Why This and Not That?

Over the course of a normal life, what happened last night was insignificant. At the moment, however, the difference between bowls of Italian wedding soup and chili was noteworthy. I ordered chili and then immediately regretted my decision once a bowl of wedding soup sat deliciously next to me … to be supped up by another. My immediate comment, while staring down into a tapestry of kidney beans, ground beef, and tomatoes? “Why this and not that?”

The previous 48 hours were unhealthfully challenging. A long twelve hours ER stay after a personal health challenge made decision making foggy. This restaurant visit was a first after being poked and picked over like a fresh berry bush. Sleep had been spotty, of course, with food and fluid intake starting and stopping as if in a nutritional traffic jam. Nothing normal.

My side still hurts from something … not sure what. The mysteries of our dark, inner spaces remain. This was of secondary concern, as it sat marginally away from what was primarily messing with my malfunctioning vascular-goober system. I don’t understand any of this. Melodic tunes make more sense to me than medical tubes. I know more how music beats, less about the electrical impulses of a heart.

In the time it would have taken to play a few Bach Inventions, I was erased out of awareness the other morning. Preferably, the former would have been my choice. Life had other plans.

Why this … and not that?

I had a choice between chili and wedding soup; however, there was no choice between consciousness and blanklessness at 7:15 a.m. on a beautiful Thursday morning in early November.

In addition, there was no option when a doctor you’ve trusted for years says, “Off to the ER you go. I am your doctor first … and friend second. You look horrible, your blood pressure is way too low, and I don’t have the facilities here to treat what may be wrong with you, …” (When I finally got in to see him five hours after getting off the floor…)”… let’s call and ambulance for you.”

In the ambulance, a paramedic gave me no choices. Sticker shock, diabetic checks, blood draws, wires, straps, beeps and blips. Oh, and rather pleasant conversation during the 15 minute bumpy ride to a local hospital.

We don’t have choices sometimes – especially when our health is involved. Last Thursday was a downright surprise. No warning, no “head’s up” …

I have some idea the cause … maybe. It might be easier to reverse engineer Mahler’s 3rd symphony, however. At least those notes are – if you’ll allow me some leeway here – black and white, stagnant, immovable, and predictable. Our bodies are living, breathing, aging, interlocking cellular game pieces constantly changing the rules as they move around the board.

According to medical notes, doctors I met in the ER made their best guess and discharged me after 12 hours. They made a choice. I had to agree. Hoping all my “numbers” met their approval, a tired, weary, hungry self of mine headed home…

And so, after a full day’s respite, I was faced with this: a bowl of chili … and not that: a better looking bowl of Italian wedding soup – realizing we make choices and end up with a result that is second best; Or, don’t have a choice what happens to us and do the best we can.

Best summed up as: I wanted life to be this, but got that instead, or why this and not that?

There are worse situations than what I went through … I’ve witnessed them in person. These wake-ups tweak a different part of my brain – that part where two bowls of soup take on a different meaning. I am reminded our choices in life are important. Acceptance of what happens to our health is also paramount to a healthy outlook.

Ok, maybe not soup, but some this and that’s circling about do make a difference. Choose wisely when you can, stay hydrated, and eat healthy foods.

That’s the best I’ve got for you on this day. At least until I get that bowl of Italian wedding soup.

Kim’s Path

Photo courtesy of K. Calderwood

Three kids. I know, these three … again. They’re just so easy to write about behind a standard Samsung tap-away screen. My thumbs gladly take time away from their piano playing, hot dawg slinging duties to grace in one word at a time. It’s a joy.

Today, however, isn’t about what’s behind this phone or ahead for those well-loved children on their way to another happy place.

This pleasant October digital morning dedication is for the one who is always behind these pictures … the mom – the “always there” encourager. She deserves recognition, love, and support.

I don’t know why today seems like the day to acknowledge her. It just … does. This isn’t new. I’ve known and admired Kim a long time. From the time she timidly walked around the corner of a dining room to take her first piano lesson until now, there’s been a special bond. Years it has been. Too many, almost, to count.

In many ways, she set the standard for hundreds of students to follow. Yes, there was – and continues to be – an extraordinary pool of genetic music material woven into the fabric of her family. This, alone, is never enough, however. It takes work and dedication to play well. Kim put in her time and effort. Was there struggle? Of course. Did we laugh along the way? Absolutely.

So, we had the past … and have the now in 2022. Both of us are years away from those black and white experiences. Family dynamics have changed. Locations in our lives are significantly different. In a phrase, “life moved on …”.

Even though time ticked forward, memories stayed and social media, thankfully, allowed us to continue forward. Through this medium, I became aware of her magnificent photos. (Of course, it helps her three kiddos are ridiculously photogenic). This, combined with my love of amateur words and phrases, made a perfect pair once again.

Teacher/student. Photographer/writer. Thus…

Her daughter’s physical expression above tells the story for me. She encapsulates Kim’s story. The outstretched arms and hope for the future – while leading the way for her younger siblings – embodies Kim’s essence. She was the leader of her own two younger siblings who, in their own right, are spectacular, successful young adults as well.

Yes, all moms deserve love and support. Of course they do. The mom behind the pictures I love to write about earns my love and support today – not only because of the wonderful lives she’s giving her kiddos along side her husband, but also simply because Kim is … Kim. She is a person who overcomes adversity, faces life head-on, loves every life experience she can find, enjoys her friends, adores music, and dedicates all she has to family.

For me, she is still that little girl who peeked around the corner and whose feet barely touched the floor the first time she sat down on the bench.

What she didn’t realize as time went on and her playing matured, my respect for her barely touched the floor … and hasn’t since.

May her path forward be as joyous as the picture above, and may every image to come inspire words yet to be written.

So far, it’s been my utmost pleasure to walk along the path with her.

Our Infinite Blade of Grass

I find the universe an unending source of fascination. From the kuiper belt inward and outward toward distances unknown with red shifting celestial objects, all of it hugs my never-ending intrigue of infinity. I am not Neil deGrasse Tyson brilliant by any means, nor do I possess the brain-wares close to an Einstein. What is locked into my 3 lb cranial matter, however, is the ability to read fancy terms and come up with some constellation of ideas that never end.

Space never ends, too. As mortals seem to understand the matter, … it goes, and goes, and goes. “What’s after the edge of the known universe?”, my mom always said. Probably more expanse? Additional infinity, possibly. If you consider the size of the know universe as 94 BILLION light years across, this fact is so ridiculously unthinkable that infinity is a concept nearly beyond consideration. Nearly, yes … but reachable for a few minutes of my time this morning. What, really, is 94B light years plus one, anyway?

Infinity is a time abstraction.

I sit here at my desk thinking about time. On StarTalk a few days ago, Neil deGrasse Tyson was considering the age of our local universe since the Big Bang. He analogized the span of time with a football field’s 100-yard distance from one goal line to the other – A gridiron/timeline of the universe, as it were. A 14 billion year measurement funneled down into format most of us can understand with our little 3 lb number crunching, synapse-firing spectacular wiggles of matter.

Cosmic time intervals are so large, we need help pulling them into a scale we can grasp. Fourteen billion … 14,000,000,000 years. Ugh.

His analogy was better than most offensive plays the Steelers tripped over themselves so far this season, I must admit.

Place the events of 14B years on a 100 yard field – where would the events happen? If one considers a southern goal line to be the start of the Big Bang, our solar system does not begin forming until about the thirty yard line on the north side of the field – seventy yards away. Around the four yard line, single cell organisms became multi-cell organisms with legs, eyes, antennae, i.e. sensors for what is happening around their environment. “Cave dwellers appeared at the near side of the thickness of the blade of grass at the zero yard line”, according to Mr. Tyson. (Yes, we are talking about blades of grass here) …

Through the thickness of that blade of grass at the ZERO yard line, … Moses, Jesus, Mohamed, agriculture, …then US. We are hanging on to that last blade – on the far edge with our dangly toes barely able to NOT kick up the fine, white powder beneath our feet … 100 YARDS AWAY !!… 14,000,000,000 years away.

Supporting all this has been the James Webb telescope and the progress of science. Change has been a constant. This is why I am so fascinated by small, upward glances toward space and wide open perspectives into astronomic ideas and access into, almost, the entire universe…

And infinity, of course.

The cosmos does not exist for us. It can’t. Our planet could disappear tomorrow and the gazillions of galaxies and mega-trillions of stars will live on as if the Steelers, Yankees, and Washington, D.C. had no emotional power over us. Stars incubated for nearly 10B years before our local solar system decided to blink awake. Our sun is estimated to live for another 5B years before it morphs into a red giant as it enters into its dying stage of existence.

I don’t find any of this depressing at all. Infinitely captivating, actually. Looking inward at what we do have and can control, I don’t see oceans of emptiness. I see a paradise equal to – if not greater than – what we can ever know about the cosmos.

We exist to be always looking up, ever vigilant of the opportunities in our lives. This is what the universe, ultimately, means to me. It is a copious supply of possibilities every time I read, or observe, anything in its shimmering darkness. No matter what is squirming about in my local universe, I can always find a little star somewhere – a nestled bright spot hidden in a celestial sphere on a friend’s face, in a piece of music I am playing, or simply woven into a kind conversation.

These are endless and plentiful for all of us. In a way, infinite.

I never did answer mom’s query. She asked it more than once. My hope is her soul rests easy among the stars at that very edge of infinity. All of our questions will be answered some day. This is my hope.

As for the present time and place, I will find my refuge in the unanswered and precious 14 billion years presented before all of us. They hold a magnificent portion of infinite wisdom in their age. I am glad they cradle our existence and look forward to an additional 14 billion more.

… However, if actuarial tables hold true, I have only .0000000017857th of that time to learn more. Oh well, when my time ends, I’ll just hang out with mom at the edge of the universe and see what happens. We’ll have an infinity’s worth of time to figure it all out.

Point to the Wonder

Smiles coming to life. On faces of children, on a big yellow balloon, wide open happy expressions appear across a field of green. Pointing to the wonder of it all, one little soul decided it was – truly was – a moment in time to celebrate. “Look! LOOK … share this lucky, merry moment with me, please!”, so gleefully proclaimed.

I dare say this exclamation of joy was returned by not only a large, yellow, inflatable hot-air human carrier in the distance, but also a little lady a few feet behind. Delight all around.

Laughter lifts spirits just as warm air rises. Possibly, into the blue sky went a dozen balloons moments after this picture was taken. Perhaps these inflatable pockets of joy were settling down after lofty rides on pIeasant breezes? In either case, I am sure giddiness followed.

This is what it means to be young. Directing attention to all that is wonderful … not knowing why it is so, just that it is. Astonishing colors, amazing shapes, and fabulous sizings add an imaginary reality to clean, perfect slates of innocence. Three children. United by sensational, youthful direction … led by the outstretched arm of one. Youth captured.

Pointing us to their youth.

… Pointing us to reminders of our youthful exuberance layered between adult experiences – colors, shapes, and sizings we’ve since covered up with grown-up frustrations and responsibilities. Our adult warm air pushes down on our souls. It takes Hurculean effort to catch up, let alone keep up, with the Jones’ across the street. The “mature” balloons we occupy are grounded, but not indefinitely.

We know the culprits: bills, work, relationships, car and house repairs, health issues, etc … all the crop-ups, granted, single-number age breathers don’t need to face.

None of these are excuses to point away from wonder, however.

Let’s constantly look for ways to notice the balloons in our lives. We can expand our joy as wonderful warm air swells into pleasant experiences we witness – giving rise, in return, to our every dayfullness.

This is how life should be.

Smiles coming to life shouldn’t happen only to little ones. We, as adults, need to crack open the hard shells with pointed enthusiasm- just as they do – and remind ourselves life is a one-time-around experience.

Now, go find a field and point to the wonder. Find what your joy looks like and breathe it in. Stand in your field where the vibration – that is your soul – surrounds the you that is you. Listen to music. Look, and absorb, the art of the masters. Read the words inside covers of your favorite author’s books. Walk between trees where the shade lays ahead a calm path. These are youthful, wonderful inhales.

Happy expressions, joyful lessons … simple reminders from one outstretched arm, three children, and one big smiley balloon and friends.

So much wonder.

Reaching at Leaves

While walking past all-so familiar store fronts during an early afternoon fall walk, I was pleasantly struck by a few descending leaves. One landed on my shoulder, two bounced off shuffling shoes on their way to their own off-day destinations. All reminders that fall had arrived.

A late straggler hung in the breeze. I followed it with my right hand – trying to grab it from its own fall goal. No success. It continually teased my grasp from a distance inches away. A thirty second dance pursued – between a leaf and a man – for a distance of three concrete squares on a sidewalk. Allegheny Street, possibly, never knew such awkward grace, or a twisted tapestry of steps. A leaf and a man. A dance.

For the rest of the day, I looked for opportunities to reach for leaves. Falling ones, especially. For there was no success earlier. That single, one leaf passing through my hand left a void. Its brothers and sisters across the town were waiting my passing, for sure.

Now, this wasn’t a primary goal. I had a to-do list that, initially, didn’t involve chasing after leaves. In reality, I would guess none of us get up expecting to be unexpectedly, graciously, grazed by falling leaves … like I did. These kind of wonderful happenings just, … well, … happen.

… and, I am so glad they do.

It had been months since I’ve written words here. When that one leaf fell beyond my reach, I was suddenly reminded how long it’s been – how “out of reach” this space has been – beyond my grasp, … my awareness, my front-of-mind.

We get so distracted. This is the centerpiece of sermons, books, and motivational talks. Stuff occupies our steps and our minds are ever busy with the next thing to do. Ignoring the essences of our lives – words and melodies making up our unique blend of individuality – seems to be the norm. And it shouldn’t be.

We need to constantly pay attention to the now – the magnificence of this moment.

Plan for the future. Hope for good things, of course. Have faith in what you can accomplish. Fold into your gifts.

I needed that particular partner the other day. It fell away not knowing, though.

Sometimes, what is valuable lands in our lives on a breeze and stays for only a brief time. Be that leaf for someone, perhaps, as they walk through life. Let them reach out to you as well. Maybe, just maybe, you will be a little beyond their grasp, but will make enough of an impact in their lives that their words will come alive again.

Say, “Hello” to a stranger. It could be the leaf they need to see fall before their very eyes. A reminder that life, now, is the most remarkable experiences one can have.

A Toddler’s Playground

That distinctive aroma of gravy and turkey spun its way around the corner of our old kitchen into a small dining room. A traditional Thankgiving meal was almost on the way. Mom, of course, would be the last to arrive at a table with an informally placed, odd selection of chairs seating a similarly odd hodgepodge of family members.

A typical family holiday. Mom insisting that everyone be seated before she sat down. Dad fussing over something of which we had no idea. Perhaps a fondue pot in the center of the table surrounded by dark green vegetable trays on top of a brown, yellow, and orange table cloth all set the tone for a 70’s Thanksgiving feast.

This particular year was different, however. Aside from all the normal scuffle-abouts, the children among us – myself included – were pre-instructed to be on our best behavior, if possible. My Uncle John was bringing a special guest home for the holiday .. a friend of his … a gentleman singer/associate he met while both sang as members of the elite US Army Chorus.

I don’t recall the specific year, however, I do remember where I sat and the specific quote. “Keep an eye on him,” Uncle John said, “…he’s going to be a big star some day and go places!”

Clint Holmes went on to be a major headliner in Vegas – and is to this day.

I can’t really wrap my mind around sitting next to him that Thanksgiving day fifty years ago. Only a few feet away sat a young man in a very humble house, in Hollidaysburg. His life unfolded in quite a magnificent way. Uncle John nailed it.

The other day, this picture roused up that memory.

“Playground in my Mind” was released in 1972. The Clint Holmes recording became one of his all-time biggest hits. I listened to the record over, and over, … and … over. “Where the children laugh and the children play / And we sing a song all day” are my favorite lyrics in this wonderful song. Doesn’t this picture speak that magic?

Kiddo magic – running into a playground to laugh, play, imagine, and dream. We forget, as astutely mature ones, what it was like to be inquisitive … to run into mysteriously fun places to touch a universe of unknowns, or examine tiny fascinations.

Look at these two little ones. If they could fly, they would. One foot off the ground and the other toe-tapping a ground barely in existence under their joyous toddler beings. Beyond the covered bridge is a magnificent playground in their mind … just as Clint Holmes loved and sang in his mind a half century ago.

I am so honored to span the generations with music. The power of music holding hands with memories is spectacular. In so many ways, we are connected – variations of words, music, and spirit.

In no small way, two little ones helped me re-live a memory I haven’t experienced in decades. Also, they reminded me to skip a bit easier through the challenging covered bridges in life.

As Clint sang, maybe try, “Living in a world I left behind…” once in a while.

It is a fantastic song. Look it up and dare to pass through the troubles in a moment’s time to experience a happy, giggling, peaceful, generational playground in your mind.

Those two above, and Clint, would have it no other way.

The Lowry Estate Lesson

Yesterday, I missed a turn and the town. How this happened is really nobody’s business – except to say everyone I asked to help confirmed my suspicions: The landmark I was looking for existed in my brain – just not anywhere Google maps was sending me.

Why have I decided to share this seemingly mundane waste of gas? Because Google maps sent me to a legit address smack dab in the middle of a two-lane, busy highway. Yes. The famous, “You have arrived …” voice plopped my Mitsubishi exactly on two solid yellow lines one-half mile up from a local water reservoir … and not a house, tent, outhouse, or cabin in sight.

My choice words forced a u-turn. Perhaps it was a sour attitude that elicited a less-than cooperative attitude from the locals. They didn’t know where the Lowry Estate was, either.

I’ve been a native of these parts my whole life. Apparently this estate has the oldest stone home in the county. Being unaware of this fact threw coal into the already simmering furnace of frustration.

I was attempting to scope out this location a day ahead. Yesterday was a busy day and I had little time, today, to find my way here.

Yes, I am here now. Twenty-four hours ago, it was doubtful I would ever know. Shipping myself and luggage to Mars may have proven easier to do.

So close yesterday, apparently. Wrong turn, wrong town. Google … Wrong. So … What was the problem? Time clicked away and so did the little patience I had left.

Hey, why not check the brochure for the event? One. More. Time.

Yeah. Duh. It really IS nobody’s business, however, please pay attention to the little things in life. This will save you a lot of u-turns, cursing at the air in your car, blaming Google, and uncontrollably twitching one eye at strangers as they do their best to help.

Yep. I typed in the wrong town all along. There are two identical addresses for neighboring towns. Now, why in hell one would be in the middle of a busy highway? That’s for another time.

The correct one helped me arrive yesterday just in time to know the where’s and what’s for today.

Upon arrival today, I stopped to pay attention to the first little thing I saw. It was this pond. Still, it was. Quiet … as only a few of the Civil War re-enactors have arisen for the day. Canadian geese are meandering around and shades sneak around the grove of trees in the meadow where I am soon to set up.

It’s a fantastically calm day. Yesterday is but a blip in the day-in-the-life of “not playing attention” to the little things. Had I done so, right?

Lesson learned, but doomed to be repeated I am sure.

For today, though, I will enjoy this sublime pond five paces behind where I sit, the view of a glorious stone mansion, and visitors coming in to experience a few Civil skirmishes during an almost perfect weather day in July.

Good news for all … Those attending were able to get the town correctly the first time. I say, they knew the value of little details this weekend.

I’m here now. It was the long way around, but destination achieved!

31 Flags

I don’t know most of their stories. Every day, for a few minutes, I stood on warm concrete slabs as individual flags folded into summer breezes. Quiet imaginations filled my head while honoring local heroes. They made an impression on a digital camera phone and a daily memory for me.

Their names etched in black on a pole placard… and each individual story supported by a family member who reached out to the Rotary Club.

For one of the thirty-one days, each hero earned a place of recognition on my Facebook page. It was, truly, my honor to do so.

As a tribute to those who served and are currently active, here are the thirty-one who gave me pause:

Alex H. Drummond – Air Force, John Paul Dibert – US Army, Robert S. Cramer – Sergeant First Class US Army Reserve 1957-1995 , Richard Gildea US Navy Radarman 2/C WW2, Adolph Goldstein – US Army WW2, Samuel Calvin McLanahan – US Navy 1863-1869, Robert D. Williams – Trooper PA State Police, Andrew C. Williams RN, BSN Clinical Supervisor Cardiology Services, Valentine Ranck – Lancaster Militia Revolutionary War, Colonel Terry Wagner – US Army, Gerald Grubb US Army Air Corp KIA 3/30/43, Cloyd P. Grubb US Army Infantry Purple Heart Recipient, Dennis E. McCready – US Army Korea, JW Straesser – US Army Air Corp WW2.

Colonel Paul Roscher – Decorated Pilot POW WW2, Louis J. Lusk USAF “Halo” Senior Master Sergeant Special Warfare, Thomas Tidd – US Navy WW2 Pacific Theatre, Colonel Craig L. Carlson – US Army, Dr. Bridget O. Corey – Blair Foot & Ankle podiatric medicine, Mike J. Corey US Army , Elle W. McConnell – Nurse Practitioner Blair Foot & Ankle, Carl C. Werner – Staff Sergeant E-6, Allegheny Lutheran Social Services Healthcare, Residents of the Lutheran Home of Hollidaysburg who served our Nation, William R. Collins Jr. – US Army, Gary A. Davis – US Marine Corps, Richard Burnett – US Army, John S. Sigrist – US Army Reserve, Tony Drummond – US Army Healthcare worker, Desmond T. Lutz – Air Force Staff Sergeant, and Edward Kopanski – Vietnam veteran.

Quite the list. Revolutionary War through present day. I knew Colonel Wagner and am personally familiar with a few others; however, I am still fascinated by the stories those flags told.

They are no longer there.

Gone are the early morning stops for me. I miss the moments. So much so that a late night pull over this evening – after a tiring food truck event – was necessary. I needed time. Time to pull life over from its busy lane just enough to remember other folks who do much more – give so much more – to allow all of us a life of work and leisure.

At the very end of an invisible 31st flag, the permanent digital display gave me this:

Another flag. Yes, it is always in the rotation between, now, 80+ degree temperature readings and the time. This was no miracle sent from the heavens. For me, simply a final image to capture, to bookend if you will, a marvelous experience.

My story is simple. Five minutes every morning, I was fortunate enough to stand in front of an American flag while honoring an individual who deserved my time.

On July 13th, thirty-one invisible flags – for thirty-one seconds during a quiet, dark evening – were settled into their repose until next year. I stood there, peacefully.

I figure a second for each one of their stories is worth a lifetime for us.

Catchin’ Fireflies

How crazy to think it’s been a while since sitting here at my desk, typing in words, instead of running around making life happen. Hours buzz by. If it wasn’t for a message coming over the Meta-network on my phone, an event would be less meat and cheese tomorrow. I, quite simply, forgot – and it never was entered into my digital calendar. Why? Who knows? This is how May and the first part of June has been.

Except for an occasional meal or entertainment carve out, the huge kraken of lore has come alive to unsettle the calm seas I found myself on at the beginning of 2022. I’ve been losing planks multiples at a time and a once firm grip as the helmsman of my life could be in peril.

Not to be an alarmist, I’ve been here and seen raging seas. Outside challenges have tugged at my personal goals. The needs of others have trumped mine before and surprising tidal waves rocked more than one vessel upon which I’ve found myself. Survival finds a way.

Most of us, I believe, have experienced rough waters. These past weeks aren’t anything new to me, or you. We make our way to calmer shores, right?

I’m not there at present. If the psycho-sextant I currently hold in my clenched hands is accurate, the angle between the horizon and my guiding star shows a position I didn’t intend to be at the moment. Now, either the star is really messed up in its celestial dark matter blanket, the horizon isn’t level, …, or, I truly am taking on too much water.

Damn the kraken of the seas known as “What the hell am I doing?”

Actually, I know. I knew it weeks ago. The different colors on my digital calendar – where “most” of the commitments I’ve made appeared – created a rainbow off in the distance. It appeared as I started a journey. A trek into weeks of scheduling personal, medical, social, musical, and business slaps into my calendar.

As the bow lifted high into the white crests of every 20-foot wave these past few days, that rainbow of over-commitments washed over my memory. This-and-thats for todays and tomorrows. Necessaries and optionals.

This evening, after I realized tomorrow’s event was almost missed … I stopped. It was time. To. Just. Stop.

This is what eventually kills the kraken. Every. Time.

After catching up with a few friends on messenger and texts, I stopped, sat on the edge of the bed and took a deep breath. Nothing was going to interfere with the calm seas I imagined at the moment. It was time to rebuild the ship and get a good grip at the helm. One more thing to do, however – check the status of a Facebook post from a few hours earlier. This proved to be magical.

On my feed was a picture with two words, “Catchin’ Fireflies”. If there was an image I needed to see, it was this:

Courtesy of K. C.

Two joyous lives through a jar held by two smiles. A dear friend and precious daughter who, by all accounts, were brightening up their evening … together. No over-commitments, no busy-ness, no calendar rainbow. Just. Life. Now.

A relation-ship as intended.

I sat for a few more minutes than planned – looking into the calm waters reflecting back images of all the kind, considerate, loving, sincere, genuine, and spectacular close friends who survive the journey with me. The smiles and laughter, especially.

It isn’t all fun, to be sure. You know this. I know it, too. With that said, how difficult would the voyage be without shipmates who care … who are willing to take a plank, or two, on our behalf?

At the beginning of the day, I didn’t know tomorrow was coming as it appears to be. I’ll be unexpectedly busy. This coming week will be challenging on the home front as well.

I’m so glad I stopped today. The kraken is dormant for now.

Rest easy, kraken. I am sure we will battle again. For now, I turn the wheel over to a few small lightening bugs.

In their light, I find the smiles and laughter of my friends who, together with me, guide all our ships forward one day at a time on, hopefully, calm seas.

The Key to Mother’s Day

If this was the way: I’d play one note. One magical press of a key – either black or white of the 88 – that would bring mom back to us.
Not just my musical, happy, funny mom … but your mom as well if you are holding dear memories today.
This I would do. For me. For you.
We need those assurances only moms can give. Tight, affirming hugs are missing now. Duets are silent behind magnificent pianos.
Memories aren’t quite enough on a Mother’s Day when everything is, well, a lot different than a mom would have expected.
There wasn’t one magical key to change cancer and mom’s destination with it. There isn’t one key to bring her back.
Fortunately, there are many at my disposal to honor her the best way I know how.
For my prelude at Zion Lutheran this weekend, I’ve chosen, “How Beautiful” by Twila Paris. It is a piano arrangement I had to tweak a little for the organ “keys”…
She will know. Somehow, she will know.
This I do. For me. For you … because moms are beautiful and they deserve our very best.