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Friday, August 28, 2015

Make a Choice

           The July sunshine was high in the sky on that hot summer day, the clear blue sky found me sitting on the sandy river bank on a small island out from the main green belt of activities. The rushing river ran by us from one side of the bushes and trees while on the swallow side was calming as we sang.
I had been looking forward to just sitting on the towel in the sun and shade while watching the kids play. This was a perfect day for all of us to simply be together. My beloved friend Tiffany took her 6 year old boy off to find some fish while I stayed at our picnic spot with her other 3 kids. We sang silly songs, floated wild flowers among the wet rocks and simply enjoyed all the nature surrounding us. 
It was simply magical!
Tiffany and I had been sitting together drinking our bottles of water in the strong heat of the afternoon while laughing and reminiscing over all of our adventures growing up playing on that very same river. 
While the beautiful afternoon unfolded in perfect peacefulness the kids and I sang all kinds of silly songs, Tiffany's 9 year old daughter Tally sat beside me talking about all the wild life we could see all around us. The world felt perfectly calm and peaceful then suddenly It was all interrupted by the shouting of the river rafters that went floating by I suddenly heard "Oh my god there's a dog stuck out here under the bridge!" Tally and I jumped to our feet in alarm, Tally asked me "Dog? What dog?" I looked around quickly trying to see out into the dark part of the river before us as Ethan, Tiffany's 12 year old son raced up to us pointing out the dog in the white water waves I asked Ethan "Is he swimming back to us?" Ethan shook his head "Noooo I think he is stuck in place." I began to move out into the river as Tally clanged me saying "No no no no don't go out there it's to dangerous!" I chuckled at her theatrics reassuring her that I will be safe. Ethan and I walked out to as far as we could  in the swallow area first to see if the dog would come to us as we called to it but I looked in careful realizing the dog was getting beat up by all the crazy waves. I stood next to Ethan saying "I'm going in." Ethan exclaimed "Wait for my mom to get back first, seriously that's a deep dark area that she always warns us never to go over we should ask her first." I nodded and smiled as I patted him on the back "Go back and stay with the girls, there isn't much time to wait, the poor dog is drowning." Tally called out from the river side "Debby I love you!" I chuckled as I went carefully and slowly feeling my way with my feet and calling out to the big old dog that was choking on the water and still stuck in a swirling mess of water and the cement pillar holding up the bridge above us. The dog's eyes were wide and pure panic as I came up the swallow side unto the deep dark cliff side of rushing heavy river water. I couldn't see in the shadows of the bridge or in the water all around us,  I found the trunk of a tree under the water that pop out for me to hang on as the closer I got the the terrified dog the more dangerous the fast pace water splashed in my face! I was startled by the strength of the fast pace moving river so without warning my feet slipped into nothingness and my heart stopped for a moment, I dug myself into the root system even more to keep my head above the waves. My feet reached for the cliff side under the dark scary water and I found some safety in feeling strong enough to reach out to the dog "Come on Buddy just a little closer to me sweetie, Come on, come on,  ...I just need to pull ya in to me." I felt like I was being pushed and pulled then spun around in circle against the cement wall of the huge bridge but I never let go of that tree with one arm, my heart was racing and the growing awareness that the dog was tired of swimming and fighting to get out of this water pit made me realize every single move I made had to count for something! When the dog disappeared under the water for a second I almost cried out but knew I would swallow water as I let myself pull under to feel for the dog if I wasn't careful I could be swept away, The sudden thought of "It's NOW or never!" came to me as the dog popped up through the water again I swung out there into the chaos stretching myself as much as possible never letting go of the root system and barely got my fingers into the dog collar! I gave it my all in pulling him quickly over my shoulders to the safer side of the river up on the cliff side where there was ground again for the dog to stand. Then I climbed out of the wild crazy water waves right behind the dog. I carefully made my way back to land soaked from my ears down saying "YEAH! YIPPY! WE LIVED!" The kids all laughed and cheered while the owner of the dog seemed fragile and frighten. Tiffany was walking out to me like a mother ready to scold her reckless child. I just took a deep sigh explaining to her "Well this is ironic for ya, the kids wanted me to get in the river all afternoon and I was like "Oh no, that's okay I don't want  to  get wet......then someone yells "That dog is drowning!" and I am like SPLASH! swimming out to save him...hahahahaha..ha..ha..ha..sigh." She shook her head explaining "You were in the most dangerous part! That's the black hole! If some old dog gets stuck out there and you get suck under you would of drowned and I would of been so mad at how ridiculous it is to loose your life for a strange dog." I smiled back at her explaining "I had a choice to make, I only had a few minuets to decide what to do next and I knew I could do this, I knew that I am strong enough to put myself out there for this dog, you saw his owner was helpless so I realized I could at least try to save the dog and if it wasn't possible at least I chose to give it my best. Oooooh man, I was startled a couple of times thinking "What if I get pulled under the waves and never come back up.....?" Tiffany burst out interrupting me "That is exactly what I am saying! In that very spot where you were the water comes in to it in 3 different WILL sucks you down into a deep dark cliff side...I should show you in the winter time when the water is down. You would see why I am so upset right now, when the kids told me you were out there I nearly had a heart attack!" I nodded back saying "Yes but I knew what I was doing every step of the way, I even thought that if I can't reach the dog in time then I have to be okay with letting the river win. It's just that I had this confidence I could do this and I should do this....What a crazy end to our beautiful day! Look at me I am soaked through!" I giggled and Tiffany shook her head at me as we walked back to her kids, back to the dry land and grateful for the warm summer sunshine adding once again another big adventure in our life long friendship!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Make a New Friend

It has been such a busy active summer with my friend's kids in my life.....I have loved getting to know all 4 of them better. I am grateful to be able to share my nutrition, my life stories and my crazy dances moves! We sit around talking about good manners and considerate behavior while cuddling with all my pets. Sometimes my living room looks like Noah's Ark with tons of pillows and blankets tossed every where among 4 kids and 3 dogs and even 3 or 4 cats especially if it's storming outside. I enjoy this scene, I think it looks so endearing and special to me because I have always wanted my home to be a safe rescue for ALL...... The joy in teaching my kid friends how to cook, how to garden and how to care for the pets fills my heart and my laughter all day long! I am grateful for this summer, I am grateful for the wonders of childhood and the magic I feel when we sit around the fire pit singing songs, telling funny stories and roasting marshmallows! THIS has been a really fun summer full of children adventures! I am grateful.

Every Monday morning I go to clean the house of my elderly friend Bonnie who has been blind most of her life and now at the age of 85 decided she needed a house keeper. Through out the summer we have had such great conversations and I talk loud enough for her to hear, yet she is sad and frustrated with her aging issues. There have been times I simply just hug her as she cries telling her I sure appreciate her just the way she is....we all have bad days of course. I know Bonnie loves siting and chatting more then being reminded she can't clean her house like I can now, so when the thought came to me I knew it was perfect timing! 
I sat eating dinner next to my 9 year old friend Tally as she asked "What we doing tomorrow? Getting donuts going to the park again???" I chuckled back explaining "I have to leave fairly early to clean house for a blind elderly lady, she has been really upset lately." Tally asked quickly "Can I come with you?" I replied "SURE, in fact I had been wondering if you would like to tag along we could get a drink at the coffee shop afterwords....she might get a bit crazy or hard of hearing so if you don't like being in the house as I clean you can always hang out in the yard too..." Tally raced off to ask her mother and our Monday morning plans were set! 
I was truly confident about this decision because Bonnie needs to be cheered up right now, she needs kindness and refreshing new topics in her life. My beautiful 9 year old friend Tally has all of that bursting in her to get out and make the world a better place! Yet as the introductions unfolded I was struck by the AMAZING way Tally spoke to Bonnie saying "I am so glad to meet you and I want you to know that I understand it's so hard being blind in a world where everyone else can see. I bet you feel left out sometimes and I want you know that I can help you with anything like that." Bonnie burst out of her self-focus in listing all the bad health problems she had to happily hugging Tally giggling as she said back "You are so RIGHT! No one seems to understand how hard it's been being blind especially my own kids! But YOU sound like a very smart girl!" They went to sit down arm and arm as I stood in pure awe. In my heart I knew this was a good choice but in that actual moment I got goose bumps of how PERFECT it turned out.
I went to work quickly and easily even having free time to deep clean all the while thinking as I listened to ALL the many topics they talked about and shared like new friends do! I felt so completely happy and proud of them in getting along so nicely. Then the most magical moment happened Bonnie burst out laughing for the first time all summer in that pure sound of true gleeful delight in whatever Tally had said and I knew as I stopped a moment to listen, I knew THIS was historical and a happy good day! The health benefits from laughing can't even come close to all of her medications and the sound of the soul letting go like that in true joy made me laugh to myself as well.......Tally has such energy, such spark for story-telling and connecting to other human beings she is a truly delightful and full of such a life force! On that Monday morning as I cleaned I saw all of her good qualities like being honest, brave, considerate and confident while wanting to help out that gave us such an amazing day! Bonnie kept hugging her goodbye and looked like someone who was deeply happy saying as we left "I hope you come back to visit me again Tally dear!" I chuckled to myself at how easy it was for them to be new friends saying to Tally as we drove away "I wish I could bring you with me every week! THAT was soooooooo GOOD for her and you were AWESOME!"  Tally explained "She really shouldn't be living all by herself I think." I burst out laughing so hard in complete agreement but it took a smart observing nine year old girl to say out loud.   

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Make a Joyful noise!

 It is a truly honest fact that I sing best when no one is around. I sing my heart out fully and without fear of judgement because I am on my own.
I love music for it's soul moving magical powers!
I feel safe while driving when I sing along to the radio whenever I wait in the car or walk into a store hearing over head the familiar tunes that give me joy!
It all started when my mother put her 8 tracks in and music greeted me at the age of 3.
I grew up with music everyday and danced to cassette tapes of kids singing bible verses and church songs.
I found dealing with life as a teenager much easier with my radio never turned off even when I was sleeping.
  When I was 15 years old singing in the shower was my delight I felt safe until my sister would dump a bucket of cold water in on me shouting "Shut up!" She also threw rotten fruit at me because I sang out loud while picking apples in our Grandparents orchards every harvest time.....
In fact looking back I was always singing if the radio wasn't on, I sang to my baby brothers every time to calm them down for bed time. I sang silly songs to keep me from being bored while cutting up buckets of tomatoes for my mom when she made salsa......AND then there was that one time when I agreed to sing with a friend in church one Sunday evening she panicked in front of everyone standing there holding my arm I was suddenly flying solo completely alone in singing a song in front of everyone. At the time I felt brave in myself for not stopping because I never wanted to sing a solo! My Beloved friend Tiffany had warned me that I was just being "used" by this kinda friend who froze on me. So in the embarrassing moment of abandonment I looked helplessly while singing at Tiffany who held my focus with a kind proud smile that I was singing full of heart and clearly not with talent. I was aware of my own voice struggling through and of my parents squirming in their seats like they were in physical pain by my singing, I wasn't stupid I was just stuck on stage on my own brave strength, yet Tiffany never lost her smile of support and nodding head towards me as they all watch me flush and gush off stage as fast as I could go when I was done. Tiffany hugged me as I sat down beside her trying not to keep shaking uncontrollably as she whispered "You gave God your full heart and glory, it was beautiful and it was brave." I chuckled back "You could of just said "I warned ya that she had stage fright" How weird to hear only my voice while thinking "Well I can't stop now..."  We young girls giggled softly as the singing program continued, and I felt like I could breath again. So as the whole service was over my father walked straight up to me with his scowling frown I grabbed Tiffany's arm for support in facing him as I always did, she was my only friend who wasn't afraid of him. I was grateful she didn't duck out of the way like most people did when my father was approaching. I held my breath again as he laid into me with fury and judgement saying "THAT was horrible! THAT was soooo embarrassing! You should be ashamed of yourself for not being smart with who you go out on stage with! I think you should stick with writing!!!" Tiffany snapped back at my father before I could reply as tears filled my throat I already knew I had struggled on stage but Tiffany said God was still honored so I didn't think my father would come to bitch me out as he did. Tiffany flew up from her seat next to where I was standing exclaiming back at my fuming father "She did GREAT in a bad situation! It was NOT her fault, they didn't even practice before hand AND she couldn't of been more brave to keep at it and not just give up like her singing partner!" Tiffany put her hands on her hips as her own father came walking over to us while noticing his feisty daughter, my father backed down rolling his eyes at us  and warning me to be more careful next time. I rushed off to cry in the bathroom as I often did, only to find Tiffany had followed explaining her Dad just said it's best not to create more drama so all she wanted to do is give me a hug and reassure me that my singing isn't for anyone else to judge if I am simply singing for God. It was a powerful life moment for me, finding my strength in not backing down, not giving up my love for music and singing, just because the facts were I was a horrible singer. It was my Beloved friend Tiffany who didn't judge me and stayed with me until we were walking arm in arm around church again!

Let us all sing so that our souls can feel free, so that the earth can live and sound beautiful again!