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/

 

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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/

 

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/

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/

nurturing thursdays: those who serve…

Two news pieces reported on MSNBC today, made me pause to reflect upon the sacrifices made by those who keep the rest of us safe.

The first was about firemen who helped in the aftermath of 9/11. As usual, they did not consider the risks to their own safety and well-being. Only years later did that horrific day return to haunt them, many suffering the effects of cancer. Mounting medical bills in addition to an emotional and physical roller coaster ride puts the victims and their loved ones at high risk for depression and serious loss to their quality of life.

Following that report was a piece about a military family whose husband/father has been deployed to the Middle East multiple times. Of the 19 years they’ve been married, the couple have been separated 9 years. Their two sons, now teenagers, have missed their dad tremendously. While the family understands their sacrifice as a career choice, it doesn’t lessen the impact of losing a member for years on end. Especially knowing that each deployment could mean the death of their loved one.

It’s easy to shed a tear or two for the plight of these folks whose lives are spent protecting us. Having compassion, however, also includes giving back…not “sitting back.”

Rather than pay for “pork belly” projects put forth by representatives in Congress, our tax dollars should be spent accommodating the financial needs of those who risk their lives to save ours.

I think that’s what’s so frustrating about many members of the Republican Party. They want “boots on the ground,” but they ignore the fact that these folks have needs. They’re not wind-up robots. They feel. They break. They bleed. They die…and leave behind loved ones of their own.

President Obama is walking a tightrope between keeping our country safe during these perilous times…and showing compassion for the men and women who must answer the call to lay down their lives for their country. Not an easy decision, although the president’s critics rant and rave that it’s a no-brainer. Scary to think what Obama’s successor would do if he or she is a Republican intent upon spilling blood.

…when did we become a dispassionate people?

………hugmamma.

(Note: For more inspirational writing, visit…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2015/12/17/nurt-thurs-you-are-2/

nurturing thursdays: feeling good…

Have you ever contemplated how great it is to…feel good? To have that warm, fuzzy feeling that all’s right with the world? Well, perhaps not the world outside your walls, but the world which you inhabit inside your walls. And more specifically…the inner spaces of your heart and mind and soul?

With age comes a good deal of reflection. Having attained most, if not all, of the physical wants on our check lists we begin to wonder what is left for us to do while we count down the years until the end. What is there left to do? Have we done it all? Do we feel good about how we’ve lived our lives?

Speaking from my own personal experience, feeling good about things outside of myself only came when I began to feel good about myself. And that only happened when I accepted that what others thought, felt and did was not my responsibility. More importantly, it did not really involve me. Accepting that fact was like having an invisible wall deflect any and all negativity coming my way back onto those from whom it was being generated.

Folks unhappy with their own circumstances tend to blame others for what’s wrong within themselves. Unable to resolve their problems, they want others to do it for them. Even going to extremes as we’ve seen in the case of shooters who opt to commit suicide, whether by their own hand or at the hand of others.

Wallowing in the hate generated by negativity as we see happening with Donald Trump and his followers, blackens the environment like a thick fog of pollution. Rather than succumb to its poison, we should hold strong to the fact that he and they have issues with which they are struggling. Because they cannot think through constructive solutions based upon positive thinking, they find it easier to pass along their problems to the rest of us. They bleed negativity, not caring about the effect they are having on the masses.

That’s how Trump and others like him “feel good”…by feeling bad. It’s what stokes their already smoldering dislike of the unfamiliar and the different. They refuse to flex with the changing environment, preferring to encapsulate their rigid views of how life should be…in stone.

Truly feeling good means accepting that we are basically good. How we react to adversity outside of ourselves determines whether or not we continue to feel good.

Like others, I am disturbed by the constant reminder that many are hell-bent in bringing about Armageddon…sooner rather than later. I’m equally disturbed by the desire of many in the Republican Party that America return to isolationism from the rest of the world. Obviously, neither Armageddon nor isolationism is compatible with the survival of the human race. What separates us from other species is our ability to THINK through alternatives to our problems, arriving at the best one for the good of all, not just a few.

As naïve as this may sound, I strive to remember that each of us is basically good. We didn’t start off as bad babies. What happened after that was dependent upon circumstances, much of which is beyond our control…our birth country…our parent’s economic standing…our education or lack thereof…our jobs…our families, friends, enemies. What we do have control over is how we act and react under these circumstances. Again, however, we cannot over-stress or over-worry about others’ actions and reactions. We can only act and react, striving to do so from a platform of positivity, not negativity.

Feeling good. Or feeling bad.

…our choice.

………hugmamma.

(Note:  Enjoy other nurturing words at…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2015/12/10/nurt-thurs-how-long/#comment-26111

 

nurturing thursdays: love one another…

In keeping with the season, I think it’s fitting to remember that we are all children of God.

That includes those among us who choose to turn their backs upon the rest, even going so far as to massacre innocent people.

God the Almighty Father will determine their fate.

We know not what lies deep within one another’s hearts…our sorrows, our anxieties.

Only God knows.

Rather than sit in judgment, we should rally with one another to heal any divisiveness.

Our fundamental humanity should bind us one with the other.

We should put aside our robes of many colors…racial, cultural, religious.

Those who would lead us astray and isolate us one from the other are themselves enemies of humanity and…of God.

“I am the Lord thy God…thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

“The Lord is my Shepherd…”

Let us not follow graven images eager to raise themselves up to be false gods.

They are only interested in amassing personal wealth and an army of followers to rival all that has been created by the one, true God of all people.

God does not choose one race over the other.

God does not choose one culture over the other.

God does not choose one religion over the other.

God created all of us  with love.

God will have the final say…

…about what we have done with His love.

………hugmamma.

(Note…more inspiration can be gathered from ladies of wisdom at…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2015/12/03/nurt-thurs-peace/#comment-26089 )

nurturing thursdays: she’s getting married…

…my daughter…my only sunshine.

How did my little girl go from shadowing me one minute…to standing apart, aglow in a life all her own?

I can remember hearing folks in my mom’s generation saying of children…”Enjoy them while you can. They grow up so fast.” I too say that to young parents now, more out of habit than something to which I truly subscribe.

I think my husband would have preferred carrying his little “pumpkin pie” about on his shoulders…just a little longer. And building igloos together with her in the icy snow that covered our front lawn…just a little longer. And reading bedtime stories in the soft glow of the lamplight, her little head against his chest…just a little longer.

As for me? I wanted tomorrow to come…and the one after that…and the one after that…and all the tomorrows to follow . I wanted time to pass, knowing that with each passing year my only child was still here, beside me. Not until my husband and I celebrated 16 years of marriage did we become parents. Because of that I always felt she could be gone…in the blink of an eye.

Still do.

Like other parents, I hoped I’d live to see my daughter grow into adulthood…and settle into a marriage with someone who would cherish her for the wonderful person she is. Whether or not she bears us a grandchild is unimportant. She, and the son we gain through marriage, are gift enough for us. Of course we would celebrate a little addition to the family…if that is God’s wish.

And so with my daughter’s marriage, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief, passing the torch of all-consuming love along to her husband-to-be. Although the love I bear my daughter will always glimmer and burn so that she will never, ever...be afraid of the dark.

I’m certain my precious little girl will always remember what I told her long, long ago.

When I’m gone from your side, I’ll still be with you…like a blankie wrapped around your heart…warming you always.

………hugmamma.

Check out more inspirational writings at… 

https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/nurt-thurs-biggest-step-2/

nurturing thursdays: …in adversity we find happiness

Recently I heard something which made a lot of sense…after I’d thought about it a little.

It was while listening to NPR radio, during a piece on a journalist who had spent the better part of his career in war torn countries. When he returned to the States and settled into a more mundane existence, he came to realize that he missed life in the war zone.

Like you, I was taken aback. “Is he nuts?” I thought. After hearing what he had to say, I totally got where he was coming from. And now, after living through my own personal war I am convinced the man is right.

My Easter posting was a very brief piece wishing everyone a blessed holiday. In it I asked that prayers be said for my daughter. At the time I revealed nothing except that she had surgery, not one, but two.

Hurriedly booking a flight to leave the next day, it would take more than 24 hours before my husband and I could reach our daughter’s hospital bedside. Until then we had no idea what to expect. The last bit of news we’d had…from her boyfriend…was that the ER doctor thought our daughter’s CAT SCAN showed internal bleeding.

And so began our war to win back our daughter’s prior good health.

Five weeks later, the battle is winding down. While I would like to declare victory, as the saying goes…”it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.” And this fat lady for sure ain’t singin’…not yet at least. Not until our daughter’s dancing a rollicking jig again…contemporary-style.

Our daughter underwent surgery to remove a fibroid from her uterine wall. Because it was a polyp, the gynecologist wanted to be certain it wasn’t cancerous. Fortunately it wasn’t. Unfortunately its removal proved tricky.

While trying to unstick the polyp, the forceps pierced the uterine wall. Realizing this, the doctor halted the procedure deciding not to attempt removal of a second, larger fibroid. Deciding that the uterine wall would self-heal, the doctor released our daughter allowing her to go home. A few hours later she returned to ER in excruciating pain.

Later that evening our daughter was admitted as a patient. The next morning the gynecologist consulted with a general surgeon specializing in bowel operations. It was decided that in penetrating the uterine wall, the forceps also pierced the bowel wall. Bile had leaked out causing the unbearable pain our daughter had experienced. Without being totally coherent about all that would occur, our daughter underwent the second surgery to repair her bowel wall.

Two centimeters of bowel was removed. Rather than perform the less invasive procedure, the surgeon opted to get in quick, probably to halt the spread of more toxins throughout our daughter’s body. Of course the abdominal incision meant a longer recovery time. Hence, her hospital stay of 6 days.

My husband and I were by our daughter’s side two days later. We kept a vigil for as long as we could each day. We took turns walking the hallways so as not to cramp up while sitting in the hard chairs.

Having us with her allowed our daughter to relax into her recuperation. She was the child again…reveling in the loving care of doting parents. Best medicine in the world. Just what the doctor ordered.

Lucky for us our daughter’s boyfriend, whom we had not met until then, proved an excellent fill-in. He was with her throughout the entire ordeal, right up until we arrived. Even after our arrival, he’d visit nightly after working a full day. It took him half-an-hour to get to the hospital and 45 minutes to drive home to his apartment. They’ve only dated 7 months and yet, it seems they’ve been waiting their whole lives for one another.

Wedding bells will peal in the not-too-distant future. We couldn’t be happier for our daughter and her awesome beau.

Happiness is truly where you find it, and often it’s under the least likely circumstances.  I wouldn’t question it…

…i’d just…go along with it.

………hugmamma.

Nurturing Thursday 68

Very appropriate for what our family is going through with Pat’s…journey towards her best life…
………hugmamma.

Tao of Scrumble

2015/01/img_12511.jpg

image by Alena Hennesy

With all that’s happening in the World right now, it feels like a dangerous place.

But this Joseph Campbell quote reminds us that we do have choices. It may not always be easy ~ often it’s a downright struggle ~ but we can choose to nurture joy, not fear.

Remember, what we focus on grows!

🙂

Nurturing Thursday is hosted by Becca Givens, author of the inspiring blog ‘On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea.’ To read more about it, or to find out how you can join in, press this link.

Other ‘Nurturing’ contributors are:

Crowing Crone Joss

Inside the Mind of Isadora

Laurie’s Notes

Pocket Perspectives

Mazeepuran

Tea and Paper

Meg Evans

Bowl of Cherries

Hugmamma

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nurturing thursdays: journeying towards her best life…#15

I can only imagine what went through Pat’s mind yesterday as she learned how her life will unfold going forward.

We all try to take each day as it comes.

For most of us it’s a simple undertaking. It’s the same old, same old. There may be a few variations on the theme, and some can be major…like changing jobs…retiring…moving to a new home…having a baby.

Life-threatening illnesses, however, takes it to a whole other level. One for which no amount of preparing, mentally and physically, can ever be enough.

Pat’s journey with multiple myeloma and amyloidosis is daunting, to say the least. 

It’s like walking through a tunnel, not knowing what the darkness holds in store along the way.

Holding onto hope and positive thoughts are like the light at the end of the tunnel. And that’s what human survival is all about. Hanging on with all of our might.

That’s what God intended when He gave us life. He meant for us to squeeze every ounce of goodness from His gift. 

Happiness is that warm, fuzzy feeling when something good lights us up…from the inside out. And that feeling occurs in small and large doses throughout our lives. 

Never give up on happiness. It’s there for the taking. We just have to accept it.

And why wouldn’t we? It doesn’t make sense to turn away from it.

Don’t worry! Be happy! As the song tells us.

Easier said than done. Perhaps. And yet what’s the alternative?

Letting life slip away without any say in the matter?

That’s not Pat’s style.

…and it’s never been mine.

………hugmamma.

(Enjoy other inspirational thoughts at
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/nurturing-thurs-boiling-water/

 

 

nurturing thursdays: i am taking care of you…as shared by pat

For those of you not yet familiar with my current undertaking, I am penning the journey of a dear friend and relative, Pat, as she wends her way through a thorny maze on her way to living her best life. 

You might say that Pat is awaiting her Prince Charming. He who will kiss her lips thereby restoring her to the life she knew before Maleficent cast an evil spell upon the unsuspecting Princess.

In real life, Pat is suffering not one but two, rare diseases which are no match for a hunky Prince Charming, let alone a lightweight like Princess Pat. Hunkering down within her, for the long haul, are Multiple Myeloma and Amyloidosis. Both involve an overproduction of amyloid protein cells which are deposited into organs with potentially devastating consequences. 

Pat is undergoing chemotherapy for MM and is contemplating a stem cell transplant at The Mayo Clinic some time in the future. As for AL, she will have to manage its symptoms with whatever resources are available to her. Besides a medical doctor, Pat is seeing a naturopath, an accupuncturist, and a massage therapist. With the approval of her physician she has taken a supplement to reduce the swelling to her tongue. That symptom alone has caused her to lose 20 pounds because she is unable to chew her food. Juices are about all she can manage these days.

Following is a passage from JESUS CALLING by Sarah Young which was sent to Pat by niece Kelli, one of many who are showering our dear relative with loving care and concern. 

I AM TAKING CARE OF YOU.

Feel the warmth and security of being enveloped in My loving Presence. Every detail of your life is under My control. Moreover, everything fits into a pattern for good, to those who love Me and are called according to My design and purpose.

Because the world is in an abnormal, fallen condition, people tend to think that chance governs the universe. Events may seem to occur randomly, with little or no meaning. People who view the world this way have overlooked one basic fact: the limitations of human understanding. What you know of the world you inhabit is only the tip of the iceberg. Submerged beneath the surface of the visible world are mysteries too vast for you to comprehend. If you could only see how close I am to you and how constantly I work on your behalf, you would never again doubt that I am wonderfully caring for you. This is why you must live by faith, not by sight; trusting in My mysterious, majestic Presence.

ROMANS 8:28 (AMP); JOB 42:1-3
1 PETER 5:7; 2 CORINTHIANS 5:7

…we are never alone…

………hugmamma.

(Enjoy other inspirational writings at
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/nurturing-thurs-let-it-go/