Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Parable of the Week: The Obstacle in our Path.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the kirig's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.  Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. 

The peasant learned what many of us never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition. 


This life is a university; experience is the teacher; the earth the school room, and each of us is a student.  Each of us were born into this realm with lessons to learn, and challenges are our greatest teachers. And Father Time is always there, standing  at his post of duty--the past he has written and her record he has sealed; the present is revealed upon the page before him and with his ruler, he points into the future--warning  us that the hours are swiftly passing by. 

Obstacles are the gifts we have been given for learning, and we move on in our journey of life, we will find that it is full of lessons. It's up to us to decide when we are ready to accept them. We discover new courage in overcoming them and learning the lessons that they offer us.  And never forget that some of the best lessons we ever learn we learn from mistakes and failures. Sometimes, as in my case, we are doomed to repeat, and to repeat, but eventually, the errors of our past become the success of the future. Through hardship comes strength.  Through suffering comes gratitude.

Wednesday Poetry Corner

Come o'er the sea, 
Maiden with me, 
Mine through sunshine, storm, and snows; 
Seasons may roll, 
But the true soul 
Burns the same, where'er it goes. 
Let fate frown on, so we love and part not; 
'Tis life where thou art, 'tis death were thou are not. 
Then come o'er the sea, 
Maiden with me, 
Come wherever the wild wind blows; 
Seasons may roll, 
But the true soul 
Burns the same, where'er it goes. 

Was not the sea 
Made for the Free, 
Land for courts and chains alone? 
Here we are slaves, 
But, on the waves, 
Love and Liberty's all our own. 
No eye to watch, and no tongue to wound us 
All earth forgot, and all heaven around us -- 
Then come o'er the sea, 
Maiden, with me, 
Mine through sunshine, storms, and snows 
Seasons may roll, 
But the true soul 
Burns the same, where'er it goes.

Thomas Moore

Oh how I love the sea...the sounds, the sights, the smells, the feeling of the waves as they crash over me. The reason why I love the sea I cannot explain. I wasn't born near the sea, but I was born of the sea and feel such a strong connection to it. My roots, my origins, are rooted in the sea. My ancestors arrived in this country by sailing across  the sea, and I feel so close to them when I gaze out over the seemingly endless expanse of roaring waves.

I've not yet been able to visit her, but each morning she bids me welcome when the subway exits the tunnel and roars over the bridge.  Below she is always there, always so beautiful early in the morning.  Sometimes it is too foggy to see her, but we know that she is there. Other mornings she sparkles with the rays of the early morning sun. The subway I used to take from my old home went under the water, and all that was visible was a dark dank tunnel.  There's a special feeling to looking out the window and being able to look way into the horizon, and see nothing but the ocean for as far as the eye can see.  She brings peace and healing to my soul.

There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds,
the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring.
There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—
the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.

Rachel Carson

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday This and That

When you spend your life doing what you love to do, you are nourishing your Soul. It matters not what you do, only that you love whatever you happen to do. Some of the happiest people I've known have been nannies, gardeners, and housekeepers. They put their hearts into their work, and they used the work itself as a vehicle to nourish their Souls. I've known other people with more prestigious professions who absolutely hated their jobs. What good is it to be a doctor or a professional if you do not genuinely love what you do? Working in a job you do not love does nothing to nourish your Soul.

Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross

My goodness. I cannot believe it is Tuesday already. I'm finding that as I grow older long weekends aren't so long anymore, or perhaps, it really is that I am  burning out. Believe me when I tell you that I love what I do. Counseling is my chosen profession, but this lack of boundaries is getting the best of me. The above photo shows our seating arrangement at our work space.  My seat is the chair to the right. Notice the short barrier which insures that we are all sitting out there in the open. The bosses believe in the 'open door' policy, but I'd say this is a bit much, wouldn't you?  And, at least, the bosses have doors. Sometimes I am bombarded by so many clients at the same time, my head starts to spin.  

So, how was everyone's Memorial Day?  I had a quiet day with hubby.  Made some potato salad, corn on the cob, hot dogs, and barbecued ribs and chicken.  Cookout food made in the house.  The weather was miserably hot and humid.  Makes having a cold feel, oh, so much worse.  Makes one feel hot, sticky, weak, and stuffed up...just plain miserable.  I hate to complain, but isn't it too early for this?

Later in the evening I honored my ancestors by visiting via 'Find a Grave' and putting flags on their graves and a moment of silence.  I've so many who fought in the wars.   Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, and the holiday traces back to the early 1860s, when the daughters of an Army Captain decorated a Civil War soldier's grave with Spring flowers. Since that time, it has evolved to a day to honor 'all' soldiers.

Tragically, the Civil War was one that pitted cousin against cousin, brother against brother, and father against son. Families were divided, and many never did heal their differences. I'm sure if one digs deep into their ancestry enough, one will find an example in their family. I know I found it with my Walton ancestry from Morris County, New Jersey. Family who had fought side-by-side in the Revolutionary War were now separated--some remained in Morris County, others re-located to New Orleans. Grandsons of the originals fought in the Confederate Army and fought against their Northern roots. One cousin even became a Colonel and was given a hero's funeral. Genealogy is amazing. I've a copy of a pardon signed by Abraham Lincoln.

And even more amazing is that I recently found out that about 17 years ago I lived right across the street from the cemetery where my paternal grandfather's family is buried. Even more surprising was when I found out that my mom's maternal great grandparents had their farm right down the block from our home.  And, the old Walton burial ground was not more than a mile away.  If only ours had been a closer family.  So much information, so many stories lost which is why I am so determined that my boys will know their roots, both sides.  As badly as my ex and his family treated me, they were the father and grandparents of my children, and my boys deserve to know their history. After all, family is what it is all about.  And, with that, I'd like to share the following with you.

Parents belong to the world of the past; children belong to the world
of the future. Both share the world of the present, but neither can enter
or fully understand the other's world and time. It is easier to communicate
across miles than across years. We meet and laugh awhile;
we separate and grieve awhile. And then we remember.

Joseph A. Bauer 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day


Those we love truly never die,
Though year by year the sad memorial wreath,
A ring and flowers, types of life and death,
Are laid upon their graves.

For death the pure life saves,
And life all pure is love; and love can reach
From heaven to earth, and nobler lessons teach
Than those by mortals read.

Well blest is he who has a dear one dead:
A friend he has whose face will never change
A dear communion that will not grow strange;
The anchor of a love is death.

The blessed sweetness of a loving breath
Will reach our cheek all fresh through weary years.
For her who died long since, ah! waste not tears,
She's thine unto the end.

Thank God for one dead friend,
With face still radiant with the light of truth,
Whose love comes laden with the scent of youth,
Through twenty years of death.

John Boyle O'Reilly 

On this, the last Monday of May,  we honor Americans who gave their lives in military service. Flags will be flying everywhere, some floating silently on the windows of homes where the pain is still felt. Many of us will be having cookouts and some will be hitting the stores to take advantage of the Memorial Day Sales.  Many Americans put flags and flowers on graves in remembrance of the those who died for this country. Others will head on out to watch the parade. 

So, as you celebrate this day, do take the time to remember those that have served our country and have made the ultimate sacrifice. Perhaps you can light a candle and take a moment of silence together or make a toast in loving memory to all of those who have played such an important part in our freedom.

Friday, May 25, 2012


People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.

St. Augustine

Well, the weekend has once again arrived and none to soon. I've been nursing an annoying spring cold and am looking forward to some much needed R & R.  It is a cooking weekend, but, it is also a three-day weekend so there will be some time to play catch up.  

Isn't it hard to believe?  Memorial Day already?  When I was a child, Memorial Day marked the end of school and beginning of summer vacation.   To many adults, it is a day to look for sales, but it is also more than that. It is also a day that we mourn our loss. It is the day we honor Americans who gave their lives in military service.  It is a day to remember those who died so that we may be free.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Parable of the Week: The Story of the Butterfly

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared.
He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours
as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.
Then it stopped, as if it couldn't go further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and
snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon.
The butterfly emerged easily but
it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch it,
expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge
and expand enough to support the body,
Neither happened!
In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life
crawling around.
It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness
and haste did not understand:
The restricting cocoon and the struggle
required by the butterfly to get through the opening
was a way of forcing the fluid from the body
into the wings so that it would be ready
for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly  what we need in our lives.  Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us.  We will not be as strong as we could have been and we would never fly.  As mothers and fathers, we want to do so much for our children, and there is nothing wrong with that. It's when we do 'everything' for them that it becomes an issue, for they stagnate and become unable to grow. 

There is no one who can say they have sailed through life with no problems at all.  It just doesn't  happen.  A life without problems would be a life without growth. Earth is a school, and they say we all come to here  to encounter the lessons we need in order to return to the source.  Life as a human is all about these lessons. Yet, what are lessons besides problems that need to be solved? Indeed, they are our lessons to learn, the ones that are a part of our divine plan,and we've agreed to carry them out. I conclude with a quote from one of my favorite people.

We all have to go through the tumbler a few times before we can emerge as a crystal. 
--Elizabeth Kubler Ross--

What lesson is life teaching you today?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday Poetry Corner

If at times you want to cry
And life seems such a trial,
Above the clouds, there's a bright blue sky.
So, make your tears a smile.

As you travel on life's way
With its many ups and downs,
Remember, it's quite true to say,
"One smile is worth a dozen frowns."

Among the world's expensive things,
A smile is very cheap.
And when you give a smile away,
You get one back to keep.

Happiness comes at times to all,
But sadness comes unbidden.
And sometimes a few tears must fall
Among the laughter hidden.

So, when a friend has sadness on his face
With troubles 'round him piled,
The world will seem a better place,
All because you smiled.

--Author Unknown--

Some mornings are just more difficult than others when it comes to getting out of the house to go to work   The pain in my back or legs may be worse, or my breathing may be acting up, or I just may not have slept well the night before. Sometimes that train may be overly crowded, and no one offers me a seat. Or, the line is extra long and the new clerk is too slow. The sky is gray, the rain pours down, and the cab just splashed water from a dirty puddle all over your skirt.  These things can and sometimes do spoil one's day.  Yet it doesn't have to be that way. Ironically, all it takes is something as simple as a smile to change the way you feel about your day.

Smile and the world smiles with you. Frown and the world frowns upon you.
- Source Unknown -

Yesterday was one of those days.  It seems that, since the eclipse, the clients have been on a roll.  It's been the kind of week that one wants to scream and pull their hair out.  Yesterday was one of those days that all I could do was head into one of the offices and stand there and laugh...and you know what?  I did feel better. 

Smiling does make you look and feel better, and you don't have to be happy to smile or laugh.
Furthermore, it is it's pretty much impossible to stay mad, frustrated, or sad for too long when you smile. This is because smiling creates a biochemical response which activates neurotransmitters, hormones,and endorphins that make you feel better.  And, as an added benefit, when you smile at someone else, you make them feel better as well.

So, even if you're having a really bad day, be sure to smile, and if someone says a friendly word to you and gives you a smile, smile back. You'll feel really good about yourself. 

Hoping you all have a happy day, full of joy and plenty of smiles.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Walking Buffalo Quote

Hills are always more beautiful than stone buildings. Living in a city
is an artificial existence. Lots of people hardly ever feel real soil under
their feet, see plants grow except in flower pots, or get far enough
beyond the street light to catch the enchantment of a night sky studded
with stars. When people live far from scenes of the Great Spirit's
making, it's easy for them to forget his laws.

Walking Buffalo   

(High Point State Park, Sussex County, New Jersey)

Although I have spent the past 40 years living in a city, I was blessed to have had the opportunity to live in the country for the first 25 years of my life, and I have not forgotten that feeling of the soil under my feet or the enchantment of the night sky while sleeping out under the stars. I've memories of diving into a country lake and racing through the grass with bare feet, screaming in pain when I stepped on a bee.  I remember fairy gardens, grape vines, picking fresh strawberries from the bush, long walks in the woods, my first kiss on my neighbors swing.  I was still quite the tomboy, but the tide was about to turn. Life was simple then, oh, so simple.  

I'm longing to return to the country one day, to spend my senior years enjoying the world of my youth, but, if that cannot be done, I will always have my memories.

(High Point State Park, pictured in the photo above, is an amazing place, and I spent a lot of time on those trails.  The mountain itself is the tallest place in New Jersey, and at the top one can stand there and look out over three states--New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.  It's quite a sight to behold, and if you ever get to Northern New Jersey, be sure to visit it)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Morning Ramble

Well, another Monday is here.  Another long grueling week ahead, still short staffed and still no perspectives for filling the slot left vacant when my co-workers left weeks ago, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Next Monday is a holiday, Memorial Day, so there's a three-day weekend coming up.  I don't know whether I should sing or dance. Guess I won't do either.  Needless to say, we've been down by three counselors, and with twelve extra groups to cover, it hasn't been an easy time of it, and I will relish that extra day off.

So, how was everyone's weekend?  Mine was quiet, very quiet.  I stayed in all day Saturday and caught up on rest.  I hadn't realized how tired I really was.  Slept until 9:30, got up for a few hours, and by 12 was back in bed.  Slept until 3 pm.  You know, while in the old days, I would have danced circles around all this extra work, I'm not as young as I used to be and the ever ready battery no longer provides the energy that it once did.

Like the star that shines afar,
Without haste and without rest,
Let each one wheel with steady sway
Round the task that rules the day,
And do their best.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We can only do our best, no what we are called upon to do. That's all that any of us can do. We do not have to do all the work; we need only do our share. That's a lesson I learned the hard way.  It seems the more work you do, the more they give you to do, and it becomes a never-ending spiral.  When I left my last job I was paid for 5 weeks of vacation.  I lost 56 hours vacation, 154 hours sick time, and 3 personal days.  And, as I found out later, they were annoyed with me because I was still considered on the payroll for that 5 weeks vacation time, so, due to budget, they couldn't hire anyone in my place. However, they most certainly weren't annoyed when they were draining everything out of me, were they?  No one ever complained when vacations passed me by, or I crawled into work sick as a dog.

Nothing can be more stressful than being a workaholic and sooner than later you will burn out.  In my case, I was a workaholic in the sense that I never took vacations or called out sick, and a perfectionist in a sense that my work had to be error-free. Being a perfectionist uses up endless amounts of time because sometimes I would do the same paperwork over and over again. Oh, and please don't criticize anything I've done. That was a personal affront that brought tears to my eyes. Perfectionists believe they have to be the best in everything they do and resent those who do not appear to be working as hard as they are.

Fortunately, those days are long gone. I've learned that one can demand high standards without being a perfectionist.  I've learned that not everything I do 'has'  to be perfect. I'm allowed to make mistakes. I still have difficulty accepting criticism, but I'm working on it. No one can be perfect—especially on a continuous basis. When I left work this past Friday, my progress notes were left undone, but you know what?  I realize now that I am only human, there is only so much that I can do in a week.  Self has to take priority. And that also means the time off that is allotted me. After all, 'if you don't use it, you lose it'.  

Have any of you seen yourselves in my story? If so, think seriously about how you are living your life. Give yourself permission to make a mistake, and, above all, be sure to take your time. It's yours and you earned it.  Don't give it back to your employers.  They really don't appreciate it.

Yesterday, the weather was simply magnificent, and I did something that I consider amazing.  I actually went out and walked about 10 blocks. This was something I've not been able to do that since my COPD and sciatica began acting up.  It was the first time I had explored that area of my neighborhood, and I found a park, a gigantic fruit stand, and a Rite Aid.  After stopping at the fruit stand, I decided to plow around in Rite Aid, and I am so glad I did.  I bought some incense and some scented candles, one a lovely rose scent which permeated throughout the apartment. Walking was something I really used to enjoy, and hopefully, this will be the start of something good.  

Finally, an update on my window garden.  The first photo is of either my Sweet Peas or Chinese Forget-me-Nots.  I tend to think they are the latter because there were no buds until I planted those seeds.  

Friday, May 18, 2012


Nothing is there beyond hope
Nothing that can be sworn impossible
Father of the Olympians
Made night from mid-day
Hiding the bright sunlight
And sore fear came upon men.

Archilochus from a fragment of a poem when there was
a total eclipse of the sun on April 6, 648 B.C.

Just two weeks after we were treated with the huge 'Supermoon', which, unfortunately, many of us did not get to see, this Sunday we will be treated to an annular solar eclipse that will be visible from some areas of United States, northern Mexico and Canada. This is the first annular eclipse visible from the United States in 18 years. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like we here on the East coast will see this event either.  In fact, the next solar eclipse visible here in New York on Monday, August, 21, 2017.  

A solar eclipse occurs when the sun's light is blocked from the Earth. A solar eclipse is also a New Moon, while a lunar eclipse is a Full Moon. During the partial phases of a solar eclipse, the moon gradually covers the bright disk of the sun.    An annular solar eclipse occurs the Moon's umbra does not reach all the way to the Earth's surface. This can happen when the Moon is near or at its farthest position from earth. In this case, the Moon appears too small to cover the Sun completely.

So, anybody have any special plans for the weekend. I've decided that I am going to do NOTHING, absolutely nothing but eat, read, and rest. I've nothing planned for this weekend.  If anything, perhaps a short walk to the fruit stand.   The weather is going to be super, but they're still working on the subway tracks over the weekend,s so the train doesn't stop at my station. To get to the beach I will have to go back in order to go forward...which also involves a lot of stair climbing, something I can no longer do.  But, the entire summer lies ahead of me, so there will be plenty of time. 

Here's hoping that you, too, have magnificent weather and a wonderful weekend.  See you all on Monday.  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Remembering Our Blessings

When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light,
for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and the joy
of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies in yourself.

As I was readying myself to get out of the house this morning I was thinking, "Oh, I am so tired of having to go."  Then, I began to drag  myself down with my negative thoughts...dreading the long walk to work, coming home so late, the noise and lack of boundaries at my job, etc.  It just seemed like everything was bothering me today.  It was then I sat down for a few moments, took a few deep breaths, and, as I have done before when the negativity begins to take control, reminded myself of all the blessings that have come from my little job. 

I began to think of all those who got up this morning to pound the pavement looking for a job, hoping that today they will find one.  And then I thought of those who wish they could go to work today, but have disabilities that confine them to their homes. Finally, there are those who didn't get up this morning. And, suddenly, my little job didn't seem so bad as I realized how truly blessed I am.

My grandma always used to say, "remember, there is always somebody who's worse off than you are". When I hear this statement, it reminds me of years ago when I slipped out three discs in my back while trying to plunge a bathtub. (Don't ask me how.)
The pain was horrific, and  I couldn't make it down the block without grabbing onto a pole to take some of the weight off my leg. Then, one day, when I went to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription, there was a rather happy-go-lucky man who was already waiting there. The pharmacist was very slow, and I was feeling pretty miserable as I waited. As we waited, we got to talking and when I began to cry about the shooting pain in my leg, he told me, "I can empathize with you. I have it in both legs". Somehow, my pain did not seem so bad anymore.

So, whenever I begin feeling sorry for myself, I take a step back and look at the situation. I think of that man and how much more he had been suffering, yet still had concern for others. I always try to remember that I am not the only one who has trouble in my life, for there is always someone somewhere who's worse off than me. That's true for all of us. So, rather than wasting time focusing on what is so wrong with our lives, we have to express gratitude for the blessings that we do have in our lives.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Something For You

(The picture above is of my work space when we first moved to our new office in August.  It is much neater now that everything has been organized.  Of course, my little stuffed critters remain.  They've travelled with me now through three different jobs)

The true friends who we meet online 
Are a very special kind ...
They pierce your shields and see within
The corners of your mind.

They're always there when you're in need

With their power to discern;
They feel your pain, they offer hope
And genuine concern.

We bare our souls, expose our hearts,

And show our inner fears;
And then before you know it ...
The keyboard's stained with tears.

And if we could see them through that screen,

Then no one could deny ...
That to be a TRUE online friend,
They too must surely cry.

--Author Unknown --

It has long been recognized that friendship plays a central role in a meaningful and happy life.  However, when I look back over my life, I've had only one true friend...and we parted many years ago when our lives took different directions.  Since that time, I've had acquaintances, but not someone I could truly call a friend.  It's always been hard for me reaching out and trusting others; I've been hurt to many times.  But here, in the world of blogs, I've found something I've been missing for a good many years.  I've found friendship.  
Each of you has brightened my life in some way and for that I am forever grateful. Thank you all for being such a special part of my life.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Wooden Bowl

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate meals together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his plate onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. 'We must do something about father,' said the son. 'I've had  enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.' So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl! 

When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction,sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, 'What are you making? 

Just as sweetly, the boy responded, 'Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and  Mama to eat your food in when I grow up'. The four year old smiled and went back to work. 

The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. 

For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled. 


This tale really touched my heart. Perhaps it is because I am getting older myself now, and I don't want my family getting annoyed with me.  Not that they ever will.  My sons were raised to be very family oriented and to respect those who came before. The innocent chil
d in this tale was wise beyond his years. Young as the child was, he well aware that  the way his parents were treating his grandfather was wrong, and he was able develop a plan to make them understand just how hurtful it was what they were doing, and his plan succeeded. Mom and Dad realized the error of their ways.

Too bad more people cannot be made to see. This  disrespect for the elderly is evident every day when I travel to and from work. They are the 'invisible elderly' who struggle to remain on their feet while young, healthy people pretend that they don't exist.   People look at them, but they don't see. Worse yet are those that take advantage of or commit crimes against those who are frail and elderly. Recently, here in the city there has been a rash of robberies against the elderly. The perpetrator is not content to just rob them. No, this sick creep have to physically violate them as well.  I say when you catch them, lock them up and throw away the key.  In fact, don't they consider that a hate crime, when one targets a specific group?

Many cultures, such as that of Japan, revere the elderly as the link to their ancestry and the wisdom of the past and support them in their later years. It's too bad that in our society, getting old is something to be feared.  Hence, our elderly are neglected  more than many other cultures  in which old people are well respected and valued for their experience. All too often, they are dismissed as a burden, and the children they bore and sacrificed for, stick them into homes. 

'The Wooden Bowl' reminds me that we should never forget to show those around us that we love them and appreciate them; it also teaches us the lesson to love, respect and give value to our elders, because without them, there would be no us. The only way we could thank them is to give them the love, respect, and treatment that they deserve – unconditionally.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Morning Rambles

Like the star that
shines afar,
Without haste and
without rest,
Let each one wheel
with steady sway
Round the task that
rules the day,
And do their best.

Johann Wolfgang
von Goethe

Oh my, it is hard to believe how quickly this weekend passed by. It seems the more you have to do, the quicker the time goes, leaving one with no time to do the things that they love to do. In other words, leisure is hard to come by on my cooking weekends. On Saturday I barely had time to stop and catch my breath.  There was food shopping to do in the morning and cooking it all in the afternoon. It's a bit more time consuming here because the supermarket is a bus ride away, and this bus route has the worst weekend schedule.  In times' past, I would have walked it, but the pain keeps me from doing it.  Then, after I get home there is the wait for the delivery which usually comes about 1:30 pm.  In my old neighborhood, I had to race to beat them home, and cooking began before 12. I realize they had me spoiled, and, so what if I have to wait. I'll take what I have now over the old place any time.  I am loving it here, and please don't think I am complaining in any way. 

The weather this weekend was unbelievable. Incredible weather. The sky was so blue, the sun was shining, and the temperatures above normal.  I felt like running away to the ocean rather than racing home to cook. It sure was the day for it, and I find so much comfort there. And comfort was needed this weekend. Mother's Day is such a bittersweet time for me. 

I found my comfort in the absolute love of my sons. I've made many mistakes, but they have always been there for me. Perhaps it is through the love I received from them that I learned to understand and forgive my own mother.  We do our best, and that is all any of us can do. Much like her, I lived through a loveless marriage, but I was able to walk out and start over again.  In her day, women just didn't do things like that.  They stayed together for the sake of the children. Perhaps, perhaps if she had the opportunity that I had, perhaps things would have been different.

When darkness came, it was time for me to observe this holiday honoring my female ancestors. As any genealogist knows, finding the matrilineal line can be a great challenge. Most women abandon their maiden names and adopt their husband's surname. Some I found had a family member living with them making it easy to find their maiden name. Others I found on "Find a Grave", Genwebs, and other such sites. Others, I may never know more than their first name--Temperance, my 4th great grandmother on my dad's side and Susan, my 3rd great grandmother on my mom's side. These are the ancestors who have been lost in the shadows of time. Know that you are not forgotten. 

In honor of Mother's Day, I gave myself a special gift yesterday. I ordered the Maternal Lineage DNA Test from Ancestry. It's been something I've wanted to do for years, ever since I read 'The Seven Daughters of Eve' by Bryan Sykes.  Mr. Sykes is a geneticist who identified seven women who lived between 10,000 and 45,000. This book really touched me and make me appreciate those who came before me in a different way. Ninety-five percent of us with European ancestry can trace our matrilinial line back to one of the following 'clan mothers':

Ursula is the 'clan mother' who lived about 45,000 year ago in Europe. For almost 20,000 years, she and her descendants shared the land with the Neanderthals 

Xenia and her clan lived about 25,000 years ago, just before the deepest, darkest cold period of the last Ice Age.

Helena and her clan lived about 20,000 years ago in southern France. Helena's clan is, by far, the most widespread and successful of the Seven Daughters of Eve. Her children have reached every shore,

Tara and her clan lived 17,000 years ago in northern Italy during the last Ice Age. This was about the only parts of the continent where life was possible.

Velda's clan lived in Spain 17,000 years ago. Her parents had journeyed during the Ice Age to this warm refuge which they shared with the clan of Ursula, who had retreated from the frozen North. 

Katrine's clan also lived in the north of Italy, but nearer to the Alps. Katrine lived about 15,000 years ago. Hers is the clan of the famous 'Ice Man.'

Jasmine is the most recent of all the 'clan mothers'. She lived  about 8,500 years ago. The Ice Age was over, and she and her clan didn't have to live through the hardships of the other six 'clan mothers'.

What makes this book so special is the way Sykes tells their story, bringing them alive in what is most likely the actual circumstances in which they lived. For example, the story of Xenia begins:

'Twenty thousand years have passed since Ursula's death. It was now twenty-three thousand years before the present and the world was even colder.  The Neanderthals were gone and modern humans had Europe to themselves.' 

and goes on to,  

'Xenia was born in the wind and snow of late spring. Even though it was already April, the snow that covered the land in winter was still on all but the lowest ground and lay in thick and filthy slush around the camp site. Xenia herself was born in a round hut, about three metres in diameter, whose frame was constructed almost entirely of mammoth bones.'

I get goose bumps when I think of these women and realize that one of them is my very earliest maternal ancestor, the greatest of my great grandmothers. She was the first. Of course, you know I've dug the book out again and am re-reading it for the umpteenth time. Rarely will you see me recommending books, but this is a must for all of us. It is a special book about some very special women who, when we honor our ancestors, we must honor them as well.  They fought the cruelest of weather and circumstances in order to bring us life. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day

Tomorrow is Mother's Day , and I'd like to share with you the following:

A man stopped at a flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away. As he got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting on the curb sobbing. He asked her what was wrong and she replied, "I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother. But I only have seventy-five cents, and a rose costs two dollars."

The man smiled and said, "Come on in with me. I'll buy you a rose."

He bought the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother's flowers. As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride home.

She said, "Yes, please! You can take me to my mother."

She directed him to a cemetery, where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.

The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up a bouquet and drove the two hundred miles to his mother's house.


In today's world of computers and cell phones, it is so very easy to get lost in our own little world.  Instead of sending a 'real' card, we text message our loved one and send a computer card. We feel that as long as we have called or jotted down a note we have done our part. It is sad that in today's fast-paced technological world, may feel that spending quality time with loved ones may not be activities that you view as essential. Like the man in the story above, we pick up the phone and order our flowers...and on this Mother's Day, many mothers will have their flowers delivered by a stranger. 

We forget that life is short, and time passes, and it passes quickly .  Once lost, it can never be retrieved. One day, all too soon, our loved one won't be with us, so we must never pass up an opportunity to quality spend time with your loved ones. And even though I will be receiving cards and gifts from my children, I feel a pinch of pain that we are not sending a card to my own mother.

My mom and I never had what one would call a great mother/daughter relationsh
ip, but this Mother's Day I'll be missing her terribly. She was my mom, and we only have one. I have regrets that I didn't try a little harder or do things differently when she was still alive. I know that deep in her heart, she knew how much I loved her.  I just didn't tell her enough. 
I really do miss you, Mom. 

Don't live with regrets. Spend much time as you can loving and caring for the people who love you. Enjoy each precious moment with them. There is nothing important than family.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Quote

Life, like any other exciting
story, is bound to have
painful and scary parts,
boring and depressing
parts, but it's a brilliant
story, and it's up to us
how it will turn out
in the end.

--Bo Lozoff--

This will be a busy weekend for and shopping again.   So fast the weeks are passing by--too quickly! Why is it that as we grow older time passes through our hands more and more rapidly?  I wonder. 

On Sunday, my boys will be paying me a visit, and after they are gone, I plan to spend some time in silence honoring my female ancestors and thanking them for the gift of life, honoring them as the source of who I am. 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and Mother's Day full of love, peace, and joy.  And remember, you don't have to be a biological mother to someone.  Mother's Day is for all of us.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.  'Well,' she said, 'I think I'll braid my hair today.' So she did and she had a wonderful day. 

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. 'H-M-M,' she said, 'I think I'll part my hair down the middle today.' So she did and she had a grand day. 

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head. 'Well,' she said, 'today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail.' So she did, and she had a fun, fun day. 

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and  noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head.  'YAY!' she exclaimed. 'I don't have to fix my hair today!'


Yesterday I after I shared about my sociopath client, I received so many heartwarming comments, and I thank you all.   I really hadn't wanted to lay that one on you, but it was something I 'had' to talk about in order to let it go. Today I wanted to introduce you to another client, the opposite side of the spectrum, a very different kind of person, a very special  man.  He is the epitome of the story above.

Yesterday, I'd been hoping all morning that my intake wouldn't show up. Intakes involve a lot of paperwork and because of an overload of trainings and meetings, I'm already behind. I'd been hoping to have the afternoon free to get my charts in order, and when, at 1 pm, the phone rang from the reception area I knew exactly what it meant. But, this client was exactly what I needed.

John Doe is in a wheelchair; he lost his right leg years ago when he tried to help a woman at the subway station who was being harassed by a mental patient.  And, as the train pulled in, the man shoved him in front of the moving train.  I asked him if they caught the perpetrator, and there was no bitterness as he explained that they had, but the man had never really been punished because of his mental issues.  Instead, he stayed only a short while on the psychiatric ward before being released again.  Meanwhile, John Doe had been fed so much morphine in the hospital that he walked out as an addict.  He's got four years clean now, but he wants to attend the program to give him something to do, a place to belong.

This is a man whose mother put him in a shoe box and left him at a convent when he was born.  He spent his youth being shuffled from one home to another, suffering sexual, physical, and emotional abuse in some of the places he lived.  Yet, he said of his mom, "I don't blame her.  Those were different times back then, and I know she had her reasons.  I also know that she loved me because she left me at a place where she knew there would be people to care for me.  I forgive her and wish I had a chance to tell her so."

Along with the above, he also has several serious possibly life-threatening illnesses, but there is no hate, no anger, no blame, no malice. He didn't feel sorry for himself or show envy of those who can walk. He could have lashed out at everyone, but he accepted his lot in life and looks at his trials and tribulations as proof that he was put here for a reason. He had the most wonderful attitude. What I saw in him was a love of life and a gratefulness for being alive, and those feelings were passed on to me. 

I share this with you today because yesterday I spoke of the evil, and the fact is, both good and evil exist in this world. We rarely realize that, like all opposites, they are necessary for one another. It is through the darkness, that we see the light. Without hate, there would be no love. Without sadness, there would be no joy. Without friendship, there would be no enemies. Without evil, there would be no good.  For that is the way of the world.

(You're probably wondering where all these little parables and tales are coming from and do hope you are not getting sick of them. They are they are the results of years of jotting down little quotes and items that hold meaning to me. It was hubby who started me doing this. He likes to jot down quotes and other little items and jots them on napkins, inside books, or on pieces of paper, anything handy, and of course, in time, they always get lost. So, for mine, I bought a book in which I write, print and cut to fit, or cut from a magazine pictures and readings that have meaning for me.  I call it my 'Book of Hope'.  One day, a few years ago, I'd taken my book to work to use  with my groups to instill a new way of thinking, but when someone borrowed it, and it had been misplaced.  Not too long ago, it was once again discovered, buried in a box that had been unopened for years.   You can imagine how overjoyed I was when the office manager came to my desk and said, "Is this yours? I know that it has reappeared for a reason")