Thursday, October 17, 2013

Word for the day: BUBULUBU

Chayo and Leah, our god-daughters
Chayo turned 13 this week.  She is one of our god-daughters.  We had a family celebration at her Aunt Rosa's with roasted turkey, fried rice and a giant Bubulubu birthday cake (it's more fun to say "bubulubu" than to read it).  In Mexico, a Bubulubu is kind of junk-food cake like a Twinkie but it has either strawberries or pineapples covered in chocolate. 

All week, Chayo has been anticipating her birthday.  During mass, prior to her party, she was so antsy, her eyes shining and twinkling, her patience strained.  A couple of times she said "Amen" a little too loud before a prayer was over.  I took it all in, this shimmering, happy anticipation.  It was infectious.

Children have this ability to experience joy in anticipation.  As adults we often forget how to do that, but if you can remember waiting for Christmas or a birthday and claim that back with a child's joy this makes the fulfillment of wishes all the better. Let us anticipate with excitement all things lying ahead of us!
Chayo and cousin, Izak

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A few thoughts about Penny...

We lost Penny on Friday to old age.  She was my dog from Virginia.  Her passing was as gentle and quiet as she was in life.  Her friendship has been a constant for the past 12 years.  I savor what she has taught me.

When I first rescued Penny, she was a pup with a broken leg.  I was impressed at how stoic she was.  The boy who owned her had no means to pay for her surgery or give her the care for her recovery, so I told him that I would pay if he would let me have her. 

God gives us what we need even when we are oblivious to what that is.  Those were dark and difficult days for me, I moved through life like a robot,  but after Penny's surgery I cared for her as a good and responsible nurse.  One night after carrying her outside to do her business, I happened to notice that she sniffed the air with pleasure.  So, I sniffed the air to check it out.  It was cool and crisp and green-smelling of life.  She looked around, so I looked around and because it was a big sky, I looked up.  The stars were bright and twinkled.  Penny caused me to look up and out of myself...It was an awakening. I began to see the world through the eyes of a pent-up puppy anxious for mending, and over the next 3 months Penny shared her ways with me and we both got better.

One night, during her recuperation we lay in the hammock together bundled in a sleeping bag to watch a meteorite shower.

Penny had a special bed in my bedroom where I hung a little painting at her eye level to make her space like mine - art-full.

Penny and I were two black-haired, brown-eyed, Eastern Shore girls and we thought each other beautiful.

I entered her in a costume show for dogs as a benefit for cancer.  She was a pit bull/chow mix and her costume:  a pink faerie dress with gossamer wings that flapped!  I just knew she would win - how adorable is a pit bull faerie pup!  For me to enroll in a doggy pageant was a small feat of courage, but she inspired me to a new boldness.  She lost to a boy scout terrier, but in this case, we were winners too.

Time and time again, God used Penny to get a message through to me.

I've come to understand that choosing to care for her was an exercise in caring for myself and more than that, it puts one in the habit of not turning away from what is wrong in the world. 

Penny was my first dog-love.  She was a gift every day of her life. Twelve years times 7 is a long life of friendship in dog years.  I am embracing what I've learned from her:  Love and live. It helps make things better for yourself and for the world.   And you can practice on a dog.

Friday, October 4, 2013

For my friend, Jeanne...

A couple of weeks ago a dear and precious friend who shared a long history with me left this world.  She lived a full and long life with great spirit.  Some of my most special friends are gathering for a little memorial on Monday.  I'd like to share my thoughts about her.  Her name is Jeanne.

Maybe I am in Mexico because of Jeanne.  She’s definitely a factor. I could write a missal on the many ways Jeanne opened my heart for more life to enter in, but now I will tell you just a little of the beginning and what it is like to live with her now.

As I breeze about my day, I am not alone with my thoughts. I find it is Jeanne who I converse with the most.  She is easy to be with and we always talk about lovely things.  I love the way she pronounced my name:  Aah-maranth, the first syllable like aah.

I met Jeanne in the 90’s.  I was living on the Shore and working during the week in Virginia Beach.  I hadn’t had time to make friends and my life was all work.  One weekend I visited the combination frame shop/candy shop on the main street of Onancock…that business had to have been Jeanne’s brainchild.  That day she educated me on the art of framing while she fed me pear and buttered-popcorn jelly bellies. That was the beginning of our friendship.

We are taught beauty.  Someone stops us and gets us to crouch down to look at the beautiful backside of a zinnia and we awaken to wonder and beauty and joy.  Jeanne was relentlessly enthusiastic for searching out the beautiful, her heart brim-full of a child’s wonder.  That was Jeanne’s gospel and she made a convert.

I once had a dream that Jeanne and I were upstairs in her house in Onancock and we were standing before a full-length mirror trying on hats.  She was standing behind me placing hats on my head and I could see her face reflecting a playful, feminine attitude for each hat.   I felt that dream as an encouragement to experiment, to push out the pegs of my tent further, so to speak, to enlarge myself.  Jeanne was a model of all that.  As I age I think of what it is to age with grace, those attributes of ageless beauty:  true-feminine, courageous, wise, confident in a hat.

Maybe I am a hat-maker because of Jeanne.  She’s definitely a factor.  I’ve crocheted 70 hats from plastic-bag yarn in the last 3 years – no two alike.  Each one for me is a work of art and a prayer.  I’ve come to think of a hat as an everyday-halo since my husband told me that my hats are my glory.  All the hats that I’ve made are halos on the heads of other women and girls. The ones who wear them don’t know that there’s a little bit of Jeanne in she loved angels and faeries and gave wings to love.

So for the many things I could not put to words, I made a hat, a simple, joyful hat, a hat that will make you smile and think,  “Yes, red for passion, a rose for a queenly friend, yes, Jeanne.”

These days I wear more than one hat.  Life keeps expanding me.  My capacity of heart grows larger too.  This I’ve learned from Jeanne: to live life well at every age, to learn what we are meant to learn and to give back what we are meant to give back…with beauty and passion to the last day. Aah-men.