Toilet Paper Brides

New Year rolls in. 

Brings gifts –

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Soaring postage costs.  Not many Christmas cards last year.

 – three hundred and sixty five days untrodden, all gift-wrapped.

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Reams of resolutions.  High hopes in spite of/ because of …

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What next? 

Then comes …

 Evening news.  Burning building collapses.

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Downtown Tehran. Authorities ignored warnings about structural weakness
170119133847-12-tehran-iran-plasco-building-fire-0119-restricted-exlarge-169
Flaming highrise falls down flat

 

 

 

 

 

Shades of 9/11 …

Pick up phone to text Neighbour–

Me:  (tap, tappity-tap) Hope your family wasn’t near the building that came down in Tehran.

Neighbour (texts):  Thank God, none of my family members was in that area.  I knew this building very well since my father used to have an office there when I was little.  My mother was working, so he would take me to his office after school.  It’s all so sad.

Me: (Tap, tap): Thank God.  Sad, yes.

Avalanche in Italy buries ski resort.  More earthquakes. Tsunami warning. Shooting in Texas mall.

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 Never ends.  So what’s changed?

 Nothing, it seems, but …

  • Must keep looking upward, focus outward, embrace light. 
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Puppy embracing light
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Dawn over neighbours’ homes
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Moonrise above next door’s roof
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Full moon at midnight through bathroom skylight
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Crescent moon and single star above neighbour’s house
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… little star

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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– Must speak LIFE.

Proverbs 18: 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue …

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Daughters’ Christmas present hangs by writing desk.  Speaks loud and clear to Heart.  Heart leaps for joy –

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Merry Christmas Mom (that’s me!)             
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Husband’s wife.  Daughters’ mom.  ME.

– Mustimg_20170116_183143 believe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes! Just getting started …

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Inspired by Puppy’s determination to keep dreaming, believing –

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“Hey, Grams, wanna share? “
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“… it’s gonna fall!”

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When all else fails …

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Yahoo!  Dishwasher time …

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…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Box of Dreams sits by bedroom door.  Weighs a ton.

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Up to the brim.  Almost twenty years of journals
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Yes, mine.

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Now making entries in journal number thirty six.

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From the wildest dreams of …

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Been scribbling my heart out for years.

A dream catalyses the evolution of Something out of Nothing, sometimes through Unlikely Source.

Like toilet paper wedding gowns …

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Radiant Toilet Paper Brides at Rachel’s bridal shower
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You’ll never know till you try
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Just imagine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plan for the rest of 2017:

(1) Quit skulking  in life’s undergrowth   –

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Puppy’s arch-enemy, lying in wait

…  strive for the stars.    

(2) Look at the bigger picture –     

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Sky’s the limit
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Life in miniature.  Husband peeping into giant doll house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3)  Build more bridges (not fences) –

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Shut out of paradise.  All fenced out

(4) Think outside the box –

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You betcha!
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Too confined
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Don’t go there! (Puppy and friend)
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Oh, come on out!
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No way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(5) Break out of the iron bars –

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“Someone lemme out!” (Puppy out of harm’s way during renovations)
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“Come on out. ” (Puppy’s sister, Jesse)
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“Can’t you see the door’s open, silly?”
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Sometimes the keys are in plain sight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what keeps holding you back?

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Unlocking door. (Husband after summer concert in the park)

         

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Endless!

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(6) Wear the weight of passing years like a  million dollar diamond tiara –

 With grace and elegance …

 (6) Resurrect dead dreams –        

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Kanatte Cemetary, Colombo, Sri Lanka
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Dying African violet.  Nursed it back to life.
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                                                                               LEAVE OUT.  DON’T PUT  IN GARAGE     (Sign on neighbour’s lawn)

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(7) Pray more –
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Grace before Christmas dinner

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_20150603_182700

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…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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Puppy’s favourite pausing spot

                                                                                             Dear Me,

                                                                                             The dream finally came true ….                                                                                                                 

_20150710_143739
I still write letters

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Who writes letters anymore? (Street corner, Colpetty, Sri Lanka)
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Never believe that

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Philippians 3: 13 But one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead …

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Ahoy there!  All aboard …

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Wellawatte railway station, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Oh baby …

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Puppy and Rithika

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Never too early to start

 _20150423_184824

   

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Me?  Never!

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

Some day soon.

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Some day …

Thankful for dreams.  A reason to leap out of bed each morning.

Until next time,

sincerely

            

 

 

                                     

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In The Nut Aisle

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There is the occasional time when discouragement slithers in under the guise of common sense, and hisses, “Sorry babe, it ain’t ever gonna happen!”

Such a weight of deflated dreams descended on me for no particular reason last week, right in the middle of  grocery day.  Feeling grim and bereft, I tossed items into a supermarket cart, and wandered around until I found myself looking at this enormous fabric creature perched on a stack of plastic storage bins –

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Smile …

 It  didn’t belong where I found it.  Someone had set it down there,  just in time for me and my mood.  The red heart and goofy smile felt like a love letter of reassurance. My spirits rose.  Cart and I continued on and rounded a corner.  The caption on an outsize shirt shouted  –

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The load of doubt dissolved and I smiled in spite of myself. How could I help it when the very space around me seemed to conspire in my favour?  [My friend, Rosalyne, calls this phenomenon Universal Synchronicity.)

It’s amazing how a single special moment can

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My mum used to say, 

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Look at this –

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Never too old …

Radical, thrilling!

IMG_20151217_095934that


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I wouldn’t be able to bear it.


I took this picture last week – 

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, chuckling at memories of a friend who once told me her family tree was composed entirely of fruits and nuts!  I grinned and remembered a recent moment at the bulk food store, when I unintentionally eavesdropped on a brief conversation.

“Could you tell me where the hazelnuts are?” a man asked.

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, sir. In the nut aisle,” the assistant replied. 

My mind boggled as I began to visualize the faces I’d find on the shelves of the nut aisle.  

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Who??

 Pretty much anyone who thinks

Normal is boring!
Normal is boring!

  , I suppose, and that would include me, for sure!


There are three kinds of people in this world –

(1) The IMG_20160318_112602706_HDR(2) The non-dreamer

and

(3) The dream-killer

  • The dreamer – that’s you (if you’re a nut!)
  • The non-dreamer – the one who  regrets his inability to dream big crazy dreams, and might enjoy living vicariously through you
  • The dream-killer — the practical, down-to-earth sort of person who feels duty-bound to tell you that it’s time to grow up and stop wasting your time.

Here’s the deal – _20150709_210453

Of courseIMG_20160306_194453

and believes in the dream.

Dear fellow nut, do you know you have a

_20150601_161507

IMG_20150829_141934

IMG_20160103_210108

 Of course,

_20150710_101223

so _20150513_184057

and 

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IMG_20160223_112959

Above all IMG_20160223_113111

_20150423_190234


So …_20150428_144734

_20150618_150842

_20150623_101344

At the end of life’s journey, I want to be able to say,
IMG_20151119_192704


_20150709_222614

Well –

IMG_20160305_154647396


_20150610_172835IMG_20151101_231727

 

IMG_20151020_122322

IMG_20151101_231402

IMG_20160101_173732


_20150621_145229

, but big or small

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A toast to all the dreaming nuts (and fruits) out there –

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_20150324_184251

 

sincerely

One Thousand Things

I went moon-chasing last week.  I made a dash around the neighbourhood, trying to capture the fascination of a

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through my camera.  She sailed into the

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, an ice-queen in a shroud of wispy cloud-cobwebs.  I inhaled my soul-food for the day.  


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 .”  My friend Bev presses a book into my hands, some months ago, in the summer… 

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 by

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http://www.aholyexperience.com   http://www.facebook.com/onethousandgifts

I

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 I am  captivated.  So commences a dazzling new journey.  A journey to finding thankfulness in all things.  Finding

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in the mundane, the difficult, the tragic.  Being thankful no matter what.  Intentional thankfulness.

My smartphone and

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never stray from my side.  I have to catch the joy-moments coming out of nowhere in a series of joy-gifts I never saw as gifts before.   Like these …

.

Africa-shaped puddle
Africa-shaped puddle
Supermarket shadow
Supermarket shadow
Rosy dawn skies
Rosy dawn skies
Rainbows on floor tiles
Rainbows on floor tiles
  • Sun-splash on gum day
    Sun-splash on glum day
  • Puppy in wee-hour glow
    Puppy in wee-hour glow
light 'n' shadow on kitchen wall
Light ‘n’ shadow on kitchen wall
Microwave reflection
Microwave reflection
Tawny tree upside down
Tawny tree upside down
  • Sky-in-the-parking-lot
    Sky-in-the-parking-lot

    There’sIMG_20150814_224957

The list goes on.  And on.  Pausing to discover the fragrance welling out of intentional thankfulness.  My lungs filled with joy. 

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Ann Voskamp (just Ann with no e she calls herself) – The Farmer’s wife,  mother of six – writes (paraphrased) –

Thankfulness releases joy, which releases miracles …

It feels as if

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have come to reside in my heart. 

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I began to change.  This is the

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Thankful for the ugly, the lovely. The precious, the un-pretty.  The simple, the complex,  the

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And all the in between, mundane stuff.  Intentional thankfulness that generates sublime joy.  Surely this is

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, the daily

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 I went to the bookstore to buy a copy of One Thousand Gifts for my aunt. 

 “Funny,” the girl behind the counter said. “Lately, there’s been a rush of people coming for the book.  There aren’t too many left.”

All IMG_20151029_175957I replied, “That’s probably everyone I know coming to get one.  I haven’t been able to stop talking about it.”

 “I’ve heard it’s good,” she replied.

Bless you, my dear.  It is!


 If my family think I’m bananas, they

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, you know.  So I try to

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because I  choose to

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that

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and

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 .  I

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 .  It’s

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!   I sigh over pretty puddles and go

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And that’s why I went moon-chasing last week.

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Is this 

_20150716_201446

?  Quite possible!  IMG_20151102_220835

IMG_20151101_231436   Something happened.  It’s unleashed the

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They don’t seem all that far-fetched anymore.   I understand that

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Me?  (Smiling!)

                             


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, Reader.  May you find gifts in the ordinary things.

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Here’s to

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sincerely

Brake For Butterflies!

Oh

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 there!

_20150617_165802

                                                                                                                     !           

It’s me again … 

I’m in the parking lot with a cartful of groceries when I see this bumper sticker  –

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I whip out my phone and click.  (How could I not? 🙂 )

Okay –

_20150620_120905

_20150620_121715

                                                                                                           wondering where this is going, right?

 I jotted down some thoughts to share.   

Yes! 

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I resort to  paper and pen.  (If you’re under thirty, don’t judge those of us who do –

_20150620_121017

_20150620_121101

                                                                                                            )

_20150620_120421

… got distracted!  Sorry, where was I? Oh, butterflies …

 

                                        I

_20150618_162230 

to

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at myself.  I asked – 

Is it possible to

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   and still

_20150618_160524

 from life’s knocks?

How can you

_20150623_101616 , no matter what the circumstances?

 How do you measure

_20150428_141718                                                                                                                          ?

_20150620_135758

anyway? 

I know I’ll never be the

_20150620_121419  , a _20150615_173042

_20150620_115759 , or a 

_20150603_181325

.  Who cares if I’m not

_20150617_160457

 and

_20150615_172206

?  I don’t yearn to

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 at the best restaurants, nor do I  seek

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all the time. 

This I know, however.  Each new day is a 

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  – not just the

_20150620_121837

 –  but every moment of my life,

_20150623_101502 

.  Of course,

_20150618_162256

bonus.

How wonderful not to always have to

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.  I’m happy as I am, though. 

_20150708_010017(1)

or not, I don’t

_20150716_171739

than I have.  I  know I’ll never be

_20150617_154611 , but I can be a

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.  I can make

_20150614_142155

to be

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 – because this is how I feel inside.

 So what sort of 

_20150617_144617

 brake for butterflies?

I’d like to think a butterfly-braker is someone who could live as if every single day is a

_20150620_120841

, who understands that simple things are of

_20150617_142857

 

 .  If you are

_20150620_120754

 –  and we all do from time to time,  because often

_20150619_113311

                                                                                                                   –

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 the precious things.  

Love, faith, family, friends

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 and if these things are yours,

_20150610_183158

 Are some words hard to say?

  • I’m sorry. 
  • I need you
  • I miss you
  • I love you 

Say them as often as the need arises.  And then some more.

_20150620_132410

 can turn an entire situation around.

 Do you really believe that success can be measured by the

_20150617_160053

 piled up in a bank account?

How could you ever know

_20150618_162125

 the glittering façade of a life that looks 

_20150618_162136

              on the outside?

_20150603_184346

_20150613_220607

So

IMG_20150720_180339

_20150716_201526_20150716_202419

_20150314_151016

_20150610_172522(1)

  .  Be

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to be turned

_20150618_161937

by unexpected serendipity.

Tell yourself each morning that

_20150513_184316

 

It’s not all about possessing stacks and

_20150617_165911

of stuff, you know.

Take a minute to

_20150618_161740 and breathe slowly.  Just think –

_20150618_162145

and

_20150618_162311Only once.  But …

You can make the choice to feel young for as long as you live and be

_20150618_162516

with each passing day.

Age is only a number, I tell myself.  What counts is how I feel inside, right?

 

_20150620_122901

 _20150617_160441

You have only one life to live.

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 it with all  your might!  

Brake for butterflies.

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Dance under the stars. 

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Hold hands.  Smile a lot.

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_20150526_181712

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And always remember … you’re never too old to dream!

Signs

_20150526_181758                                                                    …   xx   …   xx   …

 

I see a sign on the supermarket window –
_20150601_160814

The wheels in my mind begin to spin. I imagine how wonderful it would be if our

_20150601_153945

 could provide us with a     _20150601_153527solution to life’s challenges. 

For example –

how to get
_20150601_154424

                                        or become a 
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           overnight!

I’d jump up and down and screech

_20150601_153322

Wouldn’t you?

What a
_20150601_154136

 this would be for  life in general!

 

We all know        _20150601_152038

right?

I’m going to make every effort to do just that!

You’ve heard this one –    _20150601_152318

Isn’t this a fabulous way to deal with the inevitable passage of time?

This digital moment was captured at the grocery store –

_20150601_155855

If only life was that simple, right?  Then you wouldn’t have  those days when you want to throw up your hands and scream

IMG_20150601_093929995

“Are you there, God?  Do you even care?”

I get tired of waiting, sometimes, don’t you?   You know … for that phone call, e-mail, text, knock at the door – whatever it takes – to deliver the 
_20150601_154632

you’ve been pining, aching, yearning for.

But I
_20150601_154359

to speed things up, to make it happen. There’s an appointed time for everything, you know.  It’s written in the stars.

So your mother always said
_20150601_150501

But what if you feel you can’t wait one more day?  What if you just cannot keep believing?

I’m having one of those moments, when I walk into WalMart.  I cross the threshold and get confronted smack in the face by this –
_20150601_161524

 The familiar thrill of exhilaration surges through me.  My heart begins to sing again. 

These sudden, unanticipated

_20150601_150541

 unnerve and delight me.

So once more, I have to

_20150601_161537

 I want to
_20150513_183127

 I make up my mind (yet again) that I  will be as young as I believe I am.  I’ll never be too old

I can IMG_20150403_075441776 because I choose to
_20150324_192310

So I will
_20150601_161550 Once again, I feel refreshed and I’m

_20150414_154921_20150414_155102
I choose to believe that
_20150313_191740

 and I plan to
IMG_20150509_204005120 

Come journey with me.

_20150601_092111
_20150414_154946

 Believe with me, because I believe. 

_20150515_195352 – really.  You know,

_20150526_135130

 So

_20150423_185424

 

Someone To Believe

_20150313_191740

 “There’s no emergency contact in your file, ma’am.  Could I have a relative’s name?”

 “I’m the only one left. They’re all gone.”

 All gone?

I’m at the local hospital for my annual mammogram and bone density test.

(Oh, by the way

_20150515_194237

… I’m a grateful breast cancer survivor.  Seven years.)

The perplexed secretary persists. “How about a friend?”

“All gone,” the old lady replies.  I exhale when she adds, “I can give you my husband’s name and number.”

The secretary is as relieved as I am.

I find a seat and await my turn. The words scream in my head –

 All gone … the only one left …

 How awful. 

What happens when the husband goes? 

Has she outlived her children? 

Did she have any? 

Not one friend?

Awful.  Awful. Just awful.

I lean back and close my eyes for a moment.   Faces come crowding into my mind.  My heart swells with gratitude. 

The random digital clicks on my mobile phone provide me with a gallery of pictures that inspire the ramblings on this blog.

This one

_20150515_193502

reminds me to  be thankful for the people in my life who might think I’m a little weird, sometimes outright crazy, but still believe in me. 

They root for me.  They encourage me to

_20150513_182754

 They cheer –

_20150506_123957


_20150515_193004

 

– and shower me with

_20150506_123837

when yet another door seems to slam in my face.  They give me a reason to hang on, keep dreaming.

I am thankful for those who believe that

_20150513_182725

 

This is my prayer for you, reader – and for myself, of course!

_20150515_193438

 Because

_20150513_184125

                                                                                                                                      Amen.

So

_20150515_193655

Just think –

_20150417_191816

Because it’s 

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                                                                                                                                   you know!

 

That Second Moment

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“Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!” 

Hug. Hug.  Kiss. Kiss.

My two daughters look quite pleased with themselves.  (I don’t  crave the usual mother-ish offerings, and I’m inconveniently allergic to perfume – they find me difficult to shop for, they say.)

A recycled paper gift bag and smiles.   A swirl of tissue paper falls back to reveal a plaque. 

This one –

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! Lots of love xxx

 A single word – BELIEVE. 

 There’s something familiar about the picture … Continue reading “That Second Moment”

The Moment

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There are moments in life when the universe comes to a shuddering halt, stands on tiptoe and holds its breath.

They are either good or bad moments.

My moment came one Christmas eve, when a friend rang the doorbell and thrust a package into my hand with a wide smile and a cheerful ‘Merry Christmas’. 

From a swathe of tissue paper I extricated a small plaque with two words on it –

Dream Big 

Here it is – 

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Merry Christmas, Love Maureen

A spine-tingling moment of eureka … 

From then on, similar phrases leap at me wherever I go.  They squawk, they screech and scream!

They hurl themselves  from random objects, plaques on walls, store shelves, fridge magnets, billboards, songs playing on the car radio.   

I recently got myself a real phone, so I’m able to digitally immortalize  these moments.

Like this one – IMG_20141220_173116873

Look at this  –  IMG_20141220_173311571

See the words in small print at the lower right hand corner? 

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE

I think I’m finally beginning to get it. 

Now is the time 

NOW IS THE TIME .