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life. dust laughing. [merely-a-thought monday]

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every time you think you have it all figured out, life has a way of poking fun at you, pulling the rug from underneath you, making you re-evaluate, maybe roll your eyes, maybe cry out and push back, maybe giggle in abandon.

the island players performed a short at TPAC from spoon river anthology (e. l. masters), a collection of epitaphs spoken as monologues by the deceased residents of the fictional town called spoon river.  it is gripping.  a not-so-subtle reminder of our brief time on this earth and the absolute into-thin-air-ness of our lives.  perspective-arranging, yes, as you listen to the tales of each person, ephemeral, transitory, all fleeting moments in a deep milky way of vast time.

one of the characters, a finely and properly dressed older woman, brags of renting a house in paris, entertaining the elite, dining at fine restaurants, taking the cure at baden-baden, a spa town in germany’s black forest.  she returns to her hometown of spoon river, only to realize that no one really cares about where she dined or what she ate or who she entertained or if she took the cure at baden-baden.  a sobering moment for her and, if you let it in, another one of those lessons.  the kind where you realize that what you do and what you have is – not – who you are.

instead, the dust of us will later snicker, laugh, out and out guffaw at how invested we all were in the things of life that didn’t really count, the things that will disappear into the outer atmosphere of the universe, never to be retrieved.  instead, we should chuckle now, realizing that indeed the best-laid plans are only that.  plans.  that doesn’t make them life.  life has its own ideas.  perhaps we should just remember that, cut ourselves a bit of slack and recognize how funny it really is that each of us, formed of zillions of random cells, somehow ended up here, right here, right now.  for this time.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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two ears and one mouth. [merely-a-thought monday]

god gave you

i suspect that my sweet momma and mike would be friends. just this quote alone would qualify him.

it’s a simple premise….listen before you speak. and then, think before you speak. and it goes hand and hand with momma’s “if you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all.”

in today’s outspoken world, this is not so easy. the love of candor seems to supercede the love of respect. one-up-ness rises above humility. but-listen-to-what-happened-to-me out-volumes quietly listening what happened to you. complaining-in-public tantrums over mature restraint. bullying pushes back compassion.   kindness is lost in angry, impatient words. helpful advice goes the way of competition and judgment. condemnation is mute consolation.   louder seems to be the way of the land, the horizon punctuated by harsh decibels of bitter noise. less quiet. more frenzy. less listening. more clamoring.

“God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason,” mike said. in heaven, my sweet momma was nodding, a smile on her face.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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let the adventure begin. [merely-a-thought monday]

let the adventure begin

“today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

i remember this on posters, on cards, in songs, in speeches.  it was the 70s and recognizing that today was today and tomorrow was fresh seemed enlightened.

we stand, paused – and surrounded by things to pack into littlebabyscion and big red – and glance at what is forward.  the adventure.  the adventure begins.  today is the first day…

we have accepted positions as the co-managing directors of a performing arts center on washington island in door county, wisconsin.  we will be on island this summer, settling into the island community and handling the details of this beautiful 250 seat performing arts center.  the community seems kind and embracing.  the island is quiet and peaceful. our home will be a haven of sunrises across the water and our friends and family will gather there as we do our new work.  the deck will welcome loved ones from near and far; the adirondack chairs will tease with invitation on water’s edge.  dogdog and babycat will adjust, as will we.  and soon, probably before we are ready, the summer will be over and we will be back on the mainland, still managing, but from afar.

there is a special energy in door county.  you can feel it; it’s palpable.  it’s a creative juju that celebrates the simple beauty of time spent outdoors, time spent with loved ones, time spent honoring the arts.  i can’t think of a better match.

let the adventure begin.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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everyone is a messenger. [merely-a-thought monday]

*everyone is a messenger

we are all guilty.  we speak before thinking.  we spew before thinking.  we condemn before thinking.

my sweet momma used to tell me if i couldn’t think of anything good to say, not to say anything at all.  my dear friend linda taught me that if i couldn’t think of a worthy response to, let’s say, situation/thing x, to say instead, “now THAT’S a situation/thing x!!”  both are generous people who have abided by the golden rule and have remembered that they are indeed messengers, anywhere they are.

we are ambassadors, everywhere we go.  we take our partner with us, our family with us, our workplace with us, our community with us, our country with us.  we represent.  we can choose to be messengers of goodness, of grace, of kindness, of fairness, of positive and supportive words spoken about others.  or we can choose to be messengers of negativity, cynicism, apathy, denouncing places or another person or peoples.

i recently overheard someone demeaning their workplace.  the message was clear and their words of disregard served only to discredit the person speaking.  a-messenger-wherever-we-go is a responsibility, sometimes a true test of our maturity.  we need be careful.   my sweet momma would say, “think before you speak!”  i would add – not only because you could be overheard, but because it is the right thing to do.

we are all guilty.  but we keep trying.

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so much life lived. [merely-a-thought monday]

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we were talking on the phone.  it had been quite some time and there was so much to catch up on it was difficult to know where to start.  we started with this week.  “so much life lived this week,” heidi said.  yes.  so much.

in the last week or so we have traveled both east and west.  from the ocean to the mountains.  from children to parents.  from littlebabyscion to big red.  we traveled from together to missing.  from gathering things for a new home base to removing things forever from a home.  from being known to the dementia-induced-agony of being not-known.  from a new plan to yet another new plan.  from certainty to uncertainty.  from before to after.

we have driven over 3000 miles and flown 1000 miles. we had the absolute joy of being with our children.  we had the absolute joy of being with david’s parents.  we’ve been with beloved family, with our dearest friends, with complete strangers on airplanes, in rest areas, in hotels, in shops.  we laughed, we talked, we questioned, we argued, we cried, we cringed at how life changes, we celebrated life’s changes.

days swirled around us as we turned the pages of our calendar and we kept going.  taking snapshots, memorizing moments, sealing memories for eternity (as mike wrote).  for this was only one week or so.  and yes, there was so much life lived.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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empty the dishwasher slowly. [merely-a-thought monday]

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we have a dishwasher.  this is a picture of it.  it does not work.  but it takes up space in our old kitchen that would otherwise be blank.  instead, we wash dishes.  by hand.  the old fashioned way.  it’s a good time to gaze out the window and think or have a little conversation as we wash, dry and put away.  in no rush.  i distinctly remember watching my sweet momma and poppo do this when i was growing up.  they would stand and chat (or be quiet) and work together until one day when my dad brought home a portable dishwasher that attached via a hose to the sink.  they would roll the dishwasher out of the laundry room.  it would sit, attached to the faucet, in the middle of the kitchen and you had to maneuver around it to get to the cabinets or across the kitchen.  ahhh.  dishwashers have come so far.  and yes, some haven’t.  like ours.

for the last week we have had the gift of being in an absolutely beautiful place on the ocean.  there are too many superlatives to list about the magic of being there, too many stories to tell.  so many memories to take with us, so many learnings.

and – we had the use of a dishwasher… a real live one that actually works; it washes dishes all by itself and then dries them.  amazing!

one morning, after waiting for the coffee to brew, david brought me coffee in bed and said he had realized something.  during the spell of time he was waiting, after opening up the house to the rising sun, he emptied the dishwasher.  he took each item out and carefully put it away in its place.  slowly.  when he came upstairs he told me that this simple task had actually been quite profound.  and, because it’s what we do, we talked about this observation.

as we take on many new tasks with much to orient to and learn, we have agreed to do just this, to move with this simple mantra:  to empty the dishwasher slowly.  to put each thing gently in its place.  to be mindful and intentional and not overwhelmed.  each glass will get put away, each plate will stack, each utensil will nest.  there is no rush.   there is right now.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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tear down, build up. [merely-a-thought monday]

nature of life box

the seasons pass.  we lurch from lush to barren.  we see the fire season lengthening, the arctic ice shelf shrinking, the oceans warming, the atmosphere more potentially lethal.  we see the lack of a bipartisan country, divisiveness poisoning our communities, self-serving rule over a democracy based on equity and compassion.  we are stymied by what we can do, what we can accomplish as individuals and we speak up, at the ready to be buoyed by support or torn down by scorn.  we have traversed the spectrum of built up and trampled.

i hope this season will pass.  that the tearing down will yield a new harvest.  that we will pay attention to our good earth and its physical struggles.  that we will cross the aisle and reach out.  that each of us will count, no matter our ANYthing.  that sensitivity and humanity and fairness will lead our actions.  that we will be kind.  that we will build up.  that this now barren-in-so-many-ways-land will again be lush.  with promise.  for everyone.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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