Saturday, March 31, 2012

Life’s A Circus






Today I watched a TV show about the circus. I watched in utter amazement as the multi-talented troupe of performers displayed their crafts. Everyone was multi-talented while multi-tasking. There was no apparent room for divas in this show. As the members were interviewed, they described their day jobs and night jobs; by day they set up the tents and rehearsed and by night they performed in splendor.

Multi-generations were present and were on call 24/7, 365 days a year. Now THAT’S dedication. Both family and extended families, all co-workers, were needed to make the magic happen as they moved about the country every two weeks. They assembled the tents, set up the staging, took care of the animals, made costumes, painted faces, practiced and performed, broke down the staging, dismantled the tents, packed the gear and lastly, drove to the next location. WOW! I was amazed and delighted in watching them. They were precision in perpetual motion. Harmony!

This was more than a livelihood to them. Beyond the physical activities and dedication was the greater purpose…entertaining the public. They brought smiles to the faces of young and old. They brought surprise, talent and wonder to each act. For each nightly performance they lightened the hearts of all attending. They defied the laws of nature in the big top by making a difference through their humanity.

Mother Teresa said to ‘never confuse the job with the vocation.’ Their job was well defined each day and night by their actions. Their vocation to bring people together was of a higher intention. Now this IS the greatest show on Earth.

Cathy


Friday, March 30, 2012

From Here Springs Hope


As SMFs, we at this time of the year, had made it through the winter and had so much to look forward to. Spring meant the loosening of the coat buttons, the unwrapping of scarves around the neck, mittens in the pockets, hats forgotten, and the dreams fulfilled of playing outside at recess once again…in warmth! Oh, the sure joy of spring settling into our bones again.

Hopscotching without ice, billy-buck-buck without frostbitten fingers, gym class outside, and open windows in the classroom were signs of spring being here to stay. Fresh cut flowers for Mary’s Shrine at the front of the classroom were always a welcome sight. The fragrances of these gifts from the students’ homes filled the classroom. Forsythia and tulips brightened our days. Irises and sprigs from cherry and apple trees delighted the senses. I can’t say I speak for the boys, of course, but they were the first to loosen their ties come springtime! Spring brought change and it was welcome.

Spring meant that daylight savings time was right around the corner and that meant we would procrastinate our homework till after the sun went down. We wanted to grab every moment of sunshine available. Extra playtime after school was the order of the day too. After a long winter, it was probably welcomed by our parents and nuns as well.

The daily hum-drum of routine to survive the short hours of winter was at an end. Spring symbolized the continuity of cycles and we would watch our school’s continuity and creativity at work once more. There was preparation for all the good things that come with the rebirth of spring: Easter Sunday, First Communion, Confirmation classes, the May Procession and choir classes for all of them. Last but not least of course was the readying for graduation. So much to do! We all participated and shared in the succession of joy of each student through their advancement through each grade.

Yes, rebirth, but with the dependability of cycles and routine was the nature of spring. Tradition helped our routines but with new twists each year as each new class added their own flair to the ceremonies. It must have worked too as we are still together today as friends and family celebrating the same great events with the same joie-de-vivre as we did when we were young.

Hope springs eternal! Enjoy it. You’ll be glad you did.

Cathy


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Into The Wind




As March came in like a lamb, so it goes out like a lion this year. Things in general are a bit topsy-turvy this spring. The day lilies are so high and the hostas are just waking up. Despite the darkness of the day’s light, the forsythia is smiling yellow against the grey and the weeping cherries appear to weep no more. The eighty degree weather of last week is a delightful memory as we battle today’s wind and chilly temps.

As the seasonal fluctuations settle in, put on the kettle, make a pot of tea and let the grey skies have their day. Grab a cappuccino, a good book and a soak in the tub. Make a play-date with your kids or grandkids, drag out the Crayolas and paint yourself a pretty picture. Create a tangible daydream.

As the winds blow, create your own calm. Find your center and ground your life for the wonderful season ahead. Spring is still sleepy and there’s plenty of time to design your future.

Cathy

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A La Carte




As days come and go
I like to experiment with food
Some like it hot
Some like it sweet
Usually, I like it blue

I have many interests
Perhaps I’ve a future in the culinary arts
A dash of this
A dash of that
It’ll always be colorful


Cathy…for Shane!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happy Birthday Patty


...and a little something for your listening pleasure...

...because you're worth it!

The Sunset Question





As sunset comes about and you are ending your day, what is it that you bring to your table? Today I heard a phrase…to paraphrase…”to know a people and their land, you must first walk in their shoes.” A familiar statement, not new to any of us; but, the question going out to you is this…’whose shoes did you walk in today’? At the end of the day, what experience did you have that you can bring home to add understanding to your life?

Did you observe, experience, share and/or care in a new way? Did the interaction cause you a pause? For a moment, did you rethink your thoughts or refine your paradigm? Does your sunrise and sunset balance your day and life?

Cathy



Monday, March 26, 2012

Forcing the Bloom






As some quick and early pruning begins in the yard this year, I’ve a few twigs to bring indoors. With some good light from the window, I’ll be forcing the blooms from the quince bush. I don’t have to force too hard as they’ve already a good start on the season. Since they seem to be in harmony with Mother Nature, I’ll tag along, and take my cue from them.

As I take my cue, I’ve the thought that ‘forcing a bloom’ is a great way to start each day. It’s a form of putting your best foot forward. As the sun shines on your face each day, what do you want it to see? What do you want the first neighbor passing by to see? The ‘best you can be’ is a great place to start. We can start with a smile because we wish to see the same from them. As you give, so shall you receive. A smile it is. With smiling eyes is even better. With a ‘have a good day’ is best still.

So, if this is ‘forcing your bloom’, then go for it, I say! Once you get in the habit, it won’t be forced. You’ll then be a ‘natural’ at it.

Cathy


Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Good Knight’s Dream



Once upon a time there was a knight who dreamed a dream. Inspired by the past he dreamt of continuing the sagas of the bygone days of yore. “Oh, my kingdom for a dragon” he would exclaim! “To ride the wind for a good cause!” But, homework seemed to get in his way! There were classes during the day…’not so bad’…sports on weekends…’better’ he thought, but what to do, to do? What is it that makes me long for something so different?

One night the knight dreamed a dream. It was a powerful dream, full of inspiration….the kind of dream one never forgets because it feels more real than the daytime before sleep sets into the bones…the kind of dream you don’t want to wake up from. It went like this:

As the knight rubbed his eyes, he awoke to a dark cloud of smoke.
“Well it’s about time you woke up!” said the voice in a cloud.
“Who said that?” said the young knight.
“My name is Milis.”
“What? Who are you? Where are you?” the knight said.
As Milis swatted at the smoke, allowing it to clear, “Here” he said, clearing his throat.
“What ARE you?” inquired the young knight.
“Milis the Meek is my correct title, mentor extraordinaire, just larger than most of life. You did wish for a dragon, did you not?”
“Well yeah! It was a daydream. Who knew there were any left.”
“Well, it’s the dream in the daydreams that make wishes come true…and the dragons who knew of the daydream in you…knew! Milis at your service, milord.”
“You’re really a real dragon?”
“Yes, from the fire breathing category, as you can well tell!”

The young knight pondered the moment while stirring from his sleep, unable to believe his eyes. “What do we do, where do we begin?”
Well, firstly young knight, to business. I have arrived with your apprenticeship papers in hand.
“I’m an apprentice! Cooooooooooool! What does that mean?”
More questions, thought Milis, this is an excellent sign! An inquisitive mind, sharp as a tack, to wake from a deep sleep and observe opportunities at hand! Soon we’ll be able to traverse the kingdoms, skim over the oceans and maneuver through the clouds like we own the world. I’ve chosen my apprentice well. ‘Well done, Milis’ he thought to himself! I’ve always had good taste. J

“Just a formality, sign here”, Milis said.
“Sign where? What does this say?” said the young knight?
“Well, it’s your name…C.J.McKnight, Apprentice to Milis.”
“You already know my name?”
“This, young sir, is not just a name, it’s your title. Christian by name, you are, are you not?”
“Yes” he said wide eyed.
“McKnight, by title… for your apprenticeship”.
“What’s the J for?”
Bright boy, bright boy, he misses nothing! “You wanted a good cause, did you not?”
“YES!”
“The J is for Justice” Milis explained.
“When do we begin?”
“Right now.”

Milis explained that C.J. McKnight must invent his new world. Your best choices must be put to parchment. Let’s talk a while and make our list.

“First, your kingdom” Milis declared.
“A castle, of course, a den for the dragon, lush lands for food and a steed for surveying the kingdom…after all, even a dragon needs his rest!”
“Second, your cause” Milis declared.
“Good food and happiness for all in the kingdom.” said C.J.
“Third, choose your colors” Milis declared.
“Blue is a happy color.”
“Declarations in place, we may now begin. Formalities are complete on parchment, we can now proceed” was the final declaration by Milis.

Let us now draw your kingdom, for I see you are a visionary, milord”. A new parchment materialized. Quill In hand, ink in well and C.J. began his vision. As the figures penned to parchment, the eyes widened. The smile broadened. The drawing came to life before his eyes and his quest was at hand. The dragon beamed with pride for his apprentice. The vision was beautiful and teaming with life. Happy faces were on the peoples of the clan.



“How’s it looking?” the young knight asked.
“Perfectly wonderful” Milis replied.
“When do we begin?” asked C.J.
“Immediately. Climb aboard.”

With a comfortable grip on the green shoulders the two began their bond. Voices engaged in conversation and dreams to be dreamed. They walked till they reached the edge of the land where it drops the cliff to the ocean. “What do you see by the sea?” Milis asked.
“The sky, the land, the ocean and the sunset. Is that a good answer?”
“Think again.” Milis said.
The young knight paused, thought a thought about a dream to be dreamed. “Endless possibilities.” He beamed back.
“Now you’re thinking. Hang on to your hat. Get ready for the ride of your life!”

The dragon reared, but just a bit, for his charge was new to this territory.
“Are you ready?” Milis asked.
“I am” said the adventurous knight. “Kick it!”
And ‘kick-it’ he did. Milis belched fire and smoke in celebration of the event. With a quick gesture he lunged into the air. Over the cliff and into the lifetime of possibilities they went. In that brief moment, C.J. McKnight remembered once reading of the old mapmakers…’beyond this point there be dragons’ and thinking how lucky he was to have found one. The old mapmakers must have known of something special. In the crisp of night air in the land of the never setting sun, they flew into a sunbeam. All that could be heard was the thrill of the apprentice…

“Cooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool!” went McKnight.

The journey has just begun.

Cathy


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Friday, March 23, 2012

Laughter is the Way



“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”
Charlie Chaplin

He ought to know as one who made his living by making others laugh.

Whimsy, mirth, chuckle, belly-laugh, chortle, guffaw, har-de-har-har, giggle, snicker & snort, cracking-up, cackle & crow, jocularity, merriment, rip-roaring, slapstick and rejoicing are all synonyms for laughter. We should try a daily dose of these just for the fun of it! Find the lighter side in all situations. It will surely brighten your way. J





Cathy


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mar. 27th Birthday Girl


Patty is the next Birthday Girl! Mar. 27th.


Daydreamin’



With fingers crossed we can kiss winter good bye. Statistics may allow for frost till Memorial Day, but as the temps hit eighty degrees, you just can’t wonder and worry about it. Last week we declared that spring had arrived. Today as the mercury rises, we feel like summer is here and overlapping with spring.

This weather makes you roll up your pants, don the flip-flops and sing a happy tune. Winter was kind to us this year but we want to look forward now. Off to the garden center we go, buy the seed packets, get our hands dirty and drag out the garden hose. Everyone taking a walk is delightfully surprised at this glorious weather while slightly holding their breath…please let this weather stay around…and no more frost! Even the dogs have a lilt in their steps as they pass by. It’s almost too good to be true.



It’s nice to be outside and listen to the cars go by with windows rolled down and with the music blastin’. I had a flashback of getting my driver’s license (a couple of years ago! Yeah, right!) and doing the same…but to a different tune. Technically speaking it was a different song, but was it really a different tune? It’s springtime and life holds promise. This is the stuff that daydreams are made of. A glance up will catch you a glimpse of a lazy cloud floating by. A glance down will let you see a dandelion as a flower and not a weed. Flowers are scarce but the bees are buzzin’ and so are we on a day such as this!

Let the daydreamin’ begin!

Cathy

Monday, March 19, 2012

First Impressions


You only get one chance at a first impression. There’s only one moment for each one you make. How many first impressions do you guess there are in a lifetime? More than I can imagine. To make a first impression worthwhile, you would want to put your best foot forward. Whatever’s the best you have to offer, we usually want that ‘certain something’ to be what others remember about us.

Wouldn’t it be nice to put this best foot forward in all you do? Each and every impression of the day would be memorable in the best way. We all want to be remembered and acknowledged. Some people like to be fashionably late for their entrance to an event. Some people want to be right on time, not wanting to miss a moment. Some like to blend into the crowd. Some like to be outstanding in their own way; some eloquent, some wise, some funny and others to be taken seriously. Any way you look at it, there’s only that one moment for a good impression and don’t the people around you deserve that best in you?

Don’t take it too seriously though. You should enjoy each moment and be comfortable with yourself. Remember to look on the light side of things! Let them be a part of your light and laughter.

Relax and enjoy some of the memorable moments captured on video of first impressions and grand entrances.

Cathy

***












Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Pic in Brag Book

A picture of Noah, 'the leprechaun', is on Brag Book page.

Thanks Linda for sending it in.

Haiku: Roaring Twenties

'Ma Lewis' on the right at Revere Beach! 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Top O’ The Morning To Ye





Tis the day when everyone is Irish. A tip o’ the cap, a smile on your face and a song in your heart will last the year through! Tell the jokes, reminisce the stories and keep an eye out for the wee folk! You never know…you may just find that pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow yet!

So grab your friends and grab a pint to celebrate the good life!

Enjoy the day.

Cathy





















A Compassionate Heart






By dictionary standards, an open mind is one receptive to new thoughts and ideas. It also suggests that one should reserve judgment until all facts are in place before making an opinion.

“Always keep an open mind and a compassionate heart.”
Phil Jackson

It would be nice if this train of thought held precedent in the world today. There would be less jumping to conclusions and rushing to voice an uneducated opinion. It would reflect tolerance, kindness, consideration and love in thoughts and actions. Perhaps the world would slow down just a little bit for observing, listening and perceiving all in life.

On this St. Patrick’s Day, it’s nice to observe and perceive that the shamrock reflects not just the Holy Trinity, but three hearts joined together.



“I believe in the sun when it’s not shining. I believe in love even when I feel it not. I believe in God even when he is silent.”
An Irish Saying

Cathy

Friday, March 16, 2012

Comfort Food




Now that you have put down your fears (See “Putting Down Your Fears, Mar. 15th, 2012) you ask ‘what’s next?’ It’s time to reward yourself. If there’s any doubt in how you should start, then try comfort foods.

That’s right. As I was watching TV today, I heard someone say…”Everything is better with pancakes!” It’s a happy food. We all need a little sweetness in life and today is your day! You deserve it. And whatever you do, don’t count the calories!!!



We all need comfort in our lives…the things that bring us center again. Every time we make a change in our lives we need to regroup and rebalance. This is when you curl up in a chair or the corner of the couch and …eat something! OK, OK, you may have another way to center…enjoy the great outdoors, go to the spa, soak in the tub, turn off your cell phone and enjoy a good book or grab your cell phone and call an old friend. Find your comfort zone and pamper it. What nourishes your life?


As you nourish yourself, you recharge your battery. Once charged, you will be prepared for more changes…exciting changes!!! You name it and you’ll be prepared for it. What’s your pleasure? The future is in your hands!

Soul food isn’t just something you can eat…but it’s a good place to start!

Yum!

Cathy

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Putting Down Your Fears


Describe a fear. Arachnophobia? That works. It could be anything.  Now, consider what lies behind the manifestation of the fear. It could be anything.

Rather than describing the fear, let’s identify the symptoms first. We see the symptoms daily…in everyday life, the media, movies and the news. We see them in family and friends, neighbors and community; we even see them in our country and government. We all have them; BUT…do we see them in ourselves? If we do, do we admit it or cover it up? Are we strong enough to strip away the layers to find the source?



Examples:
Agoraphobia: fear of going outside = fear of not being accepted
Hoarding: collecting everything = fear of want
Addictions: chronic behavioral habits = hiding from your true self
Lies: falsehoods = creating a false reality

These are examples of inward fear and how they may manifest outwardly. The symptoms are a covering of the fear, and it’s seldom sugar coated. Yet we’re all capable of falling into the habit of layering. What would you put down, drop from your personal burdens, to release each layer to find your personal truth? It’s a difficult choice sometimes. Layers become heavy over the years.

It’s your choice to reverse the process and shed the layers. Only you can do it. You may be fortunate to enough to have a support system in place, but no one else can find your truth. Deep inside you must find your self worth. As you do, the layers will fall; maybe slowly at first, but they will fall.

Change a habit, take a walk, breathe fresh air, laugh out loud and find your truth. You’ll be glad you did.

Cathy



Photo: “The Scream”, Edvard Munch


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Dearest Bride




My Dearest Bride,

My life, my love, these are yours for
This moment of our lives
As we pass in the moonlight
A moonbeam goes with me

I take with me thy kiss
For memories set in time
Love to guide the stars
Where wishes were made true

You gave me my life
When I was empty
You gave me your love
When I had none

The stars conjoined
Met with heaven’s blessing
To exemplify your name
Milady of Avalon

Comets did shoot across the sky
Declaring your love for me
I could only return your love
When the moon set into the sea

For you were my Venus
As I professed my love
In a time of yore that was ours
In our days of Avalon

Never to return in time
To this our sacred moment
Everlasting in the sky
The light from your blue eyes

Complete am I because of you
My lover in the lea
Where you and I were heaven sent
In Avalon by the sea


Cathy….submitted by a friend


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Borrowers Be



Tell us the story again, the young-ones said to the Elder…how we got our name. They gathered around the fire pit at dusk with their favorite toys in hand and wrapped in blankets. With eyes wide, the young-ones settled into stillness.

The story commenced as the Elder historian told his story once more. We are the “Borrowers Be” and this is our story.

At the beginning of our time we were known as the Borrowers because “we be wanting”. We were in need of all things as young people of the world. We wanted food, shelter and clothing. We wanted comfort and hearth for our young-ones. We travelled the lands to gather our wants and settle in this place.

We settled in well as the land gave all we needed. We became known as “we be thriving”. Our stores were full from abundant crops and harvest and it carried us through the sleeping season of frost.

The seasons suffered some years. The how and why of it I know not. This time was called “we be lacking”. We did manage but all our skills and talents were tested and taxed. We had to venture to new lands with our concerns and doubt in tow…comfort no longer a steady friend. We did manage as a community with our stores adequate to our needs.

Having lived long enough on the land to know the ‘mind of the seasons’, we came to understand its variances. Our history then named us “we be balanced” for we came to live with the cycles of nature. Our numbers grew. We maintained our standards of wants for all. We thought ourselves a success as a community.

As time passed and our wants were met, there was a knowing of land depletion. We managed. We reviewed our history. We sought an answer to replenish the land. This was the time of “we be seekers”. Our thoughts were brought together for answers to secure our future.

Our thoughts and talents combined brought our strengths to the front. We recalled the land as we first knew it. We remembered the best of the landscapes. We remembered the best of ourselves. We chose to return its beauty. We set our plans forward to the future and called this time “we be wise”. Knowing this to be a timely but worthwhile venture, we set forth with our plan.

The community gathered as planned, bringing their gifts to the land. This time, “we be giving”. As the ground was turned, each family brought a select gift…a single seed plus one…one for our garden and one for the land. Trees, vines, berries and fruits were planted for restoration.

With the land restored, the streams flowed clean, the air smelled fresh and the crops held greater bounty than ever before. Birds returned with a sweeter song. Butterflies and honeybees made their homes with the abundant wild flowers…and “we be happy”.

Dearest young-ones, the Elder said, we are nearing the end of our story. We are here on this land for an uncertain length of time. We commune with land and nature and borrow from both. We learn their wisdom and balance. We survive because we borrow, then return. We are the “Borrowers Be” for when we’re one with one and all, they let the borrowers be.

Now young-ones, your favorite time is here. Adorn your wreaths of flowers and garlands made from vine. Wave your boughs and branches and chant around the fire.



“We, Wheeee!, the “Borrowers Be”
One with land in harmony
Balanced seekers, wise are we
Giving back so happily!”

The young-ones danced as the Elder smiled, so content in being a “Borrowers Be”…for after all…“we be love.”

Cathy

Monday, March 12, 2012

Appreciation



Thankful recognition: Appreciation is more than a grateful word or gesture. It acknowledges worth. It demonstrates a value system between two people. When this is established, it is then accepted within the community and beyond to distant shores….but it starts one on one.

How do you evaluate someone’s worth? Is it by your rules alone? Do you take into account the values of others, the majority, the few, or the measure of peer pressure? Do you think with your mind or do you take the value from your heart? Heart to heart is the only true equity when evaluating humanity.

So often we evaluate based on our wants. This method usually tallies what is lacking in our life which will always leave us coming up empty. To tally negative numbers will always leave you in a deficiency. This suggests that you as an individual is lacking in some way. It will always leave you longing for something. If this method isn’t working for you, make a change.

To tally worth, you must start with something tangible. Love, hugs, handshakes, deliberate acts of kindness, smiles and lending a helping hand are good places to start. This will get you a tally sheet you can go forward with over time. You should always look forward, but just in case you may have missed a moment of appreciation from the past, it is never too late for recognition. A simple ‘thank-you’ is usually sufficient in exchange. When in doubt, say it anyhow. Just wait for it…the smile in return. Now, there’s payback!

When you go forward in this manner, you will be working with numbers you can rely on…positive numbers! These numbers will always add up. They will never leave you wanting for they are adding up all your worth. You are more than adequate. You are more than good enough. This method will point out your perfections because you are working from your heart and your heart will always lead you back to God.

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds a day today. Have you used one to say ‘Thank you?’ ” ~ William A. Ward

Should there be people in your life that have passed, and you wish to appreciate them now, know that it’s never too late. Jesus said: "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Mt 18:20) You, Jesus and God make quite a threesome! Say a prayer and it will be heard.
Counting your blessings will get you there.

Cathy


The Appreciation Movie: http://www.appreciationmovie.com/