One Heart’s Fortune

2

November 30, 2018, Prescott-

This evening, with a fairly peaceful week of work behind me, and a resolution to the dilemma, that I described in the last post, having been put into motion, I attended the opening night of a play, “Hannah’s Heart”, about a 10-year-old girl in Depression-era Prescott, her family, and two benefactors.

Like many families in the 1930’s, the Meadows’ were a brood led by a swaggering father, who was, ironically, recovering from an injury, and a stoic mother, focused on what she could do to make up for the loss of her husband’s productivity.  The ebb in their fortunes led to older daughter Hannah Grace, stepping up to make tree ornaments, by the sale of which she could provide gifts for her family.

The flow that this effort provided helped reverse the family’s low fortune, at least temporarily.  She was aided in her work by two angelic figures, an elderly woman who lived alone and who was befriended by the Meadows’ and a robust man from Texas, who took on the work, around the family farm, that Mr. Meadows was unable to do.  Both of them mentored Hannah, encouraging her to follow her heart.

I enjoy this sort of down-to-earth, human interest story.  It mirrors the many tales I’ve heard over the years, from both sides of my large extended family, as well as from my departed in-laws.  The format of the play has an elderly Hannah Grace, in the present day, telling her Millennial granddaughter about the events of that long-ago Christmas.  It behooves all present-day youth to learn what they can of that time in history, from those who lived it if possible, so as to be better able to handle similar situations, which could very well arise, in their own lifetimes.

 

Bumps

4

November 29, 2018, Prescott-

It was overcast, almost gloomy, this morning. It seemed the community was almost at a standstill.  Lines were a bit longer; traffic, a bit heavier.  Our students were a bit later, getting to school.

My new phone will wait until the weekend, to get set up. Snags appeared, in getting to my mother-in-law’s services.  There was an overall mood of grouchiness, hereabouts.

Noon came and went, with the day being fairly routine, once we got going.  By 2 p.m., the sky had cleared, at least for a time.  By 4, a possible solution to the above mentioned travel snags had presented itself.  I had a good chiropractic session and took a blessed nap.

Bumps in the road are temporary, if we can see past them.  The other thing is to not be attached to a given outcome.  I would be a bit saddened, if it turns out I don’t get to pay my respects to “Bunny” at her gravesite.  I will not be shattered, though.  There is plenty of need for me to be right here.

Tomorrow, November will bid us farewell and yet another festive season will take its place on stage.  I am another 360 around the Sun, and still sense a lot of fine things are in store, especially if we endure their opposite numbers.

Full Speed Ahead?

5

November 28, 2018, Prescott-

It was certainly a whirlwind birthday, after I got off work.  The crew gave me a lovely fruit tart, which I cut in fours and shared with them.  There were plenty of balloons with which the kids enjoyed playing, when we were not busy with tasks at hand.  Otherwise, it was a fairly peaceful day, in the room.

Afterwards, I set myself towards getting my new phone set up.  Other than getting the SIM card installed, though, it was a no-go.  T-Mobile has too many hoops through which to jump, for someone like me to go DIY.  I may be able to still set the phone up online, once I locate certain passwords and PINS; otherwise, it’ll wait until Sunday, when I will be in Phoenix for other business.

It was far more rewarding to visit the mother of a local friend, in hospital.  A little pine plant and a Christmas healing card seemed to make her very happy.  I spent about an hour with mother and daughter, before the evening nurse visit signaled it was time for me to head out.

Once back home, after dinner and a brief session on Planet Fitness massage equipment, I spent a while on the phone with Aram.  Looks like the Korea visit, next March, is moving full speed ahead, in terms of my hosts’ plans for the week.  Passport is still in progress, but I think that’ll be resolved by mid-December.

More readily will be the trip to Washington, to pay last respects to my mother-in-law, as her interment will be on December 11.  So, without further ado, I will be making travel arrangements, tomorrow and Friday.

Besides the above, 2019 is looming as a year without a full-on agenda.  I know, from past experience, that this will change.  My small universe abhors a vacuum, as much as does the larger one.  I am just glad to wake each morning, go and take care of tasks at hand and be loving to those who cross my path, whether that love gets reciprocated or not.  I still remain wary of those whose rage seems to eclipse whatever good qualities they have, but we take some people one step at a time.  Most everyone else, though, treat me like royalty and they get the same back.

Now, on to the blessings of the last two days of November and of 2018’s closing month.

The Cusp

10

November 27, 2018, Prescott-

As I look back on being 67, living my 68th year, there have been some delirious high points- The wedding gathering of my youngest niece and nephew-in-law, the marriage of my son and daughter-in-law, the deep, loving welcomes I received at some friends’ home in Mishawaka, IN; at Auberge Bishop, in Montreal; at the above-mentioned gathering, in Philadelphia; in my in-laws’ home, in Florida; at a friend’s house in Salisbury, NC;  at a family gathering of some friends, in Crossville, TN; at Convergence at Arcosanti.

These loving environments almost overwhelmed me, but they shouldn’t have.  I have been very well-treated, for many years now, by the vast majority of those closest to me.  I am not sure why the shadows, the relatively few dark episodes of the year now coming to a close, seem to loom so large.  In objective terms, they pale beside all the times I have been greeted by my dear friends, at regular events around our area.

My steadfast friends range from those I see daily, at work, to those I see 2-3 times a week, at faith events, to those who, for whatever reason, I rarely see or with whom I seldom speak.  Then, too, there are the thousand-plus fields of people who regularly read my posts, and who have showered so much love on me, some for nearly a decade.  There are those I have met, who have become friends for the long term and others who are nice enough, but whose inner pain has taken them out of my life, after just a few encounters.  I last saw one of those people, not two days ago.

As with any year, there were farewells:  My mother-in-law and her older sister; one of Penny’s maternal cousins; a dedicated staff member at a Baha’i Institute, northeast of here; a long-time friend in New Zealand and several friends and elders from my childhood, most prominently an upstreet neighbour, who was virtually one of my surrogate fathers.

There were also hellos, some fleeting- like the woman who got me to put Penny’s and my wedding bands on my right ring finger and another woman who got me to attend a Game Night at a local coffee house. Neither were very long in my life. There are also the hoop dancers of Phoenix and the crews at Ms. Natural’s, Cuppers and Rustic Pie, here in town. These friendships are more likely to last.

The year brought me to California, in late winter, and from Nevada -to Quebec -to Florida and back to Arizona.  I camped in both rain and clear sky, spent a night in a private condominium,   stayed in four hostels, a business hotel, seven motels, three comfortable homes and slept one night in my car.

It has been a year of risks and rewards, more so than some years. It has prepared me for more.

Letting Go; Not Giving Up

4

November 26, 2018, Prescott-

This day is to honour  ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Who guided the Baha’i Faith, from the Ascension of Baha’u’llah, on May 29, 1892 to His own  passing, on November 28, 1921. It is called the Day of the Covenant, as ‘Abdu’l-Baha symbolized the agreement between Baha’u’llah and His followers.  He explained much of His Father’s Revelation to us.

‘Abdu’l-Baha suffered, physically, for much of His life on Earth.  He came to North America and Europe, from 1911-13, visiting many major cities, and maintained a schedule that would have been daunting for someone half His age.

He made this journey when He was between the ages of 67-69. As I will turn 68, in a few days, I have to admire His fortitude.  The example set was a strong one, and was derived from both detachment and commitment, in equal balance.

An example came when He was in San Francisco, and it was requested by some Baha’is in Los Angeles, that He visit their city. Bear in mind that this was in 1912, and there were costs involved that seemed insurmountable.  ‘Abdu’l-Baha did not impinge on anyone, in meeting His expenses.  He at first told the Los Angeles friends that He would not be able to make the journey, though it caused Him great sorrow.  A short time afterward, though, money was found. ‘Abdu’l-Baha and His entourage made the train trip south to Los Angeles and spent a day or so there, specifically visiting the grave of the first American to declare his faith in Baha’u’llah.  That man’s name was Thornton Chase.  ‘Abdu’l-Baha showed that, by letting go, a person gives the Divine, the Universe, room to muster its energy and bring things to fruition.

I have been in many situations, including this year, where it has been prudent to let go of plans and expectations, and to move with the flow of energy.  These situations have, in the long run, not hampered my well-being and have actually helped to purify my life.  There will be others, I’m certain, as this year winds down and subsequent years unfold.  I can rely on the example set by ‘Abdu’l-Baha, in pondering my reaction to the changes that are in store.

Sunshine Blogger Award

16

November 25, 2018, Prescott-

sunshine-blogger-award

The rules of this Awesome Sunshine Blogger Award are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blogging sites.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
  • List the rules and display the sunshine blogger award logo on your site or on your post.

The questions:

 

  1. Are you the  jolly type or serious type personality,  and why ?

I am easy-going, most of the time, with a sense of humour about most situations. I am serious, when the situation calls for careful, sober behaviour.

2. When you are irritated, how crazed you can become ?

I am rarely driven to intense anger. Rape, child abuse and unlawful imprisonment are what make me angry, when I encounter them.  I would not allow myself to beat someone senseless, but would certainly pursue justice for a victim of such crimes.

3. What is your opinion on live in relationship ?

I believe in marriage.  Sex outside of marriage is wrong, except in cases of extreme chaos and massive casualties in a population, when people need to live together, for the sake of security.

4.   Your thoughts,when you realised that next minute you are going to die …

I have lived a wonderful life. My beloved is waiting, on the other side of the veil.

5. Can you tell me,what is the necessity for so many religions to come into the existence ?

There is a misconception, among most people, that each of the Divine Messengers is separate from all Others.  Each person thinks “his” or “her’ Messenger is the sole Voice of God.  Then, there are those who follow a variation of a revealed Faith- (Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Christians, Sunni, Shiite, Sufi, Theravada, Hinayana, etc.)  There is, in fact, one Spiritual Truth, which is revealed to the extent the people of the time can understand.

6.  What is the one fulfillment ,you demand from God ?

I demand nothing from God.  He is the Creator and I am one of His creatures.

 

7.  Do you Love & marry the person or Marry and then Love the person ?

I sense that, by “love”, you are referring to romance and sex.  I believe that sex should only happen after marriage.  I love several women, as friends.  I could be romantic with a single woman, but not involve myself sexually unless I married her.

8.  At what limit of your income,you feel satisfied ?

I am content with an income of U.S. $ 30-40K.  I would accept, and invest, more, of course.

 

9.  Which part of your childhood you cherish most ?

I enjoyed my middle childhood, ages 8-11, the most.

10.  What is/was most embarrassing moment in your life ?

Being set up by a small group of adults and teens, whilst taking over a supervisory role with two of the teens.  They were given money by unknown adults, to finance a get-away from residential school, on my watch.

11.   What is your favorite quote ?

“The Earth is but one country and mankind, its citizens.”-Baha’u’llah

Thank you, Philosophy through Photography

My nominees are:

stellabailey.wordpress.com

Somewhat Damaged

Sunshiny SA Site

Happiness Between Tails by da-AL

SHEILA RENEE PARKER

Book ‘Em, Jan O

psychologistmimi.wordpress.com

priscawriter.wordpress.com

Stories I’ve Never Told…

Victoria Ray

www.madekesiworld.com

 

Here are my questions.

  1.  What gets you up in the morning?
  2.  Where do you work, or go to school?  Is it far from your home?
  3.  What makes you continue, even in the face of trial?
  4.  What brings you the most joy?
  5.  What is your honest opinion of social media?
  6.  Do you have a role model?  If so, what about that person draws you in?
  7.  What have you learned from a setback?
  8.  What do you think your community needs most?  Your country?
  9.  Would you like to travel? To where?
  10.  Which is more urgent, fixing potholes in your city’s roads, or travel to Mars?
  11.  Which human quality do you find most appealing?  Why?

 

Gratitude Week, Day 7: The Finest Fruits

9

November 24, 2018, Prescott-

I have decided to end this week of gratitude, by looking back at the ten best choices I ever made.  I am grateful to the Universe for having placed these in front of me and I have a measure of self-gratitude for having made them.

10,  Serving in the Army– At 18, I had little to show for my life. There was no discipline, of which to speak and my world consisted of drooling over girls and imbibing too much alcohol, too fast.  Other-imposed discipline gave me a regimen, which I could add to the work ethic that my parents instilled in each of us and it set me on  a course of self-reliance, which I still need and use.

9.  Studying Psychology- It didn’t make me wealthy and barely got me a job, but knowing something of what makes the human mind tick has given me insight into myself and has made me more understanding of others.

8. Living on the Navajo Nation- I have a strong genetic memory of the Indigenous. I am not much, in terms of blood quantum, but my nature fairly burns with the feeling that I belong in the woodlands; that I am a gatherer and a sharer; that I am one with the Universe. Being on the same page, day to day, with Dineh (Navajo) and Hopi people reinforced that unity.

7. Blogging-   Writing is a skill that three of my four high school English teachers saw as a talent that I needed to sharpen.  They gave me the tools to keep on sharpening that talent.  College brought it up another notch.  As a caretaker, and then as a widower, far from extended family, blogging gave me an outlet, one step up from journaling  (which I also still do) and a wider appreciative audience.

6, Returning to work, full time- In 2016, having been a substitute teacher, with a couple of other jobs, whilst being Penny’s caretaker, I found a niche at Prescott High School.  My place there was, more or less, secure and I was urged to return full-time, for the years leading up to my retirement from education.  That work has been fulfilling, and will remain so until I reach 70, two years from now.

5.  Working as a counselor- As a school counselor, I was able to impact thousands of lives, over the span of eleven years, between Tuba City and Keams Canyon/Jeddito, and some of those lives were saved.  I am haunted by  a few lives that weren’t and by those I couldn’t reach.  The majority, though, learned life skills and resilience, and knew that someone had their backs.

4. Settling in Prescott- The job aside, moving here after Penny’s passing was a lifesaver.  I had the anchor of a house, for the time I needed it, and of a Faith Community with whom I was already familiar and who were not intimate with Penny’s suffering.  That last was important.  I could not have the constant reminders of all that we had endured together.  Since then, I have made many new friends and branched out in several directions-all healthy.

3. Widespread travel-Besides going back and forth from Arizona to the East Coast, for family visits, my wanderlust has taken me to western Europe, Hawai’i, the Pacific Northwest and southeast Alaska.  I took in a small swath of eastern Canada, last summer and am likely to cross our northern neighbour again, in the summer of 2020.  California, Nevada and Colorado have also seen a lot of me, these past seven years, as have the South and Midwest.  This is an essential part of who I am.

2.  Getting married- I have always been crazy about girls and women.  There isn’t much about the opposite gender that I don’t like, though I am proud to be male.    Self-dislike got in the way, though, when I found myself drawn to one young lady after another.  Penny didn’t fall for any of that, and we built a solid foundation, by which both of us were able to tame most of our demons and raise a fine young man, who has taken his full place in the world.

1. Recognizing Baha’u’llah- I received a solid spiritual foundation, having been raised in the Roman Catholic faith. As I matured, though, the rituals and practices began to feel automatic to me, and I have always known that there is a continuity to Divine Revelation, superseding any one of the faiths or denominations that are commonplace.  In 1972, I heard of Baha’u’llah, and the Baha’i Faith, for the first time.  Nine years later, I embraced Baha’i as my own.  I have found its precepts teach everything in which I already believe, and the teachings regarding health are exactly what I needed, to tame the demon of alcohol dependence.  Far beyond those, however, are the vision of planetary and human unity-dispelling the darknesses of racism, nationalism and excessive materialism.

I am sure I will have other choices to make, in the coming days, months, and years.  Perhaps a life-changer will be among them, as well.

Gratitude Week, Day 6: The Great Notes

4

November 23, 2018, Prescott-

I am barely a singer, have no instrumental talent of which to speak and can’t read sheet music, yet music has been one of my fall backs, in happy times and in sad.  This post features ten tunes that especially resonate.  So, there’s not much text here.  Listen to those you find appealing, and know that each has a special place in my heart.

10. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSq4B_zHqPM

9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGDA0Hecw1k

8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mw5Y0AbHt1o

7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtGZGBvb7ic

6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8AWFf7EAc4

5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awzNHuGqoMc

4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BNRBgxiS2c (There is a lot of commentary here.  The song is what is at the heart.)

3.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpwdwbO1uvM

2.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Biex1XR_mpo-(This lovely tune, in a wondrous context.)

1.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yfwlj0gba_k (because it is so).

There are hundreds of others.  These are what are in my heart, most readily.

Gratitude Week, Day 5: Family

11

November 22, 2018, Prescott-

There is no more important institution in this world than family.  I  have spent time, this year, with people who cherish their families and those who despise their families.  Counting myself among the former, I enjoyed communication with one of my siblings, and left messages for my mother and two other siblings. Son and daughter-in-law are on for tomorrow, by Messenger phone.

My family also includes those close to me here. In late morning, I went with one of my better friends to an early holiday meal. A young couple included me in their noon Thanksgiving gathering, so five of us enjoyed a perfect, complete traditional dinner, in the couple’s comfortable home in Dewey, a twenty-minute drive from Prescott. The meal had a British, rather Celtic, touch to it, having been largely prepared by a delightful young lady form England, who is a co-worker of the husband.  I ate with relish, but in moderation, knowing there was another gathering in store for me, later on. After a wide-ranging, two-hour conversation, following the meal, I headed home for a brief rest.

Towards evening, I headed out again, for yet another perfect gathering, at the forest home of another of my best friends.  The family, whom I have known for five years, was joined this year by my friend’s older daughter and her bright, engaging 2-year-old grandson. It’s always a sublime pleasure to watch a child experiencing things which we may regard as commonplace, for the first time, and with great enthusiasm.  He had great joy showing me each of his toy vehicles and telling what they were.  His other pleasure was in helping decorate his grandmother’s Christmas tree.  My friend pulls out all the stops in her holiday meal, with plenty of help from her two daughters and a sister.  After the meal, we all watched “The Greatest Showman”, which reminded me of the very basic commitment that is family and how easy it is to lose track of what matters.

I have had my variation on the dilemma faced by P.T. Barnum- Does career matter so much that family becomes trivial?  My choice was similar to his; when career threatened my marriage, I pulled back from work.  When Penny’s health declined, work became nearly irrelevant, much to the consternation of my superiors and their politician-benefactors.  Like Barnum, I bounced back and survived.

In the long term, my son is doing well, as are my siblings.  Mother is holding her own.  I am in a good place, in terms of work and in terms of friends.  The bedrock, though, is in how I was raised and in the importance I have given to those closest to me.  That will only get stronger, as time goes on.

Gratitude Week, Day 4- Those Who Serve

0

November 21, 2018, Congress, AZ-

I’m enjoying dinner here, at Nichols West, a small but elegant restaurant, on the north side  of this tiny ranching and mining town, itself at the western edge of Yavapai County.  The place is the love-work of an English-South African-New Zealander couple, and has not once left me wanting for a fine meal.

I came here, after setting myself the challenge of re-training my knees to work together, whilst paying respects for a second time, to the nineteen men who perished in the Yarnell Hill fire, on June 30, 2013.

I know members of four of the families of those who gave their lives that day.  Their collective sacrifice is typical of those families who give us their finest members, each and every day, never knowing whether their child, spouse or parent is going to return home, safe and sound.

This sacrifice has been written large, in the 9/11 attacks, in the mass killings of military and first responders of less celebrated, but equally compelling, disasters, and in the wildland fires, and other natural disasters, that continue to ravage locations across the country and across the planet.

So, I walked to the circle of gabions, in a quiet valley below the boulder-racked ridges of Yarnell Hill, the southern tip of the Santa Maria Range.  There were several others, enjoying the bright blue sky and rugged trail, whilst paying their own homage to the brave.  It is always worth the trek.20181121_121343[1]

I took my time, and was nearly the last one out of the park, with fifteen minutes to spare. The day  began with me befriending a frightened woman, who is caretaker to the love of her life (Yes, we also serve, who sit and wait), and listening/counseling her to keep on loving and cherishing the man who has been everything to her for decades. It is now ending, with my knees no worse for the wear and a restorative meal, having honoured those fallen men, whose memory is indelible.

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