trifectas

There are occurrences that happen out of our control that maybe could have been avoided or prevented, but they happen all the same.

Something brought such an event to mind this week that made me laugh out loud. I recall at the time not being amused.

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One morning when my son was maybe 6 or 7 years old we had overslept, he was going to be late for school and me late to work. Throwing his lunch together and getting breakfast ready I realized I had forgotten to get any milk. Could he have survived one morning not having milk? Sure. As an obsessive single mom could I have allowed this?

No.

So I called to my son that I was running up the street to get milk, ran to my car, pouring rain, saw the dog had got out, put her in the car, jumped in, drove the short distance to the store.

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Leaving the car running, I ran in, grabbed the milk, paid the cashier, dashed back to the car to see my little dog, delighted to see me again, jump on the door locks locking all 4 doors. I stood for a moment, at a complete loss. I ran back in the store (this is 10 years pre-cell phones) and, explaining my predicament asked they call 911. About 5 minutes later the fire truck pulled up, chastised my thoughtlessness explaining carefully if a living thing had not been in the car they would not have come to help.

Well, I thought, that ‘living thing’ was the reason they were there.

No matter. I had the milk, got breakfast in my son. As we sat at the light to turn in to the school I jotted a quick note explaining his tardiness. A jarring jolt accompanied by crunching metal, I looked up to see the front of my little car neatly folded under the rear of the concrete mixer in front of me at the light. Apparently I could not maintain proper pressure on the brake pedal and write simultaneously.

”Why didn’t you say something?” I wailed to my son.

”I wanted to see what would happen,” he calmly replied.

** Days better spent in bed **

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gifts

Talent. This word makes me think of someone who can sing, dance, play an instrument, play a sport or sail.

Gifted makes me think of someone who has intellectual acumen, or who can make things– knit, paint, draw, pottery, jewelry.

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Imagine creating this. A leaf. It has beauty, it feeds its plant, it gives shade, makes nests for animals, fuel. So our talents and gifts we are either born with or at least have the ability to learn.

All of us are capable of creating beauty in some way.  I took cookies to our local sheriff’s department. I have done this before and was asked for my name and address. This year when I said I had brought cookies no one said a thing. Just stared at me. The people who were in the lobby as well as the deputies. So I added, “I bring y’all cookies every year.” A person in the waiting area muttered, “isn’t that nice,” which prompted a deputy to say “Aww”, guardedly.

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Really?? Cookies. Maybe it was the festive bag and tissue paper. Maybe I look suspect. I think I look rather ordinary. Whatever, there was palpable tension as I stood there, until one of the brave deputies said, “You can hand it through here” indicating a glass shield with an opening the bag could fit through. I noticed the x-ray machine where persons put their briefcases and purses when they came to visit people in the jail and was glad I didn’t have to put it through that. But still. It’s sad to me that you can’t do anything nice for people without causing some degree of alarm.

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I brought a bag of treats to the nearby police station. There was an employee outside the building, talking with someone. As I caught her eye she said she worked in the building but did not say to give her the festive holiday bag, so I asked, “I can give this to you?” Not defensive, just clarifying. She nodded and I handed it off. Then went on to my volunteering stint at the city garden. I felt pretty good that I had done something nice for people, but sad that it had caused them some concern if not alarm.

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How should this be handled? I get why law enforcement might be concerned when someone brings a bag. I suppose it could be anything.

Maybe next year I will mail it.

 

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(almost) freedom

So husky-mix rescue dog Lily had her vet recheck this week. Cautiously guarded, he gave Lily his blessing and released her to normal activity.

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“Chasing bunnies and squirrels?” I asked. He nodded.

“Going up and down stairs on her own?” Another nod.

He told me to keep watching for plate rejection which they thought caused the irritation that made her chew a spot on her leg, now healed. She still wears the “cone of shame” at night and if I leave the house (which happens seldom since she goes pretty much wherever I go). So we enjoyed many celebratory walkies this week. Her favorite by the river. Her most favorite at the nature preserve. She made the whole trail walk, about 2 miles.

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So for now we are enjoying the freedom of no restrictions. I had not realized before how completely restrained we had been. She could not be off-leash at all. She could not bolt if she saw a rabbit, squirrel or a cat. She would look at me as I shouted “NO!” without defiance, just confused obedience. Which makes me wish I could be as resilient as she. And as compliant. I suppose for Lily obedience is pretty easy. Here I am standing right there telling her what to do or not to do. Pretty clear. She can either do what I said or not.  She doesn’t have to question or try to figure it out.

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When she was younger there was some of that. I would give her a command, she would hear me, look straight at me, and not do what I said. Or we’d be on our morning run and she’d dash in front of me sending me flipping over her while she chased whatever it was she saw in the half-light of early morning.

But now she is older. She is 12. A little stiff, less lean, more patient. She has mellowed. It is sad I suppose that so many years go by before a friendship becomes so comfortable, so easy. Companionable. But worth it.

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time matters

In my brief attempt at a happy marriage I failed miserably in befriending my mother-in-law. After a couple of years my son was born and life for me had more purpose. Then the happy part of the marriage disappeared and so did my son and I. From the marriage at least. He was two and suddenly I was no longer a stay-at-home mom. Working both in and out of the home presented interesting challenges and required more than one calendar. But we managed it, even had a little fun.

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My son’s father had a liberal amount of visitation privileges so I signed my son up for frequent flyer programs. Most of our vacations were driving distance ones, but my brother lived in interesting places, Washington, DC, then New York city and invited us to visit. This way I only had to pay for one round-trip airfare and I felt like a genius. Although one of those visits was by train because, well, trains. They are an experience.

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So yes, some– well, most –of it was hard but my son doesn’t remember those parts. Thankfully he remembers the fun. And he surprised me this year with a Thanksgiving visit. Generally I visit my brother and his family in Houston, which is also where my son happens to live now. But my brother took his family to the Galápagos and my son’s girlfriend’s family were going to be in Houston instead of Colorado this year so my son had plans pretty well set, too. Which is ok, I have been on my own for many years now and don’t mind being by myself.  So when he called a couple of days before Thanksgiving I was delighted. And scrambled. Suddenly I needed a dinner and breakfast food. And everything was accomplished and the day was a great day.IMG_0291.JPG

We walked down by the river, noted little raccoon handprints and other unidentified tracks in the river mud. The wind was brisk which made standing out on the pier a challenge, and cold, so we did not stay out there for long. But Lily and Lulu with their fur coats and the fascinating scents found it hard to leave.

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Rescue dog Lily’s surgeon is concerned about her recent knee operation, that she might be rejecting a component which can happen occasionally and can be remedied, but requires another surgery. So the chances of seeing my family at Christmas don’t appear to be likely. So I was happy to have an opportunity to see my son.

But his life is busy and he works very hard, so his taking a little time to share with me is something for which I am very grateful.

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Happy memories.

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discernment

Sometimes the margins are clear. Sometimes good vs. evil are not grey areas. Sometimes decisions are easy. Sometimes all the components are blatantly apparent.

And sometimes none of it is. Sometimes it helps to ask for advice, but then you have to determine whether the advice is good.

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Following road signs is obvious. Nobody questions a stop sign. If it is ignored it is not because no one knows what it is.

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Season changes are obvious, for people who live where seasons actually change. Air gets warmer or colder. Leaves bud on the trees, flowers bloom. Or flowers die, leaves change colors.

Why can’t everything be so simple? Decisions have impacts. Or sometimes a door opens. Or closes. How do you know if it’s a door to enter. Or if it’s simply an obstacle testing your perseverance?

Some decisions are mine, others are made by contingencies. I pray to have grace to handle change out of my control, discernment and strength to persist, and the proverbial wisdom to know the difference.

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Lily and Lulu don’t have any trouble at all, staying on the path.

 

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small revelations

Relationships can be tricky things. The truth that we dislike in others that which we dislike in ourselves. And take it a step further by claiming we can ‘fix’ it in others, not realizing it’s in us, too. My dad used to tell me this is known as projection, a therapist’s term (which he was not). The Bible has a better way to understand it in Matthew 7:4-5

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It’s really hard to be critical of somebody else once you understand this. It took my sister-in-law’s self-criticism to help me see. We were speaking on the phone and she simply could not say anything good about herself. I reached past my irritation and found a deep compassion for her, because self-deprecation is a bad habit I have tried to kick for years. Suddenly I realized that by recognizing this in someone else and feeling not just empathy but a strong connection I began to understand how it can be overcome.

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It is nothing more than a feeble attempt at a false humility that accomplishes nothing! It isn’t funny, it isn’t encouraging, it simply isn’t true.

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Nothing is permanent in this life. Everything changes. So that which someone finds fault with in herself will change. Either with time, with understanding, or just a change of attitude.

Truth matters.

 

 

seachange

We get little hints of cooler weather, then heat, as though the tease did not exist at all. There is a strange phenomenon I have heard of but had not seen called seafog. At least not until moving so close to the ocean. This strange and thick mist appears for apparently no reason. It happens on the shoreline as well as inland.

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You can see it at a distance, walk into it, then right out of it as if it wasn’t even there. Like a ghost. Ghost fog.

I am glad now there are more cooler days than warm. Rescue dogs Lily and Lulu are happier, I sleep better, walkies are more interesting rather than an endurance challenge.

Yet fall still has its little surprises of flowers, not just the beautiful changing leaves.

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Most of these I don’t even know what they are. This looks like a single-headed messier version of ageratum (old man’s beard), same basic color but untrimmed.

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This looks like a bloodroot but it has needle-like leaves, not broad leaves, so I don’t know what this one is, either.

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Ibis are silly birds to me. But they eat all sorts of grubs and bugs we don’t much want in our lawns, so they can look as funny as they want. I am glad for them.

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