ELiz, I’d like to add to the saner life list with this thought: Learn to accept gifts, material and otherwise, from others. In this way, we can give more of ourselves to others.

Mirth and Motivation

“He was saner than anyone — he had fallen out of the world of illusion: love, interesting work, hope for the future.” John Gardner

Auguries of Innocence by William Blake (1757–1827)via bartleby.com
TO see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

I can’t believe we are already in the month of August, and on the homestretch to saying adieu to summer and hello to fall. This summer seems to have whizzed by and I’m not quite sure why. I’ve done my share of running around, and had my bouts of health related issues (Don’t you love those long-winded phrases? Yeah, sounds better than saying I’ve just been ill. 😆 ). Anyhow, recently, I read a terrific O Magazine article by Brené Brown that got me thinking about the idea of…

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Super You

What the . . . ?

Miracle Mile Shops

. I hate these types of questions b/c it's all speculative, psychoprobing bullshit. No one has "secret superpowers", okay? We are all just trying to survive this silly world we live in that knows no reason and wants us to believe in some type of superpower. There is none, okay? Grow up and deal with reality, which is rife with enough miracle and tragedy to keep the most jaded of us suspended in a state of anticipation.

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Song of Your Life

Huhn!

OMG. One song? "It's Impossible"! (wink, laugh).

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Things I'll Never Understand

too close to call

how a person can commit murder, the Republican party, myself.

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Rainy Days

Rainy days make me happy!

Barn in the Mist

Oh my goodness, YES! When I lived out West for a time, I used to long for those all day soakers we get in the Midwest. The patter of the rain on roof and leaves, the shrouded skies, the beautiful, fresh smell all combine to create a sense of well being and comfort for me. Rainy days are nature's way of washing the earth and cleansing itself, bringing nourishment to plants and animals.

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Treasure in the Dirt

Little Bottle After

The best thing I ever found is an old medicine bottle from 1858. I was idly stabbing the toe of my shoe into the dirt of a horse stall in an old barn and saw part of an aqua bottle, so I started digging in earnest. Once I had the old treasure in my hot little hands, a barnyard dog howled a warning and chased me through the fields until I made it to the road. I thought the farm was abandoned, but the owners were not officially off the property for a couple more weeks. However, the big scare was worth it because it began a lifelong pursuit of antique American bottle collecting.

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Plinky Rocks!

What a fun (and free) site is Plinky! I’m trying to send my Plinky stuff to this blog, but it’s not happening yet. For great writing ideas or easy reads, visit http://www.plinky.com

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Peace Wish for Memorial Day

I’ve  been a “peacenik” for my entire life and, at times, hateful of the military and everything connected with it. However, with age comes wisdom, and now I hold great compassion for all veterans of wars from around the world. In particular, THANK-YOU, all of you BRAVE AMERICAN WARRIORS! May you find peace within your souls and happiness in your futures.

Wars are a most hateful thing, but worse are the powers in control that dictate them. Too often, it is the poorest and most disenfranchized who fight the world’s terrible battles. A few exceptions include high profile warriors like Prince Harry, who rightly sees his duty as a leader and example for his country. However, too many of we Americans give precious life, health (mental and/or physical), and injury for causes of idealism and control beyond our understanding. Ask a Vietnam Vet if you don’t believe me. So many went into battle with the “right” attitude, saving the world from Communism, but few came back with any feelings of victory or  pride.  Yet, before I charge into this topic, of which there is too much for this post, I leave you with my wish and prayer for peace in our lifetimes.

A song from Man of LaMancha seems appropriate for tomorrow’s holiday, “The Impossible Dream”:

T0 dream the impossible dream, to fight the unbeatable foe, to bear with unbearable sorrow, to run where the brave dare not go.

To right the unrightable wrong, to love pure and chaste from afar, to try when your arms are too weary, to reach the unreachable star!

This is my quest, to follow that star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far; to fight for the right without question or pause; To be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause!

And I know, if I’ll only be true To this glorious quest that my heart will lie peaceful and calm, When I’m laid to my rest.

And the world will be better for this; That one man, scorned and covered with scars, Still strove with his last ounce of courage, To reach the unreachable stars.

Lyrics by Joe Darion; Music by Mitch Leigh (1965)

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True Ghost Stories

It just hit me today–literary criticism and ghost stories. Why not? I was dusting an old book when I remembered a ghostly encounter connected to it some years ago. First, some background is in order.

Since my days as a toddler, a boy down the street and I were good buddies. Billy and I had few choices for friends because we lived in a rural area, plus our mothers were friends. Billy was like my brother; we grew up together. As we grew older and I moved a few miles away to a new school district, we each widened our circle of friends. We didn’t see each other as much but remained in touch over the years. Our families stayed close, and we were always welcome at one another’s homes. However, a harsh reality crashed our friendship for good when Billy died unexpectedly at the age of 18. It still doesn’t seem that he’s really gone, even though decades have rolled by without him.

Billy never left me. He comes to me in dreams and comforts me in times of stress. Sometimes he shows me things from our past–things like his sisters’ upstairs bedroom where we all used to play, the kitchen, and one time a close up view of a patch of wallpaper in the downstairs. These dream encounters keep Billy alive in my mind, but one morning, Billy’s antics penetrated the physical world.

Some 10 years ago, I was extremely depressed because I had a freak accident that severed my left ulnar nerve (the “funny bone,”. which is anything but funny to me now.). The realization that i sustained a lifelong injury from which I’d never fully recover began to dawn on me. I’ m a sensitive person who enjoys music and writing, so losing full use of my left hand dealt me a devastating blow. Try as I might to come to grips with my new reality, I feel into a deep depression. Billy must have felt my physical and emotional state of mind, so I believe he did something extraordinary to cheer me and let me know he remains my buddy forever.

At the time, a stack of antique books were lined up on top of my bedroom dresser, also an antique. The books were hardcover, so they never slipped or slid down the dresser top. One morning I was sitting in bed trying to decide if I should even get up and dressed for the day when an amazing, unbelievable thing took place before my eyes. One of the hardcover books flew from the dresser, made a swirling turn in mid-air, then crashed to the floor. In disbelief, I jumped out of bed to investigate. To my utter surprise, the book cover had flopped open to the Preface, but in its place, some long ago student had crossed out the word “Preface” and wrote the words “Pretty Face.” Right then I knew it was Billy. I felt no fear, only amazement and wonder.

Honestly, who would make anything up like this? I had no idea the book had been defaced with a bored student’s scribble. Further, the book was about agriculture and its relevance to teaching children to keep the farming culture alive! Billy and I played in the corn and soybean fields of Illinois. What a perfect communication from beyond.

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Class Inequities

It’s no secret that America, like most other countries, has a huge income disparity, and this creates a strata of class structures. Rather than entertain political and social philosophies, I want to share a wonderful book I read recently, which in part illustrates the gap between the rich and the working poor. The God of Animals (2007) by Aryn Kyle is a novel about much, much more, but I’ve got a bee in my bonnet tonight because a senior friend of mine just got his meager Social Security income cut by approximately one-quarter. It rankles me that those of us with the least seem to get hit the worst with taxes and/or cuts in pay or services. Anyone who does or has lived close to the bone knows that every dollar counts. Kyle’s novel tackles similar issues when describing the hard-scrabble life of a dysfunctional family on a fictional ranch in Western Colorado.

The narrator’s voice is that of a eleven to twelve-year-old girl. Through her eyes, we see her father struggle to make his ranch a success by catering to the well-heeled horsy crowd. While he doggedly pursues his dreams, he often ignores the daughter and her needs. It’s painful to witness the father’s manipulations and the daughter’s obedience to his sometimes unrealistic demands. At times I found myself questioning the validity of the narrator’s story, but this is a minor criticism and further strengthens the belief that a “tween” tells the tale.

Kyle intertwines the lives of disparate characters, including a dead girl and a teacher, with such a degree of skill it was difficult for me to put the book aside until I finished it. Rich in themes, the book gives readers much to ponder, but the lessons regarding success and trying to climb out of poverty are especially poignant. We don’t have to live on ranches to recognize the affects of grinding poverty and lower social class.

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