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Posts Tagged ‘ponderings’

Sea songs and sandals

Bright birds sing of life

In a faraway land where

One finds no strife

Steady the waves rhythmically

Lull one to rest

No wonder so many say

Here, it’s the best!

Beauty abounds and

Art’s seen in all

Nature and man-made

Both having a ball!

Doors, walkways and steps

With fountain or pool

I’ve fallen in love,

Costa Rica’s so cool!

Time to chillax!

Gracias, Dios, por tu creación y por nuevas aventuras. Tu belleza está a nuestro alrededor, esperando ser descubierta.

Hasta mañana, amigos!

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For all new followers, a warm, sunny welcome. And for my tried-and-trues, a big thank you – without your support and encouragement, this blog would not be turning 2 years old today.

A recent post by our WordPress gurus reminded me that I had gotten too absorbed in catering to what people like instead of why I started the blog in the first place, doing what others expected instead of doing what I might otherwise do best. (Thank you, WordPress, for nudging me back to my blogging roots!)

I noticed readers REALLY like photographs. A picture is definitely worth a thousand words around here, at least for this fledgling blogger. Posts I thought were some of my best work, stats showed otherwise. And things I thought nothing of, garnered the most “likes.” (If you get to the bottom of this one without scrolling fast, I double-dog-dare ya to “like” it.)

In thinking about it, though, I realize that pictures are recognized and appreciated across cultural borders, and, based on some of my new friends from various countries, I can appreciate this. Don’t worry, the photos will still be coming.

I’ve been vaguely aware recently that the subtitle to my blog has always been, “little ponderings with the Big Guy,” yet many of my posts recently have excluded Him. And excluded my ponderings. Not because I quit pondering, but because I got caught up in what I thought YOU wanted. I got sucked up into the world of not talking about God and of posting more pictures. That’s what it seemed people wanted…my posts about faith or spirituality or my walk seemed to give people the willies.

Like a polite group of Southern ladies who quietly stop inviting someone to their gatherings because of some unspoken social gaffe, it was made clear to me that my ponderings about God were not as popular in the blogosphere as were my more worldly wanderings. This came as little surprise to me, since one frequently teeters on thin ice with religion or politics.

So for any who are reading now who are offended by Jesus, go ahead and click off right here, if you haven’t already. Or scroll down to the profound picture below, then click off – that is certainly okay, I understand and appreciate your visiting anyhoo, and I don’t ask that you share my views. Take what you wish, leave what you will – it’s all good.

Some posts ago I described my mother’s decline into dementia as reflected in some spontaneous freestyle painting. It has been just over a year since she tried to run away from her illness by literally running away from her Chicago home of 88 years and coming here to the sea.

Now, a year later, she has come to the realization that she can run, but she can’t hide. Time and her illness march on, and with each week a new limitation seems to be imposed on this fiercely independent woman who lived through the Great Depression, World War II and forty years of wearing an apron.

She later burned both apron and bra and returned to college to finish her degree, going on to do great things outside the home. A timeless Rosie the Riveter, of sorts. She only just retired a few years ago, shortly after she was chosen to display 50 of her best photos in a prominent municipal venue in a major U.S. city. Which she did with zeal and the energy of a 25-year-old. (I’m not into zodiac stuff, but she embodied her Taurus birthday in everything she did with the utmost of bull-headed resolve).

Today, she can’t even operate the children’s camera we got her for Christmas that only has two buttons.

For most her life, Mother shook her fist at religion, although she had her own ideas about God. She stood by her beliefs and scorned those of us who believed in Him. Less than a year ago she stated out loud that she hoped she’d go to Hell before she’d have to suffer the latter stages of dementia. I figured she’d either be a deathbed conversion or that her wishes would sadly be realized.

So last week while decluttering Mother’s room, I came upon this image she had doodled on a random piece of cardboard:

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To me, it appeared to be a self-portrait: all her knowledge tumbling out of her faster than she can control. Desperately trying to scoop up and keep the knowledge… to no avail.

One eye signifying only being able to see half of what she used to (she has a cataract she opted, at the doctor’s recommendation, not to have surgery to correct). One ear, only able to hear half of what she knows is going on (she has significant hearing loss in one ear, and can’t wear a hearing aid because she would surely misplace it).

Half a mouth, only able to speak partial sentences, because nouns, pronouns and adjectives have turned into whatchamajiggers, whoozits and “damn it, you know what I mean!”

To such a bright, creative, independent woman, dementia surely is the ultimate insult.

When I went to see her yesterday, she was nervously flitting around the entryway at her assisted living facility, looking completely bewildered. I could see she was not having a good day. When she saw me, she urgently approached me and said she didn’t know I was coming .

She said she was at a crossroads; twice that yesterday morning she had to be reminded that she had already eaten breakfast, but her nerves and mind kept her worrying that she had missed breakfast – over and over.

Her frantic eyes searched mine as she described what awareness she had left, being aware that she is more unaware than aware. (Reread that sentence if you must!)

She knew that she was slipping faster, and it terrified her. She described being lonely and scared. She clutched a magazine someone had left with her back in January, a copy of LifeWay’s Mature Living which had an article about Alzheimer’s, it’s inevitable course, and how one needn’t be lonely when the Lord is in their life.

Even though she had no interest in changing her notions about God all along, she had been trying to socialize more to keep what mind she has left – going to all the activities, even the Bible studies and more recently, to church at times, but she justified it by maintaining it wasn’t for religious purposes, only to keep her mind sharp. Or to see her grandson play in the church orchestra. Or to flirt with the cute man who moved into the facility recently. Any reason BUT God.

But not today.

Today, all my wanderings away from daily prayer, Bible reading and bloggy ponderings didn’t seem to matter. He called me up when I wasn’t looking, after all these years of wondering what use I am since I’ve never led another soul to Him, never done anything spiritually outstanding, never felt I measured up when it came to All Things Religious. I am just another sinner getting caught up in the throes of the world, flowing toward Him in convenience or crisis, ebbing from Him when the flesh lured me astray.

I never dared suggest to Mother that she reconsider her views about God or life or death – you just don’t do that without incurring her wrath. But yesterday she came to me and asked…despite my recent wanderings instead of ponderings.

She asked where I found my peace. She asked for assurance that she wouldn’t have to face the quickly-approaching end stages alone, when she will someday no longer be able to recognize me or anyone else. She asked me to share what I knew about her Bible-believing parents, against whom she spent a lifetime rebelling. She asked me how I found Him.

After nearly 90 years of hardened disbelief, she asked me to share Jesus.

So I did.

I told her how after years of studying different religions, I finally asked God why there were so many and which one was THE truth; He then introduced me to Jesus Christ, in no uncertain terms.

After over an hour of talking, prayer, weeping, laughing and showing her things in the Bible my brother had sent her, she accepted Christ as her Savior.

I never knew she would do that. I never knew He would call me to do that. I never knew He was saving my first experience in doing so for THE most hard-headed, free-wheeling woman most people who know her would never have guessed she’d ever do.

She was astonished to hear so many people had been praying for her for so, so long, and she took comfort in knowing that God calls us to do these things in quiet privacy, without pressure, without fanfare.

She said for the first time she felt “full,” “complete,” “relieved,” “at peace.” She described how so many things suddenly made sense, as though nothing was a mistake: it was all so very purposeful all along (indeed!), and this excited her.

This reawakened me, as well, so I suppose I should find it no surprise that it coincided with the blog’s birthday – a time of celebration, rejoicing and marking time – His time. A time of thanks – to those who have supported my blogging, to those who have been in the forefront and in the wings, to those who made my mother’s salvation possible. And to those who “get” me and my ponderings, as well as they “get” me and my wanderings. Possibly the best birthday present? You got it!

Never give up dreaming, hoping, seeking, pursuing. Yes, don’t go away!

Just when you think you aren’t looking, He shows you even greater things, like a magnificent sunset distracting us from all our fears.

Thank you SO much – happy, happy birthday – and hugs from the beach ~~

~~ssm

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I am humbly reminded that no matter what storms threaten, no matter what waves force me to swallow salty water, the sun still steadfastly sets…different, every single time,

Never in vain and never the same….

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(And I just couldn’t resist the rest of the periphery, life doing its thing as the universe does its thing: )

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These images were only possibly by a complete whim, upon resisting my better judgment to stay within the lines of my schedule today, as I hit the pause button on the demands of daily life.

They came from a guttural force, a sharp turn of the steering wheel and will, and by following my soul toward the Glory.

And look – just look! what was there waiting, there, literally around the corner, to be enjoyed!

What will YOU discover if you pause to break from YOUR routine?

Is it safer (“easier”) to stay your course, or will diverting yield even greater returns, risk that it may seem?

Will you steer straight on the course you believe He has for you, or take a chance that big ol’ God may be outside the box you created, on a totally different course than l’il ol’ you ever envisioned?

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The other day I heard a piece on the radio about melancholy; how melancholy can be as prevalent during the holidays as holiday cheer. The reflection included the sage suggestion to give honor to those people or things associated with the melancholy, but then give way to and give thanks for the present and future.

As I reflected on this on my run that day, I pondered a pair of points:

1.) God gave us melancholy, along with all other emotions. These are not wrong. He also instructed us to maintain moderation in all things. I believe to allow any one emotion or state of mind to dominate our being to where it interferes with our ability to honor Him and His will for us, turns into coveting.

To be melancholic is to pine away for something that is not, was not, will not be or cannot be. It is the sadness that accompanies wishful thinking, or lusting after the imagination of what was not intended to be so. This, I perceive to be covetousness. To covet is to break a Commandment. Therefore, we must be circumspect as to how we give time and energy to our emotions.

2.) Last week while leading a group therapy session, I pointed to different expressions of emotion and asked the children if each one was “good” or “bad.” Instinctively, most of them ascribed “bad” to feelings such as anger, sadness, fear, anxiety and grief. “Good” emotions included happy, joyful, excited, surprised, loved and calm. As you, dear reader, already surmise, the point of the group content that day was to teach the children that ALL emotions have worth and place in our lives, all emotions are okay, all of them are GOOD. It’s what you do with them that matters.

That being said, we often tease that we can tell when a child is ready to leave our hospital when the little Butterball thermometer pops out of their side and they’re “done.” The thing that pops out for me, as their therapist, is how well they’re able to COMPARTMENTALIZE their emotions, how they organize their emotions, both in their heads and in their actions.

Can anger or sadness, grief or melancholy be tolerated and even embraced as a legitimate source of forward movement in the natural process of growth and change? (remember, I’m working with little ones who have no families, or who have families who’ve rejected them or chosen drugs over them, or with families who will never have the capacity to love).

Can you find room in your heart to allow the natural discomfort of difficult emotions, and find a way to organize them into your psyche, give them their place use them as a springboard to move forward?

Can you find gratitude for the way things must be? I ought to change the title of this to “finding the silver linings,” but I may have already used a similar title, I believe. Silver linings are just my nature, and I have a soft spot in my heart for those whose nature gravitates toward having to monitor their melancholy.

It’s all good, baby!

I was tremendously grateful for this snippet about melancholy, since it pertains to us all in various ways, but in much greater proportions we often overlook. And it’s true for all emotions. To spend too much time in positive emotions, we’d neglect our duty to feel sorrow for those without or to feel guilt for our transgressions. Negative emotions propel us to betterment, both in ourselves and in loving our neighbors.

There is a time for ashes and sackcloth, and there is a time to move on. To remain stuck is to become stagnant (refresh thy iPod regularly!). To move on is to discover the future.

Yes, I embrace the melancholy, and even relish it for a moment, here and there, even moreso when something occurs to me down the road that I neglected to realize…but I am moved by the current down the rapids, which does not allow me to wallow and wade in the waters of what was or wasn’t. I am moved forward with wonder into the excitement of His will.

May we all be.

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Many dear friends here know that I spend about two hours commuting on any given workaday. Much of it is dreamlike, flying over expanses of cerulean waters capped with tangerine skies, with other-worldly cloud formations.

Sucky photo which doesn’t do justice to the thunderhead yesterday, but captures a typical artistic distraction during my flight:

12.4.12

I often drive with my middle finger (not what you think! click the darn link!), do my best thinking and reverie-ing, and enjoy some of the most pleasant moments of my life. Mysterious and distant cargo ships, playful dolphins and close calls with dive-bombing pelicans are not uncommon.

Sure, the usual hazards of commuting present themselves on a daily basis – outdated traffic reports that land me in a veritable parking lot on a bridge with no way out, the idiots who tailgate at 80 mph or use the “2 car-length” rule as an opportunity to dart in front of me causing a mile-long trail of brake lights.

And don’t forget the uncovered dump trucks which spew windshield-knickers, Bubba in his pick-me-up-truck who didn’t bother to toss the trash before he attained higher speeds and the morons who bumble along in the left lane going 50 who fail to observe the “slower traffic keep right” flashing signs all across the loooong bridge.

These things don’t make me flinch anymore, nosirree Bob. I know I’m supposed to be watching the road, but as a writer/photographer, this gem from this morning is the type of road hazard which most gets my grammatical goat and induces editorial road rage:

Commute from Hell

Dear God, may Jesus be Lord also of proper spelling and editing…

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…pulled into the driveway of the nice neighbor up the road to get some Satsuma oranges (cross between mandarins and tangerines). Funneled $5 in jug and grabbed bag top-middle and used shredder at home to make orange zest to throw into cranberry sauce the second it came off the stove…

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Captured this sunset on the commute home, because there was a 2-car accident on the sure-fire alternate route to avoid holiday traffic, and another couple of smash-ups on every other viable route home. God bless the slow-n-steady…I got home safely and savored the colors in the sky in the process:

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Came home to this sight…. (friends, study the spud)

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Yes, I have a jar of shells (or fifteen) around the house, including on the kitchen counter. I have never, however, had an army guy sticking out of a potato greeting me upon walking in the door. This was a first. I noticed the children parked the army-guy-in-potato near some of my cookbooks (which I rarely use). I believe they were trying to tell me something which I shall analyze tomorrow, probably and unfortunately after the fact. In the meantime, I will take the hint that there may be heavy combat in my kitchen between now and Black Friday.

In other accomplishments today, I:

~Reassured a young child why his mother’s cancelling his home pass for the Thanksgiving weekend due to his not-that-negative-behavior days before (even though he did his level best for a whole day prior) and her perception of inconvenience was justified…have a heart, ma!

~Reassured a set a parents why their child’s insistence that they did not want to go home for Thanksgiving because they can’t stand the fighting between Mom & Dad, was justified…knock it off already, y’all.

~Tried to help a 9 year old understand why he could not go home just for one day for Thanksgiving because his mother preferred to have men with meth over for Thanksgiving instead of complying with Child Services’ request that she attend family therapy so that the child might come home for a home pass…and we wonder why the world is going the way it is?!

~Explained to an 8 year old why Mommy was more interested in preventing domestic violence by going by boyfriend’s wishes to have her all to himself instead of 8 year old coming home even for a few hours on Thanksgiving…put ‘cher big-boy-boxers on, dude. Really.

~Comforted a seven-year-old about why Mommy can’t be with him because she has to work the ‘hood selling her body instead of being with him tomorrow. No comment.

God bless the owner of the bowling alley who offered these children a discount diversion for the day of Thanksgiving, and the owner of the skating rink who opened his business and heart to them the day after Thanksgiving, just cuz.

And the only reason I can’t take them all in myself is because it would be a gosh-darned ethical “conflict of interest,” and besides, my mother with Alzheimer’s is spending the day – and she’s mad as a freshly-uprooted fire ant right now right now because as POA I stand between her and her every dime she wants to give to every unscrupulous charity which hits her up at every opportunity by mail and phone. If only I could bring home the kids and feed them all and let them play on our Wii and pick out their favorite shells and stuff, Grandma would be amply diverted and fulfilled in the giving of her time and energy, and we’d have a big ol’ time.

Somehow I fantasize were HIPAA and privacy laws not such a barrier, everyone would get their physical and emotional needs met and be provided for, just fine thank you very much, the down-home way.

Kind of like the Honor Jug above.

Thanks, God, for the ways You help even when we feel helpless, for the ways You move in the lives of others that we can’t see in our finite glimpses. Thank You for making everything right when things can seem so wrong. Thank You, Lord, for the ways You meet the needs of those who are the neediest in Your eyes, not ours. Thanks, God, for teaching us to give thanks for all things, even those we can’t fathom.
God, thank You for meeting the needs of the dear friends here, too, needs which may be overshadowed by man’s perception and definition of “needs.” Thank You for loving us all as we are in our various stages of need, and for cutting through all the red tape we put between You and us. Thanks for knowing our hearts, even so…

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I have orders to be still.  I am to be still and know that You are God. I know You are, but what am I? I try my best to be still and know You, but I kind of get distracted. It seems like the only still I can be is…

…still adventure-seeking

…still restless

…still unquenchable

…still risk-taking

…still hopelessly curious

…still coveting

…still daring

…still multi-tasking

…still dreadfully bored and out of my element when forced to be still

Yes, I am still, alright…still all those things, and plenty more mischief if I devoted more time to the notion. They say that personality is pretty much solidified in your late 20’s to about 30ish. If so, I’m in trouble, God, when it comes to that order to learn to be still. Can I be unstill, and still know You as You intended? Or am I basically screwed, doomed to a lifetime of blissfully busy ignorance, followed by eternal wood, hay and stubble? Is there ever a solution?

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She climbs a tree and scrapes her knee
Her dress has got a tear
She waltzes on her way to Mass
And whistles on the stair
And underneath her wimple
She has curlers in her hair
I even heard her singing in the abbey

She’s always late for chapel
But her penitence is real
She’s always late for everything
Except for every meal
I hate to have to say it
But I very firmly feel
Maria’s not an asset to the abbey

I’d like to say a word in her behalf
Maria makes me laugh

How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you find a word that means Maria?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!

Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say
How do you keep a wave upon the sand

Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?

When I’m with her I’m confused
Out of focus and bemused
And I never know exactly where I am
Unpredictable as weather
She’s as flighty as a feather
She’s a darling! She’s a demon! She’s a lamb!

She’d outpester any pest
Drive a hornet from its nest
She could throw a whirling dervish out of whirl
She is gentle! She is wild!
She’s a riddle! She’s a child!
She’s a headache! She’s an angel!
She’s a girl!

How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you find a word that means Maria?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!

Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say
How do you keep a wave upon the sand

Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?

~~Rodgers & Hammerstein, “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria,” from The Sound of Music

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Must I learn to be still, if I know that You are omnipresent wherever I may flit? I mean, I go running off on a tangent, and *POOF* not only are You already there, but You already knew I was going to go there and when…long before I did. I keep bumping into smack-dab into You no matter how far off-track I get. So, why must I be still?

Perhaps the journey we take of never quite measuring up is precisely measuring up in Your eyes, since you sent Jesus to take care of the details for us. Maybe our expectations of ourselves are greater than Yours in Your wisdom.

Lord, let us flibbertijibbets keep our hearts in the right place, focused on You, even though we may have curlers on under our wimples and be late to everything except our favorite events in life. Let it be that You might smile on our irreverent whistling despite what the Pharisees would say, knowing that our whistling is a spontaneous expression of our joy for all You have given and made us. Let the songbird not be silenced. Thank you for letting me dance on the beach as the wind and the waves move me (why should I wait for tourist season to be over and still hope that no one might be watching?). Thank You for loving us as we are, even if we just cannot seem to discipline ourselves to be still.

I might be stuck like a statue of stone if I stood too still.

Thank You, Lord, for moving me.

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Pie on the Porch

Welcome, friend…and happy Thanksgiving to those in the U.S.

Thanksgiving at the beach is delightful. It was sunny and warm both indoors and out.

You know what the beach looks like, and you know what Thanksgiving fixins look like. So instead I will share other scenes from heeyah today:

At approximately 18,000 pounds each, these cotton modules are worth about $17K apiece.

Our equine neighbors were enjoying their Thanksgiving, too.

Down here, camellias are now in full bloom and their bright, colorful flowers will carry us through the winter..

 

As we were clearing our plates, it dawned on us that we should have dined al fresco today. So instead we had pie on the porch.

 

Our pet gecko had a happy Thanksgiving after we spotted the grasshopper behind the azalea bloom...can you?

 

We planted pineapple tops on a whim this summer...and they are taking off! Who knows if they'll actually yield fruit, but they love the sandy soil.

 

A seasonal stoplight, the Japanese Maple is green in the spring and summer, yellow in autumn, then red in time for the holidays.

 

Our family tradition is to walk it all off down on the pier every Thanksgiving sunset. Arriving a bit early, the sun illuminates the bubbly fountain.

 

At ease, sailor...

 

We hope someday to meet Chloe & Isabelle; they loved their Yaya & Gpa...and we'd like to ask them what they meant about the elevators...

 

An uprooted tree still left over from Katrina reminds us of the things we're all thankful for today. How quickly we forget....

 

Yo, dude, check out that dark-haired chick right under ya...she's busy texting and just outta my range!

 

Last check on the crab traps near the Loch Ness Log

 

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“So Adios to California…Nothing to do but turn around…” ~~John Hiatt, from Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns

How many times have we envisioned something, fed our beliefs with ideals and convinced ourselves that something surreal-ly out of reach could become ours? That we could somehow insert ourselves into a new reality that had all appearances of being superior to our current circumstances?

And how many times did we arrive at the sign that officially designates the precise spot where the Greener Pasture actually exists (“Pinch me!!”), only to discover it wasn’t quite what we had in mind? Fell short of our expectations, somehow…didn’t quite measure up. This may have come in the form of an actual place, a person or people, a job/career, a vacation, a material object, whatever. You know, peel back the sheets at the 5-Star Grand Poo-Bah Resort, only to find a nice specimen-strand of someone else’s DNA awaiting your plunge into the pillows.

I remember the first time I finally arrived at what I thought was the destination of my dreams. I had seen pictures, gorgeous pictures of this place, and was finally in a position to be there (not here, dear reader). It seemed like the perfect area, perfect climate, perfect people, perfect opportunities. It had everything. The last 50 miles or so of the drive drove me bananas with anticipation.

Upon arrival, however, the reality of the place did not hesitate to show me its true colors. It was Cold. Damp. Blustery. Gray. Rocky. Unwelcoming. Unforgiving of my folly of idealizing it in my head for too long.

Dismay is an extreme understatement to my initial reaction.

Nothing to do but turn around.

Dream-chasing has distinct advantages, though. It is what propels us forward and keeps us from stagnating. It is what gives us hope and motivation. It provides us with purpose and direction. It breathes life into us.

If we did not strive for that which we idealize, life would be terribly dreary. We would get stuck in the mud. And wither. And die.

I was never a fan of dream-catchers even though I understand their cultural purpose; there was always something so interruptive, arresting about them. I always liked to think about dreams as a fluidly beautiful, ongoing process, full of possibility and meaning. It’s a hell of a double life, for what it’s worth, imagining ourselves in another dimension as we go about life in this one. So what if they never materialize?

The joy is in savoring the trip, even if only in privacy and comfort of our own mind. And if we find ourselves on an actual journey to a destination that falls short, well, hey – we have still broadened our horizons. There is value in the salt of our tears and the stretching of our parameters. It’s a win-win. We have taken a chance and pursued passion.

Besides, sometimes dreams DO come true.

Thanks, God, for giving us that passion.

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Salute

…to all the people who served our country, that I could have the freedom to blog here and now, with a clear conscience and with no fear…

…to the talented man on the Kitty Hawk whose service is reflected on my mantle in the form of a properly folded flag…

…to those who’d hoped to serve but didn’t, or couldn’t…but are just as patriotic….

…to all the men like Buddy (10/22/11 post), who returned from the Delta alive, who were greeted with ignorant piss instead of with grateful reverence and respect…

…to those who stood by those who served…

…to the very young men under my roof who have unwaveringly expressed a desire to serve…sons of sons of sailors…

…to those who protested those who served, who now, in their older wisdom, realize their foolishness, and are ashamed to admit it…

…to those who proudly put themselves in the very face of danger on foreign soils to protect not only our country, but the essence of freedom…

…to those who still live who served and fought for righteousness for my father through WWI and my mother through WWII…

…to the men and women who believe in our country despite its shortcomings, and still enlist…

…to A.K., who is from another continent, but has proudly become a citizen and leaves me on schedule for drill in preparation to serve….

…to the brave men and women in uniform who will show our children around the C-5 Galaxy, Apache, C-130, Iroquois, F-18 et al. this afternoon at Homecoming and will – in word and deed – help us instill in them the character trait of patriotism…

…to the veterans with whom we will share a rolling tear today, hand over heart during the Star Spangled Banner,  as we salute our flag and their valued service…

…to the dear friend who brought out his Navy uniform, even though it no longer fits, to reflect and reminisce, that we could all be reminded of the threads of courage, pride, willingness, duty and belief in freedom – all tightly woven to hold our country together…

God, please bless our veterans with love, appreciation and peace…may they know how much the rest of us do not take their service and our freedom for granted, how much we love them, and how proud we are of them. Every single day of the year.

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