Thursday, October 31, 2013

Frighteningly Good

Tis Halloween when all is spooky and silly -- and often filled with sugar.  I used to love going trick or treating as a child.  There was some worry, back in the day, of razor blades found in apples, but otherwise, it was still considered a safe holiday.  In fact, the only threat to our well-being seemed to be the risk of sugar overload from the stash of candy we'd amass.  As for my costumes, I can recall dressing up as Cleopatra, a witch and a cheerleader.  Otherwise, my childhood costume choices are rather lost in the recesses of my memory.  I had a conversation with someone recently who told me about an elaborate facial makeup design one could create to make your face look like a jack-o-lantern.  I've seen photos posted on the Internet of children and adults dressed as witches, clowns, monsters and princesses.  Halloween offers the opportunity for young and old alike to stretch their imaginations and dress as someone else, all in the name of fun and candy. Frighteningly good.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Blow Me Down

Lately, we've had sunshine, rain and even a few snowflakes on our faces, but one recent evening, it was so windy that I was nearly blown down a couple of times and my hat wanted to take flight by the big gusts.  The wind must be ushering in some weather pattern or another.  Perhaps the wind is simply bringing November with it, moving us from the vibrant beauty and warm afternoons of October into the harsh realities of winter.  At any rate, I sit in my reading chair, curled up and covered with my quilt, listening to the gusts swirling around, causing the wind chimes to sing outside of our kitchen windows.  I'm grateful to be tucked inside where it's warm and dry, and I pray for those who are struggling to find shelter on this windy night that they will be blessed with a safe, comfortable place to rest their heads.  As winter approaches, we all need shelter from the storm.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Twinkle, Twinkle

I'm a sky watcher.  It doesn't really matter what time of day or season of the year.  I just love to watch the nuances of the sky.  One recent evening, I stood at the kitchen window, admiring the moon, its glow through the clouds and two stars that twinkled, one on either side of the moon.  I could have stood there all night, for the scene was almost mesmerizing to me.  Last Friday, when Larry and I were walking at Devil's Lake, I noticed how exquisite the sky was, with its bluish-pink hue becoming more pronounced as the sun set.  On another evening, I noticed that the sky had that Halloween look to it -- bluish gray with puffs of black clouds.  Oftentimes, when I wake up in the morning, I watch the sun come up.  The bright red and orange horizon is just enough to tell me that it's going to be a great day.  I set my sights high as I glimpse the expanse of sky, with all of its brilliance and variety.  Watching the sky has become a daily -- and spiritual -- experience for me. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

The More You Have to Do It

Recently, I received an email from Next Step Editing, featuring an interesting quote attributed to War of Art's Steven Pressfield:  "“Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”  I've been experiencing many new things over the past several months, from starting a new job to publishing an e-book to offering my freelance writing, research, public relations and consulting services to other businesses.  Admittedly, there has been a certain amount of uncertainty, but that uncertainty has been trumped by my deep knowledge that I not only want to do these things, I somehow have to do them, as if I'm being drawn to them.  An article in the October-November 2013 edition of AARP The Magazine suggests that we step outside of our comfort zones, despite how scary -- and/or exciting -- it can feel at first.  Taking the risk, listening to the calling and knowing that you have to do it can produce some of life's rewarding moments.  They are proving to be so for me.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sing Them Away

A friend told me recently about her elementary-age daughter who loves to make music.  Despite her youth, she so enjoys singing and playing the piano that she has already discovered the positive power of music in her life.  When she and her mother had a conversation about worries, fears and cares, the little girl simply suggested that you should sing them away.  Lately, I've thought about a few worries, fears and cares, but when I have, I've taken the little girl's advice and sung them away.  Specifically, I've recalled the first stanza of a song that I learned in our church's children's choir so many years ago:  "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart.  I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart to stay."  How can one succumb to worldly cares when you carry such a song in your heart?  Out of the mouths of babes:  Sing them away.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


While driving in the gorgeous autumn countryside lately, we came upon Landsinger Road.  While I don't know the origin of the road's name, that particular day, I couldn't think of a more appropriate name for it.  The scenic beauty of that area made my heart sing.  So, perhaps in my own way, I was a land-singer, if just for that moment.  These days, we read and hear about so many serious issues about our environment and the necessity for us to be better stewards of what we have been granted.  But in all of that serious discussion, I believe there also an opportunity for us to sing joyfully of the land.  I think of the many people I know who are stewards of the land around us -- farmers, vintners, conservationists and others who care so deeply and have such a keen sense of responsibility for the places they call home. I imagine that there are those times when they are land-singers, too.  So, the next time I find myself in awe of my surroundings, a song will come to my lips and the land-singer in me will let loose.

Friday, October 25, 2013

That's the Place

There is a painting in one of the departments in our office building that draws me into it.  Although it depicts a rural farmhouse in autumn, it doesn't matter the season.  That's the place where I want to be.  Every time I stop in that office, I gaze for a few minutes at the painting, thinking of how much I'd like to live in that house on that property.  There's nothing particularly remarkable about the house. It is old and white. The surroundings aren't remarkable either, just a yard subdued in late fall brown. Yet, I feel a kinship with the place and I want to move there...right now.  I can picture the house and grounds in every season.  Spring would be lovely with wildflowers in bloom and curtains flapping in the breeze through open windows. In summer, the grass would be green and the dandelions bright yellow.  There'd be a croquet set in the yard and some lemonade nearby. In winter, the gentle snow would envelop the white house and all would be tranquil.  Does the place exist or does it only exist in the painter's eye?  I'll likely never know, but I do know that if it existed, I'd knock on the door and ask if it was for sale.  And I'd live there happily ever after.  Yes, indeed.  That's the place.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


October has been an absolutely brilliant and beautiful season in our neck of the woods this year.  Every opportunity we have had to be outside, Larry and I have taken advantage of it.  One recent Sunday when it seemed silly to stay home, we ventured out to the DTour, a 50-mile drive that was organized as part of Fermentation Fest, a celebration of art and agriculture and an appreciation for the beauty of our rural Wisconsin countryside.  As we drove out of Reedsburg on County Road K, my jaw dropped.  The landscape couldn't have been more exquisite.  The undulating hills, pristine farms nestled into verdant valleys and autumn color that was nearly at its peak just about took our breath away.  How could we ever be so fortunate to live in an environment as beautiful as this?  To make the road trip all the more enjoyable, Fermentation Fest organizers had positioned some 39 stops, including educational signs, live entertainment, local food vendors and installations of art, along the way. Whether it's the DTour or not, I'll gladly take that detour again and again as a reminder of the natural beauty all around me every single day.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Eraser Marks

I read an eloquently written essay the other day about the power that bigger corporate businesses can have in causing smaller, local ventures to go out of business.  It's as if the larger interests simply erase the smaller ones.  I got to thinking about the many small businesses that grace our lovely downtown shopping districts and the risks and rewards that those shop owners must experience.  Not too long ago, I drove through a city whose downtown shopping district had been all but obliterated, replaced with a new shopping district comprised of well-known, larger stores located on the fringes of the city limits.  One recent Saturday afternoon, Larry and I walked through our downtown when our courthouse square was brimming with vibrant shops and eateries, as well as street entertainers, music, food and craft vendors.  Our downtown has a wonderful energy to it and it was particularly energetic that Saturday during its autumn fair on the square.  I could see no eraser marks in our downtown that day.  Nearly every storefront was filled with the creative expressions of retailers selling their wares and the street was packed with people who chose to shop there. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Lonesome Whistle

I fell asleep in my reading chair the other night.  It's easy to get all curled up in that lovely leather chair, covered with an afghan, thinking I'm going to read.  All of a sudden, my eyelids grow heavy and my book, no matter how entertaining, can't seem to keep me awake.  At Larry's nudging, I carried my weary body to bed and fell asleep again as fast as my head hit the pillow.  But, then the thoughts of the day woke me up and I couldn't get back to sleep, no matter how hard I tried to breathe deeply and relax myself.  While awake, cutting through the silence of the night was the lonesome whistle of a train.  During the day, such a whistle sounds utilitarian, simply a warning signal.  At night, however, it sounds lonely and mournful.  I read a wonderful poem by a Facebook friend about the nighttime train whistle.  Evidently, I wasn't the only one awake that night.  Strangely, it was hearing that train whistle that interrupted my own train of a different kind -- a flurry of thoughts racing through my head.  Soon, I was asleep once again.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Waltz of the Leaves

While in the car alone the other day, I decided to fill the silence with some classical music.  That particular day, it happened to be a beautiful waltz.  As I reveled in the lovely music, I realized that leaves were falling around my car in time to the music.  It was as if they were waltzing all the way to the ground and pavement.  There is a music to autumn.  Sometimes, it's quiet and restful in the rustle of the drying leaves or the soft crunch of them below your feet.  At other times, the music is loud and raucous through the vibrant colors of the landscape, from yellow to orange to red.  That day, however, it was a waltz, an elegant and magnificent dance of the leaves, swirling and twirling all around me.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

To B Free

After what felt like a long and hectic work week, Larry and I quickly got into the car one recent Friday evening and drove out to Devil's Lake to get in a much-appreciated walk before the sun set.  On our way, I spotted a parked vehicle with the license plate "To B Free."  I couldn't help but smile.  Don't we all crave that opportunity to be free, to have control of our day, our destiny, our decisions?  And then I thought of how much I also crave some structure to my existence, that I value being part of something significant and doing so with others.  "To B Free" can mean many things to many people, from freedom of religion and speech to the freedom to choose where you want to live or with whom you wish to share your life or the type of work you wish to pursue.  That night, while enjoying my all-important evening walk, I realized that I have the blessing "To B Free" in oh, so many ways.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fiddlin' Around

While walking along the south shore of Devil's Lake one recent evening, listening to the random bird call and the rustle of the trees, all of a sudden we heard music of the man-made kind.  First, there were the strains of a fiddle, then a high, clear female voice singing an unfamiliar tune, and finally the serious strumming of a young man on his guitar.  Soon, we came upon the young man and woman making lovely music for themselves and the few passersby that stroll along the lakeside path on weeknights in the fall.  One appreciative person sat down on a nearby picnic table to take in the attraction. For me, the impromptu concert was just one of the myriad ways that being in nature seems to bring out the best in us.

Friday, October 18, 2013

All Misty

The cool air and high humidity combined into some beautiful misty moments lately.  While driving in the country for several evenings in a row, Larry and I saw big swaths of mist rolling over fields, lifting up toward the trees.  It was eerie and magnificent all at the same time.  One evening while walking at Devil's Lake, the mist was particularly heavy, fingering out over the water as if to nearly touch us and gather us in.  Everything looked as if we were caught up in a cloud, for we were unable to see the opposite shore.  Again, there was an air of mystery around us. I found it quite enchanting.  In the grayness, the fall color popped, the reds even redder, the yellows more brilliant.  As a friend said, autumn in our beautiful Baraboo bluffs is a sight to behold.  Even when it's more subdued by a heavy veil of mist, I am forever reminded of the bluffs' beauty and how blessed we are to live among them. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sensible Shoes

A friend and I had a philosophical discussion about women's shoes recently.  She maintains a pair of high heels to wear for special occasions.  She admits to being able to stand in them, but walking is another matter.  I have reached that golden stage of life when you couldn't get me to wear high heels, even if you paid me.  I'd rather have happy feet nestled in, heaven forbid, Sensible Shoes.  I gave up high heels eons ago when I realized that I sort of tilted forward ever so slightly and appeared to clomp around in them.  The discussion with my friend went on to such other hot topics as makeup, nail polish, jewelry and elaborate hairstyles.  What happened to me, I wondered?  I used to have several shades of polish, luxuriated in the latest mascara and shade of lipstick, owned more pierced earrings than I could conveniently store, and thought that a blow dryer and curling iron were necessities.  Perhaps it was getting cancer and losing my hair completely that made me see it differently or perhaps it's just a quirk in my personality, but over time, I gave up those things, too.  I now wear hair so short that I can comb it with my fingers.  I wear the same earrings almost all of the time. And if you count my colorless herbal lip balm, then I guess I have lipstick.  I no longer have to "put on my face" or "do my hair."  Instead, I comb my hair with my fingers, put on my herbal lip balm and dig out my Sensible Shoes.  In about five minutes, I'm ready for the day.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Soaked to the Skin

It takes a lot to get me to forgo a walk at Devil's Lake, so I urged Larry to get up from his Saturday afternoon nap recently to join me for our daily constitutional.  The sky was overcast. It had been raining off and on throughout the day. However, it didn't look too threatening, so we ventured out.  We were about halfway through our walk when I enthusiastically commented that it looked as if we were going to get by unscathed.  It was just at that moment that the skies let loose and it started to drizzle.  Soon, it was raining a little heavier and then it started to pour.  Larry and I picked up our pace, but the rain was quickly outpacing us.  By the time we reached a shelter to stand under for a bit, we were soaked to the skin.  I forgot how heavy blue jeans can weigh when wet.  It was an effort just to pick up my legs.  By the time we got to the car, we were pretty much sopping wet.  Larry wrung out his t-shirt next to the car and it was as if he'd taken a bath in it.  Trying not to be a Pollyanna, I made the comment that rainwater is likely good for our skin and hair.  Not saying a word, Larry used his expressive eyebrows to show that he questioned my wisdom. Life can't always be sunshine and blue, cloudless skies.  Being caught in a downpour isn't such a bad thing, especially when you share it with someone you love.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Time to Heal

Larry and I had the unique opportunity to spend an entire recent Sunday afternoon at the former site of the Badger Army Ammunition Plant on Highway 12 between Baraboo and Sauk City, Wisconsin.  The parcel of over 7,000 acres is in the process of being cleaned up, with buildings deconstructed and prairies planted and tended.  Our tour guides gave us an intersting glimpse into the history of the property when it was owned by farm families, then when it was transformed into an active ammunition-manufacturing plant for World War II, and now that it has been retired and the land offered a chance to heal.  Now is indeed a time to write a new chapter in its story.  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is in the midst of making decisions for the land's future.  In my humble opinion, we have one opportunity to get it right, to do the right thing for now and for generations to come.  I recently read a book of writings by numerous Native Americans about their view of the lands on which they have lived. I seem to be connecting the dots from those historic writings to today's decisions and opportunities and even to Biblical scripture.  As is stated so eloquently in Ecclesiastes 3 (New Living Translation), there is a time to heal, a time to build up, a time for peace.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Simplicity and Generosity

The theme of our stewardship drive at church this year is "Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity."  I feel as if that theme was meant for me, for I love a life of simplicity where the joy of giving is an act of gratitude for the blessing of abundance.  Our pastor recently spoke of our society's definition of success as a life of consuming, acquiring and buying.  In her words, the American Dream has become somewhat of a Nightmare.  She talked about "affluenza" and "credititis" and our desire for More that is never satisfied.  Although I've grown up in an instant gratification era, my parents grew up during the Great Depression.  They instilled their value of frugality in me.  Consequently, I have very few needs and even fewer wants.  Larry and I, fortunately, have the same values, so we happily live a frugal lifestyle together.  While doing some housecleaning recently, I got to thinking how much our belongings can own us, how if I had less living space and fewer things, my life would be lighter.  So, during this church stewardship season of "Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity," I'm going to concentrate even more on acquiring less for myself and giving more to others.  That will indeed give me joy. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013


I grew up in and have worked in one of Wisconsin's great tourist destinations.  It has never been unusual to see as many out-of-state license plates as those from Wisconsin, especially during the summer.  We take pride in our tourism industry and what it contributes to our economy.  Our state's tourism allure hit home when recently re-reading Fear of Frying, a murder mystery by Jill Churchill (1997, Avon Books) where on page 26 Ms. Churchill wrote "...the word 'Wisconsin' has always meant 'vacation'...."  For many, our state's name has probably been considered synonymous with relaxation, recreation and an opportunity to take in our natural and man-made attractions.  But, it took a murder mystery to remind me of just what a special place I get to call home.  I guess it means I'm on vacation every day. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Some days are simply too delightful to stay inside.  One recent Saturday, I caught myself feeling like the late Fred Rogers, humming his signature song about it being a beautiful day in the neighborhood.  We were having our driveways redone in our condominium association, so I had parked my car at a bit of a distance to keep it out of the way of the work at hand.  As I strolled to my car, I could feel the early-morning sun spilling over my head and shoulders, I could hear the birds singing and I looked at the blue, blue sky with billowy clouds.  How could it get any better than that?  Starting my day with a bit of happy song carried over to the remainder of the day, giving me a sense of gratitude, joy and deep, deep peace that I would be so fortunate as to experience such loveliness.  I heard myself say to several others that if we could only bottle a day like that one and enjoy it for another six months of the year, I would be totally content.  Alas, it's not possible in this Wisconsin climate, but I can hang onto that sense of gratitude, joy and peace, and carry it close to me, ready to experience every day.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Larry keeps his flute at the ready.  The music stand, stacks of music and flute are strategically placed in his home office for those moments when the spirit overtakes him and he just has to make some music.  It doesn't really seem to matter what time of day it is.  All of a sudden, I'll hear the gentle, sweet tones of flute music wafting from our condo's lower level.  One recent morning, however, I awoke to flute music from Larry's office, which is one floor directly below our bedroom.  Although the music was gentle and soft, it served as a reveille for me.  Soon, I was out of bed, ready to start the day.  And what a much better way to start it when coming from a flute than from my clock's annoying alarm!  I may have to strike a deal with Larry that in addition to putting the morning newspaper on the bed for me to simply roll over and read from the comfort of my pillows, perhaps he'll play me a song on his flute to gently pry open my eyes.  Now, wouldn't that be the epitome of luxury?

Thursday, October 10, 2013


While parking my car the other day, I saw that a car near mine bore a license plate that read, "HPEFUL."   That same evening, my friend Mary Ellen posted on Facebook that she enjoys seeing "a cow named Hope on Highway 12 on the way to Madison."  These days when so much of the news seems to be grim and depressing and all but hope-filled, I think we benefit from giving ourselves as many good doses of hope as possible.  If we need to be reminded by artwork along the highway or a license plate on a neighboring car, that's quite alright with me.  I may lose other things along the way in my life, but I would hope that I'll always hang onto hope. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bobbsey Twin

As a child, I loved to be read the stories of The Bobbsey Twins, who were two sets of twins comprised each of a girl and boy.  My mom would read stories of their adventures sledding in the snow, playing at the seashore and more.  I can still see the covers of those books, featuring artists' charming and colorful renditions of the two sets of twins.  While walking at Devil's Lake the other night, Larry and I came upon a boy playing along the shore who reminded me of The Bobbsey Twins.  He had on red shorts, a blue top and a white, sailor-type hat.  He busied himself splashing in the water, skipping stones along the surface and digging his toes into the sand.  He was surrounded by other children who looked to be his siblings but, alas, no other Bobbsey Twins in sight.  For a moment, I was transported back to my childhood -- about the same age as the boy with the sailor hat -- and I could almost hear Mom reading to me about the adventures of those darling children at the seashore.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Good Time

On a recent warm and sunny Sunday afternoon, Larry and I decided to hike at one of our favorite places.  Butterflies danced around us, the birds sang and the changing leaves whispered as the trees swayed gently over our heads. It couldn't get more glorious than that. Few hikers take to the paths there and those who do never seem to leave debris or garbage behind of any kind.  So, when I saw a piece of paper along the path, I quickly picked it up, prepared to put it in my pocket and toss it in the trash after we got home.  As I picked up the paper, however, I recognized it as a fortune from a fortune cookie.  It read:  "A good time to start something new."  And indeed it is.  Over the past months, I have stretched my comfort zone and discovered that trying something new has been exhilarating.  It was just the message I needed to receive on the path that day, a reinforcement that my own personal paths are taking me right where I'm supposed to be.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Talking Trees

A friend once told my mom and me that she could hear the trees moaning as they were being chopped down.  Until that time, I hadn't thought about emotions and trees in the same breath, but here was a respected friend and naturalist telling us about her intimate communication with trees.  Someone at church recently read a Native American writing about how much we could learn by listening to the trees as they talk.  So, although Larry was inclined to spend his Sunday afternoon on the couch, I urged him to go out into the woods with me to see if we could hear the trees.  I'm sure he thought I was crazy, but he agreed to take the walk and let me do the listening.  Admittedly, I don't know what the trees were saying, but I did find myself paying greater attention to them, the rustle of their leaves, the way the wind blew around and over them. And I soaked up the moment, silent and attentive to all around me.  The trees were perhaps talking to me that day and even though I wasn't catching the message, I at least was starting to listen to them.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Artificial Existence

I have nothing against large cities.  They hold opportunities, energy, power and excitement. But, when I heard someone say recently that cities have an artificial existence to them, I couldn't help but resonate with the statement.  It's not so much that I'm accusing cities of being artificial so much as I feel artificial when I'm in one for any length of time. I am in the very core of my being a small-town, rural person.  I crave vast green spaces.  If I don't have them in my life, I am unsettled and restless, even mournful.  I don't like driving in city traffic. Give me a gravel country road any day.  I quickly tire from the bombardment to my senses that I experience when in a city.  I start seeking nature because the tall buildings and concrete hold no real allure for me.  I want to be among dense forests, crystal clear lakes, miles of sandy beach, bird song, rushing waters and the faint whispering of the rustle of leaves.  The same holds true when I have to try to be something I'm not in order to fit in.  It takes so much of my energy that I start to wilt. We all have environments in which and people with whom we feel energized and our natural selves.  Hearing about artificial existence the other day made me realize that being my true self is always my best choice.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Remove the Names

While watching a video featuring Native American author and speaker Ray Buckley, I was taken by his comments about the need to remove the names of derision that deny the sacredness of a person.  If we hear those names enough, they begin to help shape how we feel about ourselves and others. While I would hope that I've long outgrown the childlike act of name calling of any kind to minimize or marginalize another or myself, I did think of the times when I succumb to worry and am fearful, impatient or angry, and I wondered if they, too, can become my name every now and again.  When I give in to the smallness of fear, worry, impatience and anger, I become smaller myself.  The weight of those words, emotions, moods and attitudes becomes a heavy burden.  Rising above them, removing them from my load frees me to see the good in each moment and each person.  It's time to remove the names and let in the light.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Standing Sacred

I recently had the pleasure of watching a video featuring Ray Buckley, a Native American author and speaker.  In the video, Mr. Buckley said that as part of his Native American heritage, everyone with whom he meets is considered "Standing Sacred in Front of Me."  Standing sacred in front of me.  I couldn't help but wonder how many times I have been guilty of not seeing the person in front of me as "Standing Sacred" and what might I do to change that.  My mind wandered to some occasions when I have witnessed such encounters.  I thought back to a man I once saw whose clothes were dirty and disheveled and it was obvious that he hadn't bathed in a while.  Yet, when he approached a nearby woman, she indeed treated him as "Standing Sacred in Front of Me."  She saw through his appearance and saw the sacred person that he was standing there before her and she treated him accordingly.  Then, I thought of the woman who, in her state of dementia, was combative and angry, unable to communicate the source of her frustration.  Despite the outburst, the caregiver spoke to her in warm, loving tones, treating her fully as "Standing Sacred in Front of Me."  Every single day, we stand sacred in front of someone else and they in front of us.  Drawing upon Mr. Buckley's words and the examples I witness of those words being put into action, I will strive to see each person before me as the sacred being that he or she is.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Going Around in Circles

From childhood on, I've seen life in circles.  Although taught to be a straight and linear thinker, I still see the world and time in circles.  For instance, now that we're into October, whenever I visualize it, I see it automatically at about 10:00 on a round clock.  Perhaps it's simply my way of seeing time pass, but when I heard my friend Alice talk about circles recently before a group of children and then show them images of circles in nature, it dawned on me that perhaps I'm really thinking in harmony with the natural world and the revolutions of the planet and of life.  So many things in the natural world are circular to my naked eye, such as the sun and full moon, pebbles, air currents, whirlpools and fruit. I believe our lives are circular in many ways, less about a beginning and an ending and more about the good energy we can become and share as we mature.  My life circle intersects with other circles and they become part of even larger circles that encompass ours.  For as much as I'd like to always think straight as an arrow in order to fit into this fast-paced world in which we live today, I'm rather pleased to see the world and my part in it more slowly and intentionally as a never-ending circle of possibility and connection.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Holy Matrimony

Today would have been my parents' 65th wedding anniversary.  While visiting my aunt and uncle in Manitowoc, Wisconsin last month, my aunt pointed out to me the place where my parents had been married.  I knew that they had been married at the Methodist Church's parsonage, but had never bothered to inquire just where that building was.  Come to find out, the parsonage was located just around the corner of the house where my aunt and uncle have lived for the past 50 years.  The place where Mom and Dad were married is no longer associated with the Methodist Church.  In fact, it's a beautifully kept private home.  But I had to look at it carefully anyway, taking in all of the details of its exterior.  When I got home from my trip, I looked at the photos taken on my parents' wedding day, each an exterior shot.  The location of their wedding is no longer just a vague place to me, a backdrop of photos I've seen all of my life, but a real address, a real building located across from a beautiful park.  Although they're no longer here to celebrate their special day, seeing the place where Dad and Mom were married gave me reason to celebrate.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Beachy Memories

While dating, my late parents used to spend time at Point Beach State Park in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.  They often spoke of happy memories at that lovely spot on Lake Michigan.  I have photos of them posing there, smiling, despite the wind whipping at Mom's coat. During a recent visit to Two Rivers, I wanted to visit that place that had been so special to my parents.  I briefly walked the beach, my feet sinking into the sand, the water rushing in and out to reach me.  I didn't want to leave without something tangible to remember the experience, so I reached down and hastily gathered up a few small stones on the water's edge.  It wasn't until I had brought them back home that I realized that one of the stones I had so hastily gathered was shaped like a heart.  A perfect memento to represent Mom and Dad's special place.