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Monday’s Random Thought: Summer Morning August 29, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 4:19 pm
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Bright orange blossoms burst from our garden, green tomatoes way down their branches. Purple and salmon colored petunias spill from big pots and ripe strawberries dangle on their vine.

Sitting on our deck, I observe the morning. Is it really late August? Grey clouds hover, a breeze sends goose bumps up my legs. The orange blossoms may not turn into pumpkins and we may be eating green tomatoes in October, but I know summer was here by the small impressions: tanned hands, brown lawn, tall sun flowers, the color of my children’s hair, the sleep in their voices and the feeling in my heart that in just over a week they will be back in school and mornings will be spent differently. No more pajamas until noon. I won’t be observing the color of fruit in the garden, pulling dead blossoms off a plant. There will be other gifts to observe, different layers to peel away.

Although my sweater barely keeps out the morning chill on this, the last Monday in August, I know summer was here by the small gifts left in my garden and the big gifts left in my heart.

by J.G. McGlothern

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Viewer’s Pass August 25, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 8:55 pm
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Recently on vacation with two other families we found ourselves at a water park.  Six adults and seven kids loaded into our vehicles and headed for adventure.

At the park entrance there was a decision to be made – different ticket options for the adults. You could buy the “viewer pass” for $18 and if you decide not to partake in the fun you can return your dry wrist band and receive $8 back.

Viewing the fun only $10, going down the slides, joining the madness, $18. No this isn’t a Master Card commercial, everything has a price, right?

A couple of us adults were decided when we left our vacation rental by leaving our suits at home.  The others were undecided, but prepared by either bringing their swimsuit or wearing it under their clothes. My suit was on before getting in the car.

The weather was acceptable, not raining.  A few clouds hung in the air, sun definitely out, just windy, preventing the sun from putting out scorching heat. Jump-in-the-water-it’s-so-hot, it definitely was not.

All six kids hit the slides, weather conditions not a factor. As I observed the fun, watching the activity around me I learned it wasn’t hot enough yet for my husband or adult friends, who came undecided and prepared with their suits.

After watching our kids light up with joy as they came flying out of the shoots and land in the pool of water, I realized they could care less if they were cold.  They didn’t need to wait for others to say they were in for the fun or not.

I peeled off my shorts and shirt, handed my husband my bag, kicked off my shoes, and headed up the stairs.  I ripped off my bracelet, no longer just a viewer; I chose the “Twister” slide and got in line.

I am not a total ride enthusiast, although I like them, I just prefer the more cautious ones, not the oh-my-God-I’m-gonna-die ones.  Nervous on the first slide, I bit my lip once or twice.  By the fifth time down all the slide options I was a pro. After an hour of being a kid, watching my adult friends indulge me with snapping my photo as I came sliding down, cheering me on, it was time for the river raft ride.

I jumped into my inner-tube and headed down the winding slide. Next thing I know, I am flipped out of my tube, hitting my head on the bottom of the slide, gasping for air.  So much for participating in the fun.

Hurt shoulder, bruised ego, I headed for the changing room.

My husband greeted me with a big smile and even bigger hug. Honey, you shouldn’t have left your helmet at home, he lovingly told me.

The helmet thing is our private joke. I am always hitting my head, tripping over something. If I chose to keep my viewer bracelet dry, I still would have done something, like stub my toe.

Just this past weekend on another trip with a different group of friends, I went inner-tubing behind a boat and screamed the whole way. I did think I was going to die. I didn’t.

Sitting and watching brings plenty of joy for many. I for one am not content with just taking the viewer pass. Head bumps, terror, swallowing water, I’m still here. If I didn’t jump down that slide or hop out of the boat I would have felt like I missed out.

Tomorrow our family heads east, we will be stopping for a guided river raft ride.  No viewer pass option. I will put on my life vest and through gritted teeth as the waves splash over our raft I will be so glad I am not sitting on the side of the river.

And even if I bump my head the adventure will be priceless. For me it’s a much bigger price to not go for it.

by J.G. McGlothern

 

Monday’s Random Thought: Self-Empowerment August 22, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 5:13 pm
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Don’t let it rain on your parade, my mom would say to us kids when we were young and upset about this or that not going our way.

Oh, how I hated that.

Nobody can rain on your paradeit’s up to you how you feel, she would continue as I gagged on her words. After the gag factor I would scream back, You hate me, you don’t care. I thought she was so blind, ignorant and downright mean.

So true this rain on parade thing, like most, not all, but most things our parents tell us and we find ourselves telling our children.

“Healing is a solo endeavor, I just read from Carolyn Myss this morning. She continues, …”while we all need support during this process, ultimately the task of self-empowerment rests with us.” She isn’t being ignorant or mean, just speaking some truth that is hard to swallow, but once we do it makes life so much lighter.

So light we won’t even notice the rain pouring around us. And if we do notice we will stop screaming about the meanness of it all and just start dancing in the puddles.

by J.G. McGlothern

 

Lost Art August 19, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart,mom writer — heartwriter @ 4:16 pm
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The reason I have always had a girl crush on Jane Austen may not seem obvious, a bit backward in thought. No it’s not the long hair, the dresses or even that she was one of the first women to write the romantic novel back when women were supposed to just be making babies.

She had me at “Dear…..” It’s the letter writing. We don’t know a lot about her life but we know much of it involved writing letters. She wrote to her sister, her parents, friends, acquaintances. Details pouring on the page with ink not from a type writer but from her own hand, yielding a writing instrument.

In the early 1990’s, for fifteen months of my life that is how I communicated with my family and friends. Living in Japan, before email, I hand wrote letters. Practically every day. It was my connection to home. And if I wanted to hear from others it started with me sending a letter in the mail. Oh, how I treasured that moment of seeing a letter in my mail slot, opening it up and sitting in my shoe box apartment devouring every word. Each letter writer had their own style, not only of handwriting but of the way they put words on paper

Last week I received a letter, handwritten on stationary, not an email or FaceBook message, but a hand written letter in my mailbox, not my Inbox. I met my friend David in Japan and every year I get one or two letters from him, handwritten often on Super Hero Stationary, complete with stickers. He is a kid at heart hanging on to that lost art, hardly recognized by many these days. We blame lack of time, the ease of technology, for not making the effort in writing letters.

Nothing can replace the sight of your name handwritten on an envelope, the smell of someone else’s home, the touch of paper or the words that come popping off the page, meant just for you.

With kids being home this summer, my schedule out of whack, my me time out the window, there has been one thing that has been all mine this summer.  During the other seasons my friend Sonya and I write every Thursday together. We start our writing time off with penning a letter to each other. It is a free write exercise to catch the other up on news from the past week. Instead of talking about it, we are writing the details to each other.

We tried to get together this summer and between basketball camps, swim and dive meets, vacations, it didn’t work, until yesterday. In the early weeks, without planning it, we still wrote each other letters. Although she lives a block away we still dropped letters in the others mail box, not Inbox. We sat down, took the time to pen our thoughts. In this simple, ancient art form, I found peace. In writing the letters I found a release, letting go of stress, reflecting on my news as I told it to Sonya through the blank page. In reading her letters I found inspiration, joy, humor. In both the writing and reading, I found my breath. An email can be read while holding your breath, a letter takes inhales and exhales. Through the in and out of breathing, I find peace, a bit of joy, and a whole lot of myself.

I may not be penning my letters from a small room overlooking my father’s farm like Jane Austen, or writing about the upcoming dance being held in town next Saturday night. But I am sitting down, penning my thoughts to a friend and through that art I find peace, a bit of love, connection to the other. I discover myself through an art that doesn’t have to be lost, if I just take the time to find it.

by J.G. McGlothern

 

Monday’s Random Thought: Dance Theme August 15, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 10:58 pm
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The home we are renting this week with friends has a music theme. Each room has musical instruments hanging on the walls or sitting on shelves. The piano is tuned. Figurines, music videos, framed pictures, dishes, all having to do with music. My husband and I have the Country Western room, one couple the Jazz room, the third couple has the Classical room. All seven kids are sleeping in the Rock ‘n Roll rooom, complete with Karaoke.

In one of the bathrooms these words are painted on the wall:

 Dance as if no one was watching

Sing as if no one was listening,

And Live every day as if it were your last.

Of course the words grab me, tug at my heart, inspire. And for the brief moment I am in the bathroom reading the words I am deeply inspired. Motivated.  In order to really make them a theme in my life I would need them not only painted on a wall in my own home, but in every room and even then the theme wouldn’t take hold until the words were engraved in my heart.

Easy to write the words on the wall but much harder to pull them off and truly dance with them making them a part of my life, as a  way to live. 

No reason though why I can’t try… one dance, one song, one day at a time.  If I listen to the music I could wake up one day with a new, life giving theme tapping in my heart.

by J.G. McGlothern

 

Corrections August 11, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart,Observation — heartwriter @ 3:41 pm
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It’s so obvious and I just figured out who she got it from yesterday. The signs were so clear, that I saw right through them.

My daughter and husband have allergies. Lots of nose blowing at our house this summer. Our lovely nine year old daughter doesn’t have the best aim, or her mind is on other things, and needless to say there are lots of used Kleenex tissues on the floor near the bathroom waste basket. The basket is behind the door, she can’t always see, the door gets in the way. We tease her about missing the basket.

Oh, I didn’t know I missed, she will tell us.

I have just been picking up the tissues and tossing them in the basket. The other day I thought I would tell her, since she is not aware of this minor household activity. So I called her into the bathroom to show her the tissues on the floor.

Denial.

Mom, you always say it is me, I am not the only one who blows my nose. Well, her dad is the other one, but he is not home during the day to toss tissues into the waste basket. It’s not a big deal, I just wanted her to be aware that the basket gets missed.

My girl who rarely cries, was in tears. Door slam, she wanted to be alone.

Then out of the clear blue it hit me. She HATES being corrected. Hmmmm, so does her mother. No matter how gentle someone tells me something, I can get defensive.

I knocked on her door. Yes, came her sad response.

Honey, I just figured out how we are alike. I don’t like being corrected. And is that what you felt like I was doing with the bathroom tissues, correcting you?

Yes, came the big smile.

I wish we could control what we pass on to our kids.  What I can’t control is the lessons I learn every day from my children. And yes, I will surrender to that indeed.

by J.G. McGlothern

 

Kitchen Fight August 9, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart,Poetry — heartwriter @ 4:34 pm
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I could keep on writing this poem that came to mind this morning. There are many stories that could be told if kitchen cupboards could speak. I share with you just one kitchen story, yours is probably similar. Perhaps not with peaches but nectarines or strawberries. The kitchen is definitely the center of the home, the beating heart of the family.

Kitchen Fight by J.G. McGlothern

 

Amidst the pouring of the milk

The toasting of the bread

The slicing of the peach

Comes the yelling.

He shouts

I try not to

He cries

I hold out my arms.

Together we collapse

On the kitchen floor.

I pick up his sixty pound body

All brown like a coffee bean

From the kiss of summer.

After a long embrace

Together we spread the butter

Get out the spoons

Eating and loving in silence

We will be here again

Amidst milk and tears

Toast and peaches

Always circling back to the love

That got us here in the first place.