Like it or love it

Not being one to embrace traditional resolutions, I posed a different question to myself. What do I love doing, and what do I just like doing? I’m focusing here on hobbies and interests. Most of us have any number of things we do in our free time that we enjoy. My challenge was to make a list of about eight personal interests and to make a “like” and a “love” column. The answers were interesting – but not surprising.

What was the point of this exercise? To focus on the things that give maximum personal satisfaction and meaning to my life today. It’s probable that this list will change over time, as it has before. By frequent assessment, I can be sure that I’m not doing the same thing I did yesterday just out of habit. Old habits can curtail new interests and possibilities.

I’m a big fan of asking the right questions of myself. Living life can be a mindless adventure without some sense that you’ve got your life pointed towards the North Star. The hardest part may be seeing that proverbial star in the cloudy sky.

Let me just say that I am no existentialist. The questions of what we love doing, and the pursuit of those interests, are not in conflict with religious faith. My offering for today is a suggestion to get clarity on where you spend your precious free hours. A mindless wandering can trip you in your own doorway.

 

Other mothers and daughters

mother-and-daughter-ornamentThere is a warmth and understanding that often passes between women. If we are lucky, a bond with our mother is followed by a bond with our daughters. Of course, there are those tragic cases where a mother and daughter don’t bond, and the scars remain.

In my life, I’ve had two other older women who radiated warmth that felt like my own mother’s love. A bonding not quite like with a mother, and different from a friend.

Similarly, I’ve experienced caring for other women young enough to be daughters. Again, the relationships straddled motherly love and friendship. It’s hard to put a finger on it.

Over the years, I’ve watched my own daughters to see if they’ve developed relationships with other woman older than them. Perhaps as a mother, I want to be sure that they have a mature love to lean on even when I pass.

Today I watch my Chinese “daughter” make a new life for herself in Vancouver with her husband. We had the opportunity to connect through work in Florida. Our relationship transcends friendship. I miss our daily talks together over work lunches.

We can each find nurturing, caring love with others besides our family. If we allow it, there can be a bond that develops and grows that transcends friendship. It can be a shelter from a storm and joy in a darkened world.

Ask Maddie: Advice for Dogs – The Christmas Sweater

maddie-newPost #2: The Christmas Sweater

Dear Maddie,

Q1: There’s been a lot of noise around the house. A tree without a smell came out of a box and even has lights. I don’t like the dark, but these lights make it hard to nap. My question, however, is about a little sweater that they make such a fuss about. It’s green and red and everyone says I look so cute in it. My friends laugh a little when they see me in it. What gives?

A1: Well, I wanted you to feel in good company, so here’s a picture of me in my Xmas sweater. I’ve had it about five years now. Ever since my owners keep me trimmed up with an electric buzzing device, I get cold this time of year. Once you get past having something binding you, the warmth might win you over. Have you ever hosted a canine sweater soiree? They’re trending now.

Q2: This is a tough time of the year to keep control of myself. The wrapped packages look as if they’d like a little nibble, and the ornaments would be fun to catch. The temptation is unbearable. Last year they closed me in the bathroom just when I let my inner dog loose.

 A2: Haven’t you learned yet that some good things are better left undone? These thoughts of tearing paper, tossing ornaments and tasting tree boughs shouldn’t be repressed entirely. Look forward to a little doggie daydreaming and try to be satisfied when they toss you a small piece of poultry after dinner. If that doesn’t work, remember how cold that bathroom tile floor is.

Author’s note: Maddie is my daughter’s little Dorkie, and lives in Charlotte, NC. We raised her from a puppy.

The old red shop, it ain’t what it used to be

The old red shop has been transformed. What used to be a holding place for the lawn chairs is  a chic place to chill. Warmed with a couple of space heaters last night, we played a few tunes on the guitar. My brother and I play together once a year, so we really wing it. I do my best on a second steel string in the house. (I’m more of a nylon string, finger picking girl.)

At about 50 degrees, I didn’t last long. Loved the space and tossing back some beer added to the ambience. Walking back to the house with my Mom and Dad in the dark reminded me of how quiet and dark this Northeastern Connecticut area is. It would take time to readjust to life here.

Hallowing the pumpkin

FullSizeRender(1).jpgFirst the top
Then the inside
Scooped pulp
Seedy strands

Taped design
Creased folds
Pin pricked lines
Saw tooth cuts

Transformed
To décor
From gourd
Unadorned

Deliver us
From evil
All hallows eve
The communion
Of saints

Should we celebrate
You ask me

Putting on
The full armor
Holy spirit
Protect us
From darkness

Sacred and secular
Dark and
Triumphant
Truth in
Contrast

The punctured orb
Reveals light
In the dark

Pumpkin carved by Joan and Lana Mocco