Monday, November 29, 2010

Objectivity

Objective? Who am I kidding.

The problem of saying goodbye to someone you love is that a gaping hole is left where that one used to reside. Not just in your heart, but in every room in your house, in the car, in the back yard. I've heard that amputees can still feel their missing limb. It's been eight years since my mother passed away and there are still times I feel her presence every bit as real as if she were sitting on the stool across the room from me watching The Price is Right.

Today there was no need to get up and open the back door. No need to mess with the dog food. No one standing at my feet hoping for a morsel of turkey as I clean the bones for soup. No collar rattling. No dog to trip over in the dark hallway. No poo on the rug. (Well, okay, this is probably not something I'm going to miss.)

I don't know much about physics. Who am I kidding? I know nothing about physics. But isn't it some Newtonian law that a space will fill itself up - that a vacuum doesn't like being a vacuum, it would rather be a crystal vase full of sweet smelling roses? I know that in the weeks ahead, the places in my life that feel so hollow now, will fill up with new chores and/or pleasantries. Today, their is void that only an old black dog can fill.

Dad has always had a theory that the way to get over losing one pet is to go right out and get another. That's pretty typical of how he deals with life - don't deal, move on to what's next. At the end of a long day, with a large amount of narcotics in his system he went on and on about what kind of dog we should get next and, how if we didn't want one, he'd get his own, etc. My Sweetie who took Beauty's loss as hard as any of us even though he hadn't been with her from the start, came very close to losing his Sweetness and kabonging Dad over the head with the giant box of Milkbones my sister got us on Saturday. I think the day may come when we're ready for another dog - I've never been dogless for very long in my life. But now is not the time.

Now is I the time to let the emptiness sink in, to be in the moment and feel it, and to be grateful for the 15 years we shared with Beauty. I think by embracing the goodbye as heartily as we did the hello, we will have loved as best we could.

Wishing for you permission to feel everything,
Merry ME

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sad Sunday



"Grieving is a very necessary process."
Andrew, Touched by an Angel

I'm beginning to feel a bit like the Angel of Death. Not a dark and scary angel. More like Andrew from the TV show Touched by an Angel. You always knew someone was getting close to dying when Andrew appeared in the scene wearing his all white suit. Even though you knew the goodbye was going to happen and you'd probably need a couple of tissues, there was something comforting about watching Andrew lead the dying one across to the great unknown.

At one point in my life, because I'd never experienced the actual death of a loved one - you know, actually seeing the lifeless body - I was really scared of being in the room when it happened. In the way (S)He does, God put me in the right place at the right time so that I'd have practice before I was called on to sit by my mother's death bed. Each and every time has been anything but scary.

In the last few years I've also been present when some beloved cats went to play with the great ball of yarn in the sky. This morning, I sat on the floor with our sweet Black Beauty. I knew the time was coming. Cataracts covered her eyes. She was deaf, confused, partially incontinent, and suffered more and more from arthritis in her back and hips. So when her back legs wouldn't hold up this morning I pretty much figured it was not going to be a good day. She rallied enough to go outside and I believed maybe we'd been given a reprieve from making the hard decision today. But as she ate her breakfast her legs just slid out from under her and she looked at each of us, Dad, Jack and I, as if to say please help me.

With strength I didn't know I had I picked her up and carried her to the car. I was worried about going to the VetER because I didn't know how they'd be under the circumstances. I shouldn't have worried because both Beauty and I received gentle, compassionate treatment. After weighing the pros and cons, I made the decision that is so hard for pet owners to make. I tried to think of what Jon Katz would advise. I didn't want to keep Beauty here, just because I was a weenie. I sat on the floor with her and held her head in my lap. Like Andrew, I stayed with her as she headed to doggy heaven. I scratched her head and whispered thank yous for her devoted friendship to each of us. I imagined Mother waiting just on the other side, calling Beauty and the dog who couldn't walk, ran like she was a puppy to say hello.


Photo: Mom and Beauty and I on the top of Buck Bald in Tennessee. That day will forever be one of the best in my memory.

I don't have any idea what heaven is like. Or if there even is a heaven. I do, however, have a strong belief that those who leave this world go home to their Creator and that just has to be good. How can it not be?

Sweetie called me brave this morning. I think I just did what had to be done. I pray for the courage to be as objective when the time comes to sit with Dad as he heads to his heavenly home. I'm pretty sure I won't be dressed in white, but if I can be as comforting as Andrew I think I will have completed my job.


Wishing for you something warm and furry with a wet nose to love,
Merry Me

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pink Saturday


I really shouldn't be sitting here. Dad seems to be sleeping soundly so I should be doing stuff like laundry, putting away the good dishes and whatever else needs to be done. But I just don't feel like it.

I'm feeling a little depressed. We're barely past a day which was set aside for giving thanks and counting our blessings and Christmas is still a month away (I know that 30 days will travel at the speed of light, but still it's not tomorrow) yet there seems to be a collective frenzy going on to get things to put under a fake tree that smells more like pine sol than fresh evergreen.

I have to admit, the idea of getting up early and joining in the craziness appeals to me on a level I don't even understand. I don't get sleeping on the sidewalk for days just for a piece of electronic equipment. Yet every year, as we sit around the T-day dinner, feeling more stuffed than the bird that fed us, I kind of want to see what the madness is all about. As if I don't live with madness on a daily basis.

As I crawled into bed and put my tired-after-cooking-all-day feet under the covers, I asked Sweetie how we'd get along if we boycotted Walmart. I don't like the take-over-all-the-small-businesses-in-town concept of the Walmart virus that spread across the country at lightening speed. But I do like the low prices and the convenience of all-in-one shopping. My principles are often compromised when convenience is involved and a MacDonald's medium coke is available upon entering and exiting the store. I picked Walmart to boycott because I've already boycotted Best Buy and a new place called Sports Academy ??? (what? do you learn stuff as you walk through the mega store?). Mainly I was upset that Walmart stayed open till 11pm on Thanksgiving, let their employees go home and then ordered them back at 3 or 4or 5 in the morning. Why couldn't they embrace one day of gratitude by giving employees something to be thankful for? Grrrrr.

Even though I'm the first one to enjoy a good bargain, the whole concept of Black Friday just rankles me, In my book it has nothing to do with buying Christmas presents. It's all about some sordid need to compete, to be #1 in line, king of the flat screen TV hill. No matter that people and the whole spirit of the holidays get trampled as soon as the doors are unlocked. Grrrr!

Getting to my point. I have declared, in my own little corner of the world, today to be Pink Saturday. My choice of pink was based on nothing more than I like the color. And who can be grumpy when filled with pinkalicious merriment. (Okay, so I fussed at a certain man who didn't like the way I attempted to clean his nails, when I knew he could do it way better than I could so why did he even ask, I'm still feeling pink - sort of). I don't know if the idea will catch on, but I'd love to walk out and see people dressed in pink waving and shouting holiday greetings across crowded parking lots while over-worked retail workers and customers smile at each other as the cash register ca-chings in jingle bell fashion. I wonder, could a little pink put the Ho!Ho!Ho! back in the "Holy Crap! Look at that line in front of Santa! Stop whining! Don't mess up your pretty dress! If you don't behave yourself I'm going to tell Santa to give your presents to the poor people! Don't touch that! " I don't know, but it's worth a try. And maybe it will help me show a little more compassion to the man who counts on my cheery countenance to make it through the day.

Wishing for you a little something pink in your world ... peppermint flavored candy, fresh roses, Barely There nail polish ...
Merry ME

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Waiting

"There are moments when I feel like giving up or giving in,

but I soon rally again and do my duty as I see it:

to keep the spark of life inside me ablaze."

Etty Hillesum


"The sky is falling!" cried Chicken Little. "The sky is falling!"


Most every day the first email I read is from "gratefulness.org". The daily quotes are always uplifting and thought provoking. When I read the Hillesum quote above, my mind went to a woman Terri has blogged about who is struggling with her own personal darkness. Since Terri has had some experience with the aftermath of one extinquishing her own flame, not to mention her big ol' compassionate heart, I sent the quote on to her. My mind was on people I don't even know who are suffering in a place I've been.


It didn't really occur to me to think about my father, until I came back to check on him. He's had a few pain-filled days. New pain medication seems to be zapping him of the little bit of strength he had. This morning I found him lying in bed, eyes half-closed. I'm just waiting, he said. I could feel his struggle.


Up to now Dad has vocalized being ready to go, but I felt it was more talk than walk. It seemed like he said what was expected of him ... I have cancer, therefore I'm ready to go. I think the change has been slow coming and subtle. Pain, I imagine, can do that. As can medication. I can feel my inner chicken little fluffing up her feathers, preparing to spread the news. Dad is dying. Dad is dying. But instead I sit by the bed and hold his hand, help him to the pot, re-arrange his covers, listen to Montavoni and Henry Mancini play on the easy listening channel. Preparations for tomorrows dinner will have to wait.


I’m reminded today of the spark of light that is ignited in each of us by the Divine One at the moment of our creation in the womb. The light remains with us throughout a lifetime of joys and sorrows, blessings and disasters. The same light that at the end of our days begins to dim. Only the one who created the light knows when it will shine no more. Until then all we can do is wait. Perhaps faith is nothing more than releasing the fear of the dark and relying on the Creator to light our way.


Holy Mother/Father God, thank you for the gift of your light which you loaned to us for our earthly journey. Help us be a mirror which reflects Your light to others whose light flickers and begins to dim. Be with us at the end when we begin to take our final walk home, back to You. As we wait give us patience to accept Your perfect timing, for in You, there is no pain, no fear,no darkness.


Today my wish for you is a quiet prayer of Thanksgiving,

Merry ME

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Night Date Night


My Sweetie and I had an actual date tonight. We got dressed up, went to dinner, then went to the Symphony to hear Brahms' German Requiem.

Good company. Good food. Good music. I must say it was all quite delightful.

At one point in the concert, I quit trying to watch all the musicians and closed my eyes letting the music take hold of me. I could feel my body relax and my spirit soar. I can't wait to do it again.

Wishing for you unexpected pleasures,
Merry ME


You Matter/I Matter


Can anyone see the strings attaching me to the Divine Puppeteer? I kind of feel like I've being moved about by forces I don't usually notice.

I don't go on Facebook much but I went there this morning after reading Terri's blog, Honor Yourself. Today is the anniversary of someone close to Terri taking her own life. Someone young, with a full life ahead of her, who didn't know how to hold on or who to turn to. In what had to be a moment of pure agony, she felt it was better to go out into the unknown than live in the pain she could no longer bear.

Our mutual blog buddy, Pam, went on FB and declared this "YOU MATTER" Day in honor and remembrance of that girl who hadn't lived long enough to know that no matter what else happened, she mattered.

I don't know what drove this girl, or so many of the other teens (no to exclude the adults) we are reading about in the news. Suicide, it seems, is becoming an epidemic. Ironically, in a world where there are so many ways to connect and stay connected, people are feeling isolated and alone enough to take their own lives. I've been in that dark place. I've known that pain. I've felt unloveable and undeserving. BUT I WAS WRONG.

I am loveable.
I am deserving.
I do matter.

Before I could say that to myself and believe it, I had other people say it for me/to me.

So, please, hear this:
You Matter

Now pass it on. Make today the last day someone in pain has to feel alone.

Wishing for each of you the knowledge deep down in your heart that you are a child of God and as such you are a part of the Great Spirit and carry your own deserving Light,
Merry ME

Small World


There are few things that can make the mother in me want to turn and run. For instance, I can,
at the sound of a young child standing at the edge of my bed in the wee hours of the morning, crying, "my stomach hurts" go from sound sleep to full speed in a matter of seconds.I've learned "my stomach hurts" is usually followed by projectile vomiting.

Or, though more gross than anything else, is the coughing, hacking sound, usually emanating from another room that you can't get to fast enough, of a cat hacking up everything it just munched from its food bowl. Cats seem to think this ball of bile-covered, unprocessed cat chow is like a gift from the Gods that should be left in the middle of a rug for all to see and admire.

Then there are the sounds of a college student, full of excitement and wanting to share. Let me just say some things are better left alone.

But up there at the top of the list is the sound from a child wearing Mickey Mouse ears, carrying a stuffed Goofy bigger than she is, whose eyes are wide from a combination of excitement and too much stimulation, begging to go on the "It's A Small World Ride" one more time. Now I admit that the first time one travels through this global wonderland it's a thrill even a jaded grown-up can enjoy. Gliding through one simulated continent after another, seeing the costumed dolls and listening to them sing each in their own language, is pretty darn cool. But, eventually the sights are overcome by the hypnotizing song. Before the ride is over, almost every adult on the boat that continues to knock annoyingly against the side of the fake stream it's riding on is ready to jump out and strangle an Alaskan Eskimo, African dancer, or Swiss yodeler. Of course, this desire is curtailed only by the look of delight on each child's sweet face.

Seriously, though, once in a lifetime is enough.
However, obnoxious the ride is, the sentiment behind it is spot on.
It is a small world. In every country on this globe, people are the same. We may look, speak, and dress differently, but our core humanness is the same.
And then there's that whole 6 degrees of separation thing, which I've never really understood. What Kevin Bacon has to do with anything is beyond me?

By now, if you are still with me, you are undoubtedly asking yourself, what is her point. Well get a load of this. My sister wrote me last night that one of her friends is a good friend of my good friend Dani's mother in law.

What are the chances?
I meet Bella in a store on a day I'm looking for spiritual healing. Bella leads me to Terri and bonesigh arts. Terri leads me to Dani whose MIL lives in Yakima and plays bridge with Gwen who is my sister's friend in Selah.

Or look at it from Dani's POV:
Who knew that I would be transplanted to the midwest, find Terri at a gift shop, and through Terri, find you who has family in the pacific nw, and a sister who has a friend who is a friend of my mother-in-law.

Or Terri's:
There she is selling bonesighs to shops that "get" her message. She meets Dani. She meets me. And the ripple effect just keeps on going.

Much as I hate to say it, "it's a small world" is a tune I'll be singing in my head for the rest of the day and smiling at the serendipity of it all.

Wishing for you a day full of sweet music and maybe a little yodeling to go with it,
Merry ME

Kindess Revisited

My evil twin has been in charge all day.
I don't really know what bee has been up my ass, but I do know I haven't been or felt very nice.
For all my talk of being kind to others, I think I need to take a little bit of my own advice.

By then end of the afternoon, after fussin' and cussin' about most everything, I went to Sweetie's inner sanctum and asked for 10 minutes of silence. I sat in his chair, closed my eyes and prayed. I tried to breathe in serenity and breathe out my pissy mood. I think it helped ... at least for those 10 minutes.

Later it occurred to me that giving myself permission to step out of the frustration and into the quiet was an act of kindness. To the people who have to live with me but mostly to myself. Seems I rarely include myself when I get on these virtuous bandwagons about being kind and gentle and giving and loving. I wonder why that is?

My plate is plenty full these days. And I see the holiday season as a runaway train aiming right at me. There is a lot to do and I can't quite get my act together to get it all done. For example, there is a basket of unfolded, in need of pressing, clean laundry in the chair across from where I sit. It's been there for the better part of the week. I know it will only take about 15 minutes to tend to it, yet for some reason, it sits there taunting me. It's a toss up which is making a louder noise, the laundry or the dust piling up on the tops of every piece of furniture that doesn't have a pile of my stuff on it.

If I were talking to you, and you told me that, I think I'd probably say, put the basket in the closet, or write something that makes you smile in the dust and walk away from it, or "Just Do It" and get it over with, or cut yourself some slack. Look around you and notice what you do do and not what you don't do. Are you saying, La la la la? Well, if I gave myself that same little pep talk, I'd probably not be listening to myself. I think it's time for a change.

Maybe the golden rule should be tweaked a little bit to say, do unto yourself as you would do unto others. Kindness and charity really should start at home, don't you think?

Think I'll go take a shower and wash away a couple layers of pissiness.

Wishing for you a kind word and a gentle touch,
Merry ME




Monday, November 15, 2010

On Blogging


"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong."
Joseph Chilton Pearce


Back when I started this blog, I didn't even know what a blog was. But I knew I liked to write. I needed an outlet for my words or they were going to continue spinning in my head until I burst. And it seemed like it might be fun. I believed my Sweetie, daughter, sister and Aunt Letty would read what I had to say even if no one else would. And I trusted them to be gentle with their comments. You see over my lifetime I have only shared my creative side with people I could trust not to make fun of me. Fear of failure, fear of success and fear of being shamed held me captive. A constant question was "why me?" Why should someone spend their time reading my words? Why should I be published when there are so many others out there who are better? Who do I think I am, Miss Fancy Pants?

It might be beginning to sound like an old story, but what I've gotten from blogging has been much more than I've given. I've made many new friends. I've learned to trust them, but more importantly to trust myself. I've learned to share in others' successes and rejoice in my own. I've learned to say, Look what Miss Fancy Pants has to say today! I wonder if what I'm feeling is the same thing as a snake or lizard who outgrows its skin, leaves the old one lying there in the grass and sashays across the yard in a whole new outfit. I feel like I've finally grown into my skin.

That said, I'm still kind surprised when my blog is recognized by another blogger with an award. Surprised and tickled pink. But not so pink, that except for thanking the sender privately, I didn't forget to post about it. In my defense I think it was during the week of the Poop Chronicles and I didn't have much on my mind other than sanitation.


I would like to officially acknowledge the receipt of this award by AkasaWolfSong even though I don't really feel prolific. Certainly not as prolific as some of the bloggers I read who manage to post every day, or have two blogs. The thing about getting this award is that it makes me feel happy. Thank you, friend Akasa.

Then this afternoon, I got a comment from someone I don't even know who has been reading my blog and gifted me with The Stylish Writer Award. How cool is that? Thank you Camilla Olivia, I so appreciate your visiting my blog. I hope you'll come back soon. You can check out Camilla's blog at http://joyizzachoice.blogspot.com. It's not really a surprise to me that the common link in this chain of blogs is none other than Miss Granola Stew herself, aka Terri St. Cloud.

Now here's the hard part. Most of the awards come with instructions. Mainly to pay it forward to other bloggers, which I believe is a worthwhile endeavor. It's just that I don't think my list is that long and it's kind of like being married to my uncle's brother's cousin. It would just keep the award forever in the same circle. Alas, what is Miss Fancy Pants to do now? She doesn't like breaking rules. Here's what I think. I'm going to list the blogs I follow (most are already on my sidebar which I really should update). Please consider yourself both prolific and stylish and accept this award in the spirit it is given.

There is one more assignment that goes along with the Stylish Award -to tell 7 things about myself. That's a rather broad assignment don't you think? It doesn't say 7 things that make me smile, or 7 things that nobody knows, or 7 things I do while in the bathtub. Nope, just 7 things. So, this should be easy!

1. It's kind of scary to think about now, but I graduated from high school on a Thursday afternoon in June of 1970 and got married two days later.
2. I have 2 really cool kids. Actually they are not kids anymore, they are pretty much grown up. But you know how mothers are!
3. I am married to a guy who fills my heart to overflowing.
4. I once won a blue ribbon at the St. Mary's, MD county fair for Needlepoint.
5. I have birthed a ministry at my church that does not get the attention it deserves. But every time someone donates baby clothes or I hand out a shoebox layette, I cry. I can actually feel the blessing of the Bethlehem babe we honor in this way.
6. I am quite fond of the color purple, but lately I've found myself drawn to pink and brown. I'm not sure what that's all about.
7. I love snail mail and all it's accoutrements - cards, stationery, stamps, stickers, confetti, etc. I have some pretty cool pen pals who have been patient with me lately for not keeping up my end of the bargain.

Here is my list of other bloggers who deserve both of these awards (in no particular order):

Marilyn Fowler
AkasaWolfSong
Molly Faircloth

I've found there are two sides to blogging. There is the writing for writing's sake. And there's getting comments. I have been fortunate (and I hope I'm not putting a curse on myself) in that people who read my blog tend to be of the same ilk as me so I have not gotten any negative comments. I've heard of bloggers who have to change things up on a regular basis to get rid of blog stalkers - those big fat meanies who lurk in the corners of the blogosphere just waiting to say something nasty. Thankfully, I have not experienced that.

There are some people who always comment, which is how I've gotten to know so many cool people. There are others who read but don't comment. And then, out of the blue, I get a comment from someone new and it's like opening the door to new friend. So, to those of you who are quiet, or brand new, thanks for joining me on this journey. Does it feel like the yellow-brick road? I'm not sure where we're headed, but I kind of feel like skipping!

Wishing for you people who appreciate your goodness,
Prolific and Stylish Merry ME


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Out of the Mouths of Babes

"Don't say that you want to give,
but go ahead and give!
You'll never catch up with a mere hope."
Johann Wolfgang Goethe


So here I am writing about kindness and hope and I get an email from a blog friend, Teresa. She told me about what her daughter, Madeleine, had decided to do to celebrate her ninth birthday. Not her nineteenth birthday, mind you, her NINTH. I don't think when I was nine I had advanced much beyond gazing at my own naval. I could try to tell you about her idea, but I think it would be better if you just check out some of the videos on the site. Be sure to watch 'til the end because seeing the footage of fresh water come spewing out of the ground will make your knees weak and eyes leak. At least they did mine. [Akasa, you're going to love this!]

Being a nosy sort, I immediately wrote her mother back and asked her to tell me about Madelein, aka Luna. Of course, asking a mother to tell you about her child is like asking Mrs. Fields (or Sally Sunshine) to tell you about her cookies. It's all going to be good. In this case, I don't think there is a lot of exaggeration. And even if there is, who cares? I think if you look close at the video of Luna, you'll see the outline of her angel wings.

Here's what her mom told me:

I realize she's my daughter and all...lol...but...Luna is the coolest form of kindness and hope. Just the way she generally is....just in general being...she's always just...willing to love. I remember when she was 3 or 4....we lived in Manhattan and I coordinated a women's shelter every Friday night she would love to come with me...set up the beds and sheets and pillows and a table with food and when the women would come in...off the street...kinda worn out...kinda stinky and all any other kid would have been freaked out...but Luna would run to these women...show them their beds...and sit with them as they ateand...one time...she let one of the ladies...one that I was even scared of...sit with her and read "Walter the Farting Dog" and they laughed so hard.
(ME note: It's kind of hard not to laugh at Walter the Farting Dog!)

And as for the charity donation, Teresa said:
"Well....this is something we have talked about for a long time
and this time....when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday present,
she said, "I don't need anything...I have too many toys and stuff."
So...she and her Daddy went back to looking for a place to donate
and they found this website where you can raise money
$5,000 is literally enough to build an actual well...(to dig deeply enough into the African soil to reach fresh water) ....water to an entire community."


Since this is the time when our hearts and hands turn towards thanks and giving, you are probably already getting address labels and catalogs and solicitations from bell-ringing Salvation Army Santas. I know it's not possible to give to everyone. But perhaps you'd consider donating a few dollars to this worthy cause.

About the only thing left I can think of to say is:

Happy Birthday,
Miss Madeleine Camelia Walls
May God bless you as you bless others.
You Rock!

Wishing for you a giant glass of clear, cold water,
Merry Me

Kindness and Hope

A few months ago I read a book by Katherine Center. It was an easy, fun read, about real life drama with a happy ending. I gobbled it up then read every book Center has written. Then, I started reading her blog. Before she took a hiatus to work on another novel she wrote about a kindness project she was a part of. I was intrigued then and since I'm on a kindness kick I think now is a good time share it with you. It takes the idea of random acts of kindness a step further.

The Hope Revolution website suggests that little notes of hope and goodness can counterbalance the stories of despair you hear every day on the TV or internet or maybe even in your own backyard. A hope note is nothing more than a small piece of paper with words that inspire and help one to feel hopeful. You can make the notes as plain or fancy as you'd like. Either way be sure to include the URL, hoperevo.com on the bottom or back of the card.

The next step is to take the notes out into the world and leave them where people will find them .... next to the Half and Half at Starbucks, stuck on a bathroom mirror, inside a returned library book, on a bus seat, tucked between Green Giant peas and beans. I imagine them to be like letting loose a balloon and watching it glide across a current of air until it is out of site. You'll never know what it might touch on its journey or where it may land, but it carries your joy with it.

I think hope notes are a great idea. But really the messages could be kindness notes, thank you notes, I love you notes, etc. It's the idea that you are reaching out to someone else attempting to make a difference.

So, what do you say? Are you in? Why not try it for a few days and see if a hope revolution can change your corner of the world. And if not someone else's heart, maybe your own.

Here are some quotes to get you fired up. Take it from there:

The little things? The little moments? They aren't little.

I wish you all the joy that you can wish.
Wm. Shakespeare

Nature never repeats herself and the possibilities of one
human soul will never be found in another.

If we live good lives, the times are also good.
As we are such are the times.

Hope is the dream of a soul awake.
French Proverb

Shoot for the moon.
Even if you miss, you will land among the stars.
Brian Littrell

May you have every happiness to make you sweet.

Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.
George Iles

Hope is not a dream but a way of making drams become reality.

Hope is the power that gies us the power to step out and try.

Most of the important things in the world
have been accompanied by people
who have kept trying when there seemed
to be no hope at all.
Dale Carnegie.

There came a time when the risk

to remain tight in the bud

was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

Anais Nin


“One of the deep secrets of life is that

all that is really worth the doing

is what we do for others."


“We are what we repeatedly do.

Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”


"Love the moment,

and the energy of that moment

will spread beyond all boundaries."

Corita Kent

Wishing for you joy-filled kindnesses returned 10-fold,
Merry ME

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day Part II



Dad wanted to go on an outing this afternoon so we put our jackets on and headed to the Jacksonville Veteran's Wall. Neither of us had ever been there before and I got lost a couple of times. The wall sits between the football stadium and the fairgrounds which was full of carnival rides, etc. I had to ask 4 different policemen for directions and make it past a parking lot attendant who thought my 93 year old father in a wheelchair and I were trying to sneak into the fair before finding a place to park. A brisk wind blew but the sun glistened off the polished marble. For a few minutes we were the only ones there. Us and the spirits of hometown men and women. It was quite a moving experience and one I'm glad to have shared with my dad.






Veteran's Day

Once upon a time there was a girl. She came of age when the moon was in the 7th house and Jupiter aligned with Mars. Instead of wearing flowers in her hair, and protesting the Vietnam War the girl followed all the rules. She married a man who flew helicopters in the Navy and soon had babies. The girl's husband spent the war years flying anti-submarine missions from bases on the East Coast of America. Pilots stationed on the West Coast flew combat missions over SE Asia. SE Asia was a long way from the girl and her family. No one she knew was ever sent into harm’s way.

From an early age, the girl knew what it meant to be proud to be an American. She always stood when the flag passed by, and covered her heart during the National Anthem. But she was silent when men came home from an unpopular war, wounded in body and spirit, let down by the people they served. Her eyes were opened one day when she met a man her husband went to school with. The man was in the army. He took of his shirt at the beach and his chest was covered in scars. He’d served in Vietnam while her husband drank beers in Naples. For the first time she realized how lucky they’d been.

Forty years have gone by but a war still rages. This time men and women are fighting in the desert instead of the jungle. There are new kinds of weapons, computers and cell phones. “Wounded Warriors” come home to a hero's welcome. They march in parades. They are buried with military honors. Even as Americans have learned to “support their troops” many a Nam Vet sleeps on the sidewalk and continues to fight demons only other Vets can see.

One day the girl heard a woman say her son had been in the Emergency Room of a local hospital for hours, laying on a gurney in the hall, with no covers. “My son,” said the woman, "fought in Vietnam."

When the girl heard this, she knew what she had to do. It was time now, after all these years, to say what she didn’t say then. She needed to say thank you to someone she didn’t even know, for doing what his country asked of him in a time when that kind of thing wasn’t very popular.

So the girl pulled out all her red, white and blue fabric. She cut, and pinned and sewed, and stuffed until she had, not only a big mess in her dining room, but a cover for the man the next time he had to go to the hospital.

“Thank you,” said the man’s mother. “He didn’t think anyone cared.”

“Thank him,” said the girl. “I care.”

- - - -


There is no statute of limitations on gratitude. Today we honor all those who have answered their country's call to service. May I be so bold as to ask you to put your hands together and say a prayer for the safety, well-being and comfort of all the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend the freedoms this country was founded on. And don't wait, next time you see someone in uniform say "Thank You." You'll be glad you did.


Wishing for you a world at peace,

Merry ME

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kindness Part II

This video says it a lot better than I can.

May kindness walk with you along your life's path,
Merry ME

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

KIndness


"If anyone is in need, just lend a hand and help them out."
An anonymous 6th grader

Because I've had kindness on my mind lately, and we are rapidly approaching the season of joy that is often more stress-filled than joyful, I've decided to wait to write about waiting and go with kindness instead.

After my mother died (in 2002) one of the ways I busied myself to keep from being too sad, was to compile recipes from the ladies at church and put them into a cookbook. It is not much different from other church cookbooks, except that it holds a little bit of my heart and soul. It is a project I am still quite proud of. It has recipes, sure. But it also contains pictures, quotes, stories and prayers. I was an Internet novice at the time, but as always seems to be the case, I found my way to people (or they found me) who uplifted me and encouraged my creativity. Strangers, like Anne Wetzel and Jaletta Desmond who were kind enough to share their talents with me. Ladies who didn't seem to mind lending a helping hand to someone who obviously didn't know what she was doing. Maybe it was a God-thing, something that the Divine One had a hand in. While I don't discount that, I also believe in kindness of others. Thinking of it, maybe kindness is also a God-thing. It is something the Spirit moves us to be.

At the time I was working on the cookbook, I left the recipes to the church ladies who had been preparing pot luck casseroles for years. I, on the other hand trained my eyes and ears to pick up on items that might be appropriate as filler for the book. One day I went to the bathroom in the Mall which is not necessarily a place that one might expect to find inspiration. However, upon locking the door and sitting down I came face to face with a poster decorated with smiley faces and read:

Share a smile, brighten someone's day.
Open a door.
Listen with your heart.
Say, "Hello."
Visit a sick friend.
Say, "Thank you."
Help carry a load.
Plant a tree.
Buy someone a meal.
Let someone go before you.
Give blood.
Read to a child.
Commit random acts of kindness daily.
Give compliments.
Respect others.
Say, "I love you."
Have patience
Do a favor.
Forgive a mistake.
Show compassion.
Lend a hand.
Help a neighbor.
Use encouraging words.
Spread kindness.

I've always got a pen with me, but wouldn't you know it, I was sitting there without any paper to write on except little squares of toilet tissue that aren't much good for their designated purpose, let alone copying a masterpiece. But a girl has to do, what a girl has to do, so I carefully scribbled bathroom wisdom onto bathroom paper.

Over the years, I've not remembered everything on the list, but I try to live by this creed.

Fast forward a few years to an email that I got last month. The creators of the Gift of Kindness website, Daniel Decker and his wife, were requesting input for way to make their message stronger and go farther.

"GiftofKindness.com is global initiative with one primary purpose ...
to inspire others to be kind,
compassionate and loving to one another...
at home, at work, and in every interaction throughout the day.
We believe in Intentional Acts of Kindness that are deliberate,
frequent and a part of our every day lives.

Kindness, at its core, is love. It is joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Kindness is cultivating the Fruits of the Spirit within us all."

In the spirit of the coming holidays of gratitude and gift giving, why not go check it out, then put their message out into your corner of the world.

Wishing for you acts of kindness that inspire you to return the favor,
Merry ME

Monday, November 8, 2010


"When chill November's surly blast make fields and forest bare."
Robert Burns

I am happy to report that the temperatures have finally dropped. The Florida air has a bit of a chill to it. I dare say if we had punkins there would frost on them. I have put away my shorts and surprisingly can still zip up my faded, well-worn Mom jeans. I've added socks to my nighttime wardrobe. It is sweatshirt weather for sure.



Not just any sweatshirt. It's time for wearing my "Honor Yourself" hoodie from bonesigharts.
OMG, it's sweeeet! Not just because it keeps me nice and warm, which is a good thing. I especially love wearing it because it reminds me "I matter." It's like wearing a great big hug!

You can have one too. Just hop on over to my pal Terri's site.

Wishing for you friendships that warm your heart,
Merry ME