Monday, November 29, 2010

It was an Accident, I swear.

I went and got myself a new perspective!
It was an accident, of course.
Everything rests in our perspective of a situation, an event, a person, heck - everything. And yet isn't it funny that our perspective rarely changes due to our seeking to change it? Our perspective remains our perspective because, well duh, because it's right. Other folk's perspectives maybe based on faulty information, a skewed upbringing, or downright ignorance, but my perspective is only based on the truth. Yours too, right? So why would it need to be changed or tweaked?
And yet when, by accident, it does get changed or tweaked, we see the world through new eyes.
Best example? "It's a Wonderful Life." As Clarence the Angel says:
"You've been given a great gift, George: A chance to see what the world would be like without you."
Being gone from home for five weeks made coming home a perspective changing event. I've been given the gift of seeing my every day with fresh eyes. Normal appears magnificent. What was wearying a month and a half ago is cause for celebration. Where I searched for significance is now brimming over with possibility and joy. A coffee cup, a candle, a pillow all have been raised to icons of happiness.
Kind of like an old newel post that keeps coming off. (If you don't get this reference you haven't watched It's a Wonderful Life enough - so put it into your December plans.)
What do you think? Can our perspective be changed because we will it to be so? Or must it always be forced on us?
And an even better question - You up for a little tweaking today?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's in Your Hands

Here's to all the coffee brewers, onion chopping, turkey stuffing, cool whip thawers out there. You are the Stage Setters.
Things are quiet at my parents home this morning. Everyone is asleep - but me. I slept later than normal, but I knew I wanted to get this blog written and I just wanted to get up and get the day started. The early quite of a holiday morning belongs to moms and grandmoms, in my experience. The ones who went over the next day's menu right before going to bed and the ones who woke up with thoughts of what needed to be done when, so the next thing can be done. The turkey has to be stuffed before it can go in the oven and before the stuffing can be stuffed - cornbread has to be cooked, onions and celery chopped and sauteed, giblets boiled and chopped, eggs boiled and chopped. You can see where the mind racing upon waking comes in.
But in my life, those setting these scenes when I was to young to understand, did so lovingly and joyfully. Grandma and my aunt Cora Mae bustling in the kitchen as I snuggled deeper into my sleeping bag on their living room floor. Smells from Mama's kitchen waking me up and saying that this was a special day. Even the cooking of cornbread at midnight on Christmas eve so it would be ready the next morning. Hot cornbread at midnight? - some people just KNOW how to set a scene.
The day is set in the hands of the Scene Setters and it is ours to embrace and do prayerfully - or ours to treat as work and do grudgingly.
Once again - a choice. A choice on what I will do to make this day a gift for my family.
Got to go, I have onions and celery to chop!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day Before

Sing it with me - "Anticipation, anticipa-a-tion is making me wait." It's the Day Before the holiday and I love the Day Before. It doesn't feel like waiting to me, it feels exciting and intense and like Pure Possibility.
When I was growing up we went to my grandmothers every Thanksgiving. The fourteen hour trip began on Wednesday morning when we'd pile into our car with all our stuff, but without Daddy. He had to work half the day, but he'd get a ride into work so we had the car. (This was in the days when folks carpooled for the environment at home, instead of the world. See, with most families only having one car, if you carpooled then the wife had a car some days during the week and that truly enhanced the home environment.)
Anyway - with the car full and anticipation of the trip from Tennessee to the North Carolina coastal area at fever pitch we'd set off. Either that morning or the day before we would've stopped at our neighborhood store, Cherokee Market, and each of us three kids got one of those tiny little bags and got to choose a bit of candy. We never got to spend much and it had to last the whole trip, but this choosing of our own candy was huge. Our bag was carefully guarded and pawed through on the trip. We each cocooned in our space with our pillow, candy, and a few other items and Mama would drive off to Oak Ridge.
Daddy worked at the Union Carbide plants where the atomic bomb was built so we'd park outside the guard gate and sure enough, here he'd come - grinning ear to ear. He and Mama would switch places - and our trip would begin.
This was before interstate 40 was complete so the trip included driving over Saluda Mountain - which is one curvy, mountainous road - and totally exciting for us kids. We'd get to eat out on the way which was a big event for usbecause we never ate out -(and I'm talking McDonalds.)
The mountains would fall behind us and the Carolina countryside smoothed out into sandy fields which us kids would miss as we'd be sleeping, all piled against each other in the back seat - pillows and candy bags askew.
And then around two a.m. the turns and stops told us to wake up. We were off the highway and we were in Whiteville, North Carolina. Grandma's old house had a sand driveway and we'd pull into the light from the porch and windows, because Grandma and my aunt Cora Mae would be waiting for us. What a welcome to pile out of the car to in the small hours of the night. We'd stumble in and after a short visit us kids would be put to bed on the living room floor where the sounds of Grandma's cuckoo clock and the nearby trains would keep us awake - for just a bit.
So that's just one of my "Day Before" memories. See why possibility flows in my veins?
How do you feel about the "Day Before"? Full of possibility or full of angst?
It's a choice, you know.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Got Miracles?

According to Albert Einstein “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”

Have you noticed all the miracles masquerading as normal, ordinary people? Young men and women who sign up for military service. They train and plan to put themselves in harms way because they believe their country should continue to thrive.A man who left his career to follow God into ministry in his fifties. His wife who works by his side, through moves and pay cuts.

Friends that put their heartaches away to cheer good news from a friend. And even ask for more details.

Parents who move heaven and earth to support their children, only to be turned away in anger. And yet the parents never, never give up.Couples falling in love and striking out without a clue where they're going or where they'll end up.

A wife who carries her husbands heartache and struggle because it's too much for him alone.

Grandparents who hold Christmas a month early, because the grandkids are in town now.

Nurses who chat and visit and calm more nerves than medication.

Moms who cradle their children's concerns as if they were their own. Dads who go about their day, never letting on that their minds and hearts are miles away with their child.

Look around you today. Who are the miracles you live your life with? I'm knee-buckled, breath-taken away, tears running in awe at the miracles walking the days of my life.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Who's Shooting at Me?

Sunset off my parents back deck today made me think I could just reach out and brush it all away. Like a chalk drawing done on black fabric. Trees, houses, hills all had blurred edges and a soft, chalky glow. It was one of those evenings when the sun takes the warmth with it behind the horizon and chill comes with the shadows. But my afternoon passed spending time with a book, a drink and letting peacefulness settle down in a peachy glow.
Except I kept thinking I was getting shot at.
I'd hear a crack from the back yard, where there are woods and such. Following the crack something would ping against the wall of their house where I was sitting. Kid with a pop gun? An angry squirrel? My admittance to the nut house? Finally after one of the sharp cracks I noticed a flurry of dried brown leaves swirling to the ground while everything else was still. The leaves fell from a huge wisteria my folks planted to shade a corner of their pool area. A couple repeats and, sure enough, something was happening in the wisteria. So I googled "wisteria popping sounds".
Did you know that when the seed pods get dry and then heated up (it was up to 73 here today) they will "explode"? Did you know they can shoot the seeds from the pod up to 70 feet away?
Yeah, me either. The deck and house is a good 30 feet from the wisteria and the seeds hit hard enough for me to hear them.
Daddy's brothers are here from North Carolina visiting with him this afternoon which is why I'm sitting on the deck being assaulted by wisteria seeds. A nurse took a picture of the three brothers and sent it to my cell phone. They sure look happy.
As I posted on my facebook status one day last week, "I am one of the most blessed people to have ever walked this planet and my biggest blessing is that I know it."
Today I've been blessed by exploding seed pods and visiting uncles. You know, blessings that go unnoticed are just sad.
Don't you agree?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"I Yam what I Yam."

"I yam what I yam." Who said it?
Popeye, that's right. That one eyed, ridiculously muscled, pipe smoking, Olive Oyl devotee. Of course he was a cartoon, but maybe just the fact that Popeye said this line quite often might point to Reoccurring Identity Frustration. And seriously, who hasn't felt that?
Who am I supposed to be? What am I supposed to do? What are my gifts? My talents?
What do I want to be when I grow up?
Mama tells me of my despair in high school when I came home reporting that one of my friends knew exactly what she was going to do with her life. She was going to be a doctor and I didn't have the first clue. Mama reminding me of that, and how things worked in both my life and my friend's, helped me with my kids conundrums of choosing a major in college. and then another one. and then another one. and then--well, you get the picture.
Being away from home these past couple weeks while my dad had brain surgery has been tiring, scary, lonely, and just plain old strange. And with defenses down doubt comes creeping around. What an amazing blessing to be able to drop everything and come stay here. But it's also disconcerting to be able to do that and realize not one thing suffered. Seriously - if I am (as I've come to believe) the center of the universe - shouldn't my absence be noted?
Whose idea was it to be a writer? Being unpublished means I have nothing to show for what I do. Nothing to miss, no deadlines to push back, nobody waiting on the next book. Write or Don't write - nobody knows. But Popeye, and God, reminded me this morning. I yam what I yam. Loving words and wanting to write wasn't my idea. I can lament the shortcomings or I can embrace the privileges.
This morning I'm choosing embracing. How are you at embracing what you are?
And heres Popeye's song - And I yam what I yam and I yam what I yam that I yam / And I gotta lotta muscle and I only gots one eye / And I never hurts nobody and I'll never tell a lie / Top to me bottom and bottom to me top / That's the way it is 'til the day that I drop, what am I / I yam what I yam