April 21, 1945, seventy-six years ago, my grandparents brought my mother home from the hospital in a blizzard.
I’m not surprised.
The social media posts are exploding over the snow we received here in the Midwest. Some are claiming it’s an historic first.
Mother was born April 6th and at that time, mothers and babies remained in the hospital for at least two weeks. When they left the hospital, it was a blizzard. Some plants and flowers may have been killed and that’s sad.
A college friend has over 200 hostas and other wonderful, beautiful plants; I feel for Bryan. I know I love seeing photos of his hard work and gorgeous flowers every year.
Hang in there, Gang.
We’ll get there, sooner or later. In the meantime, make it a great day and just enjoy the beauty.
I’ve always trusted my gut reactions, even as a child, and more often than not, the gut instinct has proven true.
I did not write this article but it coincided with a the photograph I posted yesterday.
“Trusting Your Gut” from DailyOM
Part of being an intuitive person is becoming in-tune with, and trusting, your power center.
Gut feelings earn their name from the place in the body where they make themselves known. A pang in your gut when you may be doing the wrong thing, or a vibrant zing when your body approves, can guide you reliably at times when logic fails. Sometimes, when logic prevails, we ignore our gut and live to regret it, understanding later that a rational approach is only one way of determining what is going on in a situation and how we should react.
Our gut resides in the neighborhood of our solar plexus and the third chakra just above your belly button. When it is functioning well, we can trust its guidance and adjust our actions accordingly. Many of us have a tendency to hold in this area of our bodies. We may take shallow breaths that never reach this vital nexus that is the source of our empowerment. It is in this place that we find the courage to act, to reach out into the world and create change. When our power center is out of balance, we are timid and out of sync, wishing we had said something we were only able to phrase later when we were alone; wishing we had acted on an opportunity we didn’t see until it was past.
In order to utilize your power center, you may want to focus your attention on it more regularly and make time to care for it. You can begin right now by taking a deep breath into your belly. On the exhale, pull your navel in toward your spine so as to empty out completely before taking another deep breath into your belly. When you empty completely, you release stagnant energy and create more space to be filled with fresh, nourishing breath. The more you practice this simple, cleansing exercise, the more clear and communicative your gut feelings will be and the more comfortable you will feel acting on them.
Oscar Hammerstein II, would have an absolute field day describing the scene I am so enjoying this evening.
There’s no corn growing, no elephants wandering by, no daisies in May, no blueberry pies, no willows in a windstorm, no kites on the Fourth of July, but there is, however, the most beautiful world surrounding me this evening; we can’t say, “it might as well be spring, Oscar” – we’ve got it!
The flowers are from my neighbors yard, across the street. I’ve not seen Kate in several years as it seems her family has moved her to a healthcare facility. She should be pushing 97.
The high school’s indoor percussion is rehearsing outside, close by, and two cardinals are tearing up the evening with some of their own hit tunes.
The sun is beginning to drop, elongating shadows and forcing the eyes to squint against its brightness.
If only Mr. Hammerstein could be sitting right here with me, his pencil and legal pad of paper at hand. He would love it.
We were on our way to West Palm Beach, Florida to visit my Aunt Joyce, and cousins, Kim and Debbie.
We stopped to visit President Jimmy Carter‘s hometown. Mother went inside one of the stores to get all of us some peanut ice cream. We were on the steps going into the post office and this guy came out and sat down next to us while sorting his mail.
Being the absolute nib shit (young investigator and researcher) that I was… am, I noticed his mail was addressed to Mr. Murray Smith.
“So, you’re Mrs. Carter’s brother?”
He looked up, smiled, and said, “I sure am.”
I engaged him in conversation and learned that he was a teacher and basketball coach at Americus high school, not too far from Plains, and that the Carter’s were arriving that evening for his wedding the following day.
After mother returned and distributed the ice cream cones, I introduced her to Mr. Smith and asked if she could take a picture of us together.
I first watched Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 film, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, in late January 1973 at the Elwood Movie Theater with my mother and neighbor/classmate, Debbie Poynter, 48 years ago.
The previous August 1972, Mother, who was already several months pregnant with my future sister, Dena, took me to the Indiana State Fair to see a traveling animatronic figure of President Abraham Lincoln sponsored by Disney Studios.
That particular day was scalding hot, the lines terribly long, and no canopies or shade into the pavilion hosting the event. It was obvious Mother was not feeling well and though I was pretty responsible for a seven year-old, going on eight, she was not about to leave me alone in the line. Nor was she to abandon this maternal mission of love, knowing just how much I loved Abraham Lincoln.
Finally, we were seated inside; air conditioning, Lincoln come to life, and a chance to rest our tired legs. The presentation didn’t last too long and we both dreaded returning to the heat and discomfort brought with it.
We stepped into the lobby of the pavilion and saw folks taking cover from a storm that had quickly blown in. Ironically, no one had thought to seek shelter in the pavilion. Mother grabbed my hand, pulled me back through the exit door, and before I knew it, we were once again seated for another Lincoln presentation. In fact, we sat there for a third presentation. I’m sure much of it was due to her own comfort but I also know she was doing it for me.
Mother was only a few weeks away from delivering my sister when we walked uptown to the Elwood Movie Theater on a fairly mild winter’s day. I cannot recall how we came about going to see THE TEN COMMANDMENTS; did I see the title on the marquee or did Mother learn it was playing and thought I’d like it; I just do not remember.
Before the movie began, Debbie and I were both aware Mother was not feeling her best. As the extra long movie wore on, Mother could barely hide her discomfort. Several times, both Debbie and I asked if we should just go ahead and go home. Mother threw on her best game face and acted as though all was well, “the movie’s not over.”
I know Mother was aware of my deep involvement with the movie and its musical score and was not about to disrupt it. We stayed through the closing credits and walked back home.
It has been years since I ever sat and watched THE TEN COMMANDMENTS from beginning to end without working on something else. Per usual, I watched the first 15-20 minutes, and kept it playing on a loud speaker while I busied my self with cooking supper, writing, reading, researching, and tidying up my study, only to pause for my favorite scenes.
I love THE TEN COMMANDMENTS for its 1956 artistic and technical mastery, the brilliance of Elmer Bernstein’s musical score, and another reminder of my mother’s love and continued support for my interests and passions.
Tuesday evening, I was getting some “around the deck” spring cleaning accomplished and set up my cleaning headquarters on the deck’s table.
I reached in the box of trash bags, grabbed a bag, shook it open with a snap, and sat down to unsuccessfully hold back tears. Opening the trash bag is not terrifying like popping the biscuit tube. Sometimes, opening a garbage bag snaps back a memory of several of my sons and foster sons arriving at the house with their clothes and other worldly belongings packed into trash bags.
Several sons reported they’d return to their foster homes after school to find trash bags filled with their “life” piled on the front porch, waiting for the social worker to arrive and transfer them to a new foster home. One son saved each bag for future moves until the weakened bag could no longer serve it’s humiliating purpose.
Omega Baptist Church of Dayton, Ohio did a tremendous, loving thing through one of their ministries: they purchased and delivered 40 suitcases filled with hygiene items. Their social justice ministry project, spearheaded by Kendra and Carrlo Heard, and Rev. Joshua Ward delivered “Hope In A Suitcase” that will serve Montgomery County children who enter the foster care system.
This project is near and dear to my heart and I applaud Omega Baptist Church of Dayton for thinking of those brave souls, little and not-so-little, who are suddenly forced into a new, unfamiliar world. To pack one’s worldly belongings into a trash bag is degrading, dehumanizing, and despicable. Sometimes, in an emergency placement, it’s all that is available; I get that. But, we can always do better. We must always do better.
Thank you, Omega Baptist Church! Know you are loved…
NOTE: This blog entry is from DailyOM and not my own personal submission.
Finding joy and reason in mundane tasks can shift the flow, and make it not so bad afterall.
Spending an afternoon working on the car, gardening, or even cleaning the house can be fun when we have an interest in the project. Yet, we can also find joy in the chores and tasks we don’t especially like. All we need is a change of attitude, a different approach, a little music, or some help from friends, and the tasks or responsibilities that we perceive as tedious can become a source of pleasure.
Most of us tend to put off what it is that we don’t want to do. Yet, one of the best approaches to an unpleasant task or dull chore is to dive right in and be fully mindful of what it is that you are doing. You may not perceive washing the kitchen floor as enjoyable, but it can be if you view it as a loving act for both yourself and your family. Lose yourself in paying your bills, and thank the universe that you are able to receive the service you are writing that check for. Mending can become a treasure hunt to find the right button and matching thread. And, each morning, see how neatly you can make your bed and take pride in your results.
Playing your favorite music, dancing while you work, or creating a mental list of everything you are grateful for are just a few ways to turn an unexciting activity into a fun event. Ask a friend to help you clean out the basement or paint a room; provide some yummy snacks as an incentive. Look for joy in doing your mundane activities, and they’ll become a source of enjoyment rather than a tolerable duty.
Mother taught me basic chores long before starting kindergarten and for that I shall always be grateful.
Grandpa Leroy always celebrated our graduation from the thrice used baby bed with a brand new big boy/girl twin bed. Somewhere, I still have the photograph of my own transition from crib-bed to full twin bed. Grandpa even made sure my own sons, adopted at age 12, were set with their own “big boy beds.” He purchased four beds and frames, even when I insisted I was only adopting one child.
My first twin bed had light blue sheets and pillow cases to showcase the toile bedspread and curtains with scenes of US History. I loved this set and often laid on the cover to search details of the various historic scenes.
“Now, this line of material is called “piping” and it’s kind of like a guide to make the cover straight,” Mother pointed out as she showed me how to straighten the piping that ran the full shape of the twin bed’s design.
The next few mornings, Mother assisted me in making my bed, always giving me the lead.
One morning, it was my turn to do it all by myself.
“Now, remember what I said about the piping?”
I made a few adjustments.
I’m sure the piping’s designed placement, framing the top edges of the mattress, was was no where close to being straight but I do not recall Mother ever making any adjustments. I still was a bit uncertain of the piping’s purpose.
Every morning, Mother would enter my room for inspection, mainly to assure the bed was made, items retrieved from the floor and put away, and any clean clothes were put away. I don’t ever recall Mother giving a short tug at the bed spread to straighten the crooked piping.
I’ve oft seen memes of haphazardly loaded dishwashers that would drive a perfectionist to tears.
Mother was an organized perfectionist, but when it came to training her children and grandchildren at younger ages, she made allowances. I loved watching her with my sister’s young sons, Jonathan and Andrew, as well as my sons who were slightly older. Jonathan lived with Autism, my sons each arrived straight out of foster care, and Andrew… well, he had bright red hair. Mother always had the right amount of patience and creativity in dealing with each grandson.
However, as us children grew older, she would gradually tightened the grip in our training.
I teach “process” to my students. I think I see the link to my own training from Mother. Step by step.
Last week’s post regarding The Rude Runners, those joggers/runners who shout-talk when they pass by my house at 5:00 AM, resulted in several witty suggestions but an even funnier gift from my friend, Jenny Davis.
Several days of exceptionally strong winds and rain kept the loud Rude Runners at bay over the weekend but I was certain they’d be back Monday morning.
I have this audio reader on my phone which I absolutely love. I use it mostly for multitasking so I can work and listen.
Now, I can hear folks chatting the full length of the school parking lot due to all the blacktop, concrete, and bricks. It’s an echo chamber which I don’t mind unless it’s 5:00 AM.
So, I decided to experiment with my Bluetooth speaker on the deck. I think I struck gold.
When I was awakened by the women coming down the parking lot from the west, I was set to go. As they got nearer I could tell when they heard the recording; one of them said to the others, “Shhh.” (There were at least three this morning.) They heard my male reader:
“Good morning, Neighbors. I am aware and thrilled you take your morning exercise seriously and with such devotion. Please remember that some of your neighbors do the same but at this time of day they require more rest. Please try to respect their quest for good health as much as you take pride in your own by speaking softer when running this time of day. Thank you and please be safe on your daily journey.” [Repeat]
I could tell they remained to listen to the loop or second time through as they had probably missed the first few lines.
Then, I heard one ask if it was a motion sensor or something that tripped it.
“It’s like being at Kings Island or Disney when those voices come out of nowhere to remind guests about…”
They were off, again, and silent. Whether this will work or last, who knows? But, I may end up searching the ACME Corporation catalog.