Saturday, April 30, 2022

April 30--Just Do It

We can only learn to love by loving.  --Iris Murdoch

    A simple statement closes the April theme of love. Get active with your love today. Smile at yourself in the mirror. Be kind to a stranger. Do something sweet for someone you love. Plant some flowers. Laugh. Move your magnificent body. Give thanks. 

Our beautiful Kansas Flint Hills

Friday, April 29, 2022

April 29--It's All Sacred

He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began.  --Leo Tolstoy

    I'm going with the romance of God (Spirit, Universe, etc--use your name for It) for its creation, that it is impossible to tell where God ends and creation starts. This gives me the opportunity to share these words of Rachel Held Evans considering what is sacred:
Indeed, the word sacrament is derived from a Latin phrase which means “to make holy.” When hit with the glint of love’s light, even ordinary things become holy. And when received with open hands in the spirit of eucharisteo, the signs and wonders of Jesus never cease. The 150-plus gallons of wine at Cana point to a generous God, a God who never runs out of holy things. This is the God who, much to the chagrin of Jonah, saved the rebellious city of Nineveh, the God who turned five loaves of bread and a couple of fish into a lunch to feed five thousand with baskets of leftovers to spare. This God is like a vineyard manager who pays a full day’s wage for just one hour of work, or like a shepherd who leaves his flock in search of a single lamb, or like a father who welcomes his prodigal son home with a robe, a ring, and a feast.

We have the choice, every day, to join in the revelry, to imbibe the sweet wine of undeserved grace, or to pout like Jonah, argue fairness like the vineyard employees, resent our own family like the prodigal’s older brother. At its best, the church administers the sacraments by feeding, healing, forgiving, comforting, and welcoming home the people God loves. At its worst, the church withholds the sacraments in an attempt to lock God in a theology, a list of rules, a doctrinal statement, a building.

But our God is in the business of transforming ordinary things into holy things, scraps of food into feasts and empty purification vessels into fountains of fine wine. This God knows his way around the world, so there’s no need to fear. . . . There’s always enough—just taste and see. There’s always and ever enough.
    That is true love,

Thursday, April 28, 2022

April 28--What Do You Really Love?

The things that we love tell us what we are.  --St. Thomas Aquinas

    "You are what you eat."
    "She who dies with the most fabric wins."
    "I just need a little fix."
    "If only I can get one more refill of this prescription." 
    "Coffee is the reason I get up in the morning."
    We have TV shows about hoarders. I am horrified at the proliferation of storage facilities in our country--building offsite places to store our stuff. As I walk Barney around our neighborhood, I see many garages which are home, not to vehicles, but to piles and piles of stuff. Consuming certainly is one of our misdirected gods. 
   I'm reading an excellent book titled "Addiction and Grace" by Gerald May. His premise is that everyone is addicted to something, at the very least "stinking thinking." The objects of our addictions (food, alcohol, sex, shopping, stuff, on and on) are our idols, what we worship. Lasting recovery requires us to recognize who/what we truly are--infinite spiritual beings created from and by Source. Following the line of the Aquinas quote, we have to love that power greater than us in order to bring out our best and stop the addictive cycle. 
    Less stuff means more joy,

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

April 27--Infinite Capacity

Where there is great love there are always miracles.  --Willa Cather

    On my long drives to and from Colorado, I catch up on Rob Bell podcasts. (The Robcast) Bell is a former minister turned author and world-wide speaker. He has a way of making sense out of so much in our world that does not make any sense to me, like Russia invading Ukraine and Trump and his followers. Bell is a man of great love. He travels the world over to deliver a message of love. 
    In one of the podcasts, Bell talked about a friend who is going through an extra-tough struggle with cancer. Instead of the trite phrase "I am praying for you," he uses "I am holding you in my heart." I love this! I have more faith in my heart than anywhere else in the universe. Because the capacity of our hearts to love is infinite, our hearts can hold as much as we care to put there. I think of all the folks I carry in my heart regularly, and I'm happy to have those simple but awesomely powerful words to wrap around my practice. 
    With an expansive heart, 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

April 26--Full-Bodied Love

Love is or it ain't. Thin love ain't love at all.  --Toni Morrison

    I'm going to let that one inspire as you choose. 😍
    I will, however, offer up some random thoughts. Barney is very intent on checking out potential threats outside our west-facing window. We call it his "station." He's protecting us--there's no thin love there.

    Walking the dogs in lovely, windy Colorado on Saturday, I picked up this interesting twig:

Nature is our perfect example of "no thin love." Nature loves us to excess in beauty, bounty and mystery. 
    Loving our Earth home and critters,

Monday, April 25, 2022

April 25--Gratitude--Express It!

Gratitude is a shortcut which speedily leads to love.  --Theophile Gautier

    Isn't it nice to be appreciated? Don't you feel good vibes toward someone who thanks you for your being and doing? My husband cooks all our meals with loving care--he is devoted to the art and craft of cooking, and I can't imagine not thanking him for his efforts. 
    As reported earlier, I've done full-time temporary tax work for the same person for seven years. Never once in all that time have I heard a "thank you," "good job," or anything similar. Yes, I've been paid well, but I have certainly learned to work well without any show of gratitude. I do my best because that's my nature. It's a good thing I didn't need the boss' appreciation to motivate me. Being Miss-Manners-trained, I said "thank you" multiple times a day to my boss, because I couldn't do the job without his help. Pay and instruction (i.e., correction) were his expressions of gratitude. 
    Not receiving enough gratitude in your life? Give it out! What goes around comes around.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

April 24--Infinite Capacity

Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold. 
--Zelda Fitzgerald

    I am visiting my older son and his pregnant wife. We are all so excited to meet this new little life coming to our family. As first-time parents, they have no idea what they are in for. Life changes forever and infinitely in a moment, and I don't think anything can prepare a person for the heart-filling-to-overflowing love that explodes at the birth of a child. 
    I believe that Source is infinite love, and we are created of that. Therefore, there is no limit to how much love our hearts can hold. What enables a person to care for years for a spouse with Alzheimer's? What enables one to sit with a friend or relative dying of cancer? What inspires a person to rescue an abused animal? Where do art and music come from? It's all infinite love. 
    Love IS the only power in the Universe,

"Bouquet of Sunflowers" by Claude Monet

Saturday, April 23, 2022

April 23--Ultimate Love

Our union is like this: You feel cold, so I reach for a blanket to cover our shivering feet... You ache with loneliness one night so much you weep, and I say here is a rope, tie it around me, I will be your companion for life.  --Hafez

    The love Hafez describes is, for me, the love of Source for its creation, never leaving us, a constant, supportive "companion for life." These are the words of the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

All over this magnificent world God calls us to extend God’s kingdom of shalom—peace and wholeness—of justice, of goodness, of compassion, of caring, of sharing, of laughter, of joy, and of reconciliation. God is transfiguring,  the world right this very moment through us because God believes in us and because God loves us. What can separate us from the love of God? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And as we share God’s love with our brothers and sisters, God’s other children, there is no tyrant who can resist us, no oppression that cannot be ended, no hunger that cannot be fed, no wound that cannot be healed, no hatred that cannot be turned to love, no dream that cannot be fulfilled.

    Blessed encouragement!

Friday, April 22, 2022

April 22--Thanks!

Gratitude is a twofold love---love coming to visit us and love running out to greet a welcome guest.  --Henry Van Dyke

    Being in a state of gratitude feels good. 
    "Be grateful for everything." Nope, can't do that. I'm human, and some things simply suck.
    "Be grateful in everything." Ahhhh, now this is more manageable. Even if I don't like the circumstances, I can still be thankful for my life, my breath, and knowing that whatever is happening, there is a solution. 
    It took a while in my recovery journey to come to the point of gratitude for being an addict. I certainly was not grateful at the point of "hitting bottom," but the spiritual life I have gained as a result is priceless. I couldn't be more grateful.
    I am thankful to be near mountains once again, appreciating the beauty of our magnificent Earth home,

Last fall near Fort Collins, CO

Thursday, April 21, 2022

April 21--Celebrate!

I have learned not to worry about love; but to honor its coming with all my heart. 
--Alice Walker

    When you have lived with the same person for decades, there are bound to be things about that person that are annoying. I am certain that I am annoying to my spouse in assorted ways. With my addict's "magic magnifying mind," I can become much too focused on the annoyances rather than on all the love that has sustained us together these many years. Focusing on the annoyances doesn't feel good. Gratitude and appreciation for the love and caring between us feels good. That is honoring love. 
    I'm in Colorado, and today I get to celebrate our older son's birthday in person. No worries there, all love!

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

April 20--United Souls

Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.  --Emily Bronte

    This quote first struck me as all gooey and romantic, like the early feelings of falling in love. 
    Upon further consideration, I recognize that this must be true for any relationship to last. Early on in our child-rearing days, we agreed that we needed to provide a united front to the children, both of us "on the same page" in handling situations. We knew that those incredibly smart little souls could easily use any divide between us to their advantage. There were times when we the parents had lively closed-door discussions between us to get on the same page, but we did it. Our united souls supported us in doing the best we knew how for the kids. 
    I believe another reason we have lasted together so long is that we are fundamentally in agreement relative to financial matters. That prevents a lot of conflict right there. 
    Lastly, our souls are agreeable relative to each of us pursuing our hobbies and interests. He loves music and doing U.S. bicycle tours. I love golfing and pampered international travel. We are soul-connected enough to allow each other the freedom to have fun as we choose. 
    Very blessed,

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

April 19--"Family" is Much Bigger Than We Realize

Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along.  --Rumi

    After more than three decades together, I'm still in awe over all that happened to bring my husband and I together. I grew up in the boondocks of Pennsylvania. He grew up in the St. Louis area. In my desire to get away from home, I went to grad school at the University of Minnesota. That ended successfully with a job at Schreiber Foods in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I interviewed with that company because there was a guy I liked from grad school living in Green Bay. 
    Schreiber had two cheese manufacturing plants in Missouri. In Green Bay, I met a man who had worked at the Missouri plants, and I became fast friends with him and his wife. They knew Dennis (my then future husband) from the MO plants where he worked in engineering/tech support. Dennis and I ended up working together on the "bulk cheese project." Whenever Dennis came to Green Bay for work, the four of us would get together and party. 
    On April 14, 1982, I was at the Carthage, Missouri plant for work, and I said to Dennis, "How far is it to Kansas City? I want to go to a Royals game." We left work early and made the three-hour drive to Royals stadium. That was the sight of the first kiss (see the April 2 post). As they say, the rest is history... 
    I truly believe there was something way bigger than us conspiring to bring us together. We were "in each other all along" and will be so forever. We are all in big cosmic families to enjoy eternity together. 

Monday, April 18, 2022

April 18--YES!!! YES!!! YES!!!

Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last. 
--Martin Luther King, Jr. 

    I'm taking a break from the sappy love quotes to celebrate the official end of my seventh tax season. I have learned so much, thanks to my ever-patient and brilliantly smart boss. My coworker and I have had tons of laughs and have passed successfully through some quite challenging times. I worked on 225 returns this year, some of which take 15 minutes and some, 4-5 hours. We had mostly organized clients along with several who submitted their documents dumped into a grocery bag.
    Onward to Colorado, golf courses, a Cubs-Diamondbacks game, assorted other adventures... I'm free!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2022

April 17--Lovely Presence

Ah, life grows lovely where you are.  --Mathilde Blind

    I hope you have someone (or multiple someones) who brings you joy simply by being in his or her presence. Maybe you could make both your days by telling the lovely person so. 
    My husband is playing in the pit band for a local musical production. The musical director called after the first weekend of performances to tell my husband how much he appreciated his playing, attitude, and openness to learning. It made my husband's day.
    We don't truly need appreciation to survive, but it sure helps us to thrive. Expressions of gratitude are always lovely and welcome. 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

April 16--Heckuva Deal

A good marriage was one in which each person thought he or she was getting the better deal.  --Anne Lamott

    I can't speak for my husband, but I certainly feel like I got the better deal. He's healthy, handy, well-read, intelligent, musically talented, funny, and a passionate chef. I am spoiled. But then, my dad spoiled me, so I've been blessed with a lifetime of loving care. It would be an interesting exercise to discuss what my husband thinks of this quote and what he's getting out of our deal.
    Let's also consider a "good friendship." Certainly there is an ebb and flow in friendship. Yet I have been in a friendship now and then wherein the other person was getting a way better deal, leaving me empty. That sort of "friendship" doesn't last, when it's all "take" and little "give." 
    We humans are naturally love-givers, so we need someone to take the deal we are offering. Being able to receive is just as important as giving, and it's a vital aspect of a good deal for both sides. While I am perfectly capable of fetching my own cup of coffee, I love it when my husband brings me coffee each morning as I'm sitting in bed writing. 
    Knowing a good deal when I see it,

Friday, April 15, 2022

April 15--Laugh!

Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that's a real treat.  --Joanne Woodward

    Ms. Woodward should know sexiness very intimately, having been married for 50 years to Paul Newman, one of the sexiest men ever, in my opinion. He surely must have made her laugh every day for them to be married that long in the crazy world of Hollywood and acting. I credit my mother for drawing my attention at a young age to those gorgeous Newman blue eyes. Then there was the movie, "The Sting," with fellow sexy man, Robert Redford. Ahhh...those were the days. 😉😉
    But back to laughter... where would we be without it??!?! My dog Barney goes nuts when I get home from work, racing around and barking, telling me about his day and how happy he is to see me. Actually, he is probably saying "feed me," but I'll stick with my translation. The point is, he always makes me laugh. That sets a good tone for hanging with my husband and finding more to laugh about. A relationship with no laughter won't last long. 
    Writing this one reminds me that I tend to take life much too seriously. 
    Lightening up,

It's a thing--Sunday, May 1, 2022

Thursday, April 14, 2022

April 14--Pretty Simple But Not So Easy

Love is the true means by which the world is enjoyed: our Love to others and others' Love to us.  --Thomas Traherne

    I believe that we cannot truly love others without loving the Source from which we came. Jesus offered us two jobs: 1) to love God (Source/Spirit/Ralph--call It what you will) with all that we are, and 2) to love our neighbor as ourselves. 
    Here are helpful and challenging words from Richard Rohr (Center for Action and Contemplation):
So how do we love God? Most of us seem to have concluded we love God by attending church services. For some reason, we think that makes God happy. I’m not sure why. Jesus never talked about attending services, although church can be a good container to start with. I believe our inability to recognize and love God in what is right in front of us has allowed us to separate religion from our actual lives. There is Sunday morning, and then there is real life.

The only way I know how to teach anyone to love God, and how I myself seek to love God, is to love what God loves, which is everything and everyone, including you and including me!
    The more we love others, ALL others, and ourselves, the more we enjoy our world. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

April 13--Sparkling

He never wanted to be away from her. She had the spark of life.  --Alice Munro

    I am amazed at people who function fully on just a few hours of sleep each night. They seem to me to have a huge amount of energy and a desire to cram as much as possible into a day. Me, on the other hand, I love to sleep and consider napping a hobby. Being semi-retired, I feel pretty lazy, even though I am not really. 😉😉 
    We have a tax office client who does day care for 12 hours a day then goes to an office job from 6pm to midnight. I got tired just talking with her about it. But she has a spark. She thrives through it all. 
    My husband and I have different hobbies and interests which take us our separate ways. So even though we are away from each other often, our interests keep the inner spark alive. We have plenty to talk about when we re-unite each evening. Not bad after 36 years!
    Closing in on the end of tax season,


Tuesday, April 12, 2022

April 12--Two Become One

If ever two were one, then surely we. If ever man were loved by wife, then thee. 
--Anne Bradstreet

    Awwwww... and I kid you not, today is my 36th wedding anniversary. Our April wedding date was chosen because of that fateful first kiss at the Royals game on April 14, 1982 (see the April 2 post). It has been a wild and fun ride through child-rearing, a variety of jobs and hobbies, travels, becoming empty-nesters, seeing our sons create lives of their own. It hasn't always been easy. I'm especially grateful for the ongoing support of my husband as I recover from addiction--I had and still have a lot to learn about living life successfully without using and without codependency. 
    The daughter of friends was married this past weekend, and I attended the lovely outdoor event. There were quite a few couples there who had been married for decades. The newlyweds have a lot of examples of long-term marriages in their circle. Prayers and goodwill blessed their union and sent them off to make two into one. 
    Loving life,

Monday, April 11, 2022

April 11--Go for It!

Love is everything it's cracked up to be. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk everything, you risk even more.  --Erica Jong

    In my younger days, as a practicing addict, it was a huge risk for me to have my future husband move in with me. Either he would see what I did, or I would have to hide it, both of which happened. I expanded the risk more by getting married and then having a child. It was love for that child and being completely miserable with myself that drove me into recovery. Trust me, it is a huge risk of love to give up one's substance of choice. But had I not done that, I would not have my wonderful husband and two sons, and I cannot imagine life without them. 
    Love is worth the risk,

These guys are worth it!

Sunday, April 10, 2022

April 10--Love Lingers

If you had really loved something, wouldn't a little bit of it always linger? 
--Susan Orlean

    I believe so. I still remember my first dog when I was a child, a black Pomeranian named Pepper. I don't remember getting him. Maybe he was in the house before me. I do remember, though, that he was killed on the heavily-traveled road in front of our house. It was heart-breaking. 
    My mom, dad and some dear friends have passed. They will always linger with me. Even my travels to visit relatives--the times we shared hang on as joyful memories.
    A couple nights ago, I reunited a group of friends who routinely get together every month, but we had slipped a few months (can you say "time flies!"?). There was no love lost--the lingering love reignited as we caught up with happenings and simply enjoyed seeing each other in person. (I'm grateful to the pandemic for making us appreciate being together.) Smiles and hugs went all 'round. Besides some great leftovers, I have a warm lingering feeling in my heart. And we have plans in place for our May get-together.
    Love abounds,

Summertime at Wrigley--
Cubs' love lingers forever!

Saturday, April 9, 2022

April 9--For Better and Worst

It's no trick loving somebody at their best. Love is loving them at their worst. 
--Tom Stoppard

    A neighbor was telling me the other day how her six-year-old son is really challenging her. "I keep wondering why parenting is so hard," she said. Mr. Stoppard nailed it--"loving them at their worst." That's how we grow good, productive humans, by loving them fully even when they are not displaying their best side. It's easy to love them at their best. 
    When my clients have complained to me about the behavior of their teenagers, I jokingly, but truthfully, say that it is a natural, organic process for teenagers to act like buttheads, because then you are glad when they leave home. It's part of the launching process. Speaking from experience, it can get really ugly. 😉
    I'm grateful for those who have loved me through my worst moments!

I'm ready for spring!

Friday, April 8, 2022

April 8--Endless Love

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.
--William Shakespeare

    This is from "Romeo and Juliet," possibly the most famous love story of all time. Love, being the Source of all creation, is eternal, infinite, creative, endless bounty. The more love we give, the more we have, and the more we have to give. That's pretty cool.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

April 7--Look Hard

The story of human intimacy is one of constantly allowing ourselves to see those we love most deeply in a new, more fractured light. Look hard. Risk that. 
--Cheryl Strayed

    The good, the bad, and the ugly. If you have been in relationship for any length of time, for instance marriage or child-rearing, you get to "see it all" in those others. Also, if you have dug deep into your own psyche, you've seen yourself in that "new, more fractured light." Raising kids, being married, spiritual seeking--those are lovely ideas that in reality can be pretty ugly at times. But we learn and grow as we risk seeing ALL there is to see and going with the flow. 
    The price of getting really close to family members, friends, and even ourselves, is that we eventually see things that we didn't recognize at first and may not like. It teaches us tolerance and patience, both with the other and with oneself. The risk of looking hard is worth it. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

April 6--Conversations of Love

A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short. 
--Andre Maurois

    When I'm not in the thick of tax season, my husband and I usually have "hang time" before supper wherein we talk about our day, what's happening in the world, and the goings-on with friends and family. That doesn't happen much while I'm working, and I miss it. Even though we have been married for decades, we still have plenty to talk about, and for that I am grateful. No matter how long we live, the conversation will be too short. 

Backyard art in one of our 
favorite "hanging" places

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

April 5--Smile!

The trout enjoys the river, 
The whale enjoys the sea,
And dogs love most an old lamp-post,
But you're my cup of tea.
--W. H. Auden

    Love is sweet!

Monday, April 4, 2022

April 4--Roots of Love

With love, you have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness.  --Louis De Bernieres

    Some random thoughts are floating through my brain. 
    My parents roots were quite entwined, but alas, they were choking each other. My dad lived 21 years after my mom passed, and I think that most of those years were much happier than when he was married. When I asked him once if he would remarry, he said, "Once is enough for anybody." 
    I've lived long enough to see friends and acquaintances lose a spouse to death. Some recover and move on better than others. Certainly some stabilizing roots are yanked out from under the survivor, and it takes time to grieve and re-ground oneself. 
    My in-laws have been married for nearly 70 years. That is an amazing accomplishment on so many levels. They are still living independently. Their roots are definitely entwined, so much so that I doubt that they will ever be apart for long. 
    Over my years working at the tax office, I've seen several divorces occur each year. Since I often do returns for folks I never meet, it's a curiosity of "why?" It tends to be lots of money vs. too little. They tend to be older folks. Choking roots? I'll never know. 
    Enjoying comfortable roots, 

Sunday, April 3, 2022

April 3--No Words

Never say love is like anything--it isn't.  --Michael Chabon

    Right on! It's the hardest thing I've ever done, and it's the easiest thing I've ever done. 
    I visualize holding my new grandbaby for the first time. Just thinking about it brings tears of joy to my eyes. I know that it is going to be indescribable, a love like nothing I have ever experienced. 
    Love is the universal all-ness permeating and moving everything. It can't be put into any words, yet it is the very essence of every one of us and all of creation. 
    Love isn't like anything, it's simply the BEST!!!

Our pets are magicians of love!

Saturday, April 2, 2022

April 2--KISS!

The sound of a kiss is not so loud as that of a cannon, but its echo lasts a great deal longer.  --Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. 

    How romantic! Do you remember your first kiss? I don't. Most likely it was when I was in college, and I was more than likely drunk. 
    The big kiss, though, with a huge echo, was at a Royals game on April 14, 1982, when my current husband kissed me for the first time. I said, "You can do that again if you want." And he did. It has been echoing ever since. We've been married for nearly 36 years. 
    Do you have an echoing kiss in your life? Let it bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart!

We went back exactly three years later to celebrate
that first kiss, and my husband saved the ticket stubs.

Friday, April 1, 2022

April 1--LOVE!

Love should be allowed. I'm all for it.  --Truman Capote

    We are starting April with a new book in the National Geographic series titled "Daily Gratitude." The April theme is LOVE.
    I am in agreement with Mr. Capote. Love in ALL forms, no matter your gender preference, sexual orientation, or any other personal characteristics. It is no one else's business whom you love or how you love. I certainly wish our assorted legislatures would stop fussing with issues of sexual orientation, gender changes, and who uses which bathroom (to name just a few of the idiotic measures they are pushing) and take care of things that are much more relevant and necessary for the good of all, such as infrastructure improvements and school funding.
    Please don't give me a religious argument in favor of discrimination relative to LGBTQ persons. That's completely NOT what Jesus or any of the other masters were teaching. That sort of discrimination is about controlling others and nothing else. It sickens me. 
    Please! Tell someone today that you love them, just as they are!