A Hazy Shade of Winter

The winter of 2016-17 was so long. My home town was 4th on the National Weather Misery Index.  The Misery Index looks at amount of snow, days below freezing, days of snow on the ground, and days without sunshine.  In order from worst-Bismark, Billings, Great Falls,  and then Spokane.   I think the weather contributed to getting 2 sinus infections.  I got a dog in September.  Mr. Carson is a Blenheim Cavalier.  We enjoyed walking outside until the weather would warm enough to make ice on the streets which lasted until mid February.  I did spend time practicing the piano and organizing the house.   I still have boxes and albums of photos to purge but I have a nice work space and a shelf to store our yoga mats.  I was 50% Hygge the winter of 2016 – 2017.

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A Long December

A Long December  –Counting Crows
A long December and there’s reason to believe-Maybe this year will be better than the last.  I can’t remember the last thing that you said as you were leavin’.  Now the days go by so fast.

Many people feel the loss of cultural icons this week with the death of George Michael,  Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds.   Almost 500,000 people killed in Syria,  4,000 people drowned trying to escape the violence in their homes.  Bombings of civilians worshiping, shopping, attending sporting events—all peaceful and universal activities.

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Freedom Tour- Boston

And yet as Mark Wahlenberg  states in the soon to be released movie Patriot’s Day, “..I have seen Good vs Evil, Love vs Hate, the only thing to respond with is Love.”  The producer said,  “Hate took weeks to plan but love responded in an instant. ”

George Michael was a secret philanthropist.  His good works didn’t come to light until his recent death.  Debbie Reynolds started an organization for mental health The Thalians, the charitable organization founded by entertainers in 1955 to promote the awareness and treatment of mental health issues.  Thalians means Comics. Reynolds served as the group’s president almost continuously from 1957 to 2011 as the Thalians raised millions it contributed to the Mental Health Center at Cedars-Sinai and UCLA’s Operation Mend, which assisted military veterans.

My resolutions are to be patient and kind in 2017.   To share random acts of kindness and to think:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Philippians  Chapter  4, verses  8-9  The Bible

Blessings in 2017

isla-mujeres

Isla Mujeres November 2016

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Dakota Rose and other Roses

Dakota Rose is a beautiful piano piece by John Nilsen.   You can check it out on

John Nilsen, Dakota Rose – YouTube
I am listening to the song from the album I bought, it makes a great sound track.  I replaced the wild rose at the edge of my front porch with a new yellow rose, Julia Child.  Although it doesn’t smell like her kitchen with garlic and olive oil, the fragrance is lovely. I had a high tea with a friend from childhood that raised old roses to sell.  She is another rose in the garden of my life.   She explained that the yellow rose I had died at the graft.  The red wild rose was the root stock for the graft because the plant is very healthy.  It grew like crazy and flowered for only a day.  In the Encore of Life, I appreciate the slow reveal, the delicate, the need to nurture and substance over volume and empty.  front porchjulia child rose

 

 

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Bombs away, Say Geronimo! Song by Shepard—— The Sacred and the Secular

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In my spin class last week, the song by the band,  Shepard,  was played.  I was intrigued that a young, Australian pop band could revisit the battle cry of their great -grandparents.  WWII soldiers parachuting out of planes shouting the name,” Geronimo”.  The battle yell came after seeing a movie about an Apache chief that fought the US Army while vastly outnumbered, the ultimate warrior.  Which is ironic because it is ultimately the name,Jerome, coming from Greek for Sacred.  And yet defending one’s home, religion, and culture is sacred and make require the ultimate sacrifice as our young adults see with the rise of Isis and domestic terrorism.

But the band’s song is not written about warfare but jumping into a commitment with another person. The same total loss of self.  True commitment to a person or idea can also be sacred.  Although as adjust the tension on my spin bike and sing with the song, the setting is hardly a holy space.  Yet I remember the young men jumping out of planes and riding in Humvees, the young adults creating families, taking risks in careers and relationships, and a quick prayer is lifted  in thankfulness for the sacrifices of  past generations and protection and prosperity for ones of the future.   St. Paul directed people of faith to “pray without ceasing” which meant throughout the day, not just in times of worship or need–so chopping vegetables in the kitchen, pulling weeds in the garden, jogging, or hanging on to the spin bike can– all become sacred spaces with awareness.

When I started writing this blog after a break, I was going to write about the outward life since receiving a Fitbit as a delayed Christmas gift.  With the growing secularism of the West, the outer and inner life are shown in the media as separate and yet both lives are lived as one for many, many people  not just in formal institutions of church, temple, mosque.

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”
Mary Oliver

Maybe I need to be unafraid to share both my inner and outer life, to think of dangerous and noble things, to be light and frolicsome in my later years and risk looking silly or foolish.  I realize playing the piano with adults next month that played for years before returning, with my baby fingers playing from book 2,  I will meet this goal.  Walking a 1/2 marathon with the goal to finish before everyone goes home with enjoyment and laughter  is light.  Spending time in a prayer vigil is a noble act.

Bombs away, Say Geronimo!

 

 

 

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No Quiet Life of Desperation but one of Dangerous and Noble Things

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”
Mary Oliver, Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays

I discovered the poet Mary Oliver reading the newest autobiography by Diana Nyad.  She overcame  horrific childhood abuses by proving that she was strong and special as a young woman –to realize with age that she didn’t have to be a special person but live a life that was special.   At the age of 60, she decided to swim to Cuba, a life long dream–after not swimming for  30 years as a long distance swimmer.

At the age of 10, she felt life was racing past her.  At 60 she knows life is zooming by.  She tries to be in the moment, not dwelling in the past or gazing toward the future.  So I ask myself, “What will I do with the possible  last 20 good years ?” as Mary Oliver asks in the quote in Diana’s book, 

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’ ‘ 

 

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2016- The Word for the year is “More”

During yoga classes at two different studios, the teachers said, “Think about what your are doing right and focus on that aspect of life which is positive and move toward it.”

So I want to do More of the good things.  More prayer, meditation, service.  More exercise.  More time with friends.  More time reading.  More time with family even if it means less international travel destinations. More time learning –to speak French, play the piano, and cook new things.  I watched the Holiday Baking Show and realized that I didn’t know know of the items the bakers were making.  More time laughing and having fun and enjoying my blessings.   IMG_1632IMG_2500

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Good bye was the word for 2015.

I didn’t post a word for 2015.  If I did, it would have been “Good Bye”.   Good bye to my mom in February.  Her health rapidly declined since the summer of 2014 and she died February 4th.  Good bye to my daughters moving during the summer to new homes and careers on each coast.  But good byes can be also the results of hellos and positive changes.

2015 was hello to long time friends and family.  I said hello again to my best friend when I was 15 and the years fell away.  Hello to friends from college visiting after we both raised our families since the last visit.  Hello to health for a young family friend that battle cancer earlier in the summer.  Hello to visiting the National Parks in the SW.  Hello to sharing island life on Kauai with a friend from home.  And good bye to living with an adult child room mate and hello to being an empty nester and the next phase of my life.

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