My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as to those who simply love to read. You will find snippets of things I am working on and special announcements here.
I wasn't quite ready to put away the Thanksgiving wreath, the pumpkin on the front porch. I love autumn--that season that ushers in the colors of amber, ochre and crimson. Pumpkins dot the landscape with their unmistakable orange brilliance. The sun is warm but not hot. Skies are often impossibly blue. "Just one more day," I said. "Then I'll get out the white Christmas lights." And besides, the family would be coming over for a bonfire. The grandchildren would try s'mores for the first time.
A fire blazed in the fire pit, and the moon glowed bright as if we'd pulled a string on an overhead light. Stars gleamed in a sky the color of midnight. I could hear the hum of my family all around me, my grown daughters with their young, talented husbands. My grandchildren. I thought, "This is abundance. Thank you, God, for the beauty of the moment, for giving me so much, for your goodness. For your kindness. Your tenderness toward me. Your warmth.
My fingers clutched the mug filled with hot coffee, as if the warmth emanating from the cup might bring me some comfort for the day ahead. I felt afraid and sorely inadequate as I thought about the persons I'd be seeing that day--patients coming for treatment at the methadone clinic. Patients that I knew were trying to figure out life but still using substances, trying to cope. Others not actively using, but without employment, without a permanent place to live. Some survivors of horrible trauma. Others riding three hours by bus just to get to the clinic. Many with no helath insurance, discharged from the hospital too early because they couldn't pay.
I'd been standing by the window in the break room at my office as these myriad thoughts penetrated my mind, the coffee now lukewarm, my fingers cold again. I placed the coffee mug in the microwave and stared out the window, the sun just beginning to break open the morning. I could see a few streaks of lavender beginning to appear through the darkened, leafless tree branches. The microwave "dinged" and pulled me out of my reverie--the sound awakening me to my choices for the day. I could either allow my fears to move me toward oppression, or walk away from them. "God," I prayed. "I do not have answers for my patients. But you do. I choose to walk in your love this day. I know your love for them is so much greater than mine; reflect your goodness, kindness, protection and provision for them through me. I walk by faith, confident in your power, even though I feel weak and helpless. I choose this pathway instead of fear and anxiety."
They'd been counting the days until they could come over to my house. I'd been counting too. Months had passed since I'd been well enough to watch my two grandchildren, 5 and 2. I'd finished my treatments and was finally stronger. We'd planned for a whole day together. Just the three of us. I didn't know who anticipated the time more. All we knew is that blissful day couldn't come quickly enough.
We created a play together. I filled a box with costumes, and each of the children picked out what they would wear and who'd they'd be. Lilly chose a pair of pink fairy wings outlined in silver glitter, a jeweled tutu and a tiara with lavender and white streamers that cascaded down each side of her head and blended with her hair. Jonathan chose a red felt cowboy hat and picked up a sword that he brandished with enthusiam. I wore a long blonde wig. I was named the "funny director" as both children giggled wildly when I donned the silly locks. Lilly took on the role of fairy and then princess. Jonathan became the cowboy pirate and sometimes just the cowboy. The children named the play, "The Runaway Princess." The material primarily consisted of Jonathan running after Lilly holding his hat with one hand and waggling the sword at her with his other. I yelled "action" and both children ran through the house, all of us laughing and tired out after about an hour. Even in our somewhat chaotic production, we felt the satisfaction and well-being that laughter and creativity can bring.
Lately I've been thinking about creating positive environments. For instance, a few weeks ago I began an eating plan that supports an environment that inflammation doesn't like, where cancer cells flee in terror. After reading what I'd need to do to begin the program, I felt some panic. "How would I find my way through the maze of foods I'd need to buy at Whole Foods?" The task seemed too difficult. But then my oldest daughter said she wanted to start the plan as well. She created a food list, and we ventured to Whole Foods together. My daughter knew the store well and guided us to the correct aisles. At one point, a woman stopped us in the store, noting our cart full of organic vegetables and "good" fats. She said, (actually multiple times) "I see you're buying some really healthy food. I approve. I changed my eating habits several years ago, and I've never turned back." While somewhat taken aback by the woman's forthright demeanor, my daughter and I took this as affirmation that we were headed in the right direction, even though still slightly ambivalent regarding the value of MCT oil and ghee.
Last week we met for coffee to discuss how the eating plan was going. "It's hard sometimes," we both agreed. But then my daughter said, "Let's name the benefits." Our pants are fitting a little looser. Energy is increasing. Sugar cravings are diminishing. Skin is better. We both agreed to keep going. And now that we know better what to eat, shopping is easier. The plan is fairly simple: organic vegetables, good fats, lean, pasture-raised animal proteins and eggs. Lots of greens. The aisles at Whole Foods aren't so daunting anymore.
In His arms He'll take and shield thee, thou wilt find a solace there.~Joseph M. Scriven
I looked out the front window. Rain pelted the glass in noisy splotches. I was dressed for a walk, but decided I'd wait for the downpour to subside. I flipped on the TV and found Dr. Phil. A tall, tanned handsome gentleman, maybe sixtyish, appeared as his guest. The man wanted Dr. Phil's help in bringing his girlfriend home from Amsterdam. Apparently she was stuck there in some type of passport debacle. The man was convinced she was ready to marry him, if she could only get to the United States. The desperate gentleman stated he had already spent over $200,000 attempting to help her. His mother, eightyish, (also a guest on the show) had even taken money out of her 401K to help the stranded woman. Photos of the woman decorated Dr. Phil's set. She was gorgeous--flowing brunette hair and brown eyes, a brilliant smile. The man was besotted. "I talk to her every day. We text all the time. She's the love of my life. I divorced twenty-five years ago, and never thought I'd get married again. I'm ready to sell my house and move to Chicago where she lives. Start a new life. I just need your help, Dr. Phil, to get her back to the states."
But, of course, all the while you're watching, you know the situation is a scam--this man and his mother hoping against hope that all will be well when Dr. Phil puts his energies to the task. Dr. Phil surely got to work. But instead of finding a woman who couldn't get home, he proved that the girfriend was really a man who lived in Africa. The woman in the picture was real, but had no idea her identity had been stolen and her photos distributed on the internet. This woman was on the show as well, just as much a victim as the gray-haired sixty-something man. The man's eyes that had been bright and filled with expectation of finding his true love at the beginning of the show, now looked dull and clouded with tears, his lips trembling with sadness as the truth of the scam washed over him. He'd been waiting for a woman to don a bridal gown and march triumphantly into his life, to be his bride. And now he was left without his life's savings and the hope of loving someone, of being loved.