Numbers

I’m simply intimidated by numbers. Those numbers are 911. Last Tuesday I was all ready to start a pithy little blog about this watermelon I cut. I noticed there was a heart shape in the cut, so I took a photo. As I was writing a short blog with a message something like, “How can you not be positive after cutting into a watermelon and finding a heart?”  I looked down at the date. 9.11.18. I found that anything I tried to write fell short of inappropriate, maybe even stupid on this particular day.

I also had a very weird intuition about that Bitch in the Atlantic, Florence. Why intuition? Why did you have to be right this time? I’ve come to trust intuition —-sometimes it’s helpful, other times, you just wish it was wronger than wrong.

Considering positivity, one must acknowledge there are times of serious remembrance and fearful anticipation in the world. Additionally, when that anticipation becomes reality, a sense of empathy for the suffering and loss in the aftermath is in order. Sweet little stories need to be quiet. There are reasons to be less than positive aren’t there? At the same time, I constantly wonder, thus this blog, why look for and embrace the negative? How has it become good marketing technique to emphasize negativity? There are enough things that happen in life that make me want to quote something from the book, “Alexander’s Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” without the constant barrage of negative marketing.

When crisis occur whether that be world, national, weather related or at home, there is nothing positive about it. However, our response can be.

I’ll write about 911 in “Numbers” (Part 2). However for today, let me tackle flooding.

I’ve lived in Central Pennsylvania since 1995. For a Jersey Girl, it was quite surprising to me that there would be a great problem with flooding in the mountains. Yet, creeks rise, run-off happens and, wow! I’ve seen homes destroyed again and again. The Red Cross, churches and civic groups all collect much needed funds to help the victims of flooding. Yet, what I have found to be even more rewarding is volunteering. Whether it be along the Susquehanna River in Shickshinny, or a helping a year after the flood in a town up high in the mountains, help is needed. Often by folks who fall between the cracks where assistance is granted. Or something as terrible as Hurricane Sandy, or now Florence, getting involved with clean up, rebuilding walls and helping those who just happened to be in the path of something awful is incredibly helpful and personally rewarding.

The urgent aftermath is daunting, but trust me in months, even a couple of years from now, people will still be picking up the pieces of their lives and homes. When I was working with Penn State students we did quite a few trips to help others that were affected by devastating storms. What we found was very grateful recipients of our attempts to help. What I also found was a great sense of humanity at it’s finest. I saw students that never picked up a hammer before helping to stud-out a room. I saw others climb under crawl spaces in what looked like space suits pulling insulation out of the floor joists of a home that had been flooded (6 months after the storm). The results were wonderful. A sense of pride in a job well done. Statements like, “I never thought I’d ever do anything like this!” or, “I can’t wait to tell my Mom!”

I think anyone would agree with me that there is nothing positive about any crisis. Nothing. However, our caring response is priceless. Knowing there will be folks that will give of themselves in coming months and years to help gives me reason to celebrate humanity. Looking at first-responders risking themselves for others is the beginning. However, I see those who will be last-responders too. There are many unsung heroes who will respond to crisis in very practical and helpful ways. For this I’m grateful.

When I think of these good things that will happen in the near and far future in response to crisis, my heart is full.  (Maybe a heart in my watermelon isn’t inappropriate after all).

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Enjoying the Adventure,

Dr. Dink

 

 

 

 

 

They Clapped!

dawn dusk forest grass
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

It was toward the end of the 10 mile race and a young woman came in toward the finish line.  Everyone clapped! Even the elderly couple sitting on a bench stood up and clapped. She wasn’t first, as a matter of fact, she was probably close to last. She was a runner. They clapped for them all. I’m not a runner and have never been to the end of a race before, it touched me to the core that everyone, just for finishing was acknowledged.

It got me quite emotional. It makes me want to clap my hands for others!

Have a wonderful day!

Enjoying the Adventure,

Dr. Dink

Locked!

screenshot_20180516-1944001791624151.pngDo you see the little spots on the side of the bridge?  . . . we shall get to that!

I’m a country girl, so a pedestrian bridge over an 8 lane highway with cars moving at 70 mph was a curiosity. I didn’t expect to see the sunset as I stood there above the noise of the cars, it was beautiful and I stood for a while watching, then. as I got to the center of the bridge, I looked and there was a Master lock on the wire fencing, I thought it was strange, and then looked further. One led to the other and more and more. What is this, I mused. Then I looked closely at the locks, there were names on them.

 

img_20180517_075908448_hdr1144094110.jpgIn Love For Ever

I’m Locked with you

Prom?

Love & hearts

MRO + IMO

 

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A local couple taking a walk with their two children came on the bridge and confirmed that couples would come up on the bridge to confess their love and commitment to each other. (Goosebumps!) At first I thought, it would mostly be high school students. But then I saw an antique lock. For many years I was with people during the tragic times of their lives. I would stay at the hospital after the accident, or as a family sat at vigil as their loved one pass. So many times during these moments, I would ask the spouse, “You meant it didn’t you?” Their answer was always, “Yes.” So, I would repeat the traditional words that most folks said on their wedding day,

“To have and to hold,

from this day forward,

for better, for worse

for richer, for poorer,

in sickness and in health,

to love and to cherish,

until death do us part . . .”

I am willing to wager that most of those locks were placed by young teens with visions of love in their hearts. However, I believe that their were also special anniversaries, or the realization the impact of a diagnosis’, and re-commitments of love and devotion too. I came off that bridge with the biggest smile on my face (it was ridiculous) and a small pool of tears in my eyes. All because of the beauty of locks.

Have you reminded, or done something special for the one you love to remind them how much that love means to you lately?

Enjoying the Adventure!img_20180517_075547943_hdr1366755143.jpg

Dr. Dink

 

 

 

Grateful

Today is Memorial Day here in America. There will be remembrances in nearly every community. For the most part, those ceremonies have been the same each and every year since “anyone can remember”. I’ve been to many, participated in a few. They make me grateful.

The evolution of this weekend has become a celebration of picnics, the beach season officially opening, summer is here so gas prices rise and traffic jams along the coast & to mountainous resort areas increase for most. Yet, it is good to remember the real reason behind this holiday which has become a good excuse to buy a six pack, or another bottle or two of red.

Memorial day is about Death and Gratefulness. Death has been such a huge part of my life as I was a pastor for 22 years. Death was a reality I was always prepared to face, yet not quite ready to face.  There was an expectation whether that death had just occurred, or was imminent in the next few months that I would be intimately involved in the process. When you are intimately involved with death on a regular basis, it can make you or break you. Think about it, there really isn’t a middle ground, is there? Well, I guess, middle ground would be numb.

Dealing with death has made me grateful. I know it hits others in different ways, but for me, grateful. I live with the understanding that each and every day is a gift. A gift to be opened, enjoyed and used. A gift to show off to your friends, and decide not to share with those . . . . well, you don’t want to share your daily gift with!

Yesterday, I spend some time with a friend at the grave of her father, she talked of his untimely death, “too young”, she said, “he was two years younger than I am now”. He, like my father, served in the Korean War. It was a precious time we had, talking of our Dad’s, being thankful that they served, but didn’t die in the war. Private, personal ceremony. A time to remember, it was beautiful. I walked away grateful.

When I think of the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the military, and of their families who have had such great loss, of someone they loved gone, usually, “incredibly too young”, I am grateful. I’m grateful that because of them, I have the right to express my opinions on this blog, on social media, at the coffee house or on a public square. I’m grateful that I could choose to walk away from my career of 22 years because I couldn’t accept the ethics any longer. I’m grateful that I could start up and close a business or two. I’m grateful that I can talk on the phone, or text my family. I’m grateful that I can have a dog and a fish.

I started this blog because of the negativity pandemic that is going on in our society right now. I hate it, truly. But I’m grateful that we have the right to be miserable if we choose to be. Although I’m not a march-in-the-streets-protester, I can protest the life-sucking-negativity, in my own way because I have the freedom to do so.

So, my ceremony for today is my new discipline of early morning writing. I’m grateful I have that choice. I’m grateful for the many lives lost that give me the right to be who I am and for you to be who you are. I’m grateful for many years of being intimate with death so that I can celebrate life . . . daily.

What are you grateful for today?

Enjoying the Adventure, (And greatful to have the freedom to do so!)

Dr. Dink

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Who Knew?

I remember a third grade assignment: “Ask your parents about your ancestry.” Where did you come from? My teacher talked about race, countries and such. My Dad’s answer has always stuck with me, “Your a Heinz 57 –You’re grandparents down the line are from all over the world! Dink, you’re an American!” Later, my Mom’s genealogical studies and DNA test confirmed that to be true.

Ancestor CollageI descend from a line of worldly, quirky, brave, and normal folks –some are still living through their stories. Honestly, I could care less if my ancestors were Italian and Hungarian, English, French and more. My P-pop claimed we were part of the Cherokee Indian tribe too. Oh! The list goes on. I’m proud to have a mixed pedigree, I’m proud to be a mutt. Yes, my roots are colorful. I would probably be sat in the back if invited to he royal wedding this weekend, eh?

I’m more interested ancestral stories. I come from a line of homesteaders, settlers, farmers, builders, home-makers, hypochondriacs, bartenders, bootleggers, soldiers and a “Lady of the Night”. I’m so happy I know their stories. Stories mean more to me than bloodline.

This makes me think . . . what will our Great-Great-Grand-babies know about us? What stories will form their image of who they are, where they came from? What does that make us today? I know, it is a heavy, wonderful, awesome responsibility! In an earlier blog,  Something to Live By, I summarized life as, who knew you loved them? I don’t know about you, but to me, that is the pedigree I want to pass on!

Enjoying the Adventure (Especially the love part),

Dr. Dink

Daily Prompt

Slight Glance to the Left

I visited our property in the Bradshaw Mountains foothills yesterday. I’ll be leaving Arizona soon and just had to visit once more before I head back East. Something happens to me when I’m in this strange desert land. My best description of it is that it is so beautiful you “feel like” your in a National Park but didn’t have to pay $20 for the privilege of driving through.img_20180513_1220339731450335011.jpg

I drove my son-in-law’s Hyundai Elantra up this dirt road . . . slowly! 12 miles of dirt road can have it’s little surprises. The better choice of vehicle is an ATV’s, Jeep, or at least a Pickup Truck. Until recently, I thought that “desert” meant it looked like the Sahara, or eastern Southern California –you know, drifts of endless sand. But this area has massive rocks, cliffs, creek beds & beautiful cacti, mesquite and palo verde trees. It is breathtakingly awesome!!!

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As I was driving back, I saw a slight movement of white to the left so I slowed down, slower than I was already going. In the shade of a group of palo verde trees was a huge bull. There are free range cattle in this area and I see cows and their calves frequently, but this bull! He was framed so beautifully, so I backed up to get the perfect photo from my cell phone and then he stands up. When this happens there is a part of you that thinks, “Will he charge?” But it was mid-afternoon and desert-hot so I wasn’t too worried because I was sure he would rather go back to his afternoon siesta. Actually, I think he was posing, he knew he was a gorgeous specimen.

There was a moment. Human looking at bull. Bull looking at human . . . A moment of peace for the human. What was this beauty thinking? Was he as curious about me as I was him? Was he nervous that I would charge him? Was he pissed that I interrupted his siesta? Was he saying, “Yeah, I know . . . I’m a stud . . . gorgeous, don’t you think?” -or- “Move on Chickie!”

This morning, here I am, kinda emotional over this encounter with dignity. Human to bull, bull to human. I find myself in awe of this creature and all that he represents,

Strength and power in an extraordinary place

Peace and tranquility found in an incredibly rough terrain

Life lessons (I can learn from the cattle, donkeys and wildlife about survival in the desert).

Rest. These creatures know “when to stop” it may be the difference between life and death in the hot sun. If only humanity could learn this lesson (means me too????)

FREEDOM! The cattle are free to roam other than a few fences, but if you want to practice freedom, fences are to be respected, or you’ll end up where they don’t want you & you don’t want to be anyway!

Beauty—I mean really, look at that bull, he is majestic.

Hard work– Let me tell you something, it is not easy to be wandering free in the desert. Think about it, finding water, food, shade, it’s work and that work has it’s benefits.

What I gain from this encounter of beauty is respect. Respect for all the things mentioned above, and for this and other creatures that can thrive in a dry, dry land. I wonder how I can learn from them for my own survival when I move to the desert, but not only that, to take those lessons along with me everywhere and live life to the fullest.

Enjoying the Adventure (a bit more because of a slight glance to the left)

Dr. Dink

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Postivity-ness-ly-ism to the Core

 

When you’re sad, or stressed, you don’t necessarily need to wear it on your shoulder, but that plastic smiley face you have glued to your nose really doesn’t hide a thing.

I started writing about being positive to the core and stopped, I knew I was writing a book, each word was requiring at least a paragraph, leading to a chapter.  The attitude and ability to be positive doesn’t mean that you have a forced smile, it means that you live in reality, with real issues that may affect you in real ways. It means you do your best to live through them. It means you try to see beauty in the midst of the ugly. It means you recognize and be responsible for the financial stress, the worry about the sickness, the project at work. It means living life . . . honestly.

So Dr. Dink, how do I remain positive?  Guess what . . . some days you can’t. That doesn’t mean you don’t have hope for another day. It may mean training yourself to see and experience positivity. It may mean separating yourself from that negative influence. It means being honest and dealing with the  situation (s) that pull you down.

Having positivity-ness-ly-ism isn’t faking it. Isn’t denying life. However, it is living though the messiness of life and still trying to smell roses anyway, looking for beauty, having hope for a new day and helping others deal with the messy shit in life in a real way so that the world, our word can be a better place.

Even when I’m not trying to write a book, I still see the outline here, sorry that’s frustrating. Life is complicated. There is hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is today, let’s make the best of it, eh?

Enjoying the Adventure! (Even though sometimes that Adventure is messy!)

Dr. Dink

 

 

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