The road ends, but the journey continues...

Tag: winter solstice

longest night, Reflections during

Winter Solstice: a day with the least amount of sunshine potential; the shortest day and longest night; a time of reversals.

To me, the Winter Solstice feels more like the ending of the past year with the dawning of the true ‘new year.’  An organic New Year’s Eve, so to speak. What better time to reflect on the past year, letting go and easing into the ‘new year’ as each day from this point in time gains length.
With these reflections comes the announcement that this will be my final posting for 2018 with an undetermined first post date for the upcoming year. That’s just my convoluted way of saying I’m taking a blogging break!
😉
That said, let us continue.
In reviewing my Morning Pages* over this past year I realized it has been a full and satisfying 12 months. No family or close friends died or declared any horrific medical diagnosis, the selling of my folks’ house went smoothly and the settling of their estate is almost completed, we visited and celebrated with family members and friends throughout the year and throughout the country, and the scary emergencies we did encounter were accompanied by His ‘peace that passes all understanding’ as we walked through those life-paths.
It seems we landed in a junction of respite from several years of elder care, personal pain, disappointments, grief and such.
Fielding the good with the bad, several themes** emerged as well – often revealing forward movement on goals, desires, hopes and dreams; working through the ups & downs of life; grappling with deeper issues in living a purposeful life.
Why then this lingering sense of sadness?
Is it the darkness? The longer nights and shorter days? Grey black skies, claustrophobic fog?
Not really.
I relish this Winter Solstice evening – prolonged darkness, giving permission to hunker down, and delve into soul searching, validating this yearning to be still and listen to what the Lord through His creation and past events is speaking to me.
Then what is contributing to this heaviness, this disheartening sense of impotence in making a difference in life’s inequities?
Ah yes, of course. Events over this past year, worldwide and oh-too-to-close-to-home local happenings.

  • Parkland school shootings, Las Vegas, Nevada concert shootings, synagogue slaughter, humble town of Florence, SC massacre and on & on infinitum…
  • Manchester arena bombing anniversary representing terrorism in a free country with strict gun control.
  • Never ending hordes of everyday people fleeing their beloved homeland for a safe place to stay alive…Syrians, Central Americans, Africans…
  • Governments killing their own citizens in the name of advancing their own personal agenda.
  • Free world border ‘wars’ using displaced, desperate persons, families & children as fodder for unwinnable negotiations.
  • Increased homelessness in the midst of hardworking middle class professionals – and all the ramifications of undeserved shame while struggling to continue to survive in an ever increasing hostile American society.
  • Constant bombardment of Trumpian Temper Tantrums affecting everyday Americans (sorry, I don’t normally specify political opinions…please give me latitude during this Winter’s Solstice)

And yet, this is all not new…the poor have always been with us, the rich and powerful have always manipulated laws to benefit themselves, increasing their wealth and opportunities, to the detriment of everyday people, and, what of the ever presence of war – always with us.
1968 was a bad year – Vietnam War, numerous assassinations, student protests…Decades earlier, WWII, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, the Holocaust
The world’s suffering is so personal.
It hurts.
And yet, I am reminded:

“God wastes nothing – not even our darkness”


*from which I am taking an indeterminate break also, after 28+ years of faithful jottings!
**my music, hubby’s new business, finding home, strengthening relationships…

Favorite Holiday?

I had a teeth-cleaning appointment at the Dentist a couple of weeks ago. The hygienist is personable and always asks questions while my mouth is fully open exposing a set of teeth in ‘ready-to-be-cleaned’ position. It must be a lonely job, just hearing yourself talk with a client who mostly can’t respond.
This time around the question of the day was:

“What’s your favorite holiday?”

And this time around, she climbed out of my mouth, looked me in the eye (she’s a pro – she can locate those eyeballs amidst the open mouth-face) and waited for a response.
I had none at that immediate moment.
She filled the silence by answering her own question with the standard (at least it seems that way to me after all these years of living) “I don’t like the hype of Christmas, etc etc, it’s no fun anymore, etc, etc, SO: my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving”…no surprise. Sorry to say, but I’ve heard all that a million times before to where it sounds a bit trite. But, I get it.
During the next extended open-mouth segment, I pondered her question. I realized my answer to that question has not only morphed over the years, but I could express in a ‘sound bite’ (pun actually unintended!) a sort of reason for my response in the response itself. Kind of important given the brief time for articulation available while in The Chair.

“For me, my favorite holiday is anytime the family gets to be together.”

My, aren’t I clever?

So, what’s your favorite holiday?

A Smattering of Yuletide Thoughts

This year I opted to not send out Christmas cards, offer a winter solstice meditation blog post (see a great one here and here) or decorate our little rental in the spirit of the season. It’s not a big deal, just the way things are for me this year (and without little ones, I have the luxury to choose that option). And no, I’m not depressed it’s just that – heck, I still haven’t finished writing thank-you notes after Dad’s funeral in October. And I feel worse about that than my decision to not fully participate in holiday traditions this year. The pull for me to formally acknowledge my deep appreciation to those who offered support during that time – by whatever means – is nagging at my sense of etiquette along with a desire to just say thanks; let them know their sympathies mattered.
Quite frankly, I think I’ve gone a bit too long in finishing them so I am trying to just let it go rather than dwell on my increasing feelings of guilt.
breathe in – breathe out – release the burden
Yet here it is Christmas. My heart is not cold, just a bit into itself and kind of relieved to have what some might deem a boring celebration. Spent more as a bystander rather than active participant. Continue reading

Longest Night of the Year: 2013 Reflections (part two)

“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”  -Victor Hugo

my homemade cannoli

My homemade cannoli

What better way to ease into another set of 2013 Reflections than with luscious references to food?

my homemade sourdough bread

My homemade sourdough bread

This past year, I resumed my life as a ‘good cooker.’  This family badge of honor, proudly reactivated now that I have a kitchen at my disposal, has provided nourishment to both body and soul.

~ 4/13  The unfolding of my ‘horse gentler’ skills learned during our time of horse rescue being placed within a new context of use.  While making a final pilgrimage to visit Terry’s Mother in Dallas (just a week before she passed away) our ‘nephew’ Jeremy helped with a fundraiser for the ‘Horses for Heroes’ project in nearby Rocky Top Ranch.  Himself a Wounded Warrior, he opened my eyes to this realm of horse therapy for returning veterans and their families.

Shortly thereafter, to my delight, I discovered a local established horse therapy group beginning to implement a Wounded Warriors component into their program offerings.  I immediately contacted them and not only signed on as an active volunteer, but got in on the ground floor as part of the initial group starting the WW program.  In addition, I work regularly with the other students.  While my primary role is in enabling the horse(s) to be their very best while in use during therapy, I enjoy the blessings of working with the various students and their families, other volunteers sharing my passion, the therapists and owners of the stable…

Gracie on Freckles, First Annual BTR Horse Show (I'm wearing orange)

Gracie on Freckles, First Annual BTR Horse Show (I’m wearing orange)


We all worked hard to put on the First Annual Bethlehem Therapy Horse Show this past November.
Matt's victory salute after his horse show debut

Matt’s victory salute after his horse show debut


 
Really, really cool.
 
 
~  The many loved ones who passed on this year.  Continue reading

Longest Night of the Year: 2013 Reflections (part one)

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” –Steve Martin

Winter Solstice: a day with the least amount of sunshine potential; the shortest day and longest night; a time of reversals.

According to the Farmers’ Almanac:  The word solstice comes from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand still.” In the Northern Hemisphere, as summer advances to winter, the points on the horizon where the Sun rises and sets advance southward each day; the high point in the Sun’s daily path across the sky, which occurs at local noon, also moves southward each day. At the winter solstice, the Sun’s path has reached its southernmost position. The next day, the path will advance northward. However, a few days before and after the winter solstice, the change is so slight that the Sun’s path seems to stay the same, or stand still. The Sun is directly overhead at “high-noon” on Winter Solstice at the latitude called the Tropic of Capricorn.  In the Northern Hemisphere, the solstice days are the days with the fewest hours of sunlight during the whole year.

Winter Solstice, Hilton Head, SC

Winter Solstice, Hilton Head, SC

To me, the Winter Solstice feels more like the ending of the past year with the dawning of the true ‘new year.’  An organic New Year’s Eve, so to speak.  Perhaps this, then, is a good time to reflect on the past year, letting go and easing into the ‘new year’ as each day from this point in time gains length.

2013 Reflections: December 2012 – December 2013

~ 12/5/12   Jazzman Dave Brubeck died at the age of almost 92.  Almost.  One day short of 92.  I remember that really hit me hard as my Jazzman Dad was ‘almost 90.’  Almost.  Was he going to make it to 90?

~ Our first Christmas after weathering three-Christmases-on-the-road-between-homes was super charged with getting to share it with our daughter and new son-in-law.  Gathering together in our little rental home blessed our ‘first Christmas’ with their first Christmas as a married couple.

David, Michelle, me & Flash (above my head) Christmas 2012

David, Michelle, me & Flash (under lights) Christmas 2012

Unpacking a few decos from the boxes that survived three plus years in the storage unit and the move from Colorado to South Carolina that year was like mining truths of traditions past. But even while in the midst of that newly unlocked comfort and sentiment, our first thought was to find a place for Flash.

Flash

Flash in our car-home

Flash gave his all for us during our lonely holiday times while on-the-road-between-homes…traveling 24/7 with us dangling from the rear-view mirror, faithfully swinging from side to side and blinking festive blue&red lights inside his white plastic snowman physique.  Flash now graces a place of honor inside our little rental home 24/7, blessing us and reminding us we were not alone during our three-year-journey-between-homes. Deuteronomy 31 vs 8 script

~ Watching Les Miserables, the movie, with my cousin Chris.  Experiencing the quality acting on screen, and being submerged in the surround sound scoring of the classic Victor Hugo novel; bonding over the inequities of life, past and present; the power of God, hope and dreams while living in a world of harsh realities…all contributed to strengthening and deepening our relationship.

Not much has changed about society’s perception and treatment of those less fortunate. Continue reading

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