina wren will always be one of my favorites. It's a gentle bird that lets you get to know it. It made a nest in a flower planter outside my dining room window at my previous home and I was able to get a close view of all the nest preparations and feeding of the babies after they hatched. 

All the birds visiting my yard are beautiful, but I have a special fondness for the carolina wren.





Wednesday, July 24, 2019

good for body and soul

How good it feels to get outside. We are experiencing rare cooler July weather for Texas and this morning I took full advantage of the beautiful breeze, dry air, and cooler temperature. It really does feed my soul.

Early this morning I turned on the TV... News... and immediately began watching some political testimony going on. I found myself annoyed as I listened to the arrogant grandstanding and decided shutting it off was my best choice. Going out into the yard... gardening.... was my next decision and I spent the following three hours working outside.

I usually work in the back because it's such a private space and very tranquil, but today I spent lots of time in the back AND the front. Pruning, weeding, cutting off dead debris, removing a rose bush, planting a different plant in its place that needed more room, breaking up the soil, watering, fertilizing, rearranging. I've learned not to be afraid of cutting back bushes and flowers since they bloom even more abundantly and grow more fervently afterwards. So that's what I did.





I love the back yard because it's alive with life. Birds are feasting on the seed and splashing in the bird bath. Hummingbirds come and go.









New to my experience this year has been the numerous sunflowers I planted in the spring. They've grown so high and pretty... but now are looking less than attractive. As much as I might want to cut them down, I just can't. Not just yet. The finches love to sit in their branches and peck at the leaves. I learned that they feed on the plant material and especially enjoy sunflower leaves. They peck holes in the large leaves making them look like ugly doilies... but it's their food and I hate to take it away from them. They are such pretty birds. A friend told me, "As gardeners we need to balance the needs of the wildlife around us, with our need for visual perfection." I agree.






I feel especially satisfied that I was able to get outside and work hard today. Not only did my yard benefit, but my body and soul did as well.