Monday, October 28, 2019

Tricks or Treats?

Halloween is a fun time to celebrate life. Death should wait somewhere far away, out of town, on a hill, under a tree, behind a gate, in a cemetery. Sadly, not everyone agrees. Even walking by a few homes here in my neighborhood gives me the creeps.
This is an old, actual, cemetery in Julian, California
 There are homes around here that could compete with this view.

Needless to say, that doesn’t mean we don't honor and remember those who have gone before us. Though our loved ones remain in our hearts and walk with God, it's a special blessing to have days on the calendar set aside for spiritual reflection.  I'm sure you probably know that faith-filled memorials follow all the trick-or-treat hoopla on Hallows' eve. 

November 1st is the day of the children and All the Saints. 
All Soul’s Day or Day of the Dead is on November 2. 

My favorite part of a holiday celebration can best be defined as wicked. As in, sugary cupcakes, chocolates, nuts, cookies and maybe a pumpkin latte. We have a basket brimming with the (killer) snacks near the door. Though our decorations are minimal, we look forward to seeing the cute costumes at our door. When a five-year old Wonder Woman shouts, 'Trick or treat', it melts our hearts. Little soldiers, firemen and tiny ghouls add to the fun of the evening. 
 Happy Halloween!
How about you? Do you use vats of chocolate syrup for fake blood? Do you like to decorate with bats and rats, carved pumpkins, spider webs and coffins on the lawn? Laughing skeletons and headstones? Glow in the dark witches? Ghosts flying from your trees? Signs that say 'Boo'? Yikes. It's scary out there!
 What's your favorite part of Halloween?

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Retrograde Heart

There’s a character in my novel, Penniless Hearts who reads her horoscope each morning, to find out whether she’s going to have a good day. Though my characters are all fictional, I knew someone who did the same thing every day. If her horoscope sounded undesirable, this colleague would throw the newspaper to the side, in a quest for something better, and march off to find the competing newspapers. The rest of us would snicker in our cubicle waiting for her to return. We waited, hoping the stars aligned, and she’d be placated by finding something positive in her search for another horoscope. When things went well there’d be stealth thumbs up signs, notifying the oblivious or busier employees. Sometimes, we could hear a bit of slamming and sighing, if the search came up negative. Of course, all of this was before everyone had cell phones connected to the internet. Today, she can probably pull up ten different charts from various astrologists per day, and yet, I doubt the stars have anything to do with her happiness.

Sadly, I’ve had a punishing month filled with switchbacks and turns that took my heart into unexpected agony. Those who follow the stars call it a time of retrograde. But, and this is a big but, even through the toughest times I felt the unconditional love of God. There will always be bad days, confusing days and painful days. There will always be tears. The road of life isn’t easy for anyone and even in the darkest times, I’ve felt favored and blessed by the Almighty. I’m confident He has a plan. While I don't think my life has much to do with the planets, I wait for positive news. Prayers bring me comfort. Knowing He listens brings me assurance. 

Yesterday, I looked out the window and saw our garden hose. I pitied the poor ant who might think he would take an easy trip across the yard by traveling on a smooth, rubber pathway. I imagined him with his tiny knapsack setting out to see the world, only to end up right back where he started. I wondered about his determination and the reason he might try again and again, only to end up failing. Perhaps he’d never discover the delicious crumbs in my neighbor’s backyard. Most likely, he wasn’t 
meant to discover them. If, by chance a big breeze comes along, it might lift him, carrying him away, and then he’d have to reassess his priorities. Either way, putting too much credence in something like that shiny garden hose might distract him from important things. Like appreciating and accepting the life he has, and the sunshine warming his way.

What do you think? Do you believe in misaligned stars? Do you agree God has a plan for us?