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Easter and Chainsaws

Easter with the family is always wonderful and this year was no different. We drove to the family compound this year. The weather was wonderful and it was a great break from the rainy cold we had been having prior tot he holiday in Atlanta.   It was the perfect weather for yard work, and our parents took full advantage that their young healthy children would be there for the weekend.

Spring in southern Georgia is a very special thing, so having to be outside was not a problem at all. I helped Dad with the yard work. We started off by trimming Mom’s many fruit trees. Dad got the little, what I call mini-chain saw. We worked well together, he chainsawing the limbs as i would hold and catch them as they fell (they were small trees). I would put the limbs in the back of the truck to haul off to the burn pile later. Those who have grown up in the south or in the country are very familiar with this practice.

Soon the limbs from all the trees were taller than the cab of the little work truck. This meant it was time for this 40 year old girl to revert back to childhood. This meant fun! I climbed into the back of the truck and started walking, even jumping on the large pile of limbs. I felt like I could shout “I’m the king of the castle and you’re the dirty rascal!”  You can take the girl out of the country…

Next it was time to cut down a few small dead fruit trees (something that doesn’t happen very often around my mother because she has more than a green thumb). I begged, begged, begged to finally be allowed to use the chain saw. After all, I am forty. My father agreed and we had a great father daughter moment as he showed me how to use it. He was proud of his little girl. A chain saw wielding red-headed klutz. Oh yes. Be afraid, be very afraid. Especially any ex boyfriends or anyone who eve cut me off in traffic (insert evil laugh here).

But before I could cut the trunks of the trees, all the grass and such needed to be cleared put. Dad offered me some gloves, but they would have just gotten in the way. Having my hands in the dirt makes me feel closer to God, as I feel the dirt on my hands and smell the earth. It’s a lot harder than it looks! But I felt triumphant the stump I was chainsawing became nothing more than a small piece of wood that could be pulled up later.

After the hard work with the chainsaw was done, it was time to sit and relax. By this time the weather had changed, and the clouds were rolling in. There was just enough time to pour a glass of wine and sit out on the back porch. Soon you could hear it; the sound of the rain hitting the lake.  The scent of the rain was heavy on the breeze, and finally when the sight of the rain caught up with the scent and sound, it was quite a site. Lighting lit up the sky, and the rain came down in heavy sheets that flooded the yard and made waves on the water. It was beautiful.

And that is the way it is in life – Sometimes a little rain must fall, even after a lot of hard work. But when the storm is over, everything is clean and clear, ripe and green. And if we look, we can see God’s hand in the changes that the storm creates. For change is often not easy, and the waves are far reaching. But every storm runs out of rain. So until then grab a seat and a glass of wine. And know, in your heart of hearts, that it will be ok.

This year Easter was a wonderful blessing. There was a lot of hard work, lot’s of love, laughter and family. Yes, life could not get much better (well, I could win the lottery, or George Clooney could fall madly in love with me…but I digress). Life is good and I am happy.

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Easter Gifts

As so it is, this Easter, that life has a different landscape than before. As we rush around, getting this ready and that ready, as we make sure all is prepared, as the sun is shining and warmth is felt from the inside out. As smiles bubble into giggles and giggles erupt into laughter. As the gifts of Easter show themselves in the mystery of Faith…I am thankful.

Yes, there are many gifts to be celebrated in my life. It has been a long Lenten season with many lessons learned. But as those lessons come to an end, the gifts are there, as promised.  And as I look around my happy home, with family, friends, laughter, smiles, love, good food, good wine and happy hearts, I am very thankful.

May everyone have a wonderful happy Easter filled with Faith, Love, Hope and Smiles.

 

The Belly Dance of Life

Tonight my sister and I went to belly dance classes. It’s a great, fun and sexy way to exercise and it is a very hard workout. Sweat pours off of you while you are barely moving because it is such extreme muscle isolation. You must drink a lot of water before, during and after the lesson. Now, put two women over the age of 40, who are not very coordinated to begin with…and you have quite an adventure. And as we bent down in our belly dance stance position, looking straight ahead in the mirrors to see what our bodies were doing, I noticed a trend. A trend not only with my body, but with others in the class as well.

I noticed the subtleties of what the instructor was doing with her hips, her arms, her legs, her chest as we danced. And I  noticed what we were all doing. And the two did not look the same at all. While the instructor’s movements were very contained, controlled and subtle, most students, including myself, had jerky overdone movements. Our movements were so very exaggerated from what they should have been, what the instructor’s were. But we are all learning in this class, getting the hang of the positions and movements. We have tired arms and burning legs. We need to rest sometimes, catch our breathe before the next movement.

And isn’t it the same in life? Sometimes, when we are first learning a new skill, our movements are unsure and uncoordinated, jerky. And while learning, we sometimes over do things to make sure we actually have the movement down. And then, in time and practice, we slowly become more sure of ourselves, our movements more fluid and our thoughts take over other areas, as it becomes natural. But in the meantime, we may overcompensate and miss the subtleties of certain situation which we are trying to master.

Indeed that is the case in my life. I try to handle things with Grace, and while my movements have become a bit more fluid, I still do have a bit more coordination to work on. It is easy to have grace when all is going well in life. It is harder when things do not go as planned, or when you are exceptionally angry at someone. And then I overcompensate, and go to the other direction of not having a spine in an attempt to have Grace. Having Grace still means having a spine. And somewhere, there is that balance.

When we over compensate and miss the subtleties in dance class, we miss the small beautiful movements that truly make it an art. We get off balance, our arms and legs flail around (or maybe that’s just me?), we loose our rhythm, we loose count, and we have to stop, take a breath and start back at square one. The we try again, and again, and again.

The same is true in life.

Sometimes, I over do things. Sometimes, out of insecurity, I go overboard. I am afraid that I will not be understood, so I say the same things over and over, to stress what is important. The result is driving people away, instead of drawing them closer. Or because I am so very hurt by someone, I lash out at them, hurting them worse, when all I wanted was for them to just understand.

And somewhere, there is my balance where I don’t fall when trying to do a hip shimmie.

Why do we over compensate in life? Why do we go overboard in our reactions or intentions sometimes? Why is that balance so hard to find, between where we are and were we want to be? Sometimes it seems as if we are wars apart from our goals. Maybe the secret is to just relax and stop trying so hard. Keep at it, as practice makes perfect, and know that with enough repetition and perseverance, we will indeed find our rhythm and Grace.

I guess I should pray for physical grace as well. And maybe, one day, with enough practice, I’ll get them both right.

Last Winter’s Night

It is that time of year where it is on the cusp of the seasons – winter to Spring. And indeed Spring is in the air, along with the ever so slight start of pollen. The days are getting longer and warmer, the nights cool but not cold. Look close and you will see the beginning of new life on the trees and in the bushes. Listen and you will hear the sound of a few birds, see the squirrels playing. In the last few weeks, winter has loosed up his grip so that Spring may enter the room.

The last few weeks have also been a whirlwind of activity, both personal and professional. I have been immersed in family as my parents visit for Dad’s chemo treatment and my sister moves in to start her new life. The last few weeks has seen the definate end of an old relationship, and the very new start of another. Work is sprouting in different directions, and friends have been everywhere too. Yes, I have felt like a vine growing in all different directions, stretching thin looking for the warmth of the sun. 

But tonight, it seems, is the last winter’s night. The weekend will be warm and full of spring air, pregnant with the promise of possibilities. The season of heavy coats will be past of this weekend. And so I put on my favorite coat and walking shoes, and walk around the neighborhood. And asa I walked around, looking at the stars, breathing the cool night air, seeing the few neighbors who came outside to retrieve things from their yard or car, I pondered the last few weeks.

Now with my sister here, I am learning how nice it is to not be alone, to have someone I know and trust around, to have interdependance, to be OK to cry in front of someone, to hear someone else around the house, and not need to grab a gun because someone broke in. It’s nice to come home and have someone happily cooking food, have the hosue smell great, and not have me doing all the cooking. It’s nice to have help folding the laudry and that I do not have to face Dad’s health by myself. It’s just so nice.

And there was a sense of peace that came over me, because now that have this, now that I know what it is and what it feels like, I know that I want to have this in my life – with my friends, continued with my family, and with my lovers. And this heart of mine warms up, from the inside out, and I know that this is the start of a new phase of my life. And it is indeed that last winter’s night.

Life is good and I am happy.

Dreams

I have long said that I beleived that if you work hard, have faith and beleive, that your dreams will come true. Hard work and perseverance truly do pay off. And Now, during this time of my life, it is truly paying off.

I have struggled, I have been so very poor, I have worked all night and all day, I have cired so many tears, a river of tears, an entire ocean. I have known the pain of being too tender, had broken hearts, felt each piece break one heartbeat at a time, I have liad down next to love and woke up with lies. I have beleived the wrong men, men who knew too much, men who knew too little and man who didn’t know at all. Men who were late, early and men who never came at all.

I have tried with all of my heart and soul. I have stayed awake at night, unable to sleep or watching over those I love. I have krept out inthe morning, stayed too long, beleived when I knew it was wrong, taken calcualted risks that worked and some that didn’t. I have failed, so very hard. And I have fallen, so very hard, for him. And I have wondered, at night when the stars are quiet.

And I have known his footsteps as he nears the room, his smell, his looks, his everything. And I have known all of them, too well, too little and closed my eyes when I did not want to know. I have been a friend, a lover, a sister, a girlfriend, a fighter, a believer, a worker, an liar, a truther. And I have held my own heart, wounded, bleeding, beating. And I have put it back together. I have taped, banaged and bandaided my faith and belief in others.

And I have tried, so very hard.

And here I am. Finally. My dreams are coming true, both professionally and personally. Thank you to all who believed, to all those who faollowed, all those who cheered and rooted. Thank you to alal those who booed and hurt me too. For you too motivated me and made me better, though I may have not known it at the time.

And now, as I sit at the top of this huge, trechurous mountain, I see that the view is wonderful, beautifu. The air is clear and clean. And as I have have sweated, my heartache comin goout of my pours, dripping down onto the Earth, I know that every minute was worth it. I have Peace, and I have Love.

It’s all worth it, in the end. Every minute, every second, every moment.

A Graceful Night Out

Most people who know me would not associate me with the word Grace. If there is a way to trip, fall, spill, stumble or otherwise fumble, I’ll find it. The stories of my cluminess are many and legindary – like when I feel face first on the beach in the sand, when I fell over a footstoll lin the furniture store, landed ass-up in front of a hot guy, the time I was taking a pre-employment drug test and dropped the cup when handing it iff to the technitian…in front of a hot guy. And those are just a few.

Last night my sister and I went out to play trivia and meet with another dear frond of mine. He is Jewish, older and rides a Harley. This unlikely friendship started several years ago after I kept seeing him in my appartment complex and eventually worked up the nerve to ask him about his life. We have been good friends ever since. Last night we talked, drank beer, got caught up, laughed and had a great time.

He is a very spirtitual man, very knowledgeable and I respect him tremendiously. Toward the end of the night, I told him of my journey to find Grace, Divine Grace, or to have as much Grace as possible. I asked him what he thought the definiation of Grace was in the sewnse that I am seeking. He said:

“It is keeping your mouth shut and withholding judgement. Don’t be the catalyst. Don’t be a doormat, but sit back and watch more, let things develope in their own time and let people learn their lessons without telling them. That is the only way they will learn anyway. So sit back, shut up, and don’t judge.”

I love him. In that short explanation, he summed up exactly what I needed to do. And when you think about it, it seems so simple. The bottom line is that it is easy to practice Grace when you are having a great day, and all is well. However, it is much harder when you are angry, hurt, or feel slighted. So I am going to take his advice, and I will hold my togue. Easier said than done for this feisty red- head.

But we strive, as humans, to be better, do better and have better. It is our nature. And so I will strive too. And I will be human, I will have monets, make mistakes, falter, but I will try, with all my heart to sit back, shut up and not judgr. It is not my place to judge or tell someone how they are wring, even when they have dsone wrong to me. Let God sort them out.

Now, if only there was a cure for falling, slipping, tripping, spilling, fumbling, tumbling, shuffling and sliding!

Pride, Grace and Moving

We all  must learn to ask for hlep at some point in our lives. This is a very hard thing for me. It truly hurts my prode when I find that I cannot do something myself. I. Hate. It. But I had to swallow my pride and do just that recently. My nephew will be moving in temporarily and for 2-3 months my office needs to be his bedroom. Easy enough. Except that a huge heavy desk had to be moved out of the room, into the garage and the bedroom furniture on loan from my parents moved from their van to my nephews room.

So, I swallowed my pride and asked my most recent to to please, please, please, help unload and move. This was hard for me and he did not make it easy. Why not call the man you are dating now? (He runs his own company, is not available during the day and had a family emergency). Why not just get some movers? (hmmm, it costs at least $200 to get them, and since I have 2 people moving in, I am a bit short on cash at the moment). Why not get another friends? (I don’t ask a lot of friends for help. Very few people. Ever. Pride).

The result of me swallowing my pride? The ex came over and helped, everything was moved into place. The desk is dismantled and in the garage, the bedroom furniture is where it is be and the room is ready for my nephew to move in.  And my ex and I saw each other where we were not yelling at each other.

The moral of the story? Maybe it is OK to ask for help. Maybe pride is not always a good thing. Yes, we can write it and read it all we want, but until we really know it, it does not good.

And Grace. Yes ther is that word. It is very hard to have Grace toward someone who hurt you. And he did, a lot. And I have to admit, I have been very snarky to him. I am a fiesty southern red head, and he expected me to do that which I already told him I was not capable. I told him how I would react if put in thyat situation. And true to my word, I acted just as I said I would. He was surprised got very angry. And then I was snarky. And I enjoyed being snarky. That’s the thing about being feisty, you enjoy it.

But that is not Grace. And that is not forgiveness. It is hard to forgive when you are still hurt and angry, and it is hard to be Graceful when you enjoy being feisty. But that is what I must do. After all, my ex showed more grace than I when he showed up to help, moving heavy furniture, facing my mother and sister, still smiling and moving heavy things. I could learn from him in that regard.

And my life has been so blessed with so many good and wonderful things, that I should be less pridefull and more Gracefull. I cannot, in good conscience, ask for the blessings in  my life to continue and still behave in a way that is not condusive to having Grace. And so that will bemy motivation.

Pride, Grace, and moving.