Monthly Archives: April 2015

My Southern Porch

It seems I have misplaced at best, or lost at worst, the whatever-it-was that lured me outside into the world. I seem to be so much more content than I ever was to just cozy up with my dogs and read. There isn’t anything truly wrong with this, sometimes the ability to just sit and absorb another’s life view is the stimulus that is needed to get ones butt up off the comfy couch and write one’s own view.

I do still venture out into that oh-so-fast stream of humanity out there beyond the confines of Spanish Oaks. I just don’t feel so driven to get out there every day.

I really don’t think it is just getting older, or being no longer young as sounds so much more pleasant of a label. I think it is that there is just nothing out there that I feel the need to race out with coffee in hand to catch.

My dogs and I go for nice, leisurely walks all throughout the day. We do interact with others, dogs and people. I go to events and places I have a curiosity about or a deep interest in. I just don’t go out to be going out.

I like my Little Portion, I am so very content with my things (especially after being without them for pretty near nine months), I have a very pleasant view out my front porch, that porch being a superb vantage point to observing life as it passes. Having put up the bird feeders again, I am relearning the art of sitting still in order to see the visitors at the Cafe Annemarie just on the other side of the screen.

I am looking forward to going to California soon. Seeing my Ohana: being able to go to Mass at my Home Church again, sitting on my friend Pat’s patio and just being. The crowning moment of my very first granddaughter’s graduation from High School, the heart-soothing being with all three of them, hugging my son, walking on the beach with Soul Haven cousins—these are the compelling reasons I will get on that plane. The only thing that would make it better would be if my dogs could be with me. (They declined flying, said it was not a dog thing; only pesky birds and slightly deranged humans did that. They are holding the fort, spoiled rotten by their friend Bev).

So it seems to be prudent to conserve some of my energy and the putting forth of oneself for the journey into memories and the blessing of holding love in my arms.

Here in our little park, it is getting to be very quiet. So many of our Snow Birds have flown home. The last of them leave this weekend, after the requisite not quite six months away. It is a slowing down time. A time to rest, regroup and just sit on the porch. Those of us who stay year round are sort of guardians for those who drive off. We check, we make sure, we watch out and watch over what they leave here. Keeping it safe and secure for their return.

So, maybe it isn’t me, maybe it is the season for this sitting back and sinking into the couch with a good book. It’s beginning to get that summer warmth here that encourages evenings on the front porch glider with a nice glass of sweet Southern tea.

So I am headed out front, got my sweet tea and good book. The gentle moving of the glider can remove all the superficial aspects of life but leave the space to concentrate on the essentials of that life. Ohana’s love, good books, my dogs unconditional love and soft, warm Southern breezes. The best of summer in the South.

Meet y’all on the porch.

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Priceless and Precious

The lines of opposition seem to be becoming trenches these days. The divisions between people and their opinions have become more than just disagreements of philosophy, they have become battle lines. We are no longer encouraged to have our own thoughts on controversies. Having a mind that mulls over, thinks through, uses logic and common sense are to be suppressed. At worst, as is some Middle Eastern areas, thinking with ones own mind can get you beheaded.

One, well at least those who use their grey matter for “more than just a hat rack”, might muse on this conundrum of the advancement (?) of mankind. Those whose ability to think on their own has been diverted into “me, myself and I” indulgence need not read any further. The rest of you would do me great honor to continue perusing my offerings.

In my humble opinion the division of people into armed camps began to form itself in January of 1973. As Fr. Corapi said in one of his discourses, that is when the Devil himself, dressed in black robes, walked into the Supreme Court of these united states and wapped his gavel down making murder legal.

For you see those who wanted to indulge themselves without any personal responsibility jumped into the “only a mass of tissue” camp. (This sort of falls apart all by itself when it is pointed out that each and everyone of us is just “a mass of tissue). Funny, don’t you think, that this is a snarky little way of making it “OK”, to sort of let the guilt slide away onto someone else. And mostly it is the male portion of society that steps aside first. These males might not insist on it, they might console themselves with I really never knew (if only to keep from their sleeping conscience slumbering). And yes, there are some father’s who fight for their little ones life. kudos to you. And prayers.

Now, I am not saying that there are not some women who enjoy the same sort of conscience manipulation. Of course there are. But for the most part,it is the women who bear the pain, the scars, the hurt, the guilt for their whole lives. This is the same deeply intense pain a parent feels for their child who died. Pretending, using different words to describe the child does not change the fact that what lays in that tray has arms, legs and a face.

In mankind’s self after the Fall is where the ability to dismember another human being finds its beginning. God does not qualify life. He does not say, Abel is good so he can be born, Cain is bad so he cannot.

Mankind says: This life, the one in this womb, I have deemed not worthy of living. Because of arbitrary factors, factors which change at whims, it is permissable to destroy it.

God says: All life is precious. There are no other factors. Life is to be lived, fully, completely, every moment given. None are too small, too sick, too un-perfect, too troublesome, too costly, too crimping of life-styles to not be celebrated.

When the least of us is threatened in the one place in the universe where that little one should be the safest, how can the rest of us truly be safe? If the child in the womb is not protected, will any of the rest of us be protected?

The Islamic State says no. We see their idea of expendable human beings weekly if not daily on the media. The “you are not like me so you are expendable” looks to us here in the west as a true horror.

The Arab countries surrounding Israel want all of the Israelis dead. Less-than Arabs?? Expendable.

Communist countries the world over. Not an adherent to the ideology? Expendable.

Islamic terrorist world wide. Not a Muslim like me? Expendable.

Here we sit, in the country founded on Freedom. We point out how barbaric they are. How they are horrifically so.
As we walk up the sidewalk to the abortion clinic’s thriving multi-million dollar business, to rip a child out of its mother’s womb. My guess is that child, if it could speak, would say the same thing about the United States. Barbaric, horrifically so.

We, as a country, have become small, mean, self-centered and of no real value. We have sold our future for a handful of fleeting pleasures. We have stood by as the future was broken into pieces and placed on a cold tray.

Before you say to me; and what have you done?? I fought for my little one who was threatened with abortion. I have helped other women fight for their little ones. I spend time praying in front of abortion facility. I volunteer at a pregnancy center to get tangible help to other women. And every day I pray for mercy for this country I love.

We Americans have a legacy of standing up, of being counted on to stand up for what is right and good. And to remove what is evil and not right. We stand with the little guy, the little country, the ones who need us the most.

Today, right now, we need to stand up and protect the future. Our future is in the womb of the woman down the street who is in need of a voice. Without children we have no future country. Every child, no matter what they look like on the outside, no matter what economic plane they are born into, no matter anything. Each of them is priceless.

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Hello and Goodbye

I am tired of good-byes. Weary of waving and watching cars back out of the drive-way. Weary to bone of hearing of a beloved pet leaving their people, of the beauty of that unconditional love out of reach for now. So very done with things changing, of people and homes and life moving inexorably forward. I need to sit on the sidelines. I need to sit on the bank of the river of life and just gaze at it for a while.

I am beginning to see what it means to become no longer young. It isn’t the years, although they do certainly take their toll on one’s much-more-fragile-than-we-know body. That is a part of getting on that one sort of expects, almost watched for. Checking each morning lying in bed to see if all of the body is ready to wake up and get out of bed. Some mornings not every little part is willing to move like it did yesterday.

What is the hardest about the number of years I have lived is the missing spaces. The people, the beloved pets, the places even that are no longer part of my life. Each loss compounds those before. Each parting is more that just the “sweet sorrow” that the Bard wrote about, it is a contribution to the growing empty space in my heart.

Each time a parting rolls around to me, my heart fills once again with tears. Soul deep tears. There is a temptation to back away from attachments, to keep all living creatures at a distance in order to spare myself this heartache. To settle in on the bank of life, to be just an observer, to smile and wave and look away when life presents the pain.

I read in a book recently that we know in our minds we are mortal creatures, that as the rock star said so sagely “none of us get out of here alive”. But it is loss, it is the devastating loss of one who is close to your heart and soul that places that knowledge right in our face. No denying, no skirting the fact. The knowing going deep into your heart.

It is only faith that keeps the spirit from sitting. Faith that love is worth all the pain that comes from opening up your heart and your life to another living creature. The hope that grows from faith, the seeing beyond right now. To pluck happiness from sorrow. To see the pain, sorrow and darkness and not be drawn completely into it. To hold on, to grasp firmly the promise of Light.

To sink into the love of another living creature and be healed. To wrap that love around the wounds of life.

To live right now. Right here. This moment’s gift is precious. Too precious to miss. To not sink into the past darkness as the only reality in today’s now. The great unknowing that is life here and now has beams of light shining through to illuminate the path.

Out on my carport there are kittens. New life. A little tiger striped one and a tuxedo one. They are playing on the wicker furniture I have out there. Attacking the ties hanging down from the pillows, mewling and stalking each other, honing their life skills for when they strike out on their own.

I need to absorb their lesson today. I need to just live life as it comes to me. Some days are filled with playing and joy in just breathing. Some are filled with loss. But those two just take it as it comes. Venturing out from under my Little Portion to meet head on the new day.
Mourning loss, celebrating joys, standing with each other; these are the moments of life. Each one is truly precious.

The transience of this life translates into shinning moments bursting with Light.

“And the Light shines in the darkness,
And the darkness cannot put it out”. John 1:5

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A day of smiles through tears

This day now has a black band going across it. Sideways, like on a picture frame. Or is it around, like on an arm? Maybe both.

It is warm here in Florida, in the upper 80’s with a pressing humidity that will sap your energy if one is nutty enough to try to work out in it and like an Englishman bent on gardening in any and all weather, I did try. It seems to be fitting on this oh so sad day. Pressing and oppressive is the sorrow that is just there, sitting in the chair next to me, calmly waiting for me to type this up so it can settle over me again and reduce me to a soggy-hearted human.

Emi, beautiful, love-in-fur Emi is no longer here. She crossed over the Rainbow Bridge today, surrounded by her people she covered in her love. It was their turn to cover her.

This fifteen, almost sixteen year old Golden Retriever has touched so very, very many people during her life. Her incredible joy at being alive, her deep abiding love for her special people spilled over onto everyone she met. She accepted my two boisterous dogs into her house with nary a burf.(She did warn then about the cat, such a good cousin!) She even slept on her bed, drug into the back room by Dad, right next to the bed we slept on. Always the perfect host. Handy if something was needed in the middle of the night. She even shrugged off ol’ Pruddy’s out of character extreme grumpiness with a sniff and an “OK, I’ll just sleep right outside the door”.

The pictures of her body surfing are classic Golden. The grin on her face, the soaked and dripping fur, the stance on the sand almost as if she was a sailor—all are Emi.

In my mind, in my heart, there are no words or actions that I could ever come up with that could convey my gratefulness to her for being there when Jan was battling cancer. She never left her side. No matter what. She took it upon herself to be her therapy dog. Stepped up to take care of her in the best Golden way she knew how—with all her huge heart of love.

Her legacy to us who loved her back is loving like she did. Unconditionally. Accepting. Without an agenda. As you are. No criteria, no exams to pass, no boundaries. Just pure unadulterated love.

It adds to my sorrow on this sad day that I cannot climb in my car and head toward Soul Haven to just be with them in their loss. No words, just hugs and my own tears mingling with theirs. An exceptional dog has left some equally exceptional people in deep sorrow.

The good God that created her is now drinking in the love shinning from her eyes. He let us have her for fifteen years. He must have welcomed Emi with arms wide open to receive her exhuberant hug. Perfect love hugging Golden love.

See you on the other side Ms. Emi……..

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