Monday, December 26, 2011

Love of a Dog

Two furry friends share these days with me; Marvelous Molly and Timid Tobey. Molly is outgoing with a big heart - a shepherd, lab, rotty mix . Tobey - a sheltie - is so shy that he is frightened of his own shadow. But he sure loves his Miss Molly and he's not shy at all about showing that!
Tobey is afraid of noises. Afraid of lots of commotion. Not too good with changes around him. We got him at about 6 months old and it took a lot of work to get him to trust us. And still, at 2 years old, when he is scared it's hard to comfort and reassure him. He's just scared!
Today, we thought we lost him. A lot was happening in the house and suddenly, he was gone. We searched and called in and around the house - no Tobey. An hour passed. No Tobey. We began to search the neighborhood. We took Molly searching. No one had even seen him. Four of us checked inside the house. No Tobey.
A call to the Oil City Police, a post on Facebook and an amazing chain began. Word of mouth - text messages, people came to join the search. Strangers and friends alike, shared our concern as daylight grew short.
Those who know little timid Tobey knew, if he was out and about, it was not good. When he is afraid, he trusts no one - even those he knows. He could not tell his name nor where he lives. He would simply be afraid and run. As the sun went down, I imagined our little friend afraid and cold somewhere.
Suddenly out of nowhere he appeared. He is safe at home.
The Oil City Police were kindly searching. And many texts and messages poured around the community of our plight. Thank you to all whose prayers surely helped. Love of a dog is widely shared.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Family connections

Family connections are so very complicated - and yet sometimes so very simple.
Our years together mean more than any words could ever express. The sight of one another is full of context - memories - feelings - times that no language can touch.
It's as though the cells of our bodies speak to one another of things that cannot be understood. I know it most when I see the children of my closest cousin's. These children who grew in my absence. I see their grandmothers and grandfathers that I knew well. Without knowing them, I know them. I know how they will speak. I know how they walk. I know how they see the world because they see it all, they speak, they walk in the footsteps of those who brought them to this place.
Those children in their teens and twenties and thirties... the ones I did not watch grow up - have carried the past generations with them. They don't even seem to know it. I know who will be less tolerant and more prone to righteousness. I know who will be most able to see things that are not so obvious to most. I know who will be most likely to speak for those who seem unable to speak for themselves. It's in their genetic makeup.
Some carried a thread that came from their great grandmother to their grandmother to their mother - and maybe wasn't their mother's strongest trait - but it carried down to them.
I love to see the glow that is most certainly the best of the best of all of them. I wish they could truly understand when I look at them and say "you remind me of...." And when I say such things, how much they are a gift to me.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Music on the Porch

Maybe inspired by some movie or long ago memory, I dreamed of getting people together to play music on the front porch. So, five or six years ago, my friend Pete and I started playing on my front porch. It was fun. My neighbors sat out on their porches, passers by would stop, and soon another guitar player, Dave, joined us.
Dave moved away, our lives got busy and we didn't find time to do it. I really missed it and sometimes my neighbors comment that they do too.
When Holly bought a house with a front porch twice the size of mine, my first thought was about how many players we could fit on her porch. Last summer the magic happened. Some nights there were so many people, we couldn't all fit on the porch. Everyone was singing or playing one of the funny little instruments we began to collect. Now we have a booklet with all the folk songs, spirituals and a hymn or two we like to sing.
We're an organized jam band.
I don't pretend to have great musical ability. In fact, when I wanted to learn violin in elementary school and took the music test, the music teacher said I had no musical ability. I begged to get into the program. He relented, but the next year I wasn't playing violin (screeched to much) - I played the cello. I joke that they disbanded the orchestra program because I was nearly old enough to join. In seventh grade, I had to find a new instrument. Hooked on strings, I chose the guitar. And now for many years it has been the prop I hold so I can sing.
The front porch dream has grown into a funny, funky little band. Very remarkable people! We get together once or twice a week - share a meal, music and a lot of laughter. The colder days have sent us inside and it seems to have inspired new ways of getting out.
Last Sunday, we raided Sonia and Bill's house which, of course, has a wonderful front porch. It was too cold to sing there, but a great place for photos. We took soups - homemade by Mary Beth. That was our exchange, along with music, for their kindness in giving us a great place for a photo session. Thank you Sonia and Bill!
Last night we played a second time at the Q (Queen City Cafe) in Titusville. We nearly packed the house (maybe two tables more to fill) and had a wonderful Christmas singalong. Happy that our honorary member, Barb Lake, joined us again with guitar, strum stick and dulcimer. And one of her friends played the dulcimer with us on a few tunes. We'll be playing the Q again next month and hope to fill those other two tables!
Tomorrow some of the group will be playing at the Oil City Presbyterian home.
We're doing another house sing at our friend Gail's during the holidays. AND, we are already booked for the Southside Neighborhood Association dinner NEXT November.
It's going to be a fun 2012!!! I'm wondering how many Oil City front porches we might be able to get our picture taken on..... Rock on Oil City, Yarn Bombing, Front Porch Folk photos.....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Things Money can't buy

Some people get frustrated during the holiday season because our focus seems out of kilter - about what we can buy each other.
I don't mind much. I enjoy times we set aside to do something special for one another. No matter what time of year, I most treasure those things that money just can't buy.
Behind those things are love and kindness and thoughtfulness.
On my wall is a present from my brother - one of his photos - which is a wonderful gift. But he gave me that particular photo because I was with him when he shot it! Priceless!!!
Kind words from a stranger, wisdom from a friend, a girlfriend cooking lesson, a poem just for you.... These are the things to cherish.
It's those moments, those gifts of time and thought that matter. Give me a special book or make me one - what you make me is priceless!
Taking a moment to right my path when you see me falter - that is a gift money cannot buy.
Speak up to defend me when you see me wronged - that is a gift money cannot buy.
Speak kindly of me, speak kindly to me - these are gifts that money cannot buy.
So, if you feel a little weary with Holiday madness, look for those things that money just won't buy. Be that person that gives a kind word to the stranger, wisdom to the friend, a cooking lesson or a poem. If not today - one day - the recipient may realize those are the things to cherish. And to those of who see yourself in this post - yes, I am thinking of you and thankful for you in my life.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gossip Buster

We need a for real life. If you aren't familiar with it, is a website that researches things being said across the internet and determines if they are true, false or a combination.
A community Snoops or gossip buster would be awesome - especially in a small town. It should be a regular column in the newspaper or an on-line community blog. Someone is thought to be spreading a lie, request the community Snoop to investigate. Gossip buster checks it out - really checks it out! And they publicly report results.
It could even generate a little revenue, but really should be a public service. It has to be someone with strong investigative skills and a commitment to exposing lies. Perhaps an off duty police officer or an attorney.
Lies can be damaging. Scammers lie. Usually small towns sort that out in time, but the scammer can fool a lot of people before hand.
What do you think folks? Does Venango County need a Snoops?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

You have the Power!

Lately I am reminded of how important it is to be careful where our thoughts and energies go. If we want good things in our lives, we have to be focused on good. We have to surround ourselves in good and positive thoughts and deeds. We have to surround ourselves with good, positive and thoughtful people.
That is not always easy. It's an inside job. We get our spirit in line with what we truly desire.
The world is not always good and positive. People are not always thoughtful.
There have been years of my life lost to trying to change someone else or waiting for them to change or be changed by force. My thoughts and energies became consumed with them - what I wanted THEM to do. All that happened is, my energy was drained. Nothing good or positive came about. I became unhealthy. I gave them power over me.
I had dozens of reasons that I had to continue that course - had to fight the good fight.
One night I asked for a sign - something definitive. The next day I had a stunning revolution that was the complete opposite of what I had been so certain was MY intended course. It was shocking. And I may have dismissed that sign if I hadn't already been preparing my spirit for good and positive things. The sign was shockingly brutal but very clear as I allowed the reality to set in.
And I will tell you this - If you feel you are a victim - If you feel someone else needs to change or DO something to correct YOUR circumstance - you have it all wrong. You are giving that person power over your life - your spirit - your energy - your thoughts.
Get your own spirit in line. Get your own energy where it needs to be. Stop giving them your thoughts. Stop giving them the power. Stop looking for justification to remain a victim!
Learn your own power. And accept it when it becomes obvious what that power is. It may be completely the opposite of what YOU thought it was. Be ready to see it. Then seize it.
On the other side of it, I am in complete awe. The answer to your problem may be completely opposite of what you think they should be and may even seem a little outside your comfort zone. But so amazingly perfect if you just open your eyes and open your spirit. See. Hear.