Saturday, April 30, 2005

A Delightful Day

I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much.
Mother Teresa Indian humanitarian & missionary (1910 - 1997)

Well, today was delightful. All four of my children were in my home, together for the first time since Christmas. Add five grandsons, three dogs, and me to the mix and you have a noisy crowd. I enjoyed it soul-deep and I believe everyone else did too, except the newest puppy, who was confused by it all.
I received a new lawn mower, as an early Mother's Day present. I sighed in relief as one more bothersome detail vanished from my worry list. I helped install a faster modem on this monster. I placed the box, holding all of Jerry's gathered treasures on my dining room table and watched his children divvy it all up with grace. I could see them remembering moments as they unpacked from his trunk and transferred handpicked items to their own.
The large plastic tote is empty now and I feel lighter, somehow. It was finally time to take that step, no tears fell from any eye, and although some items were handled with reverence it was on the whole a very comfortable journey for everyone involved. Stepping into the future with confidence takes a willingness to let go of the past. I hear the echo of his footsteps still, but everything I carry, from that long ago time, is compatible with any life I build for myself now.


Friday, April 29, 2005

Anger Makes Me Mad

Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were. Cherie Carter-Scott, "If Love Is a Game, These Are the Rules"

Being forced into dealing with my own anger makes me mad, since I do all I can to avoid the need for it. The only thing that inspires my rage is a person who repeatedly insists on overstepping the line I draw between myself and unnecessary irritation. Negatives used, battling ram style, open no doors with me. I have no trouble standing my ground if forced into battle. But it is such senseless toil.
I never hold a grudge, although for sanity sake there are people I avoid, knowing the pattern that a relationship with them will demand. I never wish anyone ill, even if they wish me some. Anger just takes too much space and uses up too much energy not to drop it like a hot potato asap. But it is always best to combine reason with rage. Screwing up is much easier when high emotion has you by the brain--breathe. Half cocked guns often shoot the people holding the trigger--unclench. The exercise of spewing it all out covers you with a stench and leaves a bitter taste in runaway mouths--relax.
A gentle word might work just as well as any other to get their attention, most times it works much better. Debating in a respectful manner is more productive than trying to shove your opinion down someone else's throat or swallow theirs. We do not all come from the same location, experiences vary, so the fact that we have different slants on life is no big surprise. Point of view is a valuable consideration. Use it to your advantage.


Thursday, April 28, 2005

Deal With This Today

Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed.
Michael Pritchard

I felt so disjointed yesterday, sliding from one emotion to the next with no walls between them. Today was much different, but it took careful planning to get the most done without constantly tripping over all the left over debris.
I took no time to make a, To Do List. I invested my energy in preparing one I entitled, Deal With This Today. I transferred all the items off my, Put Off Till Later list, knowing that nothing makes a person feel more in control than simply taking control. I marked each item off as they were completed and the haze lifted layer by layer along the way. Bootstap tugging is such an empowering exercise.
My strength seems fully restored. And I got rid of all the nagging things that I had been juggling. The process of getting over yesterday has guaranteed a more carefree tomorrow. And in some twisted way that has made all that happened yesterday valuable, because it forced me to write a list in bold black letters, then follow through with bold determined actions.


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Business Of Coping

This has been a day of high emotions, varying from mountain high to valley low. My dream is the high portion, raising a teen aged son alone accounted for all the lows. Talking to teenagers is trying at times, reasoning with them is quite impossible when they raise an attitude wall to muffle any sensible thing you are saying. Doing my best, but grrrrrrr!
I do not believe that striking solves anything, or he might be black and blue. But grounding until he is better grounded was necessary, which caused its own conflicts. It could have occurred at a more opportune time, but life is rarely orderly in that fashion. So you see I have issues that I struggle with, the same as anyone else.
I am not perfect. But I dream, and reach for things while I go about the business of coping. I hope something here encourages you to do the same.
I got this email and forwarded it to most of my contacts, and am putting it here to reach more. Please copy and paste and send it on.

Susie is recouping at an incredible pace for someone with a massive stroke all because Sherry saw Susie stumble - -that is the key that isn't mentioned below - and then she asked Susie the 3 questions.

So simple - - this literally saved Susie's life - - Some angel sent it to Suzie's friend and they did just what it said to do. Suzie failed all three so 911 was called. Even though she had normal blood pressure readings and did not appear to be a stroke as she could converse to some extent with the Paramedics they took her to the hospital right away. Thank God for the sense to remember the 3 steps! Read and Learn! Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify.
Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:
*Ask the individual to SMILE.
*Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
*Ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (ie. It is sunny out today)
If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 9-1-1 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. After discovering that a group of non-medical volunteers could identify facial weakness, arm weakness and speech problems, researchers urged the general public to learn the three questions. They presented their conclusions at the American Stroke Association's annual meeting last February. Widespread use of this test could result in prompt diagnosis and treatment of the stroke and prevent brain damage. A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people, you can bet that at least one life will be saved. BE A FRIEND AND SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH AS MANY FRIENDS AS POSSIBLE. It could save their lives.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Food For Thought.....A Special E-Mail

What would you do ? Don't look for a punch line. There isn't one. My question to you is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fund-raising dinner for a school that serves learning disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question.
"When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. "I believe, that when a child like Shay comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes, in the way other people treat that child." Then he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and, getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the outfield. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible 'cause Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher took the ball and turned and threw the ball on a high arc to right field, far beyond the reach of the first baseman. Everyone started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!"

Never in his life had Shay ever made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!"
By the time Shay rounded first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions and intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases toward home. Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third!"
As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams were screaming, "Shay, run home!" Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the "grand slam" and won the game for his team.
That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world."

AND, NOW A LITTLE FOOTNOTE TO THIS STORY: We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people think twice about sharing. The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.

If you're thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you're probably sorting out the people on your address list that aren't the "appropriate" ones to receive this type of message. Well, the person who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference. We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the "natural order of things." So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up that opportunity, and leave the world a little bit colder in the process? You now have two choices: 1. Delete this. 2. Forward it to the people you care about. You already know the choice I opted for. Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

Well folks you can see the choice I made. I left it in a form that can easily be copied and pasted into email form again and sent to all your contacts. Sharing this kind of thing with the most people you can only makes sense. Anything that gives me goosebumps ends up here. I am going to be real busy for at least the first few days of the opening of my new site and time to write is limited, but I will add to Journey's End daily, if not my own words then words that mirror my thoughts or lift my heart. Ain't life grand??


Monday, April 25, 2005

The Secret

Well, I have been on a secret journey for 3 months now, and today is judgment day. Countless hours and headaches went into this, but also fierce love and attention to detail. I wasn't traveling alone and I don't plan on living here alone, either. All visitors simply click on title for rerouting to our new home. The our in this new Journey's End belongs in equal measure to all who care to come inside and decorate their own space. The welcome mat is out and the light is always on. Welcome home friends.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Facing Facts

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
Aldous Huxley, "Proper Studies", 1927English critic & novelist (1894 - 1963)

They sure don't, but wouldn't it be lovely if it were that simple. Many of us act as if it were so, acting and reacting are much easier than going toe-to-toe with adverse factual information. Failure to face things only gives a bad situation the fuel and time to grow to a larger size.
I know this by heart, but sometimes my mind rebels. At times it is quite overwhelming to realize that I have to face things solo, after 30 years with a sidekick. When the pile is too large I try to reason my way through it without despairing, and most times I succeed on the first attempt. But it can be a real bitch. If ignoring would work wouldn't it be lovely.
Rebuilding a life would be much easier and remodeling myself would be instant. But since ignoring things is not a possible solution, facing issues will continue to be my way. The speed at which I travel will vary, from snail slow to lightning quick, but it will always be the fastest that I can travel forward at that moment in time.


Saturday, April 23, 2005

Eye-balling Fear

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt US diplomat & reformer (1884 - 1962)

That idea in the back of your mind could be reality, except for fear. Sometimes we fear failure, at other times success. Fright is like quicksand, holding stationary then dragging under any human who treads within its reach. We are outnumbered, there are countless things to be afraid of, but they are outclassed because facing a fear makes it instantly harmless.
In a real way the torture of fearing is much more painful than the overcoming of it. I fear, but 40 years of giving into it was more than enough. I have no time to spare now. Fear will more often spur me on than stop me. The best way to control it is to wrestle the reins out of its sticky claws and drive yourself. Fear never got me anywhere I wanted to be. I bet you can say the same.


Friday, April 22, 2005

Experience Life

Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him. Aldous Huxley, "Texts and Pretexts", 1932 English critic & novelist (1894 - 1963)

Life is a gift that should be opened slowly and savored fully, but unless you pay attention it will simply slip though your fingers like quicksilver. Getting the most out of living requires mindful participation, which means that knee-jerking impulses should be instantly made suspect. More often than not, reactionary behaviors cede all the power to the situation. And that is too much like boarding a bus without knowing its destination too entice me to climb onboard.
If we become puppets, controlled by whatever happens to us, there is no occasion for hope. I learned that lesson slowly. I am not immune to happenings, but I do try to minimize the damage caused. Walking through the fire will be all the more painful if you add to the height of the flames or insist on strolling there longer than necessary. Use it then lose it. Feel it then deal with it. Be it or be free of it. The choice of what happens to you is out of your hands, but the choice of how you respond certainly is well within your reach, if you take the time to grasp onto it before giving into the panic urge.


Thursday, April 21, 2005

Reach For Excellence

I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God's business. Michael J. Fox, quoted by Lorne A. Adrain in 'The Most Important Thing I Know'US (Canadian-born) actor (1961 - )

The act of reaching for excellence is faith born. Faith in your own power to do the best job you can no matter the task makes grasping excellence possible, without that you simply lack the drive needed to reach more than the mundane. The cost of excellence is dearer and the rewards are priceless.
God is in charge of perfection, but He is also a great mechanic of imperfections. And once repaired He forgets they even existed. If He forgives and forgets, we should be able do the same. Holding grudges against yourself for being human makes no sense and grudges aimed at others only drag you down.
I am as guilty as anyone of building walls against those who have wounded me, with no just cause, but I do forgive them. I am hoping God realizes that I do not wish them pain, yet I will not subject myself to the role of easy target. Abuse leaves a powerful aversion to any pain that can be avoided. I steer clear of what I know will cause agony, without really solving anything. Pain for pains sake is stupid. And I am not stupid. Some things need a bigger tool than I possess to mend them.
Life teaches you that some battles are necessary, some are not. I choose my battles carefully. Revenge is not in my database. Spite is more destructive to the one spewing it than the one it is aimed toward. I will continue on this road and follow it past all obstacles, with such a clear vision of where I am heading it should be a pleasant journey. Reaching for excellence is so much better than settling for the ordinary.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Pick Yourself Up

Every minute you are thinking of evil, you might have been thinking of good instead. Refuse to pander to a morbid interest in your own misdeeds. Pick yourself up, be sorry, shake yourself, and go on again.
Evelyn Underhill

Today I danced! Now I am here, so my whole day overflowed with good thinking, followed by soothing actions. I am exhausted in such a healthy way. I had forgotten how wonderful it felt to stroke someone's spirit. Secret places, folded carefully away, are opening to let the world back in, on a one to one, face to face level that has been absent since Jerry got ill.
I am picking myself up, step by step, watching the road ahead with interest. My life is so rich and I know this is just the beginning. Sometimes when I consider it all, dreams attained and the ones that remain in different stages of development, I am almost overwhelmed. Almost, but not quite. Reminding myself of how far I have traveled, and the cost of the trip, so far, quickly re-centers my bobbling confidence.
Thought control is vital to staying centered. The past is over, if something was learned from every misstep then something positive is left behind, paying a just rent for any agony suffered. Absence of thought just leaves a person traveling in a tight circle, reliving the same mistakes over and over. What is dwelled upon fuels our steps, so I use thoughts in the best way possible to get the most distance possible, down a road worth traveling.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Your Best Behavior

Don't reserve your best behavior for special occasions. You can't have two sets of manners, two social codes - one for those you admire and want to impress, another for those whom you consider unimportant. You must be the same to all people.
Lillian Eichler Watson

My best possible behavior alters daily, but I try to be real whatever my setting. The concept of doing my best in every situation is something I try to live by now. Time is just too short to travel half-assed through life. And I hate begging anyone's pardon, because of a situation I created, so I try very hard not to create any.
Tomorrow is my first day of paid labor in ages. Everyone I meet will get acquainted with the same person. Head games are well below where I stand. If I inspire talk amongst my co-workers I want it to be positive, but if I give my best it will not matter what is said.
Giving your best comes easily when you feel passion for the things you involve yourself in. I drop all walls and face new situations and people without judgments when I approach anything worth the doing. The growth of self is demanding changes in how I invest my time. Some behaviors of the past have been abandoned altogether, some passions have been redirected to more worthwhile endeavors. I am just an angel with a dirty face, seeking to ease pain by any avenue I can find.
Knowing how to ease my own came first, everything I learned led here, and I believe I am mostly free of major detour points now. Writing about it to touch others in a positive way is only one fork along this road. Hands on stroking of my fellow man is a part of me that has been ignored because of fear of reliving pain, still raw, from wounds suffered on the death march I was involved in.
I hate being afraid. Facing it will render it impotent. Letting it lead me makes no sense; I would much rather lead it to the nearest cliff, and push it over the edge. Actions that come natural deserve a life of their own, so I am resurrecting them from the ashes of the past. A road worth traveling is the location where a persons best intentions join hands with their best behavior and makes magic.


Monday, April 18, 2005

The Twilight Zone

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt 26th president of US (1858 - 1919)

The twilight zone is a safe place, nothing much ever happens there. Anyone can live inside its shrunken boarders, rent free, just move in and vegetate. Working to make this world a better place never begins on that neighborhood watch. You will never wish upon a star from that location; the sky's the limit is down the road, a spell, and that is where the stars are kept.
The temperature is always luke warm, even a short visit will inspire impotency. Mostly cloudy is the most common weather condition. Sunglasses are obsolete, sunscreen is quite unnecessary. Joy and sorrow are only skin deep emotions. The only depth there is shallow. The landscape is generic and sterile.
That is simply no place I want to reside. I live in a place where touching other people is mandatory. Making things better is Journey's End creed and I carry it soul deep. I got the job I was seeking and will gladly give comfort to the elderly in whatever capacity that I am able. Tomorrow I call a local paper to see if anything here will convince them of their need of my words somewhere in each issue.
This journey is whatever you make of it. Make a difference, or move to the twilight zone, but do not anticipate a visit from me. My lifepath just does not head that direction, if yours does maybe a move is in order.


Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Art of Daydreaming

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. Edgar Allan Poe , author, editor, & poet (1809 - 1849)

Daydreams are handpicked and magical, driving us to actions fueled by imagination. The dreamers portion of my brain is highly developed. I have dreamed enough imaginings into reality to understand that the line between the two is only as hard to cross as you make it.
Daydreamers are often criticized for what they cannot help. And Thank God being told to stop dreaming has little effect upon a true daydreamer. The world would be a poor place if all the lively minds ceased their spinning.
Poe used the word cognizant, which means mindful and aware. That just about sums it up. A person who dreams in the light of day sees things through eyes not limited to what is up close; what is quickly becomes what can be, since no walls separate the two. A walled up mind never imagines what seems impossible and a body led by such a mind never escapes the prison those wall erect.
Daydreaming is a worthwhile pastime, no matter what you have been told to the contrary. Test your own capacity by letting your mind drift where it will for a portion of time every day. Choose the smallest imagining and try to breath life into it, as you watch it bloom into reality, your soul will sing a tune like no other. And before long your daily dreams will outnumber your nightly ones, who knows if you are really blessed they just might replace them altogether.


Saturday, April 16, 2005

A Calling

I've come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as a fingerprint - and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you. Oprah Winfrey

I believe the same thing. I learned the difference between giving control of your life over to someone else, or giving of yourself to other's, and all the lessons were brutal, but necessary. Knowledge without action is useless. Words without deeds give no honor to convictions born of true understanding. I get it, now I have to live it.
My lifepath leads one direction only, but there are many facets to every step taken, using my time wisely will guarantee I do the most good in the time I have left.
Thinking about priorities is vital at this point in my journey. Every trip worth taking deserves the forethought needed to map the best route. Knowing where you are headed is the first step to any journey. Deciding how you are going to get there creates the framework for your soul to plot the best course. Without direction humans just spin in place like a well wound top. Try spinning in a handpicked orbit, there is nothing quite like it.


Friday, April 15, 2005

Most Fools

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain - and most fools do.
Dale Carnegie

I try to avoid the three C's, not practicing them is relatively easy, putting up with them, from someone else, is completely impossible. People, bent on shoving their opinion down your throat are not interested in listening. And all the fools I know are extremely longwinded and loud, even on paper. I try to stay silent, until they run out of steam, most times I succeed. I am thankful that today was fool free.
I doubt a fool would have lived if they had gotten between me, and the demons I was facing. My first day of volunteering was mostly painless, but there where odd moments of discomfort, and one partial flashback. I never wavered in my determination to accept the negative, so that I could experience the positive. The payoff was well worth the cost paid.
I fell in love several times today. I gave comfort hugs and reaped my own comfort. I made deep eye contact with twinkling eyes, buried in deep wrinkles and watched the years fall away from their faces as I twinkled back. I sang with them, watched them dance, played games with a beach ball, inspiring camouflaged exercise that made them giggle. They did not giggle alone.
I have an application in my purse, for a part time position, making beds, passing ice water, then giving the residence my undivided attention, while the aide is busy with hard core care. It will not replace the volunteering, since it is only 4 or 5 hours a day. I will just remain after I clock out and do my bit for free. A couple of days a week is all I can spare, but this adjustment needs to be taken slowly, in any case. Keeping involved is important to me.
Writing is my first love. Journey's End is and always will be vital to me. I have many plans for what I do here, some in the works, other's only imagined. I have an address of a local paper to pursue an idea brewing inside for another writing avenue. I still have two novels to redraft, until I get them as perfect as I am able. But I have a portion of love that belongs solely to the ole folks with flashing eyes that refuse to stop twinkling. It felt wonderful to express that love with actions long forsaken, but never quite forgotten. Giving a shit about people who gave their youth to build the world we inherited seems a just cause. I hope someone feels the same when my blue eyes twinkle in a face lined by age.
I placed a link under the title of this post to a online library filled with books available to read online. I am rereading, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Never stop learning, keep building the fire so that when you reach your twilight years the spark will still be burning.


Thursday, April 14, 2005

Risks Worth The Reward

It seems to me that people have vast potential. Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people don't. They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever. Philip Adams

I believe we all have the same potential to change, for better or worse, the rotation of our orbit. Sun and shadow are common to every day, each in its own turn. Nature controls the amount of each. A life is just as much at the mercy of environment, but internal sun or shadow depends upon mindset, no matter what is going on around us. Nobody can steal your sunshine if it comes from a soul deep location, and shadow clutched at that same depth is immune to even the brightest sunbeam. God gives us all the same tools, skill in their use takes practice.
My pain is put to good use, so it never has the opportunity to make a bitter place inside of me. Journey's End is just a small portion of the sunshine that my own agony has inspired. Some of the efforts I am making are secret, for now, but other's are evolving and sharing them will only add to their gleam.
I worked in geriactrics for 24 years. I was good at what I did, empathy for the plight of the people I cared for had a real impact upon how I viewed what I did. Changing attitudes toward the role of nursing homes had begun to make positive alterations at administrative levels in the last year of my employment. I was passionate about it and up to my neck in implementing changes where I worked.
Then life kicked my family in the gut. I never had the time to do more than catch each member as they staggered or fell. When my husband was safely in Heaven, I began repairing what was broken inside of me. Now I am reshaping my life to suit my soul, and geriatrics has an honored place in the mix. The role I will play is much different than it was long ago. Somehow to return to being a nurses aide is more than I can face; images of my last patient kidnaps my mind when I even entertain the thought for over a second or two.
But yesterday I volunteered, one day a week, at a home that is implementing neighborhoods on halls I trod when I first became an aide. It is not the home that my husband and I worked at, side by side; the notion of walking those halls alone was just too painful to consider. But it is the first place he worked at after he got his certificate. It is also where my friend Tammy worked, as a Charge Nurse, when her abusive husband took her life.
Their echoes will be there, as will the vibrations still felt from every person I have tended to during my lifetime. That powerful merging of past and present will be a rich place to plant a future. He will remind me of the magic that love can do at the end of someone's journey. She will keep me centered on the road her death placed my feet so firmly upon. I pledge a day every week in honor of the part their lives and deaths has played in my own journey.
I will make a difference, not because somebody is paying me an almighty dollar or two, but because real living is about giving what you have for what you believe in. Every ache I ease will lessen my own, and for now that is all the payment I desire. I have no idea where it will lead me, but I do know it is the next step along the right path.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

My Metamorphosis Map

Any transition serious enough to alter your definition of self will require not just small adjustments in your way of living and thinking but a full-on metamorphosis.
Martha Beck , O Magazine, Growing Wings, January 2004

The comment I received from yesterday's post altered the direction I was planning on taking with the topic that today's quote suggests. But I enjoy detours, if they lead to somewhere worth going to. And Unicow's comment is certainly a place worthy of visiting. I agree with him, but I want to expand and clarify, until every reader has a clear view of the place where I so firmly stand.
Journey's End is a map of my own continuing metamorphosis, but that is just a small portion of how I envision this location. It was and always will be a reflection of what is going on inside of me. But I am not alone here. This place is populated with readers, many of whom tell me that reading my posts is like chatting with me. I write everyday to let them know someone is always home here.
If I fail in getting to this place that houses so many pieces of me, I will still be who I was before I started the trip here. Journey's End is inside of me, but it lives inside of some of its visitor's too. This is the place where many join, and the distance between has no meaning. I see it as a home where all are welcome to take the honored guest seat on their initial visits, but after that they belong to a family, of sorts.
I may have built the frame of this house, but you make it a home. I do not view myself as more important than any who come inside. This house would be lonely without visitors. I would not miss an empty house, but I do miss a populated home when I cannot reach its doorway. So to me Journey's End is part me and part you. Every time you visit I want to be here gently saying, "Welcome home." And I want to continue hearing the gentle reply, "It's so good to be here."


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

One And A Half Tears

It's choice - not chance - that determines your destiny. Jean Nidetch

I wasted one and a half tears yesterday. The first rolled down my face and dropped from my chin, the other dried on my cheek as I struggled to find the final solution that would end my frustration. One and a half tears are about all I ever shed now, at one time. I panic briefly then take a deep breath, and walk away from the problem long enough to regroup, usually a leisurely stroll to the coffee pot does wonders. By choice, I drag my attention away from the problem itself, placing it firmly upon all known possible solutions.
My fierce independence is the legacy of too many years of having nobody to lean on, so this first portion of the drill is always tackled alone. Asking for help, sooner than I do now, is a lesson I am living and learing. If I had requested assistance more quickly yesterday, I could have saved one and a half tears. Next time I will remind myself of that on my trip to the coffee pot.
A calm friend said call support. An automated voice had me pressing buttons on my phone on her command, and taking notes about what to try. I punched and scribbled with attitude. I could do this. It sounded simple enough, no screw driver necessary for repair, no cards to replace, all I was being asked to do was click on things and let the computer do the work. Writing it down was essential, dial up made it impossible to be on the phone and computer at the same time.
I hung up and followed directions to the letter. I rebooted and climbed back on the wire. I said a prayer and tried the browser that had refused to take me anywhere all afternoon. It failed again. I had been at it for hours, running programs, checking settings, defraging, etc, etc, etc. Giving up was never an option, and I suspect it never will be, with me.
I considered all options. I picked up the phone again, dreading live support for all the obvious bothersome things it often puts a person through. I looked at my coffee cup, needing a reason to delay the agony of endless hold and canned music, but the cup was almost full. I sat the phone back down and reread my notes, deciding one more try would give me the break needed. It gave me so much more. One more try was just enough to solve the problem.
Just so everyone understands why I wasted one and a half tears, I will explain why they were shed. Journey's End lives inside my browser, its importance in my life is unexplainable. The thought of being cut off from what I do here caused me real grief. But know this too, if I had not been able to find a solution for this computer, I would have found a way to obtain another one. My accessibility to this place and the people who visit is a soul-deep commitment, as long as you keep coming I will be waiting here for you.
Below is an email I received from George. It has a beautiful message about how things are not always as they seem on the surface. Look on eachother with kindness.

I sat, with two friends, in the picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the town-square. The food and the company were both especially good that day. As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying, a well-worn sign that read, "I will work for food." My heart sank.
I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him. Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief. We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate ways. I had errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them.
I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat halfheartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him. I made some purchases at a store and got back in my car. Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking to me: "Don't go back to the office until you've at least driven once more around the square."
Then with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square's third corner. I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the store front church, going through his sack. I stopped and looked; feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on. The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from God: an invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached the town's newest visitor.
"Looking for the pastor?" I asked.
"Not really," he replied, "just resting."
"Have you eaten today?"
"Oh, I ate something early this morning."
"Would you like to have lunch with me?"
"Do you have some work I could do for you?"
"No work," I replied. "I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to take you to lunch."
"Sure," he replied with a smile.

As he began to gather his things, I asked some surface questions.
"Where you headed?"
"St. Louis."
"Where you from?"
"Oh, all over; mostly Florida."
"How long you been walking?"
"Fourteen years," came the reply.

I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left earlier. His face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that was startling. He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, "Jesus is The Never Ending Story."
Then Daniel's story began to unfold. He had seen rough times early in life. He'd made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona. He tried to hire on with some men who were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought. He was hired, but the tent would not house a concert but revival services, and in those services he saw life more clearly. He gave his life over to God.
"Nothing's been the same since," he said, "I felt the Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now."
"Ever think of stopping?" I asked.

"Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me. But God has given me this calling. I give out Bibles. That's what's in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit leads."
I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a moment and then I asked: "What's it like?"

"To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your sign?"
"Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a gesture that certainly didn't make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people's concepts of other folks like me."
My concept was changing, too. We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door, he paused. He turned to me and said, "Come Ye blessed of my Father and inherit the kingdom I've prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in."
I felt as if we were on holy ground. "Could you use another Bible?" I asked.
He said he preferred a certain translation. It traveled well and was not too heavy. It was also his personal favorite. "I've read through it 14 times," he said.
"I'm not sure we've got one of those, but let's stop by our church and see." I was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well, and he seemed very grateful.
"Where are you headed from here?" I asked.
"Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park coupon."

"Are you hoping to hire on there for awhile?"
"No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under that star right there needs a Bible, so that's where I'm going next."
He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his mission. I drove him back to the town-square where we'd met two hours earlier, and as we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his things.
"Would you sign my autograph book?" he asked. "I like to keep messages from folks I meet."
I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of scripture from Jeremiah, "I know the plans I have for you, declared the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you. plans to give you a future and a hope."
"Thanks, man," he said. "I know we just met and we're really just strangers, but I love you."
"I know," I said, "I love you, too."
"The Lord is good!"
"Yes, He is. How long has it been since someone hugged you?" I asked.
"A long time," he replied.
And so on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed. He put his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, "See you in the New Jerusalem."
"I'll be there!" was my reply.
He began his journey again. He headed away with his sign dangling from his bedroll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, "When you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?"

"You bet," I shouted back, "God bless."
"God bless." And that was the last I saw of him.
Late that evening as I left my office, the wind blew strong. The cold front had settled hard upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and reached for the emergency brake, I saw them... a pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night without them.
Then I remembered his words:
"If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?"
Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office. They help me to see the world and its people in a new way, and they help me remember those two hours with my unique friend and to pray for his ministry.
"See you in the New Jerusalem," he said.
Yes, Daniel, I know I will...


Monday, April 11, 2005

Sight Versus Vision

Is there anything worse than being blind? Yes, a man with sight and no vision.
Helen Keller US blind & deaf educator (1880 - 1968)

Thankfully I possess both sight and vision, but if I had to give up one or the other, I would gladly offer up my eyes. I lived forty years without vision, boundaries placed by sight alone would never satisfy me nowadays. The eyes transfer images to the brain. Vision transfers images from the soul to mind and heart. Sight comes to most of us at birth. Vision takes effort, some deep digging, and is not limited to the reality of any surroundings.
What can be is a product of vision. What will be comes from following that image wherever it leads. What is meant to be takes faith in what you see there. My life was a constant cycle, around the same tired track before I began seeing things through the almost magical eyes, located inside my soul. My life has a meaning and purpose that did not exist before I cleaned away the debris, blocking that view.
I do not consider myself more able to achieve a clear vision than anyone else. I believe we all have the same capacity to develop it. The fact that some people never experience the blessing of soul sight had a definite part in the development of my vision. Journey's End is just a portion of the image my soul sees. This post and every other, comes from my intense desire to encourage thought, an ember to help fellow travelers light a fire deep inside. Every visitor here is a vital part of my vision. If you have vision, I hope to gaze into your eyes someday and see your fire. If you do not, I hope that something said here will inspire you to clear away the debris.
The email below was too rich in truth to just send to a few so I placed it here in hopes of extending its reach. Thanks again Junie.

One day I had a date for lunch with friends. Mae, a little old "blue hair" about 80 years old, came along with them---All in all, a pleasant bunch. When the menus were presented, we ordered salads, sandwiches, and soups, except for Mae who said, "Ice Cream, please. Two scoops, chocolate."
I wasn't sure my ears heard right, and the others were aghast. "Along with heated apple pie," Mae added, completely unabashed. We tried to act quite nonchalant, as if people did this all the time. But when our orders were brought out, I didn't enjoy mine. I couldn't take my eyes off Mae as her pie a-la-mode went down. The other ladies showed dismay. They ate their lunches silently and frowned.
The next time I went out to eat, I called and invited Mae. I lunched on white meat tuna. She ordered a parfait. I smiled. She asked if she amused me. I answered, "Yes, you do, but also you confuse me. How come you order rich desserts, while I feel I must be sensible?
She laughed and said, with wanton mirth, "I'm tasting all that's Possible. I try to eat the food I need, and do the things I should. But life's so short, my friend, I hate missing out on
something good. This year I realized how old I was. (She grinned) I haven't been this old before."
"So, before I die, I've got to try those things that for years I had ignored. I haven't smelled all the flowers yet. There are too many books I haven't read. There's more fudge sundaes to wolf down and kites to be flown overhead. There are many malls I haven't shopped. I've not laughed at all the jokes. I've missed a lot of Broadway hits and potato chips and cokes.

I want to wade again in water and feel ocean spray on my face. I want to sit in a country church once more and thank God for His grace. I want peanut butter every day spread on my morning toast. I want UN-timed long distance calls to the folks I love the most. I haven't cried at all the movies yet, or walked in the morning rain. I need to feel wind in my hair.
I want to fall in love again. So, if I choose to have dessert, instead of having dinner, then should I die before night fall, I'd say I died a winner, because I missed out on nothing. I filled my heart's desire. I had that final chocolate mousse before my life expired."
With that, I called the waitress over. "I've changed my mind," I said. "I want what she is having, only add some more whipped cream!"
Be mindful that happiness isn't based on possessions, power, or prestige, but on relationships with people we love and respect. Remember that while money talks, CHOCOLATE SINGS!


Sunday, April 10, 2005

Filling Empty Spaces

Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide the evil and the ugly in us, but our emptiness. The hardest thing to hide is something that is not there. Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

We all have empty spots that need tended to, a bit like a computer that needs defraged, still functioning, slow to respond, with too many cannot find server pages popping up. What we stuff in to the holes matters so much to our health and happiness. Choosing wisely takes forethought and attention to detail that is often totally ignored in the process. Hurry up is not the attitude to adopt when tackling a task with such long reaching effects, but this is a world that inspires rushing in all things big and small.
When I fall into a hole or trip on a crack, I try to fill it with something that expands, making the weak spot stronger than anything surrounding it. Silly putty just does not do the trick. Letting someone else attempt to fix what is broken never works, nobody can see a clearer vision, of what is inside, than you can.
Once I was mostly empty space. Too many voices, too much pain, too many years of silence, it all worked together to empty me of self and fill me with nothing but confusion. Who I was supposed to be changed so often it was staggering to my peace of mind. Mostly my mind stayed in pieces, like a jigsaw puzzle made up of ever altering proportion.
I am mostly full now, but it was no picnic getting to this stage. It was often brutal; facing real truths about others and about yourself has a habit of costing dearly. It is the best investment I ever made. Well worth the price, And the pay off is something I can be proud of. I am far from perfect, but I am perfectly happy with how far I have traveled and more certain every day that the final destination will be a place worth owning.


Saturday, April 09, 2005

Do Your Damnedest!

I always remember an epitaph which is in the cemetery at Tombstone, Arizona. It says: 'Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnedest.' I think that is the greatest epitaph a man can have - When he gives everything that is in him to do the job he has before him. That is all you can ask of him and that is what I have tried to do.
Harry S Truman 33rd president of US (1884 - 1972)

I am doing my damnedest in most things, on most days, but that changes from day to day. Sometimes my damnedest alters from moment to moment; I roll with the punches or ride the wave, whichever applies. But more often, than not, my best foot is forward. And the only direction you can go, when stepping with that foot first, is frontwards. In a lot of ways I am like a car with no reverse.
On bad day's I let myself be content with simply standing still. No sudden moves. No acting out to ease whatever aches. Bumpy times only ride harder when more debris gets tossed in the road. And nothing slows a traveler down faster. Bad days are tiresome enough without making the trip through them more difficult.
I think of hard times as speed bumps, placed there to slow our travels for various reason. Maybe a lesson needs learned. Maybe map reading is called for. Maybe time out is required. I simply do my damnedest, and somehow that is always more than enough to get by.


Friday, April 08, 2005

After The Storm

Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them? Rose Kennedy, (1890 - 1995)

Exactly!! Storms happen as a natural phenomenon in nature and in lives. There is a strength that comes from living through what happens to you in life, but a special spine is forged from learning to let go of the storm, once it subsides, and fully experience the rainbow.
I am not a storm chaser, but I can proudly claim the title of storm facer. And most important of all, I am a dedicated rainbow embracer. I realized long ago that nothing is ever gained by hugging the bad times, soul-deep. Some humans get satisfaction from dissatisfaction, dishing it out on huge platters to all they encounter. Other's can never get enough trouble, borrowing it at every opportunity. What a waste!
Life takes a large enough toll on us, without offering donations. Pay the price asked, but get full value for the storm damage suffered by following natues example once the winds calm and the sun shines. Give homage to the rainbow. Listen to the birdsong. Take joy from life or life will take joy from you.


1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctor worry about them. That is why you pay him/her.
2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. " An idle mind is the devil's workshop," And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.
4. Enjoy the simple things.
5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life, is God. Be ALIVE while you are alive.
7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.
8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, to the next county, to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is.
10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Grass Tending

The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be. Robert Fulghum, It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It, US author & Unitarian clergyman (1937 - )

I tend the grass I stand upon. It only makes sense to tenderly care for the space you inhabit. Searching for happiness by looking at someone else's life and coveting it is a futile task. Expecting a different location to fix things is silly, since you will be wherever you go. Do all you can, with what you have, and naturally outgrow the old and create the new. Greener grass is not on the other side, it is on the inside.
As far as actual grass that is a whole other can of worms. I love summer, but hate cutting grass. Lawn tending with a broken rider and a retarded push mower, which only cuts right when pulled backwards, is a trial. Possessing a huge lawn with 38 trees is both a blessing and a curse.
This year will be easier, even though my tools are the same as last. The summer of 2004 was hard; every first chore done alone is difficult, but the year I took over lawn mower man's chores was brutal. I sobbed during the entire first cutting. But I coped and survived. This year maybe I will thrive.
I think I have the strength this year to force my 14 year old son to do the job. I will take over the task, of pick up before cutting, that he had last season. Lasts year it was necessary to my healing that I struggle with it, this year for the sake of my sanity all cutting chores belong to Dee.


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Seeking Truth

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in an clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth. Mahatma Gandhi Indian ascetic & nationalist leader (1869 - 1948)

I love silence. I glory in it when in its embrace. I think long thoughts, no matter the subject matter under consideration. Slow thinking demands intense levels of deep concentration, which I have in abundance, due to so many years of forced silence. Once upon a lifetime ago, silence was a prison, now it is freedom's gate.
But Gandhi called silence an attitude. Man that is so deep. Next time I seek healing silence, I will approach it from that direction and check out the landscape. So many answers hide there, just waiting for us to bring them out of the shadows. Switching on the light, by letting your thoughts free-fall, during sound-free moments always bears healthy fruit.
Even a brief retreat, from the chaos of this noisy world, clears confusion inspired by the speed at which the earth spins nowadays. We have less chance for silence, than our ancestors, and more need of it. Make good use of whatever amount you get, and the silence of your soul will keep you centered during even the most chaotic times of your life. And seeking truth in silence guarantees that the truths you find will be your very own.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Listen Soul Deep

Patterning your life around other's opinions is nothing more than slavery.
Lawana Blackwell The Dowry of Miss Lydia Clark, 1999

I used to be a slave, so I understand the concept behind today's quote. Trying to be all things to everyone leaves nothing real inside. Voices overpower thought, the demands of others overshadow the needs of self, until who you were shrinks from starvation, and who you could be never has a chance in hell of being realized. Be a slave long enough, and self is all but invisible.
I did not stop listening to voices, or ignore the needs of those around me, when I had an awakening. I still listen, but I listen to myself first, last, and always. I have learned the hard way that all the answers, about what I need to be happy, are located inside myself. Silent contemplation only seems quiet, during moments of solitary listening self always speaks clearly. Profound truths, deeply buried rise to the surface, pointing the right way to go, if sufficient time is taken to listen soul deep.


Monday, April 04, 2005

Deserve A Monument

After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one. Cato the Elder Roman orator & politician (234 BC - 149 BC)

Monuments come in all shapes and sizes, formed from an almost endless array of products, some man made, some God crafted. Not everyone has the opportunity to merit a bronze statue. Ordinary folks certainly do not entertain the thought of ever having one, but that fact should not stop anyone from trying to deserve one. Making a positive difference to even one person seems a monument of profound proportions. And we each have the same chance to do at least that.
Words and deeds are the only real building blocks we possess, used carefully even the most common human can utilize enough of them to leave a marker in the hearts and lives touched as we travel along. Words used by your fellowman to describe you can be monumental. I would much rather have friends and family call me kind, while I am alive, than have pigeon droppings littering a stone cast of my features a hundred years after I am dead and gone. That is the monument I want to deserve.


Sunday, April 03, 2005

Remodeling And Remolding

Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions. Aristotle-Greek critic, philosopher, physicist, & zoologist (384 BC - 322 BC)

Remodeling a house is not so much different from remolding a life. When remodeling a house, paint, carpet, fabrics, and such are chosen before the real work even begins. The planning stages should take time and careful consideration. Sick of paneling? Paint or paper over it to achieve a whole new look. Carpet worn and tiresome? Rip it up and replace it with better quality. Just because something is one way today does not mean it has to stay that way, but it will not change on its own. Brown becomes another color by the painters toil, not by wishes or hopes alone, although without those things to spur the cause onward nothing gets done.
Remolding a life takes the same kind of effort, but it is an inward thing that only becomes evident outwardly as each change is made evident by action. Sick of yourself in some fashion? Well my suggestion is to choose a different color or fabric in the same way you would if you were remodeling your surroundings, because in a real way that is exactly what you are doing.
While you are about the business of remolding yourself do not be surprised if people who know you, or think they do, fail to see the changes right away. They are used to the old, it often takes time and patience to see a clear image, of who you have become, reflected in the eyes of onlookers. Decorate to suit your needs, do the work it demands then enjoy the surroundings, no matter what others believe. Belief in yourself is the first tool used in remolding, and should never be laid down, even after you think the work is completed. Keeping it handy helps when minor adjustments are needed, which they will be from time to time. Upkeep is always necessary, being armed with the tools to tend to repairs of any happy home will save time and energy. Build a house worth living in then live in it fully.