What Does Love Mean?

Some 4 to 8 year olds were asked:
‘What does love mean?’
Here are their answers. (Don’t know if this factual, but good anyway.)

‘When my grandmother got arthritis , she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.’
Rebecca- age 8

‘When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. 
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.’
Billy – age 4

‘Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne
and they go out and smell each other.’
Karl – age 5

‘Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries
without making them give you any of theirs.’
Chrissy – age 6

‘Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.’
Terri – age 4

‘Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip
before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.’
Danny – âge 8

‘Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and just listen.’
Bobby – age 7
(Wow!)

‘If you want to learn to love better , you should start with a friend who you hate. ‘
Nikka – age 6
(we need a few million more Nikka’s on
this planet)

Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.’
Noelle – age 7

‘Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.’
Tommy – age 6

‘During my piano recital , I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.’
Cindy – age 8

‘My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.’
Clare – age 6

‘Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.’
Elaine-age 5

‘Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.’
Chris – age 7

‘Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.’
Mary Ann – age 4

I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and  has to go out and buy new ones.’
Lauren – age 4

‘When you love somebody , your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.’
Karen – age 7

‘Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross..’
Mark – age 6

‘You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot.  People forget.’
Jessica – age 8

And the final one was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an
elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.
Upon seeing the man cry , the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard , climbed onto his lap , and just sat there. His Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor , the little boy said ,

‘Nothing , I just helped him cry’

************************

Mirrors

I look into your eyes
to find myself.
I see my cheerful smile
spread to your lips.
I see me giving you
the support and affection
of my friendship.
I see my vibrant image
reflected there
in your admiration
and attraction.
I see myself glow
as you respond
with appreciation
of my wisdom.
Your shining mirror eyes
lavishly affirm me.
Yet, I still hungrily
seek other eyes
to frame these pictures
carefully chosen
to convince me of
my worldly value.
So, I search the many
eyes around me,
but I always only
see myself.

Little Boy Tadpoles

Eileen:

Delightful…….

Originally posted on Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog:

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Communicating with a daughter who is deaf can be particularly challenging, especially because my signing skills are not at her level I have always said, however, that I have enough signs for her to understand what I am saying.

For instance:
Marie loves camouflage shirts, pants and sweatshirts. One day she asked me why the clothing looked like leaves, and I told her it was made that way so people could hide in trees in the woods to shoot deer or other animals. As expected, her mouth opened wide and the surprise showed in her glinting blue eyes. SHOOT an animal? She would never do that! She thought for a minute and then told me she was going to say the leave shirt is for playing hide and seek in the woods and no one could find her. I tend to think they might be looking for her for a…

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The Heart of Spirituality is Forgiveness

Laws, whether civil or religious, are designed to keep us safe while living in groups, so that we can persevere as imperfect human beings to develop into creatures capable of life-long commitment to another imperfect creature and thus become capable of concern and kindness toward all other creatures.
No person is perfect, no relationship is perfect. But if we resolve to make a relationship work, we can develop peace treaties of love and tolerance to transform a difficult situation into something beautiful. (One may start this, but ultimately it will take two.)
The key to living is not perfection, but perseverance in becoming ever more capable of loving other imperfect beings.
And the most vital part of learning to love ourselves and other imperfect human beings is forgiveness.
And the purpose of forgiveness is grace for personal growth and the ongoing evolution of humanity from survival of the fittest to creatures capable of love for all others.

Dementia and Pinched Nerves? or Boredom and Loneliness?

I am seventy-eight, but though forgetful, I’m reasonably functional and can still drive. I have a friend who is ninety-two, another who is only seventy, and one who is seventy-seven. All live either with a working daughter or alone.

None of them drive anymore and the seventy-seven year old seemed to be sinking into severe dementia the last couple of years. She lives an hour away from me and I have been knee deep in grandchildren with school out, and when I finally grab some time to call her to see if I can take her to lunch, she says she is too tired or feeling badly. But, I saw her today and she was as sharp as a whip. She has a care-giver now and had played bridge yesterday and was very excited about playing in a tournament tomorrow. She explained all the challenges to the brain from playing bridge to me. She didn’t need to just get out, she needed something that challenged her and gave her a sense of accomplishment.

At sixty-five the seventy year old was mistakenly diagnosed as having inoperable lung cancer and told she might have only five years to live. She is a talented artist. But, she lives alone and the last few years she has gone from depressed to the point of being suicidal to having frequent panics about her health that involve trips to the ER. Her only daughter is a very successful career woman and is often out of the country.

The ninety-two year old broke her hip two years ago and sits home alone out in the country about twenty-five minutes away from both town and me, because all her children work. She struggles with depression, but has no interests or talents to keep her

I have spent the last four or five years either visiting with them or taking them in pairs out to lunch, shopping, to museums or to women’s study groups. But as each has become more unsteady, using canes or walkers, I have needed to take them each separately because of fear of one of them falling. My life includes a husband who still works and has health issues, and eleven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, some of whom have handicaps, so I try to spend quality time with them. I have a blog with posts that I hope to turn into a book. At seventy-five I started doing some very small gigs as a stand-up comic. I lead worship services once a month and several times a year give presentations to women’s groups I’m in. What I am seeing is that when I am busy elsewhere, often there’s no one to help these women get out of the house, and they go down hill rapidly both mentally and physically.

Sadly, since my husband and I have a chance to travel abroad this fall, and there are a lot of preparations and planning involved, lately I have less and less time for my friends. I feel both guilty and resentful. The women were there for me in earlier stages of my life and I want to be there for them. But often I have to  neglect home, husband and my writing trying to be there for them.

Our small church women’s group has one member dying with ALS, another with dementia, several shut in’s with debilitating physical issues, two women newly widowed, a woman whose husband has Alzheimer’s and a couple of women who are nursing their husbands back to health after major surgeries.  There are more women needing help than there are helpers.

I was all for women’s freedom to have careers and get equal pay for their work. I don’t think all women are designed to be mothers anymore than all men are designed to be plumbers. But now even women who have no desire to have a career need to work because the economy has adjusted to two paycheck families. There are simply no family caregivers anymore.

Sadly my three friends didn’t see a need to become computer and internet savy and now it’s probably too late for them to feel brave enough to try. I think this is the easiest way for the women coming along right behind us to prepare for a day when they may be home-bound.

Even the buses created to take the elderly to doctors, grocery stores, and Senior Centers are challenging. Some have backs that let down for wheel chairs, but are not really easy for someone on a walker or using a cane. In rural areas the fees can be an obstacle, particularly for taking people to a more urban area for medical care. The timing for people going different places often leaves sick or crippled people waiting literally hours to get home.

Our medical miracles are keeping us alive, but our options and quality of life are diminishing. This is the challenge the fifty year olds of today will soon be facing.

The Lion’s Roar or When Our Hearts Are Ready for Anything

A quote by Tara Brach from the blog: Make Believe Boutique

You might ask yourself: “Can I imagine what it would be like, in this moment, to have a heart that is ready for anything?”
If our hearts are ready for anything, we can open to our inevitable losses and to the depths of our sorrow. We can grieve our lost loves, our lost youth, our lost health, our lost capacities. This is part of our humanness, part of the expression of our love for life. As we bring a courageous presence to the truth of loss, we stay available to the immeasurable ways that love springs forth in our life.
If our hearts are ready for anything, we will spontaneously reach out when others are hurting. Living in an ethical way can attune us to the pain and needs of others, but when our hearts are open and awake, we care instinctively. This caring is unconditional—it extends outward and inward wherever there is fear and suffering.
If our hearts are ready for anything, we are free to be ourselves. There’s room for the wildness of our animal selves, for passion and play. There’s room for our human selves, for intimacy and understanding, and for creativity and productivity. There’s room for spirit and for the light of awareness to suffuse our moments. The Tibetans describe this confidence to be who we are as “the lion’s roar.”
If our hearts are ready for anything, we are touched by the beauty and poetry and mystery that fill our world.
With an undefended heart, we can fall in love with life over and over every day. We can become children of wonder, grateful to be walking on earth, grateful to belong with each other and to all of creation. We can find our true refuge in every moment, in every breath.    Tara Brach

For A Few Bucks And A Wooden Horse We Go From The Mountains To The Thrashing Sea

Eileen:

These photos of New Zealand make me so hungry to see it myself! I’m just so glad that my dad got to experience it before he died. He said it was his idea of heaven and I can see why.

Originally posted on Adventures in Wonderland:

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5-9 March 2015. New Zealand doesn’t have historical buildings dating back hundreds of years, or ancient ruins dating back thousands. It doesn’t have exotic wild animals and birds like Africa, the Amazon and Australia. It’s not laden with must-see museums of the world’s great treasures like New York or London or Paris. What it does have is spectacular scenery and some of the best hiking in the world. Tramping they call it. In some countries it’s called trekking, we’ve always called it hiking, but in New Zealand it’s tramping and oh there are some magnificent places to tramp. It’s one of the great things to do in New Zealand.

There’s the four-day Kepler Track, the four-day Milford Track, the three-day Routeburn Track, the five-day Heaphy Track, and the one-day Tongariro Crossing, to name a handful of hundreds. We knew we weren’t fit enough to tackle even the nineteen kilometres of…

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Freedom of Speech and Freedom from Listening on Face Book

Eileen:

Reblogging this to help friends and family who do not understand my particular combination of love of Jesus and love for all people, including those that do not understand it.

Originally posted on Laughter: Carbonated Grace:

Regarding homosexuality: I want to free any friends and family to un-friend me that are offended by gay marriage. Homosexuality runs in my family at least all the way back to my great-great aunt who was brilliant and courageous enough to manage to become a pediatrician in the 1800’s and loving enough to start a clinic for the poor, but was never mentioned in our family because she lived with the same woman all her life. I think the purpose of life, including the Christian life, is to learn to love unconditionally and to serve others. The best, though not the only, school for learning unconditional love is marriage. Living with another person and learning to truly love that person, even someone of the same gender, while also serving others meets my criteria for spirituality and I believe with all my heart that it meets God’s. I respect others’ opinions and…

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Sometimes the USA Gets it Right – Finally

The Supreme court of the United States has, in one paragraph, made the perfect statement about love, equality and dignity: “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfilment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

Grace a la Manure

A long time ago, a city girl princess moved to her own Winnie the Pooh hundred acre wood. This was accessible only by dirt roads that ran through a creek. She, her husband, and five children were the first new family to move into this particular “hollow” since before the civil war.  And yes, it did turn out to be more like Green Acres than Winnie the Pooh.

There are many stories of their adventures in the Tennessee wilds.  Most are funny or  happy, but some are scary, and a few are sad.   And then there are some that are all of these.  This is one of the those.

In one  six month time span several years after moving to the country;  the family’s finances became severely reduced, there was a serious crisis affecting the future of one of their teen-age children, and the queen mother, who was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, came to live with them. The princess was seriously considering buying one of those tacky bumper stickers that said, “Shit happens.”

One morning in the middle of this collage of challenges, the Princess was driving out their country road, harassing God, “God, I’m up to my neck in manure here. Where are You in all this?”

At that moment, she happened to glance toward the side of the road.  There sat an incredibly humongous fresh cow patty covered with dozens of glorious monarch butterflies.

It was such a typical God answer, that the princess had to stop beside the road, because she was both laughing and crying with joy.  What a ridiculous, but perfect symbol. Where there’s manure in our lives, there’s grace.  In fact, often the manure is the grace.  It’s what God uses to help us become the people we were created to be.

And a few days later, the princess just happened to come across a bumper sticker that read, “Grace Happens.”  She bought that one instead.

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