Photography by ~ Gean
Do you ever just have those long thoughts about why and how? Well, I do all the time, and I started wondering about how life is going now and how it was. But it wasn’t always like this. You see, I have had a long journey from such a young age. I have experienced the good and the bad through many different eyes which not a lot of people get to do. There are 3 things I have seen that have opened my eyes in different ways. Number 1 was Happiness (remember blog of January 30, 2019).
“Spring: a lovely reminder of how beautiful change can truly be.“
They say that whatever you do on New Year’s Day you’ll be doing the rest of the year.
They also say that black-eyed peas and cornbread ensure good luck for the upcoming year.
Not sure if I believe in the second one, but just in case there is a grain of truth to the old wive’s tales, I’ve made an effort to comply. Can’t stomach black-eyed peas, but BBQ pork & beans slow cooked with maple bacon and hamburger over corn chips just might do the trick. We’ll see how this year goes, and add some chili powder next New Year’s. Maybe the idea is to clear out your colon, you know, kind of a symbolic sweeping out of the past year’s bad luck.
I discovered a lot about skin care in December. Did you know that spray foam designed to insulate those nasty cracks beneath your exterior doors does not smooth over the cracks in your skin. Don’t even ask about my nails. I ended up leaving lot’s of Hansel and Gretel type crumbs of hardened foam all through the house as I frantically searched for any type of chemical that would dissolve or soften this yellow crap. Dish soap, bleach, insecticide, Lysol, Murphy’s oil, kerosene – none worked. Acetone, yes! Didn’t have any. Ended up scouring most of this off with a wire dish scrubber.
And lo and behold, within days, Daughter #1 send me the most glorious gift of all! A Revlon Paraffin hand bath. Oh, the wonder! The delight! I have never had my hands and feet waxed before! The rest of me still looks old and decrepit, but my hands and feet look 20 years younger. Not to be outdone, Baby girl gave me a mani and a pedi and painted my nails. She also threw a mask on my face, so now my face only looks 10 years older than my hands. But she also gave me an aromatherapy necklace so at least I can be all zen about the disparity of ages among my body parts.
She’s a sly one, she is, Baby Girl. Eager for us to pursue the after Xmas sales. Says she needs new clothes. What? Why? She has an entire second bedroom up there dedicated to her wardrobe, shoes, make up and jewelry. One look told me I have apparently had all of my upstairs re-carpeted during the past six months. A second look told me the new carpet was her entire wardrobe, tried on and casually discarded, covering the entire floor. After a short but sweet come to Jesus moment, it was decided that there will be no new clothes until my carpet is back to it’s original condition. That was two weeks ago. I’m afraid to look.
I love my daughters. I love my son. And that kind of brings me back to the original statement of this story. How do I spend the first day of the new year? How to make it symbolic of what I want and hope for this year? Like everyone else, I want love, peace, happiness, joy, and acceptance for everyone. And I want some for me too. I’ve ridden the waves of love and hate, anger and remorse, joy and depression for years. It’s the human thing to do, and I don’t truly think this is going to change.
I spent today remembering that as I love, I need to spread the love. Every day. Unconditionally. Today, I did not clean house, I did not pay bills, nor did I worry about where the next dollar came from. I slept late, cooked a yummy meal for my loved ones (thank you, Penzeys Spices). Watched the winter birds forage for food. Fed the feral cats. Watered the plants. Held my daughter’s hand, and smoothed the soft fur of my sweet cat and dog family. Prayed for my family, my friends and neighbors, and all peoples of this world. Prayed for the peace of this world and all of her creation.
I held peace in my heart today, and prayed that I may hold it there all this next year.
And that’s what I did on the first day of this New Year.
~ Gean’s Mom
Mom and I are suckers this time of year for all things glittery, shiny, musical, and anything goodwill that reeks of Christmas. We’re also suckers for small furry creatures without homes.
So, Mom decides to feed the neighborhood feral cats. According to her, it is hard for them to forage for themselves in below freezing temps. That all of their food supply hunkers down when it snows and ices up. Now I’m thinking sensible rodents need to eat too, so obviously they can’t be all hunkered down and hidden from starving cats. But hey, I’m not going argue.
Got to admit I enjoy watching the poor, cold, skinny cats that come to feast at our garage door. They sit and stare at us through glittery Christmas windows with death glares while awaiting their meal.
But there’s this one special cat, not a feral, but one that has lived far too long at the local rescue shelter. A pretty kitty, an adult female with watchful eyes that defines the word introvert. Gem is aptly named, and Mom and I have debated seriously over the possibility of adopting her for about 3 months. Gem has lived at the shelter for almost 1-1/2 years. Came in very pregnant and starving. Her babies lived, were adopted, and there Gem stayed to calmly watch many more adult, adolescent, and baby cats snatched with love and carried off to their furever homes.
We decided, it’s Christmas. If we’re going to do this, we need to do it before the Holidays. So, we did. Already have three cats, all rescues in their time. But you know, the four of them now seem to get along quite well. Curious about the new girl, yes, but calmly accepting of her as she is them. We won’t discuss the role of our two dogs in this new family arrangement.
So, yeah, I think it was the right move. We have brought a soft and gentle creature without a home into ours. If she is not outwardly appreciative, at least she doesn’t bite, and seems to accept it all. Mom says she’ll become more trustful with time. OK. Tell that to the dogs. We are all feeling good about ourselves today. Very Christmasy.
And then suddenly Mom is crying. Her cousin died this weekend. I’m thinking rotten news for his family this Christmas. And his family is massive. This small, quiet, faithful man who proceeded to work and care for not only his biological children, but literally dozens of foster children that at one point were out there alone in the cold.
Some had families that they eventually were reunited with. A lot did not. This man and his wife adopted over a dozen children over 40+ years of marriage. They brought those children who were thrown into foster care, some feral, some shy, into a warm and loving forever home.
There are grandchildren now, and Christmas at their modest house is simple, but filled with all things love and lot’s and lot’s of family. I can’t think of anything more shiny and glittery than that. I love you, Mom’s cousin that I never met, and I am humbled. And I wish for you the best Christmas that you have ever had. Pretty sure God rocks it!