Monday, March 29, 2010

Poem - A Doctor you Say?

A Doctor you Say?

I’m feeling quite sick,
It came on real quick,
I wish there was something to do.

Maybe a nap,
Or a cat in my lap,
Will help me to somehow get through.

I might take a bath,
Or walk on a path,
To distract me from all of my woes.

Some warm chicken soup,
A big ice cream scoop,
Sound yummy and good for my soul.

A cup of hot tea,
A book on my knee,
They surely are just what I need.

A doctor you say?
Oh please not today,
I’m sure I’ll be well again soon.

Friday, March 26, 2010

It Takes Courage

"It takes courage to grow up and 
become who you really are."  
e.e.cummings -1894-1962

I ran across this quote by e.e.cummings and found myself continuing to think about it as the day progressed.  I thought about it as a 56 year old woman who still struggles with courage and with fully understanding who I am.  There are those occasional days when I feel I am within a wisp of discovering that ultimate truth.
I thought about it as a mother who must allow her children to make mistakes, dream big dreams, follow their hearts and sometimes get discouraged.  They will gain their own courage by working through things on their own.  Along the way they might possibly find out who they really are.  I have known them forever and seen the beauty in their very being, yet it is not my life to live nor my path to follow.  

I thought about it as a citizen of the earth who must have courage to navigate this planet we all share.  I thought about how hard it is to hold on to who I am when faced with a daily onslaught of ideas, opinions and images.  Holding on is half the battle.  Mustering up the courage to step into the fray is the other half.  Having the conviction to say 'this is who I am' just might bring me within a wisp of discovering myself.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Being Hard on Ourselves

I've been contemplating the reasons that we as humans can be so hard on ourselves.  When it comes to family and friends, we can be forgiving, helpful, loving, patient, sympathetic and nurturing.  If someone calls with a need, we are there in an instant.  If someone needs a listening ear, we drop everything to hear their concerns.  If someone suffers from illness, we bring a meal.  If someone hurts our feelings, we try to forgive.

But what happens in our mind when we don't meet our own standards or we don't accomplish goals we have set?  Does your mind, like mine, immediately start nagging you and telling you you could have done better?

We can be incredibly hard on ourselves.  We treat ourselves worse than we would treat any other person and it just doesn't make sense.  We should wake up every morning and say, "Good morning, another day awaits.  I am a good person, I am loved, I do good in the world, I try my best each day, I am unique in the world and make a difference by my very presence.  I will be kind to myself today and love myself unconditionally.  I have value today and always." 

Let's lighten up a bit and nurture the very being that brings us light and life.  Love yourself first and you will have more positive energy to share with others.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Poem - Catching a Bee

Catching a Bee

Silly, silly, silly me,
I climbed a tree
to catch a bee,
I looked at him,
he looked at me,
and then he stung me
on my knee;
oh how I wish
I’d let him be.

Friday, March 19, 2010

One Act Play: Kindred Spirits

  I was raised in the Catholic Church where votive candles were always present.  It was a private way to remember someone, pray for someone or possibly pray for yourself.  There was something very appealing about the quiet of a church, the lighting of a candle and the silent offering of prayer.  This short play is a reflection of the strong women of great faith who never doubted their belief in the saving power of God.  They are much like the mother, grandmother and aunts I was raised with.


Two women lighting candles after church (both in their 70s). The first woman strikes a match, looks at all the votive candles and lights one near the front.  She pauses with her head down in prayer and then looks up to see another woman doing the same thing.  They exchange glances and a smile.

Alice:  It’s comforting to light a candle, isn’t it?

Betty:  Yes it is.  I try to light one every Sunday.  There’s always someone to light a candle for; always someone to pray for.

Alice:  My list grows longer the older I get.

Betty:  Do you think God hears our prayers and knows about the candles?

Alice:  I do.  Why just last week I lit a candle for my nephew.  He’s been out of work for two years.  Do you know that he found a job this week?

Betty:  Well, Praise the Lord.

Alice:  Indeed.

Betty:  My husband has been sick with cancer for three years and is finally in remission. He has suffered, but is improving.

Alice:  God is good.

Betty:  Do you think there will be candles lit for us when we die?

Alice:  I can’t be sure, but I’m hopeful.

Betty:  I say Hallelujah to that.

Alice:  Would you care to join me for lunch?   I feel I’ve found a kindred spirit in you.

Betty:  I would love to share a meal with you. 

Alice:  Well, Amen and let’s eat.  I think our work is done here.

They leave the church arm in arm.  The lights fade and only the two lit candles remain visible on stage.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Oxygen for Yourself First

You know when you fly on an airplane and they give you the safety tips before take-off?  One of the instructions concerns the use of oxygen.  If the oxygen mask drops down, you are to immediately strap on your own mask and begin breathing before you assist anyone else, including your own children.

I was reminded of this today and began thinking about how typical it is for women/moms to take care of everyone else first.  Our own needs always come last:  We take the dinner plate that is chipped, we sit down to eat last, we jump up to fill water glasses, we make sure everyone is happy, healthy and sated, but when it comes to our own needs we suddenly short circuit.   As we turn blue from a lack of oxygen, our interactions become less productive and more stressful.  We just need to take that oxygen mask, breathe deeply and relax in a well-deserved moment of peace.  Try it tonight.  It's a prescription without side effects.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Poem - An Irishman's Charm

An Irishman’s Charm

An Irishman once spoke the following words,
Or so I was told, in so many words,
By a clever young lad with a keen Irish wit
Who, if he told lies, it was just a wee bit.

“There are three types of people who travel the earth,
The first are quite happy, they share a sweet mirth,
The second are those who win you with charm
And promise they’ll never bring hardship or harm,
The third are the kind wearing luck on their sleeve,
They hope you’ll stay close and always believe,
But none of these folks can equal in measure,
An Irishman gifted with wit, charm and treasure.
His merry goodwill, his twinkle and wit,
His luck and quick smile are always a hit
And if he tells lies, it’s just a wee bit.” 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Poem - Family


People who care
and listen
who laugh at old stories
even when they’ve
heard them
so many times

people who grieve together,
grow old together
love each other with
unconditional love
all the time,
especially in the hard times

people who know
when to step forward to help
and when a listening heart is enough

Cherish those people always.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Poem - Choose Carefully

 Choose Carefully

Spoken words hold lots of clout,
They comfort, hurt and shame,
It’s best to use them sparingly,
‘Lest bringing others pain.

Unless of course you’re always kind,
Then let the words flow out,
Spoken words that touch the heart,
We cannot do without.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Catholics and Random Acts of Kindness

I was talking to one of my sons this week, and we were discussing reparations.  My boys were raised Catholic, but have mostly moved away from religion in the more classic sense.  When they were young, they went to confession with their class at school.  They went into a closed booth with a priest and confessed their sins.  Typically their punishment for fighting with their brothers or making up sins, was to say ten Hail Marys or five Our Fathers. 
My son and I were talking about more encouraging punishments, and I suggested requiring 10 random acts of kindness.  The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.  Imagine if every time a person felt they had done something wrong, they immediately went out and did 10 random acts of kindness to atone.  I think there might be some cosmic shift toward a more perfect balance of the universe.  Okay, I may be getting a bit too excited about this idea, but I think it has some credence for people of every faith.
I believe in God, but I also believe that goodness and compassion are godly in their expression.  I will continue to randomly act in the hope that my kindness will help to balance the earth's cosmic energy, and replenish my own energy at the same time.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

True Grit

 True grit:  firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck

To have true grit, an individual must display these characteristics in difficult times  We are all tested: some by health, some by circumstance and some by our own doing.  The challenge is to call upon our grit when necessary, reaching down deep to impact the obstacles in our way. We can cede our ground to the obstacles, find a path around them or bulldoze right over them.  Whatever works is okay as long we effect change with a determination tempered by integrity.

Sometimes, life can throw a curve ball that doesn't seem fair, but then life doesn't always play fair does it?  We can't control the curve balls, but we can control our response to them.  We can handle them with a heavy bat, or with a reasoned mind and intellect, but with absolute certainty we will all be tested.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Poem - A Big Red Balloon

A Big Red Balloon

The strangest thing happened last Friday at noon;
It began with a boy and his big red balloon.

I watched as he walked down the street with great care,
Protecting his prize from the sun’s red hot glare.

Just as the bells of the church started pealing,
He floated straight up past the puffy cloud ceiling.

I heard that he landed far, far away,
In a town that serves cookies and milk every day.

I’m thinking of buying a big red balloon,
And might take a walk next Friday at noon.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Poem - Shining Promise

The sun came out today,
casting rays
like child's play,
sending sparkling light
into corners
filled with dust,
out across the lane,
darting over the meadow,
and through the park;
shining warmth, health,
peace and beauty
into our tired winter bodies
with the promise of
better and brighter things

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Everybdy, Somebody, Nobody and Anybody

My last couple of posts have been about actions and intentions.  My basic belief is that both are important - both have value.  To add a little levity to the discussion, I am posting a reprint of a short newspaper clipping that my father-in-law saved from many years ago.  I have had it stuffed in a drawer, but think it would be fun to share now since it brings the idea of actions back into focus. Enjoy!

"Once upon a time, there were four people;
their names were Everybody, Somebody, Nobody and Anybody.  
Whenever there was an important job to be done, 
Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.  
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.  
When Nobody did it, Everybody got angry because it was Everybody's job.  
Everybody thought that Somebody would do it, but Nobody realized that Nobody would do it.  
So, consequently Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what 
Anybody could have done in the first place."

I wish I could share the writer's name, but all I have is a yellowed 2" x 3" piece of newspaper.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thoughts and Souls

"Unselfish and noble actions are the most radiant 
pages in the biography of souls." 
David Thomas (1776-1859)

"The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts." 
John Locke  (1632-1704)

To continue with my discussion of intentions from the other day, I have run across a couple of more quotes that value the actions of men and feel they illuminate their thoughts and souls.  I need to say that I have always believed in stepping forward to aid those in need or to right a wrong.  We must be willing to assert ourselves and act with conviction on our beliefs. Actions are invaluable and necessary.

I must, however, comment on these two quotes.  When we speak of actions being the most radiant pages in the biography of the human soul we are getting into an area that is impossible to comment upon.  Who knows what is in the soul of another?  No one knows but the owner of the soul.  The actions that were observed in life may not be the sum total of the man. 

The second quote speaks of actions being the interpreters of a man's thoughts.  Again, actions are a wonderful indicator of the character of an individual but could never be an interpreter of his thoughts.  Any thoughts, dreams, hopes, intentions or desires can only be known by their owner.

Until some scientist learns how to tap into the inner workings of our brains, our thoughts and souls will remain ours and ours alone.

Lest you think I am picking on David Thomas and John Locke, I need to say that I am only using their quotes as a jumping off point for discussion.  I could never know what was in their thoughts or souls at the time these quotes were uttered. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Value of Intentions

"The smallest act of kindness is worth 
more than the grandest intention."  
Oscar Wilde

I am a firm believer in small acts of kindness whether they be random or purposeful, but I also feel that intentions hold great value.  Just because someone doesn't act on their intentions, it doesn't mean their intentions are worthless.  Think of an intention as a sort of prayer.  Many believe in the power of prayer, so why not the power of intention.  Whether you extend your hand in a physical sense or in a more esoteric sense, you have extended your hand.  Even if the intended receiver never knows of your intention, it holds value. Every thought, every deed, every prayer has power. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Poem - Tolerance


If I tolerate the worst,
if I turn my head toward evil,
how can I avow tolerance
as a way to live?

Tolerance implies understanding,
compassion, and unbiased acceptance
of others and other ways
of being.

If I tolerate
something other
than what is fair and just
then I cannot
state a message of tolerance.

That is just the truth;
if I abide the truth
I cannot abide intolerance.