hope and grit…

I’ve been very fortunate to serve as a guest columnist to a local, community newspaper from time to time. It’s allowed me to share my opinions on issues near and dear, here at home and abroad. The following was my latest submission for consideration by the editor.

HOPE and GRIT

Regardless of which side we were on during the presidential election, we all have Hope in common. Clinton’s campaign hoped love would trump hate; and Trump supporters are hoping the president-elect returns them to a time when America was great for them.

It’s more difficult for some than others to get past the divisiveness of the campaign, but do so we must for the good of the country. How best to do that is the question. Perhaps it would help if we began by focusing upon what remains familiar for all of us.

Transitioning from one presidency to the next is done peacefully, assuring that we can go on about our business the day after election. Freedom of speech is still protected by the Constitution. Individually and collectively, we can continue to voice our differing opinions. Regardless of our politics, we all believe in the sanctity of life. War abroad and at home is never a given. Above all, we continue to hold strong to our abiding belief in an America where dreams can still come true for all those who come after.

Personally, in our own lives, we can look to what remains familiar and comforting…our loved ones and our communities.

During the holidays we focus attention upon the happiness of others, whether they are from within our tight-knit circle of family and friends or strangers in need of our help. Our hearts and minds are opened to putting their needs before our own. We are all part of a unified spirit of goodness as we rush around like Santa’s elves.

In doing for others, however, we often overlook our own spiritual and physical well-being. The holidays always compound our oversight, and for some folks this season is especially exasperating because they remain traumatized by the recent election. In speaking with a couple of mental health professionals last week, it may be that those still reeling in the aftermath of the political upheaval are suffering signs of PTSD. War, real or imagined, can have the same effect upon a person’s psyche. Moving beyond a traumatic event takes effort, sometimes superhuman effort. “Grit” was a word referenced in my discussion with one of the experts.

In her book, “Grit” The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth signals grit as the ingredient necessary in a person’s character which drives him or her to succeed. Duckworth determined it as the single, common denominator as to why individuals succeeded whether she encountered them as a math teacher or psychologist. In fact, she credits grit, not talent, as the reason she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “genius grant.”

I like to think of Americans as having grit. In our struggles to persevere as a democratic people in the face of national and global adversity, we have survived and will continue to do so no matter what.

Armed with hope and grit, we remain “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

…wishing you and yours…a holiday season filled with peace and joy.

………hugmamma.1127

 

remembering…

She was like a second mother, my sister Ruby. While it’s difficult to remember all the details of that time, I can distinctly recollect her being warm and understanding where my own mother was sometimes gruff and exacting.

Misc July 2010 00069The event that remains permanently etched in my memory was when Ruby allowed me to help run the wet clothes through the wringing rollers in her old-fashioned washing machine. I was probably 7 or 8 years old, and very conscientious it seems. Wanting to do it correctly, I hung onto the piece of clothing a tad longer than I should have as it made its way through the wringer. In seconds my hand was being dragged along, all the way up my forearm. Screaming bloody murder, I was rescued by my sister who came running to unplug the machine. I’m sure I steered clear of that fandangled contraption after that.

As a youngster I spent a good deal of time with Ruby and her cowboy husband, Steve Autry. I’ve no idea what brought him to Maui back in the ’50s. Perhaps he was lured by the image of roping horses and riding Brahma bulls in the annual rodeo held at the base of Haleakala, the island’s dormant volcano. Or maybe he thought he’d work at what he knew best…being a cowboy and whatever that entailed.

My sister and her husband made an unusual couple in those days…a lanky, 6 footer whose mischievous, blue eyes peered out from beneath strands of blonde hair streaked by the island sun. His tanned face, deeply lined and freckled. Standing alongside him, Ruby was inches shorter. Hair cut short in the natural ebony color of the island women. A jaunty smile compared to her husband’s. A crooked one that partially hid his tobacco-stained teeth.

Watching my brother-in-law roll cigarettes was always captivating. First came the crisp, creamy-hued slip of rectangular paper, followed by the tobacco pouch. With deft agility he’d tug at the strings of the pouch so that a slim rivulet of tobacco dribbled onto the paper. Taking the strings between his front teeth, Steve would draw the pouch’s opening to a close. Returning it to the shirt pocket over his heart, he’d take the nearly finished cigarette between his thumbs and index fingers. Using his pointy, long tongue he’d spread just enough saliva along the length of one side of the paper allowing him to fasten it to the other side. Slipping the newly-minted cigarette between his lips, my brother-in-law would light it with the strike of a match along the underside of his boot.

To a clueless kid like me, it was pretty cool stuff.

A few years younger than me, my niece and I would often accompany her dad, as he scoured landfills and roadsides for stuff to resell, especially scrap metal. Growing up poor meant not having many toys like friends who did. So climbing over piles of junk in search of hidden treasures was fun. It was kind of exciting to see what I’d find under the rubble. One discovery turned out to be more than I bargained for. Watch for that story in a future post.

They might have made it as a country singing duet. With Steve on the guitar and Ruby singing harmony, they sounded like the real thing. Not that I’d had much opportunity to hear country music, but I knew what I liked and I liked what I heard. My favorite was a haunting lullaby which included some yodeling. My sister yodeled beautifully. Imagine that! An island gal yodeling as naturally as though she’d been born on the range. I’m certain my love of singing blossomed during these impromptu song fests right there on the front steps of their house. 

 Sadly for Ruby and her daughter, the cowboy didn’t remain a permanent fixture. He and my sister divorced when I was a preteen. Since they’d moved to Honolulu, the islands’ designated “big city,” I would spend part of my summers with them. And much later when I returned to attend the University of Hawaii, my sister Ruby’s apartment was where I went the first couple of summers after I vacated the college dorms.

My sister didn’t have an easy life, raising a child on her own. In fact, my young niece lived with my mom and me for a couple of years on Maui while Ruby sought to earn a living. I’m not certain, but it may be that she continued to struggle until the end which came on July 27. She died of lung cancer, a result of decades of cigarette smoking.

I will remember Ruby as a soft-spoken mediator, a comforting presence, humble, self-sacrificing and perhaps easily overcome by stronger personalities, like my mom. I truly believe she would give the shirt off her back if someone needed it more than she. I’m sorry we’d not been in touch later in life, but she seemed content with where she’d finally landed…living with her daughter and her family. Secreted away from the turmoil she’d known, it felt right to let her be, to let her live in peace and quiet, no longer saddled by the burdens of others. At least I’m hoping that’s how it was.

…blessed are the peacemakers…

…for they shall be called children of God.

………hugmamma.Miscellaneous Pictures July 2010 124

 

 

 

 

 

 

nurturing thursdays: powerful words…

A few things in historical documentarian Ken Burns’ speech to Stanford University’s 2016 graduating class, continues to resonate with me. He said…to educate all of our parts…to make babies…and that the arts make our country worth defending. 

To educate all of our parts.

I always tell my daughter “Being fully informed makes your decision, whatever it is, an educated guess. Whatever the outcome, you know you did all you could to make the best choice you possibly could in the moment.” Because she was a blessing, my only child after 16 years of hoping I would one day become a mother, I live with the thought that she could be gone in the blink of an eye. With the hateful rhetoric inciting Trump supporters to take America back to a darker time when the world was white and black, I worry as I see other mothers lose their children to gun violence.

An adult and wife at 30, I can no longer stand between my daughter and the world. And yet I know I have armed her with a clear vision of the real world ever since she was a youngster. Unlike a friend who felt her son at age 5 was too young for the truth, I felt my daughter was not too young to learn the facts of life. In doing so, however, I always followed the truth with positive words reinforcing hope, not negative resignation.

To make babies.

Not until you have a child, can you understand what it is to lose a child. Not until you lose a child, can you understand a mother’s desire not to go on living afterwards. I hope, as parents the world over do, that my daughter outlives me by decades.

The arts make our country worth defending.

Supporting my daughter in her desire to dance professionally will always be something of which I am proudest. It was not an easy path; neither was it a lucrative one. My daughter said, when featured in Discount Dance Supply Magazine at age 16…

Dancing is a gift that I would like to share with the world.

The greatest satisfaction is knowing when my performance has touched or moved someone.

She may not have secured millions as a professional athlete, but my daughter garnered millions in spiritual wealth. If she were taken by an act of violence tomorrow, my daughter can return to Our Father having lived a Christ-like life. And if I were to die first, I would do so knowing that I have been…

…a mother in Mary’s footsteps.

………hugmamma.

(Note: Click on the following link for more inspirational posts…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/nurt-thurs-my-prayer/

 

…as it should be…

As excruciatingly messy as it might be sometimes, democracy is still preferable to autocracy. Each person speaking his and her own voice is still preferable to one voice speaking for all.

The difference between the RNC and the DNC is stark. Last night, apart from the megawatt speeches delivered by Michelle Obama, Corey Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, there were equally moving speeches delivered by ordinary folks like Cheryl Lankford. She was one of many trumped by the man himself when she enrolled in Trump University to the tune of $35,000.

I understood Lankford’s embarrassment at feeling she was the fool for being duped. I understood her inability to tell anyone about how dumb she felt. I understood how as a woman, we are primed to think it’s our fault if we’re stupid enough to get “taken to the cleaners.” Especially up against billionaire Donald Trump. Who would believe Cheryl Lankford if she spoke up against a man of his celebrated, moneyed stature?

Today, I was moved to tears by the story of Na’ilah Amaru.

“I was born on a dirt floor to a woman whose name I will never know. What I do know is that she loved me enough to give me up, so I could live the life she wanted for me. A life without hunger or despair, filled with hope, education, and opportunity.

As a baby, bundled up in the hopes and dreams of my mother, I began a new life in a faraway land called America. I was raised by two women, and learned early on about intolerance and hatred. But I also learned about the power of love, faith and hope.

The first time I saw Hillary, she was on TV addressing a panel of men with such confidence and ownership of self. Her poise and presence fundamentally changed how I would claim my own space in the world. I was 11.

Seven years later, my belief in America inspired me to raise my hand and solemnly swear to defend her ideals with my life. I joined the army as an ammunition specialist and gave the best of myself to a country that had given me so much. I returned from Iraq deeply committed to restoring the faith of America’s Promise—for everyone.

Tonight, in the birthplace of our nation, I renew our commitment to democracy with an historic step toward gender equality. Reflected in broken shards of glass, and Hillary herself, we can see the dreams of our daughters. This is America’s promise.

Along my journey, I have called California, Texas, Georgia, and New York home. And I know that what connects us runs far deeper than what divides us.

So, if you can hear my voice tonight, join me and everyone in this hall, by texting HILLARY to 47246—as we move forward, together.

As an immigrant, a combat veteran, a woman of color, and my mother’s daughter, I am American. My story is our story. The story of America.”

(PRNewswire, 7/26/16)

Ordinary women standing up FOR…

…an exceptionally, extraordinary woman.

…Hillary Clinton.

………hugmamma.

 

nurturing Thursdays: coloring…outside the box

My new son-in-law is a blonde, blue-eyed Texan. It’s obvious he adores and cherishes his new Mrs. …my brunette, brown-eyed, beautiful daughter. He’s already said he’d like their children to inherit only one of his traits, his blue eyes; otherwise, he’d prefer they inherit their looks from their mother.

Who could find fault with a man who loves my precious, only child as I do?

What in his DNA makes my son-in-law so unlike others who see people of color as unlovable? And what in my daughter’s DNA makes her color-blind to someone so opposite in appearance to her? I can only reason that they have both known the kind of love and support which looks to a person’s heart, and not to the circumstances in which he or she was born.

Hugging my daughter’s new mother-in-law when we first met, I could see how alike we were…so utterly and totally in love with our children. And so “over the moon” that they had found one another. Neither of us noticed that we too had nothing physically in common…not our skin color…not our hair color…not the color of our eyes…nor the drawl, or lack thereof, when we spoke. Enveloped in a comforting hug, our hearts beat in unison. Two moms whose precious children had found a safe haven in one another…and dropped anchor, creating a home of their own thousands of miles away from those who love them so much.

Love does conquer all…if we allow it.

Allowing ourselves to love others unlike ourselves is the task set before us by God. Many more have succeeded than have failed. It’s in the media’s best interests to focus upon the failures rather than the successes. They seem miniscule by comparison, and perhaps they are since most go undetected, flying under the general public’s radar. However in the grand scheme of things, it’s really the little moments that add up to the greatness of our lives.

For two families celebrating a momentous occasion, the marriage of our children, all is right with the world. Granted, it’s not a perfect one. There is no Heaven on earth, after all. And yet God has given us the tools with which to create one that comes close to approximating the real thing. Whether or not we take up the challenge is up to us as individuals. And as individuals, each of us will face God with our own stories on judgment day.

We are all storytellers, everyone of us. How good we are at it…

…god will decide.

………hugmamma.595

(For more inspirational words, click on the following…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2016/07/07/nurt-thurs-embrace-yourself/

 

…only ourselves…

…to blame.

We are a changing democracy, whether we like it or not. America was never going to remain as it was in the “good old days.” What were the “good old days” for some, was a living hell for others. At best we are in the purgatory phase of our country’s evolvement, on our way to the heaven we all deserve.

The mass shootings that are occurring more and more frequently are not the product of any one group or individual. The tone of hatred for others different from ourselves is being promoted and yes, even tolerated, by many of us. Just as the world stood by during the Jewish Holocaust, so too is the world looking heavenward as hateful rhetoric spews forth from every corner of the world, including America.

God is not the answer to our problems, we are. He gifted the earth with enough bounty to share among ourselves; instead, we have evolved into a world of haves and have-nots. It was only a matter of time when the tide would begin to turn against those who have greedily hoarded more for themselves.

The ability to stop the inevitable is within our power. It’s never too late because we are a forgiving and resilient species. We just need to love all others as we love ourselves. Picking and choosing who can partake and who can’t is no longer an option. Not if we want to realize…

…a heaven on earth.

………hugmamma.Nashville 09-2010 00063

 

nurturing Thursdays: early wishes for…

…a very blessed Father’s Day!

You must be checking your calendar to see when it is. Don’t worry. I’m a month early. Because my daughter’s wedding will be front and center soon, I wanted to give my husband his due before all the hoopla surrounding her day overshadows everything else.

As devoted as I am to my daughter, I continue to be amazed at my husband’s unconditional love and loyal support. He is selfless when it comes to providing for us. There has never been a time since our daughter was born when he put his needs before ours. I don’t even remember him asking for a single material thing. I’ve always made gift choices which I thought would please him; whether or not there was an occasion to celebrate.

I didn’t know my dad. He died when I was one. Without realizing it, I’m sure I sought surrogates as a child growing up. There were 2 men who resonated as father figures…my best friend’s dad and our family doctor. Their small gestures made me feel that an adult other than my mom cared about my well-being. I understood that they belonged to other children, but when these men spoke to me I basked in the warmth of their attention, however fleeting. How I wished I was their daughter. I would have been proud, and pleased.

My husband has turned out to be just such a dad. He is everything I would have wished for as a child. Thank God I grew up subconsciously knowing the kind of man with whom I wanted to share my life. He also happened to be…

…the perfect father…

…for our precious daughter.

………hugmamma.278


More inspirational thoughts at…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/nurt-thurs-move-on/

 

teaching our children…

…right from wrong.

That’s what parents set out to do. It’s like the Hypocratic oath for us. Parents: Do no harm. The first line translated from Greek is “I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:…”

Leading by example is the best and the most basic advice a parent could ever follow. “Little pitchers have big ears” is another truism parents would do well to remember.

The Andy Griffith Show and its town of Mayberry is still relevant today. I think even the majority of dissatisfied, Trump supporters would agree. And yet it’s sad to think that while they are clamoring to… “make America great again,” they are sacrificing their children to a slogan.

I’m not a parenting expert, although being a parent is something I take very seriously. In fact, it is my primary undertaking in life…to be the best parent I can be. Everything I believe, everything I do has ramifications…as a parent. Yes, I misstep; but morality is not something I can ever sacrifice for anything or anyone. Before committing to a cause or a person, it has to sit right…in my gut. That alone signals to my daughter that I can be believed; that she can follow my lead.

The end NEVER, EVER justifies the means. No amount of comfort and well being is worth the degradation of one’s soul. Trump has corrupted the morals of millions of parents. In the process, they have shown their children that their morals can be bought by a slogan.

My unsolicited advice to these parents…

…we reap…what we sow.

………hugmamma.

 

nurturing thursdays: did you talk to your child today?

My daughter and I spoke at some length this evening, after she got home from teaching dance classes and rehearsing students for an upcoming competition. We’re indeed blest to share such closeness all these years, talking on the phone for hours…like best girlfriends.

It wasn’t always that way.

Until she was 16 when I accompanied her to Georgia to train with Atlanta Ballet, I was mom. I set the rules and she followed them. It wasn’t like I had to punish her, it’s just that she knew the boundaries within which to operate to keep everything on an even keel. Because my husband’s job kept him on the road and at the office from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., I functioned like a single parent. Even more so when my daughter and I lived in Atlanta while he remained  in Washington, working to pay the bills.

The boundaries were stretched when she dated her first boyfriend. Their relationship lasted 3 years or so, during which time there were the usual highs and lows accompanying first love. Hers. He’d already been in and out of several relationships. On my own to figure things out, I did my best. There were conflicts for sure, but my daughter knew I always had her back. Early on I tried to send the guy packing because I thought he was pretty selfish. I relented when she ran after him. Eventually he drew me in with his charm. I was still under his spell when my daughter finally broke up with him. Thank goodness she did. He really was a selfish opportunist.

My daughter fared no better with the next few romances. She kept dating losers. Eventually these failed relationships coupled with a profession that requires so much emotional and physical stamina, caused her to spiral downwards into depression. She eventually reached out to us. Thankfully! Bursting into tears on the phone, she immediately agreed to come home so we could help her. 

I flew east to help her pack and see to last minute arrangements. The ballet company kindly offered to hold her job until she returned. For 2 months, our daughter was under psychiatric care. It was determined that a concussion she’d had as a child probably altered her brain chemistry. Unbeknownst to us at the time, the accident skewed her perception of reality. Dance probably helped divert her attention from negative thoughts. There’s just so much choreography to memorize.

Only when she encountered the usual mind games that come with a job and a boyfriend, did our daughter start to overthink everything. On the cusp of adulthood, she tried to tackle her problems on her own. Dance friends her age were little help, since they were burdened with their own problems. Years passed; things worsened. A psychologist she engaged only made our daughter’s task more daunting. She could not figure out how to put her life back together again after those raw, gut-wrenching, one-on-one sessions. Her safety net, my husband and I, lived 2,000 miles away.

With the help of a few close friends to whom she finally opened up, our daughter started to find her way out of the black hole that engulfed her. Thank God for them. Thank God she reached out for help. Thank God my husband didn’t think twice about bringing her home so we could help her heal. Six years later, she’s excited to be marrying a young man who cherishes her for who she is. Her happiness is priceless.

Today my daughter told me of a 12-year-old dancer in one of her classes who lost her brother this week…to suicide. He text his friends, thanking them for trying to help. He told them they did all they could, and asked that they help his parents. Rumor has it that he had been distraught over a failed relationship. Although it’s not certain.

My daughter cried on and off the day she heard of the young man’s death. And the following day, she thought “He was only 16. A baby. And he didn’t live to see today.” She still registered disbelief when telling me about it.

Talking to our children is a lifetime blessing. We wield so much influence over them, whether we know it or not. We can never take for granted that…

…our loving words…can save their lives.

…i know.

………hugmamma.img_5209.jpg

(View more inspirational thoughts at…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2016/05/05/nurt-thurs-would-you-glow/

my story…

I’m never without a book when I crawl under the covers at night. And it’s usually a biography of someone famous. There’ve been a few infamous folks as well. Mrs. Wallace Simpson comes to mind.

Folks living in the glare of the spotlight captivate me. I wonder if what we see or hear or read about them is real. Or is much of it fabricated for public consumption? I grew up under the spell of Ingrid Bergman and Bette Davis, Errol Flynn and Cary Grant. Theirs was a Hollywood where movie stars were celluloid creations. What we saw wasn’t always who they were off-screen.

Historical figures also interest me. I’ve read the life stories of several presidents, including FDR, Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon and Obama. What propels these men to choose the extraordinary instead of the ordinary path is a lesson in advanced psychology.

The common denominator in all of these biographies is parental influence. Most often it’s the lack of, or overabundance of…parental involvement. As a young boy, Cary Grant suffered the loss of his mother when his father had her committed to an institution. Grant didn’t learn of her existence until he was well on his way to becoming a Hollywood icon. Forever after, he sought her approval which he felt he never got.

Rose Kennedy left much of the parenting duties to nannies and staff. John was a sickly child who never received the doting care and concern of his mother. As an adult, he was not overly affectionate toward her. In fact, it was his father whose approval the son desperately wanted, and whose loyalty and love meant the most to the president.

Nixon’s Quaker mother instilled in him the ambition to always do well…no matter the odds. And Sarah Roosevelt made it impossible for Eleanor to follow in her mother-in-law’s footsteps. She whose very life revolved solely around her beloved Franklin.

So what’s different between these lives…and mine? Mostly the trappings. Articles about their comings and goings are devoured by millions of adoring fans; I have a few loyal readers following hugmamma.com. They dine at 21 in NYC; I’ve been there a handful of times as the guest of one of my husband’s clients. They fly hither and yon in first class accommodations; I’ve been fortunate to ride up front a time or two. The world is their oyster; I’ve traveled enough to know contentment…sitting on my deck, watching the world go by.

More importantly the death of my father, which left my siblings and me in the care of an uneducated, impoverished 30-year-old mother, left invisible scars that no amount of time will ever erase.

When we delve beneath the surface of our lives, what we find is a commonality to our human story. No matter what we go on to make of ourselves, we are the product of how we were raised…by whom…and how they were affected by their own life stories.

The only difference between one story and another is what we each bring to it. Do we improve upon what came before? Or do we let the story play out according to script. I prefer to think we can tweak a line here and there, maybe even rewriting a chapter or two. The ending can resemble a happily-ever-after, even if it’s not the one in An Affair to Remember, or Sleepless in Seattle.

Life is not a done deal…until it’s done. There’s time…minutes, hours, days, months, years…to do some rewriting. All it takes is a bit of imagination…

…and a whole lot of guts.

………hugmamma.

 

 

talk about old…

…and I know old.

Returning to Cold War rhetoric is like dragging the tyrannosaurus rex out of mothballs. Isn’t it preferable to leave dinosaurs where they belong…in the Smithsonian?

Arianna Huffington recently explained that Donald Trump is sleep deprived. He admitted as much himself, claiming to get by on just 3 hours sleep a night. Obviously he’s not well read on the consequences of long term sleep deprivation. Among them fatal diseases like heart attack, cancer, even Alzheimer’s. At 70, it’s worrisome that a President Trump would have his finger on the nuclear button. He could blast us all to smithereens in the midst of his own personal crisis.

Putting all of one’s faith and hope into a man who lives in the past, wanting to return America to an “us vs. them” mentality is akin to wearing a blindfold for the next 4 years. The world will move forward in spite of us. The U.S. will be the “it” in a global game of “Blind Man’s Bluff,” stumbling around unable to discern what it is the other players are doing.

For better or worse, the world is on a path forward. There’s no hitting the “reset” button and doing a makeover. America can remain an important player, having significant influence every step of the way. Or America can play Trump’s game and cry “wolf” every time he stubs his toe.

Bernie Sanders is 74, an old man with big dreams. I worry he won’t be around to see them all come true. Who will carry his torch? His loving, loyal wife? Good for them. Maybe not so good for America.

Passing the torch is an Olympian fete. It’s a team effort. It’s essential we have a captain who can lead the way, outlining a path toward greatness. It’s also essential to have someone who has “walked the walk” and not just “talked the talk.”

Yes, like everyone else I’m awed by charisma. However if my life depended upon it, I’d want someone who’s not afraid to show us that she’s also an intellectual geek to captain my team.

Slow and steady won the race for the turtle. And that’s who I’m rooting for in the presidential elections…

…mama turtle, herself!

………hugmamma.

…looking back…

Life is really like a jigsaw puzzle. Except that we don’t get all the pieces at the beginning. We start with a few and as we age we pick up another piece here and there. Unlike puzzles that come in a box of 500 or 1,000 pieces, we don’t know what number we’ll end up with…until our lives come to an end. The really cool thing is we can have as few or as many as we choose. Pieces, that is.

Free will. Remember what the Bible tells us about Adam and Eve. God allowed them to make their way in the world once they’d eaten of the forbidden fruit. Because of their sin, humankind must make our way back to God of our own choosing.

I’ve probably selected many, many more puzzle pieces to form my life than say, my husband. He’s held fewer jobs, making his way up the corporate ladder one rung at a time. As for me? I’ve kind of hopscotched up and down life’s ladder unable to decide what it was I could ace. Only when my daughter was born did I settle into my very own “jigsaw puzzle.”

IMG_4309When we’re young, most of us are totally without focus. We’re drawn in so many different directions, like dandelion flowers floating about on the wind. Certain milestones serve to anchor us to reality…school, loved ones, jobs and old age. It’s the final one that weighs in most heavily.

While options are more limited by the quality of our lives in older age, we’re not as saddled by too many puzzle pieces from which to choose. We can be more selective. We can linger over the appeal of some and not others. We can choose a second piece, if the first piece doesn’t quite fit.

Who cares if my jigsaw puzzle’s a little lopsided? Does it matter if I’ve chosen to fill the entire puzzle with a beautiful blue sky? In fact, I might decide to leave holes in the puzzle. There might be a few heavenly pieces I’d want to fill in when I’m done down here.

Unlike real puzzles over which I agonize as I hunt down the exact pieces that fit together, I look at my life now as unfolding day by day.

Since I began helping my daughter plan her wedding almost a year ago, my house has wallowed in dust and grime…and I’ve not given it much thought. Even as I undertake to get my butt going in that direction, I’ve stopped to write some…watch a little TV…nosh a little…and cuddle my cats. The house’ll get done. Meanwhile, I’m just enjoying figuring out…

…what puzzle piece comes next.

………hugmamma.

 

nurturing Thursdays: …a star is born…

Thirty years ago I gave birth to a rising star. Today she is just that.

My daughter was featured in the recent music video of singer and former American Idol contestant, Danny Gokey. In it he sings the hauntingly beautiful melody…”Tell your heart to beat again.”

In all the madness that is today’s world, a little touch of sanity in the form of music and choreography reminds us that life is really about loving one another.

We exist…

…to love…and be loved in return.

………hugmamma.

(More inspirational posts are waiting for you at…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2016/03/24/nurt-thurs-environment/

nurturing thursdays: the dancer…

…my daughter.

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen my daughter perform…probably 4 to 5 years. Memory-wrapped images are all that remain, and they get fuzzier as time passes. So I’m very grateful for Youtube.  It’s captured the following contemporary piece in which my daughter was the featured soloist. She danced with Nashville Ballet at the time. I only wish it had shown the actual performance, in which she wore a white, romantic tutu which made her look like an angel. Although I’m not complaining; I’ll take what I can get.

This piece was choreographed by Sarah Slipper, founder and artistic director of Northwest Dance Project in Oregon. My daughter had danced with the company for a couple of summers. It’s performances are cutting-edge, thanks to the amazing talent of Sarah and other choreographers she hand picks to join her in producing a show.

Artists…dancers among them…reflect the beauty of the human spirit. If only we would allow…

…more of that inner beauty…to shine through.

………hugmamma.

(Find more wonderful inspiration at…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/nurt-thurs-our-example/