Monday Musings: Be thankful in small things

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Wounded Warriors – Thank you – Faith of the Heart

I volunteer at our local Veteran’s Hospital.  It has been my privilege and honor to be of service to our service personnel who have been wounded in the line of duty.  It has been heartbreaking and heart lifting.   I can do so little and really, it is they who have helped me.

We all have our journeys and wounds – some wounds take longer to heal than other.  But I have learned from these courageous warriors, it is your attitude that is what is important – how you define your pain and suffering and healing rather than letting the wounds define you.  They encourage each other and when necessary, tell one another to get off their pity pot and start going forward.  Wow.

Several years ago, a new saga in the Star Trek mythology came on TV – Enterprise – the pre-history of the original Star Trek most of us know.  I was immediately captivated by it and not just because the luscious Scott Bakula (a long time favorite) was the star of the show.  The theme music, when first I heard it in the opening credits, brought tears flowing down my cheeks.  Faith of the Heart….the words said it all to me about my journey, pain, hard times, renewal, faith, healing.  A few Sundays ago, it was my time to do the special music for church service.  After much thought of so many other songs, I chose this.  I chose it because it is a true song. It says much about my journey of faith as well as my journey of life.

One day on one of the wards, one of the guys was having a hard time with his physical and emotional healing.  He had lost both legs below the knee and one arm at the shoulder.  He had been working so hard and today, he was so tired of it all.  I was sitting, helping a young man with his lunch when one of the other men, began singing this song.  In just a moment, it was taken up by the others.  Obviously, this song rang true to them all.  I sat there awed and humbled by these men – they were wounded for us and now, they were at their most vulnerable and yet, also at their strongest.  The young man was encouraged and began to sing along.  Afterwards, they all applauded and cheered and continued on with their healing process.  No whining, no blame, no holding back –

The video with the words is below.  As you continue your journey in life, remember these words, remember these heroes, remember: it is your choice how you heal or don’t. It is your choice how you move forward or stay stuck.  They were wounded for us, but they were healed for themselves and those they love.

Thank you again to all our service members, wounded, healed, whole, deployed, at home, retired…God bless and keep you every one.

Thankful

Being a true and proud southerner, I decided I needed to disavow the notion that folks up north had the first Thanksgiving. Yes, I know I’m starting trouble. Yes, I know other people claim the “first Thanksgiving”.  I think some folks in Florida also lay claim to this even further back than 1619.    Thanksgiving: 4 December 1619 Berkley Plantation, Virginia.  Massachusetts:  November 1621

But the true heart of the matter indeed, is taking time to be grateful for our blessings. In spite of hard times, we still have much to be grateful for. I’ve had a rough patch – much stress and grief.  But behind all of it, was the love of my family and friends, the eternal love of God.   I’m here today, still standing, still loved and still loving.   A roof over my head, a job, food in the fridge, eyes to see the beauty around me, ears to hear the voices of those I love.   I am mega-wealthy.

And I am thankful to all of you, out there in the Blogosphere who take the time to share yourselves, your talents, visions, humor, grief – your lives.  You all have enriched me in ways I cannot express so I will just say, Thank you and God bless you all.  You are officially awarded:  Best Bloggers in the World

Oh yes….and a few photos……please just have a good smile with me and humor me.  Please note another of the firsts at Berkley – First Whiskey Distillery…..

Berkeley-Collage-1024x613[1]news45_thanksgiving1[1]      Teaching the minuet at the Virginia Thanksgiving Festival November 2010   imagesCATRCPRG

Letter From J.D. Salinger

One of my treasured possessions is a letter from J. D. Salinger. On our fifth anniversary, my husband had it archived in a sealed frame. During my movings and travelings, somehow, it always stayed safe. Now it hangs on our wall.

When I was a teenager, I discovered Salinger. Immediately, I felt a connection. I avidly read all of his books – sometimes immediately beginning all over after the last word of the book. Because of Salinger, I looked at literature, life, everything in a different way. His books were well thumbed and full of underlined passages. Zen and its nuances opened my mind to yet another way of perception.

In 1976, I found my interest in disco and partying palling. An intense relationship ended. I plunged into a deep depression, my life one of empty sorrow. One night, I sat down and poured out my heart in a letter to Salinger. I felt, he would understand. He would understand how people scarred our hearts, how strange the world felt. With no hope, I mailed the letter to his publisher.

Several months later, I opened my mailbox and pulled out an envelope with handwriting I did not know. I opened it and began to read. How my spirit lifted. How amazed and grateful was my heart. Mr. Salinger had not only received my letter, but had read it and….miracle! Responded. He had no idea how he would affect me. To this day, I can feel that flutter as I read his words. Brief, but he knew. He knew how I felt and reached across miles, years, culture, fame…..

Below is the letter. A poor photograph but I think you all can read it. We never know how our responses will touch someone. His response has triggered in me a gratitude and sensitivity to those who comment or speak to me. My words will touch them. Today, Mr. Salinger’s words touch you all as well, just because of how he responded to me.

 

salinger

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Hue(s) Of You… and surviving cancer

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Six years ago, I was told I had ovarian cancer – a cancer that is almost always fatal because it is usually found so late and mimics symptoms of other diseases.

These are my hues for today:  sky blue and pure white clouds – autumn sky – aki no sora

I left work and drove to the country.  I parked on a hillside and climbed onto the hood of my car.  I leaned back and gazed above me to the bright autumn blue sky with white clouds drifting above me. I lay back for most of the afternoon and gazed at the beauty above me.   I was alive due to a miracle beyond my understanding, due to a careful doctor who was hyper-vigilant and took pap smears from higher than normal, thus finding the cancer at ground zero, due to encouragement, pray, the grace of God, amazing medical care.

Here I am today, posting a picture of this glorious sky.  These are my hues: life, living life with passion, taking time to live that life.

Live your life with passion.  Whatever hues there may be in your life, let the hues of passion, joy, belief, and gratitude be among those hues.

All of you, be blessed.

Information about the blogging challenges can be found at:  Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter — we’ll highlight great photos from each month’s most popular challenge

A Splendiferous Galaxy of Awards…..Gratitude flows

 

You registered on WordPress.com 1 years ago!  Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

 

Okay, this isn’t an award.  it is a computer generated notice.  They haven’t fresh pressed me so they don’t know I am doing good blogging.  .

HOWEVER (ahem)  it is all of you out there who have read my blog, liked, commented…..it is all of you out there in Blogland that share yourselves with others, that give us some of our best moments, that inspire us, make us weep, make us laugh and chortle with delight, inform us, influence us…….and in a large part, that “us” is me.  Yours truly……the very imperfect cherry blossom who strives to be the perfect cherry blossom.   When I started blogging, I wasn’t sure what to expect or where I was going.  Somehow, KanzenSakura has taken a life of her own and has skipped merrily along, sometimes with me, sometimes, apparently when successful, without.

A few weeks ago, a meteor shower of nominations lit my world.  Alas, pneumonia laid me low and so I am later that I wish to be at thanking those shining lights who nominated me.  Here is the amazing part:  no rules.  No link backs, no answering questions……just those precious souls saying, “Here is a garden of awards.  Pick yourself a bouquet.  I know you deserve them all but pick the ones that make your bouquet as special as you.”

So being a good (sometimes, more often than not, naughty) southern girl, I am doing as my mama taught me years ago.  “When folks are nice to you, say Thank You.  and oh yes, pass it along.”

Thank you to:

http://theseeker57.wordpress.com

http://transcendingbordersblog.wordpress.com

http://ajaytao2010.wordpress.com

I’m posting the awards I chose.  I am going to mentally go out to Oklahoma and wander around http://el34ax7.wordpress.com/  mom’s pasture and cogitate on this a bit.  I’m going to share.  I may even wander around the lovely land of http://davidemeron.com/ and his amazing sonnets, or scoot around Japan compliments of http://japankharma.wordpress.com/

But wherever I go in my thoughts, I’m going to share these awards in the same spirit as they were given.  I know some of the folks I choose will not accept and that is fine, just you all go visit their site anyway, okay?

Thank you all again.  Words in this case, are insufficient.  I send you all hugs from my heart.

 

So……here is the Splendiferous Bouquet of Awards – Yowzer Y’all…..

hug-award11[1] most-influential-blogger-e1364230844577[1] one-lovely-blog-award[1] rose-of-kindness-award[1] seed-of-light-award[1] shineon1[1] unique-leaves-award[1]

 

Inner Peace Award

Bronze Star Medal; Decoration of the U.S. Military

Bronze Star Medal; Decoration of the U.S. Military (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

AjayTao and Clowie nominated me for this award and it is with great joy that I accept this award on behalf of my beloved Papa.  My papa was 16 when he lied about his age and joined and became part of the Third Army during WWII.  He was a sniper and earned high honors for marksmanship and a bronze star for valor.It is not however, his actions of battle, but rather his action of compassion that merits this award.  It was bitter cold in France.  Many of the soldiers had inadequate food, clothing, boots……because Papa, “Country” as his buddies called him, was one of those gentle, kind, funny, deceptively slow moving youngsters, he became a great favorite with all.

One day, he was in the mess tent grabbing a quick bite.  In front of him was a thin, shivering young man in a wet uniform, limping his way through the line.  Papa looked down and saw he was wearing wet, ragged socks.  During war and especially in winter, your feet are all important to guard and care for.  Papa asked the young man where his boots were and was shocked when he was told, “I haven’t had boots for several weeks, just socks.”  Then and there, Papa left the tent and went to the quartermaster and begged boots, dry socks, dry pieces of uniform.  He returned to the tent and gave to the young man who began to cry at the gift.  He asked Papa’s name and thanked him.

A few days later, Papa was going through a field of wounded soldiers for “clean up duty”.  He looked down into the dead face of the young man.  At the body recovery tent, Papa was called in and given a small bundle.  It consisted of a handkerchief, a bar of soap in army issue soap box, a stub of a pencil, and a New Testament stained with blood.  Inside, the young man had written that his belongings were to be given to my father.  “I have no family and he was more than a brother to me.”  I still have these items today, just as Papa handed them down to me.

Years later, Papa finally told some of the war stories.  He only told this one once and he wept the whole time.  He shook with sobs as he said, “At least his feet were warm.”

My Papa survived hell but with a tear in his soul that never fully healed.  In spite of this, he was a loving man.  Serene, gentle, funny….at peace with the world his God had created.  Birds were not afraid of him, all animals fell under his spell, babies reached out their trusting arms to him.  He spent his life loving and taking care of those who could not care for themselves.  His sapphire blue eyes reflected heaven and in spite of everything, you could look in his eyes and see peace and gratitude.

So this award is really for my Papa.  It was given to me by Ajay and Clowie – two other gentle sousl. T thank them for this award. I thank God’s grace for giving me the peace of knowing His love is constant, just like my earthly Papa.

May you all find peace within.

Liebster Award – ME?!?!?!?!?

The Liebster Award is awarded to up and coming blogsters with under 200 followers.  Wow.  I haven’t been up and coming since I was 11 and remained 4’10” for the rest of my life.   People are odd about awards sometimes.  Some people do not accept them, some think it’s a popularity contest, others think awards will make you a hack.  All of this may be true.    But I still remember the first shiver of pleasure I had when somone “liked” my first post.  I still remember the awe when my first follower signed on.  I keep that pleasure and awe  with every like and every follower.  To me, the awards are a tangible proof that someone appreciated something about my blog.  Will I change my writing for the masses?  NONONONONONO!!!!!!!

I thank you all for your likes and following – I just wish y’all would comment more!  I like comments.  I like conversations.  So please, more comments!  Bless you all for reading my multiple personality blog.  You are the bestest!

I also wish to thank  AB, 賢者   at:  http://el34ax7.wordpress.com/  For nominating me for this award.  Please go check him out immediately!  I know you will find his poems well worth your time.  Open yourself up and let the words flow inside and all around.

I have listed my nominees – all are worthy.  They run the gamut from human and animal rights defenders to gamers to poets to photographers to witnesses to the Christian lifestyle.  Please visit every link and give them a go.  You’ll discover some amazing people.

The rules:

1. Thank the Liebster Blog presenter who nominated you and link back to their blog.

2. Post 11 facts about yourself, answer the 11 questions you were asked and create 11 questions for your nominees.

3. Nominate 11 blogs who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.

4. Display the Liebster Award logo.

5. No tag back thingys (Don’t give the award back to whomever gave you the award).

 

MY NOMINEES:

http://thesunnykitchenn.wordpress.com/

http://growingwonderwoman.wordpress.com/

http://ensummerfield84.wordpress.com/

http://pattersonty.wordpress.com/

http://shuohometataemasu.wordpress.com/

http://twohp2few.wordpress.com/

http://pratibhajanisvegetarianrecipes.com/

http://thepracticalmystic.org/

http://karenlawrencephotography.wordpress.com/

http://ogpmom.com/

http://nomadicpedestrian.wordpress.com/

 

11 FACTS ABOUT ME:

1.   I have a cat who likes blueberries

2.  I am an absolutely amazing cook.  Trust me on this.  My fried chicken gets fan mail.  I am a vegetarian but my family is not – I often prepare two meals, although they are coming along.

3.  Major geek.  I have three different Star Trek uniforms in my closet.  My shower curtain design is of the periodic table of elements.  I received a “just because” gift in the mail yesterday – a tee shirt stating:  If you aren’t part of the solution, then you’re part of the precipitate”.   Go figure, huh?

4.  I graduated from the Culinary Arts Institute.  I used to be a chef in DC and N’awlings but it made my crazy.  Now I only cook for those I love and with love.

5.  I have not yet achieved mediocrity although I am trying very hard.

6.  I’m not Japanese – at least not in this life.

7.  If I could live anywhere, I’d live in Japan.

8.  I’m only 4’10” tall.  I have had people tell me they think I’m taller.  A Scorpio with moon in Scorpio and Venus in Scorpio would definitely give that illusion.

9.  I was once thrown out of Studio 54 for being too rowdy.  My cousin Billy was thrown out with me (he was also with me at Woodstock – neither of us remember much)

10.  Sitting outside on a summer night between the hours of midnight and 4:00 am is one of my favorite things to do.  I write a lot during those times.  I love the night.  During the still hot summer and in the winter when it snows are my two favorite times.  You will find many of my poems are about the night and the seasons of the night.

11.  I have 11 friends all born on 11/16 between 5:30 am and 6:30 am.  Different years though.

THE 11 QUESTIONS I WAS ASKED BY MY NOMINATOR AND MY ANSWERS:

1. Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moon light?  Oh my yes!

2. If so, to what song? If not, what are you waiting for?  Disco Inferno/did the Quick Step

3. Why did you start writing?  My father put his fountain pen in my hand and told me I could change the world with that pen.  I followed it as it danced across the paper.   I was four.

4. Who is your favourite writer and a brief “Why?”  J.D. Salinger  “An artist’s only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else’s.”      Franny and Zooey    

5. Where do you write? The bed? The bath? The beyond?  Wherever I jolly well want to write!

6. What is your favourite work of art?  My gravatar:  The Great Wave by Hokusai

7. Cake or death?   Strawberries

8. What is the tastiest thing you’ve ever eaten?   A fresh picked, warm from the sun, home grown summer tomato with so much acid, it reaches out and slaps you before you can take a bite.

9. What is a question that you’ve always wanted answered?   How do we take the bop out of the bop-she-bop?

10. In which period of human history would you most like to live?  Edwardian or Edo…depends on my mood.

11. Amadeus: best movie ever? or greatest movie ever?  それはあなたの決断です   Salieri:   Displace one note and there would be diminishment, displace one phrase and the structure would fall.

11 QUESTIONS FOR YOU – THE NOMINEES:

1. What would you do if you won a huge amount of lottery money?

2.  What do you see when you look in the mirror?

3. If you weren’t you, who would you be and why?

4.  Name three things that make you smile.

5. What song best describes you?

6.  Red wine, white wine, sake, or coca cola?

7.  How would you describe your blog?

8. Do you have any pets?

9.  What is your favorite food?

10. What question have you always wanted answered?

11.  Samurai or Arthurian Knight?

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