Thursday, February 05, 2015

Blessed Beyond Measure!

              Try to be a rainbow 
               in someone's cloud!
                                       - Maya Angelou

When Bert and I were in Hawaii over Christmas time, we would often turn around, after a splattering of raindrops, and see the most gorgeous rainbows. They took our breath away. Gleaming and shining and full of life and hope and JOY, those rainbows stopped everyone in their tracks. 

You could just see God smiling in every glimmering reflection of rainbow light, every vivid stroke, painted half circles across the sky. Bert and I held hands and hugged in those moments. We were stunned by the majesty of life and God's amazing world. We felt blessed to be a witness to His splendor. 

It was as if God Almighty had sent us a personal gift, wrapped in sparkling rainbow colors.

Since I was a small girl, I have always loved rainbows. I've felt rainbows represented how I wanted to live my life. I've wanted my spirit to shine, to be a surprise that lit up someone else's life. I've wanted to be a bright spot in their day. I've wanted people, when they left my presence, to feel more loved, and seen and cherished. 

I've always wanted, as my cherished mentor Maya Angelou once said to...

                          "Be a rainbow in someone's cloud!"

 I've wanted to be:
* a day-brightener, 
* a song-maker, 
* a heart-opener, 
* a joy-giver,
* a lesson-maker, 
* a truth-teller, 
* a hug-enfolder, 
* a listening-spirit, 
* a grace-giver, 
* a soft place to fall.

And today, as I turn 68, I feel blessed beyond measure. I still want to be a rainbow for those I love and care about. I am so grateful for all my life has been and will be, each day a gift from God. 

Here are just a few things I am grateful for this morning:

I feel so grateful to be alive today. I feel so grateful to know that God loves me, just as I am. That He is here with me at every moment. That He holds me in the palm of His Almighty hand. That He sees me fully and forgives me and strengthens me in every sorrow and hard time. He is my comforter and knowing His love gives me a peace beyond all understanding

I feel so grateful to live my life with my beloved Bert, to cherish each day with him. I feel so grateful for my precious family, my daughters Jessi and Amy that I love more than words can express and my grandchildren who give me a JOY that I could never have imagined.

I feel so grateful to go through this life with cherished friends who have been there and loved me and held me and told me the truth. Dear friends like Linny and Sharon and Mindy and Mike and Scott and Barbie and Sarah and Debi and Colleen and Eileen and Mary and Gail and Vicky, and Peggy...and so many more. Each friend has enriched me and challenged me and been there for me. They are each a gift to my heart.

I feel so grateful that I am a teacher, so blessed to know and love the thousands of  amazing and wonderful students I have had. I have loved being in a classroom for all of these forty plus years, thirty eight at my career home at SCC. Students like Holly and Myia and John and Mat and Laura and Kyle have blessed and enriched my life. And the other teachers I have shared this wonderful career journey with have role modeled what being a real educator means. My mentor Lois Roach changed me forever.

I feel so grateful for all of the consulting work I have been blessed to do. I have wanted to serve and help others become self empowered. To be trusted to be a positive change-agent in organizations, 500 total, has been such a blessing to me.

I am so grateful I was born with one hand so that I might learn compassion for those who are different. I am so grateful for every hard thing that has ever happened to me, those devastating and difficult moments have been my greatest teachers.

I am so grateful to have been born into a family where I was dearly loved and wanted. Even with all of the hard times and hard family lessons, I am who I am because my parents loved me. I am so grateful that they inspired me to do well in school and to take advantage of getting a great education. I am grateful for the help they gave me that allowed me to go to college and go on to even get two wonderful Masters degrees. That education opened doors for me and taught me to love learning.

I am so grateful for all of the teachers who inspired me, especially Miss Faye my first grade teacher. She believed in me and taught me that I was smart and could make a difference in this world. When I graduated from a very large high school, 875 in my graduating class, eight out of the top ten outstanding academic seniors had had Miss Faye as a first grade teacher. All of us talked about the difference she had made in our love for learning. Amazingly, she kept in touch with all of us from first grade on with yearly postcards, encouraging us to be all we were meant to be. When she passed away, over sixty of us came from all over the country- doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, homemakers, and artists to honor the teacher who had inspired us all. To this day, I am so, so grateful for Miss Faye. I am a teacher because she was my teacher.

I am so grateful for all of the authors who shared their wisdom and whose books have inspired my life. I am a reader and I absorb everything in sight and am so enriched and challenged by what they have written. Authors like Anne Lammott, Ann Voskamp, Shauna Niequist, Bob Goff, Elizabeth Lesser, and Ed Underwood,  just to name a few, have changed how I look at the world and how I live my life and faith. 

I am so grateful to live in a country where I can be free and grateful for all those who have served to protect my freedom. I am so grateful to my Dad for his service in WWII and Bert's service to his country as an Army Paratrooper.

As I turn 68 today, I am so grateful for my health and just waking up this morning. I am grateful for the chance to say hello to everyone I meet. I am grateful for all of the folks I see at Safeway every morning as I get food to take into my classroom. Their smiles and encouragement make my day.

I am so grateful for a mind that works and a body that is strong. I am grateful for a chance to make a difference be a rainbow in someone's cloud.

And for those of you who are taking the time to read this, know that I am grateful that you are here. I hope in some small way, as I sort out my life lessons, that they nourish your heart and spirit.

I am grateful that I have a chance to live today as if it was my very last!

God Bless!
Love you to the moon and back!



Vicky said...

Happy, Happy Birthday, my sweetest sister, LInda!! I was very determined to at least wish you a happy day today. So I told mom I'd be late running to the hospital and am here in this tiniest of moments to celebrate you today!!

I may have a "God wink" to share with you too… How had I forgotten about your hand, dear one? I think I knew about it… but reading again today? Just hit me like a ton of bricks.

I had a very frank talk with all 6 of the doctors seeing mom. I simply needed to know if we're nearing the end of her life, medically speaking. They did indeed deem that as likely, and when I asked about Hospice and /or palliative care, they thought that could be plausible as well.

So I went to sit in the family room for a few quiet moments. A woman walked in. Thin, quiet, long blond hair- in her 50's perhaps. She was looking for something to do, to read. I don't know what propelled me… but I reached in my bag, and gave her my new book. I had barely started reading it… But she readily accepted the gift and took off for her room to read.

It was as she was walking away I noticed she was maneuvering a huge O2 tank, and somehow tucked the book safely under the other arm, because she only had a bit of her other hand- no fingers, nothing that resembled a palm or hand.

But she managed- and managed well. Late yesterday, as I sat waiting in the lobby for Rick to come, I saw her leaving the hospital with her family. She waved, and thanked me for the book…

And now I am beaming and thoroughly touched by the coincidence.

Happiest of days at the set of a happiest of years to you sweet one!

Love you to the moon- and all the way back!

Peggy Sue said...

oh I just saw this one! so love it...Yes, I also have heard you mention about your hand...I can understand how that did teach you compassion as school mates and that must have looked and wondered...I personaly would have never noticed...Its someones soul that captures me..not anything physical. We had a nieghor that is your age Linda. He helped me so much when Robert wasnt around. I grew to love this man for all he did for me and my girls... the funny thing was. I had knowen him 1 1/2 years before I realized one arm and one hand were totally different then the other. He had Polio as a child. When I did see it one day...I was Like, "Rob, what happend to your hand and arm?" He laughed so hard...teased me about being a blonde. But I never noticed. I only noticed him. Like you I think my copassion for others came from being different or bullied in shcool. It was early 70's and I looked like a boy. My dad choose to cut my hair like a boys and that was the way it was until middle school. From K-8th grade I didnt fit it. Even the yard ladies chases me out of the girls bathroom... I begged to be allowed to grow my hair out. Noone listened. So my sister had the long dark hair almost ot her butt...and sometimes I literally had a flat top. In the 70's all women and girls tended to have tht long hair..tucked behind there ears. :) You are so right when you say, the painful moments teach. I wonder who I would be had life been easier for me. would i be judgmental? fake? non-compassionate? all I know is being Peggy was a struggle and thru that struggle I reached out to those who also were thought different or those not as fortunate. For I wanted to be the 'rainbow in someone cloud' :) aaah we are alike :) Vicky what you wrote...gave me that wonderful warm fuzzy chill. I think that was a 'God moment'. and arnt those moments the best in the world! just love your post's Linda. Love you!

Soul Work in the Deep Waters...

              Entrance into another's soul                   is always a sacred honor. It is a gorgeous day, here in Spokane, Washing...