So Sweet

So Sweet

Because they were organically grown at a local farm I had no hesitation whatsoever in devouring these berries, stems and all, as a scrumptious afternoon treat. They were covered in billows of whipped cream after all so I barely noticed the slight crunch of the leaves. Vitamin C, manganese and folate never tasted so good!

The fact that berries are very rich in antioxidants and plant compounds and that they have benefits for heart health and blood sugar control doesn’t cross my mind so much. Not at all as a matter of fact in the moment I’m enjoying them.

We need good people, good friends in our lives like piles of berries swimming in rich cream. Good people are good for our heart. They make us stronger just by being who they are. There are those who care and then there are those who want to “whip us into shape“ but that’s not the same. Working with, relaxing with, hanging out with good, solid people will strengthen our heart and will continually make us healthier by virtue of their companionship.

Sometimes they’ll seem a little tart and that’s just the vitamin C coming through.

Norm . . .

There’s a healthy fig tree I hadn’t noticed before growing over in a random corner there on the church property. I could have stood in that spot gazing all afternoon and maybe someday I will. The light rain started up again so this capture is only 25 seconds of breezy, leafy, fig laden happiness. Do you see more than twelve?

It reminds me that there are healthy, leafy, fruit-bearing people around me on the outer perimeter just steadily doing their thing. Doing well what they were designed to do. Not at the center of the garden or center stage. Daily producing, growing inch by inch, providing shade and cover for those closest to them. And in time their nourishing fruit is offered just for the taking.

The more I think about the location of this fig tree the more I realize that though its situated on my outer perimeter it is quite at the center of its own world with its own cast of characters. I quite expect the rustling olive-like tree next to it to call out, “Norm .. . “

Someday soon I’ll transition from the one who admires the tree to the one who provides the shade. Its in my mind to do so.

Who and What

I was in a hurry and taking a route that included side streets that were less traveled with traffic that moved rather quickly. I followed a white Mercedes for quite a while and was thankful that they drove as if they had to be somewhere on time.

I began to think of my day ahead and got completely lost in thought all the while with the pedal to the metal. Coming out of my thoughts and returning my focus to the road ahead of me I noticed that the white Mercedes was now gone and the vehicle ahead of me was a smaller blue car, thankfully, going equally as fast. Then it dawned on me that in my thoughts of the day I’d completely and utterly lost awareness of the white Mercedes that had been directly in front of me all those miles.

Again my focus drifted as I began to think of other things including people in my life, friends I’ve known a long time, colleagues at work that perhaps have blurred or moved to the background while my attention has been elsewhere. Its never intentional but there are times when our current attentions on “other things” will unintentionally move people we care about to the sidelines.

This drizzly Sunday seems to be a perfect day to take the time to shift my focus once again. Who and what have I left by the wayside in my hurry to arrive somewhere else? ~ ~ ~ ~ Life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans. ~ ~ ~ ~ Indeed, who and what.

Flowers and Mountains

Some days I’d like to think I’m like a flower. Fragrant, pleasant in nature, small and low to the ground.

Somedays I’d like to think I’m like a mountain. Lofty, inspiring, rock solid, reaching upwards with peaks that brush the clouds. The very image of strength.

If all the world were filled with fields of flowers, fragrance would fill the air, the eye would be overwhelmed by color, bees would happily spend their days creating their sweet gold and oh, what we would miss.

If all the world were mountains, all strength, all unshakable, all lofty, all fortified by precious minerals, and hidden gems—oh what we would miss . . .

The strength of the mountain serves to magnify the delicate nature, the fragility, the fragrant presence of the blossom with its ability to bend and dance in the slightest breeze. The delicate nature of the flower serves to magnify all that a lofty mountain is, reaching higher to the heavens, serving as a refuge, the very picture of strength.

Mountains and flowers. Flowers and mountains. What a lovely couple they make.

What a lovely you.

Nothing Better

I love a monogram cocktail napkin.

We drank water infused with pineapple and fresh anise, ate gruyere quiche made with heavy cream, crumbled bacon and sautéed crimini mushrooms, enjoyed green snap peas, and organic local strawberries with maple syrup drizzle too. A little chocolate and crushed, toasted California walnuts were also involved. There were roses and petals and stories about our childhoods and plans for our varied futures.

Family time on a Sunday . . . so nice to spend some relaxing hours together eating and laughing and sharing plans.

I’m still smiling . . .

“I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil–this is the gift of God.”

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

Always and Forever

Always and Forever

People I look up to are getting visibly older. People I care about have begun to speak of retirement plans. Several key role models from my younger years have gone now. Certainly not their memory, not their good counsel, not the encouraging words they poured into me to strengthen my heart in the trying times, not their exemplary modeling of strength and uprightness — but their presence.

The captions in this recent drawing from my dear sweet Jaden speak what the overflowing heart feels; Always and Forever.

The imprint that we leave on the hearts of those we love is the thing that will remain with them through the rest of their earthly days even after we are “no more.” It is worth just a moment of our time to think about what we might intentionally decide to impart into others today. When we least expect it our words and the simplest of actions, be they loving, kind or otherwise, will be captured in a master logbook in someone’s mind or perhaps in a child’s drawing. Always and forever.

By the way, I’m the one in blue. And you can just see it in my eye . . . ♥️

Door Number One

We drank a refreshing pineapple anise infused water this Mother’s Day 2019. We shared family stories and financial matters and food and future plans. We couldn’t all be together but thank God for phone calls and texts and even the US postal service which delivered love to my doorstep. Literally.

Love arrived in a box. And now its a part of my gallery wall where I’ll daily be reminded about Mother’s Day love and family love and deep, soul enriching love that keeps heart and hope and happiness alive and well.

Love was sent to me in a box with my name written on it and, though it was delivered to my doorstep with care, there were a few things that had to be done in order to accept it. Number one, it required opening the door! Number two, it had to be brought inside. Number three, the box had to be opened! Number four, as the intended recipient of such a gift, I had to determine on the spot if it was to be enjoyed and appreciated or tucked back in the box and kept hidden away. Perhaps to be cherished occasionally at a tender thought of it. Hmmmmmm, keep it safe under lock and key?

Nah . . . Open the box!

Be the Tree

The stream of fresh water, found somewhere in Norway, flows ever so gently, causing only mild movement, barely rippling, as it flows past the tree on its journey.

The beautiful Norwegian sunlight shining down from above has a mirroring effect on the water’s surface. The tree itself, whether by nature or man’s intention, has homesteaded in a perfect location for optimal growth and nourishment. Roots from its early days now deeply imbedded in the soil draw in life in the form of nutrients from the good earth below and liquid refreshment from the stream.

My thoughts today are of the reflected image as much as of the tree itself. When gazing at the water’s surface the trunk and branch are clearly visible as a reflection of the original— a mirror image until the movement reveals that this isn’t the tree after all but a nearly perfect replication. The longer I gaze the more I observe how similar the image is to the original. Almost exact. However, the movement of the life-giving river causes ripples in the image, bringing me back to the reality that what my eye sees is indeed not the genuine article.

Reflections of an original are like that. Reflections have ripples. Reflections don’t possess the deep roots of the authentic. Reflections are not capable of true growth, only displaying what the eye can observe on a surface level but not in reality where growth and life and substance all mean something.

In human life we have, most of us, been at the stage where we were reflecting someone else’s greatness, growth, and accomplishment and that’s the way of human development. But we can’t set up shop there and expect to make true impact and ourselves experience honest growth and, most of all, experience “true” life.

The reflecting water, even with the assistance of the all powerful sun cannot turn itself into a real tree. We on the other hand must choose to be the tree and not merely a reflection of it.

Something to think about.

Crown Her

I watched the first episode of The Spanish Princess with a friend and was blown away by this period piece for its visuals alone. Set in the early 1500s the costumes were incredible. The interiors and exterior’s were lush and beautiful. There was a scene in the first nine minutes of this production that captured my attention though. Queen Isabella, wearing her golden suit of armor mounts her horse, putting on her crowned helmet then charges into battle with sword raised high. Wow, what an image of a powerful woman! She emerged from the fray covered in the blood of the enemies she had slain, both sword and crowned head held high. She possessed confidence, skill in battle, and authority.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A dear friend and colleague of mine has decided to retire from her career in higher education to spend time with her long since retired husband. She has served our university faithfully and well as the only woman dean of one of our five colleges. She will be celebrated today and in doing so we’ll take a brief bit of time to reflect upon her valiant leadership, unfailing compassion for others, and mentorship of those in her circles high and low.

Now THAT is a leader. She has worn an invisible crown with head and sword held high through battles and victories as well. Today she lays them down and proceeds to the next chapter in her story.

You will be deeply missed and we, your faithful friends and subjects will console ourselves knowing you’re headed off to reign well in other lands.

March On

Tick Tock

Hickory dickory dock

How is it seven o’clock?

I’m running behind

and more time I must find

Won’t somebody stop this clock?

Well darn, the answer is no. Time waits for no man or woman and we must keep marching along with it or otherwise take a comfortable seat and watch it march by us. I don’t know about you but I’m not there yet. Though I’m all for lazy three day weekends my world still involves the steady beat of a drum that dictates my pace and I’m OK with that.

Some day the drum beat will stop and there will be an amazing silence. I quote again a very famous line of poetry, “gather ye rosebuds while you may, old Time is still a-flying, and this same flower that blooms today tomorrow will be dying.“ I occasionally hear the voice of a friend, when on a fun weekend together I commented that I just wanted to lie down and take a nap and she responded, “you can sleep when you’re dead!“ And I suppose so. But today Time marches on and so must I.

My drummer does have a different beat though and that means I might have a little hop to my march instead of a lockstep and I will get where I need to go happily and without regrets.

Whether marching or the alternative, Have a great day no matter what. Gotta run now . . . I mean march. And fast!