A Purpose Driven Life

“In the end only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”

Years ago, a dear friend, now a memory of the best sort, put down her coffee and asked, “Is this all there is?” The question came out of nowhere and I hesitated before speaking. I’m not good with cosmic queries. I have a skewed view of the universe and I’ve never allowed myself, by interjection or example, to foist my beliefs on others. So we sat a bit, burping our baby girls, while my brain sorted possible answers to her question. When it came, it was neither profound nor pointed and what escaped my lips was an inane, “Why do you ask?” I have a recollection that she replied, “There has to be more.” While our lives and education had been in lock-step, we filtered lessons differently and I was not sure if the conversation about to come would be philosophical or Continue reading “A Purpose Driven Life”

May You Live In Interesting Times

That was true in 1966 and remains true today. However, the problems we now face are exacerbated because truth is no longer absolute. It has been fragmented and left open to interpretation. Apparently, no one lies today. Instead, we are left to deal with individual truths – yours, mine and theirs. Lies are whitewashed and hypocrisy has been refined to a fine art. The Greeks were the first to define and record hypocrisy and years ago, our immigrant ancestors warned against “speaking out of both sides of the mouth.” Even the uneducated were able to recognize the hypocrisy of individuals who failed to live according to the precepts they wanted to impose on others.

Many believe that the saying “May you live in interesting in interesting times,” is an ancient Chinese curse. While the phrase has a Confucian ring to it, it is actually recent and western. It was first coined by Frederic Coudert, an American politician, who attributed the gist of it to the British statesman Sir Austen Chamberlain. It was popularized by Robert Kennedy who included it an address he made in 1966, and to paraphrase his words, like it or not

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Not to Worry – I’ve Got Your Six

“Friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest… it’s about who came, and never left your side.” —Mikaela Tiu

Not to worry, I’ve got your six and I won’t charge a cent for any information I share with you today. I’m not a life coach or a therapist, and I suspect my life experience is not much different than your own. What I do have in abundance is a lot of nerve, a fair amount of ego and access to a keyboard that allows me to record my meanderings in that mysterious “cloud” where they will survive for all eternity, or, until we are swallowed by a black hole. Now, I know my limitations and have no intentions of telling you how to live your life, but I had lunch today with friends and as we laughed I realized just how important they are to me and how much they’ve enriched my life.

Those of you who were girl scouts will remember the friendship circles formed in summer camp. In case Continue reading “Not to Worry – I’ve Got Your Six”

Red Shoes and Empty Shelves

Photo Courtesy of Tangerine Drawings

My cookbooks, most of them anyway, have moved on to a more deserving home. Their departure wasn’t planned, and the decision to unload them was incident driven and came about by accident. You know how one thing can lead to another? Well, that’s what happened here. Unlikely as it may seem, the books’ departure was triggered by a much-loved pair of red suede shoes and a cleaning spree that was more thorough than originally planned. I must admit it got out of hand. I live in a relaxed community and the dress code here can best be described as informal. Anything can be worn for an evening on the town or services on a Sunday morning. Most of the folks who live here came from more formal places, but the sanctioned urge to dress down strikes quickly and with killer force. I call the syndrome going native. I’m no different than the others who have found their way here. I love the Continue reading “Red Shoes and Empty Shelves”

Till Death Us Do Part

Secrets to a Long-Term Marriage

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”

Mignon McLaughlin

There is a class of recognition that I’ve come to think of as “Dubious Distinction Awards.” You may have one or two of them packed away and disintegrating in a box under your attic eaves. I count among mine citations for “Perfect Attendance” and, my favorite, from a cooking contest, an award for “Oldest Contestant”. In both cases, all I had to do was show up, and I guess the just showing up part, helps to explain Continue reading “Till Death Us Do Part”

Is the Story Mine to Tell ?

In my freshman year of high school, I was standing in line when a teacher motioned for me to come her way. I’d been queued with friends and had just repeated a story I’d been told. She’d overheard what I’d said and asked why I thought the story was mine to tell. While I hemmed and hawed and insisted what I’d shared was true, she reiterated that, true or not, the story was not mine to tell. Her words stayed with me and over the years there’ve been occasions when I’ve had to stop and ask myself if the story I’m about to share is actually mine to tell.

When you travel with a group you hear lots of stories. Some are told by lonely people seeking affirmation. Others are told when tongues are loosend by too much wine. These are the stories that must be rewoven before they can be told. And sometimes, as they are reworked you realize that there isn’t much to tell. Many stories were shared on our long coach rides in Costa Rica, but, on examination, they belong to others and are not mine to tell. I can, Continue reading “Is the Story Mine to Tell ?”

The Last Day of My Life

Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last time.

James A. Baldwin

Today’s rumination was actually written in the fall of 2015. I found it among many others I’d entered in my .journal for that year but, for whatever reason, unlike the others, this one still spoke to me. It’s backstory was simple enough. It began when my husband and I stopped for coffee on our way to the Oregon coast. The weather was terrible and business in the cafe was slow, so, the gal who waited on us kept one eye on the television as she poured our coffee. We could hear her mumbling, “Man, he’s really cooked his goose.” It made me smile because it was the first time I’d heard a cooking metaphor used politically. Others sitting at the counter shared her grim assessment, and while I was severely tempted to chime in, I thought it best to leave them to their thoughts and let the matter rest.

Continue reading “The Last Day of My Life”

September Song

Oh, it’s a long, long way from May to December, but the days grow short when you reach September….”

No, not that September Song. I love it and understand why it became a classic, but as my own expiration date comes nearer, I’ve become more grounded and less lyrical. Mine is a more basic melody that’s born of apples and cinnamon and a combined aroma that can bring grown men to their knees. Add to that the fragrance of bread baking in the oven, and you have my version of September Song. It’s come early this year and I’m more than ready to open my fall kitchen.

We’ve had a summer of record breaking heat in Oregon. It’s been so warm that noon day exercise was ill-advised and best left to mad dogs, Englishmen and collegiate athletes with more brawn than brains. I’ve pushed my walks back to the early morning hours  and generally hit the Continue reading “September Song”

Chance

Sometimes the slightest things change the directions of our lives, the merest breath of a circumstance, a random moment that connects like a meteorite striking the earth. Lives have swiveled and changed direction on the strength of a chance remark.


― Bryce Courtenay

While mathematicians speak of probability, theologians of predestination and gamblers of luck, I’m more inclined to believe that chance shapes our lives’ direction. Probability can be used to determine the chances of something occurring, but in order to do so, the odds of an event occurring must first be formulated. Predestination requires a belief that God controls events and preordained salvation. Luck, which can be good, bad or blind, attributes success or failure to random chance rather than one’s own efforts. Chance is viewed as the absence of any causal events that can be predicted, understood, or controlled, in other words chance events are random and purely accidental. Chance blindsides me.

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Friends, Romans, Republicans

“We witnessed today the damage that can result when men in power and responsibility refuse to acknowledge the truth.” “We saw bloodshed because a demagogue chose to spread falsehoods, and sew distrust of his own fellow Americans. Let’s not abet such deception.”

Senator Pat Toomey

Following the failed Trump coup, the great Republican “lavabo” has begun. It is quite frankly embarrassing to watch the same men and women who allowed perpetuation of a lie, outdo Pontius Pilate in an attempt to escape censure for enabling the magical thinking of a president determined, at any cost, to bully his way into a second term in office. Unfortunately, there is not a soap strong enough to clean hands that allowed

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