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It’s a new day January 7, 2013

Posted by Barbara in Art, Life.
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New Year’s resolutions have little power in my world.  Maybe I can handle a few one day at a time.

May I:

Think more and talk less.

And never for others.

Write more.

Paint more.

Buy less ‘stuff’

and give more away.

Let go when I need to.

When I slip, I hope you’ll nudge me.  Kindly, if possible.

Thank you.

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“Let us cultivate our garden.” 
                                             ― Voltaire, Candide

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A Legacy of Love November 8, 2012

Posted by Barbara in Art, Life.
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A mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.  ~Author Unknown

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Saying goodbye isn’t easy.

Mom knew her time was near; her heart was ready for the journey.  Mine wanted to linger.  One more kiss.  Just a little longer to hold her hand.  And then that last, quiet breath.

Later, as my sister and I sat down to write an obituary, we struggled with the effort of telling the story of a lifetime in such a few words.  The bullet-list of a standard newspaper form seems so bland.  Mom was anything but bland.  We finished the writing because deadlines force action, but my heart continues to catalog the memories; we owe so much, my siblings and I, to that mother’s legacy.

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Have a little faith! February 29, 2012

Posted by Barbara in Gardening, Life.
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It’s garden time again in Texas.   We’ve already planted cool-loving potatoes and onions, spinach, carrots, lettuce and radishes in the soil.   The more sensitive herbs, the tomatoes and peppers and watermelons that want to be coddled in warmth until all danger of frost has passed, are just breaking ground in their little pots, safely tucked away in the $20 greenhouse.

Plant too early and you may lose the crop to a freeze.  Too late and you limit or lose the growing season.   And that is  just one of the many hurdles Mother Nature keeps in her play book to challenge those who dare play the game.  Farming is one part sweat and sore muscles, one part strategy, one part planning and ten parts faith.

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The bucket list October 26, 2011

Posted by Barbara in Life, LiveSTRONG.
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Everyone who got where he is has had to begin where he was.                         ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Life’s good.  I have no regrets.  I’m active and getting healthier, slowly but surely.  So why not just keep on keepin’ on?  Why a bucket list?

Because I have things to do.   And doing some of them means that my family and friends need to know what’s up so they can come along for the fun, if they want.  I’d love that.  Some things on this very flexible list are kind of solo activities.  But others (like those that entail travel or adventure) would really only be enjoyable with great company.

And I realize, finally, that procrastination is equivalent to failure.

I’ll be changing the list pretty frequently at first, as I think through the difference between things I really feel a drive to do and those that would simply be pleasant side-trips.  Making the list public puts me on notice that the time is now.

In fact, now is the only time there is.

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It isn’t simple to simplify August 26, 2011

Posted by Barbara in Life.
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One of my recurring New Year’s resolutions is to simplify my life. Simply put, we have too much junk.

I often feel just that way about the ever-present clutter in my world.   I’m a world class saver of all potentially useful stuff.  Dutiful daughter of survivors of the last Great Depression.  No, that does not read:  hoarder.  My ‘collection’ has value.  Sort of.

Every now and then I go on a spree trying to thin out the abundance. I make runs to the local charities with outgrown clothes and still-playable games and unused kitchen gadgets.  But the thing I find it hardest to let go of are the books. I’ve had shelves and closets and boxes of books for all age levels and interests.  I collected children’s books for my kids until they thought I was trying to start my own library and, I’m proud to say, they all learned to read.  I still have most of them.  The books, that is.  The kids  just wouldn’t stay where I put them.

During the summer, I made a real effort to reduce the collection enough that I could leave J with only one bookcase in his bedroom. For some reason, he thought it important to have a desk and a computer.  Most of the books we moved out ended up in stacks on my bedroom floor.

I’m working on it. I am.

But I’m quite sure I’ll need my old Navajo language books from my college days again. And if not, well…..they hold so many memories! And so many undelivered dreams.

And, yes, we really do still grab old National Geo’s to spend an evening with – as though they were old friends who had just been waiting for a turn at our attention. The complete compilation on CD just doesn’t do it for me.

That’s what a 32 year collection looks like.

And it stays.

A room without books is like a body without a soul.   ~Cicero

Cycles August 9, 2011

Posted by Barbara in Gardening, Life.
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It’s been hot in Texas.  Very hot.  My car showed 112 degrees the other day.  It’s taking a toll on the garden, and only the hardiest of vegetables have endured to this point.   When our water supply was interrupted for a couple of days, it spelled the end for almost everything.   I was sad to see it go until I realized that the changes I was seeing were not harbingers of the end.  Rather they were showing life’s willingness to adapt and continue.

Adapt, you say?  The sunflowers are still standing only because the stems are as thick as small tree trunks and will likely stand until we cut them down to plant the next crop.  Adapt?  Even the heat-loving watermelons have quit blooming, the vines withering almost as I watch.

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Garden lessons, life lessons July 11, 2011

Posted by Barbara in Gardening, Life.
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I was weeding the garden this morning. My recent week of play saw a bumper crop of weeds to go with the nice harvest. As I worked my way down the row of mostly gone or harvested onions and garlic I saw what I took to be a miscreant stalk of corn – probably planted by the birds who are enjoying the corn crop.

 I really am aware of how steep my gardening learning curve still is.    I thought I knew exactly what that plant was.  I was quite willing to pull it up.  At the very least, it was growing in the wrong place.  Who needs corn in the garlic row?

Imagine my surprise when my pulling uncovered a large tuber.  It was the long-lost ginger I had planted months ago and never seen again.  It had suddenly decided to grow – exactly where I had planted it.  It didn’t grow as quickly as I had expected and I didn’t understand what it would look like if it did.  So I mis-read the reality.  And ruined what would have become a beautiful and productive plant. 

I wonder how often we fail to recognize other treasures in life.

Sometimes because they take time to reveal themselves.  Sometimes because we  are so focused on our own expectations that we don’t recognize and value what is right in front of us.

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. 
                 ~Thornton Wilder  

Living STRONG March 24, 2011

Posted by Barbara in Life, LiveSTRONG.
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I’ve been sporting a new yellow wristband recently. It’s a reminder of why I’m putting in gym time,  planting a garden and generally trying to simplify my lifestyle. It keeps me motivated and helps me stay aware of the bigger picture.

If you don’t know, LiveSTRONG is the cancer support network of Lance Armstrong’s foundation. If you or anyone you know is affected by any type of cancer, check them out. The resources they have available are absolutely awesome. Don’t just glance at the website, either. Watch the videos. Call and talk to a real person. It’s mind-boggling the kind of real-people helping real people network they have.

Like many of you, cancer has touched my family more than once.   We’ve survived prostate cancer, endometrial cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer, cervical cancer.  I lost an aunt to breast cancer and one to ovarian cancer.  An uncle died of lung cancer.  My cousin’s son was lost to testicular cancer.  And I have many dear friends who are cancer survivors.

Each of those family and friends would be worthy of a commitment to health and to understanding and beating that disease.  But that isn’t really why I started wearing the band.

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Blogs are forever September 21, 2010

Posted by Barbara in Life.
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A friend (who has the right education to know) just made the point to me that nothing is ever really deleted that has been posted on the internet (or sent in an e-mail or text message or otherwise said, either in public or in private.)

Nothing.

I recognize this and yet I blog.  So here’s the disclaimer:

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I reserve the right to edit my writing, refine my thoughts, change my mind once I see it in print, grow beyond one understanding into another and otherwise totally morph from one state of being to the next.   Growth is a basic premise of life – the Internet not withstanding.

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I believe God will forgive my stumbling efforts to find and grow my own humanity.  Maybe you will, too.

There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love. ~Bryant H. McGill

A prayer for today….. September 20, 2010

Posted by Barbara in Gamer Mom, Life.
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Well, Lord,  I woke up again this morning.   So I’ll be needing You.

When I feel depressed, help me to see the good in this world and the people in it.  To appreciate their talents and strengths, especially the hidden ones.  To be strong enough to say the words of encouragement they need to hear and swallow the words of judgement.

Help me to see that my son is one of those people.   And my mother.   And so am I.

Help me to listen more than I talk.

Make me aware of my blessings.  It is so easy to dwell on the challenges and miss the joys.

When I’m tired and aching, help me to take care of myself.   Make me hungry for the good foods, find motivation for exercise, slow myself down during the day and give myself enough time to sleep.  I know that only by taking care of myself will I have the strength to take care of others.

Teach me to find moments of peace from the rush of information and the demands of chores.

Help me to choose my battles wisely and let go when I need to.

Help me to challenge myself to reach outside my comfort zone, and to see this as an adventure rather than a pain.

And thanks for giving me another chance.

~may it be

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Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action. ~ Mahatma Ghandi