My father taking me (in the carriage) and my sister out for a spin. He was 30 and I was just a few months old when this photo was taken.
My father and I are taking a trip today, but this time I will be doing the driving. He turned 87 this year, and I’ll be 57 next week. When he asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I told him that I would love to go up north (to the Saranac Lake/Paul Smiths area of New York where he grew up) with him and just see it through his eyes for a day.
We’ve talked about taking this trip for the past 10 years and at one point, I seriously doubted it would ever happen because he would never commit. I wasn’t even sure (until he called to confirm 2 days ago) if it we were still on for today, and I had made peace with this possibility …maybe I wasn’t ready until today.
As I think about this, I’m sure it is true. Up until the last few years, I’d still needed something from him. I’m not sure if it was approval, recognition or just attention, but for most of my life, I’d lived with the feeling that I wasn’t getting enough of him. He seemed just out of reach to me and this left me with a grasping feeling, which made me angry at both him and myself.
It wasn’t easy to turn this pattern around; to stop looking for what I was getting from the relationship, and to start thinking about what I was bringing, but the reward had been the feeling that I have even more love to give.
“The tighter you squeeze, the less you have“. Thomas Merton
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Great picture sent to me by a friend last night
So, we have our plane reservations made and are now working on a place to stay. I’ve sent out a bunch of emails to bungalow/beach house owners, asking prices and in some cases, seeing if they would be willing to come down in price to meet our budget. I have never done this before. I’ve always believed that negotiating prices (on anything) was not the “right” thing to do. It occurred to me the other day that I could try to do it differently.
Instead of not even considering a place that is over our budget, I could simply ask them. As I did this, I noticed a fear that asking for a lower price would make the transaction somehow adversarial. When I told Jack how I was feeling, he laughed and said, “They can say yes or no, or even email back with an in-between price, but your emails were really polite. No one is going to get offended Mary.”
It struck me, as I closed my computer last night, and put the search to bed also, that maybe my email will be just what someone was hoping for too…that what we want, also wants us.
“There is only one of us here: What we give to others, we give to ourselves. What we withhold from others, we withhold from ourselves. In any moment, when we choose fear instead of love, we deny ourselves the experience of Paradise.” Marianne Williamson
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the kitty blanket
A few weeks ago I posted that I had made my own patchwork cashmere blanket from old sweaters and scarves, and then made one for my cats who adore it. I’m not sure who suggested it, but the idea was planted in my mind to make another kitty blanket (a lot less work than the human version) to give away here on the blog. Yesterday, I made one ( it is about 19 inches square and the top is all pieces of cashmere sewed to a backing of thick padding). I even cut out a piece to look like a cat and sewed a little smile on his/her face.
It is so imperfect. Sewing is not one of my talents, but giving and receiving gifts is something that I love to be a part of.
So, If you would like to enter this contest, just comment about anything that you love to give or receive. I will randomly choose someone on December 8th (Bodhi Day) and mail the blanket out to you. (P.S. You don’t have to have a cat to enter, you might want it for a little dog or some other critter, or yourself!)
“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver”. Maya Angelou
ALSO, OPRAH’S BIG GIVE AWAY INFORMATION IS BELOW!
***Oprah has been doing a 12 days of favorite things give away. I have entered the website below. Wouldn’t it be fun if one of the White Feather Farm community won the Oprah giveaway?!
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I saw this little wooden box a few months ago, at a second-hand store. It looked just like a friend of mine’s dog so I bought it, feeling almost giggly at my purchase…couldn’t wait to give it to her. As the days passed, when I looked at it, I found myself thinking, “What if she doesn’t like it? What if she thinks it is kind of dumb and now doesn’t know what to do with it? What if it becomes a sort of burden because she won’t want to give it away, if she doesn’t like it, for fear when I visit, I won’t see it?” I put it away in the cupboard by my desk.
The other day, I took it out and put it on my desk. It is totally useless…or is it? At one time, it made me smile…until I started thinking that it wasn’t “good enough”. It reminded me so much of life…of the unique gifts that we all have and how sometimes we hide these for fear that they are “nothing”, not good enough, saying things to ourselves like, who would want “it” anyway?
I don’t know if my friend will like this little box or not. What I do know is that I love buying little gifts and giving them….it is a part of who I am and of what makes life feel full and rich to me. So, what do you and I have that we have been hiding? What talent, ability, perspective or personal quality that feels too unusual, or too insignificant, to be wanted by the world?
Maybe we should name today, April 5th, National Coming Out of the Cupboard Day…sing that song to someone, apply for the job that you really want, ask that guy out, bake that special dish and invite someone over to share it, smile at someone even if they have never smiled back, give that little box to your friend …
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