Thursday, March 31, 2011

TODAY IS PRETTY...

Pretty: Attractive in a graceful or delicate way
Today is pretty. You can't really define a pretty day in words or pictures, it is more of a feel. I felt the prettiness of this day as soon as my eyes fluttered open from sleep. There was a certain air about the arriving day that made it feel like something special, extraordinary even. My heart did a little flipping lift as I tossed back the blankets dipping my toe into a new day.No testing the waters, just plunging right in with both feet connecting with the carpet, creeping with anticipation towards the curtain drawn window. Black out blinds and heavy lined panels obscuring what kind of day lay beyond their shelter. Reaching up to grasp them, I wondered if it would be a pretty day filled with sunshine and warmth or more clouds and rain. I was rewarded with sunshine, but only the barest hints as clouds moved to the forefront obscuring the warm rays.I hurriedly completed my morning routine wanting to cast away the night by flooding the house with light. I moved through each room of my home sliding up blinds and securing them in place while drinking in each living scene like a thirsty traveler, quenching my craving for the lightness of the day.
Back where I began my days journey I reached to smooth the rumpled covers into place, hand stilled in midair, eyes riveted on the scene outside my window. How long had it been since I looked, really looked, at what was beyond these window panes I wondered. I halted, positioning myself in the middle of the window frame and looked long and deep and hard. I moved from room to room following the changing views, my windows becoming picture frames with budding scenes of movement, light, play of shadow, depth, detail, and perspective that no artist brush could ever fully capture - living landscapes teaming with life.Today is pretty. Not because the weather is perfect, it is cold, damp, and partly cloudy here. Today is pretty. Not because the earth is giving birth to spring and little dollops of color are appearing here and there among the barren landscape. Today is pretty. Not because there is a special event or occasion marked on the calendar to celebrate although there should be. Today is pretty. Because I noticed it. Today is pretty. Because I anticipated its arrival. Today is pretty. Because I arose to greet it. Today is pretty. Because it is a gift, wrapped in the most attractive package of life, graceful, delicate, and fragile.
Carpe diem!

Seize the day, seize whatever you can
Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand
Seize the day, pray for grace from God's hand
Then nothing will stand in your way
Seize the day!

-Carolyn Arends-
(View video and listen to song)

Praying your day is pretty too!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

IT'S A BOUNCING BABY... BOOT!

Birth is the sudden opening of a window, through which you look out upon a stupendous prospect. For what has happened? A miracle. You have exchanged nothing for the possibility of everything.

-William McNeile Dixon-
I must have passed the doorway dozens of times in recent weeks always snatching a longing look into its portal. I could see my green pencil poised across the corner of a piece of paper where sketch lines indicated the birthing of an idea. Those first pangs of labor being a false start to bringing a new idea into reality. The ideas time had not yet come to full term, so with a sigh, I must wait. With yearning of both heart and hands to cradle the idea I would turn away, back to the task at hand.

My fingertips fairly crackled with electricity as I flicked the switch bathing the room in light. I stepped into the birthing room with a rush of anticipation. I quickly assembled everything a new born baby piece of art would need: fabric to swaddle it in, glue to hold it together, scissors to snip its cord, and embellishments for its first arrival outfit. After a short but intense five hour labor, a bouncing baby boot was born! He is 5 1/2 inches tall, 5 inches long, and weighs a scant few ounces.

As proud as any new mother could be I took baby boot on his first outing to snap photos. He was a bit timid at first, only touching the tip of his little toe in the sweet green grass...
He nestled there, squirming this way and that...
I carried him over to the the old horse barn where he posed on the leaf littered bench...
Not being too steady on his little booted heel yet, he toppled over in a big gust of wind...
But it was not long until he found his footing and was boot scootin' all over the place, like climbing up on the barn siding...
And hammin' it up on the old halter hanging there...
He even tried his hand at tractor drivin'...
Sidlin' up to the old barn and perchin' on a sign there...
I decided that was enough excitement for a one day old boot. Now that I have brought him home he is going to need a cradle to sleep in so today he will get his very own custom made boot box!

There is great satisfaction in giving birth to an idea. A tiny miracle of sorts, having a concept or thought and seeing it being worked out into reality. The idea truly is like a sudden opening of a window, fresh thoughts rush in. You exchange the weightless thought of what does not exist for something tangible born of the imagination that is well worth the labor.

I have dearly missed you all and I would love to hear what you have been up to! I will be slowly making my way around to visit and comment. We are hoping the next three days will get us done or at least close to it for putting my mothers house up for sale and we can resume life at our new normal. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

BRIEFLY...

Briefly: for a short time
Spring has come in for a landing here at the Quill, perching itself ever so lightly on the beginning buds of the tree tips...Spring and I are both trying to get our bearings with this rapid fluctuation of seasons...
We are both hanging in the balance between times of change...
Once we get our bearings we will spread our wings and be ready to resume our normal flight pattern...
In the meantime, I will still be away, but, I hope it is only briefly...
Thank you all so very much for your outpouring of care and concern. There is so much I feel I must leave unsaid about the current situation here and I hope you will understand that to say more than is necessary might dishonor those involved. This situation goes well beyond just the illness of my mother, who is stable at the moment, and still going through the testing/diagnosis process.

I am in the midst of cleaning out my childhood home and getting it ready for sale. My mother was a sentimental saver so there is much to sift through. My time has been spent walking down memory lane with the ghosts of the past colliding with the reality of the present. I hear their footsteps on the hardwood floors and the echo of their whispers in the empty halls. The happy and the sad mingle with the mundane task of packing, sorting, and discarding. 45 years of living are packed within its walls and rafters. Like an unfolding story of people in the past and the present, a book well read, much beloved, has reached it final chapter, the end page is in sight and the cover will close.

Our time as we know it here, the changing seasons of life and earth, they are here but briefly, savor them!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

BEAUTY AMONG BRIERS...

Gratitude: A feeling of thankfulness and appreciation
Gratitude is the first word that comes to mind when I think of each and every one of you. My heart has swelled with overflowing emotion at your kind words, thoughts, and prayers. I have read each comment over and over this past week and they have given me strength in the face of adversity. I have copied and pasted them, printing them out, and securing them in my gratitude journal to remind me that friendship is a blessed and sacred thing to be thankful for. Thank you so much for the outpouring of support and love.

I will be away for yet a little while longer as I maneuver through a week of doctor visits for my mother, she was in the hospital most of the week last week and is home now. It is a lot to process, these rapid changes in roles, as I become the parent and she more childlike in need of care. Fridays appointment should put a label on her condition, a mere formality really, something we dare not say aloud which will make it all the more real. Not nearly as horrifying as cancer but in some ways much worse, the losing of ones self, of ones memories, of ones mind.

We plod this familiar path having stumbled down it with my precious mother-in-law, at least we are not so blind as to what is ahead in the next bend of the road. As heavy as all this sounds there have been little bits of uplifting beauty scattered among the briers. I first took notice of it when I looked out the window towards the east woods. There among the briers of the bare blackberry vines was a rogue clump of miniature jonquils blooming in all their colorful glory against a backdrop of prickly bare vines and crunchy dry leaves...The skeletal tree frames are beginning to cover their nakedness with new frocks of green colorful costumes coming to life, only just testing out the barest hint on the tips of their bony fingers... I find these layers of life quite interesting, the pleasant and the unpleasant that seem to blend and dwell together so seamlessly. One or the other always moving to the forefront blurring the other in the background...
This season of spring that is teaming with new life and the breath of beauty has taken the sting out of the dry prickly brittleness of emotion...
Filling it with fresh hope. Although their heads are bowed the sunny lemon yellow faces of the jonquils radiate joy. Their strong sturdy stems support them. Their vibrant green leaves are spread and lifted, outreaching to the heavens in a stance of praise...Though they stand in circumstances less than favorable, among briers and dry brittle leaves...
They don't let what surrounds them dampen their spirit or hamper their ability to thrive in the place they have found themselves planted. Often, out of adversity comes strength and stamina that we do not know that we possess. And, if we care to look beyond, there is a fullness of beauty among the briers.

P.S. For anyone who might be coping with a family member who suffers from Alzheimer's, dementia, or memory loss later in life I highly recommend the reading resource The 36 Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementia's, and Memory Loss Later in Life (4th Edition). This was an invaluable resource in understanding and coping with the care of a loved one with a memory affected disorder that I discovered while caring for my mother-in-law.
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