Thursday, September 22, 2016

Our Time

As the weekend approaches, the fact that our time is our own catches me off guard.  Years ago Ken would say, “Someday we will no longer be running to softball, football, school events & activities”.   I could barely fathom that notion, as we went in different directions chauffeuring three kids to their appointed destinations.  Many times feeling overwhelmed by not having a single day of the weekend to relax without someone’s schedule demanding our attention.

Today at 54, I sit poolside on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and wonder what the day will hold.  Stretched before me are hours of freedom having nowhere special to be.  The calendar is empty of any markings indicating obligations. The day belongs to us and in that moment we are like newlyweds again – without the worries and responsibilities associated with people our age.

My mind races with exciting ideas and suddenly I am dreaming about hiking the trails at Caumsett Park, or a stroll on the boardwalk at Jones Beach, an afternoon journey to NYC for a show, or perhaps a simple bike ride around the neighborhood.   The wonder and excitement is limitless as I sit with my feet dangling in the pool, dreaming.

But I am only capable of fantasizing when physical activities are involved.  These damn MS symptoms have put a damper on so many adventures imaginable.  They simply are no longer possible and daydreaming leaves me feeling cheated.  How did we get to this season in our lives and why is it filled with such difficulties?

After more then 35 years of knowing one another, Ken seems to read my mind.  He sits beside me and takes my hand.  “So, what does my bride want to do today?”  I do not share the dreams filling my thoughts or allude to the sorrow in my heart.  Instead I lean my head upon his shoulder and say, “Anything honey, as long as I’ve got your hand in mine” 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Whip Cream & Cherry

A chalice, which is a goblet-shaped wine glass, has long been a symbol of the Christian church. It symbolizes the vessel from which Jesus Christ drank with his disciples during the Last Supper. It is also viewed as a symbol of Christ's power to redeem humankind.”   

I like to keep my theology simple and usually see God’s grace through the ordinary stuff in life.  After reading the definition of a chalice and understanding its symbolism - the image of our lives as a Deluxe Ice Cream Sundae comes into view.  Each scoop of delicious, creamy, sweet ice cream added to our empty cups are but moments in time when we have accomplished great feats….

It is like “build your own Sundae” – filling your chalice with scoops of love, self sacrifice, good will, acts of mercy and the list (like flavors) continues without end!  The only thing missing from what you have created by your works and deeds is the whip cream and cherry.  Who doesn’t like this finishing touch on any Ice Cream Sundae? 

The whip cream and cherry are the instants in our lives when we pause and do nothing but lift our hearts up to God.  It is when we pray, acknowledge, gives thanks and share fellowship in church with other believers.  It is added to our chalice when we give the Glory found in each Scoop of the Sundae to God.  

So many people experience the joy of an Ice Cream Sundae overflowing with a lifetime of goodness.  But missing is the one final and perfect ingredient - that comes from being more then just a good soul.  It is the topping to any life, given not by the merit of our actions but in our trust and belief in a Loving and Almighty God. 

My prayer today – Loving Father, add another scoop of “Rocky Road” to my chalice and if it please you Lord – a double shot of Whip Cream with two cherries!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sweet Music

The metal chairs have all been unfolded and arranged in a wide semi circle.
As each member of the orchestra files into the rows of chairs, he or she sits
down in sections of instruments grouped together. Although one singular
orchestra, the musicians are reminded of their individuality as they peer at
the other players and instruments present; each radically different from their
own.  And yet, in a few short minutes these eclectic instruments will create
beautiful, sweet music together.
This unity or shift from a room of musicians to an orchestra is brought about
by the almighty conductor; the iconic woman standing at the podium in a
long-tailed black and white suit waving a baton at little prodigies.
Although at no point during the performance does the conductor actually play
an instrument, without her present the orchestra would cease to exist.

With my hands clutching a small imaginary baton, I feel a sense of power and excitement.    At my command a symphony lies waiting to be composed with a melody waiting to be heard.   The players are all assembled eager to please.  I am perched high on the podium, self conscious and wary of my ability to bring this song to life. 

I am ready to let go and give in, releasing myself from any feelings of despair.  In return for this release, I gain confidence in my capacity to create a masterpiece.  I am the conductor and responsible for all that follows from the movement of my baton.

Every morning when I arise I am faced with the reality of my circumstances; but I understand that my job is not for the light-hearted. And I understand that the show must always go on, no matter how I feel.  I channel my longing to pickup and play these instruments before me.  They are within my grasp but better suited for those treasured “players” in my life who gladly, lovingly and joyfully carry the weight of each note.  I am but the catalyst to bring this symphony to a swelling crescendo.

And so, I begin to direct - unifying the performers, setting the tempo, listening attentively, correcting critically and shaping the sound of the ensemble.  I make adjustments, work out interpretations and relay my vision for the score. 

Each guiding stroke moves us wondrously closer to a newly 
constructed rendition of a timeless classic.

*special thanks to Aileen for her contribution to this piece

Sunday, September 4, 2016


The solitary leaf falling at my feet has me witnessing the arrival of fall.  I have never felt myself clinging to sunshine & warm breezes; wishing for summer to never leave me in the cold.  My paradise soon to be replaced by the glory found in autumns promise.

I have taken to sitting on the back deck in the early hours of the morning.  The quiet and peacefulness of this setting makes my coffee taste “ever the sweeter”. This summer more than any prior had me enjoying paradise moments here in our backyard.  I commented to Ken how I’ve swam more laps in our pool (a small victory and reward for needing exercise).  I have rested and enjoyed numerous “siestas” on the comfy outdoor couch.  Even the blacktop driveway gave me opportunities to walk with my new, ever changing gait and swag.  The brick around the pool providing a perfect setting for practicing my yoga stretches.  I was warmed by many evening fires courtesy of Ken and his master fire building skills.  And the final triumph of this paradise came in a bright, shiny, copper cup holding my new favorite cocktail - The Kentucky Mule!

I came into this paradise with a greater appreciation- enjoying, savoring, experiencing and beholding all its offerings.  I was not busy with new things or completing other tasks.  There was a freedom which allowed me to become part of the landscape and fully enter into this holy bliss.  

But today I grab a sweatshirt before journeying onto the deck.  I immediately notice steam rising from my coffee cup.  The September chill is ushering in a new season and drawing a close to my paradise found.   Past experience has me happy to begin the fall season.  I ready myself for a wardrobe change, orange and red mums, 4 o’clock tea watching “Ellen”, early sunsets and shorter days.

But before letting go and beginning anew – I take just a brief moment and curse that solitary fallen leaf.

The White Blouse

I have everything covered – prayers ✔, music ✔, handouts ✔  .  All I can think is, what an honor to be leading a group of my peers for a...