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May 2010

May 30


You know the problem with resolve.... of course you do.  It is so easy in theory, such a challenge in execution.   The month of May demanded more time than I had energy to put into it.  Maybe emotional burn out, maybe laziness, maybe just exhaustion but I got up this morning, fed the kitties, made a pot of coffee, put on my Skechers and walked.  Nothing monumental but it's a start and with another new month on the horizon, I once again have resolve.  I miss writing.  I miss the comfortable feeling of letting words bubble to the surface and then pop onto the page.  I love the feeling of less clutter in my frontal lobe (if that's really where it originates) and I love the feeling of satisfaction that comes with fulfilling a promise made to myself.

The feelings of dread and foreboding disappeared when I got a phone call last Monday that my sweet writer friend had been in a dreadful accident.  It was as if my psyche could finally quit searching for the impending disaster.  She is recovering by some miracle but she has a challenging time ahead of her and I know she can use any assistance Heaven has to offer, so in your whispers to Heaven, remember her.  She is like a spunky little Humpty Dumpty and all the kings horses and all the kings men...and women, are rallying to put her back together again !!  I need to see her with my own eyes, just to know that she is doing as well as she can... tomorrow I will.

Mom's catheterization went well.  No blockages but some concerns that we will address with a cardiologist next week.  I'm so grateful that the people I love are still on the planet but so many challenges once again raised the questions in my own mind as to "Why?"  Bad things do happen to extremely good people.  But are they making the sacrifice for us?  To give us the opportunity to extend reaffirm our appreciation for those ordinary moments that I am so fond of?  Do they suffer and break and embrace helplessness so that we have the opportunity to put someone else first?

I remember an episode of the original Star Trek. You remember, the Star Trek with the incredibly scary alien's face that appeared with the final credits?  Anyway, in the one episode that I remember so clearly, a woman with the ability to heal is placed in a room with Dr. McCoy who has been wounded or is very sick while her Alien captors, or mentors, watch from behind a one way glass.  They are testing her to see if she is indeed ready to accept her place in their world.  She looks at McCoy with such compassion but pulls away, knowing that she will have to take on all of his pain in order to heal him.  The observers are not sure that she has matured enough to give of herself to that extent.  Ultimately she does.  Her agony is difficult to watch but despite her pain, she is grateful to have had the opportunity to test herself and her selflessness.

I want to believe that I have it in me to be that selfless... I'm not sure.  I know that I would not have hesitated for a second to give my life for Shannon's.  My consolation... a thought that gave me comfort in the weeks following her return to Heaven, was that she would never have to experience the pain of losing someone she loved.... not in this lifetime anyway.... and if I had been willing to do anything for her in life... I certainly couldn't let her down in 'death'.  So here we are... still breathing, still taking it one step at a time and really feeling the joy when it's given.

This weekend, I think about all of the incredible men and women, away from their families, facing the fear of unknown adversaries, taking on the enormous task of protecting our way of life.  They make me so proud.  That is the ultimate in selflessness and most of them will never know how grateful I am.

No one wants war.  Not President Bush or President Obama or any of the leaders that came before.  It makes me sad to hear talk to the contrary... politics doesn't make men less honorable or callous, but it can appear that way.  I have to believe that, as Oprah says, when we know better, we do better and we learn a little more every day.

Memorial Day gives us a day to specifically remember with pride and gratitude the selflessness of family, friends, neighbors and strangers who were willing to make great sacrifices on behalf of all of us.HMX !   I think that maybe all of those, not just soldiers, but anyone who has gone on before us, draws a little closer on Memorial Day.  I think when we slow down enough, when we relinquish our place at the center of the universe and trust that the earth will continue to spin even if we take a short break.... we open ourselves a little wider to the love that they continue to send.

I'm not real sure where I was intending to go when I sat down to write, but I feel better that I did.  Once again, I've made the resolve to find my way back tomorrow and the next day and we'll see how that works out.  For today, I plan to remember....with absolute gratitude not only those who have "left", but those who are still here, still giving, still searching, still trusting, still sacrificing, still protecting.

May 22

I've decided to jump back into the stream of consciousness.   Can't swim and the idea of floating, although pleasant in theory, makes me anxious.  Need a plan !

Since May 1, I've been floundering.  So many wonderful things going on around me, in the lives of the people I love most, and I am so very grateful... but I think I'm making my way through a personal "rough patch".  Looking backward, although painful, holds no surprises, and although I had no control over the events that fill the past, I have control over my remembering of them.

I knew it would be challenging when I made the commitment to write "with Shannon" this year.  I didn't realize how challenging it would be to go it alone after May 1.  Of course the journal begins again in August.. because in 1997, we started our journal journey... and I hadn't quite decided how to rewind to that point.  Still haven't.

My heart goes out to the "real" writers of the world.  Just this morning I was sitting outside with my coffee and my cats.  They want to explore, each in a different direction and because they are house cats... I have watch them very closely to be certain that they don't wander too far or get into trouble and despite the constant chaos, my mind was bubbling over with things I wanted to get written.  There is comfort in the written word.  Thoughts take solid form, they cease their fleeting ways and they are forced to sit still long enough to be examined and perhaps understood.  But then I corral the cats, run upstairs, put Spyhunter to work, open Typepad, poise my fingers above the middle G and H on the keyboard and ..........................

Flag Yep.... nothing.  Those amazing thoughts run like mischievous children into their favorite hiding places.  Giggling and watching me from the shadows, and the only thought I can recall with any clarity is the flag.  It billows, curls, unfurls, snaps and relaxes and begins the dance again.  It appears to be alive, annimated, moving under on its own... but there is an invisible force that puts that fabric in motion.  There is an invisible force that puts us in motion.  It's easy to deny what can't be seen.

Fear is crippling.  Fear is blinding, binding, stifling, ambiguous and most times, non de-script.  Fear is like tar.  You walk through it, sighing with relief, only to discover that you are still leaving black gooey footprints with every step.  You clean it from your feet only to find traces of it on everything you touch... and it's invisible until you see its effects on the things around you.

My Mom is having a heart cathaterization on Tuesday.  Logically, I know it's a relatively simple procedure to determine the size of a blockage that is causing her radiating chest pains.  Logically, I know she'll be fine.  Logically, I know that they do this procedure routinely and by Wednesday we'll know what the course of treatment is and by Friday she'll be insisting on helping with the mowing again.  But that insidious little monster that insists on adding its two cents into every logical thought, reminds me that nothing is certain.

I was happier, if I remember correctly, twelve years ago when I embodied spiritual innocence.  I would have a concern and I would ask God to be there.  To watch over, protect, heal, take care of or keep safe, the people I love....even some I didn't, or didn't know personally or had only heard of.  Then I went on with my day.  I knew that it was all going to be okay.  I lost that innocence on May 2, 1998.  I didn't lose God.  I didn't lose faith, but I had to accept that sometimes prayers are answered in ways that are too grand to see from our limited vantage point.

Shannon was finished with her experience on the planet and she went Home.  All of the ripples that her precious life put into motion, continue.  My prayer was for God to heal her, wake her, protect her and keep her safe.  My prayer was for me because I couldn't bear the thought of living without her, but her prayer was for me to somehow understand that this was the way it was always supposed to be.  If God were human, he would have been faced with a dilemma... whose prayer to answer.  God isn't human, and love is love and paths are to be respected and comfort is offered with an open hand and without condition.  But there was comfort in the innocence of my trust in God's ability to make everything right it MY world.  It's hard to be selfless.

I'm spending the day in training with LifeNet.  I am looking forward to being with those friends.  Beneath their clothes they wear the same scars, unseen, hidden... the same sad bones.  Together we can take down the masks and breathe, broken and mending for a little while....without judgment, our own or anyone else's.  I feel better having taken just a minute to splash around a little in the stream of consciousness.  Perhaps it serves the same purpose as Spyhunter... deleting the Cookies and Viruses and exposing the irrational unreasonable Fears that try to undermine the smooth functioning of my personal Hard Drive.  Perhaps you are my Spy hunters.  Thank you !!

Thank you for Gavin and Avery and Hayes and Gracie and Gannon and Jill.... new people who make life sparkle.  Thank you for freedom to unburden.  Thank you for morning coffee and baby robins.  Thank you for my husband.  Thank you for unconditionally embracing the human me, recognizing that the spirit me is comfortably reclining under a willow tree, knowingly smiling at my struggles !

May 17

Our newest babies arrived today.  Everyone is doing well.  There is something surreal about new babies.  They have taken this incredible journey in body and spirit and can't tell us about it until they are old enough to have forgotten.  Ironic isn't it?

As I was waking this morning, trying to be still and simply experience gratitude for the unfolding morning, I was praying in a dream that I hadn't quite separated from.  I could hear my mind saying, "Please fill me with your light and your love so that each step I take today, leaves your footprints upon the Earth."

When I was fully awake and conscious, and before the dream could fade, I thought about the significance of such a prayer.  To know without doubt that we are an extension of the Divine, interacting with life in a constant state of forgetfulness, but longing to remember, somehow knowing that we are all connected and making our way together instead of alone, would change everything.  I hoped in that moment that I could be better, do better, be worthy of making those footprints.  But life leaves hairballs on the carpet and clogs the drain and sours the milk before its expiration date and by seven a.m., my light was dimming at an alarming pace.

Then Ruthie called to say that her babies were coming today.  When Min got to the hospital they Skyped us, and simply being able to see the girls, see that Ruthie was okay, seemed to make all the difference in my anxiety threshold.  In an effort to stay busy until baby time, I decided to try to take a photograph that I could share at our photo club on Thursday.

 I stood in the rain with an umbrella over the camera trying to photograph a raindrop.  It is much harder than you would think... to stop time in a drop of water.  There was no way to capture a raindrop without finding a place where it was landing, a place where the movement of the water slowed just enough.

My eyes could see the droplet forming, my finger poised on the shutter release, but I was a fraction of a second too slow for two hundred and twenty two tries.  This is two hundred and twenty three.  Not perfect but close enough for today.Droplet

It's hard to stay focused.  To pick a direction and stay the course.  I decided this morning that I feel so unsettled because I'm so scattered.  Pieces of me, of my attention and interest, flying around in a million different directions at once.  No wonder I'm tired.  I vaguely remember writing something months ago about the mental Day Planner and running in front of a train... I guess I can take comfort in the fact that some things never change.

Funny how often we get messages from Thursday Night television.  I know that it must be a rough ride, joining me on this roller coaster.  I know that it is annoying when I try to find the positive twist to something that is awful.  But I also know that when I try to share the parts that ache, I feel guilty for adding to the sadness of someone visiting.  I've wrestled with this for twelve years.  I'll probably wrestle a little more before I figure it out.  There was a situation on Grey's Anatomy that touched on that very subject and gave me a new view.  Embracing the honesty, the authenticity of things that hurt is vital.  We can be optimistic, we have to be optimistic, but we also have to honor that life won't always be gentle or simple or easy.  BUT... in those moments that are... laugh without hesitation or embarrassment.  Laugh with the same honesty that you give to your sorrow.

Thank you for our babies' safe arrival.  Thank you for life in a drop of water.  Thank you for an all day, gentle soaking rain.  Thank you for the momentum that waits just around the corner.  Thank you for tomorrow's gift of beginning it all again.

May 14

There are weeds growing in the sand between the bricks in the sidewalk.  I have planned to take the bricks up, place a layer of Quickrete with the sand to deter the moles, and then replace the bricks much closer together, for the last five years.  I didn't have time when I was working.  I didn't have time when I was going to school.  Now what do I blame it on?

Today I cleaned house.  Where does dust come from?  If we could harness the energy behind the formation of dust... there would be no more energy crisis.

Poppy2 Last week I stopped to take pictures of poppies.  They are growing in the median along Route 3 towards Culpeper.  They are bright and beautiful and they dance without stopping.  Logically, I rationalize that it is the breeze kicked up by every passing car, but isn't it more delightful to imagine that they are just happy to be?  Not a care or worry in the world.  Popping up, looking around, waving to their neighbor, happy if it rains, happy if it doesn't, giving no thought to life expectancy, the state of the economy or if they'll be back same time next year.... they just sway.

I swayed a little myself today.  I sat here and watched a one minute video of the newest member of our family discovering his voice.  I grinned for so long that my cheeks hurt.  Funny how little it takes to make you sway !

May have lost my rhythm, my writer's rhythm.  Sometimes digging deep is painful.  Vital, necessary, cathartic and ultimately healing... but it is painful.  As I was pushing the vacuum around, pondering the source of dust, I remembered my first dream after Shannon returned to Heaven.  We were standing together beside the house I grew up in.  She was on her bicycle, getting ready to ride down the hill into the back yard.  We used to do that as children.  If we got enough momentum going down the relatively small hill on the left side of the house, we could race across the backyard and make it up the significantly steeper hill on the other side, and do it all over again.  Sounds like we were easily entertained doesn't it?

Anyway, in the dream, I stood beside Shannon, looking at how blue her eyes were as she kept brushing her hair out of her face.  I wanted to wrap my arms around her and keep her from riding down the hill.  I was frightened and felt myself starting to cry, when Shannon said,

" Don't go getting all sad on me, I'll see you on the other side !" 

And off she went...and I woke up.   Clearly the message wasn't about riding around the house.  It is also clear to me, as I sit here remembering every detail, including the smell of the purple lilacs that bloomed on the "other side" of the house, and the fact that Shannon was wearing shorts and no shoes, that this was no ordinary dream.  Now I don't know about you, but I rarely remember dreams, and the ones I do, are vague and forgotten almost immediately.

People who know, say, that dreams like that are really visits, when it is easier to communicate with us.  Our minds less guarded and crowded and overflowing with the demands of living.  I love those visits.

Sometimes years have passed between visits, and then when I least expect it, there she is.  I've come to understand that time as we know it doesn't exist when we leave the planet.   Another dream/visit that I remember clearly... I was taking cookies out of the oven when I realized that someone was standing behind me.  I put the cookie sheet on the stove and turned slowly to find Shannon standing there grinning.  I threw my arms around her and started to cry.  Again, with that matter of fact tone in her voice she said, "Mom... why are you being so silly?  I've only been gone a minute."

I think the poppies must understand.  And the butterflies and the baby birds and my tiny soft green seedlings.  Nothing ... no one ... ever ends.  The separation is a necessary illusion so that we give life our best effort.  Which reminds me, I still have to finish vacuuming.


Thank you for poppies.  Thank you for the lessons in dust.  Thank you for Thursday night t.v.  Thank you for taking care of our new babies and their Mommy for the next twenty something days.  Thank you for 10,000 fonts.

May 13

Thank you for lunch at an outdoor table with my dear friend.  Thank you for sparrows that dine on pinches of pizza crust.  Thank you for dappled sunlight on fragile seedlings.  Thank you for the sound of cup cake.  Thank you for sounds of baby birds when it's time to eat.

May 12

Jancan_edited-1 Yesterday was my sister's fiftieth birthday.  I called her too early but I wanted to catch her before she dashed off into her busy life, to wish her a happy day.

I thought about her all day, about the life we've shared, the moments of absolute delight, the differences of opinion, the shared dreams, sorrows and history. 

Looks as if she came into the world with my grandfather's hair ( he had none), and our mother had apparently cut my bangs and cut my bangs and cut my bangs...finally she had to quit, even if they weren't even, because there was no where else to go !

My sister is six years younger than me, my brother eight.  It always felt, as a child, that it was them against me.  I was always in trouble for something they had done and I remember vividly, the two of them huddled together on the sofa laughing as I pelted them with a throw pillow, because I was supposed to clean the house while our Mom slept, having worked all night, and it seemed, at the time, that they were determined to get into any and every thing imaginable to make messes behind me.  That said, I loved them and felt protective from the moment they were born.

Summers were hotter in the sixties, winters colder.  At least that's how I remember them.  Our mother worked as a night operator so that she could be home with us in the day time.  It was my responsibility to keep my siblings occupied so that she could sleep.  We had bologna and cheese sandwich picnics by the creek behind the house, with Kool Aid, sometimes grape, sometimes cherry, always with one cup of sugar per package.  Fun afternoons until we stumbled upon a dead cow, or got leeches, or the cattle grazing in the field we had to cross decided to leave their lazy meandering to chase three interlopers.  It's funny how vividly I remember their little legs, skinny, tanned, dirty moving like frantic pistons across the brittle grass of a hot August summer.  Mulberries made great lipstick and face paint.  The buds of the Rose of Sharon were transformed into fairy babies that we built elaborate houses for from moss and leaves and twigs.  We could walk to our grandmother's house.  She had a red kitchen with a black cat clock whose eyes moved from left to right, a bottle of One a Day vitamins that tasted great on the outside but were bitter and good for a dare on the inside.  There was always a tin of biscuits on the stove and soft warm butter in the butter dish.  The apple trees in the yard dropped their fruit towards the end of summer and more than once our bare feet provoked the ire of bees buried deep in the soft decaying flesh. The fragrance that filled the air beneath those apple trees was the first hint of impending autumn.

To get to Grandma's, we had to climb down the hill of day lilies, through the garden, under the barbed wire, across the creek, outrun the bull grazing beneath the walnut tree, past the rusting tractor, hop quickly and gingerly up the hot gravel road to the black bubbling asphalt, through the white wooden gate, between the chicken houses, and under the swinging metal gate ... just to get to the soothing shade of her yard.  She had grape vines by the back fence.  The deep purple grapes were sweet and juicy just beneath the peel, but even now, thinking about the body of the grape, my mouth puckers remembering the sour flesh.

In the winters, we built forts in the snow and took sleds down the big hill behind the house.  We stayed outside until our boots were packed, frozen solid, and our toes had lost all feeling.  Our cinder block house was heated with two gas floor furnaces that on occasion, couldn't keep pace with the howling winter winds and ice crystals would form on the inside of the window panes.

We had baby chicks at Easter that grew into hellish roosters that delighted in chasing squeeling children and pecking bare ankles.  We had dogs and cats and donkeys and bunnies. Jancanjohnny Most importantly, we had each other.  In the chaos that always accompanies  the dysfunction of families, we had each other.

At eighteen I moved to Fredericksburg.  They were ten and twelve.  At nineteen I got married.  My sister played the wedding march as I walked down the hill into our backyard on my father's arm.  He cried.  At twenty I had Shannon and she had my sister and brother, and she loved them immensely.

On the day of Shannon's accident, my brother was on his way to Fredericksburg.  He met Jules at the house and told him what had happened.  My sister was on a field trip with her children, those moments, the exact details are fuzzy... but what is now and has always been etched clearly in my memory, is that they were there.  We moved through the next few days together.  My sister was working, going to school, taking care of her family and she put it all on hold to be there...for weeks. 

Johnshan I'm not who I was twelve years ago.  I still struggle to find balance.  I think for the people who love me most, it is painful to not be able to fix this...and thankfully, they can't really understand.  I miss the family gatherings filled with laughter and nonsense.  I miss the life that was simple and happy.  I miss the daily conversations with my sister before work when we talked about every aspect of our children's lives.  I miss the squabbles and silliness of growing up.  I am so grateful that Shannon had my sister and brother, to talk to and confide in and giggle with.  I'm grateful that my sister cried at sad movies, embraced the glitz and sparkle of the absurd and could dance and sing and wear glitter like no one else. 

Time has a way of bringing us to the outer edges of the center that birthed us.  Like ripples we are ever expanding into the lives that unfold.  My sister is graduating from college in several weeks, with her Master's degree.  She teaches math to elementary school students with enthusiasm and an easy light hearted spirit.  I am incredibly proud of her.  This year she became a grandmother, and in the fall will be the mother of the bride... and she is now fifty.  It's comforting to have her join me in this decade of living.

We are both, once again, trying to grow our hair into new styles.  It may work, it may not.  I may too old for more hair, but it's just another path, and we will celebrate the possible success of this venture and laugh at the inevitable missteps along the way, together.

I have girl friends that I adore.  They offer perspectives on life from vantage points that I will never have... but my sister is my history.  She was there when Shannon came into our family and there when she 'left'.  She shares the connection and the memories.  We don't always see eye to eye, and misunderstandings are a given, but I would be lost without her.  I don't tell her often enough, I guess like so many of us, I take for granted that she knows... and I should know better.

Too many words... I know.  Jancan2
But I didn't tell her yesterday and I want her to know that I am very grateful for the gift that she is, to me, to Shannon, to everyone whose life she touches every day. 

Candy, and Johnny, I love you both !


Mother's Day

Babynan Mother's Day fell three days after Shannon's memorial service.  In her room that Sunday morning, I found a small handpainted box that held a snowbird angel.   The accompanying card is now a little worn.  I've read it a million times and felt immense gratitude that for reasons I will only understand in the future, this amazing spirit chose me to be her Mom while she was here.  The card says,

Thank you Mom,

for teaching me to reach out,

for giving me the faith to try my wings...

For showing me the world is full of wonders,

for being there no matter what life brings.

Thank you Mom,

for somehow always sharing in all the dreams my heart was dreaming of...

Thank you

for your gentle care and patience,

And, most of all, thank you for your love.

Happy Mother's Day

Love you, Nan

Of course I feel sad.  I would be a big liar if I tried to sugar coat that fact ! I have filled every minute of the last week with busy work.  It wasn't intentional but as I sit here writing for the first time in five days, I realize that I just couldn't write about the memorial service or the crumbling coffee mugs or the CD that fell from the shelf.  So I stained the deck and mowed lawns and painted garage doors and caulked and wore myself out. 

When I woke up this morning I was dreaming about Shannon.  She was away at school and had stopped answering her cell phone.  I was frightened and worried and couldn't get her friends to help me contact her.  Finally one of them told me that she was fine, she just needed her space.

I wanted to go back to sleep, to revisit the dream and find her and talk with her. But of course, that didn't happen.

Some years ago a 'medium' advised me to 'get on with life', that I was holding Shannon back.  In my heart I knew that she was full of hooey, but my mind kept playing her words over and over and over.  I didn't want to believe that when someone we love goes to Heaven that we can somehow diminish their new life by our sadness.  Our sadness is inevitable and necessary and a vital part of our human experience.

Later I read a book called "Never Say Good bye", written by a medium here in Virginia, Patrick Matthews.  His philosophy is much like my own and he says, "those in spirit become a greater part of your life, while loving you and guiding you in ways you could never imagine."   I guess it's just part of being human to question, to doubt, to struggle to find answers and ultimately to allow your own heart to know what's true.

Shannon and I love each other.  That has not lessened just because I can't see her or hear her or touch her.  I'm the one who is blind to that side of life, but I keep looking.  This human experience is a precious one.  If we knew without doubt what comes next... if we knew absolutely that Heaven waits and death is simply the doorway Home, we might be reckless or frivolous with life.  So we are given the gift of faith to buffer the uncertainty.

I am as much Shannon's Mom today as I was the day she looked up at me for the very first time.  That will never change.  So, even though I will have moments of missing her today... I will have far more moments of loving her, feeling incredibly blessed that with all the women in the world, she chose me.Menan_edited-1

I also realize how blessed I am that I can still spend the day with my own Mother.  I will miss Maw Maw and think of her.  Life has a moment of beginning ... and a moment of ending into the new beginning... but in between, we are given a lifetime of love.  It's a very good plan !  

Mothers are tender and courageous and capable of love beyond measure.  We have to be.  Sure, we make mistakes and we make apologies.  We learn as we go and hope for the best.

All of the Angel's Moms who have touched my life, have taught me about grace and strength and unconditional love.  They have allowed me to be, without judgement.  They understand that tears, like laughter spring as readily from the broken heart as the heart untouched by sorrow....and both are embraced.

My wish for all of you this day... those with Mothers on the planet, those with Mothers in Heaven...those Mothers with children in Heaven as well as those Mothers with children at their side.... find a way to celebrate this day. Find a way to celebrate loving and being loved.

May 4

IMG_4118I am so grateful that spring is here.  I finally finished staining the deck today and I feel so good about it, despite spending two hours at Home Depot this morning trying to convince Mark that the Behr stain chart was an incorrect representation of their colors !  He was patient and we finally reached a compromise so it's all good.

Jules sat outside with me for a minute after I finished... we talked about being still.  I haven't figured out how to do it even after a lifetime of futile attempts at meditation.  My mind simply won't shut down. 

The sun was setting, the birds were singing, the project was complete, the pollen was floating through the sunlight like fairy dust... I need to re caulk the kitchen window, maybe next week I can start taking up the bricks, Candy's birthday gift isn't finished, Izzy want's out, got to clean house tomorrow, pay bills, what will I wear to Bridgewater on Monday, can I find my way back to Bridgewater on Monday, hope that little girl finds her dog, power wash Sandra's on Thursday, Mom's on Friday, Costco on Saturday, hate the crowds, will the Heritage Blue Premium Stain come off of my toes, have to take a bath, too tired to take a bath, love some iced tea....   You get the picture.  It never stops.

Last night as I was trying to go to sleep, I was repainting the bedroom, balancing my checkbook, counting the number of books on the shelf that I still need to read, wondering what was causing the neighbors motion sensor light to go on and off, analyzing the political climate of the world, asking my Guardian Angel to flip my mental switch, planning breakfast, organizing my mental day planner and praying for everyone in my life.  It's no wonder I have foggy thought !!  As I was drifting off to sleep, finally, I remember thinking that when I was working I used to think there had to be more to life than working.  Then I retired and thought there had to be more to life now that I wasn't working.  The truth is, I think, the more to life that we're always looking for is slowing down long enough, in any venture, to realize how fortunate we are to know there is more to life, the trick is recognizing the more in the moment.

Of course, with the light of day, most of the pressing thoughts of the night before seem ridiculous.  What a waste of minutes that I could have been sleeping.  To sleep, perhaps to dream... even that has me stretched.  Jill and I in a tornado, losing Paw Paw in a shopping mall, crazy things that keep me in a state of perpetual motion and high anxiety even when I do sleep !

If any of this sounds familiar, welcome to the human RACE !!  I just realized that's what I'm doing...running this race with myself, with life and it's mostly so unnecessary.  Maybe I'll try one thing at a time today instead of too many to complete.   I'll let you know how it goes.

"Thank you for Heritage Blue, Pewter and Driftwood coming close to the right shade of blue/gray.  Thank you for the return of my porch cricket, perhaps the new license plate was an invitation.  Thank you for CRKTSNG.  Thank you for the best friends anyone could wish for.  Thank you for another day."   JJB 5-4-2010

May 3


"Thank you for perspective and the peace that comes with even the slightest shift.   Thank you for the Blue Ridge Mountains, western view as beautiful as the eastern.  Thank you for an artist's vision made public.  Thank you for the realization that everyone isn't going to like the same thing... hence Ben and Jerry's 115 flavor treats.  Thank you for the occasional clarity that shines through the fog of the 'maturing' mind."    JJB  5-3-2010

May 2

I'm a little lost without Shannon's journal to give me impetus, so I picked it up and just opened it and a cartoon fell out.


Now I know I've told you a lot about how Shannon still makes an effort to get my attention, and I know most of you think I'm a little left of center but I'm a firm believer in "whatever makes you better" makes you better.

So, I do have a Grandma Dad's Mom.  She returned to Heaven before Shannon was born, and Shannon and I only flew together once, on our way to the Grand Canyon... but the part about being judged in life by the part we write ourselves sounds so much like my daughter's brand of wisdom.  

I'm fairly certain that I saved the comic, but I have no real memory of it.  As a matter of fact, I have only vague memories of seeing it at all before, so for it to fall into my lap this afternoon is pretty profound !  

I've been staining the deck all day.  I bought the stain thinking that it matched the gray trim on the house.  Now that it's way to done to 'undone', I realize that it is way too blue.  Yes, I realized it earlier but convinced myself that it would dry grayer... not going to happen.  While I was staining I was listening to "Lady Antebellum"... new to me, but I simply could not listen to 'Hallelujah' one more time because it had gotten stuck on continuous loop in my head. 

I was fretting about how the color just was too off when out of no where (well, we all know better than that!) I realized that it is the perfect shade of Periwinkle Blue... and Periwinkle Blue is my ever present reminder of the Divine in, there goes the fret!

I want to tell you all about the coffee mugs that broke for three days after Shannon 'left'.  I want to tell you about all of our electrical devices acting on their own.  I want to tell you about our perfect urn and the Shannon that made our memorial service arrangements.  I want to tell you all about 'Path Directors' and bookmarks appearing in books in rooms in Nagshead and about the Cat in the Hat at Border's... but I have to move into all of that slowly.   This afternoon, I'm just grateful.  Grateful to Shannon for loving me enough to choose me to be her Mom.  Grateful to Jules for loving me in spite of myself.  Grateful to my family for trying so hard to understand the way I had to move through Shannon 'leaving'.  Grateful to all of you who offered prayers and hugs for over a decade.  Grateful to the Moms of Shannon's Angel friends.  Grateful to Shannon's friends.  Just Grateful ~

I really believed I had been doing this alone.  The truth is that although I may have been physically alone, much of the time, there was always someone holding me in their hearts.  When I think that there are over 200,000 bookmarks out there... that someone touches one, thinks of Shannon, thinks of me... someone I will never know, probably every day... the world seems smaller and Shannon's presence seems so much larger. 

It may take me a day or two to find my stride again, now that I'm doing this 'on my own' but I'll get there.  Thank you for making the journey with me, with patience.

"Love is the true means by which the world is enjoyed:  our love to others, and other's love to us."     ~
Thomas Traherne