Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Fog Has Lifted

Photo by Lane Hartill/CRS

When I looked out the window this morning, my first inclination was to whine, “Oh…it’s foggy again. I need some sunshine.” Then I watched CNN. I saw video footage of bodies piled in the streets after the massive earthquake in Haiti. The estimation is now that at least 100,000 people have died. The survivors desperately need food, water, medical supplies. I heard about surgeries being performed without anesthesia. Not minor surgeries… amputations. I heard about doctors, fearing for their safety, who left their patients due to threats of violence. Dr. Gupta and the TV crew treated those people through the night. He said these conditions had not existed since the Civil War. I saw a baby being pulled from the rubble after days of being trapped. What impressed me most was the church service being conducted on this Sunday morning. People with their hands raised in the air, praying, crying, giving thanks they have survived. The minister told them they had been saved for some great purpose in their lives. Haven’t we all? Do we pursue that purpose with the passion that we should? Do we give thanks enough for the abundant blessings we possess?
I look out my window at the fog-kissed farm fields and thank God for my blessings. The fog has lifted from my selfish mind.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year's Resolution

I have been thinking about what I want to resolve this New Year 2010. I even Googled the top ten list of resolutions. There were the obvious ones I always pick, exercise more regularly, lose weight, eat more healthy foods, but I want to be different this year. So one resolution I am going to make is to allow myself to write more without thinking it has to be perfect. As an English teacher, I always think everything I write should be perfect, and, of course, while I will always strive for grammatical and mechanical accuracy, but I am letting the fear of not being perfect hold me back from expressing myself. I read my talented fellow bloggers' posts, and I feel that I must strive for those lofty combination of words that tug at my heart and bring tears to my eyes or make me laugh. If I were making my teacher comments on them, I would write "this flows well" and "you captured that emotion perfectly". I let myself be stifled by a fear of not being perfect like all of you. I am setting myself free of that expectation this year. If I want to write a few lines about nothing in particular, then I am going to do it! Being a writer means writing! The courage to put pen to paper. Work on volume and value will come along with it. Write on!

My second resolution is to not worry so much. I have wasted years of my life worrying about my family, friends, and students. Worrying does not help anyone, and it actually hurts the health of the person doing it. Most of what I worried about never came to pass. I read a magnet stuck to a computer recently that said, "Worry about nothing. Pray about everything." I am reading Joel Osteen's It's Your Time, and it is inspiring me to think positively that great things are possible if I am open to them. Instead of worrying about something which may never happen, I am working on changing the negative messages to positive ones. This is easier said than done, but I am working hard to consciously put on my mental brakes when worry creeps in and say, "Stop it. Go away. You are wasting my time." Then I replace the negative thought with a positive one.

My third resolution is to live in the moment. Appreciate my blessings. Spend time with those I love. Make memories. The recent deaths of young men in their 40s in our community prove there is no guarantee of a tomorrow, so make today count for something. I am going to savor every experience that comes my way.

Well, there you have it. I have written down my resolutions and shared them with my friends and family, which is supposed to increase my chances of being successful in keeping them. I will keep you posted on how it goes. And, oh, yeah, I want to exercise more, eat more veggies, and lose weight, too.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Reaching for the Phone

Celebrating Christmas without loved ones who have passed on is no easy task. This year marks the first without my father. I miss him terribly, often thinking of tidbits of news I would like to share with him. I remember having a conversation with my “second mother,” Virginia Grubbs, on this topic.
“Oh, you don’t know how many times I reached for the phone to call my mother after she passed away,” she said. I found comfort in that when my hand was inches from the phone after my mother passed away. I had thought of a recipe I needed and I actually walk toward the phone to call her. I shared this with my sister-in-law after her mother’s death. She is several years younger than me and gave me her, “Yeah, but you are old and senile” look. Later, she admitted I was right. She, too, had reached for the phone to call her mother. Yesterday, as I drove along in my Jeep, I found myself missing Daddy in a wave that washed over me without warning. There were some family updates I wanted to tell him, so I decided to talk to him anyway.
“Lance's hens laid their first egg, Daddy, and Kevin said he really likes your old car. He drove for a week on $15! You always said it got good gas mileage, but were afraid to brag. Blaine and I went out and cut down a real cedar tree this year. It made me think of Christmases on the farm when I was growing up. I miss you and Mom. I love you.”
Somehow, I felt better sharing that with him. No, I didn’t actually reach for the phone, but I would like to think he heard me anyway.