Thursday, February 24, 2011

Give Me an Unlikely Hero Anyday

My husband and I have settled into a very comfortable routine.  Our children are all in college, hundreds of miles away; he is no longer working extra hours as a lay-clergyman.  It's just the two of us.  Did you hear my sigh?  It was a good sigh....

We are enjoying nightly home-cooked, healthy meals, a generous time given to reading the scriptures together, and then we settle into our pre-selected favorite spots.  He takes the chair with an ottoman for his feet.  We no longer have to elevate his legs due to blood clot swelling and pain (most of the time).  So that progress has been encouraging.  I am on the couch with two pillows and my favorite blanket.  If it is a particularly chilly evening I might grab the leopard snuggie that my son-in-law gave me.

We are quite the picture, I would guess. 

Then comes the fun part.  Each night we have a pre-selected show that we enjoy.  Sunday evening has been "Worst Cooks in America".  But we just watched the finale, so I guess Sundays are open again.

Monday night is a "Chuck" night, and we DVR "Hawaii Five-O" to be watched another time because I can't stay up that late. 

Tuesdays are nothing without some "White Collar".  Love that.  And then I try to sit through "NCIS", but often the blood and the gore drive me away to some other activity.

Wednesdays are "Top Chef" nights, with some "American Idol" thrown in when available.

Thursdays we watch more Idol.

But easily the highlight of the week is Friday's offering, the only show that I get so excited about when I settle in with my blanket on the couch:  "Merlin!"  I love it.  There is something about its combination of likeable and hateable characters, beautiful scenery, lovely music, and compelling storyline.  Having always been a fan of Arthurian Legend, this brings familiar names to life and invites cheering for the good guys and booing the bad ones.  Merlin is delightful as the gawky, awkward humble servant to Prince Arthur who, with an undeniable good heart, must always quietly save the day, never getting credit for his heroism.  And who doesn't swoon over the Arthur/Guinevere chemistry?  Ah! This is good television.

Merlin Photo Albums - Merlin TV Show

Saturdays are open.  That is the time we will often go out to a movie, or go to dinner with friends. 

I am thoroughly enjoying these quiet evenings with my husband.  I look forward every day to spending time with him. It may not sound like an exciting life to most of you, but how delightful it is to have a husband who works hard during the day so that we might have such a lovely peaceful home to relax in.  I have always had a thing for unlikely heroes.

And we are just waiting patiently to add "Psych" back into the line up.... ;-)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Words are things, and a small drop of ink"

These are a few of my favorite things!  ;-)

Yesterday I stumbled upon --( do we really stumble upon things by chance, or are they somehow put in our path directly purposed for us to discover them?.....)---ahem---Yesterday I stumbled upon a little poem by Lord Byron that I found utterly inspiring.  It perfectly illustrated what I have been thinking about recently, and I instantly fell in love with it.

Words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.
                                          ~Lord Byron

Now I will admit to not thinking on as grand a scale as Byron did, but I certainly believe there is great power in the written word, OUR written word.  And I also believe that inspiration comes in many ways and should be given the attention it deserves.

I find myself with the desire to identify and cherish the inspiration I receive, as whisperings from heaven, and feel that the best way to honor these, is to write them down.  There are so many ways to learn and acquire knowledge, and we are inhibiting that endeavor if we fail to use inspiration as part of that learning.

It then becomes our responsibility to utilize these directives, and most importantly, to remember them.  The best way I have found to remember these impressions is to write them down as soon as I am able.  We all should be recording these enlightening paths of thought upon which our minds are coaxed to wander.  Perhaps our little drops of ink, falling like dew upon our thoughts, will not influence millions, nor even thousands, but they may have direct influence upon our families, upon our posterities, as our humble little journals which hold our most tender and intimate feelings are sacredly passed down to be read, and to be cherished, and perhaps to induce thought as well.

I also "stumbled"  upon a quote from Thomas Jefferson that describes the value of this inspiration that can come our way:  "The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money".

Are we recognizing the worth of these whisperings, which often are manifest as "warm thoughts"?  They are not happenstance; they are not accidental, coincidental, nor merely fortuitous.  We can receive directives to guide our lives, which will be of infinite worth to us if we heed them.

Your words needn't be eloquent to have power.  They needn't be flowery nor trumped up in any way.  Their simplicity and clarity will carry the message effectively.  They only need your sincerity.

May we seek to receive this guidance, and as it comes, to honor it by recording it; that we might be inspired today as we write it down, tomorrow as we look back upon our words, and in the future as it speaks to the generations that follow.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gentle On My Mind

My mind seems to be consumed with thoughts of Miranda lately.  I think about her all the time.  I am so inspired by the metamorphosis occurring in her life.

Never has she been more self-assured.  Never has she been more focussed and determined and bold.

Always an introspective child, she is discovering the courage to open her mouth and finally express those depths of brilliance and perception that have been brewing over the years.

Always a beauty, she is now polishing and perfecting and placing the gem on a more prominent setting, enabling it to catch the light from all directions.

Miranda is unique.  She understands that she may see life from a different perspective than most, but isn't afraid to represent her unparalleled self.  Never one to follow the crowd, she will stand alone with her principles if she must.  Thankfully she is finding those that share her values, and are happy to stand with her as the crowds pass by.

This is the time of your life to stretch your beautiful wings, Miranda.  Explore your gifts.  Fine tune your offering.  The world is a better place for your being in it.  I am blessed to call you daughter.

Monday, February 21, 2011

This is What True Love Is!

I have a fan.  This fan, even amidst his busy workday schedule, anxiously awaits the posting of a new blog.  He will even telephone to remind me that I haven't put up a new blog yet.

Now this certainly is true love.  A phone conversation ought to be enough for him to get his "fix" of me, but he values just as much the expression of my thoughts on my blog. He enjoys my written words because they add a different dimension to his understanding of me.  He claims that it is a great way for him to learn what I have been thinking about and he likes to figure out what prompts one particular subject or another.  He often recognizes extensions from conversations we have had, noting what I have continued to chew on, or think about, from ideas we have previously discussed.

This is the greatest form of flattery or compliment that a writer can receive.  My true fan recognizes that I reveal the real inner workings of my mind in my day-to-day blogging. And he values that.  Rarely does my blog apply directly to the mundane monotony of everyday life.  He already knows what I think about those things.  This affords new clues to solving the mystery of Ardith, something he has been working on for 28 years.

Friday, February 18, 2011

But Is It Sustainable?

Ay-yi-yi!  Everywhere we go, it seems, we are being bombarded with the sustainability issue.  Is our food sustainable?  Is our energy sustainable?  Is our fashion sustainable?  Really?  Why now?  Why, after thousands of years into the earth's history, is this becoming so politically correct now?

I found the official definition of "Sustainability".  It is this:  "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  This definition was created in 1987 at the World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission). It is enshrined in the Swiss federal constitution. It is similar to the "seventh generation" philosophy of the Native American Iroquois Confederacy, mandating that chiefs always consider the effects of their actions on their descendants seven generations in the future."  Found here.

Now I don't want to sound uncaring, nor irresponsible but I just have to wonder if it isn't all just too little too late.  Is our generation really capable of undoing all the effects of the careless living done up to this point?  Or is it really just license for industries to raise prices along with raising awareness?

I wish I was one that felt it was my calling to save the world.  I wish I felt my voice could be heard amidst the chaos.  I don't.  What I do feel as a calling is to protect and preserve my family and my own little corner of the world; to live cleanly and in good health, to nourish my body with real food, not imitation nor manufactured; to be conscientious of my carbon footprint, but not to let it inhibit going where I want to go, nor how often I go there.

So when I think of sustainability, do I obsess about farming or fishing practices, or fabric industry practices, etc. etc?  Honestly, not much.

I do think about lifestyle changes and their sustainability.  I do think about nurturing new habits and my ability to grow them strong enough to weather the storms of carelessness, boredom, and apathy.  Our lives naturally have an ebb and flow, with naturally occurring highs and lows.  Will my goals be able to endure the low points when my energy wanes and my enthusiasm takes a vacation?

My desire is to make long-range goals and achieve them; to look forward to the future and the livability of earth for my posterity.  I believe the best way for me to help my future generations is to establish firm foundations of faith, love, prosperity and responsibility.  If each of us thinks in terms of making the world a better place, not just by our energy choices nor our food choices, or whether or not we wear polyester or cotton clothing, then we can feel good about our efforts, which then are about improvement and not just about sustaining the status quo.

Are we teaching the values we know and believe in?  Are we supporting the wholesome and uplifting arts and literature that enlighten and beautify the world?  Are we encouraging our children to develop their talents and become productive hard-working citizens of the global community?

I just want to make improvements in my life, and then sustain them.  For more than a day, more than a week, more than a year.

I claim the responsibility to worry about my own progress.  I will let you worry about yours.

Getting off my soapbox now....  It's too precarious for me.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"My Dear Wormwood..." Leave Me Alone!

What a week I've had!  What began with only a vague awareness of a literary work, soon gave way to a rush of influence by the C.S. Lewis masterpiece, The Screwtape Letters.

I had heard of this book.  I understood what it claimed to be.  In fact, I had purchased a copy of this book as a gift for my son-in-law for Christmas; not because I had thought it to be the perfect gift, but at the suggestion of my daughter on her husband's behalf.

A few weeks after Christmas I received an email from a friend inviting my husband and I to attend a theatrical performance of, what else?  The Screwtape Letters.  Being distracted by life, I failed to respond to the invitation and even forgot to tell my husband about it.
Two more weeks pass by.  My husband mentions a blurb he had heard on the radio about this particular show coming to Portland.  It jolted my memory of the email, and we then discussed the possibility of getting tickets.  He was eager.  I was impartial.
With tickets purchased and a week until showtime, we decided some preparation would add to our appreciation of the event.  With the new-fangled technology, I purchased and downloaded a digital copy of the book to be read on my iPad.

Together each evening, Brian and I would gather for study of The Screwtape Letters.  I read the challenging text aloud, hoping that Brian was able to understand at least some of what I was fumbling through.  It is the type of book that shouldn't be rushed through in a week.  It requires time to reflect, to ponder,to decipher, to chew on the intensity and the subtlety.  It is also the kind of book that begs for certain passages to be underlined and highlighted, with notetaking in the margins so amazing parts can be revisited, reevaluated, and re-appreciated.

None of which was possible for us while cramming on an iPad.

That said, we did get a lot out of our reading.  Our regret was that in our truncated study, our ultimate results were certainly truncated too.
Showtime came.  It was amazing; a two-person cast, with only one of those actually speaking, it was unique.  It was thought provoking.  It was humbling to recognize human foibles present in oneself, the results of Satan and his minions successfully understanding the natural man and effectively leading us astray.  I use the collective "we" loosely.  Perhaps I am the only one weak and impressionable....

I have since thought a lot about The Screwtape Letters.  I recognize it to be full of profound truths, with Mr. Lewis being directly inspired.  I liken it to sneaking a peek at the opposing team's playbook.  If we can understand their game plan, with all of their strategies and scheming, we are certainly better equipped to construct an effective offense, while fortifying our team's defense.  They play dirty. They intend to win. Our eternities are at stake, but we have God on our side.  Sorry, Screwtape.

Imagine my delight on opening my valentine gift and finding a hard copy of The Screwtape Letters.  My husband knows me so well.  He knows that I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy that I could reread slowly and deliberately and make my own, with any amount of notations and scribbles.  It will become a treasure, for sure.

I feel like someone has been trying to get my attention to become familiar this book.  And it took nearly being beaten on the head with it in order to wake me up.  If your curiosity is piqued even just a little, I would encourage you to have a go at it.  It may not be the easiest book you ever read, but I guarantee it will be one of the most eye-opening.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Time to Every Purpose

Cliche', I know.  And yet the reason certain phrases or ideas become cliche', or oft-repeated, is because they are eternal truths, whose time never fades because their meaning never fades.

As the timeless scripture from The Holy Bible, Ecclesiastes, Chapter Three,  goes: 

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted....

Then I'm sure we could all sing along with the Byrds to finish that list.

Life is clearly divided into unique phases, when certain activities are called for and appropriate, and others may have to be either carefully scheduled in, or put on the back burner receiving no heat nor any attention at all.  Then thankfully, if we are patient and attune to changes, we realize that one season is diminishing and we recognize harbingers of the new.

For most of us, entering into new seasons becomes an introspective time and we find ourselves evaluating the past and treading cautiously on our new path.  Some roads have become very familiar to us for our having been detained on them so long.  They feel safe to us.  We hesitate to leave their structure and their comfort to embark on something strange and foreign.  It needn't matter that we are craving something fresh and new; we still proceed with uncertainty.

What new paths have you embarked upon?  How are you adapting?  Do you approach it as a gift and a challenge, or do you mourn the days when you had your feet planted firmly under you with determined direction and clear focus?

I welcome the challenge of my new season, but I often feel like I am living without a net under me.  I am learning to take risks but still feel unsteady and unbalanced.

The most notable blessing is that I don't feel altogether alone and unaided.  Clearly I am receiving direction and guidance toward my new purpose. 

There.  I said it.

I do feel like I have entered a time for a specific purpose, one which I have never felt before; one which would have been difficult before, but which now seems like a good fit.  It is as though I found a sweater on the back shelf of my closet.  It is familiar, but I must have forgotten it was there.  And now as I put it on, it feels pretty good.  I may need to grow a little so it will fit properly, but I'm up for that challenge.  I'm ready to stretch and become stronger.

I am ready to be a writer.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love is Not Love Which Alters

Oh, I still remember the thrill of young love.  I remember the fluttering in my heart.  I remember the thrill of a phone call.  I remember the sweet anticipation of just seeing him.  Walt Whitman captures that feeling so well.

                                                                     Calamus No. 43
By Walt Whitman

O YOU whom I often and silently come where you
     are, that I may be with you,
As I walk by your side, or sit near, or remain in the
     same room with you,
Little you know the subtle electric fire that for your
     sake is playing within me.

But having been with my Valentine for 28 years, some of the newness has worn off just a little.  The fluttering is still there though, and the thrill, and the anticipation, and the electric fire.  But they now represent  the peace of knowing that he WILL call, and he WILL come home, and we WILL spend time together.  Lots of time.

What is missing is the anxiety.  And I certainly don't miss that!  The doubt is gone.  The insecurity is gone.  In its place is the certainty and reassurance of a long term commitment. 
My favorite love poem, then, is not about the thrills of new love.  It is about the serenity of knowing that love is here to stay.  Real love will weather the storms, to be found just as solid and lasting as ever.  It will turn a blind eye to faults, and the inevitable fading of youth. 

Sonnet No. 116
By William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments.  Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
Oh, no!  It is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love is not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Happy Valentine's Day to my eternal Valentine.  The one that is always there.  The one that overlooks the impediments.  We may not be the picture of young love; but we are definitely the picture of real love.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Horton, Can You Hear Me?

Who doesn't know Dr. Suess?  And who doesn't know his classic story Horton Hears a Who?  I remember being enchanted by it as a child, with its magical language and its compelling situation and its friendly pictures.

I actually had this book called to mind today, and it wasn't for any of those reasons.  I was passing some time reading assorted blogs and facebook statuses, trying to come to know my friends better.  Then it occurred to me how similarly we are all "Whos" of a sort, microscopic beings perched precariously atop a precarious world.
For one reason or another, most of us have something within us that compels us to be heard.  And I am convinced that it isn't vanity that compels us.  It isn't pride in what we have to say.  Though the odds of our little voices being heard are so small, there is still the drive, the energy, the desire to share what is in our hearts. It is part of our social need as human beings.

When I was a child I remember trying to come to understand my place in the Universe.  I tried to grasp the "centerness" that I felt in my mind, in contrast to the evidence I saw all around me of my nothingness.  I was so small.  I was insignificant compared to the stars and planets that filled the skys.  Why then did I feel that I was somebody?

Who was I that God was aware of me and my little thoughts?  For I certainly felt that way. 

The enemy of God would have me feel like a nobody.  In his petty, dreary existence, I would be as hopeless and full of despair as he is.

If I can do nothing else, I have a desire to spread a little encouragement today.  Send your voice out into the world.  What you think matters; maybe not to everyone, maybe not to many, but whatever you have to say needs to be heard by someone.  It is the proof that you are here.  It is the symbol of your life.

I may be only one small voice but as a daughter of God, I know that what I think and what I feel and ultimately what those things lead me to say proves my validity.  What I say proves that my soul is made up of this mortal body and this immortal spirit.  And I am here on this earth for a reason.  And the Lord gave me a mind to be used. 

And I intend to use it.

I hope someone can hear me.....

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Best Money We Ever Spent

I know, I know.  There may be some of you that think spending money on elaborate vacations is a big waste.  And it may seem that a family that regularly plans trips to Disney is frivolous, extravagant, and foolish.

I am here to prove otherwise.  On the other hand, I feel no need to prove anything.  Think what you like.
This is a special scrapbook that is exclusively for something special that my family began a few years ago.

If you can't read the handwriting on the note, this is what it says:
"We were blessed to be able to purchase a membership that will result in great trips for the next 48 years."
This is the title page for the scrapbook in which I intend to chronicle all our great trips for the next 48 years.
Each trip will get one page to record who enjoyed the trip and where they went.
Our first trip using the Disney Vacation Club was in 2006 while Robert was on his mission.  Brian and I took the girls to Disney World for Thanksgiving.  What a wonderful, memorable time.  We decided we could get used to this.  The accomodations were beautiful and the access to the parks was very easy.
The following year we needed to show Robert what this marvel was all about and we returned to Disney World for the week falling between Christmas and New Years.  It was not a handful of days after this trip that he met his lovely Josalyn in Idaho.
We were happy to contribute our DVC points the next year for a Honeymoon Cruise for Robert and Josalyn. They sailed out of California for a week along the Mexican Riviera.  How fun to be able to offer them such a memorable beginning for their lives together.
2009 found us all together in Florida for the Christmas Holidays, including a few additions to our family. We seem to be growing.  We spent time at Vero Beach as well as Disney World. There is a glare on my photos that is distorting the images.  Sorry about that.
After the Wedding Extravaganza of the Summer of 2010, Erica and Derek slipped away quietly for a cruise to the Caribbean for their Honeymoon.  Again, Disney Vacation Club Points saved the day.  All my money had been spent on the wedding so I was thankful to have this alternative method to pay for a great trip.

When we joined the Disney Vacation Club, we were told that it would take about seven years to reclaim the value of our investment.  In looking back over the past amazing five years worth of "Trips of a Lifetime", I believe we have regained our investment already.  And guess what?  We have 43 more years to enjoy the same caliber of vacations.

Hmmmmm.....Where shall we go next?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Strive to Thrive!

I love the word, 'Thrive'.  I consider it the outward expression of inward health; be it physical, emotional, spiritual health,or all three rolled into one.

I find myself in an interesting position as a mother of four grown children.  (Can I still call them 'children' then?)  I have taken a decidedly backseat role in their lives, a position that occasionally begs me to try and drive from there and yet doesn't take long for me to see the futility of that!  Fortunately that is rarely necessary.

My children (they will always be my children) are thriving!  Their lives are not without challenges and yet they are finding ways to conquer them.  They are finding ways to face adversity, poverty, exhaustion, loneliness and simply not having enough hours in the day to do everything they want to do.  Each of them is on a pathway toward self-discovery, uncovering talents and abilities that perhaps have lain dormant.

As difficult as it is to admit, the distance between us seems to be contributing to their tendency to grow.  I don't think I am the worst mollycoddler mother but I may have been a safety net that discouraged true courageous behavior.

I am witnessing true courageous behavior by every single one of them.  I feel blessed for the good choices they are making and the outstanding people they have chosen to join them in their lives.  They are taking care of their physical health by being active and avoiding unhealthy things.  They are taking care of their emotional health by looking out for one another and being supportive.  They are taking care of their spiritual health by actively following their faithful hearts toward righteous goals and commitments.

When a mother perceives her children thriving without her, it causes an internal battle.  The human tendency is to feel sorry for herself, that they don't need her anymore.  On the other hand, I have never felt such gratitude and even just a little bit of pride that maybe I have contributed to their successful lives.

Keep going.  Keep making good choices.  Keep picking yourselves up when you skin your knees.  That used to be my job but I am turning it over to you.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How Impactful Are We?

We never really know, do we?  Oh, that we could see the concentric circles expanding ever outward from the things we say and the things we do, like the proverbial ripples in our proverbial ponds.

Hence lies a great responsibility in choosing well our words and our actions. 

And perhaps we never quite grasp the scope or dimensions of our own pond.  We used to talk of villages that raise a child.  I believe that 'village' no longer adequately describes the bounds of our potential influence.  Like it or not, we have become world citizens, interacting and rubbing cyber shoulders with neighbors from the far reaches of places we will probably never venture to.

It is important to remember that our concentric circles of influence are affected by those of others.  The song we sing is changed by its encounter with other voices.  Does it become better with the harmony of additional perspective, or does the discord of aggressive argument result in painful dissonance?

I have realized that even in the little world of Ardith's Quest I have a responsibility in what I share.  There is a reason that I feel the way I do about things.  Am I bold enough to express my testimony of  those important things?  Am I courageous enough to try and explain how I have come to those conclusions?

As a disciple of Jesus Christ I am called to the work of sharing His great mission, and helping to build His Kingdom upon the earth.
I may be but one small voice in the huge interchange of dialogue and information.

And yet, out of small things can proceed that which is great....

Monday, February 7, 2011

Struggling with my Lifestyle Change

I refuse to use the "D" word.  I swore that I would never, never, never again go on one of the "D" words.  Instead, Brian and I have adopted a new Lifestyle Change. Hmmmmph.

I tell myself to avoid the scale.  I tell myself that no good can come of it.  I tell myself, instead, 'Oh, look how loosely my jeans are beginning to fit!'  'See how much better I feel?'  'I don't feel deprived at all!'


This morning a sweet friend dropped by to return some sheet music she had borrowed.  As a gesture of thanks, the music was accompanied by a lovely plate of valentine cookies, the real deal, homemade with pink icing and assorted candy garnishments.

They have been sitting on top of the piano all day.  I have walked past them a time or two.  I sat down to play a song and pretended not to notice they were there.

Sometimes I wonder why each person seems to have their own personal temptations, or weaknesses.  I have no desire to smoke a cigarette.  I don't even know what beer tastes like.  But, put a plate of homemade cookies in front of me and I become weak in the knees.  My mouth waters.  All voices of reason and good sense go out the window.

To my credit, the plate remains untouched.  I haven't broken off a corner, pried off a red hot, nor tasted a speck of frosting.


"To Nobody, then will I write"

I have done it again. I have gotten preoccupied with who is reading rather than what is being written. I'm sorry that I keep having to remind myself that my blog is my own; it is my outlet for my benefit. It is available to those who choose to stop by, but the one that should be gaining the most is myself. And when I use it properly, that is exactly what happens.

Here is a revisit of an older post. Not because you need to hear it; because I do.

I was introduced to a new friend today. Miranda did the honors. She knew I would make a connection with this dear lady, one who steps off the page and instantly becomes more than an acquaintance. Although her formal name is Frances Burney, a British author at the turn of the 19th century, I think I will prefer to enjoy the more familiarity of her nickname, Fanny. Fanny was a gal ahead of her time.

Fanny's first journal entry in 1768 presented a common dilemma. She knew that memory would fail her eventually so she wanted to have a place to share her "thoughts, manners, acquaintance & actions," where she could "confess (her) every (her) whole heart!"

She continues: "But a thing of this kind ought to be addressed to somebody--I must imagine myself to be talking--talking to the most intimate of friends--to one in whom I should take delight in confiding, & remorse in concealment: but who must this friend be?"

That is a dilemma that bloggers wrestle with, at least I do. With whom am I sharing my thoughts? to whom are they directed? to whom am I uncovering and baring my soul? with whom am I occasionally being silly? Although after much inner debate and finally choosing to be blissfully unaware of who is reading my blog, I think I can take a page from Fanny's book. She delighted in figuring out to whom she could direct her writing:

"To whom must I dedicate my wonderful, surprising & interesting adventures? to whom dare I reveal my private opinion of my nearest relations? the secret thoughts of my dearest friends? my own hopes, fears, reflections & dislikes?--Nobody!

"To Nobody, then will I write my journal! since to Nobody can I be wholly unreserved--to Nobody can I reveal every thought, every wish of my heart, with the most unlimited confidence, the most unremitting sincerity to the end of my life!"

While Fanny's newfound freedom in writing to Nobody enabled her to write with utter honesty, her private thoughts were reported so fully and faithfully that, in the end, every reader is able to share them and relate to her Universal truths. That is a tremendous accomplishment. While I don't enjoy the freedom of my posts being read posthumously, I do hope that as I work through the reflections and musings and deliberations of my life and share them freely with "Nobody", perhaps some particle of truth will resonate with you, whomever you are, and that occasionally I might prompt you to look at something in a new way, or to set your sights on a new goal, or to express your previously inhibited feelings.

Thanks, Fanny. I think we are going to be good friends.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Looking for My Expertise

I've heard that if you want to have a successful blog, you need to specialize.  You need to declare yourself an expert at something, and then focus on that one area of proficiency.  Then as people look for information, instruction, education about that "one thing", there YOU are! 

Well.  That puts me at quite a disadvantage then.  I am expert at nothing; I have experimented with a lot of hobbies, but I am the master of none. 

I am very good at fixing dinner for my husband and I.  I am very good at getting the laundry done once a week.  I am reasonably good at keeping an organized home.  BORING!

I like to write.  I like to find connections between seemingly unrelated things.  I like to play the piano.  I like to read worthwhile books.  I like to plan trips.  I like to travel.  I like to watch old movies.

I used to be a really good scrapbooker....

I used to paint....

I used to....

Nobody wants a blog about "used to's". 

Time to find something new.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wait for iiiiiiiiit! ( The Perfect Wave or the Pounding)

Having had the opportunity recently to watch at length the behavior of surfers, I have observed a few consistent patterns.  One is that many of them are as children, understanding the innate joy of play.  Putting the cares of the world aside, they head into the pounding surf, ready to take on the unpredictable nature of the waves.  This purposeful vulnerability must bring a reminder that life is short, youth is fleeting, and aging happens all too quickly.

I have also observed that there is more than one way to approach this challenge.  I notice that some surfers seem to glory in the experience, drinking deeply of the exhilaration, while frequently drinking deeply of the salt after a particularly impressive wipeout.  This does nothing to hinder their enthusiasm, nor does it frighten them away from tackling the next big one to come along.

These are the type I love to watch.  They seem equally oblivious to the show they are giving me as they are to the consequences of their risk-taking; the adventure is all about them and their pursuit of the great ride.

A higher percentage of surfers belong in another category.  I call them the drifters.  They may have told all their friends, 'I am going surfing today', but they are all talk and no show.  While sunning themselves like sea lions, they float on their boards for hours at a time, seemingly waiting for the perfect wave that, in their minds, must never come. 

What are they really waiting for?  Do they think they will become expert without taking a few chances?  Failure is part of the process.  Experimentation is the precursor to success.  A few good poundings are the price to be paid.

Maybe I am not one to talk.  I can never see myself venturing out into the surf that way.  Certainly I would fall into the latter category, hoping for a little sun on my face as the only reward for the day.

But I hope that as a metaphor for life, that I belong in the first group; that I am venturing into deeper, more challenging water, for that is where the true opportunities lie.  Youth is fleeting, in fact in my case, it has pretty much flown.  I am all too aware that life is short and the time for boldness is now.  It is time to grab my board and go head first into the pounding surf.  I may not successfully ride the first wave.  Nor the second one either.  But I still intend to keep on trying, clutching tightly to the hope of "The Big One".

If nothing else, I intend to recapture the joy of play.

Another lesson I have learned from the surfers?  Regardless of the number of successful rides, everyone gets thumped and bruised by the erratic, sneaky waves anyway.  So why not take a few risks?