On Friendship

One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.  ~Lucius Seneca

Yesterday I spent the day with one of my oldest and dearest friends.  We had fallen out of touch in recent years…the busyness of everyday life turning the days into months, the months into years…and it was the recent news of my brother’s illness that brought us back into contact with one another.  We met at a halfway point between our two homes and talked and talked. It was wonderful to reconnect, to exchange news of our children, our husbands, our lives.  Her friendship, our friendship, is one I cherish and treasure.

Today as I walked Popeye at our favorite walking spot I found myself thinking of how lucky I am.

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There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship. ~ Thomas Aquinas

Making friends was not easy for me when I was growing up.  I was a bundle of insecurities, confused by the mercurial nature of grade school friendships.  The word introvert was not part of the social lexicon back then.  I just considered myself awkward, constantly trying to find my footing.  As Popeye and I walked I marveled at how much the friendships I have made through the years have helped shape who I am today.  I am fortunate to have as friends women who are kind, compassionate, loyal, and true.  They are women of grace and I am blessed to have them in my life.

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The language of friendship is not words but meanings.  ~ Henry David Thoreau

We have moved many times during our married life, and I have had to leave behind good friends more times than I would have liked.  It was never easy, saying goodbye, but through the years I have learned that with true friendships goodbye is never final.  As I watched the geese taking off for warmer climes, I realized that parting from friends physically does not necessarily mean that they don’t remain in your life and especially in your heart.  I am blessed in that I have known the sweet experience of reconnecting with a friend after not speaking for a month, for a year, and immediately feeling as if it was only yesterday when we last talked.  The connection that initially brought us together is still vibrant and strong.

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Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meaning that a new world is born.  ~ Anais Nin

As we said our goodbyes yesterday, my friend and I made a pinky swear that we would not allow so much time to pass again.  It is a promise I know we will keep, because with age comes the realization of how precious time is, especially time spent with friends, how valuable, nourishing and priceless.  I am already looking forward to the next time we meet.

Sharing Nurturing Thursday (a little late!) with Becca.

Feel the Light

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Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.  ~ Rabindranath Tagore

I sometimes wonder how we are able to continue to have faith, especially during times when we are hit with one challenge after another.  It takes such strength to continue singing while the dawn is still dark, doesn’t it, and yet we do, or should I say, I do.

I do because I believe there is a reason for everything that happens in my life, even the challenges, and if I stay strong those reasons will reveal themselves to me.  If I stay strong I will learn lessons that will teach me how to rise above hardship, how to see and appreciate the smallest of blessings.

I believe that during the darkest of times there are those who lift us up on their shoulders and ease our burden, lighten our load.  I believe that loved ones that have gone before us are never far from our side, especially during the moments when we need them most.

I believe in the power of Love.

I believe in miracles.

I have faith.

Sharing with Becca on Nurturing Thursday.

 

 

With Gratitude

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“Giving thanks for abundance is greater than the abundance itself.”

~Rumi

Five things I am grateful for this afternoon:

  1. The summer bounty of vegetables from our local CSA.
  2. Having two of my daughters home this weekend.
  3. This book, which I can’t put down.
  4. The window air conditioner, which makes sleeping at night easier during the summer months.
  5. This little guy, who is my faithful companion:

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*******

“All I know is that when I pray, coincidences happen; and when I don’t pray, they don’t happen.” ~Dan Hayes

Two coincidences from this week:

  1.  I wished {prayed} that a weekly volunteer position would open up at Ann’s Place, where I am a substitute receptionist.  A few hours later I was offered one.
  2. I wished {prayed}I could find a cookbook that focused on vegetables and included information about how to select, prep and cook them.  The next time I went to pick up my basket of goodness from the CSA I found this cookbook on their shelf.

Don’t you love it when coincidences happen?

On this steamy summer day, what are you grateful for?  I’d love to know…

sharing not one but two nurturing thoughts this week with Becca.

 

Giving Thanks

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When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space.

~Pema Chödrön

So many of you have touched my heart these past two weeks, as well as the heart of my family.  Thank you for all of your love and prayers.  It has meant so much to us.  My brother has made it through his first round of chemo with a warrior spirit and an open heart.  We are truly stronger together!

 

Sharing Nurturing Thursday with Becca

Hello, August

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Hello August, I am so happy to see you.

July was a difficult month.  Learning that my brother has stage 4 pancreatic cancer sent me into an emotional tailspin that I am just coming out of.  It hit all of us so hard; our dad died of cancer when he was 60, I battled it twice in the past seven years and maybe I’m naive but I thought that it would not be a battle we would have to face again.  We’d paid our cancer dues, you know?  But to paraphrase the song “Wait for It” from the musical Hamilton, cancer doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints and it takes and it takes and it takes…

I am so grateful that we live close to him and his family and they know that they can count on us to be there whenever they need us.  He has begun treatment and is handling it as best he can and…well…we are just staying positive.  My brother is a warrior, just like our dad was and just like me.  So many people have offered support and prayers and we are so thankful for the love that surrounds us.

So yes, August, it is good to see you.  Today I awoke with a determination to not lose sight of the blessings that are in our life in spite of the heartache.  I have returned to my meditation practice and am going to make an effort to walk each day.  Being outside in nature, walking Popeye, just listening to the birds singing and the rustling of leaves in a summer breeze soothes me.  I’m going to take advantage of the fresh vegetables we receive weekly from our CSA and plan healthy meals.

Good things are happening this month.  On Wednesday I am volunteering with The Hole in the Wall Gang at the Traveler’s Golf Tournament (I get to be one of those people who holds up the ‘Quiet’ sign to the crowd). This weekend a dear friend is visiting from Florida and our daughter who lives in Dubai will be visiting for a few weeks.  We will be celebrating her birthday (which occurred in May, but there is not a deadline on celebrations, right?) I am volunteering once a week at Ann’s Place (a wonderful organization which provides services for cancer survivors) and the amazing Michelle GD is mentoring me in a photography course (more on that later).

This morning after meditating I randomly opened a passage from Julia Cameron’s book called Transitions.  This is the message it had for me:  When our priorities are in order, our lives flow with purpose and ease.  Often the very act of ordering and acknowledging our priorities seems to cue the Universe to support us in our goals.  

August, my priorities are in order.  I am looking forward to seeing what this month has in store for me.  Let’s do this.

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So true, right?

I have been feeling this way recently.  Overwhelmed and finding myself needing to put one foot in front of the other.  When this happens I tend to go into my shell…after all, I am a cancer and that is what we crabs do, right?…but lately I have been trying something different.  Lately I have been reaching out to my friends and admitting that I am struggling.

I don’t usually like to do that.  We all have our own stresses and worries and I don’t like to burden others with my own.  I also am aware that if I am not careful my worries can quickly become too overblown in my mind…have you ever done that?…and silence out the optimist in me, the part of me that is ever hopeful, ever mindful of looking for the silver lining.

I like to be the strong one.  The one people can lean on and depend on.  But lately…

…but lately I have begun to realize that it is sometimes okay to admit when I am the one who is needing a shoulder.

The greatest gift I have been given in admitting my vulnerability is the realization that my friends are there for me, that it is okay to say I need you to take my hand, if only for a little while.

It’s okay.

I know that people use the word ‘blessed’ very freely, I am guilty of it as well, but I am.  Blessed.  I am blessed to have friends who love me, who support me, who are happy to take my hand.

{and this blessing extends to my loving family as well…}

This is my thank you to them.  My thank you to you.

You are so very loved.  By me.

 

58 Candles

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Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.
                                                       ~Satchel Paige

Happy birthday to me.  :)  I am trying very hard to follow the wisdom of Satchel Paige and not let the fact that I am now entering my 59th year of life bother me.  I have so many good years ahead of me, right?  Best to live each day to the fullest.

I have been spending the day staying cool in our house, avoiding the high heat and humidity that is blanketing our town.  It’s been a lovely day; I have caught up on chores that I’ve been putting off, and have received lovely birthday wishes from family and friends.  Tonight my husband and I will probably order out our favorite meal from a local restaurant, baked lobster macaroni and cheese with a Caesar salad.  Not the most healthy meal, I know, but it will be delicious!

This weekend we celebrated my birthday in Brooklyn, helping our daughter turn her new apartment into a home.  There were curtains to be put up and pictures to be hung.  After lunch she surprised me with a delicious red velvet cake with strawberry cream cheese frosting (yes, by the end of tonight my arteries will be hardening!):

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{birthday cake calories don’t count, right?}

Once we finished all of the jobs on her list, my husband took us to my favorite Brooklyn restaurant for dinner.  It was delicious, as always.

Sunday was a lazy day, one where we read the paper, took naps and played my favorite game.

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{This is my favorite game only because it’s the one I am able to beat my husband in consistently!}

Dinner that night was a special meal in honor of my birthday, grilled rack of lamb, grilled zucchini and red potatoes, and kale salad, paired with a lovely pinot noir.  I’m so lucky to have a husband who likes to cook!

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Since it was National Ice Cream Day my husband asked if I would like to go out for ice cream.  This was a shocker, since the place we love to go to is always crowded and he hates waiting in line.  Last night was worse than usual:

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Can you see me waving my arms?  It was so crowded that there were a line of cars waiting to park.  I ended up getting out early and walking up the hill to the stand so I could get us a place in line.  He really does love me, doesn’t he?  After a long wait we were rewarded with some delicious ice cream (mine was Razzmanian Devil).

How was your weekend?  I’d love to know!