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Posts Tagged ‘Wonder’

 

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My favorite song from Sesame Street is playing in my head …

When I was a kid (and an avid Sesame Street show watcher), I was convinced that it was about my family. We, too, had a sister (that’s me), and two brothers, and a mother and a pop.

And now, as an adult, and mom, we have five people in our family. We have TWO sisters, and a brother, and a mother (that’s me), and a pop. And there’s not one of them I’d swap (most of the time … lets face it, we are all so very human)!

It will be an interesting summer, with our daughter working at a camp for kids with cancer, our son spending most of his summer at a camp on work crew and our other daughter traveling, as well as volunteering for a week at a camp. It will be a rare thing this summer for all five of us to be all together.

All together is a beautiful place to be. I love all of the members in our family (not always do we ‘like’ each other, but we do ‘love’ each other).

But then there are times like … oh, maybe when all five of us are in a hot car without air conditioning (for almost three bloody hours), on a day when the temperature is well over 40 degrees … then I think of swapping (or at least opening the door and pushing someone out) … not that we have experienced that … just sayin’.

There’s about four and a half years between our first two, and one would think that there are too many years between them to have anything to argue about … not true. Then we had our son two years after daughter number two, and one would think being opposite genders would make it easier for them to live together … not true. Then hubby and I, well we chose each other, couldn’t wait to get married (vowed to love, and honor, and blah, blah, blah), surely we could co-habitate peacefully … no comment!

Whatever the number, whatever the make-up of ones family, the presence of conflict, and pressure, and frustrations, along with a need for individual ‘space’ (and I’m not talking the final frontier) are going to live along within that family unit.

Sometimes, I think pre-arranged marriages are a brilliant idea … at least then we could have someone to blame (other than ourselves) for the frustrations one might have with their spouse … not that I have any frustrations with mine, of course. Heck, what am I saying we do blame our inlaws for the flaws in our spouses anyway … not that I would, of course.

But flaws abound in every relationship, in every individual, in every family. We all have those times when we are riding the ship of smooth sailing, and then, like a bowl full of bad clams, the nasties come back up.

And, that’s just life.

But spending the time working through those nasties, together

… that’s just family.

And,

“there are five people in my family,

and there’s not one of them I’d swap”

(most of the time 😉  )

 

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* this is a post from over three years ago, and although I would love to think my grammar skills have improved …20140630-112210-40930586.jpg

Recently, it happened AGAIN. And I hate it when it happens.

It makes me feel so … inferior, so …unknowledgeable, so … dumb 😦

Sigh, and the reality is … it will happen again, and again, and again … alot!

The funny thing is, it never happened to bother me, when I was a student.

It didn’t seem to have any effect on my self confidence, as a kid.

Or even on my school marks.

Heck, not even my college marks!

It really didn’t surface until, O, I think it was my first day working in a high school.

The ‘it’ I refer to is … good grammar …

I remember that day so well. I had gotten a job as a SEA (Special Education Assistant), and my role was to assist students with their learning. Not all students have the same learning capacity, nor the same learning style, nor speed. An SEA assists them in learning in a way, and with special materials, tools and curriculum that helps those students reach their potential. That was (is) my job.

What happens when the ‘assistant’ to a student is the equivalent to Shrek in the Kingdom of Grammar? That would be me (I think I might be more fairly compared to Donkey in that kingdom).

So, on my first day of high school, for the second time (I did graduate from high school, by the way), I went, along with my student, to English 9. And it was there that my lack of good grammar skills were giving me chills. I remember, as the teacher used words like:

NOUN and PRONOUN (aren’t they the same thing, just one being positive …’pronoun”?)
VERB and ADVERB (and aren’t they the same thing, just one being extra verbious … ‘adverb’?)
PREPOSITION
CONJUNCTION
INTERJECTION
PREPOSTION

My head started swirling, my palms were clammy, my knees were knocking … all because I feared the teacher was gonna call on me to answer the question that none of the students were answering. For that endless period of time, I was back in high school … all over again, and I really wasn’t appreciating the deja vu .

Being in that class, was so good for me! In that year I learned the meaning of noun, pronoun, verb, adverb and lots of other parts of speech. But, I am learning that there is still so much I don’t know … it’s amazing that I can communicate at all!

Recently I learned there are two ‘O’s’. One is ‘O’, and the other is ‘Oh’, and the two have different uses (who knew?).  ‘Oh’ is used as an exclamation of emotion. On the other hand, ‘O’ is used to address someone or something. The best way to differentiate them is “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”, and “O God, there’s a snake!” (so, ‘O God, Our Help in Ages Past’ would have a very different meaning … this will make you look at worship songs on your screen or monitor next weekend very differently).

I also recently learned that ‘alot’ is not a word (who knew?). The correct way to go is to use it as two words, ‘a lot’ … but them it doesn’t really make sense … ‘I love chocolate a lot’ (so I love chocolate … on a lot … in a lot … so confusing). The best thing to do is to switch ‘alot’ with ‘much’ … I love chocolate … much (hum, I still think alot sounds better, and anyone who knows me, knows I do love chocolate alot).

And then there is ‘ain’t’ … heck I cannot find evidence of it being a real, acceptable word, or not, it is just so confusing, some say it is and some say it isn’t (ain’t), all I have to say is that at my age, and the way I write (and talk), using the word ain’t, ain’t my problem … it’s run on sentences, and I ain’t gonna fix that one any time soon!

 

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Do You Love Me?

There are stories in the Bible I love and have read, and studied over and over. One is the interaction between Simon Peter and Jesus.

“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time,“Do you love me?”

He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

John 21 15-19

For me Jesus question, “do you love me?” could equally be asked, “do you love me, MOST?”

There have been many times when I have been challenged to love Jesus more than anything, more than anyone, in my life. But, there was one night (a few years ago), when, I believe, the challenge came from God. And I believe I even heard His voice … maybe not with my ears, but certainly with my heart.

It was to be a great evening! I was taking my daughter and her friends to a concert, and I got to go to a movie, of MY choosing, all alone! Oh, the bliss! There would be no princess, no space creatures, no war story. No, I was going to go to a chick flick, eat far too much popcorn (with butter), and NOT have to take a single person to ‘pee’ just when the story was getting good.

I went to the theater, just down the street from the concert venue. I ate immense amounts of buttery popcorn. I laughed. I cried. And I sighed. I left feeling girlie-good! So I rolled into my van (feeling the effects of immense amounts of buttery popcorn), and steered away from the theater, towards the concert venue.

Hum, I wondered, should I go shopping? No, the stores were about to close. Maybe a coffee shop? No, there was no place in my body for any more ingesting. Maybe ‘hang out’ at the grocery store? Seriously, you know you are old and lead a boring life when you actually, seriously, consider spending your Friday night ‘hanging out’ at a grocery store. Can we say, LAME?! (And all of this self-questioning happened in mere moments).

As I approached the concert venue I was amazingly, inwardly compelled to drive into the venue parking lot, by ‘something’ that seemed to be communicating to me, ‘you need to be there’. And, so, I went.

Then I parked and thought, now what? I knew it would be over an hour until the concert would be over. Heck, I thought, the headlining group was probably just starting. Hum, thought my conniving mind, I bet I could just walk in to the concert, and enjoy the headlining group … for FREE (Scottish heritage … oh, ya, baby!). And once ‘free’ was part of this idea there would be no backing down.

So, I walked into the venue, the church, where the concert was happening. I was able to walk right up to where the concert was in full gear. The place was packed! I stood just inside the doorway, watching and listening. A modern hymn of praise was being sung, being shouted, to Hosanna in the highest.

I stood there, thanking God that people use their gifts from Him to honor the Giver of those gifts. And that God would use those people, those gifts to open up this generation’s eyes to the things unseen. It was a ‘solo in a crowd’ praise party for me.

Then the second song began. It was rockier, and the crowd in there were having a blast!

And then …

Something up front fell … ‘I hope it didn’t hit anyone (my daughter)’

The music stopped … ‘It must have hurt someone (my daughter?)’

Noises of chaos, and people moving, climbing, back over pews … ‘God, don’t let it be my daughter’

DO YOU LOVE ME … ?

‘Huh? Of course I love you. But where is my daughter?’

A fire alarm was sounding … ‘This isn’t good. Where is my daughter?’

People were exiting the building, from all exits … orderly, quietly … ‘What is going on? Where is my daughter?’

I started to move forward, into the sanctuary … it didn’t feel like sanctuary. I turned around, and walked out.

I noticed people, running down a stairway. I walked towards the stairs, and (so hesitantly) down the stairs, not knowing where they would lead me. I saw people rushing into a room, a hall. I saw people lying on the floor, and others attending to them. They were HURT! … ‘is my daughter in there?’

DO YOU LOVE ME … MORE?

‘What? You are asking that NOW? … Oh, what are you asking me? What are you asking of me? Please … please don’t take my daughter … But … yes … yes I do love you more …’

I started to move forward, into the room … there didn’t seem to be … room, for me. I turned around, and walked out.

I walked back up the stairs.

‘Please, please help me find my daughter. Wherever she is, please help me find her.’

YOUR CELL PHONE

(I do not remember that line from John’s gospel!) I pulled my cell phone from my bag, confused as to how it could lead me to my daughter. Then I remembered! My daughter had used my cell phone to call one of her friends who had not showed up, just before the others went into the church, for the concert. Maybe, that number would be on my phone, and, maybe if I called it, I could find my daughter.

I searched the recent calls … it was there! … ‘thank-you’

I dialed, and the call was answered by her friend … ‘thank-you’

Then, reality. What if the answers she had for me were not what I wanted? Could I hear that?

DO YOU LOVE ME … MOST?

Do I love you … most? Oh, but, you asked me that of my first child. And that child never took it’s first breath. But, you did hear my cry, and gave again. But, she is only 15, was she only ‘on loan’? Oh, right, they are all only on loan. They … she is your child before she is my daughter. YOU love HER most …

Yes, my Lord … I do love you … most … and, her life … I leave it in your hands …

I took a deep breath. There were three of the seven together just outside (I was still in the building, still just outside the sanctuary … so far from sanctuary). And, my daughter? No, she was not with them.

I rushed to those three, who I barely knew, and hugged them. And I felt the strength return to my wobbly legs, as I realized that, I could hold them, support them, and comfort them, as their moms would, if they were there.

Another girl arrived shortly after … hugs, tears, questions … answers? The floor … fell?

One of the girl’s sister had been there … where the floor … was.

And my daughter? The newest of the group saw her at the other side of the church … ‘thank-you, thank-you, thank-you’

I walked … right? I rushed, with the concerned sister, to where we were told my daughter was.

As we moved forward, with sounds of sirens, road closures, emergency personal absolutely everywhere, It felt surreal, like I was walking, living through, a dream. A very bad dream.

Then, right in front of me … ‘thank-you, thank-you, thank-you’

And I held my daughter … with an understanding of thanksgiving that I had not felt, since the day she was born.

‘thank-you’

Another girl was with her … hugs, tears, questions …

Soon after with found the missing sister.

I drove them all home.

Reunions … hugs, tears, questions …

But, that night, the questions  for me were  …

DO YOU LOVE ME?

DO YOU LOVE ME … MORE?

DO YOU LOVE ME … MOST?

And my ultimate answer?

Yes, I love you … the most, and I will follow you, to the corners of the earth.

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Oh, I so love to wonder! (like you didn’t know that by now)

But, once in a while, I come across a thing (like snakes ... well, most of the time), or a place (like the dentist’s office), or an event that really steals the wonder from my day.

One day, while walking in the beautiful sun, with my beast, Shiloh, I walked by two women. One woman was pushing an infant (I peeked, and ‘it’ was definitely an infant) in a stroller, and the other walking along side of them.

They looked to be mid-late twenties, attractive, and nicely dressed (I noticed all of this because I am a female, and WE notice EVERYTHING about people). But, they didn’t notice my beast (everyone notices my beast, she is a beauty. When we walk, she makes eye contact with everyone, looking for positive attention … she hears, “oh, pretty puppy” so often, I have had to push her into the van after the walk, due to the swelling of her head … but I digress). I do not think they noticed me either, but that is not uncommon, as I walk with a beast who gets all the attention.

Just as my beast and I were passing the trio, the lady (?) pushing the stroller, says to her friend, ” … and I said, that was F#@$ing rude …”

Ouch! My ears were hurting. Then I thought of the the infant in the stroller, and my heart was aching for him/her (no color definition in the child’s clothing to indicate the gender). I may be a purist, but a new little bundle should not start life hearing such cold language. Man, what will that child hear (at home) when the ‘newness’ of infant becomes the ‘awkwardness’ of adolescence, or the independence of teenage?

Sadly, I expect more of the same. And as I walked by, feeling the sense of wonder of nature, and of life ebb from my being, I also predict that the child, sleeping peacefully in his/her stroller, may grow up hearing such caustic-ness directed ‘towards’ him/her.

I felt deflated! I felt angry! I felt violated!

What I felt most was a desire to turn around, catch up with the classy-looking ‘ladies’ and give them a piece of my mind!

But, instead, shoulders hanging low, I prayed. I prayed that God would inject, as only He can, himself into the life of that child, and the lives of those two women. I prayed that the child would never hear such nastiness, at home, when he/she is old enough to mimic what is heard.

Then, I prayed for forgiveness. I may not use the same word I heard from that lady on the path (I tell my kids that only people who have no creativity of language use such words, so loosely, and that I know they are creative people, so I expect more from them). But, my kids have surely heard the same cold, hard, unrighteous anger from me.

That day on the path reminded me that if wonder is so important to me, then I need to be more conscious to not steal it from those around me with my words … and my attitude.

“Watch the way you talk.

Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth.

Say only what helps, each word a gift.

Don’t grieve God.

Don’t break his heart.

His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you,

is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself.

Don’t take such a gift for granted.

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk.

Be gentle with one another, sensitive.”

Ephesians 4:29-31 (Message)

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iEat

diet cup

Hello, my name is Carole, and I am food-aholic. There I said it, step one is covered. Hum, maybe too harsh, too guilt-laden. Just saying it made me feel bad (maybe I need chocolate). Let me try again …

Hello, my name is Carole, and I am an emotional eater. Now that sounds better. Kind of less … responsibility, on my part … it’s all my emotions fault that I eat so much, so often. I love having something else to blame for my thunder thighs!

The thing is, it really is true, I am an emotional eater.

When I am sad, I eat … because I am feeling low, and I need something to make me happy, and food tastes good, so it makes me happy.

When I am depressed, I eat … usually I am depressed because my buttons won’t button up past the inches of flesh covering my 6-pack. Food always fits, perfectly.

When I am happy, I eat … what better way to celebrate, anything (a birthday, a wedding, a Monday) than to stuff your face with celebratory food (chocolate, anything with whipping cream, cheesecake)?

When I am unsure, I eat … when I just don’t know what step to take next in life, I just walk to the refrigerator. There is still uncertainty in opening the door … do I choose the cheese, the left-over chicken, or the left-over cheesy potato casserole? Heck, we’ve got an entire meal, why choose just one?

When I am angry, I eat … I like to think of chewing as a non-violent way to unwind from the rising tension of anger, and then I swallow, and then, hours later … well I kind of … flush the anger away!

When I am scared, I eat … fear gives my tummy a very uneasy feeling, like the contents of my tummy might revolt, and toss my cookies. Well then, I better make sure there are cookies to toss!

When I am PMS’ing … do I need to explain this one? I don’t think so! Heck Pre-menstral? Post-menstral? We women are always PMS’ing … buy your stocks in Lindt, Purdy’s, Ghiradelli, and Hershey’s men, and we women will grab the chocolate.

Look out world, my emotional eating is about to change the TSX, the AMEX, the NASDAQ, and the TSE!

See, it’s all for good in the end!

Pass me some Hershey Dark chocolate, please … my excitement over emotional eating is stimulating the world economy!

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20140608-144703-53223590.jpgI love music. I love Bach, Johnny Cash, U2, Ella Fitzgerald, Starfield, Elton John, Louis Armstrong, Taylor Swift, Casting Crowns, Ennio Marricone, Coldplay, ABBA, Paolo Nutini, Michael Buble,  TobyMac, Adele, and this list is truly just a tip of my music loves iceberg!

Music speaks to me, it challenges, moves, and teaches me. I love the visuals that can be created in it’s combination of lyrics and music. I love the emotions that a song can bring out. I love how, out of nowhere a song can ‘pop’ into my mind, and be mulled over for hours, as though it was ‘placed’ there, just for me, like a lovingly wrapped gift. I hate songs that speak lies, I love songs that speak truth.

This morning I have had a song in my mind, ‘placed’ there, I am certain.

It is a song called “This is your Life”, by Switchfoot. Some of the lyrics are:

yesterday is a wrinkle on your forehead
yesterday is a promise that you’ve broken
don’t close your eyes, don’t close your eyes
this is your life and today is all you’ve got now
yeah, and today is all you’ll ever have
don’t close your eyes
don’t close your eyes

this is your life, are you who you want to be
this is your life, are you who you want to be
this is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be
when the world was younger and you had everything to lose

yesterday is a kid in the corner
yesterday is dead and over

don’t close your eyes

Now, maybe I awoke with it in my head because I slept miserably last night (‘don’t close your eyes‘).

Or, maybe it is because I recently celebrated a birthday … like three months ago (‘this is your life, are you who you want to be, this is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be‘).

Maybe it is because this weekend I was chatting with my eldest daughter about my memories of childhood (‘yesterday is a kid in the corner’ … pretty much sums up my entire childhood, so now you know what I was like as a kid!).

Maybe it’s because today is my last day of classes with students (‘today is all you’ve got now’).

Or maybe it is playing in my mind because I awoke in a rather melancholy mood (this is your life and today is all you’ve got now yeah, and today is all you’ll ever have).

I expect it’s a combination of all of the above, but, today, it might be more of the last. Now today is not all that bad, but with the combination of lack of sleep, end of the school year, thinking of years past, a kind of recent birthday AND melancholy I’m really not excited that today (more this present season of life, than this ‘day’) is all I’ve got, and all I’ll ever have. This season is one of realizing that there are parts of my life that just simply are so far from where I want them to be.

As an obsessive compulsive person when it comes to planning into the future, today my future looks far more fuzzy than I would like. To use more song lyrics, I prefer an outlook where ‘the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades’. And it’s not that it’s an all doom and gloom forecast of the future, it is simply that I cannot see anything. And I’m an ‘inquiring mind, and inquiring minds need to know’ (more indicators of my age).

Maybe the real reason this song is in my mind is that, despite my melancholy mood, despite the lack of sleep, despite my aging body, despite the end of Spring Break, despite the fact that not all childhood memories are sweetness and light, and even despite the fact the promises get broken, and the future is unknown, I’ve been given this day, and if I don’t close my eyes, I might find a bit of wonder laying in my path.

AND, by the way, there are NO wrinkles on this forehead! See, at my age, that is something to wonder about 😉

 

 

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I know all (2) of my readers are dying to hear the story of how our dog got out of her crate without the crate being unlocked. Well, so am I!

The real ‘bones’ of the story are that we leave the house, with our beast locked into her crate. We are happy. We come home to find our beast outside of her crate. Our beast is happy. The crate is still locked. We are mystified (and really p.o.’d because she has been nibbling on the door moldings … hope hubby doesn’t decide to read this entry …).

But how does she escape? Is she part hamster? Are her bones made of rubber?

This latest escape goes back to the beginning, almost seven and a half years ago, when we adopted our, then one and a half year old, beastMy Beast from a local shelter. I saw her picture on the internet, and fell in love with her big brown eyes.

WAIT … I’ve gotta go back further. About eight years ago our kids started doing and saying what all kids eventually do, “can we get a dog? We will look after it all by ourselves. You will never have to do anything.” Oh, I remember those words well … probably because they ring in my ears whenever I am feeding her, walking her, brushing her, or … scooping her poop! For any reader who has children, or will one day have children, they will eventually say the same promises to you … they LIE! But I digress.

So, I fell in love with her big brown eyes (ever heard the phrase ‘don’t buy a book by it’s cover’?). I went to the shelter to ‘pick her up’. In reality it was more like the great inquisition! And the paperwork would rival what you have to sign and fill out to adopt a real live human child! And, despite being completely honest in all I wrote (except maybe the part about ALL household members wanting to adopt her … a certain male occupant of this house and family was not, and will never, ever admit to wanting to adopt her, except to adopt her to someone else), they let me have her!

I went to the shelter that day, and fell even more in love with this beast’s motherly instincts than her eyes. I had brought my son with me (he had been having a tough year at school on the playground and I really wanted him to connect with the beast, with hopes that they would become great friends) so, while I was writing the equivalent to novelettes of why our family ‘needed’ to adopt the beast, my son sat at a table and drew pictures, and the beast laid at his feet. Whenever someone walked near the table, the beast sat up, at stayed between them and my boy.

That beast was Shiloh, and she became ours that day, because SHE adopted US.

We had done our reading about dogs … by ‘we’ I mean ‘I’. We had bought all the tools and gadgets … by ‘we’ I mean ‘I’. And our beast would be crate trained … by ‘our beast’ I mean ‘we’. It was more of a magic show, and she the master illusionist. You see we would put the beast in her crate (not the hard plastic type, but the wire ones … that look more like a cage … a certain male occupant of the house prefers the word ‘cage’), then go off to work, school, etc. Then we would come home to the beast happily meeting us at the door, and the crate still locked.

We realized that the metal bars could be bended out of place (and her bones may, indeed, be made of rubber), so carabiners were added … everywhere! Hubby took on the task of ‘securing’ the crate … and when testosterone is added to any job, overkill is bound to occur. This crate is more carabiner than it is crate! And, until yesterday, that was good enough.

I should mention that the crate was also carabinered to the two walls it is near … we had discovered that if she couldn’t get free ‘of’ the crate, she would free herself ‘and’ the crate, and both would be many feet from where we left them in the morning.

So, back to the fiasco.

One day, when I placed the beast in her crate she had ‘the look’. Now our beast, whose eyes drew me to her in the first place, also communicates wholly with those eyes. After years now of her ‘eye whispering’ I think I am starting to catch on to her language. That day she looked at me and communicated “I miss three of MY people, I’m lonely, I’m not happy with the rainy forecast for the week (because I know YOU are a wimp and won’t walk me in the rain, like HE would), and I’m going to show you who the Alpha female is in this house.” And I shook in my perfectly practical shoes. Because I ‘knew’ she would escape her cage.

When we got home I asked my daughter to humor me, and get out of the vehicle, and wait by the garage door, ready to catch the dog escaping (her crate is in the garage … don’t get your knickers in a knot, we leave the light on, and … hubby’s choice … she listens to sports radio … I think he does that as a torture tactic). As soon as the door started to rise, out she came! But we … and by ‘we’ I mean ‘I’, were onto her!

So, off to the hardware store for more carabiners … but, whose the alpha female now, beastie?

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