---Alice Abrams

Friday, December 29, 2006

Echoes of "...In the Air"

The past few days have been so heavy - so much news, most of it awful. I thought I'd throw in something for "giggles" sake. A good laugh is nourishment for the soul! I love ducks, and the fact that they're not in the least concerned to look ridiculous while going after a meal should give us all something to think about!!!

Echoes of a "President"

In Honor of a President: Gerald Ford died at age 93, leaving behind his wife, Betty, 88, and four children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I didn't know a lot about him but I do know that he stepped into his position in history at a very difficult time and did a very brave thing. He pardoned Richard Nixon. He realized that the country was out for Nixon's blood and coming on the heels of Viet Nam, what this country needed was healing, not more blood-letting.

Listening to the comments over the past couple of days, I've learned that he (unlike me) was not a klutz. He was a football star and turned down a football scholarship. He had a knee injury (do I relate to that) that caused him to miss his footing and appear clumsy. He also had a very good golf handicap. I can't speak for the people who happened to land in the path of errant golf balls!

He was faithful to his church (Episcopal) and loved his wife and family deeply. He wanted no pomp and circumstance in life and allowed for just a little in death. His wife acknowledged very publicly a substance dependency and through her brave admission, has provided help for many others.

A common man, brought to the highest office in the land by the shame of another, yet bringing to bear the satisfaction of living life, not in the limelight, but as one who could look himself in the mirror, knowing he had accomplished much.

The irony of the past few days: the funeral of a musical icon who was a junkie, wife-beater and totally immoral; a former president of the US; a dictator hanged. I wonder who will receive the most media coverage.

Echoes of "Justice"

It's very cold outside, with a clear sky
and the promise of frost in the morning.
I'm sipping very hot chai tea with a bit of
cream. That sweet little shih tzu of mine
is curled up next to me, all worn out after
a frenzied game of fetch with a ratty old

A couple of hours ago, Saddam Hussein was
dangling at the end of a rope, refusing the black hood and telling his executioners to "go to Hell."
A very befitting end to a coward responsible
for the murder of so many of his own people.
I shouldn't gloat, but I wonder what he felt as his eyes opened in eternity and he faced, not Allah, but Jehovah, with not a single virgin in sight. Our young men and women have paid a steep price to attain his death. I pray that the insurgents will be stopped at the gates as they feed off the smell of death and the opportunity to create more hatred.

God, please bless the USA. We need your blessings over this land...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Echoes of "Blessings"

Blessings - how often we miss them or take them for granted, overlooked in the "busyness" of the day. Walking along the sidewalk, too busy darting along our path to notice the clouds in the sky, the shadows falling alongside us, or the pattern of a fallen leaf.

Blessings - sometime they are literally handed to us: our children after they make their entrance into this world; the hand of our new spouse after vows have been exchanged; the key to our first home.

Blessings - some blessings are the gift of the heart: the day spent chatting with a dear loved one, or sharing a cup of coffee with your spouse, or an unexpected gift - a heart gift that can be shared with another loved one.

As the year draws to a close, I look to the heavens and realize that I have been blessed abundantly, over and over again. Sometimes I realized the blessing and held it in my heart and other times I was negligent and missed it. I want to journey into the new year with eyes wide open and earnestly look for blessings and be thankful.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Echoes of "Merry Christmas"

Merry Christmas to all!

This photo was taken last Christmas and was a happier moment. Christmas eve has been very quiet but we haven't let the little black clouds hover too much.

Lynne and I had a "chat-a-thon" - I need her to know that it was the highlight of my day and cemented the importance of family and being connected to someone to knows me, really knows me and that I feel so safe with. She was my gift! Thanks....I love you dearly and I have faith that her Christmas will bless her.

I had a phone call from my granddaughter this evening and she casually mentioned her "husband." I didn't even know she was married. When did the dis-information highway get so off-track??? She's been married for two months and I just found out...ain't life grand. I sometime feel as if it's a conspiracy to really make me feel stupid!!! Anyway, she sounded happy.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Echoes of a "Gratitude Journal"

Several posts ago I vowed to return to the practice of using my "Gratitude Journal" to pull myself out of negativity-land. That lasted all of about 2-3 days. The sadness of the season descended and I really forgot to be grateful for anything. I started looking at all of the images I have stored and was trying to choose which one to use for my next posting. The beauty of creation overwhelmed me. I decided to take a quick moment and find three things to be grateful for:

FAITH: The sun always rises - a promise to us. The world revolves and every morning we know one thing, the sun will be coming up in the east. At certain times of the year it may be hidden by inclement weather, but we know, by faith, that it is there. That is faith - we trust in what we cannot see.

HOPE: Emily Dickinson called it the "thing with feathers that perches in the soul..." People that survived the holocaust did so by keeping hope in their souls. Read Elie Wiesel's book, "Night," sometime. Perhaps the most famous usage of the word "hope" is used in "The Divine Comedy," as Dante enters the Gate of Hell: "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here." When hope is gone, the human soul perishes.

LOVE: "The greatest of these is love..." Can any one of us attest to any emotion more powerful than love? LOVE your neighbor as yourself. For this a man will lay down his life for a friend, a mother will surrender her life for her children, a saviour will become a man and die a miserable death to save mankind. And how many of us will reject this gift? LOVE. Agape. Amen.

For these three things, I am truly grateful.

Echoes of "Giving"

I have been so despondent about the season and my lack of Christmas cheer. I was thinking about my son and his girlfriend. They're staying in a garage at her dad's house, which is not insulated and using electric blankets for warmth. She feels her mom's departed spirit in the house and doesn't do well with her father, hence the garage.
Yes, folks, it's a long story. My son collects broken people like I collect antique glassware. He loves her dearly although she is unmedicated and needs to be!
So we decided that we have to have them with us, at least at Christmas. I can't stand the thought of them all by themselves, no money, no cheer or warmth. Yes, some of it's self-induced but as long as they're sober, we can lend a hand. The true lesson of Christmas is in the giving of yourself. We talked about helping out at the homeless shelter but my back won't allow me to stand for more than fifteen minutes without hollering, and it dawned on me. Charity does begin at home, after all. We can reach out to our own hurting flesh and blood and offer ourselves.

Echoes of "Promises"


Echoes of "Lost in the Snow"

For the past ten days, I've been following the story of the three men lost while climbing Mt. Hood in Oregon. Yesterday, the rescuers found the body of one of the men in a snow cave - the other two are still missing. With all of the activity and noise of the helicopters, I'm afraid they're dead as well or they would've shown themselves by now. The brother of the deceased climber said that he was happiest on the mountain because he felt closer to God and now, he was lifted off the mountain into eternity.

Before this drama played out, a young family took a wrong turn driving home from Oregon to San Francisco, got caught in a horrific snow storm. James Kim set out for help, leaving his wife and two small daughters in the car. After nine days, they were found alive and well but Mr. Kim developed hypothermia and perished before help arrived.

None of these men knew when they left their loved ones for the final time that they would lose their way in blinding snow and fierce storms. Now there are four broken families and children who will grow up without the touch of a father's hand or guidance. There will be empty chairs and empty broken hearts this Christmas. My prayers go out to all of these whose Christmas celebration has been extinguished this year.

My own sorrow for my hurt and loss diminishes when placed in the proper perspective. Time. I just hope I have enough time to work things through. You never know when your life may be required of you. Live each moment as if it were your last.

"A Great Quote"

"Dogs are children that are never quite able to grow up, no matter how smart they are. And so they always make us feel important and needed. We are. We always have our place with them. And we know what that place is, in contrast to our relationship with many of the members of our own species that we encounter in life." ---Roger A. Caras

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Echoes of a "Mother's Heart"

My mother's heart aches tonight. My family is fragmented and my heart hurts. I am "estranged" from my brother and my son is "estranged" from his sister. My son called me this afternoon. I was so happy to hear from him, yet a call or visit from him is usually a very stressful ordeal. He is never happy with his lot in life, he sees himself as a victim in the never-ending chapters of his life's story.

He is one of the most giving people I know, but if he feels he has been wronged, he will not let it go. He feels his sister has betrayed him and he cannot keep from taking her to task over and over again to me when he calls. I've let him know that I cannot, will not take sides and that I love them both deeply.

His sister, on the other hand, feels he has let her down and is deeply hurt by his behavior. And here I am, at odds with my brother. What an example I am!!! And all I want is for this family to be healed...

My brother and I had our "difficulty" in August, 2004. Doug passed away in April, 2005. When I called my brother to let him know that Doug was in the hospital and was critical, I hadn't spoken to him since that August, but he was instantly my "little brother" again. He was concerned about all of us and was here for the funeral and was most comforting to me. But afterwards, it has been up to me to do the e-mailing. I have to find out his news by reading his blog. I've apologized but I just can't seem to make it right.

My son feels that Doug's death was the worst thing, besides his dad's death, that has ever happened to him. He feels as though shop personnel took advantage of his sister after Doug's death and that his sister doesn't see it and has taken sides with them over him. They are both nurturing a deep pain, all resulting from things that occured after Doug's death. It grieves me to think how Doug would feel if he could know what has happened to all of us since '04. He was in rehab that summer and in pain most of the time he had left on this earth.

I can only pray that God will touch this little family of mine and heal our hearts and give us all peace.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Echoes of a "Mother's Touch"

This picture reminds me of my mother. She always made Christmas special. She WAS Christmas. She did all the baking, candy making (including divinity!), the festive dinner, and her special pies - pecan and mincemeat. I know I should've stepped up to the plate and taken over her duties after she died. At first, we did pretty good. Mick, my daughters and I toughed it out and did all right. My brother resisted bringing in the formal dining table, so that bit the dust. Then the girls had responsibilites with their other families, Wally and my work schedules were unpredictible (sometimes having to drive home the same day), so Christmas has fallen between the cracks. We were hanging on by a thread with the kids here until Doug died. The world stopped when he left us.

Maybe I can have Wally find us some tamales and I'll make enchiladas (one turkey a year is plenty) and maybe Marie Calendar can furnish a pie or two. Maybe I can find some joy somewhere if I look inside deep enough...

Echoes of "Old Man Winter"

Winter won't be here officially for another week but it's definitely on the way. Monday, we broke a record for the day - it was 81.
I'm having a hard enough time trying to find some semblance of a Christmas spirit and it's impossible when it's that warm.

Got my wish. It's supposed to rain tomorrow and frost again Saturday with a high of 45 on Monday. That's a little more like it.

I see photos like this and wonder where the road leads...In my imagination, I pretend it leads to a beautiful valley, dusted with crisp, beautiful snow, with a winding stream running through the valley. Maybe a deer or two ambling down to the stream to drink. Where does the road take you?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Echoes of "Christmas' Past"

When did the joy of Christmas leave my heart? Christmas always meant tons of food, family and a lot of joy. Now, it is a dead spot in my soul. No spark, just an ember. When did it all die?
I haven't left the house in three weeks and I've only seen the neighbor's lights. I see the advertisements on TV and all of the catalogs and banners on the web. That's no way to fan the flames. All of the commercialization has made me heartsick anyway. The news just portrays one more rabbi or atheist who's gotten their panties in a wad over the nativity scene in an airport or some such is CHRISTMAS, after all!!!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Echoes of a "Small World"

In spite of our "connectedness" via the electronic world, e-mail, computers, cellphones, etc., one man's death shows just how small the world really is.

My daughter was in London a few weeks ago. Nothing amazing about that - a lot of people visit London. What makes this trip unsual is that the former spy, Alexander Litvinenko, stayed on the eighth floor of the same hotel in which my daughter and her friend stayed. They were on the sixth floor. And of course, in the elevators (lifts), lounge, pub, etc. It seems as though every day you read of yet another victim of polonium poisoning. Her friend has visited her doctor and they are tracking dates and times. My daughter also met a gentleman who works for Scotland yard and he is keeping her abreast via e-mail.

The possibility of my daughter and her friend being inflicted with this is extremely small but it's unnerving, just the same.

A small world? And getting smaller all the time...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Echoes of a "Soulmate..."

To My Soulmate - When all else fails, it's you and me - whoever needs sheltering, we've got each other covered! Love you~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Echoes of Thoughts...

I took this shot in the back yard before the first frost, as the liquid amber was starting to turn color but the poor bougainvilla thought it was still summer, along with the feathery (Darn it! Can't think of the name!!! It grows all over southern CA and it doesn't do well here because of the colder has clumps of beautiful purple flowers in the spring - all I can think of is Mimosa, and that's not the one. The aging process, through which our brain cells slough off all over the carpet, sucks.). Anyway, as I was saying....
(Oh, by the way - It's a Jacaranda!!! and this is a week later...)

I've been all over the blogs, reading some wonderful, profoundly thoughtful people's take on different things. I will try to remember (good luck with that!) to add a couple every so often.

One in particular, deals with a subject, that while reading, dropped a bomb on me. It deals with the difference between guilt and shame. It's something I had never thought much about and had always used them as synonyms. But not so. I thought I had been dealing particularly with guilt, recognizing that, with my brand of Christianity, guilt was something that had been dealt with for me by Christ's death on the cross. Holding on to guilt was something my depression has been feeding upon and multiplying like little amoebas (sp?).

I'm including the link here because Dr. Bob deals with this subject in a wonderfully clear manner and I'm mucking it up. But shame is something I realize has lived in me since I was a child like a zygote that never fully formed but took up home in my cells.

Okay, something to state from the outset: I do NOT blame my mom for my raising! She was born in 1917 and I was a hell-child in the mid-1960's. Can anybody realize what a cultural shift that was? I remember catching holy hell because some pimply teenaged boy wrote in my year book what a "Bitchen Babe" I was. You would've thought he'd written about the great sex we'd had! Yikes! I didn't understand then, but I do now. My mother's framework with me was to "shame" me into proper behavior. She never gave me direct instructions about certain behaviors but expected me to perform them inspite of not knowing what they were.

A remembrance: I walked to Knott's with the pastor's son. We were both 15 and had permission to do so. I remember walking into the store holding hands with "Buddy," and my mother looking at me as though I had walked in stark naked! The look - my brother and I joke about the look, but the look could kill. I got the dreaded look. I didn't exactly know what I'd done wrong but I figured it had something to do with the holding of hands...She barely said "hello," to either one of us and it was excrutiatingly painful.

There are dozens of other remembrances of this sort but I remember the feeling of shame like a red hot poker in the gut. No, I don't blame her. As I look back now as an adult, I realize she was just passing along the same method of raising I assume she received. My grandmother was a school teacher who probably perfected the look!
to be con't.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Echoes of "Silliness"

So many captions, so little time!!! Join the fun and add your own!
1. We're off to see the wizard...
2. This is carrying the whole "metrosexual" thing way too far!
3. No, I think I look better than you do.
4. Face it, we both look like idiots.
5. Looks like we have the same proctologist, huh?
6. What kind of handbag do you carry with a get-up like this?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Echoes of Gratitude

I found my "Gratitude Journal," a few months ago. I think I made ten or eleven entries several years back. I started again in April of this year and then it got put away when we had the house painted.

On the front page of the newspaper this morning was an article entitled, "Being Happier Stumps Science," (Malcolm Ritter, AP science writer). The article is quite lengthy but worth looking up. The premise is that studies show "for decades, a widely accepted view has been that people are stuck with a basic setting on their happiness thermostat. It says the effects of good or bad life events like marriage, a raise, divorce, or disability will simply fade with time.

We adapt to them just like we stop noticing a bad odor ...after a while. ...But recent long-term studies have revealed that the happiness thermostat is more malleable than the popular theory maintained, at least in its extreme form. 'Set-point is not destiny,' says psychologist Ed Diener of the University of Illinois.

As a motivation speaker and executive coach, Caroline Adams Miller knows a few things about using mental exercises to achieve goals. But last year, one exercise she was asked to try took her by surprise.

Every night, she was to think of three good things that happened that day and analyze why they occurred. That was supposed to increase her overall happiness.

'I thought it was too simple to be effective,' said Miller. 'I went to Harvard. I'm used to things being complicated.'

Miller was assigned the task as homework in a master's degree program. But as a chronic worrier, she knew she could use the kind of boost the exercise was supposed to deliver.

She got it.

'The quality of my dreams has changed, I never have trouble falling asleep and I do feel happier.'
she said.

Results may vary, as they say in the weight-loss ads. But that exercise is one of several that have shown preliminary promise in recent research into how people can make themselves happier - not just for a day or two, but longterm. It's part of a larger body of work that challenges a long-standing skepticism about whether that's even possible.

The think-of-three good things exercise that Miller, the motivations speaker, found so simplistic at first is among those being tested at the University of Pennsylvania.

People keep doing it on their own because it's immediately rewarding. It makes people focus more on good things that happen, which might otherwise be forgotten because of daily disappointments.

Miller said the exercise made her notice more good things in her day, and that now she routinely lists 10 or 20 of them rather than just three.

Any long-term effect will probably depend on people continuing to work at it, just as folks who move to Southern California can lose their appreciation of the ocean and weather unless they pursue activities that highlight those natural benefits, said Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychologist at the University of Riverside.

'Happiness is the process, not the place', says Diener. 'So many of us think that when we get everything just right, and obtain certain goals and circumstances, everything will be in place and we will be happy...but once we get everything in place, we still need new goals and activities. The Princess could not just stop when she got the Prince.' "
So, in light of this, I think it's time I seek out my gratitude journal and begin finding at least three things to be grateful for everyday!

Echoes of "Wet Fur"

These are my unlicensed therapists. Look at those eyes...don't they look bright and caring?
They listen to my every hurt and heartache. And the best part? I never get a bill.

Throughout my life I have always had a dog. And from my youngest days, I can remember the feeling of pouring out my heart to my fuzzy psychiatrists and spilling tears onto shiny coats and never feeling rejected.

Warm wet noses, gentle brown eyes and wet fur.

Echoes of Shadows

I took this photo because the shadow intrigued me. Shadows create the "light against dark" that make a picture more interesting than just a flat image.

We carry shadows on our souls and hearts - reflections of our lives, words said and deeds done, by us and to us. They create who we are, how we react to situations in our lives that fling us back into the past where a shadow formed. We cannot remove these shadows - they are permanent. What we can change is our reaction when these shadows loom large again and cause us pain.

I dwell in "Shadowland," where the shadows threaten to overwhelm who I should be. Instead, I live with past hurts and rejections and allow them more space than they are entitled to. I suppose this is true of most people who are chronically depressed. We've all been told about those "tapes" that play in our brains, you know - the negative tapes that replay over and over again every single thing we've been told about ourselves that hurt. "You're stupid, you're fat, you're lazy," all the hateful things we heard on the playground and in our homes. We've been told to replace the negative tapes with positive tapes. be con't.

One of the first things I read this morning:

Nurturing Yourself
Cognitive Restructuring

Just for a moment, picture yourself as a child clutching a ribbon tied to a beautiful helium-filled balloon. As long as you hold the ribbon, the balloon will do your bidding, following where you lead. But if the ribbon slips out of your hand, the balloon soars upward and you lose control over it. It may go only as far as the ceiling of the room you’re standing in, or it may fly into the sky.
The thoughts that race through your mind sometimes follow suit. You may start with a simple thought, such as "the train is late," only to have it drift out of control. "I’ll be late to work. I won’t make it to my meeting on time. My boss will be angry with me. My job is in jeopardy."

Sometimes even seemingly happy thoughts hurtle down the same track. "Wonderful, the lab report says my biopsy results are negative!" can quickly turn to "I wonder how good that lab is? Maybe the results were positive, and the lab didn’t pick it up. Cancer that’s undetected gets worse. By the time the error is found, it could be too late."

Cognitive distortions: These scenarios are examples of cognitive distortions. They can engage the stress response almost as easily as a growling Doberman bounding in your direction. So, too, can the barrage of negative thoughts that many people play through their minds on an endless loop, or flip on automatically when faced with certain people or situations. Familiar examples include: "I look awful," "I can’t do this," "I’m stupid," "I’m such a screw-up," and "I’m a loser." The voice may be yours or that of someone else from your life, such as an overly critical parent.

Even in the absence of obviously stressful situations, this inner critic can make you miserable and stressed. Cognitive therapy is built on the premise that thoughts and perceptions shape moods and emotions. A stream of highly negative thoughts may contribute to depression and anxiety. These negative thoughts are often riddled with irrational distortions and exaggerations. They can be examined and deflated, though, once you learn the skills of cognitive restructuring, a cognitive therapy technique that helps people change the way they think.

Cognitive therapy (I "googled" Cognitive Therapy and went to Wikipedia for this definition. It has much more information and definitions. I highly recommend!)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Cognitive therapy or cognitive behavior therapy is a kind of psychotherapy used to treat depression, anxiety disorders, phobias, delusional disorder and other forms of mental disorder.
It involves recognizing unhelpful or destructive patterns of thinking and reacting, then modifying or replacing these with more realistic or helpful ones. Its practitioners hold that clinical depression is typically associated with negatively biased thinking and irrational thoughts. Cognitive therapy is often used in conjunction with mood stabilizing medications to treat bipolar disorder

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Echoes of "The Dream of Peace..."

I was given a great gift. I had a dream that brought healing and hope; sweetness and light; faith and peace.

My parents were 30 when I was born, and then a teen-ager in the sixties. They were born in 1917 and 1919. It's difficult to image the immense changes in science and technology, let alone culture. I was extremely close to my dad but I gave him a lot of grief in high school. My mom let me know just how much grief: high blood pressure. He died a few years later of a massive heart attack. I took it upon myself to carry the weight of his death on my shoulders, placing the responsibility of his heart attack on my actions.

I never had the opportunity to know him as an adult. I was barely 21 when he died. I never said, "I'm truly sorry." I prayed one night and asked God to please tell my dad how very sorry I was for the hurt I had caused.

One morning, I awoke after having the most vivid dream of my life. It was brief but as clear as if I had literally walked into the scene and taken a photograph of every image and nuance.

The Dream ~~~It was nighttime and cold. You could see your breath in front of you. I was at a train station right out of the 1940's. There was a structure under which the train pulled in, steam and smoke boiling out of the engine and from underneath the big beast. I've never cared much for trains but this one was special. I had an air of anticipation and even though I was standing back in the distance watching, I knew I had to come closer. A door opened and a man, wearing an overcoat and a fedora stepped through, turning to give his hand to a woman, wearing a heavy winter coat with a fur collar, and a hat. They were definitely dressed in clothing from the '40's. They stepped onto the platform and looked toward me, as though they were expecting me. Through the dim station lights, steam and foggy air, I could finally see their faces. It was my mother and father.

They looked just as they did in photographs I had seen when they were in Washington D.C. during the war. Young, bright-eyed, and very much in love. As their eyes alighted on me, my mother rushed toward me with her arms outstretched, my father following quickly behind her. I hurried to them and as we met, we gathered each other in an embrace, holding on tightly, the three of us. My mother said, "We love you." And I knew that this was the greatest gift of all: Forgiveness.

I reveled in their closeness and the sweetness of their presence, their essence, their being. There were no other words said and as we continued to embrace, I could hear the steam from the train, still standing on the platform and I knew our time together was at a close. We walked toward the train and they mounted the steps. As they withdrew from my grasp, they once again said, "We love you," and the train slowly pulled away from the station, into the night. I could see their breath in the air as they waved slowly, smiling at me until I could no longer see their faces.

I have never believed that dreams have a purpose or are anything other than busy thoughts of our daily lives and inner turmoil. Until now.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Echoes of a Gray Heart...

Thanksgiving is in two days. I forgot to mail my cousin's birthday card so it would get to her in time so I sent her an e-card. How thoughtful of me. She is always on time and I'm a day late and dollar short. I think about these things for days and then, when the time gets close, I drop the ball. I have a project for her I've been thinking about and working on in my mind, but I haven't been able to actualize it. I hate this about myself.

Thanksgiving - I have no idea where my son is, haven't talked with my oldest, and my youngest and her boys are going to my brother's. I felt a subtle "grayness" creep into my veins and fill up my heart. When C asked me about it, I told her there was no way we could go because of the "dog issue," and even at that, it's about $75 just to board the birds for that length of time (Wednesday-Monday). I asked Wally about just going down for Friday for dinner and he told me he really doesn't feel like he wants to beat himself up by driving 4-6 hours that day, and that he doesn't feel that he wants to be around KR right now.

I told him that I had tried so hard not to let my problem with him seep into other's relationships. I told L & C that they needed to overlook my issues and not let it influence them. But my poor husband is the one that saw me fall apart and weep, not understanding what I'd done. He's had to bear the brunt of my breakdown and he can't let go. I understand that. I am sorry for it, as well. He once said that KR was like the brother he never had. One mistake, one misunderstanding and a family is torn asunder. Maybe that's too harsh a term, after all, I'm free to go down anytime I like. It's just no longer my home. I should've gotten over that a long time ago. It stopped being home when my mom died. I just didn't get it.

THANKSGIVING - I have a lot of things to be thankful for. I do have people that love me, I just make it so difficult for them. I retreat and push away at the same time. Even though I sometimes wish I no longer exist, I do. I would never wish pain on those I love. Somewhere, deep inside of me, a primal part of me, I could never bring shame or pain to Wally, my children, or Lynne.

That I take refuge in my belief in God and His grace to see us all through the messes in our lives; the shadows that linger. For that I give Thanks.

I give Thanks to God for His saving grace - without it, I wouldn't be able to find my way in the dark and embrace the morning light.

Echoes of a Gray and Foggy Day...

It's a gray and foggy day here, has been now for a couple of days. My view is not quite the same as it is here, looking out over the valley over the Napali coastline on Kaua'i. I have a much more limited vista from my own front porch (and much colder!).

Corinne got in from London late last night. She almost didn't make it at all. She lost her passport! She was surrounded by armed men at the airport and after three hours of intense manuevering and phone calls, managed to make her flight home.

Take note: For frequent travelers abroad - store a copy of your passport in your computer and store it where you can access it from an internet navigator.

She had a wonderful time - saw all the landmarks this time, stayed away from bangers, steak and kidney pie and warm ale. But she did have a $40 waffle at the hotel! They met a Scottish cop from (where else but) Scotland, an Aussie from New York, and Gail's online beau from Liverpool. They spent a day in Paris, which, unfortunately, was not very enjoyable due to a massive lack of sleep from the night before. She thinks she saw the "Arch de Triumphe," but isn't real sure. They drove by the Louvre on a bus but decided not to stop because it was too large to do justice to...

Some French man asked her if she'd ever slept with a frenchman. She asked him if that wasn't a "bit too bold to be asking." He told her he'd willingly oblige. I'm sure he would. They ordered lasagne for lunch because they couldn't understand the menu. They were too afraid of winding up with some strange, exotic dish so stuck with the familiar. C'est la vie, n'est pas???

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Echoes of More Beauty

I don't want to end the day on a sour note so I'll add some photos that I've FINALLY learned to download from my Kodak gallery. And it was SO easy. Duh...

1. The mighty Kern river! White water rafting is popular. People from out of county love to come up for swimming and that's where the problems begin. Beautiful but oh, so deadly...
2. The leaves of the Canna Lilly are striped so
colorfully and they match the coleus well. Hmmm. Have to remember that for the next planting...
3. Wally loves coleus so I always try to plant some every spring. These turned out very well...

Echoes of Arrogance

This fractures me. The art is crappy, for one thing, even for a children's book. Liberals talk about unity constantly, then in books slanted especially for children, they start brainwashing by pointing out how terrible Republicans are.

Isn't that sweet...Oh, by the way. The reason I found this, it was on an Amazon ad for "the book George Bush doesn't want you to read." I guess not! Nor would any other thinking person!!!

For further arrogance, check out the author's note under "contact author." She evidently can dish it out, but please don't bother her with a rebuttal. Coward.

Echoes of Beauty

It was a typical fall day today...clear skies, chilly, bright colors, crisp. So why am I posting a photo of a palm tree? This is a shot I took by the river the day we took the trip to the fern grotto. I want to paint this some day, when my paints aren't all packed up and I can get to all of my supplies. Hawai'i is beautiful in the fall, too. We've been there in May, September and October. The colors are always the same. Everything is bright and alive, and in Kaua'i, it's probably wet! That's what I loved so much - the dampness and earthiness of the place.

The fern grotto was coming back after being devastated by a hurricane (can't remember which one). I was running around snapping photos right and left, of the ferns and Wally...and a young German tourist came up to me and asked me if he could take a photo of me and Wally together with my camera. He said we looked so much in love! I honestly think that's one of the nicest things a stranger has ever said to me.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Echoes of Fun and Fonts

Kaysar...the most beautiful face on Big Brother -whatever number it was. I have always had a "thing" for dark, swarthy guys. He sure fit the bill, and was a gentleman, to boot! Who says reality TV is all bad???
Played around with the new settings on the blog and think I'll try this template for a while. It's not as glaring as the other one, although I loved the contrast of the dark blue with the photos.
I love color and contrasts, light against dark and shadows. It's always intriguing to see what color can do to lighten a mood or darken it.
Studies show that even the worst of prisoners respond to the color pink. I don't think my son-in-law would like the fed prison painted pink inside. (He's a C.O.). Red is definitely a stimulus and it's why it's used in so many restaurants and dining rooms. It promotes appetite and conversation. That's why I tend to move towards shades of greens. They're cool and comforting. I went through the orange/turquoise/olive green stage; now I want peace and languid solitude, someplace where I can dream of being by a stream, shaded by ferns and tall, aromatic pines.
My youngest took off for England yesterday with her friend, Gail. They're going to Paris for a day. I told her to be certain to wear an American flag pin and forego wearing deodorant. Yeah, like that will happen. Last time she was in England, she was with her son's soccer club and they didn't get in a lot of sight-seeing, so they're planning on tons of that and some shopping. Harrod's should be gorgeous, what with all the decorations this time of year!
One more bit of news about her. She took off her husband's wedding band. She's been wearing it on a chain around her neck ever since he died (April '05). She's got a guy...They've only been dating a couple of months but she seems so happy!!! She just told me because he's an employee and she was afraid I'd be worried. He's volunteered to quit and find something else so it won't be an issue. He has a real estate license but as we all know, that's kinda rough right now! He just got it when the market started tilting. He's 38, been in the Navy, he's a believer, has a six-year-old daughter...Have to see what happens. She is anxious for us to meet him when she returns from "Jolly Old England."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Echoes of Defeat?

I've used this image before but it just fits how I feel about the outcome of this election. Blah! Nancy Pelosi??? Harry Reid??? Ted Kennedy??? The list of loons could go on and on but why bother. We know the cast of characters and now we'll get to listen to them front and center for the next two years. Whooopie! I guess we're going to hell in a handbasket.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Echoes of "Election Day"

How many days have we put up with political advertising and all the mud-slinging that goes along with it? (Lynne, better stop here ;^) )
Everytime Gore and Clinton came on the TV with their ridiculous reasons to vote for Prop 87 (in California, no less) I grabbed my trusty remote and hit the mute button.
Due to the rough handling my poor remote has received these last few months, I'm gonna have to trade it in.
Seriously, if I have to listen to Pelosi or Reid gloat for the next two years, I'm going to find a cave somewhere and live like John the Baptist. I've eaten roasted grasshoppers before and I love honey. I'm not too certain about the hair shirt, though. The only good thing I can think of that can come out of this whole mess is that the dems will screw things up so badly, people will be more than glad to elect a Republican prez in '08.
I can't bear the thought of Her Royal Highness, HRC, as president for four years.

Both sides had better clean up their acts and support the war on terror and blasting the insurgents all the way to "heaven" where it just might be a little hotter than they had expected; and the men who like little boys need to be neutered with a dull knife and then locked up forever. We need to elect people with the backbone to do the right thing!!! No pay-offs, no bribes, no abuse of interns (male OR female); no pork-barrel spending, no phony-baloney election promises, no more good ol' boy backroom nonsense. It's got to quit!!! We need a third party desperately and good people who will do what they say they're going to do and keep their noses clean. Is that asking too much???

I'll wait 'til tomorrow and see how badly we lost. I can't take any more of this tonight. I need a glass of wine.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Echoes of "Now What!"

This is all I want...just a place with lots of ferns and cool, cool water. I'm on a Merry-Go-Round again. The places we like in Tehachapi won't permit manufactured homes and the places that will are on the windward side and in the middle of a sagebrush meadow. The windmill farms are on that side of the valley, also, just in case the point isn't brought home well enough. There's WIND galore! Okay, the only other places available are Sand Canyon, yes, it's sandy and all the hippies live over there with the Bhuddists, which might be okay. Except for the sand...Then, there's Alpine which is very descriptive. It's HIGH. Snow and things like that, along with no paved roads or utilities in certain areas. So...back to the drawing board. Tehachapi isn't out entirely, just have to step back a pace. Lots of people are moving up there in manufactured housing. We'll just have to talk to the right ones.

Sitting here on a Friday afternoon, bummed out. Yesterday's Open House which was designed to draw moms in from the school didn't work out and now we're going to have to drop the price again. We started at $350K and are now taking it down to $325K.
Last weekend and again last night I started looking at places near Lynne's, high dessert and up north. Then the phone rang. It was Lynne! Her friend, Tony, a realtor, was doing some footwork for her to see if he could help us out in anyway.
Bless you, Lynne!!! And Tony, for his help. He's going to check out some land down in that area, too. Maybe I'll wind up somewhere closer to Lynne. That would be wonderful!

This Merry-Go-Round will stop one day and just knowing that someone cares as much as Lynne does makes my heart happy.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Echoes of the Right Thing...

I had to do the right thing...I can't stand the nagging little voice in my head that sometimes keeps on telling me to act upon my better nature and do what I know is right. So, I emailed KR. It had been since July and I didn't get the reply I wanted then so what would make this any different?!? No, I'll just wait...But, oh no. There's that voice thing again, conscience, I think it's called. Or in cartoon parlance, it's the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other.

So, I just dropped a "Hi, hello, how are ya doing," kind of a note. He did let me know that he's sorry about our house still sitting on the market. He informed me that his father-in-law is down to just a matter of days left on this earth. I'm grieving for my SIL. It's so hard to lose a parent.

In reading my bro's blog, he mentioned that he's writing a third book. I feel so sad that I have to find out about his life that way. He had gone to S.C. for a TV interview for his second book - I got that from the blog also. Of course, I used that as a gateway for my was a way to congratulate him on all the things that are going well for him. And, truthfully??? I mean it. I really do.

I watched a TV program today (Naomi Judd on Hallmark). One of the questions was, if you were estranged from a sibling and he/she needed a kidney, would you step forward and offer yours. I immediately knew that I would. I realize that I sound like a martyr and I don't want to appear that way. It's just in my spirit.

Funny thing about me: I was standing at the kitchen sink one day and watched a mouse scurry out from under our pond and dart out and grab some stray bird seed that the doves had scattered. My husband happened to see it, too, and the next thing I knew, he was making big plans for the immediate death of the poor mouse. Now, I know that having vermin in your backyard is not a real good thing. But, my imagination took over and I saw a whole family of little mice awaiting more life sustaining seed coming their way to fill their little bellies. Wally looked at me and knew it was a lost cause.

A few days later, I was standing in the same spot and here comes my cute little mouse again. Before I could blink, a hawk swooped down and grabbed Mr./Mrs. Mouse in his talons and flew away to the top of my fence and proceeded to rip him into a mouse taco. Arghhh! I went out the door and swooshed him away and he obliged with the departed mouse in tow.

The lesson I took from this is that nature and nuture cannot always be symbiotic, as dearly as I would love this to be so. This is true with my relationship with my bro. I love him dearly but his nature and mine are no longer symbiotic unless I participate in a little back patting. This is necessary for any kind of relationship with him. I understand this is due to the nuturing he had as a child. I think that's why my absence at the important party was such an issue. Anyway, although my self-image is important also, it must be fed by a different stream and I must continue to be a nuturer. Would I give my kidney? You bet I would. Can I give my pride? When I can....

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Echoes of "Reason to Not Fall..."

Here's a photo of the biggest reason to pull myself together and try a little harder.
This is us at Christmas, 2005 at Corinne's. He's getting ready to take off in a WWII fighter plane, a dream come true. This is Wally and Zoe, his Mini-Schnauzer, and canine love-of-life.

He has stood by me and all my craziness, migraines, IBS, Chronic Fatigue (or whatever the heck it is); BiPolar/Mania/Depression. Then there were out-of-control teenagers, drinking, drugs, pregnancies. Through the grace of God, He got us through the worst life has to offer and spun us through on to the next stage of life.
Our children are wonderful examples of God's promises. They were taught the truth as children and as adults, they came back to the church and are faithful to their Lord and Saviour. Now, what do I have to be depressed about? That is why I am convinced it is a physical manifestation. But so many Christian err in their belief that depression is a spiritual disease. Now that physicians are finding more and more about how the brain functions, it appears that those pills I have to take serve a purpose. Although I do believe prayer can heal any part of our bodies, if it is to be it will happen.

Wally is my mainstain. I just worry that I'm going to wear him out. I love him so much...

Echoes of "My Fall"

In my last post, I referenced the "Season of my fall." This photo was taken three years ago and I had recently lost 130 lbs. I was horrified at how my neck looked, all "crepey," and I jokingly referred to my collar bones as new perches for my parrot, Spanky, to ride around on. Since I've been home and not working, my eating habits have gone down the rabbit hole, and I'm like Alice.

I haven't had a haircut since August '05 and my hair is hanging down to my shoulders. I don't know what the heck to do with it since I've worn it so short for so long. I manage to whack off some bangs now and again but I'm sitting here now, with it stringy and oily. Eew. I haven't kept up with my facial routine and I rarely wear makeup. That in itself is unimaginable. I am so vain I'd never even go to the grocery store without my face painted. Now, I go to my MD app'ts with oily hair tucked up in a ball cap, no makeup and nasty feet. That is a major factor of depression. I just don't care.

My legs and feet look old and I've always had "pretty" feet and always kept up my nails. My inner arms are all "crepy" and my neck and chest are showing sun damage, along with my face. All those years laying out in the sun have come back to haunt me. And I've gotten the moustache thing going on in a major way. I used to pluck, pluck, pluck and now I pretend those pesky little hairs are a figment of my imagination. Same with other places pesky little hairs tend to grow.

Why have I given up so completely? I've always been such a girly-girl when it came to bottles and pots and brushes and potions and lotions. I loved the fuchias and roses and mauves and tawnies, the blushes and polishes. Where did that desire go to be the best I could be? Did that desire get bagged up along with all the autumn leaves and thrown in the garbage?

My mom, at 75, always looked beautiful. She never stopped caring. Even though she had no one to be beautiful for. Was it self-esteem? Must be and I'm fresh outta that...I'll have to start watching the sales fliers to see if I can find some.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Echoes of Fall

Fall...The Fall ushered sin into this world; the season, fall decrees the death of all my tender annuals. Two unpleasant concepts. Here's yet another: I'm in the fall of my life. That's a scary thought! What's around the next bend? Winter. Oh joy. And I've always liked winter.

Fall is my least favorite season. I know, I know, people always go on and on about the beautiful fall colors. All it means is that the leaves are dying and are about to drop from the trees that have nutured them since they were little buds. The circle of life thing...and on and on it goes. I see the beauty in it but I also find it morbid and depressing. Phooey on fall! It's phoney but it's just like life. We put bodies in caskets with makeup on them, for Pete's sake, who ever Pete is. I guess we buy fake orange leaves as centerpieces for our tables to disguise the fact that fall equals death of the beauty of nature. The only good thing about it is that it brings relief from the stifling heat here in the valley.

Can you tell that I'm a spring person? The excitement of planting things and watering them and watching them grow and killing, that's real and dirty. I love the smell of fresh dirt and the feel of my hands in soil. I'm a nuturer, not a bagger of dead leaves.

Fall...the season of my life.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Echoes of "I Want Off..."

I know exactly how this turtle feels about life. If I've learned anything, it's DO NOT MAKE PLANS. They are destined to fall apart. Nothing is for certain. As my favorite tee-shirt says, "Life Sucks, Then You Die."

It's mid-October and I figured that, when we listed the house in July, we'd be settled some place by now. Ha! The joke's on me. The clock is ticking...the second month we've had to borrow our house payment. I realize that, without assistance, we'd be facing bankruptcy and worse. I thank God for the help we're receiving, but at the same time, I'm just deflated. I'm in limbo, Wally is getting depressed and here we sit, waiting for our future. Don't read the real estate section for potential homes...they've all been sold. Now, I find out that the park we hoped to move into has extremely strict rules on pets (one) and now I'm worried about where we'll wind up and our safety. I don't want to live in some methamphetamene heaven where we're scared to sleep at night.

Plans - don't make any. Be prepared for the worst and then some. Be the perpetual pessimist. The glass is half empty. Be assured that your loved ones will be torn from you too soon and that this life basically stinks. You can plan all you want but what happens when the neurons in your brain short-circuit and you can't work any longer??? Just ask me...I'll tell you all about the plans that never came to fruition.

Echoes of Anger and Forgiving...

Forgiving...I've always considered myself to be a very forgiving spirit. But anger is eating away at my core and I don't know how to make it stop. I feel such sorrow for what is lost and overwhelming anger because there is no reasoning with the one I have lost. Anger is a cancer - I know that. I have been taught all of my life to supress anger. Right...look at what that has gotten me. A propensity to eat my anger and a gut that heats up at a moment's notice. I feel as if I'm "composting" inside, all of the garbage in my life is turning into a toxic stew and eating away at me.

I've asked for forgiveness and feel as though it was totally one-sided because the other party did nothing wrong, in his eyes, except point out my shortcomings. I can't grovel and feel any self respect at all. I would love to receive a phone call just once, asking me how am I feeling...just once. But no, that's asking too much. I feel as if I've been totally discounted yet once again. I've lived my life in the shadows. Nothing I've ever done has been validated. Not my singing, my writing, my art...nothing. It's a one-way street and I've decided, for my own sake, to drive the other way. That means I've cut myself off from someone whom I love dearly but cannot accept me as I am.

Why does this have to be such a big "f-ing" deal? Other siblings have words, shake off, hug and kiss and that's the end of it. Why does this have to be the end of the relationship? Is this just an excuse to cut me out of his life? And to be truthful, why am I mourning so deeply, if this is how it's to be? The mask dropped for a moment and I saw truth.
to be cont....

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Echoes of Anger and Angst...

Why does this issue haunt me? It's 1:00 AM and my mind is racing, as well as my heart. The knot is in my stomach and in my throat. Why do I rehash the words that were said and cannot be taken back or forgotten? Why do I analyze and re-analyze each nuance and sentence of every e-mail for a deeper meaning? Why do I feel so terribly fragile and abandoned by my brother? Why do I care so much?

I have so few blood relatives and he is my only sibling. I had been taught by my mother 's example to put him on a pedastal. He is "man" and I am "woman." And, yes, there is a difference. His standard joke is that NASA put Sally Ride on the space ship so she could clean the windows. And yes, I'm ashamed that I laughed.

During our fiasco, I called him a mysoginist out of deep-seated anger. I also called him a number of other things...pompous, arrogant - and a few other gems. I was told that I play the role of "victim," and blame my parents for everything that's gone sour in my life.

WORDS - they can be forgiven but never forgotten. The book of James says that the tongue is a two-edged sword and is harmful. It has destroyed the bond between a brother and sister; a brother and sister who used to be so close, we'd have marathon phone calls, discussing politics and world issues, the state of the world. I always sought his advice and looked forward to talking with him or seeing him. Now, that is gone. With the stroke of the keyboard, it is all gone.

His image of me is destroyed as is mine of him. We all have clay feet but apparently, as in our case, that can't be forgiven. Two months after our diatribe, I sent another e-mail telling him that our parents would be very upset at the state we were in. This was at the anniversary of our mother's death and I felt so badly. I was informed that he had nothing to apologize about. His conscience was clear.

to be cont....

Friday, September 15, 2006

Echoes from the Garden...

My best thoughts often come to me when I'm in the garden, pulling weeds and smashing snails. Unfortunately, I didn't have pen and paper in hand so most of these thoughts went the way of the dandelion and scattered in the breeze, never to return to my consciousness.

I do remember thinking of the weird dreams I'd been having recently of one of them I dreamed he was calling to me for help and in another, he was on my roof shooting a gun at nothing in particular. I had him on my mind a lot in the past few days, and lo and behold, he called me. It is so strange how many times this has happened to me over the years. I hadn't heard from him since he left the "message" on the answering machine on my birthday in June and hadn't seen him in almost a year. He and Cindy came by to pick up a resume I prepared for him. He, too, suffers from depression and Doug's death has affected him deeply. Unfortunately, he also suffers from a case of "bad attitude" and anti-social behaviors. It's such a shame because he has such a great heart and is capable of so much.

Separations - brother and sister. This is such a strange relationship. Kids fight like cats and dogs but when grown can transform into such a tight bond. Now there is separation in two generations. Two tightly woven bonds have snapped and the resulting backlash has deeply wounded four people, plus the people swept up into the tide, those that love them. I hope and pray for healing.

I was covered with mud and snail slime, and thought how it is that, when we need them the most, our parents are no longer available to us. How I would love to be able to sit down with my dad and ask him what to do with this craziness with KR. What would his advice be? How would he handle it? I know it would grieve him deeply if he knew that his two offspring were in such a state. He and his brother were estranged but I don't know what caused it. I remember seeing his brother coming out of the mortuary after viewing my dad's earthly remains, wiping his eyes, seeming truly broken. He didn't know I could see him, but it helped me to know that he was feeling the loss of his brother, that he loved him. It's a shame that I don't remember them ever interacting as brothers should...

I have missed my dad every moment since his death in March of 1969 - that's 37 years I've spent wondering what if he'd would KR have turned out? I wonder....He claims to be so much like our dad yet there are certain areas in which he could never measure up. My dad never mocked or ridiculed women and he relished being in the company of our mother and we all knew how much he loved her. I have wonderful memories of walking in on them in the kitchen, wrapped tightly in an embrace, and seeing me, they just smiled. What a way to grow up! Knowing your parents were in love...what a gift~They were like that. They weren't "huggy-kissy" with us kids but I always felt secure seeing how much they loved each other.

I wish I could bring back the philosophical words of wisdom I had while in the garden but this will have to suffice.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Echoes of the Full Moon...

Friday morning, 12:32...the moon is full tonight. I just finished reading "The Mermaid Chair," by Sue Monk Kidd. It's full of mystery, full moons, mermaids, mythologies, self-destruction and resolution. I wish I could get into my head and pull out my emotions as well as Ms. Kidd does and so eloquently knit them together into a beautiful story that people could relate to and admire. But my feelings are so fragmented, frayed and elusive...I don't understand them myself.

Why does the moon press upon me at times, oppressing me and depressing me, and at other times, smile down upon me as a benevolent friend? Tonight, it is a beautiful, clear, beatific moon but I take no pleasure in it.

On the beach in Honolulu, watching the moon laughing down at the water and rippling out on it's waves, crossing the shoreline to my heart as I leaned against a palm tree, listening to soft Hawaiian music, as tears softly slid down my cheeks, I knew that that time and space would be forever within me. It was a pleasure that was unexplainable but wrapped itself within my very being and would remain in my memory until it ceases to be.

When I go into the place I try so hard to avoid, I often go back in time to that space in time and again find myself there, with the moon reaching inside me and it makes the dark place lighter.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Echoes of Childhood

After wasting too many years, years spent thinking she didn't care about me, and she thinking the same of me, a very wise, kindly woman gave me the words and the need to reconnect with a very special woman, my soulmate. If she was an Indian, her name would be, "She Who Understands and Listens."

This photo reminds me of us as children before the storms descended upon us. We used to visit our grandmother and grandfather, who played such a vital role in both of our lives. Times were so carefree then. Dine would keep Ginger ale in the refrigerator and always had "grandma" goodies on hand for us in the kitchen and Lincoln logs and Tinker toys in our grandfather's den. It was a place that was safe and we were always nutured.

And then the storms began for my cousin when her mother died. It was the second time death had crossed my path, the first being our great-grandmother. The adults didn't tell me a lot, just that her mom had a bad illness called leukemia. I was scared that my mom would died, too.

Her storms began earlier and were more severe than mine but she has weathered them with her sense of humor intact and a deep sense of caring for others who hurt. She has so much empathy - as only those who have been hurt can possess.

We are alike in so many ways , and yet she's a clean-freak and I'm a total slob; she's like a terrier and will hang on to a problem until she gets to the bottom of it, whereas I'm a Basset Hound. I shrug and say, "No big deal..." and let it go. She's the Energizer Bunny, whereas I'm a couch potato. She gets up at 4:00 AM and I go to bed at 2:00 AM. She loves the mountains, and although I do too, I would rather live in Hawai'i.

But the things that count, the "heart" things, she's the first one at my side. She will offer me her last dime and not expect anything in return. She listens to my every silly or serious rant and never judges me. I love her so much...

Echoes of the Manic Mind

This is one of the better photos I took of Bali Hai, on Kaua'i. The sunsets were spectacular, especially if it had rained recently.

Thursday and Friday were horrible days - filled to the brim with doubt, insecurities, self-loathing, restlessness. Kind of like the sky in the photo. It's dark but there's a spark of light still showing at the horizon. It never really goes out because you know it will appear again in the morning. It's something to hold on to and claim as yours. Hope. Faith.
Trusting in Grace to get you through the night....

Monday, August 21, 2006

Echoes of Frustration...

We talked with the realtor about the property in Stallion Springs and it's a no-go. Since it's so close to the golf course, they don't allow modulars on the property. We're really disappointed but realize that there's something up there just waiting for us.

I dug out all the photos I took and there are a couple of other locations we didn't even get to, so Saturday morning, bright and early, we'll head up the hill again, take more pics and see what we can find.
Also, we're very disappointed that the real estate market has chosen this time to bottom out. If we'd sold this time last year, we'd probably been outta here in two weeks. Now, the average time is 2-3 months on the market. We've taken the price down but still haven't heard anything. We just have to keep our faith up and know that it's not our timing that's important. I'm hanging on by a thread!

I especially like this picture. It shows the dark storm in the background but the sun on the path. Is the storm approaching or leaving? Either way, we know the sun will return. The storm of 2006 may not be over but I have to believe the sun will shine on my back again one day.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Echoes of 9/11...still

They released more 911 calls from people who perished in the Twin Towers on 9/11. I listened to a young woman who asked the 911 operator if she was going to die...the operator asked her if she wanted her to try and connect her mother to her. She told her to say her prayers and not give up. The girl, Melissa, didn't make it out alive. I wept, listening to these calls. Parents, children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, husbands, wives and lovers....all listening to the last words of their loved ones, after five years of not knowing exactly what their last minutes were like.

I thought of my girls and wondered if I would want to hear them in their last moments. What a wretched choice! Knowing that they were talking to someone that was encouraging them (not all of them were that fortunate and died alone) would offer some solace, but hearing the overwhelming fear in Melissa's voice, the young woman turning into a child again, asking "Am I going to die?" Could I stand that? Would I be strong enough to hear Corinne or Leah's voice, asking "Am I going to die?" Knowing that I wasn't there in their place or at the least, to die with them. And then I think of the hundreds of firemen's families that are listening to their last words today...

I look at the picture and realize how fleeting the time together on this earth is. I love my girls deeply and yet I don't spend nearly enough time with them. One day, in the not-so-distant future, it will be too late to hop in the car and go see them whenever I want. Bob and Leah may take a career move out of state and Corinne may not stay in town. Who knows where the future will take us all? I want to wrap my arms around them right at this very moment and never let them go.

What a hell the crazed fanatics unleashed on our country. The sadness and sorrow will linger on for years to come. We should all be on our knees thanking God that their latest plan to destroy planes over the ocean today was thwarted, but we must continue to be inconvenienced at the airports in order to protect all the other Melissa's and the thousands like her that perished that day.

Good Quote

"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof."
-- Barbara Kingsolver

Echoes of Fire and Water...

The beauty and power portrayed in this image of lava flowing into the ocean is awesome. But it has a feeling of confusion. Fire on the water...these two forces of nature shouldn't be combined yet apart like this. A dichotomy. Our eyes see it but our brains process it as impossible. Water is supposed to put out fire; fire shouldn't exist on water.

This is often how my emotions exist inside me. Fire and water. They don't mix, so confusion reigns, stirring thoughts of negativity inside the cauldron deep inside the me that is. The negative thoughts swirl alongside the positive thoughts that I try to send forth to quench the fires of sadness and impotence that keep me entrenched in nothingness. My thoughts shift back and forth during the waking hours leaving me in tears over nothing one minute, and the next, smiling at something totally inane.

I see images of war and hatred and realize how fortunate and blessed I am that I live where I do and not in a war zone. But I am stuck in the politically correct "quagmire" of my psyche, going nowhere and stuck deep within the sinkhole I can't climb out of. Why is this? It is all part of my "disability," the doctors tell me. Well, fine! But if I am aware of it, why the hell can't I change it?

They tell me to think of it in terms of insulin. If I was diabetic, my blood sugar would be kept under control with an injection. If I didn't take meds I would be ready to try leaping from tall buildings or diving under a train. I am just tired of this wretched overwhelming feeling of seclusion and sadness.

Doug found refuge in the Psalms when he was haunted by despair. My precious dad had me memorize the 91st Psalm to recite when I was fearful.

"...He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge...You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day...If you make the Most High your dwelling---even the Lord, who is my refuge---then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways: they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone..."

Yet, I feel my faith sliding into the ocean like the lava...turning into steam and floating into the wind. My soul screams for it to return...let me be as that child, whose father taught her those comforting words, let me believe again!

My God! Please infuse a grain of faith into my heart again!