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Archive for the ‘Family stories’ Category

It’s official now. Summer has arrived in Marshall, Michigan on the gentle June evening breezes in Stewart’s Landing and the first Marshall Rotary Band Summer Concert performance.

Tom and I followed clarinetist Kathleen and percussionist Andrew into the park and set up in front row seats.

We were treated to so many spirited marches from famed composers along with a mixture of melodies from My Fair Lady. I was enjoying it so much, the lady next to me was singing the lyrics and I felt like maybe I could really have danced all night.

It is such a wonderful thing to see Kathleen and Andrew perform, as they have for many years. The community performance band has entertained for forty years, and that is a phenomenal accomplishment.  Devon and Andrew have been a part of it since their high school years and Kathleen, for nearly twenty years.

It is inspiring to see that once one chooses music and an instrument, they don’t ever really put it down. Youth through special senior status played away enthusiastically and professionally.

 

 

The audience ranged high into the elder years this night, but the 4th of July concert at the Fountain, complete with chicken bar-b-q and children’s bike and pet parade bring the whole family out, selecting their favorite spot on the lawn with outstretched blanket and the wagon they pulled their young children in to the event. It’s like a step back in time and most attire is completely red, white and blue, stars and stripes. The featured conclusion to each year’s 4th of July event is the melody of tributes to each branch of the armed forces. Always gets me!! And they stand up when their song is played to the clapping and respect of the rest of us.

But, back to June…and here we are last night at intermission in grand park surroundings and weather.

 

 

The after-concert tradition. Ice Cream treat of course!

In line with the band leader.


Lots of people had the same idea.

 

The reward for patience!!

 

We went back to Kathleen’s all happy, with songs playing in our heads.

 

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I know. We all have mountains to climb. We all have moments when the spirit is willing, but the body is weak. We all have times when fitness means lying down and resting, not doing the next 5K around the corner.

This post is for those moments. When we can count on that indomitable, shining spirit within us, that excels beyond all belief. We are one with our God. And that is good enough!

Here is that spirit, in action! Call upon it today.

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Today, I fretted…
I had been tipped off
to an MRI finding
that needed addressing.
So I fretted about…
possible outcomes of
stents and bypasses.

Not what I wanted.

Today high school students
looked forward
to weekend plans of fun and
dates
and companionship

All they wanted.

Today, I sprung free
with a healthy heart
and a cheer from my doctor
to carry on.

Today, I heard once again
the depth and width and
the untold sorrow of the
directive to…

Carry on.

Peace Be and the heartbeat of
One
carries you all, Texas.

 

 

 

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Have you overworked your facial muscles today by smiling too much? There is an axiom that it takes more facial muscles to frown than to smile. I don’t know if that is true or not, but I’m going to error on the safe side and find as many reasons today to smile as I can.

I just finished cleaning one bathroom floor. That’s a reason to smile. I only have one left. Smile again.

I had some writing adventures this week where I started at 6:30 am in the morning and by 5:30 that evening, I had one sentence written. That might be even more than a smile. I might have to laugh to survive. What I did in between all counts as writing…it just doesn’t look like writing.

Today, several days later and many further attempts to put on paper what I was seeing and feeling in my creativity center, I am smiling that I have that section completed to my satisfaction. And I am smiling for all the co-creative creatures, thoughts, and inspirations that got me there.

I smile for the blessing of my family and friends and for the loving companionship and partnership with Tom. We smile and laugh about a lot of things special to us. It’s great to share a smile.

And I miss my friend, Lois, who always had a joke, a twinkle in her eye, and a tale of mischief to tell.

I smile when I think of her.

My face muscles get a pretty good workout on most days.

 

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It’s a writing day for me and my supporting angels are feeling humorous; which means fun along the way for me.

I opened my Bible to a random spot to practice Lectio Divina before getting into my own writing. I opened to page 1067, which is 2 Maccabees 2 and my eye fell to the bold paragraph title, Author’s Preface. 

“Well,” I thought. “This is a good place to begin.  I read, with interest how a writer in the days before Christ arrived on earth performed his writing process. The author is Jason of Cyrene and he reports events in Jewish history from the time of the High Priest, Onias the Third (about 180 B.C.) to the death of Nicanor (161B.C.).

Since I have recently completely revamped my own preface and introduction and first chapter to the memoir I am working on, I felt delighted to discover this page. I love synchronicity.

I will report his process in his own words:

2 Maccabees 2:23-32

“I will now try to summarize in a single book the five volumes written by Jason. The number of details and the bulk of material can be overwhelming for anyone who wants to read an account of the events. But I have attempted to simplify it for all readers; those who read for sheer pleasure will find enjoyment and those who want to memorize the facts will not find it difficult. Writing such a summary is a difficult task, demanding hard work and sleepless nights. It is as difficult as preparing a banquet that people of different tastes will enjoy.

But I am happy to undergo this hardship in order to please my readers. I will leave the matter of details to the original author and attempt to give only a summary of the events. I am not the builder of a new house, who is concerned with every detail of the structure, but simply a painter whose only concern is to make the house look attractive.

The historian must master his subject, examine every detail, and then explain it carefully, but whoever is merely writing a summary should be permitted to give a brief account without going into a detailed discussion.

So then, without any further comment, I will begin my story. It would be foolish to write such a long introduction that the story itself would have to be cut short.”

Thousands of years later, I believe we writers inspect our own work in much the same way.

 

 

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This was a picture waiting to happen. We were having a wonderful visit with Lois in the woods in her cabin on Lois Lane in upper New York state near the Fingers Lake area.  We had been neighbors for a brief time in Newton, North Carolina. Lois and I walked the street together on occasion and she always came up with charming, if a bit surprising, tidbits to share.

We still keep in touch, particularly around big sports events, where Lois faithfully waves the Notre Dame flag and colors and checks in with us on how the mighty Green and White are doing.

The table above, was placed near her kitchen window, overlooking a wide green expanse to the back of her property. It was very common to see the deer come from the woods into the open space and even play together before retreating. I believe Lois sent Tom and me  on a journey to dump some feed back there for them among the natural foliage.

A healthy start to the new day — coffee, an apple, a pair of specs to read the Good Word.  I am pretty sure she still does this.

 

 

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Tears reside in the corners of my eyes, dripping down my cheeks ever so often. I don’t have to be watching news on TV, or looking at photos on the Internet of innocents, just barely beginning their own big lives. I don’t have to hear “semi-automatic” one more time. I don’t want to see terrorized parents outside a school building, waiting news of their child’s safety — or not.

Tears and a flu-absent stomach that broils and turns and is connected to a head that throbs, knowing the story has shattered…for all of us. Sending children to school today in America, a new residing consciousness of vulnerability…one we don’t want, need, or ask for.

Is there any comfort in starkness? I do not know.

There needs to be a new story…for us. How long will it be before that story comes into being? None of us know. No one can say anymore, “I never thought that would happen here.” That story is gone forever. No one can remain personally unaffected by the large mass of grief being experienced by the loss of our young children. No one can live and believe as they once did…it seems…so long ago now.

I stop my own words and share some words from Jean Houston, from a writing course I took a few years ago. About Re-Storying your Story.  Humanity is at a place in time where, being a writer or not, it must learn how to do this.

 

From Jean Houston: Finding Strength When the Story Shatters

“There are circumstances that must shatter you;
and if you are not shattered, then you have not
understood your circumstances.
In such circumstances, it is a failure
for your heart not to break.
And it is pointless to put up a fight,
For a fight will blind you to the opportunity
that has been presented by your misfortune.
Do you wish to persevere pridefully in the old life?
Of course you do: the old life was a good life.
But it is no longer available to you.
It has been carried away, irreversibly.
So there is only one thing to be done.
Transformation must be met with transformation.
Where there was the old life, let there be the new life.
Do not persevere. Dignify the shock. Sink, so as to rise.”

Written by Leon Weiseltier, Kaddish, page 226.

From Napkinwriter

Sometimes life hits us so hard, so unexpectedly, that we drop the ball and story shatters. I stood by close family friends, who in one shattering moment on a dark night on a Georgia Interstate, one woman’s life was snuffed out, who was daughter, and mother and wife, cousin  in a family that lost all those relationships and love in one indefendable freak accident in the middle of the highway, returning from family vacation. Lives shattered, dreams dashed.

A life-defining moment where, existing with the shattering, having to create a new story including what just happened to one family.

Shattering events are all around us and we are not exempt from them happening in our own life. It interrupts the everyday story is what Jean Houston writes.

Yes our personal and worldly story is in a state of INTERRUPTION.

Our shattered story needs rearranging.

Do we start with….”Once upon a time…”

God bless all the families and school personnel, who have been shattered by this latest vicious attack on our school children.

And God help us all. Please.

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