Simple Things That Stir My Soul

      Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

From This to That…..Read to the end please.

This time of year brings a powerful emotional rush for me, with blessings in such abundance that the ride from Thanksgiving until New Years Eve feels like one long continuous smile through teary eyes of gratefulness. I am a simple girl at heart, not very high maintenance I have been told. It is because I am an artist – it is ALL wondrous to me, the small is way more intricate than the big. Every day brings joy and wonder at all the goodness still in evidence in this tumultuous, troubled, wounded world. Every tiny thing stirs my soul. Every song, every kind word, every demonstration of love and giving melts me right down to a tender mess. During the holiday season, the common becomes the extraordinary; all that is good and true becomes magnified and more important in my eyes. Every moment is a reminder of how fortunate we all are to be where we are and who we are in a country of opportunity and bounty; we are all well aware of the alternatives.

I will always and forever be moved by the stark imagery of a red barn in the snow. It travels me back in time to my youth spent on eight magical acres in the country, when we lived in a huge enfolding mother of a home and Santa’s sleigh landed on the roof.

I am brought full speed to happiness by the giggles of little children waiting for Santa, opening gifts, bundled up against the snow, eating holiday cookies and finally snuggling in for bed on Christmas Eve.

I can tear up making mashed potatoes when I am suddenly aware of how many Christmases I have been fortunate enough to make them for a mob of partying people arriving through my door. I am so grateful to have survived all this time. I am so grateful for people who enjoy coming to my home.

I am amazed when the simple glass globe that changes colors and acts as a nightlite for  my laundry room (it really deserves a better location)  becomes the single most fascinating object in my home, (amid piles of new markers, crayons, coloring books) for my three precious nieces. I wish I had gotten a picture of them clustered around it, oooing and ahhhing….it was priceless.

I am struck by the panorama of the Rocky Mountain range spread out before me in snow-covered majesty against a deep blue sky, clear as a bell and sparkling in the late November sun. It is a scene I am treated to every time I drive through the entrance of the community I call home, and it makes my return from the most mundane errands a constantly changing artistic delight. That view is my barometer of weather rolling in and many times a barometer of the mood I am in. How can one not be inspired and humbled by that enormous landscape? It puts you right in your place if you are feeling the slightest bit grumpy. It straightens you up and makes you fly right as my mother would say.

I am ever-awed by the surprises that come my way, both great and small, during this giving season. I also happen to have a late November birthday, lumped in with Thanksgiving and Christmas and so I am also facing the fact that I am in the late fall of my life both literally and metaphorically. No need to remind me – I am well aware of the years, thank you very much. Winter is just around the corner. I can already hear the wind howling as it gets closer and closer. Anyone who is fortunate to have reached this point relatively unscathed asks herself or himself a lot of questions. I mean a LOT of questions….you become rather introspective. And quite philosophical. Wondering…how many Christmases are left…wondering how many of all the “this and thats” you might have left. What is to come? It is not always pretty up there in your mind’s eye. You welcome diversions.

I am fortunate to be blessed with an old-soul daughter, a rare and wise and fun daughter who is beautiful both inside and out, in my life who takes great pleasure in stunning me – shocking me – rendering me speechless and babbling like a goofball with monumental surprises beyond my wildest dreams! The most recent surprise (in a long list of events and occasions that scroll through the attic of my mind) first unfolded with a request to play a silly little game of rhymes, followed by the big realization when the answer was revealed, then chaos in my mind and dumbfounded confusion about how it had all been planned so carefully behind my back, complete with a Fed Ex delivery to my door with mysterious envelopes to open over a week’s time…….a plane ticket and more! It finally sunk in that I am being sent away to Paris for a week, accompanied by a dear friend (in on the planning) since my daughter was busy meeting deadlines with her job and could not get away. This is a wild dream that had been eliminated from any dreams (for one reason or another) I had for this particular year of my life! It is a rather large birthday I am facing. It makes me gulp. This surprise is large enough to match the numbers and now my gulps will be of wine. For an art major and fanatical fan of Da Vinci, Notre Dame, the Eiffel and all that is France, this will be heaven. I am crazy with anticipation.

I have learned more from this darling daughter of mine than I could ever have taught her myself. She was born Yoda-wise. I saw it in her baby eyes when she was born.

She believes deeply in the giving of experiences. She knows that there is great value in giving memories, because those will entertain and  warm you in the long winter of life to come when your ability to find adventure and action packed days is no longer a possibility. She finds ways to fill my bucket list and stoke my fire of a life well lived, so the embers will burn for a very long time. It must also be mentioned that her old-soul Renaissance Man husband is very much a part of this picture, also loving the fine art of the surprise! Thanks so much for this birthday gift! I will do it up right I promise!

Eiffel Tower by night

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A Call To the Living – The Garage of Blessings in Oak Harbor, Washington

      Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, kitchen and indoorNo automatic alt text available.

recent photo of Mike Rowe and Kristiina

The Garage of Blessings

Quote by Algernon D. Black, former senior leader, New York Society for Ethical Culture:

This is a call to the living,

To those who refuse to make peace with evil,

With the suffering and waste of the world,

This is a call to the human, not the perfect,

To those who know their own prejudices,

Who have no intention of becoming prisoners of their own limitations.

This is a call to those who remember the dreams of their youth,

Who know what it means to share food and shelter,

The care of children and those who are troubled,

To reach beyond barriers of the past,

Bringing people to communion.

This is a call to the never ending spirit

Of the common man, his essential decency and integrity,

His unending capacity to suffer and endure,

To face death and destruction and to rise again,

And build from the ruins of life.

This is the greatest call of all,

The call to a faith in people.”

My sister Vicki Hand who lives near Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island in Washington has been telling me about the Nonprofit Organization THE GARAGE OF BLESSINGS for months and months. She is one of the volunteers at this place of giving and providing, to those who are less fortunate, the very basics of life – not just warm clothing but soap and toothpaste, blankets and food and most of all love and recognition. I was there myself on a recent trip to visit my sis and I was overwhelmed with the organization and the efficient cooperation of its volunteers. But there is an ambiance that surrounds all of the hustle and bustle as people are assisted in finding what they need to survive – and let there be no mistake I do mean survive. The only words that begin to give you a feeling for the rarified air of this place are simply the words Love and Respect, for all those folks who come in the door and are greeted without judgement and an eagerness to be of help.

Founded in her own garage by an extraordinary woman named Kristiina who has a heart as big as the planet and goals to match, the Garage of Blessings had a visitor yesterday, bringing a camera crew and bundles of great joy. Mike Rowe of the TV show “Returning the Favor” paid her a visit, listened to her story, met everyone and managed to enlarge and enhance her warehouse space in ways that she might have needed years to accomplish on her own. Kristiina dreams BIG and so does Mike Rowe so they are a match made in heaven.

If you are fortunate to be moving to Oak Harbor, Washington, (lucky you) or you already live in the area and you would like to volunteer your services or donate goods just get yourself over to the  Garage of Blessings – everyone knows where it is.

Go to http://www.garageofblessings.com for more information.

Look for Mike Rowe’s TV Show – “Returning the Favor”

https://www.facebook.com/GarageBlessingsOH/

 

GARAGE OF BLESSINGS VOLUNTEERS

Volunteers ready and eager to be of help and take your donations!