Sometimes You are Flat Stanley

This poor Flat Stanley did not make it across the road. He made the journey and failed. We found him on our side of the road in the midst of weeds, flat as a pancake. His petrified remains reminded us that some days you make it and some days you don’t. 

When was the last time you were left flat on the side of the road recovering from a failed attempt? You tried and tried and tried again, only to get wiped out and left for dead.  Even when you are crushed like this turtle you can get back up. There is a wonderful Japanese proverb – fall six times, get up seven. We all have failures, we all get knocked down, we all fall flat on our face at one time or another. The key is not to stay down too long. Lick your wounds, eat ice cream out of the package, watch sad movies, then cry. Let yourself mourn the failure, and learn the lessons you can take away from the pain. Then it’s time to get right back out there. If you mourn or wallow too long in your own thoughts you may not be able to move ahead. 

After being laid flat for the fifth or sixth time, get up that seventh time. You will triumph again, you will succeed, your next idea will move forward. We have to go through the failures to learn and succeed the next time. We have to keep trying and move forward. It may not feel like you want to, yet time does heal all wounds. 

Last Christmas a dear friend gave me Calla Lily bulbs as a gift. I had never tried to grow these and had no idea what I was doing…so I planted them. This is the second year they have grown and adorned our home with beauty and life. It was one of the best gifts for many reasons. It made me try something new. It pushed me out of the box I lived in and opened the door to an entirely new past time. I thought the first year they blossomed was amazing. This second year they are three times the size and more beautiful than I had hoped. 

The gift of something to grow gave me the gift of hope. When you plant something you know basically how the process works, yet have no control. You follow the instructions and can see how it is all supposed to work. The question is will it REALLY work? Then that first shoot of green appears above ground and hope is rewarded with life. 

And this gift gave me a constant reminder that someone believes in my ability to do things. My dear friend gave me the ability to learn and become a better version of myself. I have seen that I can particpate in the cycle of life by faithfully putting something into the ground, then nature and God take over. Stepping outside yourself lets you see the bigger picture, which puts your own world into perspective. 

Thank you my friend for the Calla Lily gift and all it has provided. I can’t wait to see what they look like next year!

Persimmon: Everyone Needs a Place

Here is  another installment in the adventures of Persimmon, our stray cat. He began befriending us about a year ago and we have been feeding, petting and getting to know him ever since. In the past couple weeks he has gotten more and more comfortable hanging around our property. Here he is sitting with me by the fire pit. He was watching the birds in the yard and the various interesting things around the yard. You can see that his face has healed and he has gained some weight…due to all the cat food he eats at our house. 

He has figured out that we no longer put food by the back door – too many possum sightings. He now has his own food and water bowl on the front porch. He uses the same cat door our cats use to get on the porch, and he sleeps in a couple comfortable places in the sun at various points during the day. If his bowl is empty, or close to empty, he comes to the back door and tells us about it. He wanders inside almost everyday now, staying just long enough to check out what our cats are eating and to say hello. He is a VERY talkative cat, and has begun following us around like a dog when we walk around or work outside. 

As he sat next to me today, I realized he belonged. He knew it, I knew it, the other cats knew it. It took a while to create a place and relationship where he felt he could relax and be himself. As I stepped over him to get out the front door, I knew he felt like he was one of our pack. He may not feel that way once I take him to get his shots and manhood removed…we may never see him again…but we do not need anymore stray kittens to tug at my heart and eat off our porch. 

Everyone needs a place where they feel like they belong. A place where they are part of the crew, the crowd, the family. Everyone needs to know that they are safe and cared for and will be paid attention to in good times and bad. Everyone needs somewhere to call home, a place to rest, a place to eat your fill then nap on the porch. Some of us have had that all our lives with family and friends. Others of us are still building that ‘place’ and forgiving enough to allow others to service our need and become our crew or pack. Some people do not know they need it, yet experience the hole in their lives without knowing what to call it. Some of us are serving others by providing that ‘place’ through friendship, comradery and making work a wonderful place to grow. Everyone needs a place…where is yours?