Aging · culture · Daughters · Family · Fathers · Grandchildren · Grandparents · Joy · Teasing · Uncategorized

Daddy Blue

My friend Faith sent me an email with a sweet story about a man who returned home for a neighbors funeral. The neighbor had greatly influenced the young man’s life in the absence of his father. Towards the end of the story was the statement: “every night someone thinks of you before they go so sleep.”

That brought immediate tears to my eyes and made me think of my dad. I call him Daddy Blue.

It all started with him calling my son James “Soldier Blue” based on a costume he was wearing. So James turned around and called him “Guka Blue, boooya!” (Guka is Kikuyu for grandpa.)

“James!” I chided him sharply for his disrespect.

Guka grabbed James by the wrists, turned around and said to me, “Mummy Blue arrest Soldier Blue.”

I said to him, “Daddy Blue, you started it.” James had the last laugh.

_______________

That was 5 years ago. We call each other across the world every couple of weeks.  As soon as he answers the phone, I say, in a singsong tone, “Daddy Blue.” He chuckles and says, “Aaaaaw, Mummy Blue.”

We chat about events and his health. “Have you been to therapy Dad?” I ask, knowing the answer.

“Not yet, Mummy Blue. I will.” It’s his lame attempt to placate me. I call him a naughty amputee and he says it’s no wonder Soldier Blue is so naughty. “His mother has no respect.”

He asks after my family and tells me how he thinks of me every day. How proud of and happy he is for me. We have a twelve hour time zone difference so when I’m getting up, he’s heading to bed and vice versa. He says, “Well, I’m getting off the day bus and getting on the night bus now. You enjoy the day bus. I’ll sleep happy because you called.”

_SJD1041 We sign off. “I love you Daddy Blue, over.”

“I love you Mummy Blue, over and out.”

Happy Father’s Day dad.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/the-little-things/

culture · Family · journaling · Relationships · Spiritual

Baring the Soul

I just completed journaling my life for the last 7 years in one volume!

I visualize myself at 94, rocking rhythmically on a squeaky pine chair. The sun is warm against my wrinkles and my weak eyes are closed as I listen to a granddaughter reading me a story. The story of my life. I love to tell stories and as I review it, I’m learning that the story of my life is a darned good one, and well worth recording. Here it is on page after page: details documented, interactions interpreted, dreams divulged, frustrations unfurled. My very soul is bared.

7 years is a long time. It’s long enough to forget specifics, which makes it extra delightful to read and recall events that I was once positive I would never forget. I began journaling as a teenager. I started with a day planner and​ entered what was going on in my life from day to day. Thirty years later and thousands of miles away, those puerile entries are priceless memoires. If my house was to catch on fire, I’d run for those tattered books before putting clothes on.

After mum passed away, I was cleaning out one of her bedside drawers when I stumbled upon a diary she had written in. She didn’t express feelings but simply jotted down events. Some where are mundane as how many piglets were born or that the vet came and immunized the cows. Others were simple yet ran deep as a well. “Michael was hit by a car today and went home to be with the Lord.” I never once saw her sit to write in it but I am so grateful she did. There’s something spell-binding about seeing words in her  handwriting.

I have a sister that lives across the world and we mail a journal back and forth. She’ll write entries of her life for a few months then mail it to me. I’ll do the same and mail it back. Needless to say, I wait for it with bated breath. Sometimes it’s years before I get it.

Looking back over the years, I am struck by remarkable obstacles I have overcome. I marvel at some of the same battles I am still fighting as I grow as a person. In some ways I am a completely different person and yet in others, I haven’t changed a bit.

I write details about people’s lives that might be embarrassing to them so I wouldn’t share my journal details with anyone while the concerned parties were still alive. Within reason, I feel a protective obligation to those people, especially since they can’t very well defend themselves.

Taking time to contemplate and document my life propels me to live the remainder of it at full throttle. If you have considered journaling, I would highly encourage it. Start simply and don’t over-think it.

Here are some tips from a lifer:

1. I used many small books when I was younger and have since learned to use a large book so I end up with just a few volumes. Find a large, good quality, well bound book that will last for decades. It could end up being a valuable family heirloom for generations.

2. Don’t feel pressure to write every day or even every week. Snippets of your life and thoughts are quite sufficient, even months apart.

3. Always write the date including the year. I go as far as to date every page in case the book should somehow come apart.

4. Simply write what you did, who you did it with, where you went, and how you felt about it all. It may seem insignificant in the moment but in years to come it will ignite important details of memories. I write prayers in mine and address them directly to God. My journals really read like a letter to Him. You can address yours to a person or even simply, “dear diary”. (I’ll write dd for dear diary.)

5. Write as much or as little as you want. Sometimes I write a paragraph, other times I write pages upon pages. Divulge as little or as much as you want. Always consider the possibility that nosey eyes will find and read your journal against your will. That said, be true to and honestly express yourself. This is a very powerful therapeutic tool and will be as impactful as you are genuine.

6. I sign each of my entries for fun. I still use an old signature that I started using as a teenager and don’t use anywhere else.

7. On the outside or inside of your journal, write the start and end dates. This makes them easier to organize in the future.

8. Create a journal station where you park your book. If you can, attach a pen to it so you don’t have to spend time retrieving one. It can be your bedside,  by the bathroom,  or by your comfy chair. Mine ends up either at my bedside or by my chair. I’ll take it with me when I travel but I’ve learned I rarely journal when I am away from home. My thought is that I will have time to get caught up.

9. Pick a time that works well for you. It may be before bed, first thing in the morning, or in the middle of the day after the kids are off to school.

10. Attach meaningful letters or pictures to your journal. Birth or graduation announcements, wedding invitations or photos, and eulogies are wonderful to revisit years down the road.

Don’t get so busy journaling that you forget to live your life!

 

 

Christian · culture · Faith · Relationships · Spiritual

As I Am

Consider that your concept of God is one of the most important things about you. It determines how you view Him. It determines how we view ourselves and others around us.

I am learning that in many ways I have created God in my own image and to my measly understanding. I pick and choose aspects of Him that suit my fancy and dismiss those I assume to be irrelevant or to be demanding of me. I am a long way from seeing God in His fullness and as He offers Himself to me in the bible.

As a result, mine is an anemic, impotent God. Polished but hollow. Like my life. Ouch. I must be honest with myself: that is the reason I fret, fear, and I’m consumed with the affairs of this world and my position in it. That is why I have little regard for the widow and the orphan, the poor, the lost, and the hurting.

Many times in my life I have learned that He is very powerful. Time after time He has proved Himself strong, faithful, and true. For me He has saved, healed, provided for, called, delighted, delivered, comforted, encouraged, gifted, strengthened, chastised, revealed, lifted up, taught, … the list is endless. When my heart is inclined towards Him, as a plant to the light, I see all this clearly and catch prismatic glimpses of Him in His brilliant awesomeness. Deep calls to deep.

Yet this same heart routinely deposes Him when I want my own way. I am like a spiritual brat, stomping and throwing little spiritual hissy fits. I am like a spiritual diva – entitled and self-absorbed. I am goddess, hear me roar. At those times God is, at best, an on-call consultant. I clean up shop because the consultant is coming, then when the crisis is over, it’s back to sloppy business as usual.

Falsely, I believe that I am what I do. I must remind myself that I am a far cry from my accomplishments, my efforts, my resources, my strengths and failures. The error here is to project this thinking onto Him and just see Him as an improved version of what I am. It is imperative that my concept of Him correspond as nearly as possible with who He truly is. Otherwise all else is idolatry – a view of God as other than He is and a subsequent substitution with what I think He should be.

A. W. Tozer prayed, “They that know Thee may call upon Thee as other than Thou art, and so worship not Thee but a creature of their own fancy; therefore enlighten our minds that we may know Thee as Thou art… Amen.”

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/polish/

culture · Humor · language · Uncategorized

Clazy Making

I belong to the Kikuyu tribe which is notorious for many things. Among it’s highlights is what Kenyans used to call shrubbing. Shrubbing is taking English words and Kikuyunizing them (or converting them so they contain distinct traits of a tribal language.) It is no fault of mine that I frequently say “clazy”. It’s one of my favolite shrubs.

Kikuyus swap most of their “r’s” for “l’s” and vice versa, hence, “the rion is at the liver,” doesn’t mean that the king of the jungle is now eating the organ but that he’s slaking his thirst.  The trouble for outsiders trying to decipher our speech is that some Kikuyus swap the  letters 100% of the time while others are part-timers. There are also words or parts of words that remain unchanged, for example, “I leally enjoy brogging.” It’s always “leally”. Never “learry.” That would be lidicurous.

Of course one can never tell exactly what the admonition “Ret us play” is. If the minister says “Prease play,” you watch to see if he brings his hands together before you jump up, whooping and horrering; whereas if the teacher says, “Ret us take a blake and pray,” she’ll probabry open the door and ret the students out for lecess.

The most faburous thing, of course, is that we are notolious for doing this with full confidence and autholity. We are tluly an amazing tlibe. We lerish the aduration and adolation of the world and they are tickled pink at our verbal plowess.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/pink/

 

 

culture · Humor

“When I had Jury Duty…”

Last week I had jury duty for the first time. We were there from 7.20 am to 5.07 pm. I was enthralled with the process though I ended up sitting in on a rather petty case. What a thorough, involved, and fascinating process. And to think this happens every day across the country.

An army of citizens, some licking their chops, others outraged reorganized their lives: childcare, work, carpools, co-workers, school. For me, all this because Her Majesty walked out of a J.C. Penny with $64.00 worth of make-up.

It was the second time I had  been summoned. It’s my privilege. The first time, I called the night before and was dismissed. I had mixed emotions and felt somewhat rejected. I consoled myself, “Better to be dumped now than to show up for nothing tomorrow.” Four phone calls later, my life was back on track. This time after tiresome instructions on the voice-recording, numbers 160-299 were ordered to show up. I was number 299. Again, mixed feelings.

I’d received a sweet text from a  friend I hadn’t connected with for a while and I carried some writing paper with me to court. She got a twelve page hand-written letter.  Why don’t we hand write letters any more? It must be amazing to get one!

After a tedious check-in and registration process, a judge came in to speak to us for ten minutes. He thanked us for putting our lives on hold. “Even the brain surgeon who tried to tell me he had a surgery scheduled couldn’t get off the hook,” he said. “No one is more important than anyone else.” I got a mental picture of myself on a literal meat hook, flailing hopelessly. Is that what this was?

The throng was whittled down to  about seventy people for 3 cases. As expected, some were relieved, others miffed. I couldn’t look any in the eye, unsure if I was fortunate or condemned to hang. Twenty four of us headed to one courtroom, up three flights of stairs, down long cold hallways, around corners. All marching in tense silence.

We had to stand in order and not swap positions. We had to sit in order. We had to scoot along the bench in order. The case was quickly introduced: the state of Oregon vs. Her Majesty. Why the state of Oregon I will never know. J.C. Penny must have been busier than the brain surgeon. My tax dollars at work.

6 potential jurors were called up to the jury box (I really should have learned what the technical terms here are, now that I am an expert in the field.) The defense attorney stood and immediately tried to put us at ease. It wasn’t working. Her Majesty sat beside her twirling her hair and trying not to look nervous. It wasn’t working either. The attorney spent 30 minutes getting us to relate to the client.

“Have you ever taken something that’s not yours? Of course you all have. And what really, is stealing?” She wore an ill-fitting suit. She looked like she’d be more comfortable surfing or bungee-jumping in a jungle wearing an old t-shirt, cut off jeans, and worn Tevas. She looked like the fun big sister who’d vouch for you and save your hide. Mr. Prosecutor, on the other hand, was serious, well coiffed, eagle-eyed with a hooked nose to match. He meant business and had plans for the royal snollygoster who was smacking her royal chewing gum.

They both engaged us and made sure we all responded to various questions and scenarios they set up. The judge thanked and assured those that would not be selected that we had not wasted our time as this was an important part of the process. Presently, they began to choose jurors.

The lawyers write something on a small piece of paper and the clerk shows each of their papers to the other. Each nods and the clerk walks it to the judge who excuses one of those in the jury box. Yup, he’d wasted his time. The next potential juror is called up to the box so there are always 6. I pick  my back-pack and jacket up off the floor and scoot to the right.  The lawyers write on another piece of paper which is then showed to the other. They nod and it’s walked to the judge. Another is excused. Pick up, scoot. And again. And again. I’m called up to the box. Pick up, walk. Juror number 5. All the rest that haven’t been called up are thanked and excused.

The non-committal mugwump beside me is elated to go home.

Specifics of the case are presented. We are sworn to secrecy and to not touch our cell phones till after the case. More instructions and it’s noon. Lunch time. We will reassemble in an hour. Really? I have never felt less productive in my entire life. It had taken 5 hours to get to this point. In my mind, this could easily have been about thirty minutes worth of work.

Lunch feels like it’s four hours long and we’re all sitting on our hands in anticipation with thirty minutes to go. We’re prohibited to say too much to each other about the case.

The afternoon goes like I thought a jury duty shivoo should. Rapid-fire questioning. Witnesses, cross-examination. “For the record, please pronounce and spell your first and last name.” Objection, hear-say. Sustained. Her Majesty whispers repeatedly to Jane. Being a documentation Nazi, I am appalled by the store security and the shoddy work they did and reported. They omitted important details. We watch surveillance footage. Eagle-eye is on his case and the case is clear. Theft III. Correct person, correct date, intent established.

Back in our chambers, we deliberate for close to an hour. There are strong feelings and opinions. I am not convinced about intent as some are. We turn it over this way and that. The physician in the group is also unsure. The ex-marine is bumfuzzled. The nurse and manager are certain she meant to steal the merchandise. The retiree would really like to go home. It’s 4.54 pm. We can come back tomorrow. This isn’t majority rule. That would be easier. But we must all agree. Did she intend to? The store could easily have done a much better job convincing me of her guilt. They did not. They punched holes in their credibility. We wish that along with making our decision we could wag our jury finger with some strong words for Her Majesty.

We buzz the clerk at 4.58pm. At 5.03pm the judge pronounces her not guilty. I feel sorry for the prosecutor. Of all the people, he actually did the best job, but he could have done better.

I can’t wait to share this day with the world. I quickly learn that everyone I tell I just had jury duty immediately says, “When I had jury duty…” and launches into a twenty minute tale of woe. I guess they didn’t get to tell anyone their story when it was fresh.

I suppose I’ll have to wait till someone tells me they just had jury duty and then I’ll jump in and say, “When I had jury duty…”

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/record

 

 

 

 

Christian · culture · Humor · Relationships · sad · travel

Dive Bomber (Reblogged)

I love hummingbirds. All facts about them astound me. I once sat stunned under a feeder as one buzzed the top of my head repeatedly. My wincing face portrayed my certainty that the pointed beak  at the end of those deafening wing-beats was going to bore holes in my irises!

There is one hummingbird I am not crazy about. I call him Dive Bomber. I buy the sugar, I pay for the water, and I clean and refill the feeders every couple days. HE drinks the syrup then stands guard beside it and dive bombs any other birds that mistakenly think I refilled the feeder for just any ole’ hummingbird.

I’m camping at a KOA in the desert. It’s 90 degrees out and there’s a pool, so my new friend Mary and I take the kids out for  a swim. The kind owners of the campground have provided 2 large canopies for patrons to enjoy by the pool. They are the only shade. One of them covers a large laughing family. The other shades 4 lounge chairs covered with towels. Dive Bomber is lounging in the sun beside the canopy, flexing his bulging, tattooed muscles and frequently dousing himself in sunscreen.

Mary and I grab chairs across the pool and head for the vacant canopy. Mary greets him cheerfully and courteously asks if we can shade up under this cover. He says, “We actually came here early so we could use one of these. You just can’t mosey over here when people are already here. That’s pretty rude.” He flexed his pects and returned to next months edition of Self Magazine.

He probably has never conceived the thought that he consumes less than 1% of the contents of the feeder. Nor that if he dared to leave his post he would be stunned to find a world of wonders:  fuschias,   butterfly bushes,  columbine, honeysuckle, new friendships… the list is endless. For hours and hours, his family used the canopy for less than an hour total, but, don’t touch my feeder, that’s pretty rude!

Father, please open my eyes to my Dive Bomber tendencies.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/buff/