Friday, August 30, 2013



Interesting Facts About the Meaning of Hummingbirds

The meaning of hummingbirds in ancient folklore can only be found in civilizations native to the Western Hemisphere.  Hummingbirds are only found in the Western Hemisphere, so legends and folklore related to hummingbirds were not created by European, Asian, or African cultures.
Members of the Pueblo Tribe legend and traditions also associate hummingbirds with rain.  Dances to bring rain are filled with symbols of the hummingbird.  One Pueblo legend talks about how a hummingbird gathered clouds from all four directions: north, south, east, and west to bring rain to an earth filled with fire. 

The hummingbird is also often associated with joy and freedom.  A hummingbird is constantly in motion and cannot survive in a cage.  It’s darting motion and bright colors what associates it with joy and a positive outlook, or optimism.


A friend commented that an old wives tale told
that seeing a hummingbird is a reminder that God is always with you
in a most delicate, personal way!

Funny, fat little, tailless bodies
that are supported forward and backwards
with wings that move in the infinity pattern.

For most of the season, I have not seen many hummingbirds,
so sorry to say that I have let the sugar water go rancid in this feeder.
When I did spot and emerald green bird, I immediately went into the house
and made a batch of the nectar they seem to like so much.
I will try to change this out at lease every other day.
I am not sure how long hummingbirds stay in my area,
but will keep them as long as I can!

It was and is very difficult to get these hummers while sipping on my butterfly bushes.
Not only is the blooming time near the end,
but these small birds seem to be fearful of bees and wasps.
They move so quickly form bloom to bloom.
Even I love the heady grape scent in the air near these bushes.

For some reason, most of the hummingbirds that find my simple feeder,
also hover around this funny chicken I have in a tomato planter.
Curious as to what they see in him.
 Early one morning, Harvey was laying at my feet. 
A hummingbird flew and hovered three inches from his face,
and they just stared at each other. 
When the hummer flew away, Harvey just watched as if this happens all the time..
Maybe it does, and I was just privileged to witness this odd friendship.

I must admit that waiting and watching for these little fellows,
has made my heavy heart light again.
I remain quiet, with camera poised. 
The dogs are usually in the chair next to me, as the humid mornings
do not call for chasing after each other. 
Any whirring movement, and my camera comes to attention,
even though most of the time, although these hummingbirds do not seem to be afraid of me,
they are too quick to capture most of their flight paths. 
I have also discovered that the camera that I have had for years,
seems to have an extra zoom for only these pictures. 
I am counting it as a blessing, rather than my ignorance of all things technical.
It is so interesting to see them land and sit for a spell near the bird feeders,
while cardinals, bluejays, sparrows and nuthatches fly in and around.

Hummingbirds seem to only be out in the daylight.
Nighttime finds them nestled in strange little nests.
This was the last pic before dusk,
I took from inside the house.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Crossroads: At the Intersection of Resentment and Forgiveness

I want to look and act like my friend Connie when I'm seventy years old.
Energy enthusiasm follow her like an orb as she zips through her daily
three mile walk around our neighborhood.
One word sums her up:  light.  She's pure light.

So intrigued by this beautiful woman who is chronologically old enough to
be my mom but young enough in spirit to be my baby sister, I invited Connie to
lunch.  I wanted to know about the important decisions she had made in her life
and how they had shaped her.  I knew there was much to learn from this feisty

Connie said, "One of the biggest choices I had to make throughout my life
was whether to extend forgiveness or to hold on to resentment.  I took the wrong
road.  I chose to harbor my hurt."

Connie was birthed to a seventeen-year-old mom and an absentee father.
Connie's mother, being both a glamorous and fun-loving woman, lacked the
emotional maturity ro be the mom Connie longed for.  For twelve years, while
her mom dated, Connie's grandmother, who lived with them, provided her care and
direction.  But at last her mother did settle down with a fabulous father figure for
Connie, and she looked to establish the mother daughter bond that Connie had
longed for, for so many years.  But it was too late.

In those short but formative first twelve years, Connie had learned to revel in
resentment toward her mother.  As her mother tried harder and harder to reach
her, Connie realized that she had something to hold over her mom, and Connie
found that she enjoyed the power.  Connie told me, "I fed my hurt."

Connie would continue to find herself at this same intersection over and over,
as her mom sought to soothe the pain she had caused her then-young daughter.
But Connie would always turn on to the road of resentment instead of forgiveness,
looking for justice.

    He will not crush the weakest reed
         or put out a flickering candle.
         He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.  (Isaiah 42:3)

As Connie continued to withhold forgiveness through the years, her own
kids were amazed that their mom---so forgiving and so forgiving of others---
held on to bitterness with both hands wen it came to their grandmother.

But as Alzheimer's besieged her once-healthy mom, Connie's heart began to
soften.  He mom, who still recognized Connie, was comforted b having her
only child be her caregiver.  Still, the important words had not been said.  Finally,
Connie found herself sitting at the corner of resentment and forgiveness for the
last time.

As her mother lay on her deathbed in a deep comatose state, Connie sent her
family from her mother's room.  She laid her head upon her mother's pillow and
whispered softly in her mother's ear, "Will you forgive me?"  Against all odds,
Connie's mom, never opening her eyes, squeezed her daughter's hand.

Isn't it interesting that for sixty-five years, Connie's mom sought her forgiveness,
but in the end it was Connie who asked for hers?  Connie realized that she
had sacrificed years of incredible joys and celebrations in order to harbor her
hurt, feed her pain, and try to right a wrong from so long ago.

Connie mourned her mother's death but her tears were not bitter---she had
made peace with her mom, and herself.  But this wise and precious woman
sat across form me at our table in the restaurant, her tears flowed with regret for
the years wasted.

      So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view.
      At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view.
      How differently we know Him now! 
     This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. 
     The old life is gone; a new live begun!
                                                  (2 Corinthians 5:16-17)

COME ON!!!!!
Was stammering around the house this morning, feeling angry and hurt.
Rearranging furniture, cleaning and throwing things out!
All I asked for was an answer to how to deal with so many things.
I ran across a devotional written by Ellen Miller,
my good friend Karen gave me a long while ago.
I had not had "time" to read it.
Really God?  This is the answer?  OK.  What do you have for me today.
I flipped to August 26...which was a part two,
so I turned to the day get the whole message.
I sat down in a chair and read the above story.
Through tears, and sobs, God had given me an answer.

I absolutely hate confrontations.
Especially with my family, immediate or fringe. 
There is always so much baggage with family.
I also seem to be unable to find words,
or even clear thoughts when discussing anything.
It mostly ends up with screaming and crying and folks going away with hurt feelings.
After a while, as we each rethink what we said, what was said,
and what really was the true intent,
forgiveness happens.

For some reason, resentment feels so very good to hang onto and to feed.
Hurt feelings, anger, thoughts that build to selfish pity parties.
We wonder what others think of us from stories told in anger.
Why is it so very hard to say I'm sorry. 
I never ment that.
Why can we not clarify what we thought we heard?
Why is it so very hard to NOT take offense in the first place.
No one really goes out of their way to hurt someone they love.
For that matter, I don't know anyone who goes out of their way to hurt a stranger.

So on this day of new beginnings, I choose forgiveness.
I hope you can too.
It really is much better to take a deep clean breath.
Unhindered by resentment.
Do it now!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Addiction

From the hours between 7am and noon,
I can most likely be found in my back yard oasis.
I call it an oasis because for me, there is no other place on earth
that is as peaceful or beautiful.
I invite others to come and sit a spell, even when I am not here.
Because in my garden you will surely find calm and healing.

One azalea bush has bloomed bright fusia,
and the rest of the trees and bushes seem to blossom more
every moment I look up at them from my perch,
unfurling their leaves and flowers in the warm day.

The orioles have arrived and have come back to their nest of last year,
in the tree directly in front of my chair, high above in my tree.
I scurry, as well as I am able with a broken leg,
to fill their feeders with grape jelly, orange marmalade and orange halves.
I hear their lovely song, as they wait for the dogs to settle,
and they feel comfortable enough to sip the homemade juices.
With their bright orange coloring, my camera and I can follow their progress easily.


The rose breasted grosbeaks have also returned with a flourish.
I had only seen them a few times last season,
taking quite a while to discover what kind of bird they actually were. 
Now they are back in multitude,
and I am discovering are very aggressive at the feeders!

mama chasing away the bluejay

The shy, but noisy red headed woodpeckers call my attenton to thier frolicking
in the trees behind my yard. 
Squawking and flying and chasing one another,
rarely attempting to venture to the tree nut banquet awaiting them in the feeder.
When they do come close,
it is only to circle with their vibrant white, black and red feathers,
swooping near, but most always veering off at the last moment. 

Every year I try to decipher each different birdsong,
and I seem to forget each tune during the cold winter months.
With that first early morning note,
I am transported back as if no time had passed at all.

I watch the mourning dove sunning herself on top of the feeder.
Suddenly she flies away as I notice all the bird songs have stopped.
Gracfully low overhead, a hawk circles and then leaves.
The songs begin again as though the switch was flipped on.

I eagerly await the hatching baby birds,
as the parents take turns feeding them meal worms and suet,
and then finally guide their young to the feeders
to learn to eat the seeds and jelly themselves.

As I cautiously walk around the garden, setting baskets, and iron ornaments around,
I am drawn to the weeds that seem to be taking over the area.
I broke my leg two weeks ago,
and I have been instructed by my youngest daughter
that I must sit and allow her to take over my much loved chores.
It is easy for me to let her mow the grass and sweep the deck,
even to bag the leaves from last fall.
But it is so very difficult for me to even suggest  she carefully rake the beds
where dormant perennials await the winter blanket of leaves
to be lovingly thrown away from them.
Through the decade of years,
I have learned not to weed anything until most everything has come up to bloom.
I have unknowingly pulled may newly erupting flowers from their home,
never to see them again, because I thought they were weeds.

As I continue my tour, I stop to pull just one weed. 
One turns into three and I have the thought
that I am addicted to my garden as one is addicted to nicotine or alcohol or cocaine.
As the physical pain in my leg creeps into my consciousness,
I struggle to stand and move to the safety of the deck. 
It is a mighty struggle as my eyes see more and more of the once hidden weeds.
However, I consider the consequences of continuing this current path. 
The lure of just one more weed,  just one more bed,
is almost more than I can overcome.
The thought of my daughter catching me is enough to stop me in my tracks, though.

Off to the sun dappled area, where too soon it will be too hot to enjoy my paradise.
If I behave now, I can enter my familiar world of earth and growth and abandon.
It is enough knowing that I will be wrapped in my garden soon enough,
that I can let the winter plans of complete re landscaping go another year. 
There will be plenty of weeding and planting to do without  any new projects this year.

The sun is just now touching my chair supported toes, as I keep them lifted to heal. 
It will be only a matter of minutes before I must take cover from the sun.
I may use some sunscreen and a floppy hat to extend my visit a little longer.
The bird's songs lull me into complete bliss as the warm breeze drifts past me.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Something's different

He sloshes through the stained snow on his was to training.
It's almost a mile from the temporary group home.
He worked the late shift last night,
cleaning and waxing floors.
It's been almost fifteen years since he had a job.
Since he had to wake to an alarm that he set.
Since he had to buy and make his own meals.
The training has helped.
It's amazing how much he forgot, or never knew at all.
He didn't know his dad, and his mom wasn't much of a homemaker.
She did what she could for him and his three sisters,
but most of the time, she spent in the bar, trying to forget her problems.
He didn't blame her.
She made sure they all got to school.
It was great that the church down the street donated socks and sweat shirts and pants
once a year, because the clothes they did have were only washed when his mom
stumbled into some extra money.
He hated the way some of the other kids held their noses when he walked by,
but what could he do?
Occasionally his mom would throw the clothes away when she went to the food bank.
There was a hand me down store there where they got free clothes.
He liked the church clothes better.
Those clothes were new.
It had
felt like his birthday.

When he was fifteen, he skipped school, again.
This time, he went into the gas station around the corner with his two friends.
They were going to get a pop.
One of his friends had another idea though, but it was too late to stop him.
He pulled out his dad's gun and told the clerk to give him the money.
The clerk was scared, and fumbled at the register.
His friend was afraid too.
The gun went off and the clerk died.
Fifteen years later, he was walking down the street, on his way to learn how to pay his bills.

It wasn't even worth it.
Why go through all this trouble to learn to pay bills,
make a budget, learn to make a grilled cheese sandwich, without burning the kitchen down,
and how to be polite enough to the manager of the store he cleaned every night,
so he wouldn't get fired for telling him to shove this stupid job.

As he walked in the door to the building and over to the third room,
he saw a few familiar faces.
Their faces looked as noncommittal as his own.
They were all supposed to be learning skills,
and listening to the church fella with all the tattoos
tell them about the way life was supposed be.
He was a good guy, but he had never been in prison before. 
What did he know.

He made his way to the registration table,
scrawled his name with his large, callused hand,
and grabbed a coke.
Something was different today though.
Instead of the tootsie pops that were always set out,
there was a big bowl of cookies.
Where did these come from?
They smelled so good.
They looked so good!
These were not store bought cookies.
They were round but not really round, kind of misshaped.
The preacher said he could have four,
and if there were any left, he could take some home.
He wondered who had spent their day making all these cookies.
There must be at least twelve dozen or more chocolate chip cookies here.
Everyone had the same reaction.
Each man got real quiet when he got to the table.

He inhaled deeply.
Oh, it smelled so good.
He inhaled again.
He couldn't smell the moldy room anymore.
He took a small bite, and it was so very good.
A memory of his grandmother came to his mind. His mom's mom.
When he was only three or four, they lived with his grandparents until Grandpa died.
Grandma died right after that.
Mom said she couldn't live without him.
They had to move then, and things were never good again.

But he remembered Granny making
chocolate chip cookies every Saturday morning.
She let him help stir with the big wooden spoon in the bowl that seemed bigger than he was,
as she added cup after cup of flour to the butter and sugar.
Then he helped her form the perfect spoonful balls of cookie dough onto the pan.
He even remembered them sharing the last bit of dough together,
cause it wouldn't make a good sized cookie anyway.
He could remember the smell of the kitchen when the cookies were baking.
He thought he remembered the scent seeming to linger for days.
Grandma always made a few batches to take to church the next morning.
They would all gather after preaching for coffee and cookies.
Those were happy times.
He hadn't thought about granny or church is years.
It had always made him sad, so why think of those times.

But now, as he ate another cookie, more slowly this time,
it seemed like the best thing to think on.
He listened to the church fella today, as he ate the cookies.
He was talking about peace. It made sense today.
He didn't feel rushed or angry right now.
The rest of the ex cons, were listening too.
No talking or heckling the preacher as was usual.
It felt safe here.
He hoped he could hang onto this feeling,
this peace he seemed to have until the next time they met,
the day after tomorrow.
He would try.
What a nice thing for someone to do for them.
Home baked cookies.
He wondered if there would be cookies next time.
He decided that this would be a good day.

Monday, February 18, 2013

It's the little things

It was a day to celebrate!
Well, nothing monumental,
but she was finally, after six weeks,
released from her dreaded crutches.
The sun was shining and it had stopped snowing,
but it was a bit too cold to venture into the state park
for some photo opportunities.
She decided on breakfast instead.

Three pancakes, two eggs, two strips of crispy bacon
and all the coffee she could drink!
She felt so free!
As she sipped her coffee, and opened up her kindle,
she continued to read the story she was struggling to get interested in.
In this chapter, a girl was being helped into and out of a car.

The memories of her early marriage days,
when her husband would offer the same kindnesses,
flooded back to her.
She had been married over twenty six years now,
and those days seemed to be so far away.
She let her mind wander.
Out the window, into the crisp chilly air,
the bright sun who had been hiding for what seemed months appeared
and there were sounds of the people near her talking.

A young girl was explaining that she learned to set the table in gym class.
This caught her attention and brought her back to the present.
The small girl, in gym class, had large forks, knives and spoons,
to arrange on a table during a relay race.
They had to be in the proper order or you got sent back to the beginning.

This seemed cute until the memory of her mother
teaching her this task every mealtime,
made her long for simpler times.
Everything seemed so difficult these days,
and no one really just talked anymore.
Everyone was on their IPhones, or Ipads or Kindles.
She did like the convenience of her many books on one purse sized device.

She looked out the window once again, and saw an elderly couple
leaving the restaurant.
She was bundled up in a fur collared coat, and had on a a very bright,
orange, yellow and white silk scarf to keep her hair in place.
He was wearing an old well loved baseball cap and red plaid wool jacket.
She saw them heading to a mini van.
He scurried in front of her to open her door.
But it wasn't the passenger side van door he unlocked and opened.
It was the driver side door of the old blue pick up truck
with the carpenter's union bumper sticker.
She slowly scooted into the seat behind the wheel,
he closed the door after making sure she had her seatbelt in hand,
then meandered around the truck to take his own place in the passenger seat.
As she looked at him, she realized that he was very old, nearing ninety at least.
His wife was probably at least ten years his junior, and did all of the driving now.

How sweet that he still opened her door.
She could only imagine the embarrassment and struggle it took
to finally succumb to giving away his privilege.

She breathed in, took the last sip of coffee,
paid the bill and drove to her own home.
The dog could be walked a short distance today,
even though the doctor had said two weeks.
It was so very sunny and the puppy had gained three pounds, as she had,
healing and lounging since the accident.
Three or four houses down and back would not hurt either of them.

Monday, January 21, 2013

What makes old, Old?


  1. Having lived for a long time; no longer young.
  2. Made or built long ago: "the old quarter of the town".
ancient - aged - olden - antique - former

I was standing by the stove, waiting on the tea kettle to heat,
stirring some old lime honey I bought two years ago,
wondering if I added it to my blueberry/pineapple tea
if I would get botulism.

I recalled a recent visit with my sister.
My mom was over and we three were making tea.
My mom poured the water too soon before boiling
and I had to microwave it and re steep the tea.

I remember looking at my sister as if to say
"what is she thinking?"
Why would I even feel like that?
Haven't I ever made a silly mistake?
Why does she deserve ridicule?
I'm sure my children wonder at my imperfections and slips all the time.
Is 73 old?
Now that I am nearing 50, it sure doesn't seem that way.
I always thing of my mother at my age now.
It throws me when I realize she is tired ad doesn't have much stamina.
So is my 90 year old grandmother old?
Does being confused, feeble, unable to walk more than a few steps,
or  unable to remember the last topic of conversation make you old?
Can you be old at 15?
old soul
A spiritual person whom is wise beyond their years;
people of strong emotional stability.
 Basically, someone whom has more understanding of the world around them.
I know that I feel very old and out of touch
when listening to my two twenty something daughters.
Our age difference was never more apparent
 than when I was in Texas with the two of them.
They chatted, partied, discussed things I had never even heard of.
I was very content to tag along,
absorbing some of their energy, but in reality it sapped mine.
Is that old?
I just got word that my 3oth high school r3eunion is this summer.
So does that mean I am old?
My mind feels 23.
These days my body feels 73.
I am breaking down and oh so ready to build back up.
After the broken foot heals, I will slowly, hopefully get back in shape.
Since my break, and sitting with no weight on my foot,
I cannot believe how quickly I tire.
This weekend my youngest took me to church,
out to lunch then to Target to get a few groceries.
I could not keep my eyes open past 5:30.
My word.
I recently heard that my great grandfather was apt to say when feeling down:
"I've showered shit and shaved and ready to go."
Which makes perfect sense to me.
"You are only as old as you let yourself feel"
So, I am going with 48 today.
Watching is slowly snow all day, knowing I do not have to get out in it.
Writing reports on breeds of sheep for my spinning class.
Texting with my husband and oldest daughter.
"Old is as old does"
Next week I will focus on 38,
although there is nothing wrong with 15, 48, 90 or 73.
They all have their positivesd and negatives.
"Forget what they say about the teenage years.
There is something about maturity
that allows one the freedom to grow without fear of
reprisal or criticism - and that is huge!"
I will never look at my mother's missteps with judgement again
for I will soon be her age and my children will see me,
hopefully as still 48, wondering when I got old.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Roxy Iron Heart

my daughter bought a dog last week.
a two year old rescue besenji and boxer or pit bull mix.
I think her theme song should be Little Bitty Pretty One by Bobby Ray.
Just seems to fit how I imagine she prances.

My head if swirling with stories of this little girl.
And even as a companion for Karl, a fiction piece my daughter wrote,
that I am in love with.
I wish I could kick her into gear to write about this character that I am so enamored with!

Maybe if I give her some prompts:

Roxy apparently is a fence climber.....10 feet chain fence at the vet's to get to her neighbor lab.
I imagine the lab being afraid and Roxy leaping clear over, landing with a puff of dust,
to comfort the new arrival.
You see, Roxy was scheduled to be put down before the local shelter took her in in June.
My daughter adopted her in January.
Roxy was on the jogging program.
Good thing my daughter is a runner,
although Roxy seems a bit annoyed when V must take walk breaks.

My youngest believe that Roxy was in a prison gang, thus how she escaped so many close calls.
I imagine a Hogan's Heroes adventure, with fluffy, timid Charlie as
the sidekick the lookout, the one who pretends to be injured and cries out in pain
to get the attention of the evil ice people.
His only defence is chewing on his leash he carries around his neck.

I believe Roxy needs a turquoise collar (pink is too feminine for Roxy Lion Heart)
with a lam'e cape attached at the back.
Roxy also has a tattoo!
Oh the vet says it was given to her after she was spade.
Silly vet.
It is the mark of the string bearers!
( You should definitely get that as your next tattoo V!)

I imagined Karl having adventures in bumper cars at a carnival,
Trekking across the lands in search of.......
meeting all kinds of interesting quirky folk.
It makes me happy now that he has companions.
You see, Karl is simple and kind.
He is easily distracted and fooled and led astray.
Now with Roxy Lion Heart and Charlie for friends...
maybe these companions are found along the trek...
they work together.

Yeah....  I am geared more for children's books.
I'm sure, especially with the original Karl stories, that an adult fiction could be written as well.
Kind of like Stephen King's Dark Tower series
or Mrs. Murphy Mysteries by Rita Mea Brown ...
I can imagine adult and children's books written with the same themes
only for different readers.
Can't you see parents and children reading the same book,
and discussing common threads?!
But not needing the other to enjoy your age's book.

So, I will put writing prompts down occasionally, and see where V takes them.