Are You Sure About That?

From palm trees to pine cones. I’ve been at a three day retreat in North Carolina. This year my birthday coincides with the glorious turning of the leaves into burnished bronze and amber gifts. I’m brazenly thankful.

Like a good introvert, I’ve stayed back from one of the outings to be silent and think. My thoughts dance around perspective, provoked by the visual richness around me.

I was sitting here drinking my green tea when I obsessed just a little with this. Take a look at the photo below. reflection_cropped

See the reflection of the windows… cute, little, inaccurate?

They look like this in real life (IRL!):

windows_cropped

If I only stare at my cute, little, inaccurate view, I’ll never know that the windows frame a tranquil forest, a fire pit, inviting chairs, a carpet of leaves and so much more. What’s more, if I continue to sit and stare at my cute, little, inaccurate view, I’ll never know that the windows open, that crisp air will clear my mind. That life is inviting.

I challenge you to remember this–that your perspective, my perspective, every single day, is limited.

Live life looking around, noticing details, looking for the REAL everywhere.

Don’t ruin relationships, or miss out on adventures and growth opportunities, or let bitterness weigh you down like cement shoes on a defunct wiseguy (where’d that come from?), because you failed to look around for the greater perspective on people and events in your life. Look up or turn around. Dig. Dig deep if need be. Ask. Question.

Everything of the best,

~B

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The world and its terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week

Like many of us this week, I have felt sad because of so much crisis in the world and its nations.

When I think of the beauty of the cultures in this big blue marble, I feel such a blend of love and pain, hopelessness and hope. All I know is I’d rather die from feeling too much than expire on the shelf dusty from disuse. If we are still on this planet it’s to do our best, to love our best and bring peace, which I am fully convinced cannot be brokered, expected or otherwise spread by men and women who do not have it in their own hearts.

So when my fellow humans are hateful toward each other in discussing peace in the Middle East, or the situation at the US/Mexico border, or the value of the unborn and the already grown body,  I look numbly and cannot hear.

The arguments are vapors if while bitterly and hatefully calling for peace and compassion, one can’t forgive one’s husband or wife or love one’s poor neighbor and rich neighbor equally.

Peace on a grand scale cannot happen if it is not first present on the micro-heart scale. This was one of the great lessons papa Mandela taught us. He became a man who was wisely and contagiously peaceful once he found peace in his own heart.

We demand that Jews and Muslims, Russians and Ukrainians, poor and rich, brown and less-brown, privileged and forgotten, men and women find a way to live together magnanimously on a grand political scale, pass legislation that is fair to all, accept all…

Yet in our homes and jobs and worship places and co-ops we are petty and self-interested and unjust and steal and lie and laze… what delusion makes us think that is going to scale up into goodness in the public square of the global village?

My conclusion after such philosophizing and ranting, is that we are not actually helpless.

There is one seemingly tiny insignificant thing we can do–we can try to love well. I think we mustn’t underestimate the power of loving well. You never know who you might impact.

People that have loved me well have helped me become whole. Whole people don’t need to conquer or hate or belittle. That’s all I got. Let’s help each other become whole.

God help us.

Walking Dead or Alive

Four burrowing owls Had a nice walk in the park this morning. Three miles or so. With Abba in my headphones. Voulez-Vouz perfect rhythm for walking. I can’t believe how strong an influence music has on my person, although it makes sense, I was a dancer. All I could do to not twirl and leap around the path… A few tennis courts_deicke parkpeople around. Big sky smiling down. A guy with little guys practicing hoops. Family with mini-me’s on playground. A couple on the tennis courts in the park center. Suddenly music got louder. Bunch of guys in the tennis court doing running backflips off the 10 foot high chain link fence; all kinds of people dancing on the bball court and pathways. Spectacular choreography.  Movement, rhythm, craziness, colors, notes… Thank You for the Music.  Little lizards doing their push ups on the benches in the sun unfazed. Burrowing owls overseeing the fun. Sun-showers starting, kissing my cheeks and spotting my sunglasses, and the earth emanating that special smell from when it first starts to drink. Suddenly I Dreamed a Dream piped in (thank you spotify)… Anne Hathaway’s rendering… and the dancing changed and sobered but not in a depressing way, and all the people slowly left with new determination to go fight for good things… And Dancing Queen walked home…

Life without fantasies & dreams = walking dead 

#walkalive

sky_deicke park

Streams in the Desert

“Streams in the desert”–take a moment to visualize them… mmm. Feet burning in the sand, then stepping into coolness and salvation.

Streams in the Desert is an old school devotional that I love.

I meant to share this with you the other day, from August 3:

Do not pray for easy lives! Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be a miracle. ~Phillips Brooks

We must remember that it is not in any easy or self-indulgent life that Christ will lead us to greatness. The easy life leads not upward, but downward. Heaven always is above us, and we must ever be looking toward it. There are some people who always avoid things that are costly, that require self-denial, or self-restraint and sacrifice, but toil and hardship show us the only way to nobleness. Greatness comes not by having a mossy path made for you through the meadow, but by being sent to hew out a roadway by your own hands. Are you going to reach the mountain splendors? ~Selected

Be strong!
We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;
We have hard work to do, and loads to lift.
Shun not the struggle; face it.
‘Tis God’s gift.

Be strong!
Say not the days are evil–who’s to blame?
And fold the hands and acquiesce–O shame!
Stand up, speak out, and bravelly,
In God’s name.

Be strong!
It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong,
How hard the battle goes, the day how long,
Faint not, fight on!
Tomorrow comes the song.
~Maltbie D. Babcock

Totally none of my business, but are you okay?

Renee SchexnaildreI’m at the DFW airport. Got an unexpected ride here so I’m earlier than usual for my flight. Walking down the corridors humming with life, ruminating about the seminar I just attended. Given my forever involvement with communication, events and the irresistible impulse to make communication more effective, I always ruminate after events. Especially regarding message – were there any interferences between the intent, the conception and the reception of the words?

But I digress. Walking down the corridor toward my gate, a cart driver offered me a ride. But I was only 6 gates away. So I said no thank you. He said – But I want to help you. I said – cue big friendly smile – no, really, thank you. Kept walking.

Humming along, roller bag cooperating, glancing here and there, instinctively people watching, and I spot a female flight attendant, cornered up against a kiosk, looking for emotional safety as she reads something on her phone with tears running down her cheeks. We made momentary eye contact and I didn’t break stride – until about 10 feet past her and then I just had to back up, approach her kind of sideways and say, “Totally none of my business, but are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m okay, just very sad…” Ow. “I’m so sorry,” I said. “Whatever it is, I’m so sorry. I will go away and say a prayer for you. Whatever it is, know you are not forgotten. You are not forgotten.” She thanked me. I touched her arm gently then went my way, lest I totally creep her out.

So I am saying a prayer for comfort for her, for solutions, for logistics. She probably is in the middle of a shift and will have to go now and smile at all the passengers and try to make their flights pleasant, while inside she is weeping and coping and processing whatever bad news she just got.

You know, we’re all together on this planet… the butterfly effect of the private aches we carry is a cosmic mystery…

In the meanwhile, be kind to your flight attendant.

Oh, and sometimes say no to rides.

How I Learned to Make a Cup of Tea – an early Father’s Day post…

tres leches“the kind of dad I have goes to the store at 10pm to buy me tres leches (or other random cravings) when I’ve had a not-so-great day such as yesterday, and he’s been doing that since I was knee-high to a grasshopper (tall people, am I still knee-high to a grasshopper?) thanks Daddy.”

That is a recent facebook post from our daughter, @sadpotatoes… Yesterday had been a bit of a rough day emotionally for all of us, for various reasons… When I saw her post and the comments on it today,  it reminded me of how I learned to make a cup of tea!

So, at the risk of embarrassing Peter even more, and with the excuse that Father’s Day is not too far away, here goes:

When we were first married, I resented the idea of getting my British-influence South African background husband a cuppa, mostly because of the machista culture I was raised in, wherein brothers and men in general expected to be served… “Mija, ¡¿ya está la comida?!”

cheesecakeOne night many years ago, Peter, my sister, and I were hanging out just before ten, watching tv, when the words “I feel like cheesecake!” popped out of my mouth. I just sort of said them to the universe. Without hesitation, he jumped up off the sofa, got his shoes and said he would go get some.

About half an hour later he returned with an entire cheesecake. The story? He’d gone to the local Marie Callendar’s, which had just locked its doors for the evening. He knocked on their door until they let him in and sold him a cheesecake.
And that is how I learned to make a cup of tea.

It’s all about what my pastor in Chile (Alf Cooper!) used to call “mimo mutuo.” Mutual pampering. I discovered that getting a cup of tea (or hunting down a cheesecake) for someone isn’t about control, or anything that complicated! It’s just a nice thing to do. It’s a kindness. Peter is not perfect. Nope. Not at all. Trust me. But he has always modeled kindness for me. And something as simple as that has helped me to begin to know love… And probably helped us to stay married!