Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Removable Kisses

Kye is no longer removing kisses received. Prior to this, he would dutifully kiss his mother (me) and with the back of his hand wipe the kiss right off. I would then tease him that the kiss did not count and try to convince him that another kiss was called for. But tonight, to my surprise, he did not wipe our good night kiss off. I questioned him about it by saying, "You did not wipe off my kiss, what does this mean?" He just shrugged his shoulders and smiled. Hmmm........

Saturday, June 21, 2008

To Weed or Not to Weed that is the Question...

Before I left for Iowa I spent some quality time in my garden. Everywhere I looked, I had what are called volunteer tomatoes. Volunteer tomatoes are the ones that grow up from last year's rotten ones. We have many and they are popping up all over the yard. This is because we have been faithfully composting all year and as we prepared to plant the garden we spread the compost around. I have tomato plants in every nook and cranny of the garden.

This is a blessing to be sure. Our seedlings this year were started late and are much smaller than these volunteers. In addition, the variety of last year was unparalleled. I think we had 11 varieties in all. Now, I believe we may be at 15 varieties or so (traditional red, pink, cherry, grape, purple, white, yellow, orange, striped etc)- depending on what volunteer tomatoes grow.

But, I have a problem. There are probably 100+ volunteer tomatoes all growing in planted sections of the garden. One particularly strong one is in the broccoli. And, knowing last year's crop, this plant will probably be about 5 ft tall and 3 feet wide- quite a space grabber. I begrudgingly acknowledged that I needed to remove these plants- breaking my heart though it did.

So, I began the pulling process. Tomato after tomato plant, set aside, ready for composting.

As I did this I remembered a friend's words saying that a weed is any plant that you don't want. She, Charity, said this as we took a tour of my back yard trying to identify plants. This is my first year at the house so my yard is filled with surprises. I could see what she meant- I was looking at the violets that carpet certain sections of the garden as beautiful and I think she saw them as something she could do without- if it were her choice.

So, I pulled and pulled these tomato weeds.

It made me think that there are times when we all feel like weeds- unwanted, untapped potential.......... The difference though is that we can replant ourselves and begin again.

And sometimes, we have to weed out persons, feelings or circumstances in order to breathe or increase our potential to grow. This does not mean that these circumstances are not in thier own right good things, but just like these tomatoes of mine, they may not be right for the garden at hand.
Well, I came back from Iowa and after all that pulling, 50 more tomato plants grew up in the other's place. I suppose I know what I will be doing tomorrow. I guess it may take time and several tries to get things just so to grow my garden well. I look forward to the harvest! I wonder what varieties will greet me then?
By the way, in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, they celebrate the almightly tomato in true fashion. In September, they will host the tomato festival. I hope to be one of the many that partake in the food, music and fun.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Humor at the Expense of Others

I was chatting with some good friends Lee and Dawn the other night as we gathered in my kitchen- we were having "kitchen talk" (love it!). Many topics flowed and ideas abounded. One topic was about the fact that some people really enjoy making fun of others, and of those who do, some will often criticize the person they are making fun of for not taking themselves lightly enough. A response of "lighten up buddy" can come with the territory- sometimes complete with a rolling of the eyes. After all, it's just a joke. But when it is a joke at the expense of you, it can feel isolating and unkind.

Lee and Dawn talked about a clown school they had attended and both of them said the experience changed their lives and was transformational. It was during this training that they learned that humor can come in forms that either give energy or take energy away.

They went to clown school in order to do service with folks within the hospital setting. It was shared during the training that there is really no reason to derive humor from putting someone down. You can imagine that would be true especially if you are performing for those who are terminally ill, or even those who are just plain sick. But when you think about it, if you had the choice, why wouldn't you give energy rather than take it away. Both are in your power to do.

An example that was provided in the training was that of a clown bringing a flower to someone to take a whiff. When the person smells it, the flower wilts from his bad breath. This is an example of the negative humor. Dawn explained that the alternative is to bring a wilted flower over to the person and the flower perks up because the person breathed life into it. Then the clown could urgently bring things over for the person to revive...... done right, this could be funny stuff and the person doing the "breathing" would or could be left feeling esteem rather than try to overcome the negative energy from the first example.

Think about the energy it takes to be a good sport about negative humor. You need to shield your self, get tougher skin so to speak and have to either discount what the person says or take it in as some kind of feedback. That takes energy.

Now, this does not mean that playful jabs are never welcome, and sometimes humor can say things that words cannot express. But, overall, I want to make a positive contribution with others and build them up rather than chink away at them over time.

My mom would say things like, "your pretty, if you like that sort of thing". I knew she was joking, but there was always a shade of doubt there. Negative humor is like that in a way, it has the ability to leave you with a doubt. You can override it, you can rise above it, you can ignore it, you can stuff it-- but it leaves you needing to do something with it where positive humor for the most part just flows.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fragrant Trees

This is the first year in many years that I have noticed the fragrant trees blossoming. The tree in my front yard is especially bountiful. It looks like a gentle snow happened. And, the flowers are very aromatic.

Weirdness is that I moved in to my new home last year and I did not witness this event. In fact, I cannot remember seeing these trees ever bloom before-anywhere and now as I am driving, I see them everywhere.
Was I oblivious to this phenomenon prior to this or is this a special year, a special place or a special circumstance?

Not sure, but I think I will take this as a sign that it is time for me to flower. Time to open up to possibilities. Time to bloom. I feel like I have been wintering for too long.
Time to wake up, stretch and get my bearings. Want to join me in the journey?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Dealing with Loss

My brother-in-law wrote this quote in his blog relating to the loss of my sister to cancer, I thought I would share it here as well:

"Nothing can make up for the absence of someone whom we love, and it would be wrong to try to find a substitute; we must simply hold out and see it through. That sounds very hard at first, but at the same time it is a great consolation, for the gap, as long as it remains unfilled, preserves the bonds between us.

It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap; God does not fill it, but on the contrary, God keeps it empty and so helps us keep alive our former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain...The dearer and richer our memories, the more difficult the separation.

But gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy.

The beauties of the past are borne, not as a thorn in the flesh, but as a precious gift in themselves. We must take care not to wallow in our memories or to hand ourselves over to them.
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "Letters and Papers from Prison"

I think these words can help us through many different types of losses. It is sometimes hard to have faith that the pain will go away. But, I do think that, in time, the angst of sorrow can transform to remembering and appreciating what a person brought to your life.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Kye Graduates from Preschool

Thunder Bowling

Early this morning we had a doosie of a thunderstorm. The kind of thunderstorm that wakes you straight up in your sleep- it felt like the sky was cracking. I was quite surprised that the kids did not wake up during the night prematurely. Quinn said he woke up for a short time but went to sleep again.

When Kye woke up I asked him, "Did you hear the thunder?"
He said, "My ears don't work when I am sleeping, but they do work when I am awake."
I said, "So you did not hear the thunder, huh?"
He said, "No, but Mom, why is thunder white? I explained that was not thunder but lightning. Alea piped in, "Kye did you know that thunder sounds like God bowling?"
I commented, "Well then God got a strike last night- it was loud!"
Kye said, "Yeah, God is a good bowler- he is like the oldest person ever!"

Not much to add to that.