Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas, Mom

Mom cemetery 2012

Merry Christmas, Mom! I took flowers to the cemetery last week. Gosh, the cemetery was so beautiful! It’s one of my favorite places during the holidays. There is more love to be experienced there than in any gaudily decorated mall. There were quite a few families putting up trees and decorations when I was there. Everywhere you could see the love that people put into decorating and including their loved ones in their holiday celebrations. Of course, we all know our loved ones aren’t lying there under the sod; you are all free from any physical encumbrances, no limitations imposed on you by a body any longer. But the cemetery gives us a very special place to gather, to share memories or to ponder alone. There is a sense of aliveness there, oddly enough, because the energy of love is just so powerful and the cemetery is filled with love. One family puts up a cardboard fireplace each year, hung with paper stockings with family names written on them; as new members join the family, new stockings join the others on the mantel. It always touches my heart; those are the kinds of things that always touched yours, too.

When I was cleaning your headstone and polishing it to a gleam, I noticed an incense stick stuck in the dirt around the stone again. That always touches me, too; someone (a stranger, I assume), lights incense and says prayers for you. I sometimes see the red stick in a couple of other graves, but not in all those that surround yours. Someone specifically chooses yours for their incense and prayers. That kind of thing would touch your heart, too, I know.

So, we had Christmas brunch at my place today. Steve offered to bring the food and make brunch for everyone. Ern and the Wesleys brought drinks and food, too. I love that everyone pitches in when they come over, like family always did at home when we had Christmas with you and Dad. There’s no sense of “host and guests;” it’s family all setting up the table, gathering chairs, helping to serve, lighting candles. (BTW, I sent Dad See’s chocolates for Thanksgiving; Amber and I sent him a Hickory Farms basket for Christmas. We didn’t hear from him for either occasion. I miss him so much, Mom, that I just have to try to not think of him too much. Please watch over him, OK?) Brianna wanted me to play Rudolph on the piano after we ate, so I played and some of them sang. Then I played Silver Bells for you since you always loved that. I’ve been playing your other favorites the last few days, too, like Little Drummer Boy, White Christmas and the carols.

I miss you, Mom, but I carry your love with me always. Just look at the beautiful family you started, mom to sons and daughter to granddaughter to great-granddaughters. Your presence is felt in every family celebration. I love you, Mom!

122512 Amber Brian122512 brian amber bri jas122512 bro steve prepping brunch122512 jas bri amber brian ern kathy steve122512 opening gifts

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Number combos are fun to note, aren't they? Today's 12/12/12; a repetitive number pattern like this won't occur for 88 years, when the date will be 01/01/01. We do have 11/12/13 coming up next year, though, so can have some fun with that.

There are those who attribute dates with serious portent. Some believe the ancient Mayans said that 12/12/12 would signal a shift in the world, letting go of old ways and embracing a new, more peaceful world. There are all kinds of predictions, practices, beliefs, etc. about 12/12/12. I respect others' beliefs; I believe there is more in this world than I'll ever know.

For me, though, dates are fun but not anything that I believe signals anything. The measurement of time is a manmade thing, an arbitrary assignment of numbers to time, days, months, years. There are a number of different types of calendars, too, such as Gregorian, Hebrew, Julian, etc., each of which assigned their numbering differently, some with leap years, some with leap months, some with a different number of days in some months. I've read that the Mayans didn't account for leap years, so any big event that was supposed to happen on 12/21/12, should have actually happened seven months ago.

Dates are just a way that man measures time.
  • The snowy great white egrets I saw flying overhead today don't know that today is 12/12/12; they're living as they live every day.
  • The orchids that are starting to bloom in my garden don't know it's 12/12/12; they're just filling up with enormous energy as they prepare to open up in magnificence.
  • The earth doesn't know it's 12/12/12.
  • And for the Divine, time isn't measured; always is always, there are no limits, no constraints such as measured time. How can we limit the Divine with something as unimportant as a calendar?
One friend suggests that we use this day to open ourselves to a higher state of being, to be more light, more open; to stretch ourselves and to do everything with a sense of soul purpose. A great suggestion for any day and every day.

Happy 12/12/12!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Finding the blessings in less …

candles multitude
For Thanksgiving, a friend, Laura Hegfield,  gathers together people’s thoughts of gratitude and posts them all in her blog, weaving them together in different colors, to create a Mega Mobius Gratitude Quilt.  As a writing prompt, she provided “In this moment, I am grateful for …” It’s such a beautiful gathering of people’s thoughts, their joys, their struggles, their hearts. I look forward to it each year. I hope you take a moment to visit her blog and enjoy the Quilt. Here is my contribution:
I light a candle in the darkness of my little office. I inhale love, I exhale gratitude. And I think “In this moment, I am grateful for …” The blessings simply flood in, like water flowing in and around things, seeking the open spaces within me. Grateful for … learning how to live with less since I was laid off in May, how not just to live with less but to be satisfied with less, to be filled with less, to find the blessings that abound in less. Where before I might pay someone to do some things for me, I now learn to do them for myself. The dishwasher has been broken since June; I find the blessings in washing dishes the way Thich Nhat Hanh describes it, feeling the slippery soap, the edge of a plate, the warm water; gazing out the window and watching a little bird or the breeze in the trees. In this moment, I am grateful for less.
I admit that it’s been a bit of a struggle to learn this lesson. I live on less than half of what I’d been making before May. I’ve given up getting my hair colored, the occasional mani/pedi. I watch my budget very closely, feeling exultant when I stretch $20 worth of gas a full week. I carefully consider whether I can spend $2.04 for a cup of coffee, knowing that $2 is actually coming out of my savings, which I am reluctant to deplete.
I  may not be able to enjoy the extra little frills of life that I used to, but with careful budgeting, I’m able to pay my bills and meet my obligations. I find free things to do with friends, spending time gardening with one, a walk with another, a day at the swap meet (we had free passes) spent browsing and talking, knowing neither of us could spend anything, free from even considering it. I’m learning acceptance and ease in these circumstances that I find myself in. And, I have hope that this won’t last forever, that I’ll land a job again where I’m paid decently again.
Everything is temporary. Everything changes. The ability to change and flow like water is a lesson that I’m blessed to learn.