Day 185/365 Box of Wishes

“These are antique candles,” my mother said as she placed the half melted candles into the top of the cake.

I laughed, thinking she was making a joke.

“I’m serious! They belonged to your grandmother.”

I looked at the box…

“15 cents”

Yup, definitely antique.

“They used to make candles that lasted a while,” she said. “Not one-and-done like they are now. Imagine how many wishes have been made by your family members on these very candles.”

It was a kind of magical thought. Wish-granters that were honored by being placed back into their box for safe keeping – until the next wish. 

How many people had wished on them?

For what did they wish?

Did their wishes come true?

I guess we will never know, but…I do know two things for certain about these Harvey heirloom candles.

I know that every rendition of the “Happy Birthday” song that these candles have heard (um….endured) was surely appalling. (It makes me smile just to think of it).

I also know that whichever of us have leaned forward over these very candles, considering a wish…

Whomever it was that looked around the room at the candlelit faces of our family, gathered together and singing hideously, but with so much love…

I bet they felt lucky – whether their wish came true or not.

Day 131/365 On Loving

Sometimes loving a person is easy, and sometimes it feels overwhelming – the responsibility of it…of loving someone with grace, integrity, forgiveness, dignity, truth

We have to do it anyway,

Because without love we are hollow.

The more I live, the more I recognize it is all about human relationships –

All of it.

All of the heartache, the struggles, the confusion…all of the work it takes sometimes to connect…if we don’t dig into it and try to learn from one another, we gain nothing from this life.

Nothing.

I hope I can share this without coming off preachy – because you know what – I am writing this to myself just as must as I’m writing it to you

You see, I forgot.

I forgot that to love someone means loving them even when we don’t understand them, even when they – or we – are angry, hurt, defensive or confused.

I forgot that when someone is hard to love – that is often when they need our love the most…because chances are, they don’t believe they deserve it.

AND…

We stumble, again and again,

AND…

We can choose to love ourselves enough to accept the infinite number of chances we are given to do it right…

This painfully simple and brutally hard work of loving each other.

“Today I will choose love. 

If I mistakenly choose distraction, perfection, criticism, or negativity over love,

I will choose love next.

I will choose love until it becomes my default choice

…my gut instinct…my natural reaction.

I will choose love until it becomes who I am.”

-Rachel Macy Stafford

Day 119/365 What is Gratitude?

I have been reading through some old journals lately. I love coming across where I’ve jotted down things my children have said. Often they are so wise.

On this one occasion, a few years back, I had been reminding them of the importance of gratitude.

Beau asked, “What does gratitude mean?”

I replied, “It means being thankful for all that you have…not just for things, but especially for the wonderful people in our lives…for the kindness of others…for all of the beauty in the world…for everything

To notice it and appreciate it.  That is gratitude.”

She looked at me and said, “So really, Mommy, gratitude is LOVE.”

(Sigh)

Yes.  Exactly.

Bug collecting expedition with Papa

Day 109/365 My Heart

Though I don’t often have my daughters on the weekends, I thought I was going to have the long holiday weekend with them. As it turned out, due to a communication fail, their dad had had the same plan – to spend four days with the girls.  Since I do have a lot of time with them, especially in the summer, I told him he should go ahead with his plans to take the girls away for the weekend.

Balancing home and work can sometimes be a lot, particularly in the summer when the girls are out of school and they live with me five days a week. I had been feeling stretched a bit thinly as we eased our way into a summer routine.

Suddenly, I found myself completely free of responsibility for four days – no work, no children.

I’m not going to lie, having that span of time unexpectedly laid out before me, to do with as I pleased, felt like a truly decadent gift.

I didn’t do much. I spent some time with family and friends. I sat on a beach, and I laid in a hammock in the woods. I lingered over coffee while being delightfully visited by hummingbirds on my front porch.

There was a lot of quiet.

Sometimes I really love, even crave, the quiet…

BUT, my God…

When those elegant little arms swept around my neck this afternoon…

When I heard the words, “Mommy, I missed you so much!”

When I looked at my children and felt as if they’d each impossibly grown taller during our four days apart…

When they were bursting with stories about what they’d seen and learned…

I couldn’t stop pulling them close.

I compulsively peppered their foreheads and cheeks with kisses, repeatedly brushing the hair away from their eyes so I could stare at how beautiful they are.

I told them over and over how much I love them.

They are my heart.

Day 105/365 Fear or Love?

“All human actions are motivated at their deepest level by two emotions –

Fear or Love.

In truth there are only two emotions – only two words in the language of the soul….

Fear wraps our bodies in clothing, love allows us to stand naked.

Fear clings to and clutches all that we have, love gives all that we have away.

Fear holds close, love holds dear.

Fear grasps, love lets go.

Fear rankles, love soothes.

Fear attacks, love amends.”

– Neale Donald Walsch

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Photo by Betty Lou Harvey

The above passage just blows me away. Thinking about our decisions through the lens of it is a powerful thing.

To stop and think…

“What is motivating me right now?

Is it fear or is it love?”

Fear grasps, love lets go…

Beautiful.

 

Day 100/365 Otherworldly

There is something about looking into the eyes of a new baby that transports us to another plane. I believe it’s because they have so newly arrived from the spiritual realm. They are pure light and love….truly otherworldly.

This weekend I was blessed to meet two new little beings of light.

Something about those experiences has made me feel lighter. Perhaps it is the simple reminder of where we are all started, and I believe, where we will all end up again.

I believe in reincarnation. I believe we return, over and over again, each time with the intention of elevating spiritually through the experiences and lessons of each lifetime.  I also believe we continue to incarnate with many of the same souls…we are meant to learn from one another, with one another.

So, perhaps it is as simple as being gently reminded that life goes on…and on, and on…

Those we’ve “lost” are not lost forever.  We will meet again.

Day 99/365 Karen

If there is one thing I know for certain in this life, it’s that as long as this lady is around I will never be the “fun aunt”.

To know Karen is to love her…especially if you are a kid.  No  matter what is going on, she is always looking for ways to make it more fun.  


The best way I can think of to describe Karen is…

She is a YES.

If it sounds remotely fun, she is all in,

and…

She’s also a YES to the not-so-fun things.  She’s a YES to whatever is needed. If someone needs help, she’s right there. She is full of energy and ready to jump in – even if she’s already “in her cozies” (a spare supply of which are always in her car, for one never knows when there will be an unanticipated need for leisurewear!).

During the days leading up to my dad’s death, Karen was honestly an angel to us all, even (perhaps especially) to my dad, though he wasn’t conscious to know it.

As usual she was ready to jump in and do anything to help. That was no surprise. She also took the time to get friendly with all of the nurses in the ICU.  She called them each by name and learned all she could from them.

She was often our voice when the rest of us were too shocked to speak.

She massaged my father’s feet and calves so his muscles wouldn’t atrophy. It makes me cry just to write that down. She loved him so much.  She loves us all so much.

What I loved the most about how Karen was during those awful days, was seeing my brother (her husband), Billy, watching her. His raw adoration was right there for us all to see. It was beautiful.

She is beautiful.

The image above is a favorite of mine, from the day before she married my big brother.  I couldn’t help but add the image below of the two lovebirds from twenty (?) years ago.

At their wedding, my brother, Ryan, giving the best man’s toast quipped “Until Karen came along, I didn’t even know Billy had teeth.”
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