Thanks for the water, dude !

Sculpture with water basket (2)

This is Adam, one sculpture of two with the other being Eve, of course. These granite sculptures are located in Loose Park, a 74 acre swatch of beautiful land in the heart of Kansas City. Part of the park was used as confederate canon placement during the Battle of Westport during the Civil War. Just west of this fountain and herb garden is the Rose Garden which has 1.4 acres of 125 varieties of roses-first planted in 1939. Jacob Loose was a successful business man and philanthropist. After his death his wife, Ella, donated the land for this property in honor of her husband.

Cheryl and I visited this park two weekends ago. Unfortunately, a bit too early for half the roses to be in bloom, but wonderful, nevertheless. As we strolled to the herb garden and sculptures, I noticed two sparrows taking turns at bathing and drinking from this hand-held bowl of water. I only had my cell phone or I would have zoomed in for a closeup. However, the sight of these birds utilizing a man-made water source in a very serene setting really blessed me so I took this photo. Enjoy !

Abstract

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My father-in-law for forty-two years died Wednesday after a seven year battle with Alzheimer’s; that dreaded disease of the brain which also kills the body. Ugly.

Cheryl and I remarked that we are now the oldest generation within our immediate families…all of our parents and grand parents are gone. Strange feeling.

So many memories and situations. Not all were terrific, but the majority were good. Charlie always treated me with respect and with generosity. I am grateful.

Life goes on, but I feel like this abstract painting I photographed-it is full of mystic and interpretation, but leaves one wondering. I wonder about so many things.

Rest in peace, Charlie. Rest in peace. This is your time of reunion.

 

T O S A V O R

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To savor is to enjoy the moment, the event or season of life to the fullest extent possible. To savor can be something as simple as sharing a favorite cup of coffee with your closest friend, to experiencing the birth of a child or looking back at a year in which everything in life held the greatest significance and most contentment.

To savor a moment is like pausing time, stepping back a few paces, and observing in your mind what an incredible thing is taking place right then and there. You are cognizant of what is happening, but are savvy enough to not mess it up…it is just being. All else is pushed aside-at least for a focused episode of time- and nothing matters but what is occurring. Moments such as these are to be cherished.

As events go, you could be at a party, a prayer meeting, a family gathering, a football game, a concert or most anything which can transport your mind and emotions to a higher plain than everyday living. Events are for a relatively short period of time, as are moments. I don’t know if an event or a moment makes a greater impact than the other, but it doesn’t really matter as long as there is a positive outcome and a pleasant memory. Special events are like time-released capsules of pleasure.

Seasons of life-now those are another subject unto themselves. Whereas moments and events are for brief periods of time and are readily known, a blessed season of one’s life can last a summer or a decade, and the full impact unravels slowly until you are fully aware of how amazing such a time was. This is not to say that a moment can’t affect you for the rest of your life; far from that. I have had several moments where I still feel the fulfilling effect of that occurrence. However, seasons hold a special place in one’s life because of their longevity. As we are all aware, this life is relatively short. If we can benefit from a longer place of inner satisfaction then so much the better. How very blessed are those who are privileged to experience a savory season in life.2-24-13dAs I gaze upon my furry companion, Carson, I see the contentment he is experiencing while resting. He has no fear and makes himself vulnerable. He knows no pain while he rests. I see peace and I see renewal…something most of us don’t experience nearly enough. Carson represents a sort of savor that is limited to those who slow down enough to be in the present without distractions. His savor seems too easy…too unfair. Cheryl and I sometimes state that it would be great to be Carson for a while (as long as we were his guardians!). Can you relate? The adage, “It’s a dog’s life”, was built around a beloved pet who has not a care in the world. This lacking for nothing while experiencing the utmost of most anything pleasant is similar to children who are born into fine families and raised in loving environments. No worries, at least not until they grow up.

So, how do we, as humans beings, become more at ease with ourselves, and more at peace with our world? How do we savor?

I realize clearly that this question applies to only a minority of our worlds’ population. There are well over two billion people who are living in extreme poverty and millions more who know no peace or good health or love. For these, the question about savoring a piece of life is a foreign concept. I wish this were not the case, but it is.

For those of us who have the ability to recognize the possibility of savoring something worthwhile, it is to you whom I speak. I challenge you, as I have myself, to slow down and savor many moments, events and seasons. Be present and consider just how fortunate you are to have experienced such a time. Gratitude comes to mind as I consider the many savored experiences I can recall. I am awaiting the next with positive anticipation. Perhaps helping someone else savor a slice of this life is a savoring experience in itself.

GRATITUDE

SL-1 184New Year greetings from the frigid Midwest. Another arctic cold front has swept down upon our landscape and has caused temperatures to plummet. When we have periods of cold such as now, I am most grateful for a warm home and car and coats and gloves. Hot meals and coffee help, too, as do caring people who express warmth with a smile, a hug or a hand shake. Kind words spoken with sincerity certainly spice up a dreary day.

Personally, I have been in a funk for the past month due to a variety of reasons: long work days and related stress, lack of sunshine, and the gnawing feeling that I was meant for something more than what I am currently doing. I have noticed that one of the first things to suffer during these morose times is my creativity. Hence, I haven’t posted for a while. So, I really appreciate you visiting my site at this time.

I have a couple of short stories to share which reveal people full of gratitude. My hope is that by sharing other’s thankfulness, we will become more grateful for our blessings.

Recently, I was the recipient of someone’s gratitude whom I didn’t know, but would like to. The gratitude was not for me, but for something far better. Cheryl and I were at a local restaurant with three other couples. The server was a pleasant gal from Bogotá, Columbia, South America. I am always intrigued by accents and tried to guess her native country. I didn’t guess correctly, but the interaction led to a most startling and beneficial discussion, albeit brief since she was working.

As discussions often go, one question and response lead to another, and another. My companions were also very interested in what we learned in such a brief time. As our server, Selena*, spoke of her coming to America she shared how her father had been shot in the head by a drug cartel member. He survived, but lives in a walking semi-vegetative state. Her mother runs the small propane business once ran by her father. She makes ends meet for them. Due to the seriousness of the violence by the drug cartels in the area of her native city, Selena came to America to receive her secondary education. She ended up in Kansas City and began attending college. As she spoke to us of her recent trials, she showed no self-pity. In fact, her voice became stronger and more impassioned as she spoke of the great opportunity she was given in our country. Suddenly, Selena’s voice came to a crescendo as she stated, “God bless America!”. She then qualified her display of sincere gratitude by acknowledging that many say those words, but don’t really mean them. She wanted us to know that she most definitely meant them. And, she made a point of telling us that she didn’t want or expect entitlements, but was more than willing to earn her way through the new life she has discovered in our country and in our city.

She then continued to serve us in a very efficient and self-assured manner. Needless to say, we were touched by this lovely person who could have easily expressed anger, fear or a host of negative emotions, yet she proclaimed convictions that I want to carry with me daily such as courage, perseverance  and thankfulness. I am grateful for Selena (*not her real name) as she has reminded me that gratitude should not be limited to those who seem to have it all. In her case, she does have all that is necessary to live abundantly. And, so do I. May we all be so fortunate.

My other story focus’ on a gentleman we met while on vacation in Mexico. Carlos is the general manager for the Marriott’s five or six restaurants at this facility. Carlos smiled a lot and made a point of looking for us each morning as we had our breakfast. He told us that he has worked for Marriott for twenty-plus years and has been able to put his kids through college because of his vocation. He loves his job and the company he works for. He loves life as is evidenced by his graciousness and willingness to assist us in any way while we visited. I am proud to have had our photo taken with this wonderful man.

I hope these simple stories help to illuminate your lives with a brighter perspective. These two gracious people have certainly done that for Cheryl and me. I am reminded that gratitude starts with a positive attitude. The ‘g’ is tacked onto the beginning of attitude to emphasize this dynamic. Selena exhibited a soul-deep joy that she couldn’t keep down. Her cup ran over and we felt her gratitude pour over us. Carlos’ enthusiasm and willingness to bless us was contagious. How wonderful it could be / would be if I lived life with the same zest as they do. Just think of how many people would be encouraged by my cheerful heart. The thought of such a thing brings a smile to my somewhat sullen face and a tear of joy to my eye. I am blessed and want to be a blessing to others. With the Lord’s help, this is what I hope to become.                  Cellphone Pics to 11-18-14 057

Happy New Year Everyone !