Tag Archives: love

Eight Years Strong

contra by daniel

Dance Motion by Wubby

There’s a meme floating all over FB that says something like, “If you’ve been friends for seven years, you will be friends forever.” Sometimes, but not always, at least from my little chair.

It all started in 2007, when a blogger suggested I read this. So, I did. It said, “He played me a piece of music, happened to be my all time favorite (still is) although if you can hear the bagpipes I think it’s even better. Sounds like home calling me, some distant island off the coast of Ireland or Scotland. He played Amazing Grace and I went to pieces.” And, as I’m writing this at 12:59 AM, Pandora is on shuffle and guess what’s playing? THAT is what it’s all about. Coincidence? I like to think it’s more than that, it’s divine intervention. For me, it’s God telling me that this was all part of the plan, and the plan is very good.

It was like coming home to a person I’d never met, but immediately knew intimately. (Damn, those bagpipes…) Anyway, the only other person I’ve ever had this kind of connection with is my dearest Hubby, who is wondering why his crazy wife is blogging in the middle of the night when she hasn’t written a word in at least six months. She and I became acquainted in the blogosphere, and it was good.

Then, in July of 2009, I got in my car and drove 352 miles to Hatteras, Frisco to be exact, to spend 4 days with her and her girls. Although we’d never met IRL, there was no awkwardness. The first thing we did was get in the car and go for groceries. An ordinary, everyday task. At the end of those 4 days, we left the island, drove in opposite directions, and returned from Narnia back to normal life on the other side of the wardrobe . But it was a new normal.

She was already in the middle of a very painful new normal. My painful new normal had occurred a few years earlier, and was a different flavor from hers. Regardless, new normals are hard work, and she’s worked VERY hard as long as I’ve known her.

There were some striking commonalities: we both work (or worked) in the IT geek world, she’s an artist, I’m a musician. We knit. Big and little things. There were other meet-ups IRL, back at Hatteras that September, in the mountains of Todd, NC the next September. She has opened her home to me, more than once, so that I could introduce my kids to the glory of the City. We’ve celebrated birthdays in Floyd and Glen Echo, being dance gypsies. And we celebrated a birthday in The Forest.

On January 18, 2016, I turned 55 and we hit the road again, dance gypsies meeting up in Harrisonburg for a weekend of Contra and waltz and pizza and wine and marathon TV (I can now say I’ve seen The Godfather Parts 1 and 2) and silliness and seriousness, and it was wonderful. I would never have even tried Contra if not for her, and it’s become a large part of my life, a place to meet new people and forget the world and its problems and just dance. Hubby dances, Kate dances, and Wubby is making noise about trying it too, which is pretty amazing when I think about it.

We talked about life and beliefs and what is important and what isn’t. From a strictly political standpoint, we are on opposite ends of the spectrum, but there is common ground. We talked a little about religion; we talked A LOT about faith. Again, commonality in an area where it looks like we are on opposite ends of a spectrum. But, religion isn’t very important, while FAITH is vital, and I think we can agree on that. The labels come off, leaving the truth underneath, and it’s good.

We are both going through new seasons in life. Change is hard, and some lessons have to be learned by living them as opposed to looking at them from a distance and deciding that, no, I don’t think I want to walk through that one. There’s a line from Garth Brooks’ The Dance: “I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.”

So, to Alecto, my friend, my sister: I love you. It blows my mind that you love me. You make me a better person. You challenge me to look at my core beliefs, to define what is real and what isn’t, and you do it with love. You also said this, and I will always remember:

Sometimes the heart bleeds out like you’re going to never stand again.  And sometimes there are transfusions in the most amazing places.  And sometimes you find there’s more to you or me than meets the eye… But at the end of the day, we are only worth what we can give away and the score won’t be counted until the end.

You’ve given me so much, and I can only hope that I’ve been able to reciprocate.

Here’s to the rest of our lives. We shall dance on!

(And Pandora says, “Amazing Grace” again, on a solo fiddle)

I want to do this again, very soon.

 

 

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The greatest of these

faith hope love

If I had to choose a favorite chapter from the New Testament it would be a tie between 1st Corinthians 13 – The Love Chapter – and John 14 – The Peace Chapter, or that’s how I think of it.

Everyone, Christian or not, knows 1st Corinthians 13, but just in case, here it is, English Standard Version:

The Way of Love

13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Sometimes teen-aged girls have this “puppies and flowers” view of love. It’s all about romance and prince charming and dreaming of a beautiful wedding day and practicing writing your married name over and over in the back of your biology notebook.

But we all know it’s more than that. Much more.

One little piece of advice we give to students when talking about the true meaning of love is this: Take 1st Corinthians 13:4-7 and replace the word “love” with the name of your “lover”. Does it still work?

4 Hubby is patient and kind; he does not envy or boast; he is not arrogant or rude. Hubby does not insist on his own way; he is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 he does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Hubby bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

That is a tall order, and we all will fall short of that goal. But what a goal to aim for in our relationships, ALL relationships. Spouses, children, parents, friends, co-workers, enemies.? Are you serious?

Yes.

Put away childish things, like pride, arrogance, stubbornness, jealousy.

Practice Love.

So, what about John 14? It’s a long chapter, so I’m going to pull out the parts that give me peace.

14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.  

There’s a lot in there.

We live in a world where “peace” is impossible to achieve on our own. We’re human, and we have issues, right? How many of us walk around every day with troubled hearts? America is walking around right now with a troubled heart. Division, anger, evil. How do we get past the trouble to find the peace? The answer in John 14 is this: believe in something outside yourself, something bigger than yourself, someONE bigger than yourself.

For Christians, that someONE is Jesus. I’m a Christian, so what does this mean for me? Look to Jesus.

OK.

That next scripture up there, about doing works greater than those Jesus did while on Earth. Are you serious? Jesus performed miracles every day. He changed water into wine (I like that one!), he walked on water, he healed the sick, raised the dead, cured lepers, and the list goes on to the very end of His earthly life, when He Himself was raised from the dead.

So, another tall order. And this one sounds impossible.

Many years ago I heard Tony Campolo speak on this very subject, and I love what he had to say about it. Can we mere mortals perform the same miracles as Jesus? Probably not, although miracles do happen every day. You might call them coincidences, kismet, karma. I choose to see them as events in which God participates but chooses to remain anonymous.

But what can WE do that might even come close? Tony tells the story of traveling to Southeast Asia. As he walked through the airport he was approached by several young girls offering him their “services”. Here’s what he did: he gathered up several of them, took them to his hotel….and ordered pizza and rented some Disney movies. For one night, those girls got to be children again. For one night, it was slumber party time. They laughed, ate pizza and popcorn, watched movies, and got to know each other as human beings instead of sex slaves. It was one night, just one night. But, for that one night, they experienced a miracle.

His story didn’t end there, but this is enough for me to make a point.

I wonder if any of those girls knew anything about 1st Corinthians 13. If they had ever heard the “Love Chapter”. My guess is that, even if they had, the experiences of their daily lives didn’t come anywhere close to that definition.

What a world we live in.

And so, what’s the point?

Maybe the point is this: if we take the definition of love and start applying it to our relationships, miracles might start happening. Broken people healed. Broken marriages restored. Broken families reunited.

And aren’t they miracles?

Finally, let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Do not fear.

Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes Humpty is so broken that there’s nothing to do except to sweep up the pieces and move on, and that can be scary.

Do not fear.

Sometimes the universe throws us a curveball.

Do not fear.

Sometimes we are asked to step way outside our comfort zone. Sometimes we’re pushed.

Do not fear.

Practice Love.

Receive Peace.

We Love, We Live

We love, we live
We give what we can give,
And take what little we deserve.

Words from Once Upon Another Time from Love Never Dies…..

I can’t for the life of me get these words out of my head. So many things have happened recently that can be described in those sixteen words.

I seem to be OK with the first two lines. But that last one….”take what little we deserve.”

Deserve: to merit, be qualified for, or have a claim to reward, assistance, punishment, etc.) because of actions, qualities,or situation. Rate, warrant, justify. 

Well, that didn’t help much. Maybe it’s the word “little” that pricks, and then the tears come and I don’t know why exactly.

Do we deserve anything at all from loving and living and giving? Isn’t that what life is supposed to be about? Did Kate deserve the treatment she received from Big Sister? I don’t think so. Did I deserve it? Maybe, maybe not. Big Sister needed a mom, and that responsibility came to me de facto. I loved, love her, gave her what I could.

I think about these words with respect to my children. Did I give what I could to Wubby, or was there more to offer? I know, “could’a, should’a, would’a”. Second guessing. Replaying. It is what it is, and, for now, it is getting better.

Then the realization that a year from now, Kate will be making decisions about what she wants to do with the next phase of her life, where she wants to be. Two years ago there was no doubt: if Kate went to college it would be close by and she was staying at home. She was a homebody, no doubt. Not now. And that’s a good thing for her.

Which leaves Hubby and me. (The grammar nazi is parsing the syntax of that sentence: Hubby and me, Hubby and I…..) From a grammatical standpoint, the sentence passes inspection. The reality it represents, on the other hand, what will that look like? Expectations, machinations.

Hubby has a co-worker whose wife died last Saturday. She was 53. They have two children, younger than our kids. She was sick right before the holidays. A little over three months later, she’s gone. Expected? Hell, no. Deserved: Hell, no.

But it is what it is: Love never dies.

Every day is a gift, a chance to try again, to do something better, or differently. It feels like I’ve wasted seven years’ worth of gifts.

Image

Words to live by.

just stuff I’m thinking about

(Note: if you are offended by “crazy right-wing nonsense about abortion, contraception, etc.” , or by Monty Python humor, too bad. Read, or read not.)

Just stumbled on that Johnny Depp quote up there. Really, I stumbled on it. StumbleUpon, if you haven’t seen it, is a great time-waster that will cater to your particular means of wasting time. Check it out. Or not.

Truth is, StumbleUpon isn’t what has been on my mind lately. Johnny Depp’s quote up there, and related issues, have been swirling around in my head. (Johnny Depp isn’t one of my favorite actors, but oh how I love Jack Sparrow…just sayin’)

I guess it started with the Susan G. Komen vs. Planned Parenthood thing. When I was a teenager, I thought that Planned Parenthood was actually about teaching women how to “plan” on getting pregnant, or not getting pregnant. I was stunned when I figured out that Planned Parenthood provided abortions. Sounded to me like the women going to PP for abortions where there because they FAILED to plan. Silly me. (Point of clarification: I haven’t actually been in a PP clinic. But several of my college friends had been. It was a ‘slap-self-in-forehead-and-say-DUH!’ moment for me.)

When this story hit the fan, I was fascinated by the amount of uproar it was causing. I pulled out my trusty calculator, did 20 minutes of online research, and crunched some numbers. I documented my process, as follows:

So, I’m wondering what all the excitement is about this. I read the Reuters, AP, CNN, USA Today, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox…did I leave any of them out? Probably. Anyway, the funny thing is that I can’t find any actual dollar amounts, except for the $250,000 Mayor Bloomberg has donated to PPFA to help offset the loss of donations from SGK, and I see that thousands of folks are following his lead.

It took me 20 minutes of research to find the latest annual report from PPFA (2008-2009). They report a year-end net asset amount of $994,700,000. That’s $995 million dollars, rounded up. Round a little more, and you get $1,000,000,000. That’s $1 BILLION dollars.

Most articles report that SGK donated approximately $700,000 last year. Mayor Bloomberg has already replaced over 1/3 of that amount.

Percentage-wise, the annual amount donated to PPFA by SGK is…wait for it….0.07%. Seven-hundredths of ONE percent. Let me check the math again: that’s 700,000 / 1 BILLION times 100 to get the percentage. Yup, 0.07%.

Looks to me like PPFA won. And there’s a Washington Post article that agrees with me. Not the Washington TIMES, but the Washington POST.

I also checked out a current PPFA document on Services. “The core of PP affiliate medical service is contraception and accompanying health care, education and information. In 2010, [PP] provided 11 million medical services for nearly 3 million people, and helped to prevent approximately 584,000 unintended pregnancies.”

Now I’m moving from “just the facts” to “my opinion”….seems like PPFA should work a bit harder on their contraception “education and information” so that they wouldn’t have to spend so much money “preventing unintended pregnancies.” And, is it really ‘preventing’ if she’s already pregnant? Doesn’t sound like it to me. Maybe that wording could be a bit more accurate, something like ‘terminating 584,000 unintended pregnancies.’ Regardless of the semantics, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, or Benjamin Franklin thought so.  Maybe if PPFA educated more and aborted less, more PPFA funds could be allocated to cancer screenings. Probably wouldn’t have stopped SGK from buckling under public pressure, but I can dream, can’t I?

Addendum: See? The San Francisco Chronicle says so too.

So, SGK thought about taking a stand against PPFA in support of unborn babies, and then caved under public pressure. Ah, the power of FaceBook!

Now there’s a raging debate over ObamaCare’s contraception mandate. I’m having a difficult time finding a basic definition of what the mandate is, and I’m still recovering from the headache I developed after reading the “Affordable Health Care for All Americans” bill when it was first introduced. This is the most concise definition I could find: The “Health and Human Services mandate orders all insurance carriers to provide the full slate of ‘reproductive services’ at no cost.”

A couple of questions come immediately to mind. At no cost to whom, exactly? What does ‘full slate of reproductive services’ really mean? And the funny thing is that the current debate has nothing to do with either of those questions. It is, in fact, an argument over First Amendment rights, specifically the freedom of religion (or freedom FROM religion….Henry VIII had a lot to do with that particular language making its way into our Constitution,didn’t he? If you know your Monty Python, you’ll recognize this: “There’s a dead priest upon the landing.” “RC or C of E?” “How should I know?” “It’s tattooed on the back of their necks!”)

I find a lot of this angst to be unnecessary. If the full slate of reproductive services conflicts with an individual’s First Amendment beliefs, then is that individual going to partake of those services? Probably not. The bigger question is this: When did the Constitution of the United States become an instrument for determining what the government CAN DO to its citizens, rather than a document defining what the government CAN NOT DO to its citizens?

The bottom line in my world is this: being a parent of an infant demands that you put the rights of that infant ahead of your own. You want to sleep, but the baby is hungry at 2:00 AM?  Guess who wins? Not you. If you aren’t ready to become a parent, if can’t think of loving anything or anyone more than you love yourself, then take steps to prevent becoming pregnant, or becoming a ‘baby daddy.’ Prevention vs. termination. And yes, I know that nothing is 100% foolproof except abstinence. I personally don’t believe it is expecting too much of folks of child-bearing age who do not want to become parents to take precautionary steps, including abstinence, to prevent their fear from becoming reality.

In other words: grow up. Take responsibility for your own actions. If abortion is a large part of your birth control method, remember that you are aborting babies, not puppies or kittens. You are participating in causing the death of an innocent human being. There is another word whose definition is “participating in or causing the death of an innocent human being”, but I’ll leave it unsaid here.

Why is this so evident to me these days? That’s easy. I used to be an advocate for abortion rights, “free” contraceptives for me from my health insurance provider, all those things. Then I had Kate, 8 weeks premature. When I saw her for the first time I realized that I could have ‘terminated’ her, and it would have been perfectly legal in several states that had no prohibition on late-term abortions. And, a few years later, she asked me what a “partial-birth abortion” was. And I had to explain it to her.

It still makes me sick, thinking of that conversation.

Another twist of irony: I’m listening to Pandora radio as I write this. I have it on “quick mix” mode, which means I never know what’s coming next. What’s playing right now?

Amazing Love.

And my home page: Grief is the price we pay for love. -Queen Elizabeth II

a song for Wubby

Lyrics “The Sound of My Voice”
by Jon Heintz

Seems so far away,
And then it seems so close to me,
and the future’s right here in the air and it’s clearer,
Maybe than it’s supposed to be,
Than it’s supposed to be.

And it seems so hard to take,
When the question is what’s wrong with me,
Cause I’m looking myself in the eye in the mirror,
And maybe I am wondering,
Maybe I’m wondering…

If I follow the sound of my voice,
And I live in a world of my choice,
Then when I’m old if I’m lucky,
And the years have gone by…
I can look back and smile.

‘Cause all we have is what we have to give away,
And all we need is to feel it all come back one day…

But it seems so far away,
Like a vision in some kind of dream,
Where I’m looking myself in the eye in the mirror,
And maybe I am wondering,
Maybe I’m wondering…

If I follow the sound of my voice,
And I live in a world of my choice,
Then when I’m old and I’m ugly,
And the world’s passed me by,
Will I look back and cry?
If I follow the sound of my voice,
And I live in a world of my choice,
Then when I’m old if I’m lucky,
And the years have gone by…
I can look back and smile.

a formerly competant woman looks at 50

 

So it’s December 31st, again, and according to the rules in Blogohstan we’re all supposed to sum up our year in nifty little snippets, yadda yadda sis boom bah and all that jazz.

Truth is, I haven’t been feeling much like being a proper citizen of Blogohstan because I woke up one morning in 2010, don’t remember which one, looked at myself in the mirror, and said to the face staring back at me, “GRANDMA! How did you get in my mirror?” followed by “However you managed it, GET OUT! NOW, WOMAN!!”

But, she’s not leaving. She lives in there now. I think I went into a coma or something around 1985 and came out of it in 2010 wondering “what the hell happened to that person that used to be me?” Yep, that’s got to be it.

Counting today, I have 19 more days before TEOTWAIKI and frankly I am scared to death.

So it’s time to put on my Scarlet O’Hara and say “I can’t think about that right now. I’ll think about it tomorrow.”

Today I remember:

  • Finding out, the hard way, that Hubby can no longer consume shellfish, and that if you want emergency room service FAST, have an serious allergic reaction to something.
  • The absolute coldest weekend in Valle Crucis, ever.
  • Not going to  Cielo.
  • Wubby flunking out of community college while his little sister overcame her fear of all things academic and became a learning sponge.
  • Reading Atlas Shrugged at the beach and thinking, Now it all makes sense.
  • Wubby moving out to try life on his own.
  • Riding in my first horse show.
  • Falling off several horses and living to get on and ride again. Except for Chick-horse; we broke up.
  • Bikram
  • Knitting enough socks to keep a centipede’s little feet warm all winter long.
  • Hillbilly time and feeling absolutely loved, no words required from anyone to prove it.
  • Taking Wubby to Metropolis in hopes that his eyes would be opened. Not so much.
  • Wubby moving back home.
  • Losing two feline friends, and gaining two new feline friends.
  • The Christmas that wasn’t quite, and the day after that flat out wasn’t. (There’s something insipid about December 26th, isn’t there?)

So now what?

I think Grandma knows, but she’s not telling. She just looks at me and gives me her best wicked little grin, that one that always said “I’ve got a secret!”

symptoms in some cephalopoda approximating apoplexy

Don’t you love that quote? It’s from “Cannery Row”.

However….

Hubby now has issues with Cephalopods, Gastropods, Bivalves and Crustaceans that caused him to approximate apoplexy yesterday. Darn it.

The culprit was shrimp. Never had a problem eating shrimp before. In fact, one of his family’s Christmas traditions has always been the boiling and consumption of large quantities of them, w/ his dad’s homemade shrimp cocktail sauce. And his dad’s shrimp salad recipe still rates pretty high among the clan.

Saturday he boiled some shrimp and we had shrimp alfredo. Yesterday after church he consumed a few more–I went for the leftover Brunswick stew he made on New Year’s Day, which was delicious BTW. Ever seen the movie “Hitch” with Will Smith? There’s a really funny scene where he has an allergic reaction to shrimp. It was sort of like that, only not as amusing. First he said his throat felt “funny” and thought he was coming down w/ something. Then he started itching a little, and noticed a few hives. In about thirty minutes time the hives were popping up everywhere. We debated waiting it out vs. going out in search of medical attention, and opted for door number 2. There’s an urgent care place not far from the hospital, so we went there. It was closed. Apparently you can only need urgent care on Sunday from 7:00 AM to 12:30 PM.

So, again, door number 2….ER. Fortunately, they take shellfish allergies pretty seriously. Had him in triage in about 20 minutes, then in the “red zone”. They started IV fluids and gave him some heavy-duty steroid something-or-other. It was amazing how quickly his BP dropped to something scary like 65/43 and he was bright red and itching like crazy, constantly trying to “clear” his throat. Then, magic. Steroids went in, and the hives visibly faded. Oh yeah, and Benadryl, lots of it. And an EKG, and oxygen.

Then we waited for a couple of hours to make sure it didn’t come back.

I remember having a nasty case of hives when I was about 5. I don’t remember itching, but I do remember these white blister-looking things, on my arms maybe. He had some on his back that were the size of my hand.

He’s home from work today–supposed to be home until Thursday according to the doctor, but Ron, the amazing nurse that took care of him, said that if he felt better to use his own judgment. He’ll go back tomorrow, probably.

So…no more shellfish, cephalopods or otherwise.

———————————————-

Love is an amazing thing. Yesterday I spent two hours in the ER, watching the one I love get pretty sick, pretty quick, receive amazing medical care and treatment, and recover very nicely. I fed him ice chips, and watched him sleep. Just looked at him, totally focused on him. I haven’t done that in a while, to my discredit.

We were lucky yesterday. Living where we do, with quick access to excellent medical care. We learned something new, something we’ll have to be careful about from now on. If it ever happens again, don’t mess with it. Go straight to ER, or call 911.

And I was reminded, again, of the power, the intensity, of love. How deep, how profound it is.

And how lucky I am to have him.