Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Retreat to Quiet

For 26 hours I had the pleasure of taking part in a retreat with four other women.  We tried to keep the time as unorganized as 5 organized women can allow, but the idea behind the retreat was "to be" and raise our awareness of gratitude in our lives. 

I am grateful

*  for friendships - new and older that grant an intense level of respect for one another.  Like these trees that have swallowed a barbed wire fence as they grew, we all have scars. Trust helps us to allow a level of vulnerability to show those scars and know that your friend won't flinch.

I am grateful

* for time and an aging body that has stuck with me and taken me through every day of my life, no matter how I treated it.  In this photo, trees have grown thru the roof of this tiny out building along the road where I took a morning walk. The building still stands just as we do through life's highs and lows.

I am grateful

* for the differences in this world that make it such an interesting place to roam.  Language, culture, history, government, dress, expectations, money---the list is long. I enjoy learning about our differences and I marvel how in the end, we are all the same.

I am grateful

* for a peaceful place where I can walk, pray, read, meditate, take photographs, and just be to the sounds of birds and the breeze.

I am grateful for all these things and much more. Family, good health, a loving church community, and good neighbors are just some of the reasons I am one fortunate and humble woman.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Home is where your vote is

Today is a special day--a day when as American citizens we have the right to vote for our leaders and representatives.   Last night I imagined how the various candidates for Sheriff, Board of Supervisors, Senate etc. in our county and across this nation were feeling.  I'm guessing they were exhausted yet excited,  and most certainly glad the day has finally arrived.  The big decision to run, the fund-raising, the volunteers, the meetings, the hand shaking and my favorite part (ugh!)--the advertising---have done their work and now the voters just need to show up and do theirs.

Unfortunately, Americans aren't very good at the voting part. That is a proven fact.  We have so much. Why do we let others decide who is going to run our cities, counties, townships, boroughs and our country? Why don't we get involved? Just asking...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Just Be

We have friendly cat neighbors. "Izzie" the cat likes to wander out of the confines of her fenced-in yard next door to our backyard with its squirrels and birds. My husband is hoping she has a special talent for finding the moles that continue to invade the garden.

Izzie is teaching me to accept cats for who they are. As a person who grew up with dogs, I became accustomed to a furry domesticated animal who wanted to participate in every aspect of my life. "We're eating?--where's my bowl?  Playing in the yard--where's my ball?  Watching TV---I'll lay at your feet, or maybe on your feet.  Taking a shower? I'll lick you dry if you let me."  I didn't say it was all good!  But I did learn that dogs are eager to please, love unconditionally and generally want to be with their owners as much as possible. Dogs seek attention, even from strangers.

And there is the big difference isn't it?   Izzie knows me. I visit her house and she will allow me to pet her for at least 5 seconds.

Visiting our yard this week, the lovely Izzie stayed perched for an time on a log amongst the fallen brown leaves.  I wanted to capture the Kodak moment.  Izzie didn't really think it was a good idea.  First she hid behind a tree and couldn't resist peeking out at me.

Then she found a tiny tree that was perfect for rubbing all over her face.

Finally, I got the hint. This posing for the camera stuff, this need to connect with another living creature was only my desire. It had nothing to do with what she wanted and the best way Izzie could explain that was to walk away.

Thankfully, I could turn to nature for comfort and connection.