Shine a Light

I use this gold rimmed drinking glass everyday. Its always in position, right below the spigot of a one-gallon, oversized mason jar-like beverage container that I use as a water jug. I’ve always thought the little glass had a Marrakesh kind of a vibe but all I know is that I like it and after many years I’ve never grown tired of using it.

Today I saw it in a different light. For a change I carried that glass full of water into another room where I was reading. It was still early morning so I had a lamp on. The light shone through the pink glass and illuminated it and for the first time I saw it differently, “in another light,” as it were.

The thing I noticed most was that the previously non-descript scrollwork design was actually made of a simple, repetitive leafy vine pattern. Ah, life right there in my hand and I was unaware of it!

Sometimes it takes seeing the everyday in a different light. A friend you know, an elder in your family, a curmudgeon at the post office or at church. Light reveals. Sometimes we see someone in a negative light when in reality they are seeking truth and beauty as hungrily as we are. Sometimes we cast a rosy glow on someone because we desperately need them to be good, caring, and kind but occasionally the light of day will show us differently. The streaming sunlight may reveal that they are not who they appeared to be and disappointment may set in. How much of that has to do with who we thought they should be because we needed (unconsciously perhaps) them to be fair and just. Oh, the light reveals the truth. The pure in heart have no fear of the light and its revealing power. They welcome transparency.

Others. . . not so much. The light does reveal the unseen and happily there is much more loveliness than there is not and it lies waiting to be revealed.

Shine a light.

Flame

I struck a match to light a candle and was startled when a tiny spark flew from the burning match on its way to connecting with the wick. The hand poured candle in the custom made cement jar created by a local craftswoman was sitting on a fully utilized bookshelf in a carpeted room. There was obviously more than enough “tinder” on hand to set this room in my home ablaze. I nervously moved a basket and velvet pillow that were on the floor and in the flightpath of that spark. Not being able to see it and knowing that the tiny ember was still there, all else I could think to do was to grab a nearby water mister and douse, or spritz shall we say, the entire area where the spark had landed. I was purpose driven in that moment. “That spark shall not live to create a flame!”

We’re not always that intentional when we whip out our metaphorical misters and put out someone else’s spark. It happens more than we know unless we’re mindful.

When the spark of a new idea someone brings to the table doesn’t make sense to us we snuff it out. When their early glimpse of a new dream seems impossible (to us) we may redirect them to an endeavor that seems more practical. To us.

Let us not be guilty of killing a dream or mission or purpose that seems risky, unlikely, or impossible simply because the idea is beyond the scope of our own understanding or comfort zone. The idea or innovation may light the way for unseen others in the future. Be not too quick to extinguish that spark.

Established

Have you taken root? Are You growing well? Thats the point after all.

We each did not come in to this world to do nothing but exist, obtaining what we need to scrape through another day.

In this Sunday morning moment I think of Nick V. from Australia. Born without arms or legs. He cannot run a marathon and win. He cannot pledge allegiance to any flag in any country by physically placing his hand over his heart. He can’t plow a field and harvest it’s crop. But Nick V. is established. Nick V. is growing and doing well. Exceedingly well. He travels the world and encourages audiences large and small and whoever will listen to maximize all that they are and all they’ve been given and, in essence, get established. For a purpose. Whether to educate, inspire, build a home, raise a child, write a blog, pour a glass of wine, provide clean water in a distant land, open a door for a lady or a door of opportunity for someone outside your small circle.

Are you growing and growing well? Get it in your head early that you have a purpose and that you need to grow into it. Don’t get stuck trying to figure that part out—it will come.

Grow and get your soul established And you may just find that the thing that makes you stronger will also lead you right into who you were born to be and what you were meant to do.

Give It Time

What do you want?

Some times we know exactly what we want and other times our mind is blank and we just don’t know. Think about it for a minute if you need to.

And what do you need to do to actually realize and enjoy or grasp what you want? Are you already actively engaged in a strategy and pursuing what you want? Then, give it time.

Work towards it. Pray for it. Give it time. It may come to pass after 15 long years of sacrifice and desperation and waiting or it may take three weeks. The wait time would be more predictable if the worth of the thing you want were quantifiable by a formula of value equals waiting time. I would like to enjoy some homegrown organic cilantro and dill in my next salad but if it’s coming from my garden it’s gonna take a few weeks to germinate, thrive, and be ready to harvest. Time. What we want can magically appear in the blink of an eye, in the snap of a finger. That does happen. But hang in there if it takes longer than that and give it time.

Unfurl

Fiddleheads are the unfurled, living, breathing, about to come in to its own, early growth of a fern. They’re fascinating to observe with their curled shape. Chefs harvest them, batter them in buttermilk and cornmeal and by gently sautéing them, they transform them into a tasty springtime delicacy.

Awesome, but. . .

Barely given the chance to grow and now, never being able to expand through a full life cycle, they’re chosen for the chef’s purpose and harvested. No more to grow. No future to fulfill, they will never reach the extended, full-length version that they were intended to reach.

They’re super cute, full of nutrients, and delicious if you care for a flavor similar to asparagus. But . . . within the moment of a delicious bite or two they’re gone. Consumed. Forgotten.

Don’t be a fiddlehead. A shooting star. A flash in the pan if you will. Unfurl. Live and display your talent to the fullest extent that you were created to do. Age doesn’t matter. Young or old, unfurl and be.

Beauty Where You Find It

Yesterday on my morning commute my radiator gave one last gasp and died. I had things to do at the office but things like that don’t matter when someone or something is giving up the ghost.

The plans we’ve made for the day will come to a screeching halt or will otherwise be placed on a temporary hold. People mostly understand if your difficulty doesn’t inconvenience them too much. I have found that to be fairly true. The radiator replacement took the entire day and, thankfully, had good moments to offset the bad— which included the driving hazard of radiator meltdown in rush-hour traffic; the immediate financial expense I was unprepared for; losing a productive day at work and missing a very important University-wide meeting.

But there was an upside. A silver lining of sorts because I chose to frame it that way. I got to reconnect with the kind and skilled owner of my local repair shop. Alfred had kept my previous car on the road well past its expiration date. Then with a phone call my son was there to give me a ride back to the house to wait it out. A ride and an encouraging spirit will get you back on track when, in the moment, you have neither. Hours later another needed ride back to the shop resulted in a neighborly slice of pizza for dinner then cheese n’ crackers in the cool evening breeze.

The people involved in our little life dramas can make or break the scene. Dramas are a given and as they come and go, so do the players in them. I’m very thankful that yesterday’s story played out so well. Many thanks to the cast of supporting actors!

To commemorate the experience I chose to picture a rose from my garden with the happiest little yellow flower. I have no idea what its called and would love to know the name of this cheery little friend with the deep red center. It was growing in a narrow patch of dry dirt at the entrance of the repair shop.

There’s usually beauty to be found if you keep your eyes open.

Together

Going it alone is required sometimes. We’ve all been there and we all know that’s part of being a grown up. You face your giant when others say you can’t. You do that difficult thing that must be done. You draw on the example of others who’ve done it well, or the strength you’ve gained in smaller battles.

But there are the times when a situation or season feels like its too much. We’ve met our match or are facing something greater, more formidable than our current level of experience whether its disease, or the system, or a bully, or an injustice. Thats the time to call in the troops. Thats the time to take the hand that’s reaching out to you with an offer to come alongside, offering to add their own strength to help you get through.

“Together” will get us through the challenging situation, the devastating loss, the times of complete overwhelm. Who can I come alongside of today? Who is going it alone and slowly sinking? Offer your hand, your stored up strength, your comfort or support to someone who just needs some “together” to get through what they’re facing right now.

Sunday Breakfast

Seriously good, these Sunday morning pancakes have only have two main ingredients—eggs and roasted sweet potatoes. A pinch of sea salt and cinnamon rounded out the flavor and no syrup was needed at all due to their natural sweetness. A side of savory bacon along with some toasted walnuts made them just right and added texture and crunch.

Like snap, crackle, pop I want my life journey to have texture and crunch. To be spicy, sweet, and tangy and to be crunchy, crackly, and crispy. Though being fed on smooth and creamy in the early years it just doesn’t satisfy for long and its not meant to. Once we get our “teeth” we want to use them! We may start and then end our journey with puréed plums and formula but in the middle . . . we crave something we can sink our teeth into.

Texture and crunch. Its what we were made for.

Shine on Us

Do you ever pause to think about the unique effect you have on the atmosphere around you?

When compared to something as simple as a rainfall, what does my personal affect on others resemble? Am I more like a drizzle on a gray and cloudy morning or like a torential downpour? A gentle mist or a summer squall? Perhaps even a sunshiny day with a pocket full of rainbows after a long night of rain.

I love a springtime shower that washes away the dust of doubt and fear. But a fierce, hot-tempered squall —not so much. They seem to come out of nowhere, charging the atmosphere with an unsettling energy. Typically “the squall” moves on, passes through or fades away while the environment continues to experience the repercussions in its wake.

Weather conditions come and go then come again. So do our emotional cloudbursts, our days on end of cloudless skies, our misty moments . . . ahhh, the gamut of human emotions as variable as the weather and often as unpredictable.

Will I be someone’s ray of sunshine today? Will I cast a shadow, rain on their parade, or be their little black cloud?

Today I‘m going with RayBans and SPF30. I just feel it in the air.

Bring It In

The viney green honeysuckle from next door has, over the years, grown through the cracks in my fence. It wound its way around the bougainvillea and the fragrant jasmine that covers my garden wall.

Recently, when cutting a couple roses for an arrangement on the dining table, I decided to also bring in the three foot strand of honeysuckle that had twined around one of the rose’s stems. This photo is the result of that and it comes with this encouragement: “bring it inside.”

Just because I didn’t, by my own hand or my own intentional action, plant some things into my own life’s garden doesn’t mean that it doesn’t belong there. It’s just possible that there’s more for us than we had planned or planted. Just because it wasn’t in the master plan I’d established for myself doesn’t mean that “something that sprung up outta nowhere” isn’t meant to be there for my good. Just by being open to good things (that aren’t in my plan A, B, or C) I’m able to grow in a new direction or new partnership that happens to be outside the scope of my personal manifest destiny.

So first step is to be open to something that may already be present in my life. Something that may have been present all along around the edges or even just on the other side of the fence and temporarily obscured from my vision.

The next step is to say, “come on inside.“