Made That Way

Day of rest, the Lord’s day, Sunday go-to-meeting day, Dimanche, Domingo, Sonntag.

This little fella enjoyed his acorn omelet and rinsed it down with a splash of morning dew drops. He can’t stick around now—he has somewhere to be.

He looks youngish for his age though weathered from a lifetime of exposure to the elements. Sometimes I’ve seen him just chillin’ in the shade of the camellia leaves or the overgrown patch of mint in Grandma Cary’s flower bed. That was a pretty sweet gig for his first 36 years before migrating closer to the sunny SoCal coast. He’s been here in the baby tears for 22 years now. As is evidenced by his mottled coat, the cold then hot external temperatures have caused a few cracks here and there, slowing him down only a bit from his previous escapades and garden antics. He’s still got game and knows where to go and when.

In reality its his attitude that hasn’t weathered or weakened or withered. He’s always sunny and chipper as you’d imagine. He was made just that way and he never lost it.

The Lighting

Flower, candle, books. Ordinary things that are useful as well as beautiful. The candle and the flower both possess a signature fragrance. The books are full of history and poetry and entertaining tales. They each give a sense of light in their own way.

The words contained in these books, penned by Shakespeare and Stevenson and David, shed a mind-illuminating light when opened, read, and pondered. The flower cannot be born without light and is best appreciated when sunlight or candlelight displays its individual colors and ruffles.

The candle! Once lit it drives away the darkness. It casts shadows. It illuminates people and spaces and the things in those spaces. But no candle, no flower, no words of wisdom will ever shine or burn or inspire without first a spark. The Lighting is a sacred moment when a wick first begins to burn, when words become wisdom, when a faint fragrance is revealed as a beguiling rose in full bloom. The Lighting. The illuminating and powerful moment when life begins and growth commences. The Lighting.

Give it Time

A pinecone lying on the ground, now dried, no longer its former chestnut brown but faded by the sun, is yet full of seeds. Full of life though you might not think so by their dull appearance. Lying on the ground on a bed of fallen pine needles just waiting for their moment to “become something.” Their pre-programmed destiny includes an eventual fall to the ground but they’ve not fallen from grace. Oh, not at all . . . the potential is there! Perhaps a small ground squirrel or bird or field mouse will find a meal and be sustained. Perhaps a seed or two from the nearly spent cone will produce a towering tree where birds will nest or children will play hide and seek behind its sturdy trunk doing their best to be invisible . . . or a thoughtful soul may sit beneath its shade to read a psalm. Only time will tell.

There are times to get out there and conquer. There are times to make a difference by being active and engaged. There are times to grow and develop into what we are destined to be and sometimes that may feel as if time has nearly come to a full stop.

But the clock never stops. Time does not sleep. And we are growing and becoming even in the times when we feel as if a silent pause has wrapped us in a heavy cloak. The time is coming. We are all becoming . . . to everything (including times of quiet and stillness) there is a season and a time.

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!