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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Love, Life and Hershey's Kisses

I'm in the mood for love...or

Chocolate by any other name....

Valentine's Day is coming. It is right around the corner. A very good friend of mine shared that her church will be having a contemporary service called "The Sweetness of Life" where they celebrate the month of love...and 'chocolate'. I said "count me in"!! Unfortunately I had to leave before the service but the members of the church were ask to share their thoughts on the question, "What is love?"  Since I can share thoughts from just about anywhere thanks to this internet thingy and I cannot get the question out of my mind, I will share them here.

I think everyone who has come within 2 ft of me or read anything I have ever written knows I love me some chocolate. L.O.V.E. love it! I don't know why exactly, there is just something comforting about chocolate and I also read somewhere that there is some sort of caffeine in it too that makes you feel better but too much of it is bad for you. I don't believe everything I read. So I eat chocolate when I feel the need. Moderation in everything I say. (Unless you are really stressed, then throw that saying right  out the window and cuddle up with a bag of Snickers Bars.)

What is love? What does it mean to you? Well-- there is my love of chocolate, something that makes me feel better and there is my love of the Wizard of Oz that gives me illusions of grandeur --then there is another love. If you have lived long enough you have experienced it. It does not always make you feel good. Sometimes it hurts. With love comes caring and emotions and when you really and truly love someone else, if they hurt...you hurt. If they don't love you back..you hurt. If you lose them..you hurt. It is a given that anything that can bring you so much joy will have the same ability to bring you that same level of pain.  From one of my favorites:

"Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain." ~Kahlil Gibran-The Prophet

And so it goes. The love of a mother for a child, love for a friend, for a husband or wife, for a boyfriend or girlfriend, or for a grandchild. There are some pretty big risks involved there. So why do we keep doing it? Why are we drawn to love? I think because it is necessary to our very being. If we believe God created us in His own image and God is love...then we are love and being 'love' we have no choice but to need to love and be loved. But that doesn't really answer the question of "what IS love?"...I think it is different for every person. 

I think I found out about true love when I was very young. I knew without a doubt that my family loved me unconditionally, so I probably took that for granted. But I really found out about the true meaning of 'love' from my older brother Dwayne. He was the second oldest in our family, born with severe birth defects, he never walked or talked, never took a bite of food that someone did not give him. Never held a spoon or a fork, never placed both twisted feet on the floor, never spoke a clear word and never contributed anything to this world other than 'being Dwayne".  But he touched more people and said more with his eyes, smiles,or frowns than most do or say in a lifetime. 

Dwayne could not change or affect his surroundings, he was dependent on those who loved him and would care for him for everything he needed his entire 24 years of life. If he was hurting from being in one position too long, he could not verbally tell us that...we had to watch him carefully, look at his eyes and see what they were saying. He could make some noises of approval and disapproval but we had to pay close attention to him to make sure he was okay. So I learned to listen...not to words spoken..but to actions.

He loved everyone and always tried to have a smile on his face, but he would get angry just like anyone else. If someone raised their voice, or he thought anyone was being mean to someone else or if an animal was being treated unkindly you could see his eyebrows rise and the look of angst in his eyes that could immediately put an end to any situation. So I learned to speak up when needed and to take up for others no matter what.

There was nothing wrong with Dwayne mentally, he was just trapped in a body that could not do the things he would have loved to do. So he felt all the emotions we felt, the frustrations, the anger and the helplessness. Some people were a little afraid of him and it was hard for them to look at someone who seemed so pitiful, deformed and different. It didn't bother him, he loved everyone because he saw them from a different perspective. So I learned to look at people in a different way and accept them for what they are not what I expect them to be. 

Most people simply 'loved' Dwayne. He could not do a thing for them, he had no money to give, no compliments or flattery, no jokes to make them laugh and not even arms capable of giving them a hug. But they loved him very much. He touched everyone in a special way who took the time to visit with him and they would never forget that experience. He changed lives, without all the words, actions, or theatrics. He changed lives and made an impression through unconditional love. Love that demands nothing in return. Open and honest love without selfish motives. It was love in its purest form. So I have seen 'love' through the eyes of my brother and once you have done that..you can never forget that we are all here to very simply--love one another. 

I am sure Mama Bess and Daddy Frank must have questioned God at some point after Dwayne was born. When he went through 6 months of nothing but severe pain and cries of anguish. But they never mentioned it to us. We thought everyone must have a special brother like our brother. One that reminded you of what true love was every day. So we all learned that every human being has a worth that cannot be measured by what they accomplish in life but by how much they love those around them.

I am so thankful that I was asked once again to remind myself of that kind of love and how very lucky I was to have experienced it at such an early age. When Dwayne passed away, there were tears of sadness but there was also a celebration of his life and my prayer is that the celebration of that simplistic, unselfish and unconditional love will be with all of you--this Valentine's Day and every day.

Love and a bag of Hershey's Kisses to you all~ Squirrely Girl


Monday, January 14, 2013

To Everything...Turn Turn Turn..

There Is A Season ..Turn Turn Turn..

And a time to every purpose...under heaven..

 I love the Book of Ecclesiastes and I LOVE that song. I love the way they were able to introduce a powerful message to the world through Rock n Roll. Imagine that.  Pete Seeger took King Solomon's wisdom-- word for word and only added a couple of lines--'turn turn turn" and the ending line --"I swear it's not too late"--- then put it to some music and it became a number one hit for The Byrds in 1969. I love the The Byrds too. (Not to be mistaken for my crazy suicidal kamikaze birds who once ruined a perfectly good hair day and continue to taunt the Ninja Squirrels when they fly into my house or windows ..that is documented in an earlier blog...true story ..really).

My life is about to change and I really needed to hear this song and I needed to read this scripture again. Turn...turn...turn...

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

I am leaving a job that I love very much, not by choice but because it is time and I am going to a job I love because it is time--and for that I am more than thankful. Some people work an entire lifetime and never find one job they truly love and I have loved several. I once heard some advice that I shared with some young people as a career counselor and decided to take it myself:  'find something you love to do, find a way to get someone to pay you to do it and you will never work another day in your life.'  Hey, I was just lazy enough to take that serious. I can't imagine getting up early each day and going to a job I hate (I can't imagine getting up early PERIOD) but think how miserable I would be if I had to get up early AND go to a job I hated. I would not last long. 

I am only really  good at a couple of things in life--talking and loving people. As long as I can do those two things in some combination, I am always going to be happy. Sometimes I talk through written word or through music or just running my mouth, sometimes I love people the same way. But no matter what or how--every adventure always ends up with me meeting and listening to people who bless me in more ways than I bless them. 

This will be my last blog from the comfort of my old home place for a few months. I am off to have an adventure, back on the road to play a little piano, tell a few jokes, meet some new friends and ...I am just guessing here but....probably talk to a few people. I will keep you updated as we go. It will not always be pretty...it may be a bit shocking at times...but I can promise it will always be honest and probably a little insane. My goal is to taste a different brand of chocolate across America and if I knew how to use my Smarty Pants Phone I would take a pic of it too. Maybe I will have the time now to get to know Mr. Fancy Schmancy Smarty Pants Phone and we can become friends at long last. 

Pray for us on the road, some crazy weather/ drivers out there. Pray for me as I struggle with leaving so many people I love and cherish and last but not least--pray for the Idgets in the band. They haven't heard me complain in quite some time...it will be a shock to their system. See ya on the road and maybe even in your country....let the whining begin!!!

P.S. Just think of all the interesting questions I will get across the nation. You can all help me answer them. Oh what fun we will have and what trouble we will cause! ~Sigh~ Change is good... unless it is a light bulb you can't reach... that is what I always say...

Take Care and go do something you LOVE..."I swear it's not too late"...

Later ~Squirrely Girl~

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot …

Maybe...Maybe Not....

Because I am a song writer (in my illusions of grandeur and a few times by trade) I have always been curious about the song “Auld Lang Syne”. Who wrote it..where did it come from..why do we all sing it every New Year’s and don’t have a clue what we are saying? So... I did a little research that makes me happy and sad.

Sad because the worst thing that can happen to a song writer is for someone to steal your song…or at the very least, steal your lyrics. Music comes pretty natural to most of my family and friends ..those who play instruments can come up with all kinds of fancy licks on a guitar or piano but when it comes to lyrics..those are special..those are words you write straight from your heart and you expose your deepest feelings to the world to be trampled, criticized and condemned. It is not easy..but if you are a writer, you have no choice. You must write. It is as necessary as breathing.

So when I found out the guy who gets credit for a song used worldwide for so many events-- like people passing out drunk on New Year’s Eve-- probably plagiarized the whole thing..it made me sad. Seems old Robert Burns admitted that he took most of the words of the song from old James Watson and  several other ‘poets’ used the same words. I guess ‘copyright infringement’ is not reserved for the 21st century. I know all this is true because I read it in Wikipedia and we all know Wikipedia would never lie and is completely dependable.  Nobody on the internet lies or makes stuff up or exaggerates anything. Right?  All we really know for sure is that “Auld Lang Syne” means something like ‘for old times’ sake’.The reason the song makes me happy is the next to last chorus that most of us do not sing:

 "We two have paddled in the stream, from morning sun till dine.
 But seas between us broad have roared since auld lang syne."

I don’t know about you folks….but that little chorus right there touched my heart. It speaks of friendship and family ties ..about being there for each other during the toughest times, side by side, through the good times and the bad. It means even if we might one day be separated by miles or even in death, or disagreements--nothing will ever change that love or that friendship. True love does not wane with time or space, it is eterenal. You don’t have to work at it. I love my precious family and friends who love me despite myself. I love that some are just as lazy about our friendship as I am. Some would say we take each other for granted because we don't talk every day or even every year. That is not true. We are so sure of each other’s love that we don’t have to work at it. It never hurts my feelings if they forget a birthday or if they don’t call me for six months. Our love and friendship goes way beyond that. We are so close we can relax and take advantage of each other without ever being worried that someone will get mad.. We all have enough to worry about. We give each other the freedom to not worry and not be perfect. And that is what makes our relationships..perfect!

The reason we can do that is because we TRUST each other. We have nothing to prove to each other. We know each other's weaknesses and strengths, we know at any time or moment if we called each other up ..and said come to me, I need you..no matter how many miles away ...we would be there, either physically or spiritually.. and that is all that matters to us.

There are no perfect families or friendships. We have all let each other down at some point in our lives. And those are the only times that should be "forgotten". That is when we should let the past stay in the past and go forward. Letting go and moving on. Two of the hardest things we will ever do. But one of my favorite stories (and I don’t remember the lesson often enough) is one I found in Reader's Digest years ago when I needed it most. I am too lazy to look up it up on Wikipedia-- but it was the story of the buzzard and the hummingbird and went something like this:

 The buzzard floats on the air currents around him, passively moving with the wind in search of something dead or dying. His whole life is based on looking for the past. He searches for something that was alive but is either dead or dying. His world revolves around the suffering of others and their passing. He only sees the negative things of life and yet he thrives.

The little hummingbird propels himself through the air on his own power and is in constant search for the cactus flower. He seeks out only the sweetest nectar of life in a wasteland. He thrives on beauty and the goodness of his world. He dwells in a positive state of mind. Both are birds yet both have been designed to do what they are meant to do.

Are you a buzzard or a hummingbird?

My wish is that we all bring out more of our ‘hummingbird’ and less of our 'buzzard' this year. And I am going to start by giving old Robert Burns a break on stealing the words of the famous song from old James Watson…James should have got off his butt and turned it into a song himself so stop whining Mr. Watson..you made it into Wikipedia..what else could you possibly want? 

May we all take a cup of kindness yet..for days of Auld Lang Syne…

Happy New Year to all the nuts like me!

~Squirrely Girl 2013