Where Are We Going

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This is the excerpt from one of my earliest posts.

Where We Come From

“Lincoln High School is the high school I graduated from, many years ago. I did not like high school. It was not the institution, it was the social game of the students that dumbfounded me. I kept thinking “I can’t wait to be done!” What I did not know at the time is the lessons I learned from the “cheerleaders”, “jocks”, “nerds”, “gearheads”, and all the rest would be with me throughout my entire life. High school doesn’t end at graduation. You just graduate to a different stage of life, that most of the time resembles high school.  I now can look back on my high school years and count them amongst my blessings. My son attends high school at my alma mater now. I feel an extreme sense of pride in my son for just walking the hallowed halls of an institution that unknowingly began the shaping of the woman I have become. Lincoln High School is just a building steeped in history, both personally and in our community. As I travel and write I look forward to graduations, new beginnings and above all the experiences that help to shape the woman I have yet to become.”

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Last week I attended the orientation for the class of 2018 of Lincoln High School.  I was not attending just out of boredom or research.  I attended because my twin boys will be Lincoln High LINKS next year, graduating class of 2018.  As I looked around the auditorium I remembered many life events for myself.  I watched my first live performance of “The King and I” while my older sister played in the orchestra.  The LHS drum line entertained in front of the stage when my brother was a student here.  I obediently sat through countless assemblies under the watchful eyes of the school’s administration while I was a student.  I love that the school took the time to modernize the theater without destroying the architectural beauty of the room (love the new cushy seats).  I thought of my family, the tradition of our graduates from this school and how proud I am to have my boys following in my footsteps.  They will be 4th generation Lincoln High School graduates.  I couldn’t be prouder.

When the current principal asked the audience, last week, if any of the parents were former Lincoln High students, the cheers erupted from the crowd.  The feeling is pure pride.  As adults we can look back at our high school years and really appreciate all the institution offered us.  Not just pride in our children but pride in our community, town, and school.  I look forward to this next year of education for my boys.  Working together to enrich each others lives.

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Goodbye

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Saying goodbye is never easy.  I learned that lesson a few years ago when I had to say goodbye to my grandmother.  She was ready to die.  She had lived for almost 92 long, mostly hard years.  The joy she brought to my family was immense.  My selfish heart wanted her to stay by my side forever.  When she died I was devastated.  My head knew she was ready and at peace but every fiber of my being wanted her to live on with me here on this earth.  Last year, my Great Aunt passed away.  It was so sudden I was in shock through most of the process of her final wishes, funeral, and cleaning out her apartment.  Once again I learned how hard it is to say goodbye to those we love and care about.

Today I said goodbye to a man who influenced my life more than he probably knew.  He was the pastor at my church when I was a small child.  I remembered him as the first bald man I ever met, the quiet reserve of authority, and that he could never remember my name.  He always called me Cassandra, and I never corrected him.  I’m not sure why I didn’t correct him, maybe because he was so genuine and I was a little shy.  All I knew was I liked that I had a special name with him, even if it wasn’t my given name.  He was a very kind man.  He was a part of my congregations life well after he was no longer our pastor. 

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I attended the funeral at my home congregation to celebrate his life.  As I walked in the front doors I saw people I knew from years gone by and so many new familiar faces as well.  I sat behind my parents, welcomed into the reserved seating for the pastors.  I guess being a PK (Pastors Kid) allowed for my presence.  It was a beautiful service, full of love and remembrances.  The hymns were sung with pride.  All around me were smiling faces.  Tears were shed as well for the friend, father, husband, grandfather, leader and mentor while the smiles shone through.  He was a great man and saying goodbye is difficult yet I know the lives he touched will carry on his spirit.

Goodbye, I will miss you and thank you.

Soothing My Soul

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Music soothes my soul.  It doesn’t matter the type of music.  Whether it is the hard rock of Seether or the angry sounds of Korn.  On some days it is the relaxing calm of Enya, Pachelbel, or Vivaldi.  The carefree rock of the 50’s helps me to sing and drive.  I love to go back in time with Journey, Stix, or Queen.  Sometimes I want to relive a favorite movie so a soundtrack will do.  Dancing always needs a fast beat.  I can find energy in Christian Rock, Jazz and Pop Rock.  I will get a song in my head and sing it all day.  I attend concerts as often as I can.  When I am in church I gleefully “make a joyful noise unto my Lord”.

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The advent of easily owning thousands of tracks from my playlists is a dream come true.  I remember Saturdays spent at Twisters Music store combing through hundreds of albums searching for the perfect cassette to buy with my limited allowance money.  Records, 8-tracks, cassettes, CD’s, all littering my life.  Record players of my childhood playing exquisite sounds.  8-track player in my friend’s car.  Cassette player in my “newer than his” car (A.K.A bragging rights).  CD’s stacked high in my first apartment.  My adult self spending Saturdays, again combing through thousands of used record albums no one wanted cluttering their houses.  Now MP3 players, iPods, phones, computers, all containing thousands of titles.  Music at my fingertips.

Music soothes my soul with every note, cadence, refrain, verse.  Thank you to all the musicians who grace our world with their talent.  

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Why Did You Leave?

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Loss is an all-encompassing feeling.  It washes over you like a tidal wave with no end in sight.  The air you breathe feels heavy in your lungs.  Your vision is blurred by the motion around you.  You can’t seem to function in your normal capacity.  And yet, time moves on.  The life you live keeps pushing you to join back in with all you know is familiar.  You are grieving.  You do not have time, or desire to “join in”.  You do not want to move away from the cocoon of grief.  Your loss is your own and at times it feels safe.  Others may be grieving with you.  It is not the same as your grief.  You lean, cry, hold, soothe these other mourners but it is not the same as your own small world of sorrow.

At some point in this sadness you turn to questions of, why?  Why did you leave me?  Why can’t you stay with me?  Why is this happening?

All of those questions are valid and need to be answered for yourself.  No one can answer them for you.  In all my moments of sorrow when I lost someone I loved to either by death or separation, I have always found someone that I can turn to for support.  They may have been grieving with me but in a moment they were just a little stronger than I was and they held me up.  My prayers were a steady stream of pleas to give me strength.  I found my conversations with God to be a lifeline of hope when my heart was shattered.  I allow the loss to seep into my soul and hollow out a niche for itself.  Then when it is time I fill the void that was sadness with joy.  I acquire all the loving kindness we shared and let those memories envelope my soul with happiness.

May the comfort of your faith, friends, family and fellowship carry you through the loss you experience.  May you find joy in the life you live and know that you will always have someone just a little stronger to hold you up when you need them.

Peace Be With You.

Purchasing Memories

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My life has been filled with highs and lows, like most lives, I am sure.  I have experienced the joy of horseback riding at dawn, cold spring water on my naked toes, my children’s radiant smiles, candlelit Christmas Eve services, so many moments of pure happiness.  I have endured times of great sorrow that darken my heart and leave me feeling empty.  When I think back on the life I have lived I am grateful for all of the highs and lows.

I recently have been pondering what defines my happiness.  I will think on the joyous times in my life, wondering how I was so lucky to have been blessed with such bliss.  Remembering events and occasions that put a smile on my face.  Everything, from watching a serene moonrise in the country to the births of my sons.  Joy I couldn’t duplicate if I tried.  Don’t get me wrong I am not a happy-go-lucky all the time kind of gal.  In fact, I sometimes struggle with my own personal positivity, trying to remain happy.  I have been looking back at my short existence on this planet, thinking what things help me to be happy. 

I have never thought to put a price tag on happiness.  I believe your monetary status does not define how happy you are or are not.  Yet, if I want to be perfectly honest with myself, it does.  I am not interested in buying the latest gadget or fancy vase for my home.  I do not acquire stuff just to fill the void of sadness.  I do however know many of my happy memories were purchased.  The value of a tank of gas, and a tent.  The reliable car to put the tent and gas in.  The financial ability to purchase food, a map, and incidentals for a weekend road trip.  A weekend away with the man I love creating our own memories required money. Even if the monetary contribution is minimal it is still required to some extent.  Why haven’t I traveled to every corner of the world?  Not enough money.

My memories of happiness are not returnable.  I have purchased them.  They are mine.  Money did not always purchase them because my happiness is strictly dependent on my attitude.  Money helped to purchase situations and events, so in a way I purchased memories. 

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Local Travels

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I have found that when you travel you inevitably meet local people.  My favorite place to strike up a conversation with strangers is at small, outdoor cafes. Most people are happy to be engaged with fresh air, while sipping their beverage of choice, noshing on a favorite treat (this is not recommended in torrential rain storms, icy winter gales, or any other offending weather).  Outdoor seating seems to push people into another earthly dimension.  The world continues to hustle and bustle just outside of the little fences, some eateries deem it necessary to install, quite resembling corrals to keep the cattle herds from wandering away to greener grasses.  Yet, it is an atmosphere that breeds conversations with relaxing contentment.  It is also a great stage to people watch.  Yes I said it “people watch”.  I feel confident in saying it is a guilty pleasure of most everyone, some just enjoy it more than others.  I am a curious person by nature and sitting comfortably watching the comings and goings of crowds is very interesting to me.  That being said there is “people watching” and just being creepy, which are two completely different activities.  One should be reported to authorities immediately, if you feel the latter is happening.  The other is a great information gathering tool.  You will notice what the community is like just by observing.  To truly get to know an unfamiliar area though you need to talk to individuals who live, work or play in the region.  I enjoy conversing with locals about the place they know better than the visitors center.

Let’s be realistic though, most of us do not have the luxury of traveling most of our days.  Work, family, and life tend to tether us to an area.  That does not mean travel needs to be out of your routine.  Small local trips are the best way to learn about your own community.  I have found that not being able to answer the questions “What is there to do around here?” or “Where is a good place to eat?” is downright embarrassing.  I make it a point to have lots of responses for anyone who asks about the region I live in.  The only way to honestly and confidently do that, is to go out in the community and experience your surroundings.  Take a “staycation” in your hometown, road trip off the beaten path, or travel to a tourist area near your home.  Get to know your community by experiencing your own neighborhood.  One of the best gifts you can give yourself, is the gift of local traveling.

Duct Tape Dethroned

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When I travel I like to visit art galleries to get a feeling for the local flair.  I ventured into a converted alley way on my recent visit to a city in the Midwest.  The town was established when the buildings were built with all the exits having alley access.  A narrow passage that the tenants and vendors could get a small glimpse of sunshine.  Since the city’s growth and development the alley has been modernized.  A sky light roof, end walls and a heating element invite a passersby to take a look and see where the path leads you, besides out of the cold.

On this adventure I found an art gallery tucked into the back recesses of the passageway.  I stepped in to find a kindly gentleman seated behind a desk with a tiny little light shining on the book he clutched in his hand.  He invited me in to view the galleries latest display.  I saw a prayer rug on the floor that shimmered in the strategically placed lighting.  Turning to the first canvases hanging in the well-lit room, I noticed they had the same shimmery shine that the prayer rug had.  As I looked closer I realized why, the artists medium was Duct Tape.

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I am the mother of twins. They have an older brother, not much older but old enough to remember the fairy tale days of being the center of all of his mothers attention.  We would travel, play, nap, and just plain enjoy our days together, just the two of us.  Then came the day the center of his world shifted, tremendously.  I brought home his tiny little twin brothers.  The king of the castle had to share the throne and this was not an item he wanted to share, ever.

As I stood in this remote art gallery I couldn’t help thinking of my boys and although Duct Tape is an inanimate object, if it had feelings I believe it would feel like my toddler felt on that fateful December day when his brothers entered his life.

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Industrious grey Duct Tape, the fix all for so many a broken trinket.  It stood out as the one tape no man, or woman, could live without.  It can hold a muffler on your old jalopy, adhere posters to a wall (forever), fix leaking pipes in the basement or even pad a practice sword for you fellow knights.  Original Duct Tape was king!  Then came his baby brothers, colors and prints.  Life as the king halted.  Now the life of the grey tape sits in the discounted lower shelving, hoping someone remembers the original.

Blue, red, yellow, green, purple, pink, even white, graced the shelves of every hardware store.  Shiny metallic golds and silvers, were next.  With the wide variety of patterns to follow from little yellow ducks to the military camouflage of hunters.  The ideas were endless.  It did not take long for the creative minds of the human race to invent new uses for the sticky rolls of tape.

What I saw in this art gallery was Duct Tape ingenuity at it’s finest.  The scenes were lovingly detailed, tassels on the rug, shimmers on the water and even three-dimensional stones on the archway.  I do not believe the inventor of this household tape envisioned anything as elaborate as the Taj Mahal recreated on a wall in a small art gallery, but I’m sure he would approve.

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Winter Captivity

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HELP!  I am being held captive by my blankets!  They refuse to let me go.  They say it is for my own good that they keep me securely in my bed.  Their warm embrace cocoons me.  The blankets who did not welcome me as I laid down to sleep last night now ensconce me completely.  The treadmill is calling, I cannot move.  My work is begging me to start my day, the blankets snuggle me closer.  I am trying to break free of their bounds….or maybe I secretly like it!  😉

Tuesday

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Tuesday has no meaning. 

What happened to Tuesday?

Sunday is the Sabbath.

Monday is manic.

Wednesday is a hump.

Thursday is an eve.

Friday is thankful.

Saturday is bliss. 

But Tuesday is just Tuesday.

No special words accompany this day

it is just a transition from one to the next.

What happened to Tuesday?

I will call you “Terrific”!

Tuesday will no longer be forgotten.

Monday may be manic

and Wednesday is the crest,

but on the way to Wednesday,

Tuesday will always be terrific!

 Have a ‘Terrific’ Tuesday!

Five Fascinating Facts about Edgar Allan Poe

Interesting tidbits if true and if not, fun to think they are true.

Interesting Literature

1. He was the first person to use the term ‘short story’. At least, Poe’s use of the term is the earliest that has yet been uncovered, from 1840 – nearly 40 years earlier than the current OED citation from 1877. This is fitting, given that Poe was a pioneer of the short story form. (We’ve offered our pick of Poe’s best stories here.) Poe wrote ‘I have written five-and-twenty short stories whose general character may be so briefly defined’ in his preface to Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. This fact was discovered by Martin Greenup – see his ‘Poe and the First Use of the Term “Short Story”‘, Notes and Queries, 60.2 (2013), 251-254.

Poe12. Poe carried on writing even after he’d died. At least, if you believe the rather outlandish claim of Lizzie Doten, the psychic medium whose 1863 book, Poems from the Inner Life, included…

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