Monday, February 28, 2022

February 28--More Love

The one thing we can never get enough of is love. And the one thing we never give enough of is love.  --Henry Miller

    I'm loving the fact that this is the last day of February. I know this makes no sense, but February is the longest month of the year. Cold temps, yucky weather, tax work getting crazy, it seems like spring will never get here. 
    I love you, dear readers. I invite us all to open our hearts today and be a presence of love in a world that surely can use it. Let our mighty lights chase away the darkness.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

February 27--Traveling Together

Love is what you've been through with somebody.  --James Thurber

    That's a good one! I've been married to the same man for going-on 36 years, and we've been through a LOT. Making it through the ups and downs of life with someone surely is a testament to love. 
    I think of my young life in Pennsylvania. My maternal grandparents both passed when I was quite young, and that was fertile ground for a lot of grief, distress and a broken relationship between my parents. They did their best to care for me through it all, and I love them for that. My older brother living nearby started having children when I was 10, so I was blessed to go through the early years with his four kids, and there is still lots of love among us fifty-some years later.  
    Thurber's quote is what raising kids is all about. Loving them enough to say "no," to enforce rules, to experience wins and losses, to figure things out for themselves and understand consequences--these are not things for the faint-of-heart--powerful love is essential. 
    I've been through a lot with a lot of folks and I love them a lot. I wish you the same blessing!

Earthrise, Astronomy Picture of the Day,

Saturday, February 26, 2022

February 26--Freedom to Love

Love is like quicksilver in the hand. Leave the fingers open and it stays. Clutch it, and it darts away.  --Dorothy Parker

    Quicksilver is the common name for the chemical element mercury, a name given to it I expect because it is the only metallic element that is liquid. There are also many other things named quicksilver like a band and a clothing brand--it is quite popular.
    Ms. Parker invites us to unite love and freedom. Efforts to grasp, control and keep a loved one are futile, frustrating both parties and encouraging escape. If we can't live and let live, allowing others to be who they are and pursue the desires of their hearts, it's not love, and why would they want to stay? 
    Barney, our sweet dog, is a perfect example. He's so adorable, I just want to hug and squeeze and snuggle him. He tolerates that only for a couple seconds. But if I sit quietly on the couch reading or crocheting, he'll come and lie by my side for hours. True love!
I remember playing with this as a kid.

Friday, February 25, 2022

February 25--Love is the Best Thing

If you are in love--that's a good thing. That's about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don't let anyone make it small or light to you.  --John Steinbeck 

    I consider my older son and his new bride and how in love they are. In a year's time, they moved into a brand new home, got married and are expecting a little one. It is a joy to behold. All parents want their children to be happy. I'm seeing that, and it is the best thing. It is priceless. 
    I am grateful for the many years of love my husband and I have shared. It has made my life mostly a piece of cake. I am spoiled. I consider that a compliment, a "best thing." There is a tendency to take the spouse for granted, that he or she will always be there, but we certainly know that may not be so. 
    Whatever love looks like for you on a daily basis... spouse, family, friends, pets... it is big and bright and wonderful. Revel in it!

Big pile of love right there!

Thursday, February 24, 2022

February 24--Love Being Love

Love is most nearly itself when the here and now cease to matter.  --T. S. Eliot

    When we are absorbed in someone or something we love, time ceases to exist... that's love. 
    When we are around someone or doing something that we would rather not, that's drudgery, and time seems to crawl. That's not love. 
    Love enables us to fly. It is stronger than gravity!

Doodles by my friend, PH

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

February 23--The Best Stuff

Only the heart knows how to find what is precious.  --Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    Health... family... friends... home... satisfying work... freedom... peace of mind. Those are the ones my heart offered to me this morning. 
    At the end of each yoga class, during savasana (relaxation time), I sit quietly and lovingly bless each one of my students. My usual go-to is "blessings, love, joy, peace, harmony and wholeness be yours now and forever." My students are precious to me. My time in Clearwater, Kansas teaching and doing taxes has created a personal community that makes my heart happy. I love the small town and its folks. 
    Beauty--that's another heart-precious item. Below is a photo of the magnificent Kansas sunrise on Feb. 21, 2022.  
    Where will your heart take you today?
2/21/22, Wichita, Kansas ❤❤

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

February 22--I'm Lovin' It

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.  --Rumi

    My older son and I were discussing the other day how we love "geeking out" on the topics of money, finances, investments, taxes, etc. (Note that I am quite comfortable with being such a nerd.) I am in the midst of the busiest part of tax season. It's stressful, but I love it. It uses my skills well, and I thoroughly enjoy playing with numbers and figuring things out. In the seven years I've done taxes, I have learned so much, and that continues to generate even more questions, thus even more learning. 
    In my assortment of part-time "jobs," I am generally either teaching or playing with numbers. It's a good right-brain, left-brain combination. I love the variety, but most of all, I love the flexibility my schedule provides me. That enables me to travel, which is what I really love to do. 
    Are you doing what you love? 

Monday, February 21, 2022

February 21--Infinite

Only love can be divided endlessly and still not diminish. 
--Anne Morrow Lindbergh

    I am so grateful to and for the infinite Source of love. It brings us into life here, and then expands through us for a lifetime. It gets to play through us while we expand Its love throughout the world--a win-win for all. 
    My husband and I had two sons. Did we love each other less when they arrived? Of course not. The love just got bigger. As empty-nesters, we adopted a dog. Do we love each other less since the dog entered the picture? Maybe. Just kidding. Love keeps getting wider, longer, deeper, more potent. 
    Love is the one and only power.

So many flowers, so much Love!

Sunday, February 20, 2022

February 20--Heart Wisdom

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.  --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    As a spiritual living coach, I work with folks to get them out of their heads and into their hearts. We spend so much time thinking, analyzing and problem-solving, stuck in our heads, rather than listening to the wisdom of our hearts and experiencing our feelings. The heart and feelings are where authentic living resides. Without those, we could simply be robots, programmed only for accomplishing the next task. 
    Certainly humanity as a whole could use more heart wisdom, to do a better job of caring for each other and our fabulous planet. We are so much more alike than we are different. We all eat, sleep, work, play, have families, feel joy and sadness, want the best for our kids. We are born out of One Heart. Let us carry that love with us and through us and make it grow!

By Susan L Hart

Saturday, February 19, 2022

February 19--Love's Directions

Love gives not but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love. And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course. 
--Kahlil Gibran 

    I live in Wichita, Kansas because love directed my course here. I grew up in Pennsylvania, and all I knew of Kansas was "The Wizard of OZ." My parents' "love" for each other (or lack thereof) gave me strong direction to get the hell out of there, the home where I grew up. Meeting my future husband via mutual friends at our jobs at Schreiber Foods ultimately brought both of us to Wichita. Love for my children and a need for sanity for me directed me to a 12-step program decades ago, and love still keeps me attending. I am confident that love will make new pathways for me to enjoy the August-arriving grandbaby. 
    Our hearts know, 

Friday, February 18, 2022

February 18--HUGS!

Talk not of wasted affection; affection never was wasted. 
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    I expend a lot of affection on my angel dog, Barney. He is a great example of "affection never was wasted." A dog simply cannot have too many belly rubs. 
    One thing that made me especially cranky about the pandemic was the lack of hugs. I am a hugger, and I missed that practice a lot. I ran into a friend at QuikTrip the other day. Usually we see each other every 2-3 months. We instantly hugged. It's just what we do, virus be damned. 
    Touching and being touched are basic human needs. Babies thrive from being held and cuddled. We all need a shoulder to cry on now and then. Congratulatory hugs make a big moment even more special. A hug of appreciation keeps good circulating in your world. 
The ecstasy of a belly rub

Thursday, February 17, 2022

February 17--A Break

Forgiveness is the final form of love.  --Reinhold Niebuhr

    Forgive me, dear readers, but I'm taking a day off. See the January 19 post for more on forgiveness. 

We are having the exact opposite this morning:
a snowstorm 😞

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

February 16--Put Away the Calculator

When one loves, one does not calculate.  --Saint Therese of Lisieux

    "You owe me." "If you loved me, you would __________." Those are calculating statements, and not conducive to love. Love has an ebb and flow, a give and take, and things won't always be balanced. Life happens to a couple both together and separately. Times will happen when needs and wants are greater on one side than another. Love goes with the flow to meet both partners' needs. 
    Remembering love is infinite,

Pennsylvania beauty, another reminder of infinite love

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

February 15--Adventure!

We love because it's the only true adventure.  --Nikki Giovanni

    No kidding! Random thoughts on my life's love adventure pulled up a few things... my family of origin was quite dysFUNctional (although one doesn't know it at the time), and I learned that love was food and love is quite conditional. Society taught me that if I wanted to find love, I had to be thin. So I lost weight and did find love. Having children brings on a whole new adventure in love. Though I had not received much unconditional love, I could certainly give it to my sons. With hopes of stopping the generational cycle of addiction (see dysFUNctional above), I began the love adventure of recovery in a 12-step program. That truly introduced me to unconditional love, and made me a much saner mother. Raising children can hardly be called anything but "adventure." I learned so much about myself and life through them. It was yet another adventure in love to set them free to find their way in the world, and for us parents to become empty-nesters. It has been wonderful for my husband and me to pursue our interests. Soon I will get to experience the love adventure of being a grandma. I can hardly wait! 
    Enjoying the ride, 

The Earth at Night, 
Astronomy Picture of the Day, 2/13/22

Monday, February 14, 2022

February 14--Love Requires Freedom

Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.  --Kahlil Gibran

    Happy Valentine's Day!! May you be in love with yourself, with another, and with life!
    My travel bud and I are super-grateful for our husbands in many ways, but we really appreciate that neither of them want to go with us on our adventures. They would rather do their thing and have us go off together jaunting around the world. Likewise, we don't have to do what they want to do, in my case, bicycling across states and sleeping in a tent. There's plenty of love there, but we aren't bound to each other. It works really well. Because we are not together all the time doing the same things, we still have plenty of interesting conversation material. 
    Attempting to control another person's life and activities is an exhausting and unrewarding job. It's a lose-lose situation and most importantly, it's not love.
    Freedom to live and love is priceless! 

At Niagara Falls

Sunday, February 13, 2022

February 13--Send Flowers

A very small degree of hope is sufficient to cause the birth of love.  --Stendahl

    I do tax work and teach Melt Method and yoga in the small town of Clearwater about 15 miles southwest of Wichita. The local town florist is on a mission--give flowers for Valentine's Day. On her sign she has had these inspirations (and my spelling is correct):
    Day 1: Want to get lei'd? Send flowers.
    Day 2: Did she get any lately? Send flowers. 
    Day 3: She wants to see you with just a heart on. Send flowers. 
    Day 4: He wants to kiss your tulips. 
    What clever fun!!!
    And with "a very small degree of hope" and about six weeks' time, I completed the Lego puzzle!!! 
    Send flowers. 

Saturday, February 12, 2022

February 12--Hold On Tight

The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.  --Audrey Hepburn

    This is a photo of our family of four from our older son's recent wedding:

    These three awesome men are my best things to hold onto. 
    When the pandemic first hit, and we were visiting the sons in Colorado, they insisted on wearing masks full-time and refused to hug me. They, of course, were wanting to keep us parents around and healthy. I made it through one visit without hugs. One. Henceforth, Mom made the declaration that she would rather die than not be son-hugged. The sons complied. 😉😉
    Latch onto someone today. Tell someone you love them. Make someone laugh. Be extra kind. 

Friday, February 11, 2022

February 11--Need/Love

 Immature love says: "I love you because I need you." Mature love says: "I need you because I love you."  --Erich Fromm

    OK. I get that. I would offer, however, that within each lover there is both mature and immature. Sometimes we get mixed up. Need and love can be unclear. 
    I recognize the immature love in me in the many ways I need my husband to do "guy stuff" around the house, like mowing, putting air in vehicle tires, changing oil and furnace filters. (I realize I'm taking a literary risk calling such things "guy stuff.") For sure I could do those things but I love my husband because those things are "his thing." 
    Mature love--I hope I've got some of this in me after nearly 36 years of marriage. I can't conceive of life without my husband. I love hanging out and gabbing with him. Currently we are in a hot Wordle competition. I know it was true love when, during the boredom of the pandemic lockdown, we worked together to reorganize and paint the inside of our garage, and we are still married! 
    Still working at it,

Thursday, February 10, 2022

February 10--Blossoms

Life without love is like a tree without blossom and fruit.  --Kahlil Gibran

    A mature tree without blossom and fruit is most likely dying. So it is for a person without love. We live in, for and through love. It is the life essence within us that is only nourished as we move love around, giving and receiving. Love is both the fertilizer and the fruit of life. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

February 9--New World

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive. And it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.  --Anais Nin 

    I have been blessed in life with many wonderful friends. Before I settled in Wichita in 1983, I had moved around quite a bit, so I had friends in several places. Some friendships "stuck," others went by the wayside as we each moved on in life. 
    It is fun to ponder the new world each friend birthed in me. I was raised in a very strong "us vs. them" household, so it was a breath of fresh air to have friends who graciously opened the worlds of race, religion and sexual orientation to me. Road trip and overseas travel partners have explored many a new landscape with me. My varied work life has been fun and successful because friends saw my potential and pulled forth skills that were a "new world" to me. 12-step program friends birthed a world of addiction recovery in me that has made all the other friendships, new worlds, and adventure possible. 
    With each new friend made, we have the possibility to explore his or her world, too. Everyone's life expands with friendship. 
A favorite "new world"--pet ownership with friend Barney

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

February 8--Loving Love

To lose balance, sometimes, for love, is part of living a balanced life. 
--Elizabeth Gilbert

    In the big picture, I believe a "balanced life" includes every possible experience. So, yes, that would include losing one's balance for love. How limited life would be without the full range of emotions. We appreciate joy from experiencing sorrow. Living the highs and lows of life makes our time here a great adventure. 
    We the parents moved into our home, were married and had our first child in a fairly short time frame. It was definitely a time of balance lost for love. So much in such a short time, and our family and adult life were off and running. Yet it all felt like the right thing to do in a balanced life. And now our older son and his wife have repeated the pattern--in a new home, married and pregnant. For them it feels like a degree of chaos, but for us, the parents, it's all part of the balanced life wherein family goals are achieved and appreciated, and love continues to expand. 
    Loving love,

Monday, February 7, 2022

February 7--Love Protection

Age does not protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from age.  --Jeanne Moreau

    I have said for years that I am staying in shape for grandchildren. The love for a dreamed-about grandchild has kept me moving and in pretty good shape for 66. At last, come August, I will have that grandbaby in my arms. I learned on Saturday that also in August, I will be a great-great-aunt for the first time. My nephew and his wife will become grandparents, too. 
    We humans are ALL about love. That's it. It is our essence, our motivation. Love happens at all ages. And love definitely keeps us young. (I'm sure there have been many studies on this!) I want to stick around for a long time to love up these August babies, so I will continue to roll myself out of bed to swim, and get myself out the door for walks. Barney, my beloved doggie, is also on a mission to keep me moving and youthful. 
    Love is its own reward,

Love on a Colorado hike
(parents- & grandparents-to-be)

Sunday, February 6, 2022

February 6--Self-Care

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.  --Buddha

    Amen and Amen! Let us banish forever the idea that self-care is selfish. The body temple you live in, with its infinite expansive consciousness and multi-dimensional DNA, is your home here on playground Earth. Any home deserves good care if you want it to last. That precious perfect baby you once were is still inside you needing attention, love, and appreciation. It matters not what you've done or not done in the past. Right now, this very minute you are worthy of love.
    The amount of love and affection you give to yourself is in direct proportion to the amount of love and affection you have to give to another. If you are not caring gently and lovingly for yourself, you cannot do so successfully long-term for anyone else. Folks who ignore their own needs and desires end up burned-out, exhausted and resentful. 
    Buddha's statement rings true if for no other reason than each one of us is unique and unrepeatable throughout eternity. That's bigger than my brain can "figger!" 😉😉


Saturday, February 5, 2022

February 5--Headed in the Same Direction

Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.  --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    The joke around our house is that if my husband ever gave me flowers, I would know he had done something REALLY REALLY bad. Married nearly 36 years, we don't (and probably never have) sat around gazing at each other. Somehow, magically, we have been "looking outward together in the same direction" for the most part, which has made for a peaceful life. We have mostly agreed about finances, home ownership stuff, child-rearing, job opportunities, household duties, even diet (though I admit I've gone "off the rails" there a few times.) It's a good partnership, and to me, that's love, and it's way better than flowers. 😉😉 

Friday, February 4, 2022

February 4--Love's Power

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.  --Lao-tzu

    This quote brings me back to the time when our sons were teenagers. I'm a firm believer in the organic process wherein teenagers are butt-heads so that you are glad when they leave home. If parents and teenagers like each other too much, the kids never leave... "failure to launch." (BTW, that's a movie.) During the teenage years, I relied heavily on my husband's love for the strength to withstand the conflict. I loved my sons deeply enough to have the courage to use "tough love." Things got ugly sometimes, but love was always the foundation. That foundational love gave our sons the strength to make their own way in the world. 
    Love makes the world work,
Those teenagers referenced above have
always been my favorite golfing buds.


Thursday, February 3, 2022

February 3--Feel Good Words

Who, being loved, is poor?  --Oscar Wilde

    I've nothing more to add. 

Dusty and Barney sharing naptime with me...❤❤

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

February 2--Up to the Challenge?

For one human being to love another--that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks; the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.  --Rainer Maria Rilke

    If you live long enough, you learn a lot about love. In a rather quick overlook on my life, I note these things:
  • My mother so loved her mother that when Grammie Wilson died suddenly of a heart attack (when I was 4 years old), my mother's world was wrecked. 
  • I have no idea whether my parents loved each other anymore after that death. (I am assuming they were in love early on.) My dad drank more and more, built an "office" out in the garage where he could drink in peace, and there was either lots of fighting or vicious silence. My mom had no means of supporting herself, so she was stuck. 
  • I watched my sisters-in-law raise seven children, with one brother in the military and the other who worked during the day and spent the rest of his time lying on the couch watching TV. I believe both pairs loved each other. 
  • My husband and I had a long-distance romance for a couple of years before we both landed in Wichita and were married. We had email because we worked for the same company. But the long-distance phone bills were outrageous!
  • It was a love like no other when I first held my older son. I could never have imagined the power or depth of "mother love."
  • I thought I could not possibly love another child as much as I did the first, but that proved to be a silly thought. The love simply expanded, once again beyond my imagining. 
  • Raising two sons brought "tough love" into the picture in a big way. 
  • The love between my husband and me has matured over our nearly 36 years of marriage. We are comfortable, we enjoy each other's company, and we are independent enough to pursue those things that interest us. 
  • Our older son recently married and is going to be a dad. It is a whole 'nother experience to see one's kids in love enough to make such commitments. 
  • Lastly there is the fellowship love I have discussed in the previous two posts. Without it, none of the other love in my life would have happened. 
Love. Easy? No. Worth the effort? YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

February 1--More on Fellowship

Nobody has ever measured, even the poets, how much a heart can hold. 
--Zelda Fitzgerald

    As one might expect, the February theme in "Daily Joy" is LOVE. I'm beginning the month's writings with more on "fellowship" because I believe it is the ultimate example of love as described in yesterday's and today's blogs. Fellowship means everyone belongs. Belonging is a vital aspect of being fully human. We all need it. As a practicing addict, I felt like a freak, that no one else was like me or did the wacko things I did. Finding others like me and experiencing true fellowship completely changed my life.
    This is the Jan 28 Daily Meditation from Richard Rohr of the Center for Action and Contemplation:

Brian McLaren invites readers to imagine that they are among the disciples in John’s Gospel, gathering together in Jerusalem after Jesus’ death:

We were afraid that first Sunday night, just three days after Jesus died. Really afraid. We were afraid to go outside in case someone might recognize us as Jesus’ friends and notify the authorities...

So there we remained, tense, jumpy, simmering with anxiety. What happened Friday had been ugly, and we didn’t want it to happen to the rest of us. Every sound startled us. Suddenly, we all felt something, a presence, familiar yet... impossible. How could Jesus be among us?

And from that night, we learned something essential about what this uprising is going to be about.

[This uprising of the gospel] isn’t just for brave people, but for scared folks like us who are willing to become brave. It isn’t just for believers, but for doubting folks like Thomas who want to believe in spite of their skepticism. It isn’t just for good people, but for normal, flawed people like you and me and Thomas and Peter.

And I should add that it isn’t just for men, either. It’s no secret that men in our culture often treat women as inferior. Even on resurrection morning, when Mary Magdalene breathlessly claimed that the Lord was risen, the men among us didn’t offer her much in the way of respect. There were all sorts of ignorant comments about “the way women are.” Now we realize the Lord was telling us something by bypassing all of the male disciples and appearing first to a woman. As we look back, we realize he’s been treating women with more respect than the rest of us have right from the start.

We have a term for what we began to experience that night: fellowship. Fellowship is a kind of belonging that isn’t based on status, achievement, or gender, but instead is based on a deep belief that everyone matters, everyone is welcome, and everyone is loved, no conditions, no exceptions. It’s not the kind of belonging you find at the top of the ladder among those who think they are the best, but at the bottom among all the rest, with all the other failures and losers who have either climbed the ladder and fallen, or never gotten up enough gumption to climb in the first place.

Whatever else this uprising will become, from that night we’ve known it is an uprising of fellowship, a community where anyone who wants to be part of us will be welcome. Jesus showed us his scars, and we’re starting to realize we don’t have to hide ours.

So fellowship is for scarred people, and for scared people, and for people who want to believe but aren’t sure what or how to believe. When we come together just as we are, we begin to rise again, to believe again, to hope again, to live again.

True fellowship is love in action. Let's practice it!