Leaning On Each Other

I was walking around my neighborhood and decided to take my camera with me. The day before had been a bit upsetting so I wanted to clear my head and relax. Taking pictures just seemed to be a natural thing to do. Bright sunny day, cool and comfortable, I admired the green grass, which was coming up thick and lush, the various flowers that were planted adding color to the yards I passed by. I even saw some various shades of Bradford Pears too. You know, they can be quite colorful depending on the season.

Now two trees in particular caught my eye. They were next to each other, in two separate yards, with branches touching and leaves creating a heart like shape. Looked to me like they were almost hugging each other. The sun came through the opening in between them offering some light in the middle of the shade. Here’s the picture I took:

“The Giving Tree” By Shel Silverstein came to mind, remember the story? About a boy and a tree that is constantly helping him throughout all the stages of his life, even when it becomes a stump?  That tree was selfless, and caring and compassionate. It really wanted to help that little boy, to make his life better. And he did. And in the end, the boy showed some gratitude by using it as a chair to rest on. The boy still like the tree, the tree was its friend. Kind of best friend in plant form. They were depending on one another for support, like the two trees in the snapshot I took, to carry each other’s burdens when necessary, to lighten their days with a bit of laughter or just to be there with a pair of alert ears.

Seems lately there has been much tragedy in the world, and why it’s happening, we really can’t explain.  One result of the bad is that strength can emerge from it, as demonstrated by the tornado victims from the March 2 storms. They are rebuilding, starting over again, the kids are back in school with new supplies and a temporary school. The mother who lost her legs is back home with modifications so she can live there with her family. Life is going on. Healing is beginning.

Those two trees have been through many a strong storm, wind and rain, Midwestern winters, hot summers and magnificent falls. They haven’t fallen down, they are upright. I wonder if the homeowners are good friends, and have talked about the closeness of the trees. What a conversation piece! Like the trees in my neighborhood, the victims of tragedy find a way to lean on one another for strength and endurance, to get through the loss, to go ahead and mourn, yell, and question the logic behind the horrible event. That’s how we begin again. But more importantly, God is with us and I believe that those trees were His way of letting me know He’s there for us every step of the way and He doesn’t let go. He

doesn’t work that way. We need each other and we need Him, that’s what leaning is all about. Just think about the trees., even if you don’t believe in Him.

Waking Up

Spring is here or is it summer already? I am beginning to think that God has fast forwarded past Spring and jumped right into Summer. Oh well, either way, it’s warm and airy outside now and everyone is breathing easy. The earth is revealing it’s bright, beautiful colors again for us to enjoy, with flowers blooming and green grass emerging to be mowed. Naptime is over. The white blanket of snow and gray skies have gone for another few seasons, allowing for renewal and new beginnings.

Easter is the next holiday to celebrate and although not everyone does, it’s a time to remember why it’s celebrated this time of year. After all, the energy of the sun is shining down upon us, like God’s love, and when Jesus took our sins and went to Hell and back, He brought the light back into our lives as well.

The light of the sun reminds of how we need to shed the bad and start with good, to try again and again and not give up. We plant the sees for food to grow, the flowers to decorate our yards, the trees to give shade, why not plant the idea that we can do something new and feel good about ourselves. Now, take those winter pajamas off and put the short sleeves on and get to work. It’s time to wake up.

Whatever Comes to Mind

Inspiration doesn’t expire for those like to be creative. For writers, it seems ideas can be found anywhere we look, hear, read, etc.. Yesterday, I listened to a favorite Garth Brooks song, “Standing Outside the Fire”. The song is about determination, not being afraid of a challenge, as one line in the chorus says, “Life is not tried if you’re standing outside the fire”. Now if you have seen the video, you will notice a young adult male who happens to have Down Syndrome, wanting to race with the other athletes. His coach suggests Special Olympics but this  young man signs up on the other roster, with the regular runners.

Lessons in life are constantly being thrown at us, in the form of obstacles that we either have to charge through head on or run away from. My son Joshua has certainly been inside the fire and brought along his daddy and I with him. He has made us unafraid to be strong, to speak up for change when necessary, to be silly just because it’s better than being sad. His childlike thinking reminds me that sometimes you just have to  ignore what others might think of you, just go out there and do what you are itching to do, and enjoy the outcome. Kids certainly don’t have much fear when it comes to having fun, they climb the monkey bars, they race thier bikes, pick up frogs, and sometimes give us a fright, but don’t we secretly wish we were more like them? No ego to worry to about, just enjoying the moment, the scenery, and maybe drawing a picture later to hang on the fridge. Heck they might even write a story.Yeah, Joshua, that’s inspiration. 

Never be Ashamed

I was watching an episode of “Swamp People” this evening and a comment that one of indivuals made stuck in my mind. He mentioned getting picked on as a kid because of his heritage and that the fact that he happens to live in the swamp.  How pathetic that we are judged by where we live, and by how we look. To me, Mr. Paul is just fine the  way he is. He is a good person, a hard working man, trying to provide for his family and one who has paid a great deal of attention to his daddy so far.

His daddy, R. J., is a wonderful example for Jay Paul to follow. He doesn’t give up, he keeps on trying. He fights for what is right, and not always with muscle but with brains. The citizens who live in the swamps in Louisana are resourceful, they are smart, they know the land, and they are definitely brave. Maybe not everyone will agree with their hunting of alligators, but it’s something they do for a living and only during the hunting season. The swamp is their provider, thier meal maker, their job creator, their shelter, their community where they can all celebrate what they do.

Learning about each other is what makes understanding so much easier. Lessens the  uneasiness, the  unwillingness to to make friends. Me, I’d like to meet them all in person and tell them how much I admire what they are doing. How crazy they are for diving in the water, the flotants are they called, looking for thier catch, because that just screams character, tradition, determination, and something to hold one’s head up for .

To Mr. Paul and the rest, you are worthy just as you are, and don’t let anyone say otherwise, and if someone does, maybe it’s they who have the problem with they how they view theirselves. Our country is made of many heritages and backgrounds, so how can anyone cast us in one color or race? Just plain stupid. Nope, we are all different and yet we are still human, still the same regardless of so called class, job, etc.. and that is the way it is.

Something New

Today is my 47th birthday and it feels like a whole new beginning for me. I am still making cards, still writing, still feeling giddy when I walk into a craft store and see all the goodies I can use to make other things. Seems age is just a number we are assigned on a yearly basis, regardless of how we feel inside. To me, if the attitude is right, the age doesn’t matter. Shouldn’t we all beleive we are capable of doing whatever we set out to do?

 

From recent conversations, I have heard a few say that due to age they can’t do anything any more. Now, I disagree, because we can all participate in life’s adventures in some capacity. We can draw, listen to music, dance, sing, cook, visit others, travel, camp, etc.. there’s no limit. Just choose what you want to do and go for it. Barriers like age and even disability should not prevent one from persuing a dream. make adjustments,  adapt, but don’t stop living.

Today is wrapped in sunshine, accented with the growing grass that’s trying to emerge from its long winter sleep. The birds are serenading me on this, the first day of daylight savings time. Hmm, God is good and today is fresh. Spring is coming, wonder what I run into then? Can’t wait to find out!

Sweet Papa and Mama Bear

February 24, 2012, Mama Bear passed away, leaving behind gentle memories for those of us who grew up reading their stories and for our children whom we read to and now for future generations to come. The gentle manner in which the lessons were presented was thoughtful, was easy to understand and you knew that in the end everyone would be okay, that the family still loved and cared for each other. The Berenstain Bears have been a major part of most our lives. They are right up there with Dr. Suess, whom I read helped to publish thier first book. What an honor!Of course, from there, in 1962, was the beginning of a very long and successful career of books, toys and just plain good reading and fun.

 

Stan_and_Jan_Berenstain

Reading stories about brother and sister bear, you learned to share, to be honest, to help others in need. Seems the Berenstains wanted to help parents teach thier kids some valuable lessons through the antics of their characters. Making them even more real was the fact that each was based on themselves, their parenting issues. The authors included pieces of themselves in each story so as to expose a bit of weakness, some humor, some reality while bestowing a lesson for the parents too.

I am delighted that their son Michael will carry on the legacy of the bear family that many have come to love. Bears, majestic, beautiful, protective, and yet in these stories, they are vulnerable, human in some ways, playful, kind, and they make you want to hug them. Seems they reached children all over the world with their adventures, their stories, and just good writing. Now, Papa Bear isn’t lonely anymore, he has Mama Bear to keep him company. How sweet is that.