Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Standing On The Corner Of The New Year and Remember When

Here we are.  Prepared to say goodbye to another year all the while embracing the promise of a brand new one.

I spent a few hours with my next door neighbor, family and friends then came home for the evening.  Long gone are the staying up til midnight to ring in a new year which oddly enough, in its infancy looks striking similar to the one that just ended.  At my age, I value my warm bed and a good nights sleep on these still cold winter nights.

I did want to take a moment to think about the blessings I have received this year.  I had sunflower miracles  too numerous to count.  I had the great fortune to watch my son grow more into a man every day.  Not just a man but a man any mom could be proud to call son.  My daughter married a wonderful man and together they have built a good home for my grand daughter.  I have found a second job that is never like work and that's the best way to earn money!  I have grown in my Faith and my path became more clear, more simple, more determined.  Perhaps the greatest of my blessings.

A quick story about Andrew, our newest member of the family.

My son and I were watching our favorite replay of a Touched By an Angel episode when he looked at me and said familiar words "Mom, we need to go to Starbucks".  But it wasn't the just get coffee tone of voice, it had purpose.  I said "to get coffee and buy someone else's coffee too?"   He said "exactly."

So off we went.  We talked about how much this random act of kindness can mean to another person, how it can change a day and even a life.  We will never know, but we do know its important to do it.

I pulled into line and waited to order.  I stared at the rear view mirror but there was no one behind me.  I waited and waited, still no one.  I pulled up to place my order with still no one behind me.  I started talking to God saying "I'm here God, you need to send the right person.  Send me someone who needs a little kindness today."   I waited only a few moments longer and there came the car.  I quickly assessed the situation, a mom and her two girls.  My window was down and I heard her place her order, three small drinks.

I finally reached the window to pay for my drinks and for the order behind me.  We got our drinks and never looked back.  That's the way random acts of kindness work.

We came back home and stopped on the back porch to sit.  Within just a few moments, my son asked me if I saw that.  I had no clue what he was talking about.  He pointed to the roof of the garage and said "That....its a cat".  I looked more closely and most certainly, there was a young cat walking on the roof of the garage.  Quickly, I walked over to the building and started talking to him and he acted like he couldn't get to me fast enough.  I had heard a cat crying off and on for over a week but never could find where it was.  Now I had this amazingly handsome young cat in my arms purring.  My son told me when he first saw the cat, the setting sunlight was shining on it and it was glowing, just like the Angels from the TV show.  This nameless cat now has the name Andrew, the most compassionate of all the Angels.

He's a very handsome fellow and now I'm busy baby proofing my world!

Happy New Year everyone.  Remember, everything happens for a reason.

Friday, August 2, 2013

From Huggies to Cover Girl

Looking back, I see my last entry was in mid March and there was a reason for that gap.  The profoundness of all those Miracles simply ran over me on a daily basis.  It is/was more than I could record.  Even today, I asked and I did receive.

My summer break is quickly coming to an end.  I shudder at how incredibly busy things will soon get.  My son will be returning to school and I to an office so fast paced that time flies. But all that is still a few days away.

This summer has been amazing.  Amazing in that I had time, I had projects, I had resources, I had inspiration and I experienced completions.  The tasks before me at the onset of this break were massive to say the least. I set the goal of each and every day to accomplish one thing that needed to be done. And I did them. It seemed that before I knew it, I was at the point where I was looking at things I wanted to do, wanted to accomplish and I did those too.

I went through boxes and did some purging, ridding myself of many things I thought I needed but really did not. One thing I had been eyeing to trash was the old diaper changing table that I had clung to since my son was born. Over the many many years, it had been used to store gardening items, stowed in corners and simply wandered through my life looking for a purpose.

One day, I sat and gave it good hard look.  Sizing up the height, I knew it would make a perfect makeup table. I thought about using wallpaper to cover the hideous ravages of time.  Then I remembered I had a stack of gardening magazines.  I ran to the computer and learned how to decoupage and went to work. I had everything I needed except the glue which was a minimal expense.

Took me a couple of days to get everything glued, sealed and then polyurethane but once done and once painted with left over paint from another project....it was ready to be used.  Its perfect.  The old drabby shelf now has a second life.



She now looks all girly and springy and pretty.  I'm really not all that creative so for me to transform this old piece of furniture into something I am proud to display, well that says alot. 

I am coasting these last few days. Reflecting on all those days that were mine.  I am content to have had bedtime at midnight, spent hours cutting up material that will be used for a blanket when the winds turn cold again. I'm grateful to have had time to watch movies with my son and drink frappuccinos we make at home.
I especially loved not knowing what day it was or what time it was because it really didn't matter.  

All in all, a delightful summer.  One I will always treasure and remember.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

On The Matter of Sunflowers And Miracles

It was the night before I returned to work from the Christmas break.  Two weeks of being home, waking when I choose, having my time be my own was quickly coming to an end.  There was anxiety within me as I knew the new Associate Principal was coming in and after 20 years of doing the same job, I really wasn’t looking forward to having to prove myself all over again.  I simply didn’t want my time off from work to end.

I tossed and turned as I tried to fall asleep.  I normally have a radio program playing in the background.  After so many years, its like the noise of the fan running, it just buffers out the night.
I finally drifted off to sleep.

I awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of a man’s voice on the radio.  I listened as he told the story of driving with his son at night and the conversation they had.  I got the impression they were driving through a state with alot of open spaces.  Montana, Wyoming or some similar state.

The man told of how he heard his son say “Dad, I don’t believe in miracles”. 

“Why not?” his dad replied

“I’ve never seen one, I don’t believe they exist. “  his son said.

“I don’t see why not,” his dad told him “they are all around you.”

“I just don’t believe in them.”

“Have you ever asked God for a miracle?” the man said to his son.

“Well, no.”  his son said.   “Then ask for one” his father said.

“Ok God, send me a miracle” the son said.  “No” said the dad, “be more specific”.

“Ok, God, send me a miracle right now.” the son said.

“No, be more specific than that.  Ask God to give you a miracle in the next ten miles.”

And so he did.  The son asked God for a miracle in the next ten miles.   At the nine and a half mile marker, the father stopped the car.  “Do you see a miracle?” the father asked his son.  “No” replied his son.  “Look around, do you see a miracle?”  Again, the son answered that he did not see one.

“Look there on the side of the road.  Do you see that sunflower?  Its all by itself.  There are no fields of sunflowers yet there it grows on the side of the road.  That is a miracle.”

And that was the story that started this story.  I fell back asleep after hearing the man tell his story of a journey and a conversation with his son on the matter of miracles.  When I woke up, I remembered the story and as I was getting ready for my first day back at work, thinking about all the changes and the loss of my time at home, I said the words “God, I need a miracle, I need a really big miracle, I will take anything you’ve got , but send me a miracle.

With that, I finished getting ready for work and headed off to the campus.  We had a meeting scheduled for 8am with the returning faculty and administrators.  Within an hour, I heard from my Principal that the Associate Principal I was not wanting to deal with would not start working for us for another three weeks AND I was the winner of two door prizes.

Now mind you I seldom win anything ever.  In the span of one hour, I had not just one miracle but three.  I asked.  I received.

Coincidence you might say.  Perhaps.  I did ask and I did receive. 

For a month, I asked for miracles.  I talked to God every morning and I told Him that the blessing of His miracle for me would be much appreciated and that I would give Him all the glory for any miracle was His to send.   For a month, I saw miracle after miracle.  When I was  hungry, food appeared.  When I was so busy, time appeared and conversations occurred.  I needed to find a second job and an opportunity appeared and I got the job.  Even finding a very small baby squirrel and making sure it stayed alive and found a home with wildlife rescue staff seemed a miracle.

I felt compelled to share the story I had heard on the radio that night before the Christmas break ended.  It was almost as if I needed to tell it because someone else needed to hear it.   I told friends, I told acquaintances, I told anyone who would listen.  I just felt there was someone who needed the story.

I told Cindy.  Cindy was a lovely young woman, married and desperate to have a baby.  Try as they might, she was unable to become pregnant.  After months and month of trying and numerous doctor visits, Cindy finally become pregnant.  She miscarried a month later.  In her sadness, I shared the story as a story of hope.  She listened and we often talked about looking for sunflowers on the side of the road or in our daily journeys.

Two months beyond the night I heard the story, I began to question whether or not it was selfish of me to continue to ask for miracles.  We are taught to be humble before God and I wondered it asking for miracles every day was just and right to do.  I felt greedy so I stopped.  After all, things were going well and how could I feel good about asking for more.

Weeks went by and life returned to normal.  I went about my days, working my day job and occasionally my evening job at the local funeral home opening doors at visitations and handing out memorial cards.  Life was going well but it was pretty much void of the joy of all those miracles. 

Two days ago, I got ready for work as usual and I stopped and asked God for a miracle.  I assured him that I would know it was His work when I saw it and I would give Him all the glory.  I asked him for my Sunflower.

I went off to work and during a break went to the ladies room.  Its a small bathroom with a toilet, a sink , a chair in the corner by a table with an artificial plant and small shelf on it.   I sat down to relieve myself of the coffee I had had for breakfast and looked at the corner with the table.  There, on the shelf,  was a single Sunflower, just sitting there.  Perhaps it had been there all along but on this day, I saw it.  I saw the lone Sunflower.    All I could do was smile.  There was my Sunflower.

Great news came and Cindy was pregnant again.  With guarded optimism we talked quietly via text messages and I told her to be calm, be still and be happy.

When I saw Cindy today, I told her about finding the Sunflower in the bathroom.  She began telling me about her weekend and noted that what she was going to tell me would make me cry.  I was afraid her news would be bad but as it turned out, my tears did flow and they were of joy. 

Cindy had traveled to see her family in San Antonio.  While there, she felt a strong need to visit her grandparents grave.  She told me she had loved them so much and just wanted to visit them.  So she went to their grave site and was disturbed that it was unkept, leaves and sticks all over their graves and the picture of them that was once mounted under her grandmothers name was gone.  She said she must have looked like a mad woman as she thrashed around and dug through the leaves searching for the picture.

She finally found it and wept and talked to them.  She said she had asked them to watch over and take care of the baby she had lost and to protect the baby she now carried.  She asked that if they could hear her, she needed them to show her a sign.  She remembered the creek that was near their burial site and how much they loved that creek.  She made her way to the edge of the water.   She said as she neared the water's edge she saw it.  Three Sunflowers standing all by themselves.  Cindy got her sign.  She got her Sunflower times three.

I tell this story, this ongoing story for a reason.  Simply enough, we receive absolute miracles every day but most times we simply do not see them.  Sometimes its a magnificent sunrise on our way into our workday.  Sometimes its a quiet moment observing nature doing what nature does best.  Sometimes its finding a dollar when you need it most.  Sometimes its hearing a story in the middle of the night that not only changes your life but the lives of many others.

Go ahead, ask for your miracle.  You will be amazed at what happens when you do.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pennies From Heaven

On or about February 18, something completely unexpected happened around my house.  We had a penny from Heaven.

Let me explain.  It had been crazy windy.  Still cold, still dry and very windy.  My son and I had stepped outside to let the dog out for the last time before bed.   It was not long before we heard the cry of something out in the dark part of the yard.

Within a minute we saw Liz, our outside cat, coming towards us with something in her mouth.  At first I thought, lizard but then I realized as she entered the lighted part of the yard, we had something unexpected.  My son ran over to her and she set down the creature she had gently carried in her mouth.  I went to take a look and it was definitely a baby something but what?  My son ran to get a paper towel so I could pick it up.  It was so very small, no hair, big head.  For a moment I thought "baby chupacabra".  It was not attractive at all.  But it was small and helpless, alone and cold.

Quickly I worked to build an incubator for the little creature.  A soft old tshirt, a flip top shoe box, a towel and a heating pad became the incubator.  I got online and tried to find exactly what we had on our hands.  It was not long before I found it.  We had a baby squirrel that had most likely been tossed from the nest by the wind.

Not even remotely prepared to care for such a small baby squirrel, I had to find an eye dropper, get some water and most of all get my barrings.  This little guy was strong and healthy and also, from pictures, about five days old.  I read and read and read about rescuing baby squirrels, what they needed and how to keep them stable.  I was able to do all these things and for the 24  hours I had Baby Hugo, as he was affectionately called, he remained strong and thriving.

Day two had me searching for a wildlife rescue person specializing in infant squirrels.  Baby squirrels have to be fed every couple of hours and I was a working mom and unable to be with him to care for him during the day and be up all night.

Baby Hugo was handed over to a lovely lady who had driven 45 minutes to secure viable squirrel milk before picking him up.  He was in good, dedicated hands.

After he left, I reflected on the 24 hours with Baby Hugo.  I have no clue as to why or how such an event would have occurred.  I know had I mowed the area where he fell, he might not have had a soft landing.  Had we not been out, perhaps Liz would have eventually been the predator she was always meant to be.
Had we not found him we would have been denied the opportunity to hold and nurture an infant squirrel.

It was indeed a once in a lifetime opportunity and perhaps that's exactly why it happened.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy New Year, I Think?

I have never been one to be overly superstitious however the past 48 hours have given me reason to pause and reconsider my personal exclusion to this belief.

Ask anyone and most will give you an item they avoid, rituals they perform to ward away bad luck and the avoidance and acknowledgement of omens.  Walking under ladders, black cats crossing in front of them, breaking mirrors and a host of other odds and ends make up only a portion of a list that seems to tailored to our individual duck and cover side steps through life.


Once long ago when I was married, my former mother-in-law's mother observed a macrame owl which hung on the back side of a free standing fireplace in my home.  She told me it was bad luck.  Being a new mom, I took no chances and removed the owl.  Personally, I think owls are beautiful when in their natural surroundings.  Soundless flight, fierce hunters and that head spinning around as if completely disjointed from the rest of its body, the owl is a majestic creature.


For Christmas, I received a beautiful framed print of an owl.  They seem to be everywhere now, sewing projects, quilts, art, photography, they have become all the rage.  I was delighted to receive the print and two days ago I found a place to hang the image of this hunter of the night, right inside my bedroom.

Almost like clock work, things began to happen.  I decided to move my beloved Jelly Jar cabinet to a location where I could sand and eventually repaint it.  The move proved to be less than simple or quick.
My darling Son assisted me with this task and before I could get the cabinet to its new resting spot, we managed to shatter the glass pane in the front of it's door.  I spent a good amount of time weeping for the partial destruction of this piece of furniture knowing that it was no longer as it's maker had intended.  Soon I came to terms with the prospect of modifying this cabinet, working to remove the other pane of glass with the goal of replacing both with some old chicken wire.  I had seen that design before and loved its turn of the century look and appeal. I picked and swept up glass pieces and fragments.

Then the kitchen sink began to leak.

I addressed the sink issue calling my more than generous landlord who within minutes was there to help.

Then the coffee pot fell victim.  I'm not exactly sure how it happened but by the end of the day, I was picking up pieces of glass once again.  Not just glass mind you, the coffee pot was filled with freshly brewed hot coffee.  I had brewed the coffee in the coffeemaker and then removed the pot to cool.  This is a process used before refrigerating the black gold for use in our homemade Frappuccinos.  While cooking dinner, I opened the cabinet door and a jar fell from the shelf striking the side of the coffee pot with enough force to blast a hole in the side.  I stood there in shock watching the coffee pour all over the counter and floor.  Immediately, I was grateful I had made the mad dash to the Dollar General only hours before specifically for paper towels.  I cleaned up the glass and wiped up the coffee.

I could barely eat my dinner.  I pondered life without my beloved coffee pot which mind you was only a few months old.  The lean pockets I currently posses will not afford me the opportunity to purchase another for some time to come.  So I went to the Internet and searched for ways to brew coffee without a coffee pot.
Now I recall Mom and Dad having a Percolator coffee pot.  I certainly didn't have that nor had anyone had one in 30 years most likely.  So, I found a large glass jar, stuck my funnel in the top, placed a coffee filter inside that and loaded up some coffee grounds.   On the stove, I put water in a small cast iron pot to boil.
Adding small amounts of hot water to the grounds, I watched the glass jar fill with what appeared to be very rich coffee.  Perhaps I have made espresso by accident?

Needless to say, the framed owl print is now on the back porch in a box well outside my home.  One can not take chances with harbingers of bad omens.  I still like to look at them in pictures and appreciate them for what they are and their contributions to this world.  But under no circumstances will I have an owl in my home.

Unless this all has to do with the number 13 and the year 2013 in which case I'm doomed.