New Spaces for New Growth

15 03 2018

“I have, in the past, seen settling down as a deterrent to growth.
It doesn’t have to be, though. It can be the launching of new growth.”
— Jan Denise

I am adopting this perspective as we settle into our new home. Since we started this journey of putting a deposit down, packing, and moving, I have been stretched in a variety of ways—some difficult, some welcome. The stretching continues, as we settle down in a new part of town, with new roads, and ultimately new challenges.

First to the good growth. It is a pleasure to have coffee while enjoying this view. The view at our old place was supposed privacy bushes that the birds built their nests in; which alternatively attracted flies and other bugs. They still did not hide the neighbor’s cinder block wall, or block out their “tenant’s” noise.

We were sometimes bothered by the landlord’s intrusive wife, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and neighborhood wanderers—the bane of being directly off a major strip. So the shades were always drawn, which only added to my depression and the feeling of the walls closing in. I am a light and space girl, and I cannot tell you what seeing this every morning has done for my soul.

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I am thrilled that the dogs have space and comfy pillows on which to perch. Puppet, in particular, is all about the comfy pillows and is trying them out in every room.

 

And for a mold-free bedroom that also has lots of light, and that I can decorate and fix up.

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After 11 years that comforter needs to be replaced and our wood needs some help. That’s what 4 dogs will do for you, but I wouldn’t trade it!

And now, to the discomfort. We still have essentials to get: like a refrigerator, which means we are spending way more on takeout and delivery than I want. We are full-time workers, so the unpacking and the final cleaning and polish is slow. We moved in with the knowledge that it is an old space, and some things have been neglected; so it is also navigating the waiting and the logistics of having those items repaired or replaced. We have been gifted with a washer-dryer, but have to wait until our benefactor moves next month; so weekly laundromat visits are back on the agenda for now.

My challenge is not to fixate on either the pleasurable growth or the uncomfortable parts. My job is to just be present in the process, learn to be patient with the process, and take things as they come without stressing myself out and wishing for something different.

It’s also allowing for gaps, mess, and imperfection, because even that is a form of growth and beautiful in its own way.

I am also thrilled with this full length mirror so I can make sure my outfits are on point.

Today’s couture is my favorite Yoga shirt and leggings: perfect for the day’s agenda of teaching the Yoga, and training new teachers!

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Coincidences versus Divine Appointments 

8 01 2018

“There is no such thing as chance; and what seems to us mere
accident springs form the deepest source of destiny.” 

Friedrich Schiller

It was a gorgeous, steely morning in the Crescenta Valley. Los Angeles is experiencing its first rain of the season, so it added to the mellowness of this Monday morning.

Our Montrose Church Women’s Coffee group was meeting at Panera Bread. I don’t really like Panera, and don’t quite understand what makes it so popular. Because we are again flat broke after having to travel to Chicago, the last thing I wanted was to go someplace where I had to spend money; so between that and the rain, I could have had a convenient excuse just to stay home. But the goal, particularly during this new year and time of grieving, is to connect as much as I can—especially on mornings when I really just want to curl into a ball—and this was one of these mornings.

For a change, I left right after my voice lesson. Normally I dither around a bit, but I wasn’t sure what the 2 Freeway would look like with this first rain, and since I haven’t been firing on all cylinders lately, I wanted to take my sweet time and not feel rushed. So I arrived at Panera exactly at 9 a.m., and Jana, Sandy, Carolyn, and several other women were already in line, ordering their food. I gave them hugs, and then looked at the menu to see if there was anything I wanted to get. I decided to try a pastry (cheap), and had my eye on a pecan roll, when I heard a male voice say, “Hello!” behind me.

I turned around to see my friend Robert, with his gorgeous smile, opening his arms for a hug, which I gladly took. Robert and his wife Gina have been one of the great friendships we’ve developed since coming to Montrose Church, and they knew about Joan’s passing. He asked how I was doing, and I said I was hanging in. He said something distinctive: “You have a certain grace about you that makes you appear that you are handling the situation.” I took that as a positive. We chatted a bit more, then I got back in line to order my pecan roll.

I was happy that the pecan roll did not disappoint, and I was happy with my decision to get out the house. We had great conversation around the table about a variety of things, including movies, and the Faith & Film class a lot of us were attending. Our time together was winding to a close, and most of the women had left. My emotional bank was depleting, so I went to restroom, and then prepared to make my exit.

I came back from the restroom, and was saying my goodbyes to the remaining ladies, when I sensed a pair of eyes upon me. I looked in the direction of the gaze, and saw the beautiful face of Darlene Perry smiling at me! I knew Darlene from The Church on the Way, where we sang together in the New Song Gospel Choir. Darlene and her sisters are also recording artists, as part of the talented Peri Sisters. On top of that, Darlene is an incredible baker and chef, and her cupcakes are simply divine.

I walked over and gave her a big hug, and we caught up a bit on each other’s lives. She was in La Crescenta (all the way from Lancaster) to frequent a local bakery supply shop! She popped into Panera for a quick bite before heading back to the Antelope Valley. I introduced her to the remaining ladies, and then she collected her food and jetted off. We made a commitment to reconnect on Facebook.

Some people would think that both of those unexpected meetings of a new friend and an old friend were coincidence; I choose to believe otherwise. For whatever reason, God knew I needed those bookends to my morning in order to shore up my soul for the rest of my day. Pastor Dave talked yesterday about God hovering over the void that is the chaos in our life, and those divine appointments were most definitely from his hand.





In My Orbit: Merry Christmas, Happy Boxing Day, and Happy New Year!

26 12 2013

Electronic Christmas Card 2013

Greetings, fellow turners. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas full of love and good food. I feel a day late and a dollar short over not posting an Advent or a Christmas post, but my sentiments are the same no matter what the time of year–may you be blessed, well, and fulfilling your life’s purpose!

My Washington Times Communities column is humming along swimmingly! I continue to beat the drum on Obamacare, its deficiencies, and its abject failure on delivering little of what it has promised. As a Christmas present(?) to Americans, the Obama administration hacked away at the individual mandate to help out those whose individual policies had been cancelled due to the new Obamacare regulations. Make sense? Didn’t think so, but not much does with this convoluted law. Give it a read: The Obamacare individual mandate death watch.

Over at Examiner.com, the ever-changing world of the film industry continues to stay in focus. I was recently asked by KCET to review a series called Bridge to Iran, and to interview its host Parisa Soultani. I gained insight and an education into a minority group that makes up a huge chunk of the Los Angeles population, yet remains shrouded in mystery. I hope that the review and conversation with Parisa removes a bit of that shroud. Give those a read, if you get a chance: Artist Profile: Parisa Soultani uses media to connect to a higher essence; and, TV Series review: Bridge to Iran spotlights Iranian filmmakers.

My holiday was filled with family concerns and family joys, but I count this as one of the best Christmases we have had in a long time. I pray 2014 brings you renewal and joy to your world.

 

 

 





In My Orbit: 2012 Year-in-review

31 12 2012
Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Well, the Mayans (or their historical interpeters) were completely wrong. The world did not end on December 21, 2012. After the results of the 2012 Election, it might have been a welcome reprieve from what we will face for the next four years. This administration cannot even negotiate a fiscal cliff compromise. Tell me again why Obama was reelected? I think everyone will be asking that question in time to come, with varying degrees of response.

We may slide down the fiscal cliff, but As the Girl Turns blog will continue to go strong. WordPress was so nice to supply me with the year-in-review stats, so here is the rundown of my 5 most viewed posts of 2012:

1. Epic Fail

From “You Didn’t Build That!” to haterade toward Bristol Palin, both were fails of President Obama and the Left. While it did not cost him the Presidential reelection, it did cost him in terms of image. This is a President that despises independent growth and small business, and his lack of leadership on the fiscal cliff talks continue to show how little he cares about building the American economy. Let this be a reminder of just WHO we re-elected.

2. Epic Fail: Benghazi-Gate Cover up

and

3. Epic Fail: Benghazi-Gate Unraveling

Benghazi continues to unravel. Since September 12, 2012, many of us knew this stunk to high heaven with everyone doing a song and dance over a YouTube video that barely had any views until the State Department and the Obama administration decided to use it as an excuse for the September 11, 2012 Consulate attack.

Despite the legacy media and Democrat efforts to ignore it completely, the stench of the tragedy that is Benghazi, and all its subsequent negligence and failures, continues to fill the room. Until justice is done and the truth is revealed, I hope this continues. Eli Lake of Newsweek/The Daily Beast, one of the few legacy media reporters who has bothered to cover the story, is still on the case, along with Representative Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of a House oversight subcommittee that is investigating the security failures on the night of the attack.

Departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has suddenly fallen ill, first with a flu bug, then with a concussion, and now with blood clots. My prayers are with her for a quick recovery, because she needs to testify. Someone needs to answer and be accountable for negligent breaches and lives lost.

4. Illustrating Absurdity: Or, lack of planning on your part, does not constitute an emergency on my part…

Amazingly enough, this was written back in 2010, and I didn’t re-blog it–so it’s nice to know my words continue to have an impact, even on events that have long past. Like my No. 1 “most viewed” post, it is more confirmation that we have a President who cannot handle crisis and continues to do more harm than good for the country.

5. Election 2012 Post-mortem: Still looking for the Silver Linings

We are one day away from going over the fiscal cliff, the Obama administration is using the Sandy Hook tragedy to make inroads into trampling upon 2nd Amendment rights, and Obamacare threatens to bankrupt all of us if we don’t find a way to stop it. It is essential that we find the silver linings in the looming clouds of four more years of this Presidency. We must unite and we must fight. Our country needs us more than ever.

I leave you with a curious Blog factoid: A bulk of my readership comes from the United States and Canada, with the rest coming from Mexico and South America. Hmmm….

Here’s my wish for a safe and Happy New Year!

 





In My Orbit…

4 01 2011

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy New Year!  And California has a Happy New Governor.  Can you tell I’m thrilled?

In a no-frills ceremony, Scary Brown was sworn in, while Gray Davis and outgoing Governator Arnold smiled, both probably gloating over the mess they left Governor Brown x3 that he’ll probably not get cleaned up in the next four years.  My husband and I are contemplating the celebrity threat of 2000-2008: we’re moving to Europe.  But first we have to find work, so basically, we’re in the same boat we’re in here.  Sigh. Might as well stay…

One of those controversial messes the Governator left was reducing the manslaughter sentence of Esteban Nuñez, former Assembly speaker Fabian Nuñez’ son.  Arnie cut the young man’s sentence from 16 years to seven.  Wonder what Fabian did for Arnie to get such a hurried and huge favor?

Apparently the San Diego County District Attorney is pissed, and looking into the legalities of this executive commutation, as it was done in a hurry, and didn’t follow proper procedure.  I’m sure Arnie has already put it behind him.  He will simply go back to Hollywood, make more movies and rewrite his legacy, whatever that may be. Thankfully, he can’t run for President, so we’ll be content with his celluloid/digital creations for some time to come.

And on a lighter, and much more well-written note, the only thing worth reading on Newsweek/The Daily Beast: George Will’s 2010 recap.  Read it, marvel and laugh.  More Stimulating than the Stimulus.





Happy Christmas to All…

24 12 2010

I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

It’s been a roller-coaster year for the girl and her love, but we take the spills along with the thrills and remember that Christmastime is meant to bring joy to the heavy-hearted, peace to the brokenhearted, hope to the weary one, and love to the downtrodden.  So I embrace that for myself and my communities, and wish the same for you.

Thank you for reading and commenting, and I look forward to welcoming old and new friends into to my world in 2011!

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

 





Reflecting on the close of another year…

9 12 2009

Here we are again, at the last month of the year.  Can you believe how quickly time has passed?

Perspective is an interesting concept.  If I look at our finances, my (still) limited/lack of employment, and our housing struggles, I could say that this year has been the pits, and that I’m more than happy to see it come to a close, with the hope that 2010 brings better things–please….

But I have chosen to adjust the lens, and apply a particular filter: to focus on what God has done this year, and not on what hasn’t happened.  We are still in our loving home, and I am thankful for having a roof over our heads, and delight in each day we wake up and enjoy being there.  This home is a dream come true, and in the two short years, it has seen a lot of life, death and rebirth.  It gave safe haven to June so that she could freely pass from this life to the next;  it gave Gabi a launch point to move on to her destiny.  For the first time in our marriage, Lynn and I are alone in the house, and enjoying the newness of simply being a couple and having it all to ourselves.  We just celebrated two years in August, and marriage still feels shiny and new!

I hope that wonder never goes away.

My writing for Examiner.com is going quite well. The discipline of writing two to three articles a week for publication has improved my craft, and it is exciting to see my readership and site hits build.  I get paid per hits on the web page, so more increase would be nice; but, I am doing what I have always wanted to do: using my talent to write about eternal matters, and aspects of faith and community that pique my interest.  I have met some wonderful pastors and leaders who have shared their stories of faith and ministry, and have been able to highlight some worthy community programs.  There’s a link on this blog to the articles, so go check them out!  You can also comment on these articles, and you know me; I always like a good dialogue.

Facilitating the Tuesdays with Transitioners job seekers group has been a tremendous blessing.  Helping others in their job search, sharing resources, and offering support is a reward in and of itself.  The most difficult part of encountering hardship is that you tend to feel isolated and alone; so having a place where others are experiencing the same plight that you are acts as an emotional anchor, and helps you to manage your perspective.  Some of the attendees have gained new employment, so I consider that a success!  It has also given me an opportunity to do some public speaking, so I am expanding my presentation skills, and growing in areas I never thought possible.

And thanks again to everyone who contributed to my AVON Walk for Breast Cancer this past September.  Not only did I achieve the entire 39 miles, but I met some great people, including Tana, the lady I trained with.  The two-mile Leukemia/Lymphoma Society fundraiser called “Light the Night” was more personal.  June’s cancer was a T-Cell Lymphoma, and while I didn’t raise a great deal of money for it, it felt good to participate in memory of her life.

It has been a year of celebrating friend’s lives, and mourning with them in the death of their loved ones.  I accomplished some goals, while others still remain just out of reach.  I reacquainted with old friends, and made some new ones.  I spread my wings to travel, while maintaining and maximizing our sweet nest.

So it has been a year of bitter and sweet, of difficulty and daring, of lament and celebration.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but I am glad to see it close.  The wonderful thing about a new year, is the word “New.”

From my household to yours–Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!








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