Merry Christmas Alone

Gail’s injury forced us to cancel our Christmas travel plans this year. Her hip wouldn’t tolerate the 9 hour car trip, and the orthopedic surgeon forbade air travel so as to avoid a blood clot. So we are spending the holiday by ourselves here in Winston-Salem while our families gather up north in Toledo. It is not my first experience at feeling sadly isolated over the holidays. I know this happens to many people for many reasons. So this year I am shouting out a special Christmas wish to all those who will be without family this year. In my personal experience, this includes:

people who are injured or sick and can’t travel

people who are sick in the hospital

people who are working in the hospital on Christmas Day

people with family in another country

divorced people, especially those whose small children are with their ex this year

people with a spouse with dementia

military spouses whose spouse is deployed overseas

special needs people without a real family

…and I’m sure there are many, many more situations.

The joy of the holidays which we imagine in our minds does not always play out IRL. I have heard this from many people. Holiday stress is a given. But those who feel isolated for whatever reason get my special wish today. Reach out to those you can with a call, or a warm smile, or a holiday hug. 🙂

Memorial Day in June

Gail and I drove to Washington DC yesterday and had time to visit some of the monuments. We saw the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the National World War 2 Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I remember seeing the older monuments many years ago, when I first saw them as a child. But now as a grown adult, they are so much more meaningful. I understand and appreciate in my heart and soul the sacrifices which we honor. My eyes teared up repeatedly going through these feelings-provoking memorials.

I was especially touched by the World War 2 Memorial. It was very well done, with literal and symbolic pieces that covered the many aspects of the war. I thought about the many Honor Flights that are taking the remaining WW2 survivors to visit this memorial. I can now understand why they all report how deeply moved they are by the experience.

All I can say is that I am very grateful for the blood, sweat, tears, and the very lives of so many people who sacrificed for the freedoms I enjoy.

Japan tsunami catastrophe relief

The images from Japan are very disturbing to me. As I live my comfortable life, I know that in Japan, people are homeless, suffering, dying. When I consider what it is that I can do when a catastrophe like this hits, I always remember something I heard long ago: I can give of my Time, Treasure, or Talent. I admire those that are giving of their time and talent. I have humbly given a bit of my treasure.

I use Charity Navigator to evaluate the various organizations that are making relief efforts. If you have never visited the site, you might find it helpful.

I don’t consider myself rah-rah-religious, but Convoy of Hope ( a religious disaster relief organization) does a kick-ass job at what they do. In a matter of a few computer clicks, I sent them a few bucks, and specified that they be used for the Japan catastrophe. You can do that right from the Charity Navigator site.

I’m not writing this to toot my own horn. I simply wanted to point out how easy it is to help.

Diane Birch and The Gift


4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves

This song, “Mirror Mirror” by new artist Diane Birch strongly reminds me of something. When I was 42 years old I received a gift. A really great one. The Universe must have decided I was ready to receive the gift of Introspection. It had prepared me properly for it by giving me free rein to use my thoughts, words and actions to thoroughly mess up my life, over and over again! So at age 42 I did my first 4th step.

I remember taking it very seriously. I was actually looking forward to it, as opposed to the many people I know who dread it. I sat down with pen, journal, and the time to do it justice. It became one of those experiences that are forever etched in memory. I started writing down my first character flaw, then the second. I started writing faster because I had a long list of “issues” in my head and didn’t want to forget them as I was writing them down. When I got to about twenty, and actually saw the mess that was me, the tears started to flow. I got to thirty… then forty… I stopped somewhere around 50. By then, the tears were mixed with smiles and outright laughter. You see, the tears were only a little about the pain. They were mainly tears of joy! In those moments, I saw the problem, and the solution! I saw that I alone was responsible for the mess I was in, and not everyone else. I truly realized what an imperfect person I really am, jumped off my pedestal for good, and joined the human race.

I have a mountain of flaws and defects. I am a “project.” I’m okay with that. I don’t mind working long and hard at difficult projects, especially when they are me! What I’m grateful for is the awareness of exactly what the problems are. When I know the problems, the solutions are close behind. The gift of 4th step introspection gave that to me. The key. And I value it because I know that not everyone gets to have this gift. For whatever reason, many people are unable to really look inside.

So, thank you Diane, for this nice reminder. And thank you for your lovely youthful spirit that shines brightly in “Bible Belt.”

Sunday Spirit – Renewal

new beginnings







Everything changes. Nothing stays the same. Sometimes we evolve, and sometimes we simply come around full circle, back to the beginning. A new beginning.

Springtime is like that, a renewal of life. Easter is like that, a renewal of the spirit. Past the withering of our Fall, past the suffering of our Winter, is the Spring of another chance. A fresh start full of hope that this year everything will be well and good. The seed of hope is grounded in the wisdom earned through past mistakes, and watered by the Universe itself as it endeavors to make our dreams come true. That is the great promise!

Como la semilla          Like the seed
Lleva nueva vida          Carries new life
Hay en esta primavera una nueva era          There is in this Spring a new age!

Lluvia de sol          Raindrops of sunshine
Como una bendición          Like a blessing
La vida renace a plena luz          Life is reborn in full light
La primavera ya llego          Spring has arrived!

Todo es así          Everything is like this
Regreso a la raíz          Returning to the roots
Tiempo de inquieta juventud         Time for restless youth
En primavera ya          In Springtime!

La tierra negra se vuelve verde          The blackened earth turns green
Y las montañas y el desierto          And the mountains and the desert
Un bello jardín          A beautiful garden!

Como la semilla          Like the seed
Lleva nueva vida          Carries new life
Hay en esta primavera una nueva era          There is in this Spring another chance!

En el aire de este nuevo universo          In the air of this new universe
Hoy se respira libertad          Today we breathe freedom
En primavera ya          In Springtime!

La tierra negra se vuelve verde          The charred earth turns green
Y las montañas y el desierto          And the mountains and the desert
Un bello jardín          A beautiful garden!

Como la semilla          Like the seed
Lleva nueva vida          Carries new life
Hay en esta primavera una nueva era          There is in this Spring a new promise!