Sunday, May 17, 2015

Preparing their life resumès... Part II

Being the worry wart that I am, I kept after Carajean to let me know if she and Audrey were safe. (At one point, when the weather was so bad during their flights, she answered my anxious texts with, "Turn off the TV, Mom!") Last night I received the following text from her, along with the picture, which Audrey sent, that was taken in Haida Gwaii. When you see this and read what Carrie says, you will see why I am just a wee bit concerned about them! 

"We were only in Vancouver for one night. We are in the Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia, also known as Haida Gwaii. It is very remote. Very few people. Have been doing a lot of hiking and plan to hike a difficult trail to the top of Sleeping Beauty tomorrow. It involves ropes and ladders and a little scaling. If clear, we will be able to see Alaska at the top. Have seen 3 bears. One on a hike, crossing the river. Bald Eagles are everywhere. Saw a family of river otters today on our picnic. The trees are truly magnificent. Audrey has become quite the trail blazer. Although, we have had a guide on two of our outings."  

Ropes, ladders, and a little scaling? 3 bears? A guide on two of their outings? I continue to pray to God the Prayer of Protection over my two tiny adventurers! And I know She will protect them.

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Baseball season is in full swing as evidenced by my youngest grandson Travis. I have been unable to go to any of his games this year, but the Saturday before Mother's Day my oldest grandson, Cameron, stood in for me. I got the rundown from him and Travis's dad, Matthew. It seems that Travis's team, the Orioles, was losing. In the top half of the last inning, the visitors had two men on base when the coach sent Travis in to pitch. 






Did he ever pitch! Travis struck out three in a row. As if that weren't heroic enough for him, he scored the winning run in their last up-to-bat. Way to go, Travis!





Travis is not only a fine baseball player and a PGA Southern Texas Division Junior Golfer who has won a couple of tournaments, but he consistently makes the A and B honor roll. Some of his seventh grade classes are Advanced Placement. I recently asked him what his favorite class is -- "Texas History", he beamed. He makes us all proud.








Cameron sent this photo as he was cheering for the "hero" of the ballgame. He told me that the whole team was cheering for Travis. I wish I had owned a decent camera when Cameron was a little kid playing soccer in Denton. I would love to have photos of those games.




Miss Kelly, my youngest granddaughter, is holding her own with the rest of my grandchildren. She and her mom, Amy, couldn't be at Travis's game that Saturday as she was playing volleyball. Mom said, "Kelly made the all A Honor Roll, and Travis made the A/B Honor Roll. He is in Pace Math and is doing very well. I am so sad I missed his performance, I was at Kelly's volleyball game and she scored several points and is a fabulous overhead server."
(I had to research PACE [Programs for Advancement, Challenge and Enrichment] Math. These courses are designed to prepare students to take future AP and/or IB courses in high school. That's Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate. "These programs give high school students an opportunity to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. Depending on the college they attend, these courses can lead to advanced placement [skipping entry-level courses] or sometimes even receiving college credit for the coursework completed under these programs. The AP courses are accepted at virtually all U.S. colleges and universities, while the IB program has more limited acceptance within the U.S. but is growing in popularity." Guess that means these courses are meant for the smart kids, huh?)

Kelly is a strong math student as well. The past two years she has been chosen to participate in the Steiner Ranch Elementary's Math Pentathlon Team - Steiner Strategic Stallions. This is a program that is run through the school on a strictly volunteer basis. Those participating in this program:
  • Learn active problem solving, 
  • exercise strategic thinking, 
  • accelerate math skills, and have fun playing games!
Amy said, "The tournament this year was here in Austin. It's the Math Pentathlon Division II Tournament. They play 5 different Math games in the tournament, all against different schools in Austin and the surrounding area. They did well, although the competition was tougher this year. We did not win State again, but had a good finish." You can tell by this photo how seriously Kelly takes her math competition. 
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This lovely young lady is Annie, who we are proud to have as a member of our family now. She and her brother, Bruce, live with my daughter and her husband, Branch. Their late mother, Evelyn, is Branch's sister. Annie, very bright and eager to go to college and get on with her life, took summer classes last year, and is graduating along with her brother this month - at the tender age of 16. She plans to attend OSU in the fall, along with her cousin, Ashlyn. She will be 17 in August.
Big brother, Bruce, will turn 18 this next week. He plans to attend Texas Tech next fall, and follow in his late mother's footsteps by being a pre-med student, with the intent of becoming a physician like her and so many others in this family. He and Annie both are graduating "with honors". I know their mother will be there in spirit, and will be very proud of both of them.

          ***********************************

My daughter teases me about bragging on my grandkids. I gave that some thought, and I realized I do more of that than any of my friends. Why? For one thing, I don't believe there is any such thing as too much praise of our youngsters, and it's something I never received as a child. Having grown up in an extremely critical, and even abusive home, I have wondered from time to time what my life would have been like if our home had been more supportive and loving. Then I realize that I would not want it to be any different. I might have gone on to get more education, but -- and that's a big "but", if it had been different, I would not have the wonderful family I have now. My children and grandchildren are my greatest loves, and bring so much joy and happiness into my life, I cannot imagine life without any of them. I feel so blessed. For, as the Bible says, "If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing."  I Cor. 13:2

My beautiful, talented, loving children and grandchildren tell me in so many ways, "I am something!" I am loved, and so are they.

Peace and love to each of you,
Marilyn

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Preparing their life resumès... Part I

It's that time of year again. The time I like to catch up with the lives of my seven grandchildren. Sometimes it's hard to pin them or their parents down to get the real "scoop", but for the time being I have a little news I've put together.

First on the list of achievements so far this year is my oldest granddaughter Audrey, who recently received her Master in Environmental Management (MEM) / Ecosystem Science and Conservation at Duke University/Nicholas School of the Environment. She has accepted a summer job at the Nicholas Institute of Environmental Policy Solutions. This Institute is part of Duke, but it's a professional organization. Her mother Carajean, and other grandmother, Two, were there for the graduation exercises. A day or two later, Audrey and her mom left just as Tropical Storm Ana was reaching the east coast of North Carolina, causing their flight to be canceled. Audrey's graduation gift was a trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, where she and her mom were to go hiking, kayaking, and river rafting. After one flight being canceled, and another delayed while waiting on food to be delivered to the airplane, I am assuming that they finally made it to Vancouver. I spoke with Carajean on Mother's Day night as they were driving to catch a flight out of Charlotte. They should be getting home to Texas soon, and hopefully have lots of wonderful photos to share with me.

Audrey's younger sister, Ashlyn, just finished her freshman year at Oklahoma State University. Earlier this semester her mother wrote me that Ash had scored 98 on a chemistry exam! Following in her big sister's footsteps must have been difficult for her, as Audrey was Valedictorian at the Academy they as well as younger brother Tanner attended. I think middle children often have difficulty finding their "place" in the world. Ashlyn seemed surprised, and more than a little pleased with herself when she discovered her grade point average for the year was 4.0. I am not surprised at all, my dear granddaughter.

Carajean's son - our 16-year-old, aspiring tennis champ, Tanner, has had a busy year as well as his older sisters. I haven't heard what his final grades were, but he has maintained a straight A average throughout his school years. I have no reason to believe this year will be any different. Grades aside, two things stand out in his young life so far this year -- he finally got those braces off! And last I heard he was taking his girlfriend Emily to the Prom this month. (I am hoping his mom sends photos when she returns from Vancouver.) Tanner is going to attend college preparatory courses at a school "back east" this summer. Another question I have for his mother! Which school?

From the looks of these worn-out tennis shoes, Tanner played a whole lot of tennis tournaments all year. I believe this photo was sent to me in February, surely by now he has bought a new pair.

**********************************
My oldest grandchild, Cameron, visited me on Mother's Day, and we tried to catch up on all his activities. As I've mentioned in the past, Cameron is a 2013 graduate of LSU and currently Director of Lifespan Religious Education at the Westside Unitarian Universalist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. He, like his dad, Craig, is also interested in politics, having done a lot of volunteer campaigning for politicians when he was in high school. Back in February, he ran into Wendy Davis at his favorite coffee shop in Fort Worth, where apparently lots of
interesting folks hang out from time to time. Recently he was elected to be "Young Adult Co-Facilitator" at the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly later this year to be held in Portland, Oregon. He will retain that position for the next three years, and feels it is a great honor - as does this proud grandmother. Cameron is also starting to give voice lessons in his spare time.

Cameron's younger sister, Hannah, who auditioned for and was accepted into the Booker T. Washington Performing Arts High School in Dallas last year, has finished her first year there. This school is well known throughout the U.S., and is difficult to get into. Cameron graduated from there as did some of the well known performers in music, the theater, and the arts. Norah Jones and Patti LaBelle are two of its alumni. Hannah is another one of my high-achieving grandchildren, having made straight As most of her school years. She has been in advanced placement classes at Booker T, maintaining her A average, and recently told her dad that, even though she loved acting, she thought she just might like to be an attorney some day. I hope he reminded her that there were many flamboyant lawyers throughout history who could be considered "actors"! That way she can enjoy both her talents. When I realized I didn't have a recent photo, I texted Hannah to send me one - a selfie would do. She just sent this one. She has a good sense of humor like her dad and brother!

******************************
I have my younger two grandchildren, Travis and Kelly, as well as the newest members of my daughter's family, Bruce and Annie, to speak of in Part II. All of them are doing pretty special things as well..
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There have been so many tragedies happening in the world lately, the latest being the horrific train wreck in Philadelphia. The loss of life and terrible injuries have to be extremely hard on loved ones. 

The second earthquake in Nepal is very difficult to fathom. Rarely does a strong earthquake follow so quickly on the heels of a big one -- aftershocks are not usually as strong as the original quake. I feel so fortunate to live in a part of the world that doesn't live under the threat of anything so deadly. Some might argue with me due to the threat of tornadoes we've been under this spring. And friends of mine who live in areas where "fracking" by the big oil companies is causing minor earthquakes would beg to differ as well. One friend outside Oklahoma City said they had 18 "minor" earthquakes in one 24-hour period recently. That area is much too near the New Madrid Fault Line. In the 1800s, there was a strong earthquake that decimated many towns up and down the fault. Could it happen again? And how do our citizens in California live with the fact that the "big one" will someday occur along the San Andreas fault?

Nepalese military service members unload supplies from a UH-1Y Huey in Charikot, Nepal, May 5, Nepal, May 5.
There are so many good people and organizations rallying to support the victims of these incidents. To hear that one of the U.S. relief helicopters is still missing somewhere in the mountainous region of Nepal is saddening. 

Prayers are needed for all of the people who have lost loved ones in both of these disasters, the ones who are struggling to survive in the aftermath of the earthquakes, and for the discovery of the missing helicopter. May it only be down in an area that communication is impossible due to the mountainous terrain, and all of the men aboard surviving in good condition. While we're at it, thank God for all of the wonderful first responders and relief workers who rush to any disaster -- here and abroad. The Red Cross and the Salvation Army surely deserve our gratitude - and our donations.
****************************
I just received a text message from my daughter Carajean. She said they finally made it safely to Vancouver, and are having a great time. They will be heading home to Amarillo on Tuesday. I'll bet the rest of the family misses them. 

May all of your loved ones be safe and happy in these tumultuous times.

Peace and love,
Marilyn

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Bogeyman Is Gonna Getcha!

“Texas, our Texas..” Oh, my, is our state ever again going to be thought of as something other than a bunch of gun-toting, red-neck, conspiracy theorists? I cannot believe the flak that the upcoming multi-state military exercises named Operation Jade Helm 15 are causing in our “great” state. 

Many of these theorists were at the State Capitol recently, toting their handguns on their hips and assault rifles slung across their shoulders as our Texas Legislature was voting on the “open carry” law. (Something that deserves a good long look at as well.)  Wing nut used to be something you put on the end of a bolt to hold it in place. Now it seems that right-wing nut has pushed that definition out of use. These so-called pro-life, gun rights advocates (now that’s an oxymoron if I ever heard one) just have to keep stirring up more reasons to buy more guns.
(Photo from Texas Tribune - Yep, these are Texas citizens!)
When this past March the US Army Special Operations Command announced that they would be training with Special Forces units from other US Armed Forces (including the Green Berets, Navy SEALS, Marine Special Operations Command, and the 82nd Airborne Division) in a multi-state exercise across a five-state area from July 15 through September 15, the conspiracy theorists went crazy! Texas politicians, bowing to the rants of these conspiracy theorists, are speaking out about this operation. After all, the votes of these folks are what put them in office.

Governor Abbott directed the Texas State Guard (separate from the Texas National Guard) to monitor the operation. He wrote: “During the training operation, it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed.” And Abbott is demanding “regular updates on the progress and safety of the Operation.”  I suppose to be on the safe side, former Governor Rick Perry - who is a presidential candidate, made a public statement that he thought "Governor Abbott went too far in raising questions about the military exercises." He trusts the military, even when you "can't trust the leadership" of our government. Maybe he's distancing himself from Texas... while still getting a shot in at Obama.

The states that were chosen for these exercises have the wide open spaces and difficult terrains that will help our military prepare for combat in other countries if needed. Some are even insinuating that these exercises are in preparation for an invasion in Iran and a Middle East-wide war. Unbelievable. According to the map they are spreading around, Texas is the equivalent of Iran.

I cannot believe citizens in the United States believe that this military exercise is a prelude to Obama's declaring Martial Law in Texas! Some have even theorized that the closing of several Walmart stores across the state is in preparation for using them as “detention centers” or even more laughable, "reeducation centers".

Presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz had to put in his two cents worth. He recently told Bloomberg Politics, "...the federal government has not demonstrated itself to be trustworthy in this administration, the natural consequence is that many citizens don’t trust what it is saying. “I think part of the reason is we have seen, for six years, a federal government disrespecting the liberty of the citizens. That produces fear, when you see a government that is attacking our free speech rights, or Second Amendment rights, or religious liberty rights. That produces distrust. Of course! That explains it. It’s Obama’s fault.

Then there is another conspiracy theory presented on the Agenda 21 Radio site that These states occupy the same territory as the former territory that was Mexico, and the United States purchased following the Mexican/American War. This area is known in Mexico as Aztlan. Aztlan is the legendary ancestral home of the Aztec peoples and is being sought after by activists such as Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán or MeChA and La Raza to be returned to Mexico.” (We aren't the only country that has extremist organizations rallying for aggression.) Really? We're now preparing to defend ourselves against Mexico?

As it’s the “alternative news” sites that are having a hey day with these conspiracy theories, I checked out one of them on Rational Wiki. This one was described thus:

Before It's News is a citizen journalism outfit, where anyone can write something and have it go up. Or at least, that was the intention, as it was promptly flooded with conspiracy theorists and is now an outlet for an 'unabashedly unhinged' take on world events and religious prophecy. The advertising is for survivalist supplies.” That can probably be said about most of the alternative news sites.

I guess a lot of the ones who are raising such an outcry about Operation Jade Helm 15 were not born yet or were still too young to remember Operation Longhorn that took place in Texas in the spring of 1952. As I was an army brat, I remember my dad was fully involved in those exercises while stationed at Fort Sam Houston. We were in the middle of the Korean "Conflict" which took place from 1950 to 1953, and my dad had been called up with a reserve unit from a small town in Texas.


OPERATION LONGHORN took place in March/April 1952, when Lampasas County, Texas was used to stage a huge mock battle between the Aggressor Force led by troops from the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, N.C. -- and U.S. forces represented by several Army divisions from nearby Fort Hood. Dad had been assigned temporary duty to Fort Hood, and his role during these exercises was as Battalion Sergeant Major. He had been a paratrooper in World War II, but I'm not certain what he actually did during these exercises. Paratroopers were dropped into Lampasas County, Texas for a mock "takeover". We never talked about it. I do have commendations located in his military records that he received from his commander at that time. 

There is an interesting article about Operation Longhorn in the Lampasas Dispatch Record. From what I've read, there were not the paranoid conspiracy theories going around at that time. Training of our armed forces has always been necessary, and as military warfare and weapons have become more sophisticated as the years have passed, of course that will dictate how, where, etc. these training exercises take place.
(Texas Longhorn Cattle)

I also read a cute story in the Tyler Morning Telegraph about someone's grandmother who's ranch land was among the thousands of acres leased in Lampasas County for Operation Longhorn.

"Although things were explained to grandma, she was still a little fuzzy on details. On the first day of the exercise, with rain clouds blowing in, planes flew over and dropped paratroopers within sight of the house. From the porch, grandma watched with interest as they got dug in, then concern as it started to rain. 

'Go down and bring those boys up to the house,' she ordered Uncle Ernest, 'before they get soaked.'

Knowing the futility of arguing, Ernest sheepishly drove down in his pickup to see if the soldiers needed shelter. The lieutenant in charge rode back with him to personally explain to grandma why her hospitality had to be declined."

I wonder if residents of the states where Operation Jade Helm 15 takes place will show the same hospitality! Or would some, like our Texas cowboys, just pull out their six-shooters or assault rifles and start firing on the "invaders"?

Now I've joined the ranks of those who love to make fun of those with differing opinions. All I have to say is 

Peace, and don't let the bogeymen getcha!
Marilyn

P.S.
Friend, Cliffie S., sent me the following photo. This speaks well of our educational system in Texas! The school system textbooks and what they put in them (or leave out) are always controversial. 


Thursday, April 23, 2015

The day after...

Earth Day.


My good friend June sent this to me today. I'm only sorry I didn't see it before yesterday, but whenever anyone sees it, it will be the right time. I encourage you to read the accompanying article and perhaps get involved:


We only have one Planet Earth. Let's love it and care for it like the treasure it is.
Peace and love,
Marilyn

Monday, April 13, 2015

HOW MUCH LONGER?

As most of you know, my dad died about a month ago. Having gone through periods of sadness, even though I know he is better off and no longer suffering the indignities of being frail and dependent on others for even basic care, there is a hole in my life. Since 2007, I have lost both parents and my only sibling, my sister Jean. In that same time period I have also lost a few long-time friends. Many of the ones left are beginning to have serious health issues, myself included. 

For quite some time now I have been having what I can only describe as a "life review". You know how people who are faced with near-death situations say that their whole life flashes before them? I was trying to tell a friend what was happening to me, and the only way I could describe it was that I was having a life review in slow motion. Seriously, at some of the weirdest times, incidents or images from my past will interrupt my thoughts. I cannot recognize any triggers such as sounds or  smells or music that precede them. These do not consist of anything important or traumatic. Perhaps a scene from a childhood playtime or something I picture from one of my children's early lives. Frequently, they are about something I have never remembered in the past. As I spoke with this friend, I asked her, "You don't suppose I am preparing to die, do you?" - only half joking. She reminded me, "Marilyn, we're all dying from the time we are born."

(recitethis.com)
Watching a review of the Master's tournament this weekend it was impressive when Jack Nicklaus hit a hole-in-one. After all, he's 75 years old! I wondered when I started keeping track of the ages of significant people in the news - or in my circle of acquaintances. I think most of us my age have been guilty of checking the ages in obituaries for quite a few years now. But to actually check on events that occurred in the lives of people I know started with me only recently. I find myself saying to myself, "Mother was this age when she...." and sighing with relief that I haven't done or stopped doing that same thing, and I'm much older than she was then. I really don't wish to live as long as my dad did (96), but I find myself trying to remember how old my relatives were when they died. And what lifestyle helped them to live longer or to die younger. Can any of you relate to this or am I at the beginning stages of senility?

The last time I visited my dad in the nursing facility, he had a few lucid moments when we were able to carry on a conversation. He suffered from dementia, but could sometimes relay in great detail something from his past. I asked him if he held any regrets about his life... was there anything he had done or not done that he regretted? He thought for a few moments and surprised me when he said, "No... no regrets." Unfortunately, I could think of many things he should have held a great deal of regret over! As the title to this blog states, I have "Some regrets, but still time." I hope to be able to repeat what Dad said at the end of my life, "Nope, no regrets." I'd better get busy because who knows how much longer we have on this earth?

I certainly don't mean this to be a gloomy take on growing older, so on a lighter note, I found the quote to the left most apt pertaining to me. I seem to do that more frequently as I age.

And of course there are many examples of seniors taking risks and accomplishing much. After all, Hillary is 67 years old now and look what she is taking on.

Back to politics next time. 

Peace,
Marilyn


Sunday, April 5, 2015

HAPPY, BLESSED EASTER, HAPPY, BLESSED SPRING

Easter. What memories the very word evokes. Sunday school, new clothes -
perhaps a new hat, and the wondrous Easter baskets filled with chocolate bunnies and colored eggs. As we grew older, and had children of our own to get excited about the Easter bunny, this time of the year - Christian or not - we could relate the season to our beliefs. The resurrection of our bountiful natural surroundings. We watched as spring wildflowers overcame the harshness of the winter and burst forth in all their glory. The greening of trees, blossoms in abundance, easily lift one out of the winter gloom. The perennial beauty of riotous blooms gives meaning to eternal life. 

One lovely ritual observed in a church we attended when my children were young was for the children to bring a freshly cut flower to be placed in a wire cross placed near the altar on Easter morning. Each child was then given a small potted plant to be taken home. When all of the flowers were inserted, the cross was a beautiful floral testament to the day. The message to the children was how the Crucifixion was replaced with new life in their flowers to be planted. An Overcoming of the death of the freshly cut flowers that would soon wilt and die. This was easier for the youngest children to understand than the fact that Jesus was crucified on the cross.(Image: Liberty Barn Church)
  
I carried this tradition with me to the Unity Church I attended for many years. At my request, a dear friend of mine, Dr. Carin Horn - who was a Prayer Chaplain there for several years, sent me the following which she wrote, that was used at an Easter service a few years ago:

"Our thought for today is a reflection -- a reflection of eternal life as evidenced by the changes that come with the blessings of spring.

Holy Spirit --

We know that there is nowhere where the Spirit of God is absent.
However, the wonders of early spring have a way of bringing that reality to mind:

  • The verdant hues of new leaves on old trees,
  • The buds that are everywhere present,
  • Early blossoms on mature bulbs,
  • And, the weed-like groundcover that portends of grassy green lawns.
Somehow these simple wonders speak to the miracles of life -- our lives.
They speak to your awesome presence, your love, and your grace.
They speak to your ever-present promise of eternal life,
And, for this we are grateful beyond measure, beyond words.
Thank you, dear Lord, for all that you have created.   Amen.

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No matter how you choose to celebrate this season, whether it be at a Christian service, a Jewish Passover Seder, or a family gathering and Easter egg hunt for the kiddos, remember to express your thanks for the abundance of new life and the beauty of the Springtime. 


Peace and love,
Marilyn

Thursday, March 26, 2015

SYNCHRONICITY

"...Each day your life encounters meaningful coincidences, synchronicities, that you have attracted. In other words, created in the grid of your experiences in the physical...Synchronicities are patterns that repeat in time. The word 'synchronicity' references the gears or wheels of time, though the actual concept of synchronicity cannot be scientifically proven. One can only record synchronicities as they occur and watch the patterns of behavior that create them. The concept of synchronicity is currently linked more to metaphysics, yet physics (quantum physics) and metaphysics are merging, thus showing their interconnection and how we manifest synchronicities in our lives.."

I got the above description of synchronicity from a site that my son Craig would call a "woo woo" site. It might be more palatable to him and others of his persuasion to explain that the term was originally used by Carl Jung: "The term synchronicity is coined by Jung to express a concept that belongs to him. It is about acausal connection of two or more psycho-physic phenomena." There is an interesting little piece that tells how he came about creating this term on this site Carl Jung - Synchronicity. I keep a small turquoise scarab on my "totem" table as a reminder that synchronicity happens in our everyday lives. It's only a matter of being conscious of them that they appear to be meaningful.

Events of the past few months have caused me to review portions of my life in recent years that fall under the category of synchronicity. Some are only of interest in passing, but as the years progressed, they became too hard for me to ignore.

I moved to this little cottage in December of 2012, shortly after having moved my 93-year-old dad into a nursing facility. I was very busy the first few months traveling back and forth to visit with him and tend to his business and personal affairs. Then I met a sweet friend, Linda, who lived three cottages down from me. Turns out her birthday is only two days prior to mine, although she is the age of my children. My daughter was born in the same month (and so was my dad). Unfortunately, Linda moved a few months into our friendship. I missed her.

Next, Bob, a friend of my son's, needed to find a place for his mother to live. The cottage next door to me on my right was vacant, and in moved Susi. Susi's daughter-in-law's name is Carrie, the same as my daughter's nickname. Her Carrie is married to her son Bob, which is my daughter's dad's name, and they have one son. Oddly enough, this son has been my grandson Travis's friend since kindergarten. His birthday? The same day as my birthday!


About this time, Susi and I met Judy, who lives in the last cottage on the end to my left. I love to call these two my "bookend" friends. They appeared in my life at a time (unknowingly to me) that I would be in need of assistance due to a worsening health challenge. As did Linda before them, they have stepped in with food and cheer and rides when necessary. From bringing my mail to taking out my trash when I'm unable to, they have been there for the past six months. I no longer feel afraid of being sick and alone with these two "angels" nearby!

Now I will go back in time to the small town I lived in prior to moving here. At first, I was a little unhappy with my next-door neighbors due to the fact that they had two Great Danes that sometimes got loose, and in their eagerness to be friendly, they kinda scared me - once knocking me down. The couple was Audrey and Vince. Audrey happens to be my oldest granddaughter's name. Spookily, I discovered that Vince's birthday fell on the exact day as mine! They had two precious little boys who became fast playmates with my two youngest grandchildren, who visited frequently. Vince was a dear, who checked on me frequently and even mowed my lawn for me, refusing payment. I could never have done without Audrey's and her boys' help when I needed assistance with moving things around, stacking boxes when I prepared to move, etc. 

And the Great Danes? One passed on, but the other one became like one of my own pets. She learned to "sit pretty" for me as I gave her a dog biscuit through the fence. I even had her in my house when her family was out for the day and the temps rose to unbearable heights. The fact that her name was Piper didn't ring a bell with me until I moved into my current home. You see, my landlord's wife's name is Piper. Now how often does one hear the name "Piper"?

I have to close this with just one more case of "coincidence" in my life. I have many more I'm certain if I would only look back through the years. However, one in particular comes to mind as powerful. When I was a young mother, married and living in Albuquerque, a dynamic, beautiful woman moved in next door to us. She was the same age as my mother, but she had children the ages of my older two children. When I learned her maiden name was Merry Viola Vargo, I knew something was going on. You see, my mother's maiden name was Viola Mae Varga, a variation of the Hungarian Vargo. They were both born in the same year. 


Merry and I became fast friends, and I valued our friendship since my own mother lived far away. I was surprised to find out that not only was Merry a WAC in WWII, she was the first WAC stewardess on Army VIP flights across the country, and posed for a famous recruitment poster for WACs. I discovered this when I saw the original picture of her in her home. It struck a resounding chord in me. I went home and searched through my childhood scrapbook to find a photo taken of me and an aunt on the street in San Antonio, Texas. Remember those street photographers? I was about 3 or 4 years old, dressed in a red uniform of pants and jacket, with a little red "soldier's" cap on my head. Behind us is the recruitment poster with Merry's picture on it! Imagine my shock.

As I am unable to get into the trunk for that scrapbook at this time, I really am not certain if this poster is the one of Merry. But it is certainly similar, and it looks like the Merry I remember who had changed her hair color to blond when I knew her. She became my confidante and advisor the last few years I lived in New Mexico, and we corresponded up until her death in 1991.

Deepak Chopra has a quote “Seekers are offered clues all the time from the world of spirit. Ordinary people call these clues coincidences”. I call the ones in this story "angels".

I've put a favorite quote of mine at the top of the page in honor of my dad, Jarvis Moragne, who died March 8, 2015. We shared a lot of "coincidences".

Peace and love,
Marilyn