Sparks: 20

20

I am thankful for the opportunity that Sparks provides me with, which is to renew a goal I had when I began blogging. Years ago, I shared inspirational thoughts each Monday. It would be my weekly meditation, and perhaps feed another’s spirit as well. It was all about positive energy.

But, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans” (John Lennon). Recently, I was motivated to revive this weekly post. The negative energy in the world has become thick and oppressive. It is everywhere, including social media. People speak of love, but from a dark heart. It is true, actions speak louder than words. There is an obvious universal need for more positive energy. We need to walk the talk. And, some do.

I was very encouraged when others wanted to join me in my quest to counteract the negativity around us. I am inspired by the positive energy of my peers. Every day, I read their heartfelt words, and often feel I am better for it. Their weekly posts for Sparks are especially filled with hope and light. They are Sparks. They shine!

I believe we are all meant to be lights in this world. If we allow our light to shine, we can see where we are going. It is then that we can begin to truly see each other clearly. With clarity, we begin to understand, or at least accept our differences. The light within us is unique, which only adds to the beauty.

It all begins with a spark, a true desire to be the change that we all wish to see in the world. Together, we can light up the entire world with positive energy. Imagine!

If we all shine on…and on and on and on and on…

I hope you will join us. Post a positive quote or some of your own inspirational words. Please add the Sparks badge to your post, so others can find it easily. Be sure to come back and link up to us here. We want to see your Sparks! Peace!

Click here to add your Sparks to ours on the Linky List!

Mouse for Sale

 

Everyone has the same basic human needs. We all want food, shelter, clothing, etc. We all want to be loved, and to have someone that we can love. We want to be accepted for who we are. In these basic things, we are the same.

We are born with a genetic code. Then, heredity and environment join to shape us. From that, we develop our own personality. We express ourselves in unique ways. These are the things that make us different. From childhood, we seek to find someone who totally, completely “gets” us. When we do find someone who accepts us just as we are, it is a wonderful thing. When we find someone who is like us and can celebrate that which makes us “different”, it is truly special!

May you always be accepted and loved for who you are, and may you appreciate those who do. Celebrate that connection together. It is a blessing.

Have a wonderful weekend doing what you love with those you love. See you soon!

The Journey

I wrote this musing in January, 2013. When I came across it recently, I realized how timeless it is. As we end a year and begin a new one, I felt it is worth sharing, again. Now, with a postscript.
I’m Getting There
Roads, directions, mile markers, signs, ramps, bridges…we are always moving because that is the way of life. This has long been an inspiration to poets, including myself. We rely on maps, GPS, satellites, to help guide us. 
Bill has a satellite GPS in his truck. It speaks the directions to him, giving warnings, telling him which way to turn. I named it Hal, after HAL 9000, the computer in “2001: A Space Odyssey”. While Hal can show and give directions, even Hal doesn’t know everything down the roads. (“I’m sorry, Dave; I’m afraid I can’t do that.”) There are detours, weather factors, missing signs, construction, accidents, the unexpected, and the unknown. If Bill listened to him exclusively, he could end up off-roading in an 18-wheeler. 
This is life, too. We each must make a journey through life. We come into this world alone, and leave it alone. We may be guided by our parents. We are definitely influenced by our family and peers. We do not travel through life alone; not one of us does. Nevertheless, it is our personal journey to make. No one can make your journey for you. No one can tell you where to go, or how to get there. You find the tools that help you navigate, because you must. If you don’t keep moving, you become a casualty. 
There are times that you may feel lost, and only you can find your way. Sometimes you have to “reconfigure” the route. Even with GPS or navigational devices, you have to use your own senses to find your own way. The fog may move in, or the GPS may be off (Dang it, Hal!). You control the GPS. You control your life. You must focus, and give your undivided attention to your direction and intended destination if you are ever to arrive. 
That’s where I am. I needed some time to “reconfigure” my route with writing, blogging, myself and life. I needed to quiet the road noise. I had to be able to hear my internal GPS. I am getting back behind the wheel. I will finish the race, but I will do it my way. I will listen to my own GPS, and I will turn off the road noise when I need to. I’ll get there. 

Now, five years later, I still occasionally withdraw from traffic, park my spirit, and reset my inner GPS. After refueling my soul, I am able to continue on my journey, with purpose.
I don’t want to miss anything of value. I want my journey to have been a wise one. I know that at the end of my road there will be the Pearly Gate. When I park there, I want to be sure that I have used my miles wisely. I want there to be no doubt that I followed the signs, observed the rules of the road, and stayed in my lane. I do not want to be a distraction to others or an obstacle on their road.
We are all in this world together. Our roads inevitably intersect. Some of us travel side by side for miles. For others, it is but a brief time that we share on this journey through life. Sometimes, we have a mishap, sideswipe someone, or outright collide. But, in each encounter, there is a lesson. There is always something of value, to use somewhere along the route we maneuver.
There are many roads to choose from. Realistically, there are wrong roads, bad routes, one-way streets, and even U-turns. But, no one can tell you where to go, or the right way to get there. You must listen to your own GPS and decide your own route. Because, the journey is yours.
Thank you for being a part of my journey. I hope this year brings smoother roads for everyone. Set your internal GPS; enjoy your journey. Peace be with you.
  

Forgiveness

I make mistakes and must fix them. I sincerely try to not hurt others, because I do not want to be the source of someone’s pain. So, I seek forgiveness when I should, because it is important to resolve issues. Forgiveness is healing. It is simply a fact of the human condition to make mistakes. Consequently, there are times that we need to be forgiven. 

Whether we deserve forgiveness or even seek it is an individual thing. Sometimes, it comes easy, but sometimes forgiveness comes at a price. As a child, I thought that forgiveness was automatic. You gave forgiveness no matter what, whether someone asked for it or not. As I grew, I realized this is not the case. Just as you can choose to apologize, you can choose to forgive.

It literally took me a lifetime to understand that simple truth. We journey through this life not alone. We must learn how to forgive from our relationships and experiences. It especially becomes relevant when you realize that in forgiving others, you also become more forgivable. This is the human condition at its ultimate best.

But there was even more to this for me, something much deeper. I had to learn to find forgiveness for significant people in my life, for some painfully difficult situations. I prayed about forgiveness and my relationship with it. I sought advice from friends, extended family members, and even clergy. I realized that forgiveness can mean different things to different people, too. I read about forgiveness and its processes.

Through my search, I came across various pieces of advice and many quotes. Some of these seemed too trite. However, there were some that truly spoke to me. This one, in particular, seemed to fit my history of hurt and life situation. It is: “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.” (author unknown)

It still did not happen overnight. I did not suddenly feel unburdened. But, I have slowly let go. As I always say, when there is nothing left to hold onto, you have to let go. We can never undo what has been done. We cannot go back. Things will never be the way they could have, should have been. I know my truths. God knows, too. If He can forgive, I can. And, so I do.

I am very thankful for forgiveness. I understand and appreciate the power of forgiveness. The wise and wonderful Mark Twain said this: “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” 

Day Twenty-Nine of my Giving Thanks series.

The Briar

I am thankful for the past. I am relieved that I made it this far because my path has always been lined with briars. But, it is much more than that. I am thankful because, “That which did not kill me made me stronger.” Yes, I survived, but while these experiences shaped me, they do not define me.
My family was not close. Dysfunction is what held them all together, and secrets were their glue. They indeed did play a significant part in my history. But, this is not about them. This is my personal story. It is what it is.
I did not choose the things that made up my childhood. The briars were planted by significant others. But, I am an old soul. I seemed to understand things from a very early age. I paid attention; I knew the score. I asked questions, when possible. I rebelled in ways to alter my path in positive directions. I cleared the briars. I held my ground where I could and voiced my concerns. I knew that I could choose differently, but I had to grow up first.
As a child, I had a couple of key role models. Grampy was my anchor. He is the one who held my moral compass. He taught me, and he guided me around the briars. I never doubted his love. He believed in me and my worth. He was the only one who did. I still feel him in my life, every day. He may not hold my moral compass, now, but I think he keeps it running. For that, for him, I am deeply grateful.
As an adolescent, Uncle Eddie came into my life. To my surprise, he believed in me, too. We had long talks about life and philosophy. He taught me things that I needed to know. He knew there were briars and showed me how to remove them. I felt safe with him. I was aged ten through thirteen when Uncle Eddie was present in my life. I am very grateful for my time with my Uncle Eddie. I needed him.

I am grateful for all of the people who helped shape me in various ways along my journey. Grampy and Uncle Eddie were clearly the exceptions. Others were examples of what not to do, who not to be. Whether they meant to or not, they all helped me to understand life. That helped me to find my own place in it. I am not perfect. I am very human. I make a conscious effort to be a good person. I know that I should, “Be the change” that I “wish to see in the world”. That is what the lessons of my journey have truly taught me. I am thankful for each lesson and every step that I took along that path of many briars. I am here now. 

Day Twenty-Eight of my Giving Thanks series.

Animal Rescue Blessings

One of my greatest blessings has been to participate in animal rescue. This goes back to my childhood. We first rescued a guinea pig, who was being relegated to perdition. Following her, throughout my life, there have been various raccoons, opossums, rabbits, rodents, birds, numerous reptiles and amphibians, fish, a skunk, a monkey, and naturally, cats and dogs. I have been blessed.
One of these wonderful blessings was a litter born on Thanksgiving, November 25,  2010. These kittens were rejected by their very young and very ill homeless mother. Her rescuer was not able to care for their needs and her, too. That is when they came to me.
This litter of four were the most pitiful babies I had cared for. They were extremely ill, too. For weeks we had humidifiers running for them to help ease their congestion. They were given antibiotics and nose drops. I was feeding them every 1-2 hours with a syringe because they could not nurse normally. I was also doing chest thumps on two of these babies. I had to help break up the congestion.

God’s hand was in this, as always. Two kittens went on to be adopted by a young couple. We kept the two black kittens, otherwise total opposites. You know them: Grizelda and Chloe Jo. They just celebrated their seventh birthday! 

~Happy Birthday, Girls!~

Baby Grizelda Zoe

Baby Chloe Jo
Baby Sisters
Grizelda
Chloe Jo
~The Girls Today~
I have so many reasons for doing animal rescue. This is what moves me: to see them survive and then to thrive. This is the reward. I am humbled by God’s faith in me. I am honoured by the animal’s trust. I am happy to be a part of their journey. I love each and every one of them. And, I am grateful for the lessons they have all taught me and continue to teach me.
Day Twenty-Six of my Giving Thanks series.
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Creativity

Creativity is something that I am very thankful for wherever I find it. Creative outlets help us release stress in a positive way and cope with situations. They can also entertain us, as well as others. It is validating when others appreciate our creativity.
Just as each person is unique, creativity is a uniquely personal thing. You can learn a craft, and get quite good at it. You can practice and know your chosen art, but creativity takes it to a different dimension. I believe that creativity is a God-given gift. You cannot learn creativity.  
Bill is an extremely talented guitar player. He has played for fifty-five years. He plays mostly lead guitar, on both six and twelve string guitars. While he has studied, practiced, and knows the guitar in depth, he is also incredibly creative.
Other guitar players that I love for their creativity are B. B. King, George Thorogood, John Fogerty, Willie Nelson, and Carlos Santana. These are some of my very favourite guitarists, because of their genuine creativity.
In addition to music, I admire and respect creative artists in other forms, too. Some of my favourite creative artists are Peter Max, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Ronnie Wood, Van Gogh, Hargrove, Robert Redbird, and numerous others. When art speaks to me, I listen. I want to know more about the art and artist.
In fact, many of my blogger friends are creative energies. Some have flair in making crafts. Some have a creative eye for photography. Some of my creative friends can turn photos into art. Some creative spirits can draw, or paint with canvas and different mediums. I appreciate it all and am inspired. I am thankful for the sharing of creativity.

Me? I do not play an instrument. I cannot sing. I cannot create things from yarn or paper. I cannot draw or paint. I capture moments; I am not a photographer. However, I am a creative thinker. I write down what is in my mind and heart. I am very thankful to be able to do that.

Day Twenty-Five of my Giving Thanks series

Bounty

As I shopped for groceries this week, I contemplated the holiday. Thanksgiving is meant to be just that: a time to give thanks. Time and circumstance has made that time different things to different people. However, it does not change the meaning of the holiday.
As I put things in my cart and checked them off of my list, I thought of the many things that I am thankful for. The word “bounty” came into my head. I actually stopped to think about the real meaning of the word.
bounty
noun: bounty; plural: bounties
-something given or occurring in generous amounts; generosity, liberality.
I looked around at all of the food displays. The shelves and bins and tables…all full. As I got the things for our holiday dinner, I thought of the bounty of food that God has blessed us with every day. We do understand, and are thankful.
As I continued shopping, I remembered other things that I had neglected to put on the list. So, I thought carefully to avoid another trip to crazy town. I added the items to the cart. Nothing frivolous, but things that we needed. There are always things around the house that need to be replenished.
The cats needed litter, so I stuffed that under the cart. The dogs needed the special “senior” treats. Kenzie is a senior and Stella is middle-aged. We are conscious of their needs to stay healthy. Their bounty, I thought with a chuckle. Yes, but they are part of our bounty, too.
Bill needed some things for his trucking life. A man has to maintain his health even when on the road. He isn’t getting any younger, either. But, he is certainly a big part of my bounty.
Finally, I checked out of the store. I thought about bounty all of the way home. I looked at everything. I watched the squirrels and their bounty of nut holes in my flower beds. I watched the last of the Sandhill Crane and their bounty of companionship on their southward travel. I waved back to nice neighbors who waved to me. I watched the sun peek out of grey rain clouds.

Again, I marveled at the bounty that we are blessed with every day. We are blessed in so many ways by a very generous God. That is what “bounty” is. It is not only about the things we have, but that God is generous in His giving. God is good. And, I am thankful. 

Day Twenty-Two in my Giving Thanks series