What Matters

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When I was tossing and turning in the middle of the night I managed to doze off and then there he was, standing in front of me was my grandfather.  He looked amazing, so healthy and well.  His skin was smooth and a glowing flesh tone.  He wore a navy blue button down shirt, short sleeved.  He had an easy smile, a peaceful facial expression and he came to tell me that none of my worries mattered.  I didn’t only hear this I actually felt it and I was so grateful to him for this message, so comforted to be with him in my dream.  When he gave me this message I had a vision of this life being made small into a little compartment that I could hold between my thumb and forefinger.  Inside of that little compartment was a lot of noise and chaos and from the outside it was just a small bubble.  Then he reached into his pocket and took out a crumpled zip lock bag.  He reached into the plastic baggie and took out a broken piece of white cracker like a piece of the ones that are given out at Holy Communion services in Christian churches, a broken piece of Eucharist.  My grandfather reached over and put that broken piece of a cracker into my mouth and I chewed down onto it and started crying in my dream until I woke myself up with real tears.  My grandfather passed away 17 years ago and I have not had a dream with him in it for many years.  When he was alive he always wore short sleeved button down shirts.  I miss him very much and I appreciated seeing him in a dream, for a few moments.

Shadows and Sunlight

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When I step out of the shower my favorite thing to do is to dig my face into my towel and breath in through my nose. I smell my home, my life, clean, comfort. When I was near the shore I smelled beach, moisture, vacation, humidity. Life is wonderful and heartbreaking, amazing and fleeting.

I’m sitting in a room surrounded by treasured belongings that were once my husband’s aunt’s. The wooden trinkets and books make me feel she is actually here with me. The photo albums I made for her are now here. I can’t read the lines I wrote to her inside of those albums without fighting the sadness away. Holding her antique books makes me want to sit and read every page, touch each leather binding.

All of the special things we accumulate in life; one day they will be left behind. Special and treasured as the keep sakes are, they symbolize our defeated impermanence and the victorious passing of time. I know the glass is half full, none of it escapes me, not the blessings nor the heartaches. Still we are all going to be gone one day and the beautifully bound leather books will be here with the ivory candle sticks and the small wooden horse.

I once visited a friend who was moving into a house that came with all of the belongings of the deceased woman who lived in it prior to my friend purchasing it. The woman who had passed away had no one to claim her belongings, not one living family member or dear friend. My daughter asked if she could keep a few things she liked that day and when I see those things I am reminded of that woman who died alone. That woman’s white and blue painted cookie tin is in our kitchen and when it catches my eye it speaks to me.

“Loss and Possession, Death and Life are one,
There falls no shadow where there shines no sun.”
-Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)

Love Rocks

Daily Prompt: Viral | The Daily Post
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/daily-prompt-first/

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This daily prompt challenge is to write a piece for the New York Post that will be the first many will know of me. When my son is prompted to write something about himself he sarcastically writes “I like cheese” and it annoys teachers and family alike. But as I sit here to write something from my heart one of the first things that comes to mind is “I love rocks.” Maybe that is because I have been on our family vacation collecting rocks for days but when I’m not on vacation I also pick up rocks from beside the river, on a nature trail or just outside my front door. My husband gave me a pendant years ago that says “love rocks” referring to our love or a shared love but it also applies to me in the way that I do love rocks. The thought of these natural objects having been here for hundreds,
thousands or millions of years before us fascinates me to no end. All of the passing thoughts, plans or concerns that the average person keeps in their head seem to shrink when I reflect on the many years and circumstances it has taken any one of these rocks to become the size, shape or texture that it is today. As we live our lives and think that the things in them are so critical, countless facets of nature are just being and many of them will continue doing so long after we are gone, much like some of them were doing long before we arrived. How many families has the hearty tree behind the time-shared lake cabin seen? That sturdy, majestic tree sits behind the cabin’s kitchen door, right where every family loads their food in and out of the cabin and like the smooth sea rocks on the shore, it will be there weathering winters and summers after many families are no longer vacationing at the lake cabin, or are even alive. Feeling the bark on that tree makes me nostalgic and I think of the people who were here before me and also ponder on those who have yet to start their journey here. Like the tree at the cabin, the rounded rocks I pick up in different places remind me of the passing of time and our place in it as people. I rub the smooth surfaces of the rocks and in my heart I feel like a little girl who wonders what it is all about. And I love rocks. -smilingbug

A WordPress Family Thank You

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http://suzie81.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/wordpress-family-award/

I’m fairly new to wordpress and don’t have much experience with blogging in general so when I received a notification and saw that a wonderful blogger I follow nominated me for this award I didn’t know the first thing about it but I was so thrilled to be recognized.  After reading her post on it I’ve come to understand that the writers in the wordpress community nominate bloggers and those bloggers nominate bloggers and so on and so forth, making up this diverse community of people who are connecting and sharing through their blog.

The WordPress Family Award is another opportunity to tell people “thank you, you touched my life, made me think, you gave me a smile” or whatever the specific instance may be.   Thank you to each of you listed below and thank you to Suzie81 for thinking of me.  This does take some time, but part of accepting this award is that you must write a blog with your nominees (and a few other things below).  I am low tech so this was a lot of work for me but I really enjoy the pay-it-forward spirit so without further ado…

Here are bloggers I am recognizing either because I enjoy their posts, I’m welcoming them to wordpress or I miss their posts and hope they’ll be back soon.  My awards for the WordPress Family Awards go to:

  1. A Woman’s Guide,  http://patticlark.wordpress.com/
  2. Ask Sabatino. http://www.hotcupoflove.com/
  3. Jack Flacco, http://jackflacco.com/
  4. Natasha’s Memory Garden, http://crown7cacb.wordpress.com/
  5. Flo Me La, http://flomela.wordpress.com/
  6. Franimal1230, http://fabfran1230.wordpress.com/
  7. A Blawg, http://ariweisbrot.com/
  8. JB Maddawg, http://thethrowdown.wordpress.com/
  9. The Happsters, http://happsters.com/
  10. The Seekers Dungeon, http://theseekersdungeon.com/
  11. Help Me Help Me Holly, http://charlieandpearl.wordpress.com/
  12. Sandra Crook, http://castelsarrasin.wordpress.com/
  13. Sonja Flye Oliver, http://kingdomkindling.wordpress.com/
  14. Grand Slam Grumblings, http://grandslamgrumblings.wordpress.com/
  15. Cole Ryan, http://coleryan.net/

Here are seven interesting (maybe?) facts about me, the last condition for me to accept my nomination from lovely Suzie81.

  1. Nature makes me feel alive.
  2. If I had to choose one food it would be ripe avocadoes.
  3. My favorite workout is hiking in the snow.
  4. I like tattoos.
  5. Three of my top books are The Art of Fielding, The Paris Wife, The Glass Castle.
  6. I have five children.
  7. My favorite vacation is being on a beach.

To the nominees, if you have time to pull this off (LoL) the official rules to accepting your nomination are:

  • Display the Award Certificate on your blog.
  • Announce your win with a post. Make sure you post a link back to me as a ‘thank you’ for the nomination.
  • Present 15 awards to 15 deserving bloggers.
  • Leave them a comment to let them know after you have linked them to a post.
  • Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

Thanks again to Suzie81 for inspiring me to continue writing and sharing.   Have a great day wordpress friends!

Real Tolerance

 

I came across a book in my home today, it reminded me of the day I went to see the author speak and I purchased the book to support him and take a look at his craft.  (I’ve decided to leave the title and author out because I don’t mean any harm to him)  The inside page reads “Dedicated to Jewish families of all backgrounds.”

The author spoke of how the number of practicing Jews is decreasing each generation and how so many Jews don’t consider themselves Jewish due to non observance within their families.  When it came time for questions I raised my hand.  “My household is multicultural and I would like to hear your thoughts on running a home with two faiths.”  The author started by telling me that his advice was no disrespect to me (since I obviously married a non Jew) but that I should do everything in my power to keep my kids from marrying a non Jew, start talking to them about it when they’re young, etc.

I turned to look at my dear friend of many years, the Rabbi’s wife.  We wore big grins and wanted to chuckle at his answer because we know my situation, but in reality it was not funny.  It was a testament to the true view on multi-faith households by many.  How far have we really come from judging races, those of a different sexual orientation or of those of a different religion?

The next person to raise their hand said they did all that the author advised me to do but that their son was raising his kids with almost no religion and they wanted to know how they could make an impact on their Grandchildren’s faith.  Their faces were very distressed and the wife rung her hands as she spoke, pleading for help with this dilemma.  I sat and felt a mix of not belonging and inner strength, perhaps the true trademarks of a convert.

Many of us want the same things: to love and be loved, to feel closeness to God, to give charity and contribute in some way to humankind if even just by being kind, to live by the same basic moral values.

Why must people of different faiths frown on each other?  How far have humans come?  When will different be okay?

 

Older and Wiser

My Dad once told me “getting older is wonderful” (and I wrote about that in a past blog) but I’m starting to think he meant getting wiser is wonderful or getting to the point in your life where you feel on top of your game is wonderful. Jerry Seinfeld’s interview on Howard Stern was rerun recently and he had a refreshing view on aging which I agree with but it also addresses getting wiser and mature but not old in an elderly sense. I’ll paraphrase what he said here: “The war is over… (and) it’s a very nice place to be…
If you’re a little lucky in life you should enjoy getting older because you’re gonna see more. When you’re young you can’t see what’s going on so well. 
When you’re older (…you say) oh I see what’s going on here. 
I love that.” It reminded me of something a friend once told me which was roughly: In your 30’s you’re “am I doing this right?” In your 40’s you’re “I have arrived” and in your 50’s you’re “F–k you.” (a little graphic but you get the point) I believe these concepts are what could be wonderful about getting older. Diane von Furstenberg said in a June 2013 interview with Talk magazine, “Yesterday for lunch I met the most incredible 90-year-old woman…I just thought, Oh, my god, I still have time ahead of me.” -smilingbug

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Diane von Furstenberg. Photo by Robyn Twomey.

Remembering Them

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There is so much going on each day: we’re laughing, complaining, being silly, working, sending text messages, paying bills, watching shows, running errands, making meals, posting meaningless thoughts on twitter, taking ridiculous photos, cleaning, dancing to our favorite tune. The amount of silly going on here is quite high although we are also working, cleaning, scolding, doing, rushing… like any other busy household. My daughter’s favorite cause is a local children’s cancer organization called Shining Stars. We have their bracelets and totes scattered around and at times I wear a bracelet for a few days and look down at the bold words “CANCER SUCKS” and pray for them, remember what some of them are dealing with while I run to the market or mop the floor. There is so much to do in this life, so many responsibilities, to-do lists and keeping up with day to day living. Then there is all of the fun, the movies, celebrations, family times, lazy days. Meanwhile I think of my friend who lost his battle with cancer and how he didn’t even read the magazines I took to him. No amount of to-do’s or favorite movies could capture his attention, not even food interested him. Do not miss the opportunity to appreciate your ordinary day, seize it and be grateful for it. -smilingbug