Me in the Middle ~ #WordPrompt ~ July

PLAY ~ “Play is the highest form of research.”- Albert Einstein

Susan Crouch Watercolor

“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” ~ Mr. Rogers

My fondest memories of PLAY were mostly while being outdoors. From the time that I was little and throughout my childhood, my parents, especially my mother, made an effort to teach us through nature. Water was always a part of the teaching and we’d take family rides to streams, lakes and oceans. I learned to be respectful of the natural world while finding joy and relaxation as I played with a freedom not found indoors. I learned there were limits to that freedom and listened to the warnings of any dangers I might find in my adventures.

Me at the New Jersey Shore

My oldest brother was the nature lover in the family from the very beginning. His interest in collecting birds, fish, turtles was what drew the rest of us into exploring the best spots to explore the great outdoors. One place was a nature park with walking trails, streams and a pond where I could go ice-skating in the winter. I used to follow my brother when he explored the streams and sometimes wade through the water with him.

Me watching my brother explore

When I grew up and was raising a family of my own the best family play was visiting the county/state parks in the area. My five energetic sons could take off and explore which helped them release stored up energy. Their father and I could find ways to relax with a good book, take long walks or just sit beside the calming water. For me, water has always been my source of play and relaxation.

Now, just turning 80 and slowing down, I’m content to play with my ‘Water’colors. It’s a playing that keeps me centered during these troublesome times. I love the watercolor by Susan Crouch of the child playing at the shore.

And Wordle!! I play Wordle! Haha!

Me in the Middle ~ WordPrompt ~ May

“You never know how STRONG you are, until being STRONG is your only choice.”

~Bob Marley ~

I found this writing by Brené Brown while visiting a post by Jennifer Juneau Looking Back While Looking Ahead.  It’s only been recently that I’ve embarked on the journey of ‘Looking Back’ all with the intent to continue moving forward and ‘Looking Ahead’.  Writing about our life story, the good parts and the not-so-good parts, pulls together a pattern that reminds us of who we were all along the way.  A pattern of strength and courage through our struggles that becomes clearer when we become an observer from the present  time and allow ourselves to look back.  We can do this at any time and at any age.  The insights we gain and the freedom we experience keep us ‘rising strong’.

~ Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted ~

“There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers
Than those of us who are willing to fall
Because we have learned how to rise

With skinned knees and bruised hearts;
We choose owning our stories of struggle,
Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.

When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we run from struggle, we are never free.
So we turn toward truth and look at it in the eye.

We will not be characters in our stories.
Not villains, not victims, not even heroes.

We are the authors of our lives.
We write our own daring endings.

We craft love from heartbreak,
Compassion from shame,
Grace from disappointment,
Courage from failure.

Showing up is our power.
Story is our way home.
Truth is our song.
We are the brave and brokenhearted.
We are rising strong.”

Brené Brown

Me in the Middle ~ WordPrompt ~ April

I’ve been waiting for the April WordPrompt from the WordPress Team. It’s been a slow process of getting back in the groove for blogging. And now I begin! Pondering the word GREEN!

The Green Heart emoji 💚 depicts a classic representation of a heart, colored green. It is commonly used to represent love, support, close bonds, and admiration for things that have some relation to the color green, from nature to sports teams that use green.

Looking back over the years I find the color green leading me forward to LIFE and RENEWAL. A little girl learned the miracle of a small seed sprouting into a green plant by placing the seed in cotton and placing it in a glass. Each day carefully watering it and checking to see any signs of life. In Girl Scouts our uniforms were green. We’d work toward badges that included nature.

Junior Girl Scout Nature Badge

Ireland is the heritage of my family and green reminds me of Ireland in many ways! On my two week visit to Ireland we travelled the back roads of beautiful green scenery especially on the West Coast. The Shamrock is: ‘While trying to convert the Irish into Christians, St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the holy trinity with each leaf representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The three leaves of a shamrock are also said to stand for faith, hope and love. A fourth leaf is where we get the luck from.’

a low-growing clover-like plant with three-lobed leaves, used as the national emblem of Ireland.

Even our society has recognized the color green as a sign of well being, moving forward and healthy growth. Our traffic lights are Red on top, Yellow in the middle and Green on the bottom. Red alerts us to those red flags, signs of danger to our well being. Yellow encourages us to proceed with caution and be aware of possible risks. And GREEN tells us it’s safe to proceed and move forward. Sometimes some unforeseen event will happen as we’re proceeding and moving forward. And that we can’t control.

‘Traffic signals control the flow of traffic through intersections. Even young children are taught what the three colors of the traffic light mean: Red means stop, yellow means caution, and green means go. Although traffic lights are now used for automobile traffic, their initial use came before the car’s invention.’ (TitleMax)

So there you have it! Why GREEN means good things for me (and you?). I like to wear green and more likely in March. I’m always thinking of Spring and Ireland!

Me in the Middle ~ WordPrompt ~ Bridge

WordPress is helping us break the blogger’s block. It just might work for me! It’s got me thinking about the March word prompt ~ BRIDGE.

Looking back over my life I can see the different ways that I saw a bridge, sometimes real and sometimes a metaphor. A bridge is a way to get you to the other side when it would be impossible to get there without a lot of difficulty.

It’s like a midwife assisting the birth of a new life. When we’re born we’re thrust into the world and the midwife is there to guide and make the process less challenging.

Growing up there were two bridges that come to mind; one is the George Washington Bridge and the others are the smaller bridges over brooks, creeks and streams while exploring nature around my area which was pre-suburban at that time. The GWB was ominous and high above the Hudson River, carrying us away from our little village in New Jersey into the concrete jungle of the big city. The brooks, creeks and streams were fun to cross over, leaping from stone to stone or across logs that were laid out for crossing the water.

One symbolic bridge was the moving into adult life which, for a young woman back in the late fifties and early sixties, was marriage and starting a family. Part of that symbolism was that the man you married would be there for you in a supportive way throughout your life together. A bridge to support you emotionally and financially during good times and bad. ‘Love is all you need’, only it wasn’t all you need.

Around 1970, as a mother of four little ones and watching the upheavals brought about by the Vietnam War, I turned inward to find peace and hope. My husband had moved from job to job and then unemployed. It was stressful times for us and for our country. There were songs that moved me to trust and hope that we would make it through. One was ‘Let it Be’ by the Beatles and the other was ‘Bridge Over Troubled Waters‘ by Simon and Garfunkel.

That song, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Waters‘ had two meanings for me at the time. One was inspired by the Jesus Movement (Charismatic Renewal) which opened me up to a simpler faith. “The Spirit is within you.” The other was for myself ~ to be a bridge over troubled waters for others in my life. It brought me a centering peace. It helped me focus on my immediate responsibilities and Trust.

From that point on, bridge became a metaphor for me of finding a path to my inner strength ~ to be a bridge over troubled waters for myself in my own life guided by Love. At times it was through reaching out to others during a time a crisis and seeking a bridge to help me cross into better times. I learned the limits of others in their ability to be that bridge for me. I learned that I was, for the most part, alone on that path and trusted that there would be a bridge there for me as I moved forward.

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