Monday, March 24, 2008

A Time of Rebirth

today (still March 23 in Georgia here) is a most beautiful and healing Easter Sunday for me.

Honey and I spent it with what is now our new family, too, the family from our stepdad Larry's side. we not only got to know him and his world better, but we were introduced to real-life Southern charm, hospitality and warmth.

we went to church at Larry's brother Johnny's church at Pitt's Chapel in Macon, where Johnny is a Methodist minister of. Macon is two hours' drive away.

it was my first church service outside a Catholic church and it was beautiful, with the preacher's and choir's old-fashioned gowns and simple rituals and songs and sharing and sermon and all. i've attended services other than by Catholic priests but they were always in modern, big-city venues like office buildings or seminar halls or even beaches and gardens, but not in an old-fashioned wooden church building like Pitt's Chapel. think Laura Ingalls and The Little House on the Prairie and you'll get an idea of what i mean.

then, we went to a wonderfully delicious Old South home-cooked lunch at Johnny's wife's sister's home in a farm ensconced by forests. the dishes were delicious; i just couldn't memorize their names, though. they were made of simple everyday crops like squash and carrots and beans but they looked grand and tasted sumptous!

their house looked like those old Southern houses in the country one sees on tv or in films, where there are real wooden rocking chairs by the porch, and the distance from the porch to the kitchen is just 3 or 4 steps away, with all the rooms connecting to the kitchen and the dining room, where everyone gathers to talk, kid around, swap stories, or just say hi on the way in or out.

the children were running around in the wide yard, where there was an old-fashioned fountain made to look like a well with a tin pail pouring water into it. we got to chat with a pretty five-year-old named Olivia Grace, who sidled up to us as Honey and I were browsing the titles in their wall-length bookshelf. Olivia was excited by the fact that she gets to look for the Easter eggs all by herself, as all the rest of her cousins were boys and older and didn't seem interested (maybe she was the only one who still believed in Easter bunnies).

they welcomed us as more than guests and more like family, and it felt warm and good. i even joked and laughed with them, and they with me. it felt even better to realize that despite the differences in skin color and culture and even faith, we shared a common sense of humor about everyday life and witticisms.

it made me see, too, how living with such a warm, faith-centered joyful family could be like, and it made me think and dream of my own complete family again someday...

it is 6:07pm now and we're back home, and i feel refreshed and renewed, ready to take on new beginnings in my life.

Friday, March 21, 2008


my FREE I-Ching Reading today:

After a thunderstorm, or any period of extreme tension, a period of new clarity and fresh opportunity follows. The storm has the effect of clearing the air and suddenly reducing atmospheric tension. Deliverance is at hand. In the wake of a storm on land, deliverance appears in the form of new color and life, which bursts forth in all the fields and flowers. In the wake of a storm at sea, deliverance takes the form of land itself.

In the field of human relations, the rain of forgiveness washes the human landscape clean after a period of enmity and error. Great clarity of purpose and renewed vigor can follow the healing of old wounds. But care must be taken not to re-open these old wounds by moving too quickly. In the same way, it is important to return to normalcy first before moving ahead with new plans after periods of stress.

Following the resolution of a difficult situation, your first priority, should be to return to normal conditions as quickly as possible. Breathe a sigh of relief, but don't relax completely. It would be a mistake to re-awaken the sleeping dogs of the immediate past before the new situation has crystallized. Look ahead. Attend to any residual matters that need resolution, and do so as quickly as possible. Make a clean sweep of the past, move deliberately, and the future will bring good fortune.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

3 Things

After all is said and done, there are only 3 things that really matter to me now:

1. Good health
2. Healthy, loving relationships
3. Work I love to do and that serves others, too

Today's Quote

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.

-Hans Hofman

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why Grief Doesn't Have to Hurt Forever

I found this article very moving and helpful. And it rings true for me, too, how I've been experiencing my father's and mother's recent deaths and their aftermaths...

This is the part that rings most true for me--

I now understood (that) if I could deal with the intense anguish from my mother’s death, I could now face any pain that would arise in a close, meaningful relationship. This allowed me to drop my guard and not allow fear to rule my interactions.

I hope it's as helpful to those reading this, too.

God bless us all.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Butterfly Lady

Leave it to Mama to still generate free publicity even up to the end.

Read it here from the Atlanta Journal Constitution. :)

We had a beautiful funeral for her today (March 14, Atlanta time).

And I sang, too, the song I sang to her that morning she died. My first public debut solo singing performance, at 40! : )

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mama (May 20, 1943 - March 10, 2008)

i rarely sing, because i think my voice is off-key. but, i managed to sing to Mama again this morning, while i was alone with her in the hospital in the hour right after she passed on in her sleep at 6am, from cardiac arrest, the nurses said.

i was moved to sing to her a song she taught me when i was a little girl, and which i have never heard anywhere else in my life up to now, only from Mama.

When I grow to be a lady
I'll be a queen,
A lovely queen.

Walking in the garden shady
In gowns of green
With silver sheen.

Maids of gold and white shall follow me
and suitors of the high degree.

although my voice broke many times as i sang, i did not sing off-key today.

Goodbye, Mama.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

a parable on exits and entrances

I've been reading this book I found in a used bookshop last Feb. 2, when Papa was still in the hospital. It has been helping me cope and come to terms with the struggle of his illness, and then his death, and mama's present illness too, and I hope you find the following parable as healing:

In Why Me?--

From "Gesher Hachayim" by Y. M. Tuckachinsky:

Imagine twins gestating in the mother's womb, speculating and challenging each other with the question, "What will happen to us after we leave the womb?" Since their entire frame of reference is the interior of the womb, there is no way they could conceive through their sense of sight or hearing what their future holds in store for them.

Suppose that one of the twins is a "believer", supported by his traditions that there is a future life in the next world, while the other brother, a "rationalist", accepts only what his logical mind perceives in the here and now. They each take firm stands and debate their respective positions with passion.

Basing his argument on a religious tradition that he is heir to, the believer maintains that when they exit from the womb they will be reborn into a life that is not limiting, that they will eat through their mouths and not be fed through their navels, that they will see a great distance, that they will hear through the funny things on the sides of the head they call ears. Feet will be straightened and they will be walking erect great distances on this planet Earth, in which deep oceans and gentle streams flow, nourishing all living things. Above them will be the wide expanse of heaven containing a golden sun, a silvery moon, and twinkling stars.

The rational twin roars with laughter at his brother, the simpleton. "Incredulous! Are you for real? No one has ever come back from the other side to tell us. It's all a myth. All we know is what our senses perceive, the objective facts that can be tested. Aside from this womb and its limits, the rest is subjective and has no basis in reality. What do you think will happen when you die?" presses the skeptic.

"Clearly," his believing brother answers, "when we exit the space of this world, we will enter into another world."

"Fool!" snaps his brother. "You will fall into an abyss from which you will never return. You will be annihilated as if you've never been."

Suddenly the water in the womb bursts. The rounded womb begins to shake and writhe. The believer makes a precipitous descent, is expelled, and gone from his brother's view.

The rationalist is shocked by his brother's fate and bemoans the tragedy that has befallen him. As he laments his brother's misfortune, he hears a piercing cry and loud shouts from the darkness into which his brother has disappeared. His fears of a terrible end are confirmed.

The skeptical brother is unaware that his supposed dead brother has entered into an exciting new world and that his own turn is near. The wail that he heard was a cry of a baby's health and the commotion was a chorus of congratulations from the doctors and nurses.

From the limited perspective of the fetus left temporarily behind in the womb, his brother had indeed died. He had been brutally torn from the unfamiliar world that provided protection, warmth, and nurture and hurled into the black pit of oblivion and annihilation.

From a larger view, that same event is called "birth". It represents a transition from a smaller world to a larger world, from a world bounded by the womb, where it passively received, to a wide, wide world where activity and free choice and responsibility open one to limitless possibilities.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

my first snow

i watched my first snow gently falling this morning, right after i woke up and had breakfast. on this international day of celebration for women, too! : )

i consider it a most welcome sign from the heavens, considering the challenges i've been through lately, with papa's month-long hospitalization and eventual demise, and now, mama's own more-than-a-month long hospitalization here now at the Southern Regional Hospital in Riverdale, Georgia...

my life's been on hold since then. i just live each day as it comes. one can't really make plans when everything is up in the air and constantly changing...

i can't even make plans for the next day, because each new day that unfolds is always an adventure and a roller-coaster ride with mama. in their own way, these days are special and meaningful and enriching for my relationship with her, and for our souls, although they are very challenging, too... with her memory loss, and diabetes, kidney and heart complications... i am continually called to pour out more loving, and more emptying, than i thought i had it in me to give.

one never knows if each day is the end, or the beginning. most times, it is both.


still, better, happier, more stable and hopeful times are coming, my gentle March snow flurries are telling me, in this time between the thawing of winter and the budding of spring.

thank you, God, for this sweet reminder.