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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Maternal Observance






https://youtu.be/GCyqhi55O-8 ~ Gone Too Soon~Daughtry


“A flower bloomed already wilting. Beginning its life with an early ending...”  ― R.J. Gonzales

“Some people say it is a shame. Others even imply that it would have been better if the baby had never been created. But, the short time I had with my child is precious to me. It is painful to me, but I still wouldn’t wish it away. I prayed that God would bless us with a baby. Each child is a gift, and I am proud that we cooperated with God in the creation of a new soul for all eternity. Although not with me, my baby lives.”  ― Christine O’Keeffe Lafser, An Empty Cradle, a Full Heart: Reflections for Mothers and Fathers after Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death

I hate this day!  It is my third, least favorite day of the year.  The other two days are the days that I lost our babies, who, for me, would have made this day a joyous celebration.  It is a day when the facade that I have carefully put into place, that tells the rest of the world that it’s okay most of the time for me, crumbles all around me, because it’s NOT okay, and it never will be. My truth is unearthed and exposed, once again! Seventeen and 14 years later, and the sting of their losses is still acutely felt.
William David and Adrian Rae – my gifts of immortality, who unfortunately became immortal before their father and I did.  It goes against the grain...
This last week, I have tried not to venture out any more than I have to, because I cannot bear to see all of the various assaults to my senses that have no adverse affect for anyone who hasn’t lost a child through miscarriage or stillbirth or early child death – all of the Mother’s Day cards, boxes of candy, offers for THIS perfect Mother’s Day gift or that one! “Send your Mother a special bouquet of flowers; take your Mother out for a well-deserved lunch...” It’s ALL too much for the heart of a mother such as I, to bear!   It’s like the scab that’s been covering this wound, is ripped off, once again and the pain becomes overwhelming, in the blink of an eye.  It is a stark reminder of what we lost – what we don’t have – what we’ll never have.  It is an un-welcomed admonisher that I am a childless Mother here upon this earth.
I see pictures of friends with their children on Facebook and Twitter, and hear about the gifts given, all deservedly so, but it makes my heart hurt.   It’s not jealousy on my part, because I could never be jealous of such wonderful blessings that my friends and loved ones share with their children and vice versa.  It’s more about all the life-experiences that my husband and I did not get to share with our children, that is driven home on a day like today with brut force.
Perhaps, this year is a particularly bad one for me, because this would be a milestone year in our household, had I carried my pregnancies to term: our son would be looking at colleges and our daughter would be entering high school.  Oh....it makes you wonder.  WHAT would they be like?  What things would they be involved in at school?  What, if any career indicators would be evident? {Everyone knew early on that I would probably be a writer in some capacity.}
Then, Tom made mention the other night, after he came home from a local baseball game with some friends, that he glanced around at one point and saw a lot of fathers there with their sons.  It made him acutely aware, in that moment, of a longing that crept out and made him sad, because he never got to take our children to a ball game – no ball park dogs, Cracker Jacks and ice-cream cone pig-outs to share with excited children.  There was a sharp pain that came in that realization, then all the other short-changes, resulting from those losses, somehow began to fall out and tumble down like a set of dominos, after the first one begins that descent: graduation, college, mating rituals, et al.
I listened to him, with tears in my eyes, because of what my body stole from him.  I will forever carry a guilt that I, as the one of us who could not deliver these babies to term, bear. I, inadvertently, took a legacy from him in addition to me, because my body was not able to hold our children for nine months, before it delivered them to us.
People, outside of this circle that we are in, never understand that burden that I, as the mother carry.  No one blames me for this, but me. Of course it was nothing that I did on purpose.  On the contrary, I was told that my body fought to keep my first pregnancy viable longer than it should have been able to sustain it {story for another day}.  It was nothing that I WILLFULLY did, but my body was the betraying culprit, nonetheless.   If one didn’t feel some guilt over that fact, I don’t believe they’d be human.
Every year, as Mother’s Day rolls around, I start to feel the pall of  FAILURE begin to move through me like a wildfire and depress my senses, like a coffin’s cloak, wrapped around this day.  It is a day of personal sadness for me.   I try to make the most of it – to find some joy in it.  However, the tinge of sorrow will always be a part of it.  Always....There is simply no way around it.
I think the most difficult part of this day, is when people ask if we have children?  I do not deny them.  I respond as graciously as I know how, thanking them for the happy greetings and telling them that we have two angels in heaven.  That response does not lend itself to further conversation, except for apologies, and “the look”, which can only be defined as one of pity.  I don’t like pity.  I welcome compassion, but not pity.  It is my responsibility, thereafter, to say something pleasant or upbeat, for example, to whoever is tending to us at a restaurant for lunch, so that their experience with us in the aftermath of that Q & A, will not to be an awkward one.
The good of this day is that I am still blessed to have my mother with me.  I celebrate her everyday, however, so I don’t need a special day set aside to do that.
And, as this day begins to wind down, I feel the gritting of my teeth lessening, and my endurance, the one I have mastered lo these many years, in my attempt to make it to the end of this day with my heart not completely battered and bruised, now almost at hand. Tomorrow will be a new day in which to begin again, and I won’t have to think about this annual display for another 3~65.  For me, therein lies the blessing...

“Ann: How my heart has ached. How empty I have felt. How I’ve ached to hold my two babies.”
― K. Howard Joslin, Honest Wrestling: Questions of Faith When Attacked by Life

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

And, the World Keeps Turning



https://youtu.be/ihhiSi_XnMM - Convictions of the Heart~Kenny Loggins

“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”
― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot

Today is Earth Day.  What exactly does it mean – that 45 years ago, it was decided that we needed to set aside one day in which to honor Mother Earth?  I appreciate the sentiment that peace activist, John McConnell, first proposed at the 1969 UNESCO Conference held in San Francisco, California.   Ah....yes.  The next question many of you may be asking is, WHAT is UNESCO?  It is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.  It’s purpose is to, “contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture, in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights, along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.” Whew! Wow!  THAT is a mouthful!  Plain and simple: let’s ALL respect Mother Earth~let’s all do unto others as we want them to do unto us!  Live and let live....in peace....in harmony.  Love IS the answer! Is this hippie, love-child rhetoric?  Who cares!  Is it too much to ask?  I don’t think so, but then, I’m a dreamer, you see...and, for the recored, I think we should honor our mother daily, not just once a year. But that’s me...
There has never been a more important time to respect the earth upon which we live.  Climate change surrounds us – not for the better, I might add.  Slowly, by greed that chokes her, and poisons–toxins which pollute her and strangle the life force from her, we are killing the earth upon which we live.  It is a sad, immoral state of affairs.  If you don’t believe in climate change or aren’t certain WHAT exactly it is, go to NOAA’s website, and research it for yourself.   http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/brochures/climate/Climatechange.pdf  
In simplest terms, climate change is a long-term shift in the statistics of our weather patterns – averages included.  Images of the Northwest Passage are staggering – when one looks at images of the Arctic from thirty years ago, compared to now the changes are visibly stark; the Alps have been warming at three times its global average.  Go look at pictures of the Alpine Glaciers and see for yourself the changes in recent years.  Last year, Kiribati, a small island in the Pacific, became the first country to declare that “global warming is rendering its lands uninhabitable,” and it is now seeking aid in evacuating its 100,000 inhabitants.  The waters are rising in some areas of the world, and disappearing in others.
The Great Barrier Reef is another area that is feeling the impact of climate change.  Here, an estimated 10 percent of its coral was lost to mass bleaching between 1998 and 2002.  Our oceans absorb the carbon dioxide we produce.   As a result, we’re shifting the PH balance of these waters. The first effected by such changes are sea life, namely, lobster, crab, mollusks and sea snails, etc, that use calcium carbonate to form their exoskeletons and shells.  Bleaching is becoming a serious problem in this area.  As these reefs vanish, so shall fish and other forms of ocean wildlife will follow in due course, like dominoes tumbling down.  The clock IS ticking...
Who’s noticed an increase in catastrophic-producing weather conditions, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunamis?  Let me make mention of  hurricanes: 81 billion dollars has been paid out in claims resulting from Hurricane Katrina and other storms that hit Florida during the 2004-2005 hurricane season alone.  Storms hitting various places in the world are stronger and more volatile than previously seen or recorded in our history, because it’s a consistent intensity that we are now dealing with, not the sporadic intensiveness in days of yore.  It’s not like a “Galveston” happens, then we have a 30-100- year break before another storm of that magnitude approaches and hits.   The weather-trinity {Motherlode} of deadliest U.S. storms: Galveston in 1900, the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane, and 2005's Katrina, {Category 4+ storms} are becoming more the norm than the rarity of predictions.
The dying roots of Darfur are not solely a result of the ethnic discord and tribulations of that region.  Decades-long drought has strangled the life force out of this belt, and slowly has begun encroaching into the areas of the Central African Republic and Chad.  When the U. N. Security Council held its first-ever debate over climate change, the Representative from Ghana stood and loudly declared his hope that the “repeated alarm about the threats posed by global warming would ‘lead to action that is timely, concerted and sustainable.’”
Climate change is here, and we’re living it – seeing the effects of it.  I need no debate.  I have eyes that can see and read.  I have ears that can hear and listen to what others who are more versed than I in such matters state are very real issues facing us.  I have intelligence that can understand and process the concerns that must be addressed and addressed SOONER rather than later!
Earth is such a beautiful planet.  She deserves to be respected and tended to properly, with loving care so that future generations will be able to see and enjoy the Rain Forests of Central America; The Australian Great Barrier Reef; the falls of Niagra and the Everglades of Florida in the United States; and the jungles and deserts of Africa.  The time is NOW to protect her!  It should NOT be negotiable!  We should be doing EVERYTHING in our power to sustain the earth on which we live!
Today is the 45 annual celebration of  Earth Day.  Dr. Maya Angelou said, “when you know better, you do better.”  We know that we have not been taking care of our planet as we should.  On this Earth Day, let’s all pledge to be better stewards.  Earth is the only place we have, after all,  that we know for a fact we can live upon.  As we celebrate today, may we not forget the words of the Prophet, Kahlil Gibran when he gave each of us THIS to consider: “And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair...”
Happy Earth Day 2015, Everyone!  May you be blessed, and may you be a blessing...Peace out~

https://youtu.be/wlR0KElxxVg - I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing~The New Seekers



https://youtu.be/OlNZN94_u-s - Big Yellow Taxi~Joni Mitchell

“If you want to be reminded of the love of the Lord, just watch the sunrise.” 
              ― Jeannette Walls 

https://youtu.be/GjcU25_mqDY  Julia Butterfly Hill ~ Divine Mirrors
https://youtu.be/SRxnIxs-4Fg   ~ Gift of Breath
https://youtu.be/3LpEBMlTODo ~ Ancestors to the Future
https://youtu.be/Ykd20ladr8E ~ Power of Love
https://youtu.be/Su8oVQ2aBt0 ~ Manifesting Heaven on Earth
https://youtu.be/_VnCgx-66f0  ~ Respect, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rejoice...

My husband had Ms. Butterfly Hill speak to his classes at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, MD back in 2004.  It was my high honor to have made her an unexpected lunch of Vegan Chili, Corn Muffins with Jalapenos and Vegan brownies, which she gave two thumbs up.  Tom still speaks of this experience with great respect and awe of what this woman accomplished.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Long And Winding Road...






https://youtu.be/YfQXkrwnaUI - The Long & Winding Road~Paul McCartney
https://youtu.be/iYuyar-rrNY - Yellow~Coldplay

come back later tonight for post.




Sunday, October 26, 2014

Butterfly



Life Lesson:


“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv'd but three summer days - three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.” 
― John Keats, Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne






Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne




What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.  ~Richard Bachman



http://youtu.be/stcdNj0SANw  - Butterfly~Mariah Carey






Saturday, May 3, 2014

Pure Yellow

Warning: There are a few profane words in this entry.  Sometimes, they are the only words that fit the sentiment.  I stand behind them.

Pure Yellow





Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.  ~C. S. Lewis

Courage is fear that has said its prayers.  ~Dorothy Bernard

http://youtu.be/bgiQD56eWDk Here Comes the Sun~The Beatles
http://youtu.be/iYuyar-rrNY  Yellow~Coldplay
http://youtu.be/qzZiDGmr9F8 Free Fallin’~Tom Petty


Today was a yellow day.  Perfectly — brilliantly yellow!  Good doesn’t begin to adequately describe it, and I felt good living it, and being aware of every moment of it.  You might be wondering what I’m talking about, and I shall tell you: today, Tom and I celebrate a friend who crossed the first item off of her bucket list of things she wants to do as she begins a new phase in the journey of her life.
To give you the back story so you’re up to speed: three weeks ago, my friend, Stephanie, was given a shitty diagnosis of terminal and inoperable cancer.  Stage IV Neuroendocrine Cancer, with a metastasis to the liver to boot.  Yeah.  It was a sucker punch [not to mention that it just plain sucked!] – one of those ones that hits you right in the gut, dead-center, and doubles you over....leaves you bent down for a while too as you try to catch your breath!  Stephanie is only 50.  She’s got a 10 year old son, and last summer, her other son made her a grandmother for the 1st time.  You can understand now why I referenced the diagnosis as “shitty”.  The following day, the oncologist didn’t make that suck-ass news any better when he told her there wasn’t much they could do for her at this point.  I mean, what are you suppose to do with that?   You’re trying to gear-up mentally for the fight of your life, when the doctor cancels that game plan.  It was sobering.  Surreal.  The entire weekend went back and forth like that — kinda like a see-saw.  Up and down the emotions went.  Back and forth the tears came.  I can only imagine what she must have been feeling!  No.  Scratch that.  I can’t.  I tried, but I can’t.  I hurt for her, and I was scared for her, like any friend would be.  I prayed a lot over the next few days because I believe in the power of prayer, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t ask for a miracle for her.   I’m not gullible!  Let me state that for the record.  But,  I’m a realist!  I prescribe to the philosophy of Anwar Sadat who once said, “you aren’t a realist unless you believe in miracles...” I do.  So, I asked God for one for her.  Asking for something can NEVER hurt!  NEVER.
Anyway.   Stephanie is a rare one.  She’s not going to roll over!  She’s not going to go quietly! Those were her words.   If this were a boxing match, I daresay it’s gonna be similar to the “Thrilla in Manilla” of 1975 between Ali and Frazier.   What I know of Stephanie, she gives as good as she gets...so, in other words, this isn’t going to be an easy fight for cancer!  Here’s a link if you’d like to check out the reference: http://boxrec.com/media/index.php/Muhammad_Ali_vs._Joe_Frazier_(3rd_meeting)  
Once she got her bearings back, she stated as much herself.  This cancer may have altered the overall scheme of things for her long-term plans, but she’s in the driver’s seat til the end of the road.  She wants to do as much as she can with the rest of her life, while she can – make some special memories for her children, and do those things that she thought she had more time left to do.  Again, her words.   She is an inspiration.  That’s all I can say.
That Sunday, she sat down and wrote up a fund-me page, because she’s a single Mom, and this diagnosis blind-sided her – the rest of us too.  She needs a little financial help to make this dream become a reality.  Dreams aren’t cheap!  Not the good ones, anyway! :-) {I’ll post her fund-me page at the end of this entry.}  If you want to donate a love offering, we “ain’t to proud to beg,” to help make this dream of hers come true.  She wants to do as much as she can, while she can.  Did I say that already?  Well, it bears repeating.  The time is now!  That’s a lesson for ALL of us: live now!  Don’t wait!  None of us are promised tomorrow.  No one knows what the future will or won’t bring us, so live now with NO regrets!  Those of you who know me know that, while I can be shy about asking for anything for myself, when it comes to my friends, I’m like a bull in a china shop!  There’s not a shy bone in my body, when it comes to asking for someone else!  Every $5 makes a difference and adds up!   If you can forgo a cup of store-bought Java for one day or a burger and fries and maybe donate $5 toward helping someone make some memories with their child become a reality, which one would REALLY make you feel better at the end of the day? That’s all I’m saying...
Now, the first thing on Stephanie’s list of things to do was skydiving or in the language of a person afraid of heights, as I am:  “ Oh my God! She’s ACTUALLY going to jump out of a plane at 14,000 feet above the earth!”
Brave.  I give her credit.  When she wrote on Facebook that she was going to do it, one image came to mind: Luke and Laura in the ‘93 return on General Hospital where Laura froze when she saw how high up they were and that Luke seriously wanted her to jump out into nothing but sky with NO net below her.  She became to scream – panic screams, and the only way he could get her to jump was to toss her purse out the door that had most of her important worldly possessions in it. {it’s on YouTube if anyone wants to see it.}  I think in that moment, I might be willing to even let go of my worldly possessions! [I hear you all calling me a chicken!] Okay, I’ll cop to that!
Truthfully, I think the ONLY way that I would go out of a plane at 14,000 feet is for someone to open the door and literally kick me out, even with my hands white-knuckled, holding onto the door jamb with EVERYTHING in me, but that’s me.   Stephanie, on the other hand, will go out full-force – just taking it all on.  I admire her fortitude.  She invited her friends and family to join her for this adventure.   I PM’ed her and told her that I’d be there in spirit, and would release a yellow balloon in solidarity.  So, now, you’re up to speed.
Friday, Stephanie left for Homestead, Florida with her youngest son.  Tom and I went out and got our yellow smiley face balloons that afternoon, after he got home from work.  We were ready for the big day.   Stephanie sent us all a message pertaining to Saturday: 10 a.m.~lift off.  She felt a mix of terrified excitement.  I understood that.   I felt a mix of terrified excitement for her!  So, I set the alarm and waited for the sun to come up.
I got up early.  It looked like a beautiful day at our end.  From hers, she reported early morning rain.
“Please, God!” I whispered, as I read that!  “Don’t let anything spoil this moment.”
I did the only thing I knew to do.  I sent out a song: “Here Comes the Sun.”
It did the trick.  The Beatles usually do! :-)
Not long after, she posted that she was on her way to the airport.
I leaned my head back and mouthed upward, “thank you!”
We waited for a bit longer for word that it was all a go.  Pictures were posted from the airport.  Stephanie rocked the look!  Let me tell you! I told her as much in a post.
Tom and I got our balloons and went out on our back deck as the music played: “Yellow” and “Free Fallin’”.  I took several pictures as we got ready to release our contribution to her moment.  We held hands as we counted down, then let them go and watched as they drifted higher and higher up into the blue, as the music played in the background.  It was a wonderful sight knowing that she was up there, and they were heading up to her! We watched until they disappeared from our view, then we went back inside, feeling a full gratitude moment.
I carried that image with me the rest of the day – those two balloons, side-by-side, floating up, up and away into the wild blue yonder up to our friend.  Later, I laughed, and cheered as I watched the image of her jumping toward earth, checking off the first item on a special “to do” list.  It was emotional.  I can only imagine the incredible feeling it must have been for her, as she sailed across the sky like a bird in high flight!
Stephanie, along with family and friends who are down in Homestead with her are having a fish fry tonight – making some special memories.   I told her Tom and I were going for ice-cream to top off the day’s celebration,  just like Chris Martin said to the audience before he sang “Yellow” to them.  And, so we did.  It was a popular night to go for ice-cream too!  By the time we got home, night was overtaking the sky.  I looked up and saw my father’s star, right beside the moon.  It’s not out every night.  But, I know he had to come out and give a two thumbs up for the day’s events, because he enjoyed “WOW” moments as much as the next guy, and today truly was one of those!  It was WOW and yellow all rolled up into one magnificent thing.  Pure yellow – NO other words.
I smiled as Tom and I walked to the side door.  We could hear the puppies barking their heads off as if we’d been gone for a week!  As we opened the door, they ran around in a crazy giddiness because we were back where we belonged, and all was right in their world.  Tom and I said some silly greetings to them, and they took off in play as I chuckled to myself and turned to close the door.   I thought about that sentiment for a moment: all’s right in the world.  On this day, it was! From the window of the door, I could see the moon high up in the sky.  As if sensing the importance of keeping with the day’s theme, it was yellow.  Not just ANY yellow though, a deep  golden one.  I smiled and thought of Stephanie:  Golden. Yellow. Brave. Bodacious. Beautiful. Loved.  Yeah....that’s what it had all been.  But, most of all: AMAZING!
Upward and onward, as they say.  On we go.  There are more adventures and memories to be made...


http://youtu.be/ddEV13ekyOU Stephanie's jump - May 4, 2014
http://youtu.be/T3JzcCviNDk  It Is Always Now~Sam Harris

http://www.gofundme.com/8hduh4 - Stephanie’s Fund Me Page