Friday, October 27, 2006

What Does Giving Require?

"It takes some living to get good at giving..."

My illustrious, pensive, co-worker (PCW) made a statement this morning that was "blog-worthy" and true. There are those in popular culture that seem to reinforce this phrase. I know that for me it has many implications and so far, all of the ones I can think of are quite positive; even if they are not widely held popular. So the blog begins....

I don't know that I have lived a full life; but I sure would like to think so. Yes, many mistakes lead to much wisdom (mistakes that lead to learning and change), many adventures (for me, anything unknown or uncharted territories) led to many tall tales (most true), and many experiences (few to be told) led to curiousities of things seen and unseen; but a deeper understanding of people and just plain human natures :D (smiley face).

Anyway, "it takes some living to be good at giving" is particularly true in that we come to realize our own similarities to everyone else we spend time thinking that we are better than. This realization teaches and aids our ability to be less judgemental and more compassionate. Now, that doesn't mean become a doormat; but it builds in a few more chances for the average Joe. You catch my drift, I can tell. We all make mistakes; hopefully not the same ones over and over again.

They say "experience is the best teacher..." They are probably right! I have tried to read about many things; but hey, I am a card carrying "show me the picture, I love comic book communication varsity geek." A picture is worth a thousand words. I learn from experience and pictures communicate that experience to me in a way that is more complete than just text. [actually there are circumstances that I prefer the written word — it's just a more internal communication; but that's not in this blog (right eyebrow raises slightly) some of you know what I mean; the others — ignorance is bliss (smile) :D]

Not only does living enhance our ablilities to give, forgive, expect, explain, think, rethink, develop and regurgitate; it is a source of continuing hope; like an empty highway with only a dashed yellow line of memory going beyond the hilltops into our futures changing everything before us to what comes after us. What resembles our "ripple effect..." (Hmmm...that sounded a little off the deep end. But again, some of you know what I mean; others — ignorance is bliss.) [It's kind of odd to have a conversation with your own converstating fingers....but maybe thats just an odd normal :)] Whew!!! I have gotta land this plane.

Anyway, in closing, I reminded my PCW (refer above if you forgot), that the same is also true of older women. Having had several experiences with various ranges, I am of the strong statistical reflection of its truth and the truth of the phrase itself. There was a song "Older Women Make Beautiful Lovers" by or at least should have been sung by Ronnie Milsap or Meryle Haggard. It's not that they necessarily know more; but life has given them a greater capacity to be more giving (usually really good cooks too :D). They been through some [substitute your own explicatives here] "goat gravy." Here is one of the verses of the song...

So baby don't you worry about growin' older
Those young girls ain't got nothin' in you
'Cause it takes some livin', to get good at givin'
And givin' love is just where you could teach them a thing or two.

Alas, the runway is close, the plane descends, the tires smoke at contact. It takes some living to be good at giving. Live everyday like its the last (it may be). There are few occassions more special than "now" so be good to the ones you love, love the ones you hate, and meet somebody new daily. That's all I got and I am leaving with it.

Hmmm....what if I did some living in somewhere sunny all the time.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

By Wind or Bow...

I have been told that everyone has a Destiny. You were created for a purpose. Some might even argue that various "books" point you in the direction of such. I was watching my new "favorite" show [HEROES] last night and could not help but notice how Destiny picks a place and time for our futures or turning points to occur in our lives. Unfortunately, there was still the opportunity for us to screw it up; but then is it Destiny or just luck of the draw? I suppose folks have argued about such things since the beginning of time and still haven't put either to bed.

All I know is that I have experienced times when I wondered if maybe this was a moment in Destiny. I know of at least 3 times I KNOW I should have died; but somehow I survived. Does luck happen more than once — I don't know? Am I really a cat and have 6 more times? I think not. I do know that it is very frustrating to believe that you do have a Destiny and not be able to decipher what it is or wonder if you have screwed it up somehow. I hate the thought of teens who have decided that there is nothing better for them and suicide was there out. Yesterday doesn't always determine how tomorrow can be. How terrible it must be to have NO hope left, to think that it is never going to change or ever get better than this. Even at 39, I am fool enuf to believe that my best days are still ahead! I am still fool enuf to believe that I can make a difference; if only to myself. I am fool enuf to believe you never surrender; never give up, win or lose. No, I don't know if you get extra points on some cosmic report card for being a fool til the end; but I know I will arrive "there" far better having maintained Hope in the better. It can always get better and it sure could have always been worse.

My Dad taught me a long time ago, around the age of 5 when I was cutting a neighbor's yard. She had a huge German Shepard that came at me. I turned to run as Dad caught me by the colar. "Don't you ever turn your back or run from a dog!" he scolded. A coke bottle and dog skull later, I never forgot that lesson....neither did the dog. Neither issue had to be revisited again. Some people are "doggish." Whatever you're facing — don't run. Maybe you get a face lift from the heat; but surely you won't have to revisit the issue again.

All in all, I have a great life and if it never gets any better; it's been pretty dog-gone good! I have already exceeded my original expectations; so I dare dream bigger. So long as there is tomorrow, there is always hope. No mountain is as tall as passionate dreams. No man/woman looking down ever sees the top. Look up to the hills from whence comes your help. Somewhere up there, your future, your hope and your Destiny lie.

Monday, October 23, 2006

At Home in the Jungle — The Juice of Life

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.............It was an endless night. The darkness seemed to have no end. Thick quilts of darkness entwined us; unable to find an edge to escape or peek from. It was the span of time from Sunday until Monday morning. Things were back to normal...however odd, normal truely is. I cannot remember how many times my hand collided with a persistent snooze button; but it never mattered. It kept working at annoying intervals. Her warm form keeping me anchored in a plush cloud of delirium, I fought my way out into the day. The warm shower erased the day before as I dried into today. I must have had a thousand dreams—exhausting. Nontheless, awake and well...I blog.

I have been very busy; but I seem to have very little to show for it. Have you ever done a lot but saw nothing from it? What havoc does a Monday hold? In the end, it won't matter. I will deal with it and go on anyway...daring myself to overcome or be victorious. That is the nature of my odd normalicy. In the end, it doesn't matter. With my mate at my side, I just want to hang will all my friends and dance in the streets as if it were our last day on earth. What a great day with no hesitations and only kind thoughts. The weekend is over, this part is just as important and I love it all.

Pour me a tall, chilled glass of the Juice of Life and I will finish it everytime. It's all the best things and the worst with a few cubes of love and forgiveness, a napkin of grace and a splash of friends, a coaster of fun and a straw of thankfulness. "Hey, pull up a chair and sit a while. This one's one me."

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Key...

Oh yes, the key! Aren't we always looking for the key?'s that hidden formula that makes everything magically perfect to our specifications. There are many keys. The key to life, immortality, success, happiness, love, my house, secrets of the mind and the list goes on invintum. I sit on a cliff of Friday, high atop a weekend trying to decide to fall or jump. I suppose I could "fly" if I held my tongue just right. Who knows. It's been a long, tiring journey to this seat...maybe I should enjoy it before vacating its comfort. The weekend will go entirely too fast and I will have done not enough that I wanted before doing what I must again. That's fine. I was built for this kind of punishment; relentless, stubborn and rugged. Sure I have dreams of grandure or more; and I would be good at it. My patience appears to be at a different pace than my life ("excuse me, could I get that on the rocks please"). Whatever the mood; I still remember just how blessed I am. As odd as I can be; I still know that its probably terrifyingly normal.

Hmmm....."pour me something tall and strong ...."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Alligator Dreams

It was 5am when I twisted awake under the warm covers on the still-dark Wednesday morning. It was way too early to get up...almost 2 hours ahead of schedule. Naturally, it makes you think you have more time than you do. Needless to say, sitting still in the long trail of tail lights in the low-hanging fog in lanes designed for much faster speeds—I had time to reflect. Of course, I looked around at the people doing the same around me. What a variety of expressions and dispositions. I loved the fog. As I have said before, it's like magic the way things are hidden and revealed by it. What a substance. Yes, it had probably caused someone to wreck miles ahead; but I enjoyed it anyway.

I have this antique I purchased some time ago of a little boy riding an alligator. Its made from cast iron I think. It's simple but it speaks volumes. Children have the ability to ride alligators. In fact, they can make the most threatening of animals/people into friends. I don't know if its the innocence or the naivity. Children just seem to be able to accumulate more of the mystical energies than we older lads and lasses. Is it that there are fewer barriers built up or dreams crushed? Who knows! But looking at the doggone thing makes me smile as I remember "Don't ever stop dreaming; always keep reaching."

In life, we are faced with many monsters. Some of them, if not all, can be tamed if we just had enough innocence or naivity. It sure makes quite a statement to come riding in on a huge monster that happens to be an ally too. That tends to decrease other potential creatures from becoming much bigger or even approaching. Knock out the biggest guy first and the rest will go away or befriend you. It's like arriving at your problem in a get the picture. It's my long day and I am thankful that it's a GOOD DAY full of good news and looks even better behind the glass.


Monday, October 16, 2006

The Perspective Of Reason

I had a great weekend. It was one of those "no obligation" free-for-all. I had several offers to become committed but we turned them all down. It was mostly just quality snuggle time (typically worth its weight in gold). We were both in the baking mood but there was already plenty of pound cake, almond pecan brownies and ice cream; not to mention pop it would have been a wasted effort. The weather was fantastic and we intended to play croquet; but alas the nothing won out. We did however manage to plant some brilliant beautiful mums and other colorful flowers. We have alot of fun doing things together.

Saturday morning was great too. There's nothing like a great workout. Hot oxygenated blood coursing through straining veins to demanding muscles and hungry cells has a tendency to purify the mind. It is the best of times and the worse. The garbage of the day gets sorted through and untangled with every strand of sweat leaking its logic to reason. There's something about being surrounded by others doing the same thing. I have always noticed how "we" tend to appreciate fine forms and chiseled features that are recoginzed as marks of dedication and performance.

I saw a strange movie, actually I saw three strange movies, this weekend. One in particular "Land of the Blind" was very disturbing and equally memorable.

Land of the Blind is a satiric political drama about terrorism, assassination, and the power of memory. The film is set in an unnamed place and time, where an idealistic soldier named Joe (Ralph Fiennes) strikes up an illicit friendship with a political prisoner named Thorne (Donald Sutherland). Through their conversations in the high-security military prison where Thorne is held, Joe slowly begins to question his allegiance to the country's brutal but clownish dictator and his Machiavellian wife. Eventually Thorne succeeds in recruiting Joe to the rebel cause, leading to a bloody coup d'etat with echoes of countless tyrannies, revolutions, and counter-revolutions throughout history. But in the post-revolutionary world, what Thorne asks of Joe leads the two men into bitter conflict, spiraling downward into madness until Joe's co-conspirators conclude that they must erase him from history.

Isn't it interesting that the person telling the story gets to determine who the terrorists are. I found it interesting that those who (in this particular case and often in history) are bent on liberation and overthrowing governments tend to take over and end up doing pretty much the same if not worse than the oppressors who were there before. "Power corrupts, absolute power absolutely corrupts." Somehow "the cause" becomes just a banner that is lost, flailing in the wind like an abandoned and wounded critter left on side of road to a nirvanah of perfection that no longer matters now that we have power/money once posessesed by the oppressors.

The greatest monsters in history have not been so horrificly non-human; but merely disillusioned humans. Humans that somebody let down, broke their word to or just got wronged too many times and snapped. So are we all "capable" of being dictators?


Friday, October 13, 2006

Pony Up, Friday!

"All rite, cha varmit...let's move along there."

My Friday is dragging. Looking forward to all the good things coming.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mighty Big Little Strength

Kids are the greatest! And most of the time, they bring out the best in us. We spend our energies telling them that they can "be whoever or whatever they want," "if you can dream it; you can do it," "dream big," "always do your best," and "treat everybody like you want to be treated." It is odd that it's good enough for them; but not for us. Advice is like that. Great for everybody except the one giving it. That is an "odd normal" about we adults. The beauty with kids is that they can believe it 100% and much like "faith" itself can make marvelous things happen with extraordiary results from the least of things. I hope it's contageous. I want to stay around them, hoping that it is just that.

It's easy to become cold and calous from life's experiences. We are often reminded to have the faith, love and forgiveness of a child; but we can't. We've been down that road before and there's mud and rocks at the bottom. What we fail at long enough; we quit. We exude an enormous amount of energy NOT to repeat mistakes, be made a fool of or not to look "uncool" [save face basicly]. We cannot even dream of making a mistake in public and being embarrassed or corrected. I enjoy being at a point in life that looking silly is not a problem for me. In fact, I am probably too willing to be the nut in the salad. Life is short; laugh alot along the way and help others to do the same, even at yourself.

I struggle to return to my own age of innocence; but the scars keep tally. Even if I could; my eyes would inform me otherwise; my intuition clammering at the brakes at every turn. No, you don't have to win all the time or be right in every instance. No, you probably won't like everyone you meet. ...and no, some monsters are real. But YES, He made the ultimate sacrifice and paid the full price. YES, He can make love replace hate. ...and YES, even calm the monsters that have scarred us soul-deep. Dear Lord, help me back to the innocense of a child, to hope, dream and believe in the best of myself and of everyman...not to be a doormat; but a stairway to demonstrating that just a mustard seed can move any mountain or change the course of any river.

The laughter of children is infectious. I WANT that virus. It knows no fear.....


Monday, October 09, 2006

Innocence is Bliss

I went to my nephew's harvest festival this weekend. There were kids everywhere. They were having a blast. There were hayrides, jumping blowup things, rock-climbing, petting zoos and crafts galore! I even tried the rock wall myself. Unfortunately, I was NOT successful much to my surprise and about 100 viewers...but my brother Chris was! We all had a great time. I remember us growing up together cutting grass, riding bicycles, adventure hiking in the woods and jumping ditches—ah...the good ole days.

I couldn't help but drift back to a simplier time watching all the little ones running around full of wonder and excitement. It was a great age, no responsibilities, no major problems or even important decisions to be made—just have fun and play. The frame of knowledge and the wisdom of life's mistakes yet to be formed make it an ideal innocence much freer from adult worries or concerns. What a great time in life. It is a treasure worth protecting and ensuring that every child gets to experience and be able to look back on and smile.



Friday, October 06, 2006

Sight Unseen...Eyeless Vision

It is our vision that often
prevents our eyes from seeing....

M. Russell 2006

The ideals, traditions and fears we hold dear tend to determine how we see the world and our fellow man. These are typically so strong that we become blind to any other possibility. How do you describe a tree or airplane to a person who has never seen one before? Certainly no exception to this predicument, I struggle to always remember that one key phrase..."maybe not," in spite of my disposition of assuming that I am generally right about whatever. I sit at my window, staring out at the world beyond my glass. I watch the people walking by in the brisk wind on their way somewhere and nowhere. I watch the people drive by in their mobile universes, unaware that they are on display or simply not concerned with what they don't see, typically talking on their cellphones or doing nostril expeditions of the most severe kind. I watch the clouds above the birds reflecting in the towers of glass sprawling over my location—does either of them realize the presence of the other or of myself watching them?

Guilty I am of looking over a person asking me for money at an intersection, trying to decide if they are really homeless or just making a quick buck. My eyes make their assesement based on clothes, eyes, teeth, fingernails and disposition. Are my eyes blinding me to what my heart could see or what God would desire me to see or do? Obviously there is a difference between real need and trickery; but is that His job to sort out or up to my discernment as I steward over my gifts and posessions? I am always inspired by people who demonstrate vision and strength in circumstances that seem hopeless or far less than desirable to most folks. I was inspired by this story and I think you will be also.

Mother triumphs over blindness to live life of vision and advocacy. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way—developing macular degeneration at age 7. But Niki Robinson has done more than just deal with it. Niki Robinson enjoys the support of her family: Jake, her 5-year-old son; Joey, her 3-year-old service dog; and Jessie, her 7-year-old daughter. Legally blind since she was a child, 34-year-old Robinson (formerly Mercer) decided to return to school and become a social worker so she could, in turn, help children with disabilities. She will graduate in May. More...

How is it that typically those who have less physical ability or some disability or just far less "stuff" are able to do immeasureably more than most of us healthy "normal" people? Is our vision so clouded by the "things" we have or want and the "things" we see as important that we are blinded to our own true reflection or other people's plights or needs or even how we could more effectively make an impact on the world, as opposed to what's good for just us? I don't know. I am certainly guilty of being blind...but I don't want to lose my eyes so that I might see. God, grant me the vision to see in spite of myself and my blessings; irregardless of my conditioning from the past by any pain or disceptions or life lessons. Let me always look with the innocence of a child and act/respond with the ability of an adult. Perhaps we need our own scars as much as we need the ability to look beyond them.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Open Submerged

The water....

We love it; but its more than just for the fun. We are biologically tied to it. Making up over 90%of the body, our genetics predetermine our need and love for it. This beautiful morning, I remember sitting under the water, issolated from all the familiar distractions on the surface. It's a different type of noise. It's like hearing the noise behind the wall. The mind relaxes, the spirit relaxes and the body relaxes. Given a moment; you notice a strange symbiosis and realignment begin. In the weightless peace, the human parts seem to correct themselves of the pressure from above. It's so much easier to hear your own thoughts. You even become aquainted with all the internal sounds of the human mechanism. One can not help but consider the womb and the bio-psychological markers left from the birth experience documented by the mind but not available to our understandings. Oh the warm security, peace (hopefully for most of us), love and intimacy of relationship dependent on unseen caretakers.

It was a beautiful sunrise; I wondered how it would have felt from below the water, watching the rays come into the water and radiate its contents. They say creativity allows some of us to look for solutions to problems from another angle or from the other side of the problem. I don't know. But its all so worth appreciating: the sky, the human, the energies seen and suspected.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Amish Gothic...Somewhere, America

5 Girls Dead In Amish School Shooting
Written by MARK SCOLFORO, Associated Press Writer
QUARRYVILLE, Pa. - A man who laid siege to a one-room Amish schoolhouse told his wife he had molested young children decades ago and left a note saying he had "dreams of molesting again," state police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller said Tuesday.

It is a headline not unlike many others of late. It is odd that we can remove ourselves from the conviences of this modern day and still be broadsided by the reality that "in our humanity lies our darkest fears and capabilities" which we take with us to our secret places. I don't believe the "why" really justifies the act; certainly not in this case. Besides "I'm sorry" doesn't erase the pain or loss. While I don't know if this is an Amish on Amish crime; I do know that it is an attack on all that's good in humanity....our children: the brave, innocent hope of another attempt at another chance for better.

Once upon a time, there were "safe grounds," "sacred grounds" that everyone subconsciously agreed "don't touch," don't go there," "time out." These were churches, schools, children, families,etc. Something was "fair" about staying away from these "sacred grounds". Lots of people blame the media for erasing or smearing some lines that nobody years ago could have imagined gone—true for the positive and the negative. Will we never have "sacred ground" again? Some grounds must be preserved at all costs and regained with great investment. If our children aren't worth that, then what?

It is true that we can be forgiven for just about anything; but it doesn't say there is a magic wand that wipes away the "due consequences." Yes, everyone involved or touched or responsible for this tradgedy needs our prayers, help and forgivenesses. Yes, as communities, we must become reaquainted with our neighbors and their needs at least as much as our own. Yes, we can all be different. But we MUST agree to be the same on "sacred" gifts entrusted to each of us. To run with the wolf is to eat his prey. What does our diet consist of? Where do monsters come from....humans unchecked.....

But alas, much like before 911; such a time of "sacred things" is just an illusion of innocence and safety and naivity. We have always had those among us who have preyed on their young and any other living thing, as my pensive co-worker so surgically reminds us....

Monday, October 02, 2006

Afresh With The New Old

There are things that just make me go "hmmmm..."
One of those delightful things is how I still love my little wife even after all this time. Extremely difficult to leave a warm bed, mornings are filled with listening to an alarm clock irritating me for at least an hour. There's no telling what the dog thinks every morning when it goes off at 5am and I get up at 6. My only saving thought is that if I had set it for 6; I might not get up til 7 — which would make me drasticly late [...and I hate being late more than I hate being right].

I press into her warm skin and feel not only the muscles beneath respond; but the very cells themselves gravitate to my point of contact. I hear her heart race at my glance, even in the darkness. Her pulse rhythmic to my attentions her blood boiling with my imagination. My happiness radiating throughout her being. What a treasure to have; what a joy to hold as close as my own life breathing as one heaven and earth. Even the wind is jealous of the rose's petals; envious of its thorns.

I am astounded by the magnetism of her warm soft skin. It keeps me close, missing it even when we are apart or other skins are closer. I am fascinated by the light in her eyes when she looks my way, the way she feeds from my presence and smile. I am terrified by her need and trust for me, that I might always remember the great treasures entrusted to me not to be taken for granted. I don't know why. I don't understand the depths or pinnacles; but I know I would be amiss without either. My relief and joy after 12 years of knowning, 5 years of dating, 1year of courting and 4 years of marriage is that the mystery continues, the romance remains and the desire grows. I made the right deal at a time of deal or no deal. I went for it and it was worth it. I won and keep on winning everyday we spend together. It sounds bizarre, even when I read it aloud silently, a soldier of 'solo' could be so content sans-solo.

It's still nice to give a good foot massage, take walks in the country, hold hands just because, or just stare into each other's eyes.