Category Archives: Feelings

Love


My lovely daughter and her son years ago.

This photo of my lovely daughter and her son years ago is a beautiful example of agape and storge loves .

It’s Spring and love is in the air. Of course, love is always in the air if you know how to catch it.

In ancient Greek society, there were four types of love:

Agape: unconditional love, such as the love of a parent for a child and God for us humans;

Eros: romantic love; you know, the one you thought you couldn’t live without (but eventually you found out you could live without him/her)?;

Philia: Friendship: Ah, friends. They’re the ones who feel more like family sometimes than family. With a true friend, you can completely be yourself and your character defects won’t change the friendship. (Unless, of course, your defects are way off base.);

Storge: Family love/brotherly love: The ones we live with until we fly away from the nest. Family, the favorite sister or brother. The beloved mother or father. Yes, even the distant cousins you’ve only met twice in your life.

In the beginning there was love. In the end there is love. And flowing like a river throughout our lives (if we’re lucky), there is always love. We don’t always recognize love as being there for us. Like the ghostlike character in our minds who was the love of our lives and the one who got away, love is sometimes so fleeting that even a hummingbird can’t catch it.

If we’re really lucky, we’ll love again. And if we’re not lucky in that arena, we might not love again. It comes and goes, is large and small, appears and disappears, leaving us with tears of joy or sobs of despair.

It’s odd to me how so many people think only of Eros when they think of love. One family spat and Storge is gone for a short while or a very long time. One tragedy in our lives and we begin to question the love of God. And should a friend betray us, we hide in our homes’ furthermost corner, hanging our heads and wondering how we could have ever trusted her/him in the first place.

I love the way we use the word “love.” “I love Edy’s Rocky Road ice cream,” you may hear me say. And I do. When I was a kid, one of my friends’ mom’s worked at Edy’s. Then Edy’s went away. Imagine my surprise to find Edy’s ice cream in South Carolina several decades later. I also discovered that Dreyer’s Ice Cream makes both brands, but only sells Edy’s on the East Coast now. I can’t really classify that love as one of the four, unless, of course, I choose unconditional love! PS – If you click on both ice cream sites, you’ll see that they have the same color scheme.

“I love going to the movies.”

“I love fishing.”

“I love reading.”  and on and on.

When you think of love, does one particular person or thing come to mind or is your brain indexing like crazy?

I adore the words from one of John Denver’s last songs, “Perhaps Love: “The memory of love will see you through.”

And it will, my friend. Thank you for stopping by. I hope to see you again soon, and I would love for you to share your memories of love in the comments section of this blog!

12 Comments

Filed under Family, Feelings, Friendship, Love, Uncategorized

Swing


Look at this angel swing! Photo from http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1153366

Look at this angel swing! Photo from http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1153366

Swing. What do you think of when you see this word? Golf swing? Tire swing? Tell me. I bet you didn’t think of an angel on a swing, though, did you? Not until you saw this cute photo.

I’ve been wanting to swing recently. And play with a yo-yo to do an around the world move. And to blow bubbles while I watch them rise up, up up into the cool winter air. A friend of mine threw a tea party for the two of us. It was awesome. Lots of little snacks and of course, delicious, hot and steaming tea to drink.

What have you been wanting to do recently? Is it a simple want like blowing bubbles? Or is it a lot more complicated like taking a vacation to a sunlit Caribbean isle?

Maybe it’s a thing you want, like a Kindle or a Keurig. (If you click on either of the links, it will open in a new window, so you don’t lose your place.)

Not me. I vote for the simple pleasures. Oh wait, I must confess. A dear friend gave me a Keurig, and I adore it. But it is absolutely the most extravagant thing I’ve had in a very long time!

But anyway. It’s the simple pleasures that bring even more pleasure than the fancy ones, don’t you think? Our pace is so hectic, our lives are more than crazy, and between work and our responsibilities at home, we don’t have much time left for ourselves. So, sure. Women get pedicures. That’s something for a break of sorts. But is it really? Sitting in a chair in a crowded place with lots of other chairs? I love pedicures, but I don’t think it’s a simple pleasure.

What else. I can’t possibly say how much I love sitting in my chair with an afghan and the cats sitting on the ottoman between my feet. What I love even more is falling asleep in said chair. I always sleep like a baby when I do that. A definite simply pleasurable act.

One of the things about these simple things is that they are usually extremely inexpensive or free. You can’t beat that, can you?

Don’t get me wrong. I can’t wait to go back to Costa Rica. I fell in love with that country a couple of years ago. However, it’s going to be awhile.

Meanwhile, I went to the dollar store today. I bought a yo-yo, some bubbles, and some new tea for my friend. And then I went to the park, got on a swing and had a simply terrific time. Maybe you’d like to tell me now what simple pleasures you like? I hope so. Have a blessed day.

7 Comments

Filed under Angel, Friendship, Pleasure, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Turn Your Face to the Sun


Lady scarecrow in Dahlonega, Georgia, 2012, Ellie Kuykendall

Lady scarecrow in Dahlonega, Georgia, 2012, Ellie Kuykendall

When I visited Dahlonega, Georgia this fall with my dear friend Mary Jo, the city was having a scarecrow festival. So many unique and charming scarecrows would surely bring the birds in to see them, rather than scaring the birds away!

How was your autumn this year? Mine had its ups and downs, just like my life in general. I was privileged to go to Waynesville, North Carolina, with a high school friend. Our stated purpose was to see the fall colors in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. We did that. We also ate wonderful food, had long talks, and he even listened to me cry a couple of times. We hadn’t spend any time together since high school, really, and we were not looking for romance with each other. Just friends, thanks. And isn’t just having a friend a wonderful thing in itself?

When I picked out the main photo for this blog entry, the lady above seemed perfect. She has her face turned toward the sun.  Is your face turned toward the sun? Mine is, at least most of the time.

“But what about when it’s raining, snowing or foggy,” you ask.

The sun is always there. You can turn your face that way on any day. When you do it, you alter your face, because who can resist smiling on a bright and sunny day? Who wouldn’t laugh in delight when looking at crowds of cumulus clouds in a bright blue sky?

It is not always easy to keep your attitude positive when you feel like you’re being bombarded by the hard times in life, whether they be financial, relationship-oriented, work-related, family matters or health issues. But what’s your alternative?

You can go around frowning.  Sniveling. Shrugging your shoulders. Wrinkling your eyebrows.  Screaming as if you are watching a horror movie. Crying a river of tears with no rowboat in sight. Have an argument with someone. Kick the ball so hard it bursts.

Options? Not for me. I’d rather turn my face toward the sun and feel God’s love shining down on me. How about you?

 

5 Comments

Filed under Feelings, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Bloom Where You’re Planted


“Whoever would have thought I’d be planted here?”
Photo by Ellie Kuykendall

In a million years, I never thought I would be living in South Carolina. This is NOT where I wanted to spend my “golden years.” But you know, God had other plans for me. And this is where I am.

So, I was thinking the other day that I need to remember the simple phrase, “Bloom Where You’re Planted.” I remembered it while I was putting plants into the above unlikely containers. We’re used to seeing plants in pots of all descriptions: clay and plastic, bright and dull colors, large and small, patterned and plain, and hanging baskets. However, we’re not used to seeing plants in tea tins or ceramic pitchers that were designed for liquids.

And that’s like me in South Carolina. At times I feel like a flower in a pair of kid’s rain boots. Most of the time these days, though, I believe I’m exactly where I belong. Why? Because of the many blessings I’ve been given since I moved here almost four years ago.

I thought I’d be traveling the world, preferably with a husband. Neither of those retirement dreams has materialized. Maybe they still will, and maybe they won’t. How I accept the circumstances in my life is more important than the conditions in which I find myself.

Will I complain about what I don’t have, or will I be grateful for what I do have? Will I seek out new opportunities to help others, or will I isolate and feel sorry for myself? Do I do a check each day to see whether I’ve offended someone and then make amends if I need to do so? Can I look for the gifts I bring to others instead of wondering why I’m not more like so and so?

Each day is a new opportunity for me to grow, listen, change, be still, and add something to someone’s life. If I keep these things in the forefront of my mind, I’ll remember that I have done some traveling to different countries in the world. This is much more than many other people have experienced.

If I remember that I am a child of God, the negativity slips away.

And more than anything, if I continue to have faith, then I realize that God is doing for me what I cannot do for myself.

I hope you have a blessed day!

One more thing…I would love to hear about your blessings, so please feel free to leave a comment.

13 Comments

Filed under Behavior, Feelings, Helping Others, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Don’t Fence Me In


My neighbor’s poor dog…

This poor dog is fenced in 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. His owners never take him for a walk, pet him or snuggle with him. He just looks so pitiful. He used to bark when I walked by, now he just looks at me as if to say, “Please take me away from here. I’m so unhappy.”

That’s what fencing in does to animals. It also does it to human. Though most of us will never  be fenced in literally, we fence ourselves in and we fence others in behind the fences we build in our hearts, our minds and our souls.

So, you know how it feels to be fenced in. I’m sure everyone has felt that way at some point or another in their lives. Maybe the pit of your stomach gets knots in it. Perhaps you get a massive headache. It could be that you can’t sleep, are eating obsessively or snap at your family every chance you get.

Maybe it’s your boss fencing your in or just your job in general. Marriage can feel like one is behind an iron curtain. Children sometimes think that they just can’t wait to get away from their parents and be on their own. And then again, maybe you’re the one that’s building walls, not bridges.

For a long time I took hostages when I was in a relationship. It didn’t really matter what was going on with others, as long as I got my own needs and wants fulfilled. I’m not saying I treated everyone very poorly, but I am saying that I know I wasn’t happy if I didn’t get what I wanted when I wanted it. On top of that, though I did good deeds and helped others, I made people uncomfortable by what I said, when I said it and how I said it. I’m a work in progress. Though I still have a long way to go, today I work at taking how other people feel into consideration. There are times, of course, when my  needs clash with others’ needs. If I feel my needs are healthy, then I go with them and try to back out as gently as possible. If I think I’m truly just being selfish in a negative way, then I do my best to go along with what others want.

“Life is difficult,” said Scott Peck in the first line of his famous book, “The Road Less Traveled.” And indeed it is. However, I truly believe that if we keep trying to be better people, we will achieve that goal.

For me right now, there are reasons I have to mostly stay put where I am. Travel calls me to all the exotic places I’ve always dreamed of going. So, I feel a little fenced in. On the other hand, though, I’m trying to bloom where I’m planted, to plant flowers to brighten my days, and to leave the fence-building to someone else. Give me the Golden Gate Bridge over the “privacy” fence any day of the week.

2 Comments

Filed under Feelings

My Mind Was Waiting on the Bedpost This Morning


Lovely tree in front of my home

So, I woke up this morning only to find my mind waiting on the bedpost of my four-poster bed. I’m not sure which one it was on, because it went to work so quickly that I didn’t even have time to wipe the sleep out of my eyes.

A couple of weeks ago, I read an article about making sure to think happy thoughts for the last five minutes before you go to sleep. I am usually praying then, so that hasn’t been a problem. What I need is a magic bullet to shoot my mind off the bedpost as I wake up! Why?

Because my mind is not always my friend. I’ve learned this the hard way over the years. My mind likes to instantly go to the worries or the negativity or the confusion in my life. And, by the time I realize what’s happening, it’s too late. Bingo. I win the prize for negative energy first thing in the morning or for consummate grumpiness when waked up from a nap. This is why I now usually turn off my phone when I sleep. I figure if there’s an emergency, I can find out after I wake up.

Anyway, back to my mind not being my friend. I think overall that I am a positive person. I look on the bright side when the world kicks me in the shin, try to find the good in all people I meet even after being betrayed, and love to hear people laugh when my quirky sense of humor jumps out. So why do I let my mind convince me in the morning that a) nothing will work out as planned that day; b) even if it does work out as planned, it will probably be awful; or c) I’m really not a good person after all?

One thing I’ve learned is that everyone has times like these. Not everyone admits it, and some people deny it, but nobody can be positive ALL the time. It goes against us being human. Thank goodness my mind doesn’t grab my attention in a negative way every day. I’ve been working on ways to defeat it.

1). Start petting my kitty and telling her how beautiful she is and how much I love her. A cat will do in the absence of my next true love;

2). Make a gratitude list in my head. Being grateful and having things on a list helps put everything else in perspective; and

3). Say my morning prayers right away when my mind starts. Nothing like talking to God first thing.

What do you do when your mind is waiting on the bedpost?

2 Comments

Filed under Feelings, Uncategorized

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee


Spring blooms on tree in front of my house

“Joyful, joyful, we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love” has always been one of my favorite hymns. And now, with spring’s abundance all over the place, it seems even more evident to me that God is one of love and glory is due. (Click on the link to hear the hymn.)

What is your joy factor today?

For me it is finding the beauty within and without. It’s not easy for me to see my own beauty within. I’ve spent a lifetime blaming myself, feeling sorry for myself and playing the victim. A friend told me last night, “Lots of people have a hard time forgiving themselves. You have made it an art form.”

And she is right. I find it so much easier to forgive others than to forgive myself.

But today I feel joyful. Spring is here, the trees and flowers are blooming profusely, and everyone seems to have a spring in their step.

Many years ago I had a very rough year. It was 1974. My daughter was born in February and in March someone vandalized our little house. They broke the mobile over her crib, smashed the vases from the flowers people had sent while I was in the hospital and poured cooking oil over our brand new chairs (the first new furniture we’d ever owned). Later that year, our business burned down and our best friend died suddenly. I was talking with my priest and he said, “Ellie, I once had seven years of Good Fridays, but Easter finally came.”

And that is how I feel today. Easter has come in terms of my health. I am healthier than I was a year ago, even more so than a month ago. I’ve always taken my health for granted. I will never do so again.

Anyway, I am joyful because some people recently told me I’m an inspiration to them. Wow. What a wonderful compliment that is.

I’m joyful because I have so many things to be grateful for: a comfortable and serene place to live, friends and family who care, food in my fridge and two cats who adore me! I adore them as well and have not had to get rid of them, thank God.

I am joyful because I’m getting ready to start working on my book again and know I will finally finish it.

I am joyful because I have eyes that see, a mind that works, ears that hear, feet that walk and hands that do what I tell them to do. Not everyone can say that.

I hope you are joyful during this season of renewal. Feel free to comment and tell me about your joy or to contact me by email or phone. Thanks for reading.

4 Comments

Filed under Feelings, Friendship, Uncategorized

When the **** Hits the Fan…


don’t run. It won’t do any good at all.

Instead, sit still for a moment and face it and all the consequences, situations, pain and anguish it causes. Running doesn’t do any good. Drinking away your pain only lasts as long as the effect of the alcohol lasts. Indulging in shopping or over-eating just because are just other ways of running.

STOP.  This is an acronym for Stay There Only Peacefully.

Why? Because if you can do this, you will not only grow from the experience, but the pain will pass more quickly.

Pick a flower, go for a walk, admire God’s handiwork in the clouds, help someone out, eat something healthy for more and better energy, read something spiritual, volunteer at the humane society or the homeless shelter, or buy a card and send it to someone.

These things I listed above will take you out of yourself. Getting out of yourself when you’re in crisis is the only thing that will work quickly to start the healing.

Almost everyone I’ve ever known (and some I’ve not known but have heard about) wants to run from painful or bad situations. Hence, they stay in pain longer, take their anger out on others or do something harmful to themselves or their finances (such as shopping when you don’t really need to or eating unhealthy food).

I usually give myself a certain amount of time to feel sorry for myself. That helps. But there have been some situations where I continued to let a negative situation get me down for years. I hope I never do that again.

I’d like to be a beacon of love and peace to all I meet. I can’t think of anything more wonderful than having people say that about me when I die. Of course, I won’t know if they do, but that would be the greatest tribute I can think of.

Happiness doesn’t have to be an elusive butterfly. For me it lies in having a right relationship with my God. When that is at the top of my list, all the pain, sorrow and anger melts away.

Have a blessed day and thanks for stopping by!

2 Comments

Filed under Behavior, Feelings, Helping Others, Spirituality, Useless Emotion

The REALLY Hard Decisions


Bootsie and Annie, my sweet pets

 

Life’s a bowl of cherries, right? Well, sure, but all cherries have pits, although some have their pits removed.

What’s the hardest decision you ever made? What was the outcome? I wish you’d share with me in the comments section or by email.

Maybe your hard decision was about letting someone go through divorce or otherwise. Perhaps it was about saying no to a child who kept depending on you. It could be that it was leaving a place behind and starting somewhere new. Maybe it was about turning off life support or selling a home.

When we’re young, the “hard” decisions seem like a piece of cake to us when we’re older. “What college should I attend?” “Do I want to accept this job or that one?” “Should I ask her to marry me on Valentine’s Day, or should I wait until the end of the school year?”

Looking back, those types of choices seem so easy to me today. Don’t worry about what college you’ll attend, just make sure you go. Take the job with the best benefits. Ask her to marry you on Valentine’s Day…it’s romantic. Smile.

But the older we get, it seems the harder the decisions get. So we talk with friends and/or family, research the heck out of it, and finally, it seems – in desperation – we talk to God. Sometimes we wait on God’s guidance and sometimes we don’t. I like it when I wait. The outcome of the hard decision always seems to have a bit of a glow on it then – God’s glow.

I’m facing a hard decision right now. Do I keep or let go of my two wonderful cats? My babies. My rescue babies. My precious kitties who know when I”m upset and who snuggle next to me every night. My fabulous animals who chase each other up and down the hall and then one of them will wait around the corner so she can pounce on the other.

Because, you see, this darned COPD is not well enough yet. And every night I cough, and every day the cat hair build up all over the house and I’m afraid my sweet babies are making/keeping me sick.

How do I make a decision like this? It’s certainly not necessary to talk with friends and family about it. I KNOW the right thing to do, because my doctor told me so and because of how I feel. I just don’t know how I can live without them.

Yep – I’ll turn this one over to God tonight. It’s too big for me. And I know that if I listen carefully, God will not only let me know what to do, but He’ll also give me the strength to do it and survive it, maybe feeling even better than I do today.

6 Comments

Filed under Feelings, Spirituality

Comforting Things


Sunset in Savannah, Ga Photo by Ellie Kuykendall

I’m sure we all have memories of various things that comforted us when we were kids. For some of us, including me, some of those things still do!

Sipping hot chocolate on a cool fall evening warms my body and soul.

Sitting in my favorite chair petting my cat who’s on my lap – how could anyone have high blood pressure with softness like that at their fingertips?

Eating popcorn at the movies. Now I have to admit that generally speaking, the popcorn at the movies these days leaves much to be desired. But no matter how much I resolve myself not to buy it, I always do. They just go together, popcorn and the movies.

Looking at my garden. This year, it was all in containers. Well, not quite. The side and front beds have azaleas, gardenias, Gerber daisies, some zinnias and one dahlia plant. But just the same, looking at it is so comforting.  All that hard work, and the hard work of the wonderful people who helped. A mutual effort to beautify my yard. What a blessing!

Getting a phone call from a friend you haven’t heard from in awhile – just when you need it most. Nothing worse than being confined to the house most of the time and needing and wanting to hear voices of people you love. That happened tonight, and tomorrow she’s coming over to help me out for awhile.

Little objects. I have several objects that give me great pleasure just to look at them. One is a pink satin glass rose bowl I bought at the first auction I ever attended. It was $10 then and has gone up in value some, but I just love looking at it. Also, my grandmother’s fan, which my sister had framed, and the colorful paperweight my other sister gave me a long time ago.

Last night I wrote that I felt I have had an extraordinary life. The most extraordinary thing about my life is the number of people who have loved or liked me. And that, too,  is the most comforting thing I can think of. What about you?

1 Comment

Filed under Feelings