Friday, December 31, 2010

New year, a new word

For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.
-
T.S. Eliot 

Love a new year, it gives one reason to reflect, review, anticipate... So it is again. I decided that the word that best summed up the desire of my heart was serenity.
I want to streamline my possessions. I want to take more time for inner exploration which may leave less for more visible pursuits, but maybe not.
Let's see what a year in pursuit of serenity looks like and where it leads.
What's your word? Where are you wanting to go?


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The end of a mindful year

I think mindful was a good word for 2010. I've had plenty to be mindful of and I do think it has helped me accomplish what I hoped and that was to be more aware of my life and not let it pass me by. I realize a difference in my perception of time as I get older. It goes by a lot faster now and before I know it another year passes so fast it was a blur. So, my goal was to just soak it in a little more. Not to be a member of the human race who was literally-racing.
It is a hard thing for me because I love doing and trying new things, new recipes, new crafts, new challenges, new work. It is stimulating...... and exhausting at the same time.
So, I was more mindful even though it still sped at a pretty good clip, mindful that a few themes like, love, gratitude, justice came up over and over again.
But, mostly it was all about the love.



Thanks for journeying with me!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gratitude and it is almost Christmas!

(I started this on Thanksgiving!)
I probably need to do this daily, (the writing part) so I thought it would be time well spent to actually write down some of the many thing for which I give thanks. I've been in a bit of a ditch lately and I know from experience the best way out is gratitude. So in an order not reflective of importance but more one reflective of my current state of mind, here goes:

I am grateful for:
good health and realize a lot of that depends on me-that said after a week of indulgent eating and a definite need to get off the food train and on the exercise wagon to feel good and to feel ready for the food fests that are ahead this next month. Food is a great pleasure in life for me- I love the way it taste, I love to buy it, look at it, talk to the people who grow it, which brings me to more on my list

my husband, who is the primary cook of the food I enjoy.  I could and may list him many time for many reasons, but while we are on the subject of food, I am grateful for every day I don't have to think of what to cook, shop for it in a grocery store, or prepare it.  He is my safe place to be and I love him for it. I hope he finds having a housekeeper a fair exchange and equally rewarding. And speaking of rewarding

my work, I am so lucky to enjoy the work that I do. I have to say most days are wonderful at work, whether I am seeing patients, some of whom I have know for more than 30 years, or, as one friend said about owning my own business, "living the American Dream". Each year my little business has grown and while it was one of the scariest things I ever did, it has been one of the most rewarding. My clients have encouraged, affirmed and referred new people to me to grow this dream. I thank them so much. On to more thankfulness

I'm thankful to have had the joy and sorrow, bliss and despair, and so many other emotions that come with being a parent. I wish I could remember each moment and hold it in my hand and look at it from many angles. When was the last day I picked my child up and put them on my hip? They outgrew it without the noting of the day. When was the last bath I gave or story I read in bed to them? Each child, in their own way, has owned a part of me that no other does, a love all their own. I hope they know that above all else.

I'm thankful for a renewed relationship with my younger sister. We weren't particularly close and I almost missed out on this really terrific relationship. I hope we have many years ahead.









I'm grateful to be a grandmother, such a special thing.  I've gained wisdom over the years that hopefully my grandchildren benefit from that my kids missed out on.  Don't have to be a disciplinarian, just a gentle guide and creator of fun, example (and any inconsistencies will be pointed out), cookie making, movie watching, nature exploring, so much to do-so little time!  I try to do NO chores and play, play, play-the luxury of a grandmother.



I'm grateful for friends, what on earth would we do without them? The family we get to choose!

So much more to say but if I don't end, there won't be time for Christmas mindfulness! And then there is the new word of the year for 2011.... what will it be?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bliss

What's not to love about a new baby?  This is sweet Ophelia Elizabeth. And while I have loved looking at her, holding her, and marveling at her, the super joyful moments are watching Ez with her. He is so gentle and thinks she is so cute and sweet. It is blissful to see them together. I wish for her and him a lifetime of sweet companionship. Mindful of the joy of siblings and how blissful, fresh and new life can be.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mindful of injustice

I just finished watching "For the Bible Tells Me So" a Sundance documentary in which the director looks at ways the Church has used and sometimes exploited Scripture to deny human rights to gays and lesbians.
It was a reminder of the hatred that continues to live in the name of religion, which has always been one of my deepest conflicts with my church life. I have, for as long as I can remember, been an inclusive person, and consider that to be one of the gifts I have been given. I guess one of the things I took away most personally is not to respond to this kind of absurdity with the same hatred that has been shown to gays and lesbians, but it sure does make me mad. It also makes me think I should be doing much more to support gays, lesbians, transgendered and bi-sexuals and all others who suffer injustice, especially in the name of God.
I remember being confronted by an elderly Junior High School school teacher about not sticking up for a white friend of mine when she and a black girl got into a fight after school. I didn't realize how inappropriate that whole discussion was at the time-it was the 60's and the water fountains at the court house were still segregated- another mystery to me even at age 8 or 10 when my mother informed me that the fountain I was about to drink from was for black people. Oh, but really, different water fountains? Why, oh, why?  I had no hesitation in telling that teacher that they both were wrong to hit each other, a point that didn't endear me to her.
I've struggled within my own church with the on going-don't ask, don't tell,  "I don't think we will be an open and affirming church" attitude towards gays and lesbians, which I just find to be in contradiction to what I know of Christ. Thankfully, I am seeing improvement and a willingness to just love people more.
Open, accepting, embracing, affirming and loving? I don't think Jesus would have it any other way.
Mindful of the importance of love, and sure the world would be a better place with a lot more of it.
I was just lucky to be born of a persuasion that is more societally acceptable. People could ask why I'm attracted to men- couldn't explain it any more than a gay or lesbian person can explain their attraction to someone.
The suicides as a result of bullying are shocking, the many more who are suffering beyond those known cases-far to many.
There are so many reasons to affirm people. Too bad we are spending so much time trying to divide and persecute.
Mindful of being grateful that I can see the world differently and hopeful that I live it out more fully. No one should live in fear.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering

I know exactly where I was when I heard that something had struck one of the Twin Towers on 9/11/01.  I had a scan of my gallbladder scheduled (what fun, huh?) and I was in the waiting room watching the early morning news. There was talk that a plane, perhaps a small one, had hit the North Tower. The hole seemed big for a private plane. I remember telling the technician to catch the news, something was going on in NYC.
I went home and by then the second plane had hit and it was obvious what had occurred.
I called my office to make sure they were aware. We keep popular radio on but not TV. Oddly, I had brought a tiny 7 inch TV to work just a week or so before saying that you never know when you'll want to catch something on TV (we do live in tornado alley!). They had grabbed the little TV after a patient told them what happened.
Next, the Pentagon. Panic struck even more. My daughter was a nurse in Bethesda at the National Institutes of Health but live right in downtown DC. I couldn't reach her by phone, couldn't reach her partner, you couldn't reach anyone by phone.  I sent an email to someone I had previously had a relationship with, who was a journalist in DC and asked if necessary, would he get to her house to check on her?  I knew he would be tremendously busy, but I also knew he'd do it if necessary. I'd keep trying by phone until I couldn't stand it any longer.
I had a class to teach that afternoon.  It was all we could do (all of us) to get through our material and get back to the news coverage. They were very kind and sympathetic as I checked my phone regularly for news of Amy. To this day, those who were there bring up that year's training.
She was fine and later emailed me.  (Huge sigh of relief!) She did not go into work and was told not to come unless contacted. Those already working would stay on indefinitely.  Traffic was a mess as you can imagine and the city was practically under military control.  For a long time after, if driving on to NIH property, your car had to be inspected, as with all government facilities.
Her partner was scheduled to meet with a man at the Pentagon to discuss work that her company was doing with them.  That man died in the Pentagon attack. Such a strange feeling.
Everything was strange after that. Nothing really ever the same. Skylines, air travel, points of time references..... My niece, who had worked in one of the Twin Towers on the hundredth-something floor, had not long before changed jobs and moved out of NYC, my sister-in-law was there in NY that day and had a time of it returning to Texas with air traffic grounded, the endless names and faces of those missing and searching, oh, so sad.
I flew to DC not a month after 9/11. One of the strangest trips I ever made, eerie really.  Security so different and tight, but still in the infancy of its change. Odd what they would and wouldn't let you through with, still true in some ways.
I remember as I drove through the city, damage to the Pentagon still so raw, ground to air assault weapons placed everywhere, helicopters everywhere, men with guns everywhere all so surreal.
I'm mindful today of how things can change in a second......forever.....and mindful of all of us, changed forever by that attack.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Passing it on

I always admired my mother's wedding ring. I thought it was just lovely. Simple design and flat. I don't like rings with a lot of prongs that stand up. Wearing gloves to work the better part of my life, they have never appealed to me at all. I like rings that you can wear every day. I occasionally think to put one one for just the day, but not often.
So, for a ring with diamonds, or any stone, really, it was my favorite. I've said forever that it was the only piece of her jewelry I ever wanted, and she has some lovely things.
She took it off when she had her shoulder surgery last year and knew it wouldn't go back on unless she had it resized which she didn't want to do because of the hand inscription inside it. So, in a drawer it has been. Until now.
 It is now mine. I am so pleased to have it, a lovely reminder of my parents. I look at it over and over again.
I hope my mother enjoys seeing it on a different finger in the days to come.
Mindful of how lovely it is to get a family treasure while the original owner is still here to share it with.
Thanks, Mom.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Aging


My mother had a transient ischemic attack a week ago. Let me add that she is back to her same self now. She went to the hospital after a visit to the nurse practitioner after I told her I wasn't comfortable with her just "keeping an eye on things" after her foot and leg were numb... and her arm being a little numb later, but probably just "asleep", and she had been unusually tired recently,  oh, and had had some pain in her neck.  All of this came out, one symptom at a time over 24 hours. See how the day went?

Over night stay turned into two more days of tests in the hospital, the day they were going to release her, she really felt worse, so a quick look at her heart, blood pressure and that cholesterol that was too high. Mom has a great way of explaining things away. She was on a floor where almost all of the patients had monitors on the bed and ALL were connected to heart monitors.

Friday, she had a revelation, something that was truly new to her........
She was "old"! She was on the "old person" floor in the hospital and was herself.... old! She really hadn't realized it.

I'm really glad that she has viewed herself these almost 82 years as "young". And truly, she has been by most means of measuring. She lives in her own home, cuts her grass, goes to the gym twice a week, drives to Florida if she chooses and leads an active social life.

I'm hoping that the new medications, and a few tweaks to her lifestyle won't change her attitude and that she won't view herself as "old", but perhaps treat herself with kindness and permission to just "be" every now and again.

Appreciating the good health my mother has had all of these years, and mindful of the truth that you really are only as old as you feel. Most days she has rarely felt a day over 60. Isn't that great?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Midway

The Sketchbook Project: 2011
This is my 20th post, so I'm not averaging one a week, but still feel overall more mindful. That was my plan.
I'm excited about participating in The Sketchbook Project. I like creating and give a lot of art away, but I usually get art in return, this time-not so much. My little sketch book, who's theme is "This is not a sketchbook" will be traveling around the country, oh, and I just this minute realized it will be in Seattle! Hummm, wouldn't it be fun to see it with Amy and Rachel at Form/Space Atelier?
I also considered the themes; "in flight" and "and then there was none". What theme would have caught your eye?
I wonder what muse will come my way for this little project? I can't wait.
Mindful that creating anything from the blankness of a white page is truly awesome and of the fact that everyone is an artist and creator in some way.
I bet there is a little piece of blankness somewhere just waiting for your offering, maybe an empty bowl that needs your wonderful food, a patch of dirt just waiting to become a garden, a house just waiting to become a home.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Life can be a barrel of fun!

This morning on the way home from the farmers market, I spied this fun board outside of Why Louisville, a store full of fun stuff. They are celebrating their 5th anniversary.  I had my picture taken on both sides. I think those things are so much fun!  This afternoon we met Brian and took E to see Toy Story 3 in 3D. Fun, fun-the movie and watching the guys. Off to McDonald's for a snack-complete with toy, of course, and a fun turtle-looking light to stand on, too. Mindful that fun may lie around most any corner if you look.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Graduation Day



How can 5 years have gone by?  I know I'll be saying the same in another 13 after high school graduation, too. As much as I try to savor every minute, they mount up so fast. Pre-K graduation, caps and gowns, seems so grown up! He was pretty excited about it all, though. The coolest thing to me was that the teacher had put together two small photo albums of pictures throughout the year for the parents. Sweet.
Mindful today that it all goes by way to fast even when you ARE stopping to smell the roses.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Loving where I live


I remind myself often of how happy I am to live where I live. Louisville is a great city. Small enough to avoid endless commutes and big enough for great cultural events, museums, concerts, farmers markets, not to mention home to the Kentucky Derby, or The Derby as we locals like to refer to it. Derby Festival time is always when I remember my love of Louisville-so much going on. And spring is truly spectacular here with flowering trees, shrubs and flowers.
My only grandchild lives here, too, which really makes it my number one happy reason to live here. You can always read about him on my other blog. I'm so lucky to be his "Jams".
I dearly love my house and neighborhood. I live within walking distance of some of the best restaurants I've eaten in anywhere in the world and I do love food. It really does make me smile every time I pull in the driveway to my home. I just think it is charming. I didn't choose it, Jim did-before we married. So, I don't have a problem bragging on it. The flower boxes, changing the color of the shutters, the spectacular daylilies in July, the added fence down the left side, curving sidewalk down the side and the pond, deck and brick patio and flowers. I am just the luckiest.
I also have a great job that I love, also by luck. I had no idea what to do when I got out of high school, a year early at that. My mom suggested dental hygiene-she had started in the first class at U of L but didn't finish. Always a need for them- wherever you go, and the patients you see are, for the most part, healthy. I was lucky it was perfect. Little completed tasks all day long, a lot of autonomy. Perfect for my personality. Then when I started my business Educare, which was scary as can be, it was perfect for me, too. I was talked into it by a friend who had been doing the same thing but was taking a different job. She sold me her client list and pointed me to places of certification and voila! I didn't really think about it until my friend Ed Huckleberry said "Wow, you are living the American Dream" that I really was by working for myself part-time.
And then there's Jim who shares it with me. Lucky, lucky, lucky. Who needs a winner on Derby Day? I feel like a winner every day. Great city, great kids and grandson, great husband, cool neighborhood, cozy home, good food and a great job.
Mindful of how good life is for me, wishing everyone had it so good.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Does it get any better than this?

A fun little five year old who loves life and me, too. I have the best time with this little guy who reminds me to slow down and to look in all directions not to miss anything. I couldn't get a picture of it, but he observed the biggest spider web I've ever seen that was probably 12 feet above us and had all kinds of things captured in it!






Gotta love jumping!

Oh, the joy of blowing dandelions! He knows yellow is my favorite color.

Mindful of the importance of viewing life from a child's eye and the joy of being loved by a little boy.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle....


This is for Amy. I must say that every time I come home from Seattle I have a few adjustments to make. This is for several reasons: time zone change, missing Amy and Rachel, but also missing mass, city-wide recycling. Everyone recycles. Businesses, homes, apartments, condos. There are multiple bins for paper, plastic and cans everywhere. Food and yard waste collection is REQUIRED unless you compost at home! I realized when I visited last month that the garbage collection and recycling bin sizes are just the opposite of mine!  Her garbage can (small black one) is the size of my orange recycling bin, her recycling-the size of my garbage bin! Plus the added bin for food and yard waste.
Additionally, their garage houses their bikes, which they use for transportation daily.
Mindful of the importance of being a good steward of the planet and ever working toward the goal.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

There's no place like home


After a whirlwind of fabulous travel, Seattle, Vancouver, Olympic Mountains..... and visits with fun folks like my DD and DIL, I am mindful that there's no place like home. I love coming home to my husband, my house, my friends, my hometown family, and even my job.
I feel so fortunate and blessed. Feelin' the love of home today......

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Adventure



I felt the need for some adventure this week. Travel is always an adventure and I've been doing a lot of it. Plane, Trains, Automobiles, Buses, Light Rails..... I haven't taken a boat yet, but that can easily be arranged. There is something about travel that is so "adult". Managing schedules, getting to locations, figuring out what to do when you get lost. All part of it.
I think it is the excitement and anticipation that can be invigorating or a little anxiety producing. I used to LOVE to fly. I don't as much anymore, I think the anxiousness takes over and there are so many more hoops than air travel pre 2001.
I'm disciplining myself to travel with my passport every time I get on a plane so I am ready for anything that comes up. This week it was handy. I decided to head to Vancouver to see the city while hosting the Olympics. I'm sure it was decorated for the event and I want to return when it has gone back to what ever normal is for Vancouver. But, it has wonderful architecture, a nice waterfront, friendly people, and an air of sophistication about it. It certainly is in a beautiful setting with the mountains all around.
The travel by train, the Olympic atmosphere, the excited activity in the area, and lovely vistas made for a terrific adventure. I'm so glad I went, though at one point I did ask myself "What are you thinking?"
I'm mindful as I get older that adventures are rewarding and worth the twinge of nervousness associated with them.
I wonder what adventure is in store for me today in Seattle?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fun!






Birthdays are fun! I had a blast celebrating mine, two sons' and grandson's yesterday. The really great thing is that I truly feel everyone had FUN! Family events, at least with my family, can be touch and go. Kindness and courtesy always-but, I think fun was the word of the day. They not only dutifully participated in craft-making but would have done even more of it if I'd bought more supplies! Who'd have guessed? Ezra was the main do-it-yourself tye dye cupcake decorator and did two! He only ate the top half of the second. I love his mismatched socks. You can't go wrong with some chalkboard fabric for a tablecloth, some gel icing and white iced cupcakes, a little polymer clay and some chili.
Mindful of how important fun is-I tend to take life a little seriously. I can't wait for the next birthday!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love, Love, Love









Valentine's Day is just a recognized reason to share the LOVE! I'm all about it and probably don't express it nearly enough. I'm planning to spend more time DOING it this year. Hoping to get all of the family that is available next Saturday at my house for a big Birthday and Valentine's celebration. My two sons, grandson, their paternal grandmother, and I have birthdays between the end of January and the end of February and then there's Valentine's Day. Hope you are spreading some love today.
It's really what life's all about and the more you give away the more you get in return. Do something loving for someone today-you'll be glad you did.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Down to the River to Pray

It was an emotional day for the Knopfs, friends and family yesterday as we said a formal goodbye to Bill. As with all families there are some strained relationships that are forced to cross paths at times like these. Awkward moments and rehashing of "should I have said or should I have done" add to the emotion, too.
I was very proud of my children for having the desire to sing and the incredible courage in the midst of their grief to stand up in front of a couple of hundred people to do something for their relatives and to honor the memory of their grandfather.
I am mindful of the incredible power of love today and my heart overflows with it for them.

video

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It's the little things



This is an update on my Loose Change the World endeavors and spreading some love with my free printables from Kind Over Matter.
I put together some things to carry in my purse. It is a challenge to do this unobserved. I left a card at the bank Friday and the card and change in the change holder at the grocery today. It was fun! How about you, spread any love lately? Mindful of the fun of giving things away and brightening someone's day with a surprise.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Heartbroken

I am mindful of the heartbroken feeling when losing a loved one today. Amy is on her way home again to be with her family. The boys are so very sad. A day which should celebrate Eric's birth into this world is dimmed by the loss of his "Pop". Heartbroken for them and all who loved Bill Knopf. He was a man who lived life well, who knew who he was, and loved generously. I was lucky to know him and to be with him and Shirley yesterday.

I love this anonymous poem and it comes to me when someone I love dies.

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there, I did not die. - - Anonymous.

Sweet peace, my friend, I see you even now in the glint of the fallen snow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's All About the Love


I can remember when our current pastor came all of the video and info about him and his ministry contained a theme that I held as true. I would look at my two good friends and at the end of any meeting or conversation regarding his pastorship and we would say aloud to each other and smile-"It's all about the Love". And, it is really. Whenever I think of what I'll leave this world and those in it, it all comes down to that-Love. It is the part that stays.
I reminded my daughter of that as she cried over leaving her grandfather for what will most very likely be the last time. His love for her, which has partly made her who she is and who she will be to others, will still be floating around the earth long after he is gone through those he loved. And while she always thought he would know her children and they-him, in a way they will through her. He has been her father figure-dependable, strong, challenging, accepting, safe and wise. He has been the longest, older male relationship she has had in this family full of women. She has only aunts and only one uncle by marriage that she has been close to and he has always lived out of town.
And, too, my friend Sue's blog also brought this to mind today. So, I have decided to make regular post on this blog about loose change and what I am doing with it to spread love and hope on a regular basis. You can read about one woman's mission here-
Loose change the world
Mindful of love today.
Wanna spread some?