Posted in Monday Moaning or Monday Marveling?

Monday Moaning or Monday Marveling?

GOING MARVELING

I admit that I’m often moaning on Monday morning, but this Monday morning I’m actually marveling.

Do you know about the concept of “marveling”? I didn’t until I discovered Methodist minister Fred Craddock and his book, Craddock Stories, in which he writes about his ancestors who would go out walking, often on Sunday afternoon, not to find anything in particular, but just to look for God‘s handiwork and beauty: a pretty flower, an interesting tree, a striking rock or a glorious cloud perhaps. anything that would produce a sense of wonder, appreciation or joy.

I LOVE that idea! It’s … marvelous.

Well, I went a-marveling last night (without exactly intending to) when I started pulling out Christmas decorations. I came across in the back of an old wardrobe, sort of Neal-in-Wonderland-ishly, these …

What do you mean you don’t know what you’re looking at?! They’re candle holders. Well they are now. They used to be the bases of two old wooden lamps that sat on the end tables on either side of the couch in my parents’ little house.

You can barely see them in this old pic …

My parents and one of the lamps around 1980

After my folks passed away a few years back, and I was going through all their things, deciding what to keep and what to throw away, I nearly tossed the old lamps. They had seen their better days.

But something made me pause, take the lampshades off, remove the wiring and toss the wooden bases into my back seat. And eventually into the back of my old wardrobe.

Now (voila!) they are born again as 2021 Christmas decor.

What light, joy and marvel my parents brought into my life and the world.

I invite you to go marveling! And please tell me what you find.

Posted in Thankfulness, Gratitude

Tuesday Think Thank

This morning I Did what I Should Not Do—according to my husband, my therapist and even my pint-sized common sense. I started my Tuesday by scrolling (and scrolling) through online news. Why? Idk, but I’ll blame it on an out-of-my-daily-routine second cup of coffee.

Paraphrasing my three advisers: “Neal, how does it help you to be inundated with mainstream news, which is most often bad news?”

*************

A teeny sampling of what my caffeinated scrolling unearthed:

* Senseless deaths and injuries in the Wisconsin Christmas parade tragedy.

* Tucker Carlson calling Kyle Rittenhouse a “sweet kid.”

* A defense attorney in the Ahmaud Arbery case referencing in her closing statement Ahmaud’s “long dirty toenails.”

* The dangerously divisive hatred (hatred?!) in our divided political world today.

* Etc. Etc. Etc.

*************

What “got me out of the newsroom” (thank goodness!) was a quick trek to the frig for more creamer for that second cuppa and noticing what I had stuck on the refrigerator…

The overflowing harvest of the simple cornucopia somehow (note to self: yet another therapy topic) jarred me into remembering that not all is bad. Duh. And that I/we have so very much to be thankful for.

All of which, again, somehow brought to mind my favorite small-t thanksgiving song, Josh Groban’s rendition of “Thankful.” So I did a quick listen-to.

This non-newsworthy line stood out: “Sometimes we can’t see the joy that surrounds us.”

Here’s the song if you have a couple of minutes

Who says two cups of coffee are bad for you?!

Posted in Holidays and Seasonal Changes

Attempting a Dia de Muertos Celebration

Last fall near Halloween, Robert and I watched Pixar’s Coco, which beautifully introduced us to Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead). Coming from a family culture that embraces frequent visits to graveyards and cemeteries, I loved the idea of remembering loved ones who have passed on by having their own joyfully colorful and celebratory holiday.

It was only a couple of days until November 2, the traditional day when the holiday is celebrated in Mexico and other places. So we quickly made a little ofrenda (altar) consisting of a couple of pictures of our deceased parents, some flowers and a candle or two. Sitting before our simple shrine, we thanked our folks for their lives and their love.

But 2021 was another story. We began gathering Day of the Dead materials months ago and started making preparations.

We collected Day of the Dead candles, banners, decorations, and on a trip to Atlanta, we found a loaf of Pan de Muertos (Bread of the Dead) at the Buford Highway Farmers Market (what a glorious center of culinary diversity).

Last Tuesday, November 2nd, we celebrated by combining our dinner table and our Day of the Dead ofrenda.

Robert’s folks …

And mine …

We made some of their favorite foods for our meal …

Fried corn, collard greens, Maryland crab cakes and pork rinds

The loaf of Pan de Muertos, round to symbolize the cycle of life, with teardrops flowing from the top, representing goddess Chimalma’s tears for the living.

Holding hands, we shared memories of fun, funny and joyful stories from the lives of our parents and other loved ones who have passed on.

A movingly marvelous evening and now a permanent addition to our holiday calendar.

Posted in The Artful Dodger, Unexpected Art

“The Artful Dodger” #1

A new blog category about finding “art” in unexpected places and situations.

After drying my hands, I carelessly tossed the hand towel toward the bar on the outside door of our new glass shower (fully expecting it to fall to the floor as usual—the towel, not the door).

But lo and behold, I instantly became a renowned artist! InstaArt. Putting me in the same league with, say, Jackson Pollock and his brilliant “drip technique” of throwing/pouring paint onto his canvases.

See my artistic intelligence? No?! Just look! My masterpiece (well, master towel) seems “bathed” in soft light, accentuating the “clean” lines of the work. Dramatically crowned in portrait mode by the green loofah.

Enjoy!

{Holiday prints now available for a limited time only for $19.99 plus shipping and handling! 🎄}

Posted in Encouragement

Sometimes

Last evening, Robert and I headed over to Big Bon Pizza in the hip Starland District of Savannah. (Being so hip myself, I like going to hip locations. As long as my right hip cooperates.) After voraciously enjoying their WONDERFUL hot-outta-the-brick-oven pizza …

… the Universe spoke to me as I waddled past Big Bon Bodega/Big Bon Pizza’s sandwich board:

An enlightening message I most definitely need to heed much more often!

(Even with the comma issue. 😩 Retired English professor.)

Here’s my mental activity as I continued waddling to the car:

Now isn’t that better?

Wait a second! Halt the waddling! Did I really just proofread and edit THE UNIVERSE?!