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M is for…

May 9, 2015 4 comments

More than the greeting-card line that will be read and heard countless times this Mother’s Day weekend.

And while I add my own praise and gratitude to the Mothers in my life, and the Million things they have done and continue to do, M is also the beginning of meaningful words that have nothing to do with maternity.  To name a few and what they’ve come to mean to me :

DSC03619-BM is for Money.  A mantra I recently coined for myself: Make sure I control Money.  Don’t let it control me.

M is for Math.

file0001330166183 Without it there wouldn’t be money.  But it’s more important than that.  Math is a key player in “The Theory of Everything” —  not justhe movie, but in the governing principles of the universe.

M is for Mentoring.  Mentoring is a word that regularly pops up on business, writing, and the business-of-writing sites.  I saw it on a blog post just last week. file000729042698  My online dictionary defines mentoring as advising or counseling a younger colleague.  It also points out that a mentor is someone trusted. Unsaid is that mentoring is usually unpaid.

It may be a newer buzz word, but Mentoring has been around as long as families. It’s what those of us who are oldest daughters grew up doing, though we didn’t volunteer for the position and I’m not sure our younger siblings would have called it that.  It usually manifested itself in mantras like “Do what your sister tells you to do.”  While that was sometimes seen by siblings as an invitation to tyranny,   it was more often viewed by those of us in that position as a mandate to set a responsible example, as in “You’re the oldest, you should know better.”  We were expected to pass along life lessons along with homework help.

And now I realize Mentoring is a life-long opportunity for everyone.

Before moving from Kansas to Colorado, I’d spent four years tutoring in a remarkable program that provided assistance to local community-college students struggling to learn despite being physically, emotionally, or cognitively challenged.  It was called tutoring, but it went far beyond explaining academic material.  It involved time, effort, encouragement and trust.  Those words sum up Mentoring.  I am not currently involved in any formal mentoring, but opportunities to do so informally, like Math, exist in everything.  I recently discovered them in the success stories shared in a support group.

On the coffee table in her living room, my mother kept a bowl of those little round candies imprinted with an M – you know the ones that melt in your mouth, etc.  Thanks, Mom, for an idea worth replicating. I’ve begun purchasing packages of the tempting morsels.  The contents now frequently spill into a bowl on my own living-room table, inviting others to share some sweetness and reminding me of the Many things I can count on in life.

Categories: General Tags: , , ,

Orchid-Speak or Why I Changed My FB Pic

May 5, 2015 5 comments

CAM00392 copy

Art imitates life, they say.  But in my home, life has become art.   Specifically,  an orchid that is now for me an objet d’art .   Arcing in hues  from boldest to barely blue, it commands the surrounding space, silently shouting “Pay attention to me.”   I’ve become enamored of this exotic plant.  So much so that I photographed it.

Which brings me to Facebook.    Previously an image of a blue butterfly served as  my FB “photo.”  It was a stock drawing, available to any and all for creative use.  I had chosen it because butterflies emerge from cocoons and fly free. I liked that symbolism.  It’s still a nice idea, but I no longer want someone else’s work (even at no charge) to represent me.  Nor is my self-image any longer that of a butterfly, social or otherwise.  Time to proclaim a new public persona.

If you look closely at  the above photo, you’ll see there’s a new, pale flower that doesn’t have the darker colors of its predecessors.  In fact, it’s not even from the same branch, but from a side off-shoot I had overlooked when I bought the plant.  Just above the newly emerging  blossom is a shriveled, not-going to-make-it floweret. Both of them are surrounded by an abundance of beautiful blooms.

In a thought-provoking little book, When I Loved Myself Enough, author Kim McMillen repeated the name of the book on each page and then added what she saw happening in herself as a result.  On one page she wrote, “I began seeing the abuse in trying to force something or someone who isn’t ready — including me.“  On a later page, she continued, “The impulsive part of me learned to wait for the right time.”

Maybe she had an orchid in her home.  Because as I’ve  learned from contemplating this exotic plant,  you don’t force an orchid.   It’s going to wait to open a pregnant bud and birth a beautiful blossom until it somehow knows the time is right.  So it is with me.

I’ll intuitively know when it’s time, so to speak,  to blossom socially again. And I’ve learned as a writer — sometimes to my dismay — that  I have to let some ideas  wither on the vine and focus instead on other ones that are appearing right before my eyes.

Before getting this plant, the only thing I knew about orchids was that they were the prized corsages at prom-time.  I had no idea they have a language of their own that I can hear if I sit quietly and listen.  It took a while to learn orchid-speak.

Now the more I sit silently with it, the more this orchid slowly reveals what’s budding in both of us.

Orchid-speak or Why I Changed My FB Pic

Categories: General

Orchid-speak or Why I Changed My FB Pic

CAM00392 copy

Art imitates life, they say.  But in my home, life has become art.   Specifically,  an orchid that is now for me an objet d’art .   Arcing in hues  from boldest to barely blue, it commands the surrounding space, silently shouting “Pay attention to me.”   I’ve become enamored of this exotic plant.  So much so that I photographed it.

Which brings me to Facebook.    Previously an image of a blue butterfly served as  my FB “photo.”  It was a stock drawing, available to any and all for creative use.  I had chosen it because butterflies emerge from cocoons and fly free. I liked that symbolism.  It’s still a nice idea, but I no longer want someone else’s work (even at no charge) to represent me.  Nor is my self-image any longer that of a butterfly, social or otherwise.  Time to proclaim a new public persona.

If you look closely at  the above photo, you’ll see there’s a new, pale flower that doesn’t have the darker colors of its predecessors.  In fact, it’s not even from the same branch, but from a side off-shoot I had overlooked when I bought the plant.  Just above the newly emerging  blossom is a shriveled, not-going to-make-it floweret. Both of them are surrounded by an abundance of beautiful blooms.

In a thought-provoking little book, When I Loved Myself Enough, author Kim McMillen repeated the name of the book on each page and then added what she saw happening in herself as a result.  On one page she wrote, “I began seeing the abuse in trying to force something or someone who isn’t ready — including me.“  On a later page, she continued, “The impulsive part of me learned to wait for the right time.”

Maybe she had an orchid in her home.  Because as I’ve  learned from contemplating this exotic plant,  you don’t force an orchid.   It’s going to wait to open a pregnant bud and birth a beautiful blossom until it somehow knows the time is right.  So it is with me.

I’ll intuitively know when it’s time, so to speak,  to blossom socially again. And I’ve learned as a writer — sometimes to my dismay — that  I have to let some ideas  wither on the vine and focus instead on other ones that are appearing right before my eyes.

Before getting this plant, the only thing I knew about orchids was that they were the prized corsages at prom-time.  I had no idea they have a language of their own that I can hear if I sit quietly and listen.  It took a while to learn orchid-speak.

Now the more I sit silently with it, the more this orchid slowly reveals what’s budding in both of us.