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snowflakes, glitter and pasted smiles

How full of creative genius is the air in which these are generated!  I should hardly admire more if real stars fell and lodged on my coat – Henry David Thoreau
I sat down to write a piece of poetry about Christmas and snow falling.  Words like softly and gently wanted to be written, but they seemed cliché.  You see, a couple of weeks ago someone told me I was all “happy-clappy” about Christmas.  This person knows nothing of my life; the good stuff or the sad. 
We simply look at the pasted smile and go about our days, because that is what we are supposed to do.
Having allowed myself to get duly worked up, I understood that my outlook had nothing to do with outward circumstances; it’s rooted in my intrinsic values and beliefs.  It’s my distinct gift to open every day.
You see, the very first Christmas was not a glitter covered event with gentle snowflakes and hot toddys.  It was in a barn full of animals and ransacked with scandal.  There was dirt and gossip whispered behind backs; homele…

my hunt for a tree

It’s the same story every year.  I look, I search, I contemplate.  Trees have to be pirouetted around so I can see all the angles.  That’s the Christmas-tree-lot-version. 
This year, my fam is going out to cut a tree; very Griswald like.  In years past, this was our tradition, complete with a bonfire, thermoses filled with hot chocolate and mulled wine; hot dogs to roast on fresh cut sticks.
Mostly, we’d tromp around in the woods, giving each potential tree a once over, until that “Hallelujah Chorus” moment arrived.  
The only problem it was on the other side of an icy cold creek, with banks and drifts of equally cold and deep snow.  Well, hubby being the really swell guy that he is managed to cross the water without drenching himself.  He cut the tree, floated it downstream to a more appropriate place to bring it up the bank, to present me with my prized Noble Fir.  That was the story from an eon ago.  The 2015 tale is ready to be told…
We drove about 10 miles out-of-town and turned on…

no street lights, but Advent

advent:  a coming into being
I’m a city girl.  I miss the city, the din of traffic and construction; the crushing music of urbanity.  I’m becoming accustomed to a slower pace, filled with a handful of street lights and natural sounds.  I’m finding that when one thing is missed, others come into being.

stumbling in the dark no street lights...no flash lights...no head lights black skies littered with stars bright and brilliant distant night lights shooting and dancing iridescent sparklers invisible in the light so I stumble
Advent is all about watching for an arrival; things to come into place.  The word is connected to the Holiday Season, as we eagerly await Christmas and the birth of a tiny baby.  One way or another Advent, the arrival of Emmanuel needs to influence more than a certain time of year.  We need Him to crash into culture in general and our private lives, specifically – always. 
Like stars that are forever hung in the night sky, even when obscured by whatever, I need to be looking…

not grumpy - thankful

I broke down and put some Christmas music on yesterday. 
I’ve tried a few other times … it just seems wrong when I haven’t roasted a turkey yet.  I blame my brother.  He was visiting and was all like “Its Christmas all day, every day, Missy.  You don’t know…”  Being a good big sis and all, Christmas music was cranked up on the ipod. 
Confession:  something happened and I’ve been streaming an off-beat Christmas station today.  The Holidays are clattering and clamoring and I’m pretty relaxed – odd.
Like an old VHS tape (remember the sticker on them, “please be kind, rewind?”) I’ve been rewinding and re-watching this last year.  A thumbnail:  upheaval, chaos and disorder, uncertainty, fear and confusion were the adjectives.  We were moving; packing up our life to regenerate it in a town once known as home in distant corners of our minds.  Do minds have corners?  I know, random.
That move brought baggage.  More than I realized at the time.  While I was thankful for many things, I was grumpy…

a very editorial piece

I meet up with a group of ladies each week.  We are of different ages, eco-status and walks of life.  Our community comes from our love factor based in relationship.
We’ve been discussing a book titled, “Love Does” by Bob Goff.  Did you know love is a noun and a verb? Yep, that’s the nerdy, I-love-words-side of me coming out.  Anyway, the point is love does stuff.  It doesn’t simply sit in a box thinking it’s all sweet and uncluttered, tied up with a pretty bow.
Love is messy.  Love is inconvenient.  Love gets in the way of our preconceived ideas.  Love is broken.  Love is vulnerable.  Love hurts.  Basically, love can be a real pain in the butt, because it requires something.

Grinding on the conversation with the gal pals, we were passionately hashing ways that we could put action (verbs) to our talk.  Talk has to take form or it’s just talk. 
The holidays are basically here, our minds turn to helping others who are less fortunate than ourselves; a good thing, but why do we only think th…

i could never understand his poetry

I could never understand his poetry It seemed to run in circles but the ends never connected Now, I must admit my own words are scrawled on a page with a ballpoint
I could never understand the perspective of his poetry He had seen things and lived through them The battle real, while mine was gripped inside
I could never physically empathize with his poetry My feet didn’t walk the red fields, but his did My hands didn’t bind the wounds, but his did

No, I could never understand his poetry, but I could listen
Gratitude, thankfulness, appreciation, deep respect and admiration to and for family members, friends, acquaintances and those I do not know, for their service.
Missy

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night traveler

Most nights hubby and I go for a walk with our dog, Isabella.  With us having been at work all day, it’s important for her to have some exercise – us too.  
The walk is in the dark and where we live there’s a definite lack of street lights.
Across the road there lives a park with a nice path around a small lake.  Geese, deer, assorted birds and tons of frogs have begun to call this newly developed area home.  We saw three good sized bucks come down to water, the velvet still clinging to their horns.  A gaggle of geese created quite a commotion one quiet evening when they landed in the dark.  As quickly as it was loud, it became noiseless when they settled upon the water.
Another evening the path was littered with frogs not much bigger than your thumbnail.  Belle was her usual nosey self, sniffing them.  When one hopped, she jumped straight up like a scared rabbit.  Sheesh dog!  Some kind of protector you are. 
Deer, frogs and geese are pretty nifty, but not nearly as sweet as what happen…

are you strong enough to do it together?

Weekend getaways are all about kicking back and well, getting away from the entire buzz of life.  Caffeine excluded from this statement.
Somewhere around noon of day two’s whatever we want to do schedule, my baby and I decided to hike around the lake that we’d been watching transform before our eyes.  The distance was seven and a half miles according to the sign.  That sounded totally do-able.  Especially since yesterday we had ventured out on two shorter hikes that amounted to six or so miles.  Besides, we’d walked a small part of the trail; it seemed like a pretty comfortable walk by the lake.  First glances can be deceiving.
Now, in all fairness to avid outdoors people, it probably was easy peasy.  But to this urban girl, who only a few years ago had given up her love of walking due to not pleasant back pain from nerves having their life squeezed out; this hike was of larger-than-life proportions.
I noticed the scenery; which was stunning.  The sun shot diamonds on the water that was …

with a nod of dignity

with a nod of dignity, he pulled her close people driving by without even looking; it’s too risky, so just don’t look
funny, and not in a good way, how that dignity and pride stood out beyond the destitute
standing on that corner, all too familiar cardboard sign in hand clothed in dirt from the street
a common sight has become our normal; we go by without a passing thought these people were different
their presence struck my conscience; piercing my heart with their status homelessness has a face

Their sign was simple.  
Out of the corner of my eye I saw that it asked for camping gear.  No hollow pleas for food, work or a blatant hand-out.
I know nothing about the “whys” of why they were living on the street.  I don’t need to.  What does matter is my response to the things that I see with my eyes and my heart.  Am I aware?  Am I mindfully aware?
Answer.
I received an email last week from some people living in Indonesia.  It mentioned that a lady came into their life that was an answer to a need.  It…

crinkling and peeling, autumn

autumn:    a period of maturity verging on decline (the free dictionary.com)
It arrived this week.

Yep, fall officially debuted on my calendar, with its cooler nights and warm days, bushes screaming for attention while the leaves are in the throes of death, to quote my husband.
I love autumn; crunching leaves with my feet like a little kid and eating bowls of soup that have been ignored while the weather was scorching.  I like to slip a fuzzy scarf on with my t-shirt, since the temps are in between…and did I mention the leaves?  Yeah, I kinda did.  Big, small, gold, burnt umber, okra and coffee colors; some crinkling and others still pliable, at least for now.

Walking in my neighborhood is like a kaleidoscope, ever changing as you turn the lens.  The same occurred on a long - over 200 mile - drive about last weekend.  Every corner of the long and winding road (sounds like a Beatles song) tossed colors refracting in the pale light of the day.  What is my strange fascination with the witheri…

tick tick tick

I receive daily writing prompts in my inbox.  I go through streaks of using them, when they intrigue me and dry spells when the ideas bore me.
A recent one that pricked my writing reverie was “write a list of things that tick;” quite different from things that tick me off.  Honestly, there are days that list would be a catalog.  No, this one was simply things that tick. 
I interpreted that as a sound - a clicking or rhythmic beat; and even took it a step further with a check mark indicating something is done.  I avoided the pesky blood-sucking insect that latches itself to you while hiking in the summer.
A few of the words and phrases that I wrote on my list
pocket watch     alarm clock    time bomb    my eye when I’m stressed    creepy working to clean the pool    a metronome    high heels on a concrete floor    Dorothy’s ruby slippers   crosswalk signs    a card placed in bicycle spokes
All of items and actions denote a beat, a measure of time or an accomplishment.  How many ticks and …

east lake, summer 2015

Morning came with a cold smack in the face.  The sun was just beginning to light the day, soft and melancholy.  The campground was quiet as dawn tip-toed in. 
Snuggling down a little further in my flannel lined sleeping bag, I noticed my visible breath; evidence of the chill.  In a sleepy, pre-coffee state of mind, I heard the chop of an axe, crumpling paper and the promising strike of a match.  Crackling flames stirred me from my cocoon, mocking me to emerge and join the day.   Silent mornings have a cold heart.
This snippet pretty much sums up a recent camping trip to East Lake.  We had an unseasonal cold front move through, dropping the temperatures from the usual mid to upper 40’s at night down to, well, seeing my breath conditions.  Fortunately, I had not only my not-made-for-backpacking sleeping bag, but a wool quilt piled on top.  Add to that sweats and I was all toasty.
I did emerge to meet the cold morning and roaring fire.  
The warmth of the flames felt hot on my cheeks.  My c…

roads we walk

We all have roads to walk...
Roads filled with flowers and fluffy bunnies and all things bright; others strewn with stones and cluttered with boulders of gargantuan size.  Most roads, however, are ordinary... laundry lists, family obligations and the day-to-day necessities.
Right now, I am keenly aware of my stony path and the boulder-blocked trails for family and friends.  When I analyze my "stones" I see that they are, in reality, merely fine grains of sand.  
To the many feet that have walked before You have paved the way, broken trail Adventurous in spirit … with curiosity unending
You have opened our minds to infinite possibilities Crossing oceans, climbing mountains, Planting fruit and flowers and trees; crops to harvest and feed
You have created, invented … and harnessed Tools, vehicles and electricity, and the wind Seeing beyond the here and now
You were and are still a visionary, a wanderer … a discoverer of the yet unfound
May we, as the generations that follow Acknowledge a…

butterflies and class reunions

Arriving with more than a few butterflies – you know, all those crazy head-games you play - the hum of voices, smiles and squints as we tried to read name tags, netted the gossamer wings flying inside.
What a difference 40 years makes; not an ordinary statement.  You see it’s been that many years since my high school graduation.  The mirror may beg to differ with this concept, but in my mind, we’re still the lithe, hormone-driven teens that we were in ’75. 
Those were carefree and hard years.  
You’re busy trying to be grown-up, important (at least in your own eyes), cool and popular with just the right amount of swagger.  There are the cliques, groups that you get peg-boarded into even if you’re square and the holes are round or obtuse.  It’s a battlefield of social status warfare.
Funny how, with the passing of time, the predetermined ideas of where we fit, or don’t, seem to dissipate like the haze that filled the canyon.  Genuine, authentic conversations floated in non-smoke filled ri…