---Alice Abrams

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!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Echoes of Aloha

I received my copy of "Hawai'i" magazine last night and spent some time reading
the articles and renewing my memories of time spent there. I remembered the
"Spirit of Aloha," that was so prevalent throughout the islands. I need to apply this
spirit to my own life, especially at this turbulent time when everything is so topsy-
turvy. The islands are all about quiet and peace and of working together for the best of all.

"The Spirit of ALOHA, is best explained through the Hawaiian huna. Each letter in
the word ALOHA represents another Hawaiian word, and together these five words most completely express the truth of aloha: ALOHA is the coordination of mind and
heart. . . it's within the individual. It brings you down to yourself. You must
think and emote good feelings to others.

A stands for AKAHAI, meaning kindness,
to be expressed with tenderness.
L stands for LOKAHI, meaning unity,
to be expressed with harmony.
O stands for OLU`OLU, meaning agreeable,
to be expressed with pleasantness.
H stands for HA`AHA`A, meaning humility,
to be expressed with modesty.
A stands for AHONUI, meaning patience,
to be expressed with perseverance."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Echoes of...Yuck?

With apologies to my liberal buddies
(yes, I do have a couple...), I doubt that
the senator's bosom is quite this "perky."
The artist said he didn't want to portray
her with a facelift but he did a number
on her boobs!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Echoes of Oaks

Yesterday, we trekked up the hill to Tehachapi and Stallion Springs to check out several properties for sale. We found several we liked in Golden Hills, which is on the outskirts of Tehachapi. We tromped around in weeds and grasses, "scoping out the terrain" and taking photos. After a few hours of this we were famished so we headed back into town and the only restaurant we've ever eaten in there - which I might add - is always good.

After banishing the hunger headaches, we started out again, map in hand, to Stallion Springs, which is 20 minutes outside of Tehachapi, heading west.
After driving around in circles looking for properties I'd marked, we decided to check out the other side of the golf course. Wally spotted a property right on the course, so naturally, he wanted to stop and pick up a flier. The property was bordered by a lot of trees and brush and as he reached for the flier, he heard a rustling and saw a deer loping off (do deer "lope?"). The lot was a little pricey so we took off and kept driving. Suddenly, we found ourselves on an island of lots, one of which was being developed. This area has huge, ancient oaks and gigantic out-croppings of moss covered rocks that stand almost as tall as a house! The lot we really like is 1/2 an acre, with 2 oaks, tons of rocks (literally) and room plenty for a house. It's also within our price range!

The scary part is seeing if a septic tank will work. I guess we'd have to see if a test has been done for water percolation. The water table is weird up there. One site will be okay for a septic and the one next to it won't. We'd also have to be on propane. The gas line stops one street over because of the rock. Since we're doing a modular, I'm not too worried about digging for a foundation and fighting bedrock as in a "stick" house. But what do I know? As with all things new, I'm sure I'll learn about a lot of things I'd just as soon not!

As I stood outside the car while Wally walked over to chat with a man who was out walking his dog, I noticed the silence around me. There was an occasional car in the distance but the immediate area faces no subdivision. The silence fell upon me like a friend, the stillness welcome after the "busyness" of my mind. Already the air began to cool even though it had been 94 degrees. The mountains are wonderful that way! To the east, I could see the moon beginning to peek over the mountaintop.

I watched a group (flock, herd, tribe???) of brownish orange dragonflies dance their final ballet of the day before heading for their nighttime abode. They shimmered in the remaining light as they swooped and fluttered around me. They exhibit a graceful motion I'll never have in this life!

Wally was able to glean that there is a family of bobcats at the end of the block; there's been a mountain lion sighting recently, with footprints to prove it! There are myriad racoons, squirrels and rabbits (and an occasional snake).

We don't know if this is the place the Lord has in mind for us, but it is a visual and spiritual feast. The next few years will be full of excitement and wonder, grace abounding!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Echoes of the Bay...

This house calls to me. It sits right on Hanalei Bay and is of the plantation style. I would love to wander among the lush vegetation and wind up at the bay, watching the ocean lap at the sand. I would love to perch on a rock and watch the sun set in the evening, casting unimaginable beauty upon the waters.
This place calls to is a place of peace and healing...and evidence of grace.