Posts Tagged ‘Friends’

Mandala Supernova

As Thanksgiving approaches, I have been reflecting gratefully upon the human angels that have been dispatched to me, those who helped me pass through the wilderness of my youth safely and joyfully. I wanted to take a moment to write a list of their names. I also challenged myself to find a single word to define each of them, something that represents what they taught me by their character:

Evelyn the Wise

William the Gentle

Katy the Courageous

Isabel the Nurturer

Rabbit the Whimsical

Margaret the Noble

Savage the Healer

Sparrow the Lighthearted

Gandalf the Mystical

Linda the Generous

Elizabeth the Compassionate

Today I am thankful for these and many others who have helped me in my travels.  Try writing down your own angels, if you will.

Peace & Grace,

Sister Olive

~♥~

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I really enjoyed the post today by the Blue Hermit,  It is about Jonathan who was a true friend to David, and preferred to be a friend rather than the next king. He was not competitive or jealous of his friend, and stood up for him at the risk of his own life.  It made me think about whether I am a true friend to people I know…I hope that you are inspired to contemplate the same.

Click the link below to read the post:

http://brotherdismas.blogspot.com/2013/06/wednesday-of-12th-week-in-ordinary-time.html#comment-form

Peace & Grace,

Sister Olive

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Rabbit Letter I have an old box of handwritten letters, and occasionally I take it down from my closet. I enjoy looking through them, seeing the peculiar handwriting styles of my friends and relatives, and the stationary they selected to deliver the message or the mood. The colors of ink and crayoned images, the light scents of people’s hands, the stains of coffee or tears or dirt, the scribbled art and poems make each one a unique piece of art filled with memories.

I find it sad that letters written by hand are becoming obsolete in our modern world.  It is difficult to find beautiful quality stationary these days.  Many stores sell cards for certain occasions, but there are few tools for real letter writers who enjoy mailing sentiments to people.

I have thought a great deal about dying traditions like letter-writing, and ways that I might help to restore some of the beauty and meaning that is being lost in our technological society.

Francis

Instead of just pecking out quick emails, I want to slow down and put forth the effort to buy or create pretty stationary, take out a fancy pen and write a letter by hand in my best cursive writing, seal it into an envelope with a charming sticker or two on the outside, and lick an artistic commemorative stamp to place upon it.  Then I’ll drive to the post office and slip it into the big blue mailbox. It’s the least I can do for people I love who have enriched my life.

It’s time to look for ways to slow down and enjoy moments and people more, to dig a little deeper for meaning.  Writing letters will be one of my contributions to this cause.  And maybe I can help save the post office too.

~♥~

(I am working on a series of editorials called “Dying Traditions” to be posted here as time permits.) 

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Good Grief!!

Calm down, I’m not deserting you!!  I’m just trying to take care of some other things too…wow, I didn’t know this could get so mushy!  I love you too, and all that jazz… (sob)…

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This is a beautiful song written by an old friend of mine named Tim, and I loved it from the first time I heard him sing it at a Christian coffeehouse in Oregon, accompanied by his faithful guitar. He started out by saying “This song is based on the last words of Jesus to His disciples…”  After that, I used to request it again whenever he came, and I learned to sing and play it on my own.  I have played and sung it in quite a few churches since that day:

~♥~

Won’t you tell me, please,

Do you love me more than these,

More than the wealth of things that you possess?

Don’t you realize

You’ve got to open up your eyes?

Listen now, to my last request.

 

(Chorus)

If you love me, feed my sheep,

If you care, feed my lambs,

If you’re my friends,

Take care of my little ones.

 

For their angels are constantly before my father.

Suffer little children to come unto me.

For if you give a cup of water only in my name,

A reward will come unto thee.

(Repeat Chorus)

 

If anyone should cause the least of my disciples

To stumble and to turn his back on me,

It would be better to have a millstone tied around his neck,

And to be cast into the deepest sea.

(Repeat Chorus)

 

So, if you still think that things are so important,

Then you’re blind, just as blind as you can be.

For if you still think that things are so important,

Tell me, where will you spend eternity?

~♥~

By Tim Peters

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An old friend of mine named Margaret gave me this poem years ago, and I find it to be appropriate with Spring upon us.  I don’t know if it’s just me, but I read deeper spiritual meaning into this piece, and a tale of the ongoing warfare between darkness and light. And the King reminds me of Someone too.

Margaret may not have intentionally depicted this struggle, but I’m curious if you can see it too…

~♥~

The lady of the forest rode

Beyond her green land strand.

She sought to find the king’s highway

And come upon his land.

She wished to reach the castle keep,

And speak unto the king

Who held within his castle walls

A key, a song, a ring.

She rode upon a palfrey bold

Who trappings were of chains of gold.

And in her arms she gently bore

A book of tales of old.

A sorrow lay upon her brow

That once had been so clear

And pain was grieving her swift eyes,

Leaving them cold and sere;

For the man with the twisted stick

Who hobbled through the land

Had left her trees ungreened and dead,

Had chilled them with his hand.

His beard was long and purely white,

And round his brown he wore

A frozen band of clear crystal

That glittered edge to core.

He left behind him cold white tracks

That filled with cold white snow,

And he cast aside with careless aim

Red berries there to grow.

Upon his shoulder a raven sat

As black as starless sky,

And croaked into his ancient ear

All tales of far and nigh.

The lady of the forest rode

Up to the good king’s keep,

And called and cried to be let in

To tell why she did weep.

He asked her then what was her haste

To which she did reply,

The twisted man who held a stick

Made everything to die:

He came in greyness and in white,

Was ravager of gardens,

And gentle though she always was,

She could not give him pardon.

Not knowing name for such a one,

In herself she called him grief,

For he destroyed all that he saw,

And she now sought relief.

The wise king was a gentle man,

And knew her heart’s hard plight.

He knew her love of living things,

How she guarded with her might

The heather nests of newborn fawns,

The dim dawn’s first grey light,

The fragile wings of silver moths,

The fragrance of the night.

Yet there was nothing he could to

To drive the man away,

For only Time has power enough

To make him come or stay.

And Time who waits upon the hill

Has never heeded mortal call

But sifts the sands by his own whim,

Controlling redemption, rise and fall.

The lady of the forest felt

Some comfort from the king,

For the named Old Man Winter,

He promised her that Spring

Would follow at his heels,

And dance the gardens from the ground,

For Winter had power but for awhile

To whiten sight and sound.

But Spring, renewer, giften green

Upon the weary Earth,

Would bring an end to sorrow’s rule,

To coldness, death, and dearth.

Winter, the man so bent with age,

Whose glance freezes and touch kills,

Will know the end of his long rule,

And will return to the hollow hills.

He will leave the forest and the rills,

And hobble back to the hollow hills.

By Margaret

~♥~

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I wish to thank my old friend, Sparrow, for this treasure he gave to me many years ago.  While the language is very simple in its style, the undercurrents are very deep and powerful.

 

You know, I’d do anything to make people think about Jesus;

I’d walk on nails or go down in the ground.

Cause when they see His face and they understand

That He’s us,

Then they’ll know that Jesus is all around.

I met a brother on the path

And he started to laugh.

He said, “This path leads in Circles,

Round and round.”

I said I had to agree,

But I asked him, “Can’t you see

That it’s not the path

But the way that you walk that counts?”

I met a sister deep in prayer

And her face was lined with care.

She said, “When will they

Let me out of this cage?”

And I told her, “The cage is you,

And you’re the keeper too.

And you’ll let yourself out

When you see there’s no one to blame.”

I’d do anything to make people think about Jesus;

I’d walk on nails and go down

In the ground.

Cause when they see His face and they understand

That He’s us,

They’ll know that Jesus is all around.

(Jesus gonna shut you down.)

Jesus is all around.

By Sparrow

~♥~

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If your heart is feeling heavy and you need a dash of humor to lighten it up, my old friend Sparrow promises that these whimsical recipes will help you feel better. (He says that all of the names are fictitious.)

~♥~

Star Salad

On a clear, moonless night make this salad:
4 leaves romaine lettuce, torn
1 leaf escarole, chopped
2 grape tomatoes, halved

Place the bowl of salad under the stars for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

(Submitted by Ellen Kermes.)

~♥~

Kite Soup

Mary Nepp grew up in a windy section of Oliverea, where her mother often prepared kite soup: “We had a fire pit in the back, and my mom would make soup in a little cauldron. My job was to fly a kite, loop the string around a tree, and tie the end to a wooden spoon. Believe it or not, the kite would stir the soup.”

What kind of soup was it? Mary says it varied from week to week, but here is a sample recipe:

1 parsnip
1 cauliflower
2 onions
2 fish heads
1 strip hickory bark
black pepper
1 pinch cinnamon

~♥~

Reprinted with permission from Sparrow

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(The Iris Diaries)

“Visit the orphans and widows in their affliction…” (James 1:27)

A cute little woman sat in her wheelchair with a little pink crocheted cap covering her thin silver hair.  Her wrinkles branched out across her face in delicate designs, and her blue eyes were bleak and icy like her native country of Finland.  “Hello Linda”, I said.  Linda was a bit shy at first and neither of us knew what to say.  Linda’s English was a bit broken, but very clear, and she began to point out some of the Scandinavian art on her walls, and the photo of her deceased husband, and the beautiful grandfather clock on the wall, which was wound up with an old brass key.  Our first visit was a bit awkward, but we agreed to spend time together more often, and I asked if I could address her as “Grandma”.  The old woman agreed with a shy smile.

I had wanted to adopt a grandma so I visited the care home across the street and spoke with the volunteer coordinator.  There were cages with tropical birds in the sunny room with huge windows that day, and a Jamaican woman named Vida came to see me.  She told me that she knew of a woman named Linda from Finland who was very lonely.  After we talked awhile, I signed some volunteer papers.

Grandma missed her home and gardens.  When her family members took her from her home, they told her it was only for a short time but it had been years now.  She did not know what became of her home, and she said she was very old and tired of living.  Many mornings, she said she was sorry that she had survived through the night.

She read many magazines and books and sometimes children’s books with pictures she could look at.  She watched TV shows about world news and church programs.  She seemed very intelligent. But she often forgot how old she was.  One day she was ninety and the next day she was ninety-five.

My sons went with me sometimes and Linda loved it when we called her “Grandma”.  My youngest son was Grandma’s favorite, and he made origami birds and flowers and other artistic things for her to decorate her room with.  She would always say, “He is so clever”.

Sometimes I would bring her little tea cookies and ginger thins and chocolate.  Grandma said the doctors could never get over how she could eat so much and never get fat and how she seemed to have no real health problems aside from arthritis and getting more forgetful and childish as time went on.

One day I arrived and the old woman was flustered, and asked for help in finding her address book which she had lost.  She seemed very upset so I began to open drawers and cupboards looking for it, and found an old address book with a floral design on the cover.  Grandma practically grabbed it with joy when she saw it and began to look through it with a reflective expression.  She was looking for the name of someone in particular, and she asked me to look it up for her. I can’t recall who it was, but I saw that all of the names had been crossed out. I realized that Grandma had put an “X” through the addresses of all her friends and loved ones as they died. The address book was full of dead people.

Grandma deeply missed Finland where she had lived as a child.  Tears would well up in her eyes when she talked of it.  She complained about the Florida heat, and missing the wintery climate where she came from.

She loved to say things in Finnish, and to try to teach me a few phrases. My mother had a friend named Eeva Blauuw who was Finnish, and I asked my mother if the lady might be willing to write to Grandma.  The old woman was so delighted when she started receiving letters in Finnish.

One Christmas, I gave Grandma a beautiful red sweater with pine trees and pine cones and winter motifs on it.  She was very proud of it and wouldn’t take it off for a long time.  The nurses told me they were trying to get her to wear something else, but she just wouldn’t take it off.

Once I gave her a big white teddy bear made out of an old chenille bedspread.  When I offered it to her, Grandma cried with wide eyes, “Oh, I couldn’t!” Her hands were making anxious grasping motions as she said it, contradicting her words. Suddenly her hands shot out and grabbed the bear then she quickly placed it on her lap and rested her chin on its head contentedly.  As we talked Grandma began to stroke the bear and cuddle it, and laid it on her bed and covered it up.  Then she uncovered it and set it in the chair across from her wheelchair, and it seemed that she could not take her eyes off of it.  I asked her what she would name it and she said shyly that she didn’t know.

“What about ‘Snow Bear’?” I asked.

“Oh I don’t know…” said Grandma thoughtfully. “I think I’ll call him ‘Boyfriend.’”  I realized that the bear had become a companion in the old woman’s mind, and that it would soften her loneliness.

One day I came into the room to visit, and found Grandma sitting on one end of her bed with Boyfriend on the other end, and she had little Scandinavian tea cookies spread out on the bed with little napkins as if they were having a party.  When she saw me coming, she looked down at her hands with embarrassment and she said, “I am like a child in many ways.  You know that.”  I smiled and said, “Yes, I know, and that’s fine.”

As I continued to visit Grandma, the old woman seemed to talk more and more in Finnish and less and less in English. “Bilingual aphasia” can cause elderly people to completely forget one language that they have known and revert back to their native tongue.  At first, I would correct her when she switched to Finnish, but after awhile I stopped correcting her and just nodded my head as though I understood when I really didn’t.  It wasn’t important that I understood everything.  It was more important for the old woman to be able to relax and talk because she was so lonely.

Due to a new job, I found that I did not have the time to visit her as often.  When I did come, she kept forgetting me and spoke mostly in Finnish, so then I stopped visiting for awhile.  After a few weeks had passed, I received a letter in the mail.  It was from Grandma, and the handwriting was messy and in Finnish, but it made me sorry that I had not been visiting.

I was deeply touched that Grandma had taken the time with her arthritic hands to try to write to me. I knew then that I had underestimated Grandma’s mental ability to remember me, and that I had meant more than I realized.  I decided to go and visit her again.

Sadly, Grandma had died when I returned to visit her, and I worried that I might have caused her more distress and loneliness.  I was apprehensive to have Grandma’s last letter translated, because it might increase my sadness to know what the old woman was saying.  I’ll bet “Boyfriend” knew all of her innermost thoughts and feelings.  If only I could have talked to him.

OLIVE TWIST ©2012

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I am humbly grateful to In Blue at http://makebelieveboutique.com/ for nominating me for The Sunshine Award.  Please visit her site and see her artistic medley of photographs and searching words and other expressions of her spiritual meanderings.

It always gives me great joy when I learn that someone has been affected by something that I have written. I strive in everything that I write to give praise to the First Artist who created the most amazing masterpiece of life and a way for humans to have constant communion with Him.

As part of accepting this nomination, I am required to answer these questions, so here they are:

Favorite colors:   Violet and Green

Favorite animal:  Fox

Favorite number:  Twelve    

Favorite non-alcoholic drink:  McDonald’s coffee

Prefer Facebook or Twitter?  Not using either.

My passion:  Letting my tears mingle with my ink and flow onto paper, to heal myself and others.

Prefer getting or giving presents? I like both equally (unless something goes wrong in the process- wrong size, not liked, etc).

Favorite pattern: Medieval designs

Favorite day of the week: Every day that I wake up alive!

Favorite flower:  Morning glory

The hardest part of accepting this award is choosing who to pass the nominations to, because I’ve been blogging for such a short time. These are a few of the blogs that I have enjoyed:

http://dreamprayact.com/

http://mirjamfels.com/

http://thehandmaid.wordpress.com/

http://photobotos.com/

http://maggiemaeijustsaythis.wordpress.com/

http://grandfathersky.wordpress.com/

http://scoolyswaxpoems.wordpress.com/

http://boldwandering.wordpress.com/

http://awritersprocess.wordpress.com/

http://flamidwyfe.wordpress.com/

Thanks again to In Blue for this nomination!

************************************

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Here is one of my favorite poems that Sparrow used to recite while thumping on a wall or drumming with a stick on the porch of Isabel’s apartment.  It really sums up the time period and the lifestyle we experienced together:

It’s just like the old days

Down in the old tin room,

Thumping out sounds on the jugs and jars,

Answered by the scratchy straw broom.

Cold as sweat was the night outside;

Our thumbs were as hot as tea.

We all looked red in that little tin shed,

Now it all comes back to me.

I was down on the ground sniffing gumshoe,

Pain in my pin-cushion heart.

The steam machine was rolling

Like a chimney falling apart.

I remember the old blue haze

Like the mothball roar of a clam;

I had a prefix color on my face

Like the edifice pipe exam.

The sink would shrink

And the lights ignite

And the soup fall over the plow.

In that mix I was getting prolix

Like I think I’m getting now:

I was down on the ground sniffing gumshoe,

Pain in my pin-cushion heart;

The steam machine was rolling

Like a chimney falling apart.

It was damp as a roach in the coal room

As we painted our names on the wall,

Till the wall did hide and the words collide

And there wasn’t no names at all.

The lamp had a cramp

And the hose was froze

And we cried when we heard the bell.

In these days I am quite amazed

That it all turned out so well.

I was down on the ground sniffing gumshoe,

Pain in my pin-cushion heart.

The steam machine was rolling

Like a chimney with a broken heart.

(by Sparrow)

**************

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