Monday, September 27, 2010

One, Just one, of my fears

Well here it is. I am afraid of aging poorly. Yep. That's it.
I am truly hoping and praying that I yield to God and age gracefully in all areas.
I want to have intergenerational relationships all over the world and across the socioeconomic board.
I want to stay functional physically and if that is not God's design for me, then I would like to grow to gracefully accept limitations to my abilities.

Anyway, I have watched the aging process up close and personal over the past decade of those friends and relatives older than I am and have seen it done well and embraced and done poorly and a life of some sort of bizarre denial and isolation or bitterness.

What I see as contributing factors to aging well are:
1. Attitude. Attitude. Attitude.
2. How narrowly or broadly focused your worldview and interactions are. (Self-centered, or other-centered?)
3. A living, growing, breathing faith. Not letting ourselves become comfortable or narrow-minded about our beliefs. After all, He is the Living God! We should seek to be just as alive and active and for our faith to follow suit.
(That's my mom on the left, me, and Helen, my mother-in-law in 2008)

Now in the midst of this post I want to include something that just came to me in my email and I posted it on facebook and sent it to a few friends. It spoke to me in my grieving the loss of my mom in July and the challenge of participating in the caregiving of my mother-in-law who is in the hospital with another broken hip. THis is one more in a long list of fractures and breaks over this last decade. Can you say strength training, walking, calcium supplements, a daily dose of a little sunshine, and if needed (for an osteoporosis diagnosis), bone-building medication?!
So, I want to leave you with this article and this NPR music link of Mavis Staples singing a tune written by one of the Wilco guys.
Article Link

Song Link

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sonya and Dora finally meet!

So we met Josh and Mis and the kiddos for lunch at Fuddruckers and brought Dora who had finally arrived home yesterday.
As you may recall Dora was a Ty Beanie Baby purchase form a truck stop in Alabama on our way to the beaches of Florida a couple of weeks ago. She went everywhere with us and I sent photos, texts with pics and videos home to our granddaughter, Sonya, of Dora's adventures with us on vacation.
Somewhere in Southeast Missouri on our return trek home we lost Dora!!!
As near as we can tell here is the most likely scenario.
Dora was in one of her usual perches in our car, sitting on top of the vent on the dashboard on the passenger side.

Sweet, trusting Dora...

As we ventured through the cotton fields in the Boot-heel, I kept shooting pictures of them for Sonya to look at later. (One of those fields is where I scarfed this particular piece of cotton that Dora is holding.)
Anyway, I had to open the window once or twice to get off a decent shot without "window scum" .
It is our humble opinion that Dora exited the safety of the car through the open window on a trajectory that was below my eye level as I was wildly photographing yet one more cotton field.
Sadly she was not missed until after we had stopped at a rest area and only upon starting to leave there did I cry out, "Where's Dora?!?!"
After tearing our fully packed vehicle apart, searching the entire grounds of the rest area and leaving my name and contact info with the rest area greeter (who I might add was horrified at our negligence!) we had to head on down the road towards home.
After several stops at truck stops and small towns Fred had me pull into a Starbucks with WiFi in Cape Girardeau and we found an identical Dora online via Amazon and promptly ordered her! (We have secretly been awaiting her arrival and had already dubbed her "Dora's evil twin sister")
So today was the long-awaited meeting of Dora and Sonya. I'd love to report that Sonya was overcome with joy and excitement, but truthfully, she seemed somewhat shy and embarrassed. It just took a little time for them to warm up to each other. Then they were fine.

And here's one more shot of Dora on the trip to Florida and one of her sunbathing at the beach.

It's important to provide adequate sun protection for her on the beach even though her skin is naturally darker because of her nationality.

Anyway we hope that (this) Dora survives the "baby crocodile" (that's Sonya's name for her little brother, Teddy) and the Buddies (the puggles) at Sonya's house and that she and Sonya have lots of adventures together.

Plastic Horses and Bulls

Yesterday Fred and I went on a wonderful bike ride on a trail at the Route 66 Park near Eureka right off of 44. Really a sweet ride. I never thought to take any pictures of it to post. However, I did get a picture with my phone of this horse statue on a really nice little horse farm just outside of Eureka after our ride.
Okay, okay, so I did think at first it was one of the real horses and was so impressed by how perfect it was.

 I guess the theme yesterday was statues or stuffed livestock. This is in the little waiting area at Guido's on the Hill. I wonder if he lost in the bullfight and ended up here!

I sent both of these animal pics to Josh and Missy to show Sonya, but I'm not so sure they did. It was kind of weird, but then so are we and Sonya already knows that!!

Below is a picture I took at the little city market in Springfiled last week on my mini-retreat there at Mike and Becky's home. I just thought, "too cute" and sent this to Missy as well. I really hope my daughter-in-law and Josh have unlimited text and multimedia!

As I sat sipping coffee in the little city market this was the view out the window and I was fascinated by the clouds through the windows and all the lines and angles.

One last picture, also from my phone was taken one morning last week before I left when Fred and I were on our morning walk.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Slowly I Retreat from my Retreat...

So, today I head back home to my guy. AND the mail and the ongoing care of my mom's finances and bills etc. etc. and all the problems that I left will still be there. BUT, I will be refreshed yet again. I am realizing I need a "refresher button or arrow" just like my computer programs!

So as I spoke to my friend Jill yesterday afternoon about a theological question this was where I was sitting and some of what I was looking at. Oh, I will miss this!!!!

One of my views. Today's reading in Ecclesiastes was, "Whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him." v.3:14

Later in the afternoon I met up with Becky downtown for a yummy fish dinner at The Farmers Gastropub Restaurant and Bar. We had a silly and delightful time just being together in that beautiful space that years of friendship have carved out for us.

Such a pretty lady!

37 years after we met...

Then it was onto a stroll about the downtown area to the coffee shop/library on the square. Interesting subculture and lots going on at sunset there!
We kept running into this guy everywhere we went down there.

Girls and Kawasaki Ninjas all rate 2nd looks!

I love some of the architecture and colors in this "urban" :) area.

This is the little "city market" I went to the other day. So fun! It's a Cost Cutter.
KC has one that's a HyVee!

This little car-towing drama unfolded around the corner from us as we sipped our coffees. Awesome car!

So, all I can do is be grateful for the ability to just take off and retreat like this and for friends like Becky and Michael to open their home to me and let me just chill there for several days. It was a gift  of rest in a "spacious place"!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Another Day of Rest and Being Still

Ahhh. Here I sit. Becky has left for work almost two hours ago and I have been doing some "busy-work" and now I will sit in the uncomfortable yet strangely comforting stillness and quiet and try to quiet my thoughts. I am reading Ecclesiastes right now and finding it wonderful.

So, I just read the first 8 verses of Chapter 3. The one the Byrds made famous all those years ago in their song "Turn, Turn".
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:" (verse 1)
What is this time in my life?!?!?
IS it a time to heal, to mend, to be silent, to weep and to laugh?
I think so, but why is it so hard to do?
Perhaps because it is a journey, an adventure and I want to know the outcome, which defies the very spirit of an adventure. Right?

I am rather reluctantly reading Elizabeth Gilbert's latest book Eat, Pray, Love.

"Reluctantly" because I hate reading the latest trendy books. A leftover from my anti-establishment jones I suppose.
Anyway, she has some good stuff in it so far...I'm in the "Eat" phase in Italy, the first four months of her year experiment so to speak.
I also just read Mennonite in A Little Black Dress, another woman's true-life spiritual and life journey story.

I find myself so much more open to non-critically read and hear these people's hearts and questions, and musings. I think it's partially because the longer I walk with God the more I realize he's so much bigger and creative in his pursuit of mankind and it's comforting to realize that so many people that would be considered by conservative Christianity to be ultra worldly with little hope of redemption are asking the very same questions that many Christians are also asking if they would just be honest. In other words, I RELATE!!!!
I want the "open and exploratory dialogue that would, ultimately, bring me very close to God, indeed" that Elizabeth Gilbert talks about at the end of Chapter 4 in her book.
Now, I am aware that the end of her journey looks probably very different than mine...AT THIS TIME...but at least she is open to the journey which is exactly what God wants for us to be no matter what we label ourselves. He calls us his creation and his image-bearers, so he has an investment and a reputation at stake. He will not be satisfied, nor should we, with a "vanilla" existence when we could be and have so much more in our spiritual journey of which our years in this lifetime are one part of, a brief but terribly important part!

Hey on a lighter note. I just noticed the detail to the left of me in this photograph from my birthday dinner at Iron Barley with the fam. PERFECT!!! And so true!!!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Time to Reflect and Pause

So, I am at my girlfriend's home in Springfiled, MO and loving it! She has the most aesthetically pleasing home to just "be" in!
There is plenty of origianl artwork from throughout the years from her and her talented daughters, wonderful photographs, large bay windows opening onto their "back 40" that is just plain restful and quiet. Wow, the quiet.

Becky and Michael's home invites you to rest and be inspired.

From the views from their windows...


and Front Yard...

To the artwork and photos everywhere...

Even their so-called "cluttered areas" are artistic and restful!

I am not totally without companionship...

Meet Cara(biner)

...and Malcolm the "man dog"!

Anyone would think that an "empty-nester" such as myself would have all the quiet she wants.
I find my days full and stimulating on so many levels. And that's good...
However, I feel God calling me at this time to BE STILL and this is always the very hardest thing for me to undertake.
SEE? "Undertake", I look at it as a task to accomplish, to tic off of my list of "to dos"!
So, my girlfriend graciously invited me to come be at her home and share evenings together (and maybe mornings if I get up before she leaves to teach her gifted ed class at 7 a.m.), but otherwise just sit here in the quiet and reflect or go to somewhere either stimulating or quieting here in the Springfield area.

I slept in until 7:20 which is late for those of you that know me, and had a quiet time. Then began to surf the web, read my emails, respond to some and even plan another trip. STOP MARSHA!!!
I need to sit in the quiet and realize what this last year (or 3-10 years) has meant to me and how God has been right there in the midst of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I love that He pursues my heart this way and fills me up when I don't even realize how empty I am. Such was the case when Fred and I went to Blue Mountain Beach, Florida a couple of weeks ago and I absorbed the rest and restoration and healing like a sponge.

         I am so blest and at times so dense, yet He just keeps on coming in and doing heart surgery.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dolphins and More...

So every time we go to the ocean I try not to obsess about getting a great picture of a dolphin. Apart from going out on a boat where they guarantee you will get to see them up close and personal and I am surely guaranteed to heave ho due to the rolling and pitching of the boat I have to try to capture them from the shoreline. I have had amazing experiences with dolphins. I've swam with them, I've had one accompany me for a good half my morning beach walk, and other such close encounters. I just never have my camera with me when such things happen. Hence the propensity to obsess.
So here's a few I DID manage to get this year from our deck with a 200 mm zoom lens.

This was a sweet family that were here for the weekend and Monday was their son's ninth birthday.
When Fred and I first saw this shadow approaching them out swimming past the sand bar we froze and then I started shooting away with my camera thrilled that it was a dolphin and not a shark. The mom and dad didn't see it at this point, just their son!

And away he goes!

These were some random shots of beach and ocean wildlife!

I love this one!

And this one...

Ole Florida

So Fred and I are in Florida and we decided we wanted to keep our granddaughter Sonya connected with us some while we were gone as we didn't get to see her and the baby crocodile before we left on vacation.
I found a Dora the Explorer Beanie Baby at...where else...a truck stop of course! And we promptly decided we would email, facebook, text, and blog our time in Florida with Dora the Explorer to our sweet Sonya.
Here are a few of the pictures that we have sent to her.
We've also posted videos n facebook that are quite silly, but fun. I've already gotten some comments after asking people not to comment, so we may start posting the videos on this blog if I figure out how to do it. I AM on vacation after all and trying to destress, so figuring anything out technical is a stressor to me as one of the videos will testify to on my facebook postings from yesterday.

Here we are on our way!!!

I know, I know, but he's such a good sport!

Oh yeah. In the quaint berg of Florala!

And one more there...

Our second sunset... on Sunday

Beach shots!

Until later...I'll post some awesome dolphin shots!