Montage Monday: Optimism

29 Jul

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
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Things are looking up. I’m not saying there aren’t going to be a few more bumps along the road, but for today, the road is smooth.

A week in a peek.

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I was so busy spinning my wheels Monday, I forgot to post this. Yikes! Old age, stress, and goofiness is not a good combination. Thanks, Jo, for reminding me.

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Sunday Sermon and Shadows

27 Jul

“I love to chase my shadow to feel how it rests in the dark.”
― Munia Khan
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Often times, I get inspiration from Father’s sermon on Sunday. Father asked us to think about, if we could have any wish, what would you wish for? Solomon chose wisdom to govern his people. I guess if you are wise, all other attributes will follow. When we think about others before ourselves, and our own well being, well, that’s the most powerful gift a person can have,

[The Lord appeared to Solomon at Gibeon in a dream at night. God said, “Ask whatever you wish, and I’ll give it to you. Solomon responded, “You showed so much kindness to your servant my father David when he walked before you in truth, righteousness, and with a heart true to you. You’ve kept this great loyalty and kindness for him and have now given him a son to sit on his throne. And now, Lord my God, you have made me, your servant, king in my father David’s place. But I’m young and inexperienced. I know next to nothing. But I’m here, your servant, in the middle of the people you have chosen, a large population that can’t be numbered or counted due to its vast size. Please give your servant a discerning mind in order to govern your people and to distinguish good from evil, because no one is able to govern this important people of yours without your help.” (1 Kings 3: 5-9, CEB)]

What would you ask for? Good question. Think about it, be honest, and see what you come up with. Thought provoking.

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Now for the shadows. When I take my evening walk, I am always intrigued by the evening shadows cast by the street lights or the brightness of the moon. Sometimes, I try to capture a picture of my elongated silhouette on the dark pavement. It looks like I’m twenty feet tall and real skinny.( Aren’t shadows great?) Then, I chase my long shadow home in the stillness of the night.

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In order to let the sunshine in, sometimes a shadow must be cast. Embrace them both.

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Saturday: Singing and Snappin’ in the Kitchen

27 Jul

“This is the key to life: To expect everything to be given to you from above, yet to be genuinely surprised and forever grateful, when they are. Expecting all good things to be yours, while not knowing how to take anything for granted. If there may be a key in life, this is the key.”
― C. JoyBell C.
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I’m having a good Saturday, how about you.? An early walk, followed by meeting Mandy and Julia for coffee, followed by visiting, lunch with “the best realtor/friend, Linda Grossman,”(this is not a paid announcement) and going back up to look at my new house. It’s still not a100% done deal, but getting closer every day. Keep those fingers crossed!

I’m still dancing in the kitchen, but I’m adding singing positive, uplifting songs to my repertoire. Feel free to sing along.

SOMETHING’S COMING
Could be!
Who knows?
There’s something due any day;
I will know right away,
Soon as it shows.
It may come cannonballing down through the sky,
Gleam in its eye,
Bright as a rose!

Who knows?
It’s only just out of reach,
Down the block, on a beach,
Under a tree.
I got a feeling there’s a miracle due,
Gonna come true,
Coming to me!

Could it be? Yes, it could.
Something’s coming, something good,
If I can wait!
Something’s coming, I don’t know what it is,
But it is
Gonna be great!

With a click, with a shock,
Phone’ll jingle, door’ll knock,
Open the latch!
Something’s coming, don’t know when, but it’s soon;
Catch the moon,
One-handed catch!

Around the corner,
Or whistling down the river,
Come on, deliver
To me!
Will it be? Yes, it will.
Maybe just by holding still,
It’ll be there!

Come on, something, come on in, don’t be shy,
Meet a guy,
Pull up a chair!
The air is humming,
And something great is coming!
Who knows?
It’s only just out of reach,
Down the block, on a beach,
Maybe tonight . . .
Music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

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Frustrating Friday: Close Calls

26 Jul

Whenever you have a tight situation and there’s a close pitch, the umpire gets a squawk no matter how he calls it.
Red Barber
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Gosh, lately if I’m not complaining about something, I’m not breathing. Ha! I “squawk” in the good times and the bad. Today was one of those close calls that the umpire almost messed up.

After waiting all day to find out if my home inspection passed or had problems, I was on pins and needles. Well, it didn’t go smoothly and I had to make a judgement call and agree to replace an AC unit or lose the sale of the house. Then, I had to scramble to get to the bank at 3:55 before it closed at 4. More waiting to see if the buyer agreed to the arrangement. Now, get the check for my new house to the sales office before 7pm or loose it. It was 6:45. HELP! A little speeding, adrenalin, and a few Hail Mary’s and it got done.

I came home, sat a few minutes, ranted on the phone to my sister, then went for a long walk in the heat of the night. 94 degrees. My heart is still racing, but I have my feet up and just about to have a Black Russian.

I’m glad the “Umpire” up in the sky decided to make a close call, “Safe!” At least for now.

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Theme Song Thursday: “Hello”

25 Jul

“for every goodbye, God also provides a hello”
― Donna Gable Hatch
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I was packing up some dishes this afternoon, when I realized I didn’t have any music playing. I’m suppose to be dancing in the kitchen everyday, right? So, I turned on my ipad and played a little Sinatra, Carole King, and Michael Bublé. While I was scrolling, I ran across a few songs that my son Joe had recorded during his college days. Or, maybe it was earlier, not sure, but I listened to dozens of his songs. It was great just to hear his voice singing just for me. My boys are so far away, and I miss them so much.

Then, I smiled when I heard, “Hello.” I used to have that as his ring tone on my old phone, but I couldn’t figure out how to get it back on my new phone. (iphone challenged) The song made me think about my sons, my family and the things that make me smile. Joe is getting married next year to his lovely fiancé, Lindsay and I can’t wait. I’m so excited.

So, as I pack up my old life and start the next chapter of my old story, a new story will unfold, with new exciting chapters of hope and promise. Not just for them, but for me too.

“Hello, my friend, hello.” I hope all your chapters and stories have a happy ending.

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Wednesday Words of Wisdom: Never Give Up

24 Jul

The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t. ~Henry Ward Beecher
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You know what’s almost as exciting as your own personal success? It’s when one of your dear friends accomplishes something fantastic. Mandy Griffith is a wonderful writer, but like most writers, it’s difficult to get published or recognized, even after years of hard work, determination, and stacks of rejection letters. But, she never gave up, continued to plug away, (or type a way) kept sending out those query letters, taking workshops, and rewriting and rewriting.

Our small writing group has been been meeting for quite a few years, everyone working on different types of stories, with very distinctive voices. What we all have in common is…we love to write, we support each other, and we refuse to give up or feel discouraged.

Here’s the long-deserved recognition for Mandy. Congratulations Mandy! I’m glad you’re obstinate.
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McKinney native wins $2,000 in UNT writing competition
Staff report | McKinney Courier Gazette

Amanda Griffith of McKinney received the second-place award of $2,000 in the Reported Narrative writing competition sponsored by this year’s Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference.

Griffith received her award Saturday during the conference, which is hosted each July by the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism at University of North Texas’s Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Jounalism. The conference brings together approximately 300 participants interested in writing narrative nonfiction to learn from renowned journalists and storytellers in different genres.

Her reported narrative, titled “Iranian Women of Independence,” tells of an Iranian family fleeing their city after Iraqi soldiers invaded it in 1980, settling in a safer place, then returning to the city and living under the shadow of war.

From its first years, the conference has held its Personal Essay, Book Manuscript and Reported Narrative contests to recognize extraordinary literary journalism and creative nonfiction from writers of unpublished work. This year’s conference awarded $3,000 each to the first-place winners of the Personal Essay and Reported Narrative, as well as awarding the first-place cash award in the Book Manuscript competition.

Second-place winners in all three categories each received $2,000, while the third-place winners each received $1,000. The winners were announced Saturday at the conference’s Literary Lights Dinner, which featured Lawrence Wright, staff writer for The New Yorker, as the guest speaker.

All six winning Personal Essay and Reported Narrative entries and four runners up selected from these two categories will be published in Ten Spurs, a literary nonfiction journal published by the Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism. The edition featuring this year’s contest winners will be published just before the 2015 Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference.

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Tuesday Totem and Other Lucky Signs

23 Jul

One can’t give a grasshopper to a child if one has not caught it yet.
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Y’all know I’m a big believer of sign and symbolism. Y’all know I’m from Chicago, so I’m being silly when I say y’all. Yesterday, I found a lucky quarter after house hunting, rushing home and meeting my friend Zelda at Olive Garden for dinner. On he way out, I found a lucky quarter. 25 times luckier than a penny, RIGHT?

I’ve been having some pretty crazy, disappointing days, weeks…let’s face it…it’s been an awful year, but, my spirits are good. I keep finding my lucky coins, feathers, and signs, giving me hope.

Well, after another day of house hunting, Linda and I went back to one of the first houses we looked at. It’s a brand new house. Last time we were there, a beautiful Argiope spider had built his zig-zag web on the outside window. I thought that was good luck. Then today, we saw a grasshopper way up the bricks on the back porch. Grasshoppers are really good luck. I knew this was the house I was meant to to be in. A brand new house for a brand new start. NOW, I just have to keep my fingers crossed that everything else goes smoothly. SO, please cross your fingers, toes and eye balls for me too.

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In Native American Indian symbology and tribal lore (specifically the Iroquois nation) grasshopper symbolism deals with messages of glad tiding. In this context, the grasshopper is a harbinger of good news. Indeed, when this creature is seen on spirit walks, it is a sign that the seer will receive profoundly joyful news that will benefit the entire community.

Here’s a quick-list of grasshopper symbolism…

Grasshopper Symbolism and Meanings

Lucky
Stable
Virtue
Vibrant
Content
Intuitive
Fertility
Patient
Peaceful
Creativity
Abundance
Insightful
Messenger
Connected
Courageous
Resourceful
Forward Thinking
As an animal totem, the grasshopper appeals to artists, musicians and dancers. To wit, the lilting song this creature emits is an inspiration to our muse; its skittering and jumping is divine choreography. The artist within us all easily recognizes the grasshopper making its own dance steps, and grooving to its own special melody.

The grasshopper moves to its own rhythm and tune, indicating this creature is a advocate of intuition and listening to our inner voices. The grasshopper encourages us to listen to our own stirrings – those beautiful chirping lullaby’s that sing in our hearts are indications of our inner beauty and creativity. The grasshopper totem reminds us these inner musings must never be silenced – rather, they should be nurtured, and always remain as the background music to the performance of our lives.

As with most insect totems, the grasshopper keeps itself to the ground. As such, this is a grounding totem, and the grasshopper can teach us stability, patience, security, and solidarity.

The grasshopper chooses those of us who are innovators, forward-thinkers, and those who progress in life by unorthodox methods. This is because grasshopper symbolism recognizes tremendous leaps of faith, impressive jumps in progress and consistent forward momentum. Those with this totem are likely to aim high, and achieve amazing feats – they take great leaps where others fear to tread (or jump, in this case).

Another special feature of the grasshopper totem is that it calls to those who have natural clairvoyant abilities. Just as the grasshopper uses thousands of tiny eyes to formulate the “big picture” so too do those whom the grasshopper is called. In other words, those with this totem are visionaries. They see things intuitively, seeing beyond what the concrete world holds, and they use this special vision to see the world with a childlike wonder.

We can call upon the grasshopper when we need a sense of adventure in our lives. When we feel stuck in a rut, the grasshopper can bounce us into magical viridian worlds filled awe and joy.

The grasshopper can also help us when we need a little creative inspiration.

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My friend and best realtor in the entire state of Texas, Linda Grossman, invited me to a celebration dinner, complete with frosty margaritas and a toast for good luck. SALUD!

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