Needing

Her grandmother used to knead by hand
On a floured surface
Removing treasured wedding bands
In exchange for dough-covered fingers
She can remember Grandmother’s punching
and shifting
and pushing
and turning
Filling the dough with joys
or
frustrations
Whatever were the feelings of the moment, the day, the week, the month

Now years later
with no floured surface
She carefully measures her wheat, honey, water,
Yeast, oil, gluten into her bowl
Breadhook attached, machine plugged, timer set,
the mixer does all of Grandmother’s work
to the tune of ten minutes.
The timer sounds, the kneading is done —or is it?

She longs to touch the dough
like clay in the artist’s hands
Bringing life into element through the hand-builder.
Pulling out the flour, she dusts her counter and hands
Ooooooo—wow. How could she know it would feel so fresh in her hands? She turns in her sorrow for the fussing she did to John who wouldn’t put on his shoes and head to kindergarten class in time for the bell and pats in her smile she shared with the baby this morning. She infuses the bread with her spirit
as she feels
Grandmother near.

The futility is passed. She embraces the past, and

Making bread is now a joy.

-Karin Salisbury


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It’s TUESDAY!!!

At least, it’s Tuesday where I am. And I had lunch with some new friends (complete with free soft-serve and dark chocolate sauce…which was divine, let me tell ya). So, I’m feeling a little lighter…my laundry is done and my anniversary playlist is being tweaked to (almost) perfection…and my house will soon be full of the sounds of papers rustling and turning for homework and bags and boxes from the pantry will leave their shelves of rest in the name of after-school snacks. 🙂 Life is good.

Has anyone checked out the free song on iTunes today? How about new releases in music? I’m always up for a good tune….

And, since you asked, I’m doing well today. I have some busy weeks coming, and I’ve been trying to gear up for all the events that are coming my way. Through all this, I have discovered that I am a social person. I like to be with people. I like to learn more about people, to talk with people, to laugh and visit with people, to help people…and, most of all, to connect with people. Connection is a happy place for me.

Sending out some love and happiness vibes to you, wherever you find yourself in cyberspace today!!!! Happy Tuesday…and may you have many, many more!

happy face - random Photo
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Connected

I have twins. They are NOT identical. They are not even the same gender. One is brunette and olive-toned; one is blonde and pink-toned. They are both beautiful. But they DO NOT get along all that often.

In fact, they haven’t gotten along super-well since womb and birth. Think Jacob and Esau, if you read the Bible. But, occasionally, I feel the privilege of noticing what I have come to term a “twin moment.” These moments are sweetly connecting moments, where they seem like more than friends and more than siblings…like two people who inherently need each other and have been inseparable since before birth. I love these moments. 🙂

One happened this weekend, as we were studying scriptures together as a family. The twins were sitting side-by-side with their backs to the arm of the couch and their feet under a blanket together across the cushions. They shared a large-print copy of inspired words, and the one who is more proficient at reading helped the less-proficient one with tough words as we all took turns reading.

I felt like one happy mama.

Then, I began to reflect on those moments when I bask in the connected feelings with my husband, children, sisters, brothers, parents, and friends. I live for those moments when, just being myself, I can CONNECT with another individual. Connecting with others is one of my happiest purposes in life. I’m not sure I can adequately describe the innate desire and need through words…
…so I’ll share with you one of my favorite songs from (brace yourself) my favorite Barbie movie, Barbie and the Diamond Castle. This film celebrates the power of friendship and music, and I LOVE IT. 🙂 Here you go:

And, just for the record, this is post #99….
#100 is up-and-coming…and a celebration! Thanks for sharing this journey with me! I love to feel connected to you!

Why is it so hard to hit “Publish” today?

(First, I have to say that the spacing of writing poetry on WordPress is too spaced for my taste; I prefer my lines more compact.  I have no other complaints with the format of the blog, though (other than I sometimes have trouble embedding media).  Maybe someone out there knows a solution to my spacing and media formatting issues they could share? 🙂  Second, I am stalling because I haven’t shared poetry publicly for years. Literally. I barely even write it anymore unless an image or mood strikes.  (I did try my hand at a little spoken word poetry after listening to Sarah Kay’s TED Talk, but that’s for another day.)  Anyway, here is a little piece I wrote the other morning about 2 a.m.)

Darkness to Light

 

Sometimes our toes mingle

At the appropriately named foot

Of the bed we’ve shared for almost a decade

They brush together,

Like timid fingers on a first date

Intertwining over cuticles, around layers of polish, and rough spots which were once smooth.

I love this choreography we perform each night between sheets which push down our feet, when toes sometimes join to fight the oppressive force of the mighty panel of white fabric (tucked in a hospital corner, of course).

When light streams through the window, the dance of eventide ends, and

Toes once bound by proximity are released to their own ends of socks, clogs, flip-flops, boots, running shoes.  (Most of the time I prefer mine bare.)

Still, when the darkness returns, they find each other again, like lovers after a long separation

Where they again intertwine as if on the first night oh-so-long-ago….

 

Someone once asked, “When your lover dies, what will you miss most?”

Myriad answers filled the air: his smile, her hair, his hands everywhere.

I shrugged to speak my answer, but I find it every night when he is gone.

I would miss his toes intertwining with mine, dancing this dance between panels of white.

Who will help me greet the morning if he is no longer here?

Who Are You?

As I’ve been connecting through blogs and Twitter with many new and wonderous people lately (yes, I’m talking about YOU!), I’ve been reading several lines regarding what each person says “About” himself or herself…and I’ve been delighted to feel a little better acquainted with each of you!  Still, this experience of seeing what you write about yourselves (and pondering also what I have written about myself) has produced some thoughts upon which I would like to expound this lovely Thursday….

Who are you, really?  (And what are the first thoughts that come to mind when that question is posed?)  If you asked me that question, I might start by listing my roles in life (mother, daughter, sister, wife, friend, neighbor, etc.), or my interests (“I like to write, paint, cook, read to my kiddos…”), or I might even define myself by my appearance (“I am about six-feet-tall, caucasian, hazel-eyed and have long dark hair”)…but does that really answer the question?

Some of us define ourselves through our experiences (“I am a widower,” or “I am a cancer-survivor”), while some others of us use our religions (Catholic, Mormon, Muslim, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Hindu, Buddhist…) to describe ourselves.  At times, (like during this last US election), people present political party platforms (how’s that for alliteration?) as part of their identities (though I would propose that quite a few Americans do not believe in the entire platform of a single party).  Some define self through a list of achievements (“I’m a straight-A student” or “I’ve published seven best-sellers”), while others cite their origins of life (“I’m adopted” or “I was an accident”) as part of who they are.  Some people define themselves by their sexuality (“I’m gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, hormonal, sex-addicted”).  Some use their careers as a definition of self (“I’m an engineer, radiologist, writer, nurse, cashier, toll-booth attendant, farmer, manager…”).  And let’s not forget the describing words regarding learning styles or brain capacity (such as I.Q., dyslexia, slow-learners, visual, auditory, kinesthetic).  Each of these labels come complete with social connotations and repercussions, but do any of they define who we really are?  I propose that they do not.

When my husband and I brought children into this world, I felt a desire to teach them to look at individuals in a holistic manner and not to piece them apart with labels.  All people in this world have varied experiences and belief systems, but–on the basis that we all share this planet together–I wanted to help my children respect the diversity of each person’s experience and not pre-judge an individual on the basis of skin color, religion, achievement, family situation, or any other label.

And don’t get me started on the use of labels to excuse behavior.  I know have been guilty of that in the past, but–in my current quest to live the best I can and live a life with no excuses–I am trying to do better.  I have heard people say, “Oh, that person is [or was] ____________; he’s [or she’s] just like that.”  When we accept a label to define our present circumstances, we often close the door on inviting ourselves or others to change for the better.

So, here’s a two-fold invitation I am willing to accept today (and I hope that we can be in this together):  first, examine the labels with which I define myself, and, second, examine the labels I use for others.  Am I projecting a negative or fear-filled belief from my past toward myself or this person?

For example, I have a wonderful, long-time friend who practices the religion of Islam.  She and I have discussed religion since we were in grade school, and I find her to be one of the most peace-loving people I know.  When the attacks on 9-11 (2001) came, several people spoke out against her religion while I defended it, knowing that true followers of Islam do not believe in violent behavior.  But, I know that people have given her upsetting looks since that time, simply because of the fear-filled belief surrounding that event over eleven years ago.  Are you hanging on to something like that which holds you back from being a better version of who you are?  I’m ready for some self-reflection–and I’m ready for this post to be over now!  🙂

As always, I invite you to share your thoughts here in the comments or here on my Facebook page.  Hugs!!!

Flavors, Scents, and Sounds – II

So, I last blogged about the FLAVORS of life being able to bring me back into a moment or feeling or experience.  Today I’m posting about scents.  Have you even been walking through a store when you smelled something or someone that smelled so familiar?  I had a person close to me share an experience when he was doing some work as a missionary in a European country (he is American).  Well, he boarded a bus or some other mode of public transportation, and he began to feel all these feelings of familiarity and longing for a woman on the bus whom he had never met.  He couldn’t figure out this immediate emotional attraction until he discovered that his fellow passenger was wearing the same perfume that his mother wore regularly when he was a child.  His brain connected the scent of the woman’s perfume with his memory of his mother–who at that time was ailing in the rapidly advancing stages of MS–and he felt a connection.

I actually had a perfume flashback recently, myself.  I was in a store, and I wanted to smell a new scent that had been recently advertised.  I thought about spraying the tester on a card or paper strip which was provided, but I wanted to smell it on me, so I sprayed it on my wrist.

After a few times of smelling it over and over as I walked through the store, I thought, “I really like this.”  It was somehow familiar.  I thought about buying it.  But I had to get to another occasion before I could take the time to make a firm decision to purchase the new perfume (I don’t impulse buy very well…I have to think about spending money for awhile…especially if I’m spending it on myself).

So, later that evening, I put my wrist up to my daughter’s nose for her to smell it.  I told her about the new fragrance, and she responded positively.  As I smelled my wrist once more, I made the connection.  It smelled like a place where I spent quite a bit of time during my teenage and even adult years–a particular location within the “Happiest Place on Earth.”  I shared my thoughts with my daughter, who coroborated.  My husband wanted to share his opinion, as well, and so I lent my wrist for him to smell again.  He confirmed that he shared my feeling.

I was suprised at how a simple perfume could connect me to a past experience and certain feelings I had not felt for several years…but the brain somehow remembers, doesn’t it?

Makes me curious to know what else I’ve stored up here in this computer in my cranium…the world may never know…!  🙂

Setting Boundaries

As I am currently contemplating the content on this new blog, I have been feeling a bit like a new parent, wondering where the boundaries need to be set…what to share and what to hold back….

In the home where I was raised, we could talk about anything at the dinner table–from politics to algebra questions to everyday experiences to music to sex.  (What we absolutely weren’t allowed to do at the dinner table was break out in song…my dad’s dad used to say, “You sing at the table and you’ll cry before night.”  Though I still have no idea what that really means, we were diligent, non-singers at the table…a rule which I have not passed on to the family with whom I am currently living.)

When my husband and I had our first child, we resolved to be open with him in all areas.  Before he started kindergarten, we talked together about sex (which became more of the “How You Make a Baby” talk, since I had given birth to several children since he had entered our life).  When he came home with experiences about racial prejudice in the classroom (yes, in kindergarten), we addressed those concerns with teachings to embrace diversity and know that we are all working together as members of this planet.  When boys were saying the “F-word” at school, we made time to talk about that, as well, and how to intelligently speak our minds.  And, of course, when he came to ask me questions about sex, I tried to be informative and answer his questions.  Until one day recently when I was cutting his hair….

“Mom, what does sex feel like?”

I’ m sure I stopped my scissors so I could absorb the impact of the question.  I took a breath, (said a silent prayer for calming and inspiration), and spoke.  “If you have questions about the physical nature of sex, I will happily answer them to the best of my knowledge, but I am not going to answer any questions pertaining to my personal relationship.”

My answer drifted through the air where it hung just a minute until he nodded and shrugged, somehow a little satisfied.  A flash of inspiration hit, and I went on, “Is your school day ever the same?”

“No,” came his answer.

“What about family dinner?”

“No.”

“What about when you brush your teeth?  Is that basically the same experience each time you do it?”

“Yea, pretty much.”

“Okay, well, when you participate in an experience that has another person, your experience is going to change and vary each time, right?  Like dinnertime, and school, and even road trips.  We can go visit the same city more than once, but each time the dynamic changes.  When you do things with other people, they bring whatever they are feeling into the experience, along with whatever you are feeling in that moment, and so similar moments in life are different each time, right?”

“Yea.”

I continued to cut his hair without further ado.

And so, while sharing experiences without getting all-too-personal (maybe I’ve already crossed that line today?), I will continue on this journey.  Hopefully the writing will continue to flow a bit, and, like a new parent with a new child, I will make mistakes about boundaries.  So, I’m asking your forgiveness now as I continue to muse and record and write about this area of my life…in the middle of my story.