Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Everyday I Write the Book

Today is my granddaughter’s birthday.  She is 15 years old!  We are very close, as she lives with me.  Over the weekend, we had a party for her with some of her friends and family.  Her dad, my oldest son, Matthew, was with us and I suddenly thought of something from when he was young that set me off on one of my ramblings….
I was reminded of a time when he was about 6 or 7 years old.  It was in the early 80’s, and Elvis Costello had just released his song, “Everyday I Write the Book”.  Do you remember it?  It had a Jamaican beat and the catchy phrasing only Elvis can produce.  It was getting a lot of play time, and as we were riding in the car one day, I was singing along in earnest with the radio.  Matthew was in the back seat and leaned up behind me and said, “Mommy, you might write the book every day, but I illustrate it”!  (He loved drawing.)  Well, I just came unglued laughing about the many levels of meaning that statement had!  He, of course, was just talking about drawing…although where he got the word “illustrate” I’ll never know…yet, at another level, all that I did in my life was out picturing through Matthew and his brother, Nathan. 
I have thought of this quite a bit over the years.  On many occasions, such as this one, his sweet and innocent little boy words drift back to me.  And it is true, isn’t it?  Whatever actions, thoughts and attitudes we put out, our children and others in our lives reflect back to us.  I often say that my children turned into the person I used to be.  They didn’t turn into the one I am now, because that is not what was presented to them in their impressionable childhood.  They became the thing that was presented at that time. 
And this brings me back to my granddaughter….now she is “illustrating” what she saw written during her most impressionable years!  This is the main reason that environment begets environment.   Why cycles of behavior and actions passed from grandparents to parents to children are so very difficult to break.  Even when the parent feels they have broken their pattern or are at least consciously making an effort to do so, the child still must go through their own change.  Maybe when our grown up children see the changes we have made, they can then recognize that they, too, can make similar changes.
I guess the point I’m attempting to make here is that what we do – what we write everyday – is illustrated or reflected back to us through the people in our lives no matter what role they are playing.  Look at the people nearest and dearest to you and see how you are reflected through them.  Manage or change your actions and thoughts based on their behavior.  At the end of today, what pages will you have written in your book?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Plowing Through

Sometimes we just have days that seem like a struggle.  There is nothing "wrong" with this...every day just can't be sunshine and butterflies.  Some days we just have to take a deep breath and plow through.  We are creatures of dualism...day/night, black/white, love/fear, up/down....that is our world and it is perfect for us!  Yet on those days that seem difficult, we can plow through with our heads down or plow through with our heads up!!  It is our choice.  We can choose to bask in our depression, feed it, and wonder why we are here...or choose to keep looking up even while going through a less than perfect day.   It's ok to have a "down" day.  But it's easier to get through these days if we just allow ourselves to keep our heads up even if our spirits are down!!

So how do we keep looking up while feeling down?  What works best for me is to simply start a list of the people/things in my life for which I feel grateful.   Usually long before I can finish my list, the spell is broken and I'm back to the sunshine and butterflies...or at least no longer in the pits of despair!  We've heard it a thousand times..."get in the attitude of gratitude" and know that "this too shall pass". A spiritual mentor once told me that the Bible says "...and it came to pass..." because it didn't come to stay!!

Thanks to Sue, Gerald and the mentor (Marian Starnes) for the inspiration!!

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=809  Used by permission.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


This morning I read one of the blogs I follow, that of Simone Lipscomb.  Simone has been following, documenting, volunteering, and keeping us up to date on the Gulf Oil Spill.  Her writings and pictures have shown us firsthand what has happened and is continuing to happen in the Gulf Coast area.  Her blog from a few days ago has to do with the anger she has felt against those in charge of the decision making for this horrific event.  She recognizes the reason that these types of accidents happen is because people are not connected to each other and to our Mother Earth.  We see ourselves as separate from the Earth and from each other, when in reality, we are all connected by Life itself.  Simone spoke of imagining herself in a board room with the executives, whose decisions have left our Gulf in a mess, and going in and seeing herself connected and forgiving to them.  Very powerful stuff, Simone.
I think that if we were to look into the heart and soul of these individuals we would find that they did not have bad intentions to Mother Earth, but rather ignorance….the ignorance of perceived separation.  They did not set out to cause a major oil spill for our planet, nor were they thinking of how much money they were making.  They were merely “doing their jobs”.  And let’s face it….this disaster was not the result of one decision in a board room, but a momentum begun many years ago!  I applaud Simone for her recognition that she and those executives are connected and her offering of forgiveness to them.
Isn’t this true of any given situation in our lives?  When people hurt us, are inconsiderate, disrespectful, and grouchy to us, it is usually not their intention to act in such a manner to us personally.  It is usually that they are going through something in their own life that is causing their behavior.  And when we act  in like manner to others, it is rarely our intention to do so….we are dealing with something in our own life.  If we could just keep our focus on our connection to each other…to see each person as ourselves…to act lovingly and kindly to each and every person, animal, and to our Earth, I believe our world would change immediately.  Make each and every act an act of loving intention and see how your world changes.
Please check out Simone’s blog:  http://simonelipscomb.com/2011/05/23/the-illusion-of-separateness/.  Pictures courtesy of Simone Lipscomb; used with permission.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I find it only fitting that on this, the last day of Oprah’s show, I acknowledge and honor her.  As this blog is about the people and things that inspire me, Oprah is certainly part of the list!  No need to expound on her amazing life story or of the good she does in this world….everyone knows that!  What makes Oprah unique to me is the passion with which she lives her life.  This “work in progress” has stepped up to the plate over and over again through the years, and we, the TV viewers, have had a front row seat to her spiritual evolution.  Oprah follows her heart.  She believes in the moment that presents itself as an opportunity for growth and change.  It doesn’t always work out perfectly….but that’s the perfection of it all!!
I hope (and feel certain) that Oprah knows that I represent the majority of her audience.  We tune in and/or TiVo her show every day.  We watch most of the re-runs because they were so good the first time.  We aren’t recognized as the “Ultimate Viewers” but we should be.  We aren’t the ones that burn up the email, but we would be.  We aren’t the ones that attended the shows, but we could be.  But what we all did was learn to feel validated, break free, become courageous, give more, be more and just be grateful for our lives. 
Thank you, Oprah and congratulations on 25 seasons of your show.  You are an amazing woman – a woman to be admired and emulated.  I wish you all the best in your next endeavors!  I’m certain that whatever you do, you will continue to inspire us.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Garden

For several years, I have been getting the message, “Plant a garden.”  I knew I wanted to, but had no experience at such!  I have now managed to keep a large palm, 2 peace lilies, and a dish garden alive and thriving for about 3 years.  Last year, just to test the waters, I planted 4 tomato plants and they yielded fruit until October…with amazingly low maintenance.  Soil, sun, water….who knew it was so simple?  I had turned gardening into a very complicated enterprise in my mind. 
This year I decided it was time.  I had proven to myself that I could grow things…that I just had to make the effort and Mother Nature would take care of the rest.  Still, there were details I didn’t have.  Fortunately, my son had the missing pieces.  While he was growing up, we lived next to his grandparents and Papa Rick planted a HUGE garden every year.  My son loved his grandpa so much, and followed him in the garden all summer.  Apparently, the wisdom of gardening made its way from Papa Rick to Nathan...and on Mother’s Day, Nathan came over and planted a garden for me!!  I had so much fun the day before going to the Piedmont Farmer’s Market and picking out plants!  I bought Beefsteak and German Johnson tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, red bell peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, and cantaloupe!  I bought green bean, cabbage and onion seeds as I could not find starters for them.  It’s a small garden but could yield a lot of food.  This year I’ll get the feel for what will/will not grow and try new things next year…maybe even expand! 
Writers and philosophers have used the garden as an analogy for life since time began.  We all know how similar planting a flower or vegetable garden is to planting our own “seeds of change”.  We shine our happiness on them and water them with our tears.  In time, the fruits of our labors emerge.  We harvest our “crop”, wait a while and then plant yet another garden.
The timing is perfect in my own life for this comparison.   Last year so many unexpected changes took place in my life.  For a while, it left me feeling like my “ground” was barren.  In truth, it was just being plowed!!  (Not always a pleasant experience!)  Seeds of change were planted and now I shine and water them as I await the harvest.  The more I connect with my own self, the more I connect with all life around me….other people, animals, plants, the universe itself. 
Robert G. Allen says, "Fear melts when you take action towards a goal you really want."   I am amazed each day as I discover areas of my life in which fear has grounded me.  Just the taking of the first step toward any goal gives one the confidence to move on.  What would you do today if you knew you could not fail?  Plant a garden?  Start a blog?  Get a new puppy?  Call a long lost friend?  Allow yourself to be used by the Universe.  Connect to all life…all life….not just your family and friends but with each person, plant, animal, stars, rain, sun, planets, Mother Earth.  Give more than you thought you could.  Love more than you thought you should.  BE LOVE!!
Special thanks to Felicia Brown for her class on utilizing social media, her encouragement to begin new things, her realistic outlook on setting goals, and for the quote by Robert Allen.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Road Not Taken

As I mentioned in my previous post, poems have always been a source of inspiration for me.  From time to time I will quote one and say a line or two.  On occassion I may share one I have written.  This one has been dear to me since my 5th grade teacher played a recording of Mr. Robert Frost himself reciting it!  It is a poem about choices....choices that to the narrator of this poem made a huge difference in his life....but to me, the deeper meaning is that once on a path, can you make another choice?  In honor of Mother's Day, this poem is dedicated to my Mother, Jean Lewis Mills.  (RIP Dec 19, 1927 - Aug 4, 1989)

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really abut the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden back.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
                            -Robert Frost 

I Begin

Welcome to my first blogging attempt!  Safe Thus Far is all about the joy of life through inspiration!  Yes, my life has been full of happiness/sadness, success/failure, birth/death, highs/lows, wealth/poverty, laughter/tears, and most any other human condition that comes to mind.  See, I am just like you…all of you, all of us want the same basic things in life…to love and be loved, to matter, to be accepted in spite of imperfections.  I am on a path of discovering what is bringing joy into my life.  When I ponder this, I realize that the thing that brings me the most joy is simply inspiration….both the receiving and giving of such.  Inspiration can be found in the most simple of life’s gifts…a child, nature, a quote on facebook,  an Oprah show, the cashier at Walmart...any and every place one looks has the potential for inspiration!!
This blog will be used to reflect on the things in my life that bring me this joy through inspiration.  It could be a song, a poem, a book, a movie, a quote, an interaction with someone, a flower, a garden, a trip….the possibilities are endless.  Spirit, or Universe, or whatever your favorite name for “God” may be, is the number one Source of Inspiration and Joy.  And in believing that spark of creation is contained in ALL THAT IS, it is even easier to find Inspiration in each and every moment.
Now, I haven’t always been able to see this Inspiration in all things….and still have days of wondering where in the world it is hiding!  But, wander down my path with me and we will see what is offered to us each day.  “Life’s a journey, not a destination” are the words to a popular rock song by Aerosmith.  My journey is now to discover what brings joy and inspiration to me…and to eliminate what does not.  I honestly have no goal nor direction in mind, but I look forward to each step!