All posts by Sally

A Bouquet of Words


I love when I get responses from folks from a post. I love when it stirs a memory which gets shared, I love it when it’s just a comment and I love it when it prompts something more than was there.

This week I received a response from the post:  http://www.thelaughyouknow.com/when-you-say-yes  that made me glow and had the feeling of showing someone a garden to which they take care to cut the variety of flowers and create an amazing bouquet.

(those are flowers from my gardens last year as I attempted to arrange the real things)

For Sally..Gratitude and Appreciation

*Someone sought to pull a thread…
And Lo! It pulled several others
That wove together string by string,
Spontaneous  deeds of gentleness and giving.

*As open hearts and their ripple effect wove a magic textured tapestry,
The human fabric emerged endearingly strong,
From ‘good,heartfelt expressions of humanity’!

*In the fog of thinking on ones feet,
‘To do or dont’ brings existential confusion!
In a sudden leap of faith , the risk is taken..
Then blessed assurance!Evident comfort and sanctuary for another unknown,
Propelled by impulse, initiative, gut feeling, intuition.

*To clad a stranger,recognise a need
From the largesse of the hearts own treasure,
Extend the benefit of the doubt,
Give unconditionally without count or measure.

*Some people remind us by example
Through trying times and tales that edify:
When in doubt and judgment ,humbly stop to remember,
There,but for the grace of God go I!
************

Thank you Maranna for this beautiful response.

Love Sally

 

Another Visitor

This week I received a call from home while I was at work that yet another unexpected visitor had appeared. This one came up into the yard and passed by the downstairs patio doors and then was seemingly gone. Devin called in hushed yet excited tones as it had been a young bobcat. We had only ever had reports of one other seen in our vicinity and Ted and a neighbor had been the only ones to sight it last fall.

I mentioned to Dev that it would be great if that kitty would go up to the compost pile and take care of the mice that had taken to burrowing through the sawdust and refuse we pile into it.  Wouldn’t you know that as we were speaking, he went upstairs and there the little guy was – standing at the edge of the compost bin.

I returned home from work a bit later anxious to see if the visitor might still be around for me to catch a glimpse of as well and lo and behold it was resting in a limb of the tree just above the compost.

We were able to watch it come down from it’s perch maneuvering down the trunk and other branches with an ease that defied gravity. It hung out at the compost for a while longer before fading back into the local wilderness not to be seen since.

Then later, as a direct response to the last post, I received a message I felt was too lovely not to share.  I think I’ll save it for tomorrow.

Love Sally

 

When you say Yes

To put it mildly, the world has been a bit out of sorts. People are being protective of themselves and their families and for good reason. But people are also often acting out in negative or destructive ways because they are fearful.

When you see a situation, it is easy to bring up past memories of an experience or even a story heard that triggers a fear reaction.  Or, you project what could happen also based upon a fear of possibilities.

This week, a few of my coworkers and I  faced one of these situations.

I showed up to work early along with one of my newer team members.  I unlocked the door, put away my things and sat down to start the day when I noticed a young man walking down the sidewalk in front of our building.  In a flash, I had the premonition that he was coming into the building – we don’t have an OPEN sign, nor do we project an open to the public feel. It was still dark and was raining (it had been snowing at my house when I left, but that is a few thousand feet higher, so it hadn’t started snowing in Denver just yet).  I normally keep the doors locked when I arrive early, but this morning,  I had unlocked it and left it unlocked for the other gal figuring we were fine with two of us in the building.  I saw the gentleman disappear from my view as he went around the corner to the front of the building.  We are on a corner with windows on all sides, so I waited to see if I would see him walk past the other wall of windows as his path took him on his way.  Instead, I could hear the faint movement of the outer door and then there he was as he opened the inner door to our office space.  I looked up and asked if there was something we could do for him.  Thinking about it,  that’s just a polite way of saying “what are you doing here man?”

He stood there in a tshirt and baggy pants dripping wet, eyes down like a beat puppy and asked if he could just sit in one of our chairs for a bit and warm up. As a rule, we have a strict policy of no solicitation and in that spirit, no strays, wanderers or any random bloke who might just be walking by.

Per our policy, I had started to say that we couldn’t really let him just hang out, but he really did have a desperate look about him, so instead of the no that my rational mode was projecting, I said that yes, he could have a seat.

He sat down and bent over. Possibly to keep as much of the dripping off of the seat and as to physically curl into a tighter position to garner some body heat.

We asked where it was headed and he said he was needing to walk to downtown Denver and he had forgotten his coat and hadn’t realized it was so cold. (It had been beautiful warm and in the 60’s the past few days, so maybe he didn’t realize the weather was changing and it was to snow today)

It’s interesting how your mind processes scenarios so quickly.  Mine went from “you can’t let a strange man stay in here possibly putting myself and my team member at risk”, to “what do I have to help this person in need who is right in front of me?”

I remembered I had a fleece jacket in the car that I had been using out on my lunch walks when it was chilly. I got up and said I had to go to my car for a moment and fetched it. I hurriedly went through the pockets to make sure I didn’t have anything like old Kleenex or something and walked back in and presented it to him. I explained it was for him to have and while it wouldn’t keep him dry, it would provide another layer. He gratefully put it on right away, zipping it up and curling once more to ball up some more heat.

A minute or two later, two of our sales guys walked in, clocked in and gave me the ‘what the heck’ look all the while saying good morning and asking what was going on?  I was a little fretful of their reactions as these two have been hyper vigilant about the social distancing and keeping spaces sanitary with the covid 19 outbreak threat.

From their positions at their desks right behind me, they kinda went through the same question and answer with the dude as we had. Then, one of the guys walked over and handed him his big thick flannel shirt/jacket that he had just worn on his way into work.

Our now defrosting visitor, took his coat and put it next to him seemingly not sure what he was going to do with it. It was at this time that my team member excused herself to go out to her van and after retrieving a few dollars, gave them to him and told him to go take the light rail as Denver was far too far to be attempting to walk in the freezing rain.

I looked at the clock just then and realized that I should make an announcement of sorts. I said that while we were all ok offering shelter for him, the owner would show up in 5-10 minutes, and he would not be ok with the situation and I just didn’t want to see him faced with negativity along with the perils of his morning thus far.

He said he understood and picked up the flannel and put it on over the fleece jacket and said thanks to everyone. He then stopped as he was exiting through our inner doors and asked in a somewhat timid voice: “do you know who I am?”

It was as if we all took a second to scan our memory banks for recognition from experience or media as all of us wondered for a moment if we had someone famous among us and we all said “no” in unison. To which I added, “should we?”

I couldn’t fully see him at this point, but it seemed like he shrugged and left.

The feeling I think that  we all got, was that he thought someone must know him for nearly all of us to give something of ourselves without prompt or asking.  And who knows, maybe he had said a prayer before stepping in that we would allow a few minutes of shelter. and that prayer allowed each of us to identify with that need to just feel secure for a few minutes -remembering when we’ve misjudged what we had stepped into on any given day. In hindsight, I think we could have responded with , “we don’t know you, but we do recognize the needs we all have”

In a time when we are honestly wary about which coworkers to even let into the building for fear of what germs they have picked up upon, it was a good feeling to not let that cloud our helping out a stranger in need.

May we all grasp the thread of humanity and hold onto it pulling the good and heartfelt moments out of the chaos.

And as so many of the emails I get from customer, vendors and friends now say:

Take Care, Be Well and wash your hands.

Love

Sally

Happy Birthday Mr. Aeschliman

My sister in law’s dad just turned 90.

90 years filled with family, fishing, lessons and stories.

Happy Birthday Mr Aeschliman.
You taught us all many thing:  taught us to have some patience. That if you love to do something, do it every day, but then share the results with those you love. To be kind and giving. To think of your environment and your imprint upon it.

I think you converted more people to love a good fish fry than anyone I know. I know for me, I couldn’t get my children to try fish for anything, but one afternoon with you and they, like the fish you coaxed onto your line, were hooked. Caught up in the care you took and eyeing the whole process, they just had to try, and of coarse, they were not disappointed. I think that anyone who got lucky enough to be around you cooking up your fish, couldn’t help but taste in those morsels the morning dew and rising sun or evening sunset over sparkling waters of the fishing spots you frequented.

The taste of patience, the meditative sequence of casting out and reeling in – as natural to you as breathing. In those bites we could taste the putting your hook out in unseen waters and expecting something good to come if it,  and tasting the results of that.  Real affirmation of – if you expect good things, then you get good things.

I’m glad it’s been so many years of you sharing your stories and life with the rest of us. A celebration indeed.

Many more blessings to you and all of us too.

Love Sally

Flat Stanley/Josh Chronicles

Last year at Christmas, the co-worker that I job share the most with, gave us all a plastic cup with his face on one side, and the back of his head on the other side. This was one of those kid style  hot/cold cups. So thinking we may have coffee in it, he also gave little bottles of Bailey’s Irish Cream to accompany the cup.

I think half the staff may have downed the bottle and pitched the cup.

One cup and Irish Cream must have been given near one of our showroom seats and left in the cup holder. It is likely that customers then walked in to view and try out seats and so the sales person simply put the cup and liquor into the storage space of the arm to hide it from view.

This event was forgotten and a few weeks later, our customer service team got a call from a customer who was quite perplexed. His complaint was that he received his seats and there was a kids cup in the arm with some guy’s picture on it, and a small bottle of alcohol in there as well.  You see, those seats were sold off the floor and when packing, the shipping department neglected to check inside the storage arms. While embarrassing to have to address with a customer, it remains a funny story for my staff and crew.

 I decided that if he is nuts enough to give us each such an obscure gift (he is quite the joker), then I could be nuts enough to take it on vacations with me.  I decided that  I would take his likeness in that cup with me when I went on my trips and at the end of the year, give him a montage of where he had been in spirit.

The idea came from the Flat Stanley project that kids did in school. Everyone would get a cutout of a guy and color him and send him to people they knew in other places and ask the receiving party to include Flat Stanley in their activities and document with photos and then send back.  A great way for kids to learn of other places and the people in their lives.

So my Josh Cup has been to: Seattle, Tennessee, Georgia, New Mexico, Arizona, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Washington DC, Dominican Republic, and camping throughout Colorado. I’d have to say it was a good year to be a Josh Cup and well, I was blessed to be the carrier on those trips. 

Some of these trips need their own posts to tell the stories, but here is the montage.  Put your headphones on or turn up the volume as it is set to music.

I’m writing him a card and putting the link in the card.  I hope he enjoys it.  It sure gives me a smile to revisit.

Love Sally

A Real Surprise

I recently got to be part of a real surprise. I’m talking about the kind of surprises that are so good, that even when told, you don’t quite believe them.

Recently, my niece was to be married with just immediate family and a few selected friends at a resort in the Dominican Republic.  As luck would have it for me, I was able to be a last minute fill in for my nephews wife who wouldn’t be going.

Just a month prior to the wedding, both my niece and nephew were out to our house for a visit as the bachelor party just happened to be in Denver. We didn’t know then that a spot would be open for sure, but we did joke that someone from our family could fill any opening that came available. Just a few days later, I did get a call asking if Devin or I could come. I guess we are the two most likely to pull out a passport and jump in a plane.

Devin’s passport had expired, but I said we could fast track the renewal and I would pay half of his trip to get there and room share, but if he wanted to go, he would need to pony up the other half because I wasn’t willing to fund the entire trip and not get to have any of the fun. After some brief calculations, he decided it was a bit too rich for his blood and I should just go.  Lucky for me, Ian was totally fine with it being either one of us as he and I have a history of having really great stories when we get together.  So, it was decided (after consulting with bride and groom) that I would go. It was also decided that we should just keep it a secret for a few more weeks and surprise my Brother and sister in law (the parents of the bride of coarse)

As fate would have it, Dave, Heidi and Ian were on the same connecting flight out of Washington DC that I was also on to get to the Dominican. I had taken an overnight flight out of Denver and arrived in Dulles around 5 am . I made it to the United club area for some breakfast, coffee and a bit of work on the computer. Before I knew it, Ian was texting me that they had  landed and would be off their plane and headed to the next gate soon.
I decided to call my brother Dave as if I knew he would be in the airport at this general time and wish him a good trip.  He picked up his phone as expected and we chatted as he walked from their arrival gate to the departure gate of the next leg. I was standing behind the doors of the United club as they passed, so I simply exited and followed at a safe distance so that he couldn’t hear me speaking behind him as well as on his phone. Ian turned around and I waved so that he knew my location, and I kept bodies strategically blocking the view of Heidi as she too would sometimes take a full look around. I could see that they had gotten to our departure gate, so concluded my conversation with Dave and waited for Ian to come find me to plan the surprise as the gate was around a corner and he was hoping to catch it on camera.

Ian came out, but said his mom was right behind him and would see me. Well, there wasn’t any place to hide at that point, so I just backed up a little bit more to make sure we wouldn’t be in sight or earshot of Dave when she learned I was there.

I was just finishing up giving Ian my hello hug when she walked up and was surprised to have run into me at this airport at the same time they were there. It didn’t even dawn on her that I was there to go to the wedding.  She just figured I was traveling and happened to be in same spot at the same time. Even when Ian said that I was his “date” for the wedding, she laughed it off as a joke. It wasn’t until we both just stood there nodding that it was true, that it sunk in that I was indeed going.

This time she screamed a little, hugged me harder and was in true delight.

We then walked around the corner to surprise Dave. He was sitting facing the direction I was coming from, so he saw me coming, but the connection from recognition, to registration to realization was like a movie across his face. The realization brought the tears and shock that I was there to share in their trip.

I don’t know that I’ve ever surprised two people as fully as that morning. There has been some hard surprises this past year for them, so it was great to be part of a good one.

The wedding was awesome, beautiful and perfect.  The resort was beautiful, immaculately maintained and had an impeccably trained staff.

 

I’m ever so thankful to have been considered to go as a fill in, to have the passport on hand and be able to go (even if it was touch and go with work as they were none too happy), and to have had that time with family that I don’t get to see enough of and meet the friends of the bride and groom and see what a wonderful group that is.  It was a bit odd for me to have everyone there (except Dave and Heidi) call me Aunt Sally all week, but that was fun too.

I’ll get to the Ian and Aunt Sally stories on some other posts.

Love,  Sally

 

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

My favorite holiday. Gather up family and food and gratitude and spend the day together. What could be better?

Here is a non-inclusive list of what I am grateful for today.

I’m grateful for the snow that is falling, draping beautiful carpets of white across the ground.

I’m grateful that my boys will be here and maybe we can play some games.

I’m grateful for my job and the people I work with who make me smile and laugh every day.

I’m grateful that I am healthy and able to do what I enjoy in activities.


I’m grateful for Ted and his hard work and creativity and support.

I’m grateful for my friends near and far. I’m grateful for their sharing spirits, understanding hearts, willingness to listen and ability to call out my shit. – And huge ability to make me laugh as they do so.

I’m grateful for my home, my plants, my gardens, my neighbors.

I am grateful for my family of all generations and connectivity. For the love given and shown throughout my life.

I’m grateful for travel and all that I learn and see when I visit new places and meet new people.

I’m grateful for ceremony, for prayer, for the moments I feel limitless love.

I’m grateful for things, people, books and podcasts that come along and find their way to me that expands my mind and heart.

I’m grateful for those who struggle and allow me to see it so that I might not go through the same struggle.

I’m grateful that on most days, I do notice the part of any situation where gratitude can be found.

And if you are reading this. I am grateful.

With love,

Sally

Cloudy Heart Day

I woke up in the predawn hours and checked the weather app for the conditions at the farm today . Cold and cloudy was the prediction my phone had. I guess in my head I had wished for a spring sunny day with balmy temps and daffodils popping up in the yard for the day of Adam’s Funeral. Instead, the weather will give cover for those who will clutch themselves tightly as to brace from the cold, when it is the emotions of saying goodbye to Adam that they will likely be bracing against.

I use to wonder what good purpose was it to have calling hours and a funeral. (Side story, my co workers have never heard the term calling hours. So now I’m unsure if that is a regional or family term that I grew up with to signify the visitation time before a funeral)

Before I was forced to be in a receiving line at a funeral, I imagined it to be about the worst place one could be. Being on the receiving side of everyone else’s emotions on a day you never wanted to have happen in the first place.

What I learned though was that in the days between the death and the funeral, you pick through photos and stories with those closest in your circle basically having days of living memorial services with each conversation around the kitchen table , yard or impromptu gathering spot. By the time there is a line in front of you, you are ready to see a “few” people come through the line.

It didn’t take long for me to realize   what the  value is standing in that line though. I was amazed at the small but touching stories that the person shaking my hand (often with their hand shaking from emotion) would relay. Sometimes people could only manage a hug, lacking the words to match their emotions. Somehow, those hugs told even deeper stories. In those hours of standing and greeting, I got it. The method, the reason. Why it is an important part of dealing and healing from the gaping wound of losing someone so near. That in the mass of people and stories, hugs and handshakes, your vision begins to change. The broken bits get picked up and arranged into a viewer so that the slightest bit of light now shows a beautiful kaleidoscope. With every new person comes a turn of the lenses and another beautiful view of how your loved one touched their life. Sometimes, it wasn’t even directly. I was thankful for even those who came because my loved one touched the life of their loved one and they just wanted to pay respects for that.

I’m sorry I will not be at the funeral today to share in the stories and hugs.
I can envision a 21 tractor salute for Adam. The taking of his casket to to cemetery on a 1910 steel wheel wagon pulled by a two cylinder antique John Deere tractor. Not really practical, as those old tractors would make for a really slow procession, but the imagery will by my personal service paid to Adam in my mind.

Love to all today who share in the memory of Adam Henry Michael. If someone gives you an extra long hug, know that part of it was from me, for I will be with you all in spirit.

Sally

Sad days

It’s such a sad time. My dear cousin’s son has died. He was 21 and we all thought his road would be a long one with lots of pit stops and amazing highlights. Instead his truck hit a guard rail, flipped into the creek below and he was killed.

I won’t claim to have known Adam well as I haven’t been back to Ohio all that often, but each time I was back at the farm, my cousin was there and so was Adam. The last time was for my nephew Ian and Kattie’s wedding. Adam was going nonstop getting orders barked at him from all directions and never ever dropping his head wishing for the orders to stop. He just jumped up and did the task. Frankly, I was amazed for I would have railed against such constant demands when I was that age. Adam gave me the impression that he knew that by just being around the projects and duties of the farm, he was learning skills and got to share in ideas that others go away to learn. He observed his dad and my brother work side by side for years each knowing the next step of the other without words being passed. He mimicked their arguments in a way that he got the love that underlies it all.  To hear is sisters side, he learned how to then bark orders quite well himself once he was back home where he often took command.

That pic for me is was how Adam was for me, funny, goofy, in the middle of it all.

To me, Adam had a smile with eyes that sparkled when he did. Sometimes, I would catch him hanging around and he would have this grin, like he knew the joke before the rest of us even spoke.

The saying goes that we “lost” someone dear. But what I know to be true, is that in taking away his physical body, the rest of us will find where Adam remains. You see, energy cannot be destroyed, and Adam worked on so many projects, tractors, helped out in so many ways, put energy into so many things, that those who spent any time with him will likely now find him everywhere.

I know you will be missed Adam, but it is memories and the energies of what we did that get left behind, so thank you for leaving so much at the farm and pond and home for everyone to have forever.

To all the Michael and Tomlinson families, you are in my heart, prayers and tears.

love you all,

Sally

Storybook Lunch

On my lunch hour recently, I took a book I have borrowed to the creek side area near my office in hopes of reading more than two pages before I had to put it down. I have mostly listened to books in the past year as I spend enough time in my car that I can whip through those fairly quickly. Sitting down to read is much more challenging.

I found a secluded spot in the grass next to the very full creek engorged still with spring rains and runoff of winter snows from the mountains.
As I sat reading my book, a brilliant blue dragonfly landed on my left forearm. It’s wings folded back over it’s tiny body as it just sat there. I wanted to grab my phone and snatch a photo, but I knew that even the most gentle release from holding the book would cause my muscles to move and my little friend would be gone. So I just sat there and studied the small body, the large eyes, and those wings stacked next to each other. The lace-like beauty of the wings with an intricate pattern that reminded me of a geisha girl with an intricate fan that she could just flick open and show her admirers.
It showed no signs of taking off, So I decided I would try for my phone to snap a pic. I didn’t even fully let go of the book with my opposite hand before my previous instinct was proven correct and it flew away.


I went back to reading and before long, the blue beauty returned and landed on my other forearm. This time I just smiled and admired it until it again decided to move on once more.
I was reading The Lost City of Z about the expeditions into the Amazon jungle and felt thankful that I was being visited by this little creature and not the blood thirsty invasive insects that I was reading about.
I soon was thinking about my little space with the tall grasses and rushing creek and how serene non threatening it was.
As I sat the book down to just enjoy the time left in my lunch hour, I noticed a momma duck headed upstream with her crew of little ones behind her.

They was nearly directly in front of me before she seems to spot me and move slightly further away deeper into the current as they passed on by. It was much swifter even the foot or so further out that they ventured and the last little duckling was praddling furiously to keep up and I just had to imagine his little mind groaning “was this really necessary?”

As they moved past me upstream, the Momma stopped and the babies kept going a few more feet past her and settled into a submerged grassy patch that would normally have been part of the dry bank had the stream not been so full.  The Mom did not look at me, but was treading water as she was hovering half way between where I sat and her babies played in the shallows. She would look at the ducklings and then look upstream ignoring me and look again back at the babes. I grew curious as to what she was up to when I finally saw two more tiny fluffy ducklings scurrying upstream to catch up with the rest of the family.

I felt like I had just read a really cute children’s book.