My Favorite Things

I responded to a friend’s internet challenge, to post a list 3 positive things a day. When another friend started as a result of my challenge, I committed to an additional seven.

Here’s the first batch of positive things, and I hope they brighten your day.

josh waiting 1

Day 1:

  1. I’m grateful to my son who mowed the yard even feeling crappy and in intense humidity — it was a pleasure to drive down the street to home.
  2. I’m happy that I knit. I could give all 21 slots with a knitting related post.layout2_r1_c2
  3. I’m with Kim that cats make me smile. The world is better place because of our feline companions.

Day 2: 

  1. My garden has given us fresh tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini, as well as lots of Tomatoesonvine2basil.
  2. I am lucky enough to have a granddaughter.
  3. Evenings are getting cooler in Asheville–so much less need for AC, and more chance for open windows, bird song, and breeze.

Day 3:

  1. machine-bestI appreciate breathing…all through the night. I got a loaner C-PAP machine and sleeping is true rest again. What a joy!
  2. I woke early this morning, and one of the first thoughts was “what am I grateful for?” — I attribute that lovely waking to this challenge, which has re-focused my mind on the positive in life.
  3. I’m grateful for metaphoric and literal “off buttons.” There’s a time to walk away from drama and ugliness (as well as a time to act) and knowing when that it lifts a weight and frees the mind and heart. That’s a miraculous thing.
  4. –Oh, and a bonus 4) — I’m grateful it’s Friday after a good week at work.

Day 4:

  1. beautiful bird croppedBirds — when I step out my back door each time I leave the house, there are always birds there — in the trees and scrub, on the feeder, winging by. Bird song and that exquisite flash of upward wing never fail to make my own spirit soar. What a gift that is, through good and bad times, just a bird can make me smile.
  2. Jon Stewart is always guaranteed to make me laugh. He reminds me (in a good way) of my late husband, Dennis, who also could always make me laugh.
  3. barilla3Good Gluten-Free Pasta is no longer a contradiction in terms. There are several mainstream brands making gluten-free versions and this puts some old favorite dishes back on the menu.

Day 5:

  1. zen051Celebration (1)Friends! I could leave it at that, but especially the unexpected close friendships of adulthood. Good friends laugh and grieve with you, make meals, trade favors, secret jokes, and masses of understanding and acceptance. God Bless Good Friends.
  2. With said friends, we drank a bottle of cheap (3.99) red wine that was good!
  3. There’s a new produce stand in my neighborhood. An enterprising older man from the Islands, or even perhaps Africa (lovely lilting accent, gracious and warm manners) has taken a vacant building and desolate lot over — he’s put up a large roofed area and has tables and tables of beautiful fresh produce. I stopped for the first time yesterday and bought 4 tomatoes for $2! We talked about things for a bit and then he gifted me with a giant organic tomato and wished be a great evening.

Day 6:

  1. I love the way Facebook helps reveal social connections and make them visible in ways I never paid attention to before social media. The spread of this lovely challenge and the interesting variations it has taken fascinate me. Like an old-fashioned game of telephone, spreading the message changes the message and the messenger.telephone game (237x136)
  2. When I stop and think of it, I realized I have been much loved in my life — many of those have left the planet now, but the love doesn’t go away. It lives in me and my memories and I can continue it on by loving others. What beautiful magic that is!
  3. It’s Monday morning and I feel no dread or sorrow or anger at the prospect of going to work this morning and the rest of the week. That’s a blessing — if you’ve ever experienced those feelings in response to work week, you know. It’s also a privilege to have meaningful work in a pleasant setting with good co-workers. It’s one I pray every worker can have. When I center myself around the thought of how blessed I am to have that, I feel the glow of gratitude and joy seep through me and a smile spread across my face.

Day 7:

  1. Gorgeous George

    Gorgeous George

    Pretty much the whole internet agrees with me that kittens and cats are an endless source of fascination: more personality and energy packed in those springy bodies than can be contained, so it leaks out in extreme cuteness and apparent wisdom. When I need to laugh, a silly kitten attacking something harmless with such zeal can always do the trick. And isn’t it great that there’s no prescription cost, or anything….

  2. It’s the last few days of August and I’m not dreading September. Between world events and personal losses, the 9th month had assumed a pretty bad rep in my mind. This year, it’s pretty much just another month — I’m excited to see fall arriving while I mourn the loss of fresh tomatoes and basil. I see the sky lightening in the morning a few minutes later each day. But I don’t want to take to my bed with the covers over me! There’s a song “Wake Me When September Ends” that used to match my feeling, but now it’s just a song again. Since I loved September and its promise of autumn and new starts, I’m grateful to have it back.
  3. Sisters. I have only one official sister, who I love and adore and hope to continue laughing, playing, cooking, knitting, arguing and hugging for decades yet to come. I also have several sisters of the heart that joined my inner family over the years, and they too are a whole bouquet of graces.


With special thanks to Kim for starting me on this, I say with joy, And So It Is.

Advertisements

My Hero

The Hero

My son is my hero right now (well, always, but that’s a different story☺). He just got up to save me from my mighty huntress cat’s latest find.

I get upset when the cats bring in dead stuff, but I get more upset when they bring in not-yet-dead stuff.  Josh came to the rescue.

It was a hummingbird of all things! I’ve never heard of a cat catching a hummingbird before.

The Culprit

The Near Victim*

He took it outside and it may be just shocky… or it might be too late. But at least it has a chance now.

Thank you Josh.

*not the actual hummingbird involved, who is now in a witness protection program (lol).

Rewards

I started walking when I got home from vacation.

It’s all Mary’s fault, of course.

She can walk like nobody’s business — she does a quick 2 miles most mornings, in about half an hour. It seems like I spent most of my life running  behind her, trying to catch up.  Ah, a younger sister’s lot.

But she walks, even bounces along, all day — an energizer bunny — who has a wonderful time with her life. I envied her ease of movement and her stamina, and much like in my younger years, wanted to be just like Mary.

Thus, I came home and started walking.  The catch is, walking hurts. A lot.  But each evening I’ve done a slow circuit of the local flat park, which happens to have a lovely river view. There are several spots where one can rest and watch the French Broad River flow its slow and secret way north (yup, north — the third oldest river in the world flows northward through the mountains and then down through several convoluted mergings to the Gulf of Mexico).

Tonight (night 3) I got my reward. Two great blue herons and two friends.

About three-quarters of the way around, I glanced at the water to my left and saw the heron lurking on the far bank. It stalked along the bank with its ungainly dignity and measured stride.  Naturally I crossed to the nearest viewing deck and leaned on the railing to watch it. Two friends unexpectedly joined me — just as I was yearning to share this sweet moment.

As we watched and chatted, a second heron flew in to join the first. They squabbled a bit, then took flight for a quick circuit of the river…soaring off from there with flashing wings. One’s flight path low, so it’s wingtips broke the surface on each beat, leaving wingprints on the sliding dark of evening waters.

So, I’m thinking I’ll walk again tomorrow evening, and probably the night after that, too.

P.S. These lovely photos are stock ones from the web — I only wish I could take shots this nice!

Cranky

Oh man, I am so-o-o cranky today!

There’s no real reason for it, nothing noteworthy to cause it, no way to excuse it. I’m just plain old cranky.

I didn’t take it out on anyone but myself, which makes it a little better, but I really need an attitude adjustment right now!

I’m mentally running down the list of things I do to change my state of mind: prayer (check), self-deprecating laughter (check), talk to a friend (check).

I know! Next up, I’ll  have a cool glass of seltzer, pet a cat, go out back and listen to the birds for a few minutes.  Things are already looking up.

Happy Anniversary to Me

It’s been a year since I started this Blog.  I just indulged myself with a scan backwards and enjoyed reviewing my year.

Hope it’s been fun for you too. 

Spring has finally arrived in Western North Carolina — the flowering trees are all in bloom, daffodils wave madly in the breeze, hardly more vivid than the newly bright goldfinches.

Balmy breezes, a hint of the heat to come.

Enjoy!

Rising Up

Understanding

This card is titled “Understanding” but it could be “The Scales Fall Away,” or “Freedom!”

The powerful illusions of limitation are fading here…. freedom, clarity, and soaring joy just ahead.

Fly!

 

From the Osho Zen site:

You are out of jail, out of the cage; you can open your wings and the whole sky is yours. All the stars and the moon and the sun belong to you. You can disappear into the blueness of the beyond….Just drop clinging to this cage, move out of the cage and the whole sky is yours. Open your wings and fly across the sun like an eagle.In the inner sky, in the inner world, freedom is the highest value – everything else is secondary, even blissfulness, ecstasy. There are thousands of flowers, uncountable, but they all become possible in the climate of freedom.  

Osho Christianity, the Deadliest Poison and Zen… Chapter 6
 
Commentary:
The bird pictured on this card is looking out from what seems to be a cage. There is no door, and actually the bars are disappearing. The bars were an illusion, and this small bird is being summoned by the grace and freedom and encouragement of the others. It is spreading its wings, ready to take flight for the very first time.The dawn of a new understanding – that the cage has always been open, and the sky has always been there for us to explore – can make us feel a little shaky at first. It’s fine, and natural to be shaky, but don’t let it overshadow the opportunity to experience the lightheartedness and adventure on offer, right there alongside the shakiness.Move with the sweetness and gentleness of this time. Feel the fluttering within. Spread your wings and be free. 

Birds and Thanksgiving Blessings

I’m alone today and enjoying it immensely!

Of course, alone is a relative term. No people — but 3 cats, flocks of birds, a ham baking in the oven, and happy indecision about what music to listen to.

In honor of Thanksgiving Day, I slipped out to the supermarket and replenished my bird feeding supplies. I put up woodpecker treats, new suet baskets, thistle seed socks, and refilled all the feeders.

I’ve got special high-priced cat food for the 3 beasties, and bought a sweet potato pie for dessert.

It’s quiet in the house now — the lovely stillness of a peaceful day, with no worries that can’t wait until tomorrow; no sorrows that can’t be put away; and no fears that can’t be soothed by birdsong and music.

Blessings of the day to all.

And so it is.

 

Local Sights

parrotOh how I wish I’d had my camera with me today!

The parrot pictures here are not from real life, but they could have been if I’d remembered my camera!

At a church rummage sale, I passed an older man, with long white hair and beard — carrying the most amazing parrot on his shoulder!

He was more blue than either of the parrots pictured, but equal in size to the one in the bottom photo. He had a long, elegant blue tail and piercing eyes. Very serene and regal, he just sat quietly and surveyed the silly humans shopping for bargains at the rummage sale.

(not the parrot I saw☺)

(not the parrot I saw☺)

Just one of life’s little moments that made my day.  And so it is.

Corn Roasted in the Fire Pit

Yesterday I listed some of the great buys at the Farmer’s Market — but I forgot to mention fresh corn. Delicious, melt-in-your-mouth, squeaky-fresh white sweet corn. Roasted in the husk on the coals from a fire in the cast iron fire pit in the yard. Eaten at dusk, surrounded by incense, citronella candles, fireflies, cats, and the rumble of fireworks in the distance.

Little in life could have been better.

Prior to the feast, Josh trimmed some low branches around the place while I planted my new lavender, spread some compost and potted the last of the annuals in the patio containers. The air was just right, with a touch of moisture that has turned to rain this morning; the lingering heat from the afternoon keeping us moving slow and easy.

The breeze was just a touch, like a caressing hand on my face and neck, cooling and mellowing me.  I rested frequently, facing the back jungle of tree, scrub and vine. I watched a Downy Woodpecker as she skittered up and down a long trunk, stopping to tap here and there.

Cardinals, Jays, Mockingbirds, and Goldfinches were the main feeders as evening approached. They would scatter to the nearby trees and bushes when one of the cats strolled by, but they are largely blase at this time of year (ditto the cats). The Blue Jay calls the traditional warning, “Cat! Cat! Cat” and the cat twitches an annoyed ear and just walks slower, stretching insolently before leaping up on the next napping place.

It’s very quiet this morning. Just a soft rain, muted bird calls, and everyone else asleep. This is one of the loveliest holiday weekends I can remember. A perfect admixture of joy and quiet, serenity, laughter, good food, companionship, music, and only a faint nostalgic sorrow for what is gone.

Blessings to all this rainy Sunday.

And So It Is.