Archive for May, 2017

Memorial Day Plus One

 

A number of sad-making events have occurred in my life over the past six months. The trouble with sadness is that it pushes you into yourself. Absorbs your attention like a thirsty sponge takes up water and wastes the energy you would rather be spending more productively.

 

Because I am so isolated these days, I write as a means of connecting with others. The irony in that is that my subject matter is often highly personal. I don’t question that paradox, I just follow where my instincts lead me. Hopefully you are willing to join me on the expedition, and God will provide the compass.

 

—–

 

May 30, 2017. I pick up a salmon-colored rock on my morning dog walk. My husband, Jack, was a rock collector. I pocket this interesting specimen out of habit, then grimace a bit. I will lay it on his abandoned dresser and hope that some like-minded visiting family member may take an interest in it in the future.

 

The gesture is interesting, symbolically. He was my rock, and today would have been our thirtieth wedding anniversary. I rummage in his top drawer, through the large collection of homemade cards he saved over three decades of my composing them for him. One in particular touches this tender spot inside of me that yearns to have him near on this special day. May it stir sweet memories for you, as well.

 

To My Love

 

L is for . . . the way your lower lip grows tight whenever you are deeply moved by something.

 

O is for . . . the overwhelming ache that invades my soul when I try to imagine how I ever lived without you.

 

V is for . . . the priceless examples of virtue and character you have given your children, a legacy they can treasure forever.

 

E is for . . . the exceptional qualities of patience and respectful forbearance that make you:

 

forgiving of my faults

 

my all-time favorite person to shop with

 

and

 

someone I can always trust to “not look” when lesser men’s eyes would wander.

 

***

 

I adored you so when we married that it brings tears to my eyes to recall.  But the depth and the breadth of my love for you now is my most treasured earthly blessing of all.

 

Happy 21st Anniversary

Wedding Day 1987

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May 30, 2017 at 6:16 pm 3 comments

Survival Skills 101

  “Don’t forget to breathe.” This is Cristy calling out. She’s the trainer at my local SNAP fitness, where I spend seventy-five minutes of my day, six days a week. Cristy sits twelve feet away from me as I push out 48 repetitions on the biceps press machine this rainy afternoon. I had noticed feeling […]

Continue Reading May 19, 2017 at 7:30 pm Leave a comment

Survival Skills 101

 

Weights

“Don’t forget to breathe.” This is Cristy calling out. She’s the trainer at my local SNAP fitness, where I spend seventy-five minutes of my day, six days a week.

Cristy sits twelve feet away from me as I push out 48 repetitions on the biceps press machine this rainy afternoon. I had noticed feeling light-headed earlier in the week after a session on a different machine. Chalked it up to hormones or lost sleep or the weather.

But Cristy’s prompting catches me up short. I am focusing only on counting down my presses. But doesn’t breathing just come naturally? Apparently not. Once I start consciously inhaling with reps one and two and exhaling on reps three and four, I can feel the difference immediately. Increased oxygen to my brain. Improved stamina. Even a little lift to my mood.

And wow, what a difference it makes. No more light-headedness. No more boredom with the counting regimen. No more feeling like I am just putting in my time.

I got to thinking about this incident on a recent dog walk, as I watched my never-in-a-hurry furry companion sniff her way around the same small patch of clover for the fifth time. This pup loves to stop and concentrate on the moment. Nose seeking out the breeze, she scoops up plenty of fresh air as we meander the neighborhood on our morning, midday, and evening strolls. Don’t have to encourage her to stop and smell the roses, or whatever. And I never see her lying awake at night, fretting, either.

So how often might we all benefit from just taking a deep breath? From pausing to reset our rhythm to a more natural pace and reprogram our minds toward a more prayerful approach to life.

Care to join me in the count-down?

-When your worry list expands past a fingers-plus-toes count of friends and family who face dire health challenges or tormenting personal relationship issues . . . don’t forget to breathe.

-When your own ties to dear ones are suddenly severed by forces and circumstances beyond your understanding . . . don’t forget to breathe.

-When visiting the past starts to seem preferable to living in the present . . .  don’t forget to breathe.

-When false accusations get hurled, your words twisted and used against you, your character subjected to brutal assaults . . .  don’t forget to breathe.

-When the world appears to be turned hopelessly inside out, with common sense declared “controversial” and so many falsehoods declared to be truths . . . don’t forget to breathe.

The buzzword these days is intentional: Intentional eating, intentional parenting, intentional relating, intentional needlepoint. Well, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea. The concept translates to consciously tailoring our choices and our actions to ensure that they reflect our values, our goals, and our unambiguous understanding of right and wrong behavior.

So these breathing lessons? Let’s call them intentional refocusing. And let’s remind each other.

May 16, 2017 at 8:05 pm 2 comments


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Recipe. According to Encarta, "a list of ingredients and instructions for making something." The thesaurus offers the alternate terms, "formula, guidelines, directions, steps, technique."

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