You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
*photographs courtesy of Google Chrome
In deciding what books to keep or donate before my move, I came across a small volume of poetry I hadn’t seen or touched in quite some time. A small hardcover, it cheerfully greeted me with a child’s colored hearts in red, pink and yellow on a cover of white. The title is, Journey Through Heartsongs, by Mattie J.T. Stepanek, published in 2001.
For those of you who don’t know, Mattie Stepanek, (July 17, 1990-June 22, 2004) wanted to be remembered as “a poet, a peacemaker, and a philosopher who played.” He was an amazing child who published seven best-selling books of poetry during his short thirteen years of life. Mattie had an innate sense of being, an intuition far beyond imagination which he brought not only to his poetry but to everyone he met. I urge all of you to read about his life at the following link. Quite simply, he was a remarkable being. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mattie_Stepanek
Mattie lived with the Chronic Condition of Muscular Dystrophy and left us all with gifts unimaginable. My own heartstrings sing a melody of lyrics thanks to his writing. It’s no accident that I rediscovered the jacket of this dusty book. I stopped to read it from cover to cover this morning, carefully placing it in a box next to some of my very favorites, marked, “Library.”
Sunrise is like a heavenly crystal ball.
In the little bit of time between night and day,
The angels look at the earth
To see how things are going and
To see how things will be.
The sky changes from dark
Into Angel-whites and Angel-golds.
The blackness of trees starts to glow with
Pinks and purples and oranges from their hearts.
And during each dawn,
All the Angels gather up and have
A celebration in God’s honor!
You can even watch
And join them in the celebrating.
Just look out into the sunrise,
Then jump into your own heart,
Float into the air like in a dream,
And pray with love and thank-yous
For your life, for your spirit, for your sunrise…
And for being a part of this heavenly crystal ball!
*painting courtesy of Google Chrome
Before I left Arizona last week, I saw my Great-Aunt one last time to say, “Good-By.” I picked her up from my relative’s house where she lived and slept. She had combed her short blonde hair pretty and straight, scrubbing her face shiny to glow in the sun. “Are you ready, Aunt Shirley?” “Oh, heaven’s yes,” she answered, her sparkling blue eyes twinkling.
As we drove to one of her favorite restaurants in town, we passed familiar cactus in the wide open desert together with several stray dogs roaming on the street. Aunt Shirley’s frail hands were folded in her lap. She fidgeted, knowing it was our last visit, for this trip at least. When would I be coming back? That’s what she was thinking, as I read her silent senior mind. My visits were one of the things that she most looked forward to.
It’s hard for me to leave, harder still for her to see me go. At 88 years old, she gets lonely. She is loved where she lives it is true, but for her, it is nearly the same every day. She can no longer see well enough to read her dear books or to be independent. She is unable to drive her fanciful convertible car, or even to simply walk her beloved dog, Bunky. Yet she is not one to ever complain. She’s lived a good life. She lives it still.
We stopped at a restaurant she most frequents named, J.B’s. It has a Senior menu that offers a little of everything. Aunt Shirley is very frail, and as usual, wasn’t very hungry. I mulled over the menu for a minute. Ordering for her is a challenge as I am forever trying to fatten her up. A nice waitress came by with a smile on her face and a pony tail in her hair with a big blue bow. She brought us water and coffee with cream. “Ahhhh!” There on the menu was the perfect picture of an item for someone not hungry, yet one that needed calories. A malted milkshake! “We’ll share it, please,” I said to the nice girl, the one with the big blue bow in her hair. “I’d like it extra thick, made with hot fudge and malted milk powder if you have it.” She smiled at me, glancing at Aunt Shirley while writing on her green tablet with a red colored pen.
Soon the waitress came back with a tall clear fountain glass. It spilled over the brim, dripping with scoops of chocolate ice cream, cocoa-colored milk, and thick hot fudge. She brought an extra matching glass, two striped straws wrapped in cream paper, and extra long silver spoons that made clinking sounds against the glasses. I started to pour half of the drink into Aunt Shirley’s tall glass before beginning to laugh. One clear glass was nearly full with the delicious confection while the other was still rising to the top! How could it be?
I examined my fountain glass like a science experiment, stirring it up with one of the extra long spoons. Was I missing something? Was it a bottomless glass? I peered at my Aunt to see her expression. She pondered me, her eyes wide with wonder, her pink lips parting in a smile as she scooted up to look deep into the vessel. We laughed. Was this a joke or something? Then we gave up. We drank our milkshakes, held hands, lived and loved. It was the perfect ending to our perfect visit.
It was The Magic Glass.
Indeed, one of the most horrible of all Chronic Conditions, if you will is perhaps Child Sexual Abuse.
Although I am in the midst of relocating, together with all that it entails: sorting, packing, boxing items for selling and hauling, etc., I discovered a most important post Reblogged a couple of years ago. Definitely worth repeating as sadly, child sexual abuse is never-ending.
Together, let’s speak for little voices who are silenced by brainwashing or fear. Believe in what you may see or feel, the goosebumps prickling at the back of your neck together with your inner instincts that may gnaw at the pit of your stomach. When something does not appear quite right there is usually a reason.
Save a child today.
Boz Tchividjian – a former child abuse chief prosecutor and the founder/director ofGRACE – expounds upon five of the most common characteristics of child predators (linked above):
1. Offenders may have many victims.
2. Offenders can be the most unsuspected people.
3. Offenders are not strangers.
4. Offenders often prey upon trusting and vulnerable young people.
5. Offenders minimize their criminal actions [i.e. victimize themselves].
For more from Boz Tchividjian, read “7 Ways to Welcome Abuse Survivors in Our Churches”
A bug on the ground, never seen before
Long and round, so different
Moving now, it floats on top of bricks
No legs in sight, scary I think
Fuzzy, crawling towards me
Slowly at first, like babies do
I’m kneeling down, not quite trusting
Sizing it up, close and cautious
Brown with yellow, it looks soft to me
Grandma says, “It’s okay to touch”
Gentle, with a whispered finger
Careful not to hurt
Guess what? It’s a caterpillar
Soon to be a butterfly
How can this be?
God’s magic, it’s a miracle
Crawling creature, soon to be ruffled wings
Lots of questions….
When will this happen? Is it true? Will the butterfly be blue?
Does it eat from a flower or drink from the fountain?
Will we see it dance in the garden or flutter near a rock?
Tell me, Grandma. Please, Grandma, P.L.E.A.S.E?
Sigh….Butterfly, I will see you in my dreams
Up..up..up, high in the sky where angels sing
Please wave to me with wings of blue on clouds of cream
‘Till then, I’ll never forget this lesson of bugs and miracles of God
Good-bye, Caterpillar, I love you, Butterfly…..
Faces are hidden in a mirror
Far below a peaceful bridge
Masked among nature’s beauty.
Fallen through the looking-glass
Eyes serene, soft of green
With voices, that whisper our way.
Fingers of leaves brush nearby branches
Grasping hands regardless of color
Hear the wails within the wind?
Gaze beneath still waters
Where all of life coexist, do you see?
Why not us? Can’t we try? I wonder why?
Look closing to see mirrored images
Cup your ear to hear what they say
Our hearts appear within the looking-glass
Beating proudly for all mankind
Future reflections of what may be?
Lying beneath a peaceful bridge
Eyes serene, soft of green
With voices, that whisper our way.
The skies were angry last night. Winds whistled through swaying trees. In the darkness, the sound of small quakes could be heard together with the padding of drums. Slow at first then faster beating in a rhythm that nearly shook my bed. Softer then louder. A rumble that reminded me of throw rugs my mother used to jar outside a long ago back door. Dust bunnies blowing away in the breeze…..
Listening, my eyes were closed to everything. I’m in a world full of black nothingness. Suddenly, a sense of hearing bloomed as if for the first time. An awakening in a world others would consider silent at that hour.
My husband’s back lay close beside. Even breaths. First in…then out. Soothing to me. The flat of my hand felt his warmth through the cool of fresh, crisp sheets.
An electric clock atop our nightstand. A snapshot within my mind. Glowing hands in fluorescent moved with every second. More sounds to my ears. Tick, tick-tock, tick-tock. Each second turning into minutes. turning into hours. turning into middle night foreverness.
Doodle dog slept near the end of our bed. I heard him roll over. A silver metal disk on his collar made a clinking sound against a matching buckle. He sighed, breathing out through the black of his nose with the pink spot on top. He slept. Even breaths from him with a touch of snoring. Yes, from Doodle dog!
Humming…the sound of a motor, followed by gusts of swirling fresh. An air-conditioner installed on our outside wall had kicked in. From the stark cement basement below, the sound of wafting breezes could be heard. Pushing up…blowing cooler air to our floor above. Maple stained in cinnamon color through bronze, grated vents directing the flow. Summer relief was felt.
A car drove by the front of our house. Not a truck or a motorcycle, but a car. It was small and drove by very slowly. The sound of it told me so. Smooth of four tires on a frame of metal. Small of crunch on a bleached, chip-sealed street. Not long before it was gone.
In the adjoining bathroom, sounds of a dripping faucet. How long has this been going on? I never heard or noticed it before. Small drops barely plopping to the bottom of a speckled sink the color of toast. Droplets falling in slow motion with an echo heard upon landing. So long before the next one fell, it seemed. Soon, seconds were counted together with our friendly electric nightstand clock. Anxiety began to build.
In the woods out back, sounds of the wind picked up again. A whoosh together with a dog howling. Or was it a coyote? We have them here you know. Hiding in the woods. Suddenly, the skies became angrier than earlier. Thunder rumbled, flashing with lightning in the distance. My eyes opened at the crack of it. Rain pounded into the patio and beat into flower beds with all of Heaven’s vengeance. Once my vision adjusted to surrounding shadows, no other sounds were heard again.
Sleepiness finally came.
*photo courtesy of Google Chrome
Ohhh, if only I could have captured the playful dance scampering in the rain among the thatch of green! So mesmerized, I couldn’t look away. A silent whisper to my ear. “Do not move, for in a second the beauty of this may disappear.”
Gray skies hovered above flowered fields altering between drizzles and downpours during all of this past week. Temperatures fluctuated from the tip-top of hot before crashing to cool.
As I gazed out the glass to the back of my yard, sheets of light, steady rain continued to fall, creating a small stream. The shallow water swirled around a row of tall pines toward the willow tree. Suddenly a flash of colored honey caught my eye.
As if Walt Disney himself waved his magic wand from above, a family of four left their little forest land to wander upon the soft carpet of my lawn.
One by one, a young buck of fuzzy horns, together with his beautiful doe and two spotted fawns slowly began to eat foliage while heaven’s showers fell upon their backs. She was on high alert, eyes darting in all directions while twins bounded out of sight. Suddenly, spindly legs scampered around the corner.
The doe came closer to my patio, trying to reel her babies in, but they were having none of it. Instead, they began to tease her with play. She did not appear happy. Her tail of white raised straight up while she stomped her right front hoove. The fawns continued running back and forth in a zig-zag pattern right beneath the wet of their mother’s shiny black nose.
Finally, the doe did something I had never seen before. She began to PLAY with the twins, imitating them two or three times by taking a few steps forward before backing up to wait for them to do the same. Which they did, before playfully running to and fro in front of her.
The rain continued to fall, steady drops from the sky soaking all below, incouraging life to survive and thrive….and yes, even take time to play.
*photo rights http://www.curiousnaturalist.com and Google Chrome
Sitting in the meadow he gathered spoil of flowers, plucking them one by one with a joyful heart.”
*photo courtesy of Google Chrome
For several months my husband and I have been thinking about downsizing. Finding a house a bit smaller. Maybe even traveling to a warmer state? But in the back of my mind were smiles and giggles of grand-babies. How could I leave them? Then came an announcement that Grand-baby number six was on the way. The perfect package to rock under the Christmas tree. Still, we live about an hour away from my oldest son and his family. Even worse, we are more than states away from my youngest son and his brood of five who live in South Carolina.
Even our closest family is too far away to scoop our grand-babies up for an hour of play or take them for a ride through a shaded park. It’s nearly impossible for a spur of the moment visit. Rarely, are we able to watch our oldest grand-daughter jump off the balance beam or swirl and twirl in pink satin toe shoes. Everything we do together has to be pre-planned with much of their little lives passing us by. We simply live too far away….
So, a couple of months ago we decided to take the plunge. Make a move that will change the whole of our lives. Find a place to live that will give us more family time and allow us more time to travel too! I worked day and night to get our home ready for sale. No easy feat. Nowadays it must look like a magazine photo shoot. The old adage it true, “You only have one chance to make a good first impression.” After one showing we received a contingent offer which seems to be all wrapped up this week, allowing us to move on to the next phase. Panic has set in because I have no idea where I’m going, and I’m sad at the same time to leave my home. At the same time, I’ll be closer to my family which in the end will all be worth it.
I soon learned that sorting through boxes of memories stuffed in caramel colored cardboard is so very difficult. What to take to the next stage of life? Tape me up and tie me with a string! Of course, material possessions are not the most important thing. Relationships are. My family is, which is the reason for the move in the first place. And yet when I clasp a tiny clay bowl fired and glazed by my son nearly thirty years ago, how can I let go? Why do things like this touch me so? Forever in the palm of my hand……
Although not finished yet, I’ve done a pretty good job of combing and dividing everything up. There are rows of boxes to take to the next house, wherever that may be, and other’s overflowing with treasures to be donated. Several cartons gently wrapped and packed with dolls carefully chosen for each grand-daughter, many of them handed down from my own mother. If only she were here to one day see joyous little faces pop pink peanuts from the very top! Currently, I’m in the midst of all the ‘fun’ stuff, calling for all inspections, making minor repairs, and praying I find a new home VERY SOON.
Before the end of summer, I’ll be leaving my cozy, turret office space where I’ve written words nearly every day for the last several years. And, yes, the back of my yard too, where deer, turkey, and other wildlife play. My little forest land where red cardinals and blue birds sing in the green of the trees will soon play lyrics for a family of new. They are the perfect couple to live here, which makes for a happy heart beating in my chest. I know the two of them will fill the brick walls of my home with warmth and love for years to come.
This morning, just after sunrise, I woke to walk Doodles where trees and grasses and weeds grow freely not so far away. The air was cool with a slight breeze that rejuvenated me from the inside to the out. Sunlight bounced off tips of trees, angling just right, allowing me to snap pictures of life others might not notice or simply pass by. I, on the other hand, wanted to lay among the damp grass, soaking every wet bead from each emerald blade into my pores while looking into the clear blue heavens above.
Sweet weeds of future inspiration……