Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Good Sayings 3

Deep peace of the rising star to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the rolling wave to you.
Deep peace of the gentle earth to you.
Deep peace of the bright blue sky to you.

Deep peace of the gentle breeze to you.
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.

May peace fill your soul and make you whole.
Saint Columbia

You can complain because roses have thorns.
Or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.

We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit .

It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important.
You have to do the right thing....
You may never know what results come from your action.
But if you do nothing, there will be no result.
Mahatma Gandhi

Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.
Kindness in giving creates love.

The true voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in seeing with new eyes.

The real hope is not in something we think we can do,
but in God, who is making something good out of it
in some way we cannot see.
Thomas Merton

We serve life, not because it is broken,
but because it is holy.
Mother Theresa

Perhaps we are too embarrassed or to frightened of the
consequences of showing that we actually care.
But why not risk it anyway? Begin, today.
Carry out a random act of seemingly senseless kindness,
with no expectation of reward or punishment.
Safe in the knowledge that one day someone,
somewhere might do the same for you.
Princess Diana

Rebecca as a baby

Thoughts worth reflecting on, yes?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Family Resemblance

This is the reason Becka had no trouble picking out which one was me in the old photo. Here she is at the pretty much the same age :)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Learning from Memory Lane - 1

Mom found this old Easter picture from the house where we lived with a friend when I was little. I am the little 3.5 yr old girl in the greenish dress. The others you see are her friend's kids. I was happy then. I loved my sisters. I loved my Mom & my 'other Mom.'

We moved in with C. in beach area, when Mom was invited up there to join the psychic people after her divorce. She didn't get much child support for me, or anything else, even though she was the injured party. She needed a situation that would let her take care of her baby and still supply needs & they offered to help, impressed by her gifts. They arranged the situation with C.

When C. moved out to the countryside, she needed Mom to come with her and help take care of things, as C.'s health was in tatters by then and her husband was deployed most of the time. For a time Mom was paid to care for her, but other times Mom was simply a regarded as a roomie, paying rent, watching all the kids & contributing toward groceries. It was a back to Earth kinda life, with an old manse to live in and an old farm/garden to keep up behind the house. We had chickens, goats, puppies, and a large black snake which adopted us whether we wanted to be adopted or not. lol I have a lot of happy memories from back then. I remember eating veggies fresh from the garden, walking through the crisp clean woods, getting M &M's along with the mail at the antique, but still functional, post office next door, my Mom teaching me to read on the sunny front porch, and playing so many games with my pals.

We stayed with C. until her marriage broke up. Afterward we moved in with a not-quite-hippie (VERY basic mindset, odd teas, but no illicit substances, and the father had a good paying job) Jesus-is-just-alright-with-me kinda family in an adjoining county until my mother remarried some months later.

My memories of C. were entirely positive. Every time we saw her, she taught me more about herbals, meditation, & massage techniques - all of which have proved very helpful over the years. I always wondered as a kid why we didn't see more of each other. Our visits, when we came to see her at - her own invitation, (she never visited us) always seemed a bit tense. C. often took off after only a few hours, leaving us alone with her kids. Eventually we quit trying to see her and only kept in touch by mail, and that only very irregularly.

Then we were invited by her daughter - years back now - to come by & renew ties. We visited with C. as well, and before long, C. made a confession. It seems that both she and her ex had said ugly things not only about each other, but about my Mom, trying to better their own deal in the divorce proceedings. The slander injured my mother's reputation and prospects in the area in such a lasting way that I now understood why she'd felt so guilty. I am glad she finally told us why she had been so nervous when we came. Now I only wish she had cleared the air years ago. I would have loved to seen more of her. I am glad she at least made her peace with us then. As it was, we got a few years where we knew she was just able to enjoy the contact and what little things we could do for her.

The other thing I wish is that her children, who I remembered as sisters, would have chosen to remember me the same way. We tried visiting with them, & (again) we did all the traveling & bore the entire expense of the effort. We tried to be helpful, to bring what we could to supply their needs at their house, doing little services while there, and not asking for anything but their friendship in return. At first the reunion was a joyful one. They have beautiful kids & it was great to hear about their walk with God- their trials and joys...until it became clear they weren't quite as interested in our stories. They were glad to see us but felt it was our fault we weren't closer. They liked the extra food, blankets, & other supplies they'd hinted broadly that they needed - but it became apparent after a bit that they seemed to regard all this as their due somehow. Sometimes they'd compare our gifts happily and other times unfavorably with other offerings they'd received from other friends & family. They seemed irritated we couldn't do more, like get them newer stuff, move close to take care of their Mom again, contribute significant financial amounts towards her upkeep, & be more available as unpaid house cleaners, repairers, & babysitters 'since we want to be family.' This whole time they kept introducing us to their friends & neighbors as the family of 'the hired help' oblivious to the implicit insult. It became increasingly evident that we weren't regarded as equals. It was more than just a tactless phrase.

When we didn't drop everything and move, and promise more than we had to ease their problems, they were offended. They were also offended when we didn't keep to their schedules, didn't immediately adopt whatever dietary fad they had going, didn't agree with with whatever quarrels the sisters had with one another. (I DID see the trap in that. The next week they could all make it up and then be angry with us for agreeing.) Yeah, I know it sounds crazy. It probably WAS crazy. Amazingly we actually prayed seriously about finding work there and moving closer to them because they asked us to. [btw We got a definite 'no.' Unsurprisingly, we found they didn't accept that answer very graciously.]

As always, every trial has its opportunities to fail and succeed. Unfortunately, their 'off' attitudes elicited a prideful response from me. I thought of myself as coming in humility and love, but I am very aware I have an excellent pedigree and that I was blessed with a good mind, and I HAD come offering good gifts (supposedly because we were doing so much better than they were). Surely they should be a bit nicer to me? I started tartly reminding my 'sister' that I WAS a guest and wasn't being paid for anything I did there. We weren't as quick to go along with their plans, although we tried to remain 'helpful.' Internally I was looking down on them a bit, thinking on the failings I felt they had, and balancing this against the accusations I felt were leveled at me. Now whether I was right or wrong about their attitudes or failings isn't the point. We are all of us jerks when we don't walk closely enough with Christ, and it wasn't for me to judge them. The only thing that gets through to anyone is love. They had hurt my pride, and in the spirit of offense, I was letting my love for them die. God didn't like that.

After one week of prayer and fasting at their church - I gained a fresh desire to have a Christ-like servant's heart, and began to study St Francis' life more seriously as a model. I haven't been the same person since. So...what the enemy did to hurt me, God used to call me closer to himself. I have been able to care about them anyway, and while this didn't result in the close relationships I would have liked to have forged, it did save me from the guilt I might otherwise have felt.

& - while I am at it - Hurray for the Jesus Freaks, the truly open-minded searchers for the Truth, the dedicated Christians, & other counter-culture folks. Seems like they are the only ones I ever met who took Jesus' commandment to 'judge not' seriously. My early years would have been a whole lot worse without them.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Good Sayings 2

"Never argue with an idiot; they'll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." ~ anonymous

"Man - a figment of God's imagination." ~~ Mark Twain

--Heavy is the head that wears the anvil helmet.--

It's only when you look at an ant through a magnifying glass on a sunny day that you realise how often they burst into flames. -- Harry Hill

"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile--hoping it will eat him last." --Sir Winston Churchill

Always drink upstream from the herd. ~~ Will Rogers

"Middle age is when you've met so many people that every new person you meet reminds you of someone else." ~~ Ogden Nash

"When humor goes, there goes civilization." ~~ Erma Bombeck

"I was trying to daydream, but my mind kept wandering." ~~ Steven Wright


"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

"Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much."

~~ Oscar Wilde ~~

"They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
~ Andy Warhol

"Those who can't hear the music think the dancer is mad." anonymous

"No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible." --Voltaire

"Always tell the truth. That way, you don't have to remember what you said." -Mark Twain

“What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what kind of a person you are”

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

Jesus Christ did not say, "Go into the world and tell the world that it is quite right."

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”
~~ C.S. Lewis ~~


"Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere."

"I believe in getting into hot water. I think it keeps you clean."

"Angels fly because they take themselves lightly."

~~ G. K. Chesterton ~~


When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."