Find Inspiration

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I did not attend church yesterday.  I was visiting older friends, out-of-town, who do not normally attend church.  We spent the morning sipping our various warm-wake-us-up-drinks, chatting, relaxing and generally enjoying the calm of another cold winter morning.  The grey clouds veiled the sun from us.  The winds blew whistles in the trees.  We stayed inside, in the warmth, of my hostesses home and her friendship.

Our conversations flowed with the ease of old friends, reacquainting ourselves with each other.  We talked of our children, the Olympic games, favorite foods, and our individual faiths.  We did not rush.  We just relaxed.

As the morning waned to the afternoon our hostess excitedly told of a pastor on television that gives a great sermon.  She told us he is not like any pastor we have heard preach and insisted we watch this mornings message.  I will not mince words here, I was not interested.  I take my sermons from trusted pastors in familiar settings, like a church.  I am of an era that remembers the scandals of TV evangelists.  People that got rich from little old ladies sitting in their living rooms trusting the reverend who gave a “great sermon”.  They being of the era that knows their tithing is a direct path to righteousness.  Then the scandals would explode on mainstream media.  The women, and men, who trusted their earthly souls to a person, who took their money for their own benefits and ran.  It is heartbreaking for me to see the trust so generously given, be stripped away so completely.  So, I do not give a lot of credibility to this form of religion.

Yet I sat down and opened my mind to the words this pastor imparted to the millions this Sunday morning.  His message talked about judgment.  How we should not be standing in judgment of others.  Quotes from the bible rolled off his tongue, he added in funny antidotes, and knowingly talked of theologians.  He talked to his congregation as if he was talking with a group of old college friends.  He seemed at ease with his stardom.  Without really thinking about it I started taking notes in my journal.  I was jotting down the bible references, adding in my personal thoughts, just plain wanting to remember the words that he spoke that did mean something to me.

At the end of the message our hostess turned to me with a smile and asked, “Wasn’t that a good message?”  I honestly responded with “Yes it really was.”

You may not be looking for inspiration, but sometimes inspiration finds you.  Be sure to keep your hearts and minds open to our world around us, you never know where you will find inspiration next.

What Am I Supposed To Hear?

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My life is a series of events that seem to crash into one another.  There aren’t enough hours in a day.  I have not learned to clone myself to be at multiple places at the same time.  Mundane routines seem to cloud the exceptional.  Daily life jumbles together to make a scrambled collage of unfinished projects, work, and social life.  

Then, every now and again, I stop.  I truly listen to what my heart is telling me.  I watch the world around me.  I feel how things are flowing, and I make a change.  The change does not need to be earth shatteringly huge.  For I am not Superman needing to save Lois Lane from certain death by causing the world to spin backwards on its axis.  I am me.  Not cloned, not superhuman, just me.  I like me, even if it is hard to accomplish some goals or stay on task with others.  I like to mix up the mundane.  I love to flit from one life event to the other.  The adrenaline I feel from minor stress keeps me moving forward to accomplish all I have set on my shoulders.

So when you are feeling overwhelmed, please, take a moment to breathe.  Take in the world around you for just a moment or two.  Always remember your babies won’t be babies forever, the dishes can wait, deadlines are a goal not the guillotine, and most of all, listen to your heart.

Travel well my friends.  

A Day For Lovers

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Snow blankets the earth, you are by my side.

We sit, snuggled under a blanket,

watching our fingers intertwine.

Your voice whispers to me, “stay here.”

I feel your heartbeat next to mine.

Gentle, falling, lacy crystals

entice us to remain.

The day will pass, outside my door.

We will embrace forevermore.

 

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Frivolous Friday

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I sat ensconced in warmth, munching salted chips, thinking the world looks cold.  People pass by, bundled, trying to keep the icy air at bay.  The police officer writing tickets for the parking meters looks like Ralphie’s brother from A Christmas Story.  Her arms are stiff from all the fluffy padding of her winter attire.  The homeless man with all his earthly possessions, wheeling behind him, is moving tirelessly.  He pauses for only a few moments to rest before moving off, around the corner out of my sight.  I hope he finds somewhere warm and safe to pass the rest of the day, out of the biting cold.  College kids hurry past, heads down racing to the next building on campus before they freeze.

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The music is too loud here, so my mind blocks out all the noise and I focus outside where the sound is released to collide with other sounds.  The conversations echo off one another.  I am trying to focus on the conversation with my friend but between bites of food and my brain shutting out all the noise, it is difficult.

The gentle sloping roof of the building next door makes me wonder why all buildings are not built with curves.  The roof line looks elegant.  Plus with the recent snowstorm the weight of the snow slid gracefully off the roof to pile on the grass below.  The huge art in the grassy area near the curved roof structure is still covered with snow.  The snow adds to the towering monolith, making it seem more robust.

“What do you want to do today?”

I think he asked it twice.  My mind slowly starts firing on ideas.  I smile at him, “Let’s get out of here.”  I say.  “Road trip?”  He smiles back.  One of our favorite pastimes.  He is always up for one of my ‘I-have-no-idea’ kind of ideas.  We bundle up to leave the noise and the picture window behind.

The muffled sounds of the city are a welcome relief for me.  Gone is the blaring music, the cacophony of voices and the racket of a kitchen.  We parked close, to avoid the prolonged cold.  He drives.  I drive like a bat out of hell, so his slower more relaxed style is better for us on these drives.  We head west out-of-town to no where in particular.  I snap pictures as we drive.  I have a general destination in mind but no exact direction is necessary.  I love to just be away, even if it is for just a few hours.  I work on a project, we talk, we absorb the world around us as it flies past us outside the windows.
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The rolling hills go on and on.  We pass a cemetery that has a historic marker posted by it’s entrance.  We pass through small towns that have fur trader businesses, where stacks of furs are covered in snow waiting to be cured and made into…something.  Every town we visit has at least one church and one bar.  What an interesting combination.

Returning home I feel refreshed and relaxed.  My boys are home from school.  It is rejuvenating to travel, even for just a few hours, but it is the coming home I love the most.
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When The Pen Runs Dry

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My pen is dry.  I don’t have a voice.  It seems the rest of the world is talking but my pen ran dry.  The letters that form the words that weave a tapestry of stories are not intertwining together.  Instead I have disjointed thoughts that never leave my mind.  The letters form into words, they come together, then they flit away.  I watch them go wanting them to stay together but like the dandelion fluff on the wind they scatter apart.  What will I do?  Confinement seems logical, travel seems luxurious, experience seems necessary.  Why then do the words abandon me?  I sit in disbelief that the words have left me.  I try to attach the tangible to them but it is not to be.  My pen ran dry.  An intimate part of me is missing.  The part of me that dances to the music is languidly reclining on the sofa.  The part of me that feels energy from the movement of my hands is sleeping.  I miss the flow of thoughts.  I desire more time to allow my pen to skate across the paper.  The typing of my stories feels like torture.  Why did you leave me?  When will you return? 

My pen ran dry.

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Thank You Snow People

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Nebraska is notorious for harsh winters.  We experience arctic cold air, piles of snow and wind that cuts across this land unchecked for miles.  The people who live in Nebraska know our weather is extreme (don’t even get me started on the summers around here).  Yet here we all are.

I personally love living in Nebraska, extreme weather and all.  This winter season has been marked by erratic weather patterns of high temperatures of 50º (F) one day and the next day 10° (F) or less.  Right now in Nebraska we are frigid.  Twice area schools have been canceled due to temps dropping to -11º (F).  We haven’t seen the snow piles of the past two winters but the cold is still reminding us of the season.  It has been so cold the polar bears are going to start migrating down here.

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Two days ago we got our first major snowstorm of 2014.  Schools got canceled due to the snow and temperatures once again falling below zero.  So yesterday was a wonderful stay at home day to enjoy the warmth and love of an extra day off together.  I love snuggling down to watch movies in the middle of the day with my teenagers, eating junk food and laughing together.  It feels like the world is standing still just for us.

Today was a normal schedule of out the door, fight the traffic and take my boys to their respective schools.  What I found was snow cleared away from the roads.  Yes of course the snow plows were out working but I mean the lesser used side streets were cleared, the parking lots were almost flake free and the sidewalks looked unscathed by mother nature’s wrath.  The hard work of the people, to remove the snow for others, so they have safe travels made me smile.

Thank you Snow People for all of your hard work.

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Cleaning with Fire

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There was a need for the destruction of a house.  It was overrun with rodents, fleas and stray cats.  Piles of dirty clothes, forgotten furniture and mounds of trash littered the interior.  The house was a slumlord’s dream.  It would be rented to anyone who had the cash to pay for it.  The police were frequent visitors to this location.  Tenets coming and going with no regularity.  The only consistency was the trash in the yard.

After years of the home being in disrepair, landlord’s frustrations and the community exasperated, an investor purchased the land and the house.  Now what?  It was decided to demolish the house with fire.  The community volunteer firefighters would use the structure for training as the infestation of fleas is eradicated.  How did this home get to this fate?

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My mind wanders to what the house originally was like.  It was built on a large corner lot of a growing small town.  It was not a large house because the first owners probably didn’t need a “great room”, a “master suite”, or a bathroom for each bedroom.  It was modest for the year it was built, sturdy, and probably someone’s dream, when life was generally simplistic.

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Nothing is left of the building.  It is nothing but a pile of smoldering wood, metal, and cinderblocks.  The training complete for the firefighters.  The community will rebuild with hopes of a fresh start.  Stray cats will find new homes, the wildlife who sought refuge in the worn out shell of a house will move back into the wild.  Life moves forward, ever on.