Bottom Feeders

We enjoy eating lobster, shrimp and crabs.  In fact, they are a very expensive delicacy.  We sit in nice restaurants and order lobster and king crab legs.  The server brings out our meal.  At first sight, we enjoy a bouquet of sense filling, mind altering sentiments.  As we dig in with anticipation, we slowly dip our crustaceans into the sweet melted butter and enjoy every savory bite.

Have you ever enjoyed the kingly  pork crown roast on New Year’s Day?  It is a sight to behold.  This royal feast consists of 12 pork loin ribs wrapped in a circle with the bone standing upward like a crown.  It is roasted to perfection with tender juices flowing , filled in the middle with a delectable stuffing and browned perfectly on top. A meal that is fit for a king.

As you enter the bakery, you are bequethed with angelic scents of the sweet nectarious foods for the gods.  The taste of blissful, mouth-watering confections carries your soul to a level of euphoria.  Your vision is accelarated to the pinnacle of delight by the bountiful colors of warmth and glory.  You can’t decide which delight to feast on first.  Oh, this must be heaven.

There is food and then there is “nourishment”.    When food brings all your senses into heightened alertness of joy, that nourishment is filling more than your stomach.  It becomes a heavenly love affair to be savored and imprinted in your memory forever.  This experience can bring joyful satisfaction to your life.

I can see this as a blessing and a curse.  There is a fine line here.  As with anything in life, moderation must be exercised.  It is easy to see how we can become consumed by the seduction of these experiences with our food.  It seems that in our human-ness we have a tendency to want too much of a good thing.  The line that I speak of is tetering between pure awareness and joy of the moment and contaminated, destructive addiction.

When we move into the realm of addiction we immediately think of drugs or alcohol and that connotates low-life, bottom feeders.  But, addiction comes in all forms such as food, people, sex,  relationships, cleaning, exercise, working and anything else that we tend to do obsessively to give us the feeling of either being in control or the sense of releasing any form of control and running somewhere to hide.  We find things to make us feel better and then we just can’t get enough.  In my opinion, I think that most of us can fall into the category of being addicted to one thing or another.  That does not make us bottom-feeders.  That makes us human and there are those  who are addicted to drugs and alcohol whose behavior shows us the dark side of not being able to get enough.  Whose behavior shows us that they are not in control of their own actions because they have become slaves to their addiction and nothing will stop them from getting what they want or need.  All addicts, no matter what their addiction, are worthy of love.  They are hard to love when they are completely ensconced in their addiction, whatever it may be.  We may feel a sense of judgement, disgust, resentment and pure hatred for the addict they have become.  Underneath the many addictions that we use to escape from daily living, we are people, hurting people.  Individuals that need something so desperately to make them feel complete.

To quote the song “Not the Doctor” by Alanis Morrisette:  “What are you hungry for?”

 

 

 

I Found the Real Thing

It’s finally January, 2019.  I haven’t written for quite a few weeks now.  That’s what happens when the holidays roll around.  Speaking of the holidays; I was dreading every part of them and much to my surprise things turned out differently than I had expected.

We couldn’t put up a Christmas tree because we have a 9 month old Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy who can easily take down a beautiful pine in the forest let alone a small artificial tree. We also have a no gift exchange policy with our adult children because we don’t need anything and they can’t afford to buy us presents so what’s the point.  But we do buy gifts for the grandchildren and that is where things got interesting.

I have 3 teenage granddaughters, 1 teenage grandson and 2 baby grandsons aging 3 and 4.  My teenage grandson and his 3 year old baby brother live in another state so I had so send them their gifts.  I asked each one of the older kids what they would like for Christmas and they told me that they didn’t want anything.  That kind of warms my heart that they didn’t feel the need to ask me for anything.  They are so sweet and kind.

I live an hour and a half away from my family which includes my siblings, my mom, my son and daughter-in-law and the 4 grandchildren.  Christmas Eve happens to be my mother’s birthday and Christmas day is my son’s birthday.  As you can see, the holidays are just a little bit more than your average celebration, what with birthdays thrown into the  mix.

I made the drive and went to see my grandkids first.  For the three girls, I gave them each a gift bag with a pack of socks from the dollar store and also a gift card.  Each one of them was so excited about the socks that they immediately put them on.  They were thankful for the gift cards but the excitement was really about the socks.  My 4 year old grandson opened his present which was a farm truck that he had to build.  It came with a drill and screws and screwdriver and it could be made into four different types of vehicles.  After playing with it for well over an hour, he came up to me and said, “Gramom, I really love this.”  My heart immediately melted.  The three girls are your typical teenage girls who love dancing and singing to the radio.  They decided to put songs on and they each had a microphone bluetooth device so we all sat there singing our favorite songs.  Then came the dancing.  They put the television on and went to youtube and pulled up some kind of dance video and it began.  All four of us were dancing to the video and laughing and singing every step of the way.  Of course, my daughter-in-law has a video to blackmail me with if I decide to get on her nerves.  HAHA.  After all the fun, we loaded up in the car and went to a farm to see a magnificent light show.  We tuned into the proper radio chanel and listened to Christmas music as we drove through the illuminating extravaganza.

I didn’t need a tree, or presents or anything else.  I felt joy that has been illusive to me for quite some time.  Joy that will last for the rest of my lifetime.  A Christmas miracle you could say.  In all its simplicity, the finest joy a person could feel.  The true meaning of Christmas.

That night I slept at my mom’s house because the following day was her birthday.  She was so excited to celebrate her 87th birthday.  The evening before, while I was with my grandkids, she decided to bake herself a birthday cake.  She hasn’t baked in years and it was surprising to me that she wanted to, but her exuberance about this birthday was notable.  When I returned to her house that night, I asked her how the cake came out and she said it was a disaster but she managed to “glue” it back together with icing.  I will never forget the laughter that we shared about that cake.

Everything about those two days gave me the extreme joy that a person should feel at Christmastime.  The greatest gift ,as always has been, is the gift of Love.  We don’t need all the fancy wrappings and expensive items to show our love for each other.  An evening of dancing and singing and laughing with a couple of teenagers and a little boy; A day with an elderly woman excited to celebrate another year alive; These are the most passionate and thoughtful gifts a person can recieve.

Where has Christ-mas Gone?

Christmas time.  I dread it every year.  I feel like a mouse trying to escape a trap.  When I go to the store I hear Christmas music, but I know it’s not for my enjoyment.  It’s to put me in a certain frame of mind.  I feel pressured into consumerism.  I feel like I can’t breathe.  I’ve got to get out of the store.  I need peace and quiet.  I want to run from all of this craziness.  Don’t they see what’s happening?  Don’t they know we are being shepherded into a pen?   I know the true meaning and I will not stand for this.  I will not renounce my belief for anyone.  It is Christ- mas time.  It is time to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Why aren’t we allowed to use his name if it’s his birthday?  If we can’t use it and rejoice in it, what are we celebrating.    Why are we all so blinded by the sparkling lights and the ringing bells.  Get me out of this trap, this rat race.  Take me to the peaceful place within my soul that knows what is real.  We say Christmas is for the children.  We are the children of God.  Let’s rejoice and celebrate accordingly.

Love is a year round action.  I don’t need ringing bells or holly or Santa to feel true love.  Jesus came to show us the way of true love.  That love lives in each and every one of us.  Let’s change things up and celebrate love. We can celebrate by sharing our time with others, laughing, singing, caring and loving.  These are the gifts that matter most.  I have to step back from allowing the commercialism to consume my heart.  I have to return to my source, my God. I open my heart now to receive love and to give love freely.  Now, I can feel the joy of Christmas.  Thank you Jesus!  Amen.

Evolution of My Soul

 

A lonely depression, sadness to the core

Where to turn, I didn’t know

Outsiders making decisions for me

I was screaming inside but nobody heard me

Emotions building as the lava was ready to blow

Changes inside me, despite wanting to end it all

Soul searching was my companion

Moving, slowly forward, my heart softening

Deep within there was a spark that never withdrew

I felt it burning and pushing me onward as it grew

No magic potion, only one step forward at a time

Growing, burning, bursting outward, the light

The light brightens my way, leading me , inspiring me, strengthening me

I can’t hide it as it spews out of every pore of my soul

Why would I want to hide the greatest treasure?

 

Shades of Shadow

I have this four legged companion who is now eight months old.  Oh he’s so cute and certainly a lap dog, full of love and kisses.  His name is Shadow and in the deep recesses of his personality, there lies a shadowy darkness.  Oh, yes, underneath that loveable exterior is a rebellious teenage monstrosity.

He challenges me every single day.  In the beginning, the potty training went well and all was right with the world until I realized that he used his urine to make a very loud and clear protest.  That’s how it all began.  Shadow doesn’t like when Daddy comes home from work and goes on the computer, so he stands in the middle of the kitchen and pees, not just in one spot but over a five foot radius.  Shadow doesn’t like when Mommy leaves the living room to go to the bathroom so he decides to chew the remote control.  Did I mention that most of the time I am not allowed to go to the bathroom alone simply because, well, he is my shadow.  He likes to pull the toilet paper off the roll as entertainment while I am desperately trying to take care of business in peace.  I have to use reading glasses and when I decide to get up off the couch, he eats the glasses.  I am now on the third pair of reading glasses.

His protests are becoming quite clear and more and more destructive despite my attempt to give him plenty of exercise, discipline and affection.  It seems that the kitchen counters are not off limits to this guy.  I was in the living room and he wandered into the kitchen.  He came right back out again and I thought everything was okay.  But evidence to the contrary grabbed my attention.  When I went into the kitchen, there were paw prints on top of my counter.  He was just checking things out I guess.  One day, while I was in the shower for all of 5 minutes, I came out and heard a strange crunching noise.  I knew he had gotten into something.   I have  my medications in a daily pill box.  He reached up on the counter and took the pill box.  I was in a horrific panic as I was considering grabbing the phone and calling the vet.  If he ate my medications, I don’t know what would have happened.  But, to my surprise, all my pills were spilled on the floor.  He was more interested in the plastic pill box than the pills.  Thank God.

Yesterday was a new twist to this menace of a dog.  I watched him through the sliding glass door as he went to do his business.  I don’t know if  you can really imagine my horror when I tell you that he was eating his poop.  I totally freaked out.  I ran outside, screaming like a lunatic, “Get out of there, what is wrong with you.”  I honestly couldn’t look at him the same way.  I was so repulsed by his action.  I immediately went online to look up this disgusting behavior to find out that it is quite common among dogs.  I guess that is why they are dogs.  I don’t know, but common or not, I cannot live with this nonsense in my life.

I took some time to calm down and regroup.  This one will take a little longer to get over than all the other troubling things this holy terror has done.  So, here are the new measures I have had to implement.  Every time I am watching television and need to leave the room, I must remove the remote, cell phone, reading glasses and anything else that is on the end table.  I mean, every time.  He has to be in the crate when I shower.  I cannot let him out of my sight for one minute.  He’s not allowed in the kitchen if I am not in there.  I have to watch him every time he goes outside to poop so that I can clean it up immediately, which, I have always done anyway, but now he can’t even have time to smell it.  So disgusting.

I am at my wits end with this puppy.  He’s about 65 pounds and despite his size, he’s still a puppy.  I don’t know if I’m going to make it through this first year with this calamitous animal.  I often feel like a prisoner of this dog.  I hate to admit it, but he requires my attention every single moment of the day.  Many times a day I get so frustrated and I actually say out loud, “Dear God, please help me.”  When I do that, I am seriously praying for help and the truth is that it calms me down and allows me that moment between raging reaction and constructive action.

I love Shadow and I know that this too shall pass.  These days are very trying and I do believe that when I “pray” and ask God for help, he does help me.  This is just a small trial in my world and I know that in the grand scheme of life it’s not important but, this animal is a spiritual soul and it is my duty to give him the best life possible.  The unconditional love and loyalty will make up for these teenage times with my pup.  You can’t get much closer to God than that.  Complete unconditional love and loyalty with pure innocence.  I can only hope that I could exist with those attributes for even a small amount of my time.

Once again, I am finding another pearl of wisdom in my daily life.  Simple, daily life issues always have some form of a gift for us to take away.  As I struggle with this young creature of God, I am reminded that the gifts in my life are plentiful.  Shadow is a gift that will enrich my life and bring me so much joy.  I am truly thankful for him.

 

 

Barrage of Goodness

Here we are, the Monday after Thanksgiving.  Many have mixed emotions today.  Some wake in dread of another Monday of the work week.  Some are just plain exhausted and want a few days to rest before returning to work and some are happy to get back to a normal routine after four days of out of the ordinary stuff.

This year, my boyfriend and I drove to Virginia to share Thanksgiving with my children and grandchildren.  There are a lot of changes just in the fact that we went.  #1:  We never travel on Thanksgiving. #2:  We never leave our state on Thanksgiving.  #3:  We have never actually gone on a road trip together.  #4:  We have never been in one house with 14 people for three straight days.  #5:  We have never spent Thanksgiving with all my kids and grandkids and their spouses and my ex-husband.

That’s a lot of new things to experience in a three day period, especially for my boyfriend who is a homebody.  It was completely out of his comfort zone.  Let’s break this whole thing down step by step.  #1:  I have always heard that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the most heavily traveled day of the year.  For the most part, the travel was fine because it was 95% interstate travel but we came upon an accident within the last 50 miles of our 7 hour journey.  The whole dynamic changed at that point due to being tired, cranky, hungry and the disappointment of being almost there but you have to wait a little longer.  The trip back home was awful in a whole new way.  Driving rain followed us from Virginia all the way back to New Jersey along with temperatures hovering around 32 degrees in the mountainous regions.  Visibility was almost non-existent.  On top of that, My boyfriend was having stomach issues and was unable to eat for the two days after Thanksgiving.  So, he was tired, weak, and hungry.  He hates to drive so he’s not the best road trip partner to have.  There was no singing in the rain.  I believe that I have just covered points 1 through 3.

Point number 4:  The house we stayed in was an open floor concept with three bedrooms.  There wasn’t any extra beds so we all brought air mattresses.  Bedroom number one was extra big so we fit two queen air mattresses in there to inhabit my daughter and her husband and my son and his wife.  Sounds all fine and good until you get one person who snores enough to activate the richter scale.  Much laughter came from those stories in that room.  There was even video evidence of my daughter-in-law sleeping so deep that she didn’t realize my son was sticking his finger up her nose.  We move on to Bedroom number two where my boyfriend and I slept. That was a master bedroom with a beautiful garden tub in the master bath.  When other people can’t sleep during the night, what’s a person to do but get a bath in that glorious tub.  So, people would come in and out throughout the night as we tried to sleep.  But sleeping on our air mattress was a struggle in itself.  There must have been a slow leak because during the night, I would roll over into this deep dark hole in the middle.  It was like a bad water bed.  But we survived.  Moving on, the living room was sleep central for my son, daughter-in-law and 5 grandchildren with three air mattresses and a couch.  Usually well after I went to bed there were shenanigans in the living room.  The third bedroom is where my ex-husband slept.

As I stated before, the living room, kitchen and dining room are all open concept so there was movement of one form or another throughout the night.

During the day and evenings all kinds of crazy took place and that is where the magic happened.  Silly games, kids shouting, adults laughing and mudslides going down nice and easy.  One night was craft night, so we took over all the tables as we each made our own Christmas wreaths.

Thanksgiving day was amazing.  There were no rules, not just one person cooking.  We each decided to make a specific dish.  Much to my surprise, we each were able to share the kitchen and we worked like a well oiled machine in bringing the meal together.  My two sons were outside frying the turkey in a turkey fryer while the rest of us were working on the ham and side dishes.  We placed the food out on the island in the kitchen and gathered around in a circle to share our individual gratitudes which was followed by such a heartfelt, sincere prayer by my son.  There was one person missing this year and that was my former mother-in-law who passed away in September.  We were in her kitchen, in her home and as we gathered, we knew her spirit was right there with us celebrating a very momentous occasion that she would have loved.

The things that made this gathering extraordinary were the gathering of all the sects of this family.  Being able to have 5 of my grandchildren together.  We came together from all different states.  We all traveled to be together because we wanted to.  Everyone got to meet my daughter’s new husband and my daughter got to spend this time with her father.  After Christmas my daughter will be deployed overseas.  This gathering was a very necessary one, full of love, laughter and joy.  We came together despite differences in circumstances, living proximity and time restraints.  We were one family unit, the support system for my daughter and I believe, the best send off team anyone could ask for.

As we said our goodbyes, we shared our love and prayers with each other.  We shared our blessings with my daughter on her journey.  We bonded as a family to a level that we haven’t reached before.  The word grateful cannot begin to describe the experiences of this holiday.

My heart is so full that I believe it can explode.  The explosion will consist of joy, peace, tranquility and love and my intention for this outburst is to let it all fall on everyone I come in contact with.  I share my explosion with all of you.  Please pass it on.

As far as the mixed emotions regarding this Monday after Thanksgiving; My boyfriend was filled with dread to start another Monday work week.  I am thrilled to be back home and welcome my daily routine.  I also have a sadness in my heart with having to say goodbye to my daughter for an extended period of time as she serves our country away from home.  For the most part, I think everyone was thankful to be back to their own homes and beds.  I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we came away from this Thanksgiving with new love, respect and a stronger bond with each other.

I don’t want to lose this feeling of family joy so I will choose to keep it close in my heart and reignite it each and every day.

 

The Eagle Soars

Yesterday morning I had to make a trip to my hometown which is about an hour and a half away.  Before I left the house, I had my morning coffee while scrolling through facebook.  My memory feed came up first and it contained a memory and pictures from 3 years ago of my sister’s funeral.  I looked at those pictures and the feelings from that day rushed through me.  I remembered every thought, feeling and emotion from that day.  There was so much sadness but in between there was our family joined together with love and laughter, sadness and tears.  I remembered the way everything was laid out at the service and felt my sister’s presence in each item of rememberance. I could see her hands touching each one of those items as she left her imprint to be passed along.

I finshed my coffee and proceeded to get ready for the trip without any more thought to the symbolism of the day.  As I ventured out on the road, something happened.  A bald eagle flew over my car, circled back around and flew alongside my car as I drove the highway.  He was flying very low so I didn’t have to look up in the sky as it were to see him.  He was traveling with me.

My sister had grown spiritually  in the environment of the Native American Community.  Her beliefs were grounded in the Great spirit and Creator of us all.  Although being raised Catholic, she found her home in the Native American Way.  She welcomed me and our family to share in her spiritual journey on this path.  I accepted with open heart and mind and have found much growth, love and peace along the way.

On that morning, my sister’s spirit visited me as that eagle came in my path for a quick hello.  I knew immediately that it was her.  I didn’t hesitate to say hi to her as she let me know once again that she is flying with the Great Spirit and she is very near to me always.  An incredible comfort and peace,  along with excitement came to me at that moment.

When I got to my destination, I visited with my mom and brother and sister-in-law and shared the happenings of the morning.  Every one of them knew it was our beloved making a quick, unmistakable appearance and it lifted us all in joy.  At this time of year, it seems that out of the blue, friends and family are all having their own eagle sightings.  It is clear to us that our spirit guides, our friends and family from our heavenly home are with us always.

I find peace in knowing that our dearly departed haven’t left us at all.  I believe they walk with us and give us signs that they are near.  I am grateful today for this visit from my sister.  It seems that just last week, she visited her daughter and our dear friend in Michigan.  She once again comforts us and tells us that we are never alone.