Hunger: Seeking to Fill the Void

JoAnne Silvia:

I didn’t want to believe that I was using food to cope with my feelings. But the moodiness, when I stopped eating compulsively, made it obvious. Thankfully, we can learn other ways to cope.

Originally posted on Loving Me, Too:

Pie with lattice crust

With the start cooler weather, and holidays on the horizon, I’ve caught myself getting excited about pie. Warm home made pie filled with healthy fruit or pumpkin with lots of cinnamon. But I have to be careful. Eating more than is good for me has been an issue off and on since adolescence. In the early 90’s I lost over 70 pounds with diet and exercise and a spiritual program. You know, the kind with steps. It worked like nothing else ever had. I guess I was ready. The first couple months I followed my food plan I was moody, almost depressed, confirming that I really had been using food to deal with my feelings. I think it was the spirituality that helped fill the void. A power greater than myself helped me meet my goal to eat only nutrient dense foods (no empty calories like soda, candy and alcohol.)

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Circles: A Stream of Consiousness Saturday Post on Shape

socs-badge

“Look with care for the shape of a square.” That children’s song from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, has been in my head all these years. Though the space ships that lured ? pulled the cute kid away were mostly round shapes. The beautiful mother ship certainly was round with spikey things. She was huge.

Squares can be useful, but I’m partial to circles. An art teacher I had in college said circles are feminine shapes. I think he was flirting with me at the time. I wonder if circles are attractive to me because of the shape of a mother’s breast. Could that shape that provides nourishment be an instinctive attraction? It would make sense.

But then, I just realized that most shapes in nature are circular. At least the important ones seem to be. The sun, the moon, flowers, faces, heads, eyeballs, pupils…… water crystals, snowflakes, our planet earth.

I can’t think of any square shapes in nature. Can you? There are angular shapes. Mountains are often triangular. Trees are tall but often have roundish tops.

Why are dishes traditionally round? Is it because it’s easier to make round shaped dishes and bowls and baskets? Clocks, birdbaths. But many man-made things are square or rectangular. TV’s, phones, appliances, buildings.

I wonder if there is some deep natural affinity we have for circles.

This SF tribute to the Close Encounters’ mothership is overflowing with circles and spheres:

(please ignore any ads.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JqDQXF58d0

In case you haven’t seen the movie, the cute kid gets returned safe and sound.

Thanks to Linda at

http://lindaghill.com/2014/10/17/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-october-1814/

for getting me to think about how much I love circles in this Stream of Consciousness Saturday post.

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” or “Begin with the word ‘The’.”

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments, for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. Have fun!

 

Memories from Dad: Nothing is Impossible

http://pixabay.com/en/photos/?q=boy+scouts&image_type=&cat=&order=best

My blog title “Anything is Possible” was inspired in part by my father.

When I was 12, Dad told me “Nothing is Impossible.” It was his response to my question about whether it was impossible for us to stay in North Carolina. He was about to retire from the Marine Corps and we were going to move again. I was so tired of moving. We drove up to Pennsylvania, but the deal fell though on the house and the moving van hadn’t even gotten out of the gate, so we headed back down south proving that anything is possible.

Recently I asked my dad, who’s now 83, where he got the “Nothing is Impossible” philosophy, guessing it had something to do with his 20 years in the Corps. But that wasn’t it. He told me he got it from his scout master, Earl Nelson.

When Dad was a boy in Wisconsin, his scout troop’s mission was to help plant Jack Pine seedlings near Bear Paw Lake.  The scouts had thousands of trees to plant over 20 acres that had been burned. Fifty boy scouts were supposed to be on site, but on the first day, only 15 showed up, including my dad, who said it couldn’t be done. They didn’t have enough scout power to plant all those trees. That’s when Dad first heard his scout master say, “nothing is impossible.”

Jack pine

Over the next five days, more scouts arrived, and they planted 150,000 trees. Earl Nelson apparently said “nothing is impossible” many more times after that.

I asked Dad if he ever thought about “nothing is impossible” when he was in the jungles of Vietnam. He said no. He was too busy.

I believe “Nothing is Impossible” was imbedded in him to the point that he didn’t have to think about it, and that he needed that belief most after he came back from Vietnam to help him figure out how to live with the horrors that haunted him, the ones he doesn’t talk about much because they still give him nightmares.

But he did say he used the motto when teaching classes on map reading. He explained to me all about how old maps, like the ones they used in Korea and Vietnam, become out of date because the earth moves. He explained about map grids. “Over 30 years, a building or a river bend can move into a completely different map grid,” he said.  One of his recruits said it was impossible to find anything with those old maps, and got the “Nothing is Impossible,” response from my Dad.

Then Dad, went on to explain that they used something called a  declination diagram at the bottom of the map to compensate for the movement of the earth. He said the declination diagram was developed after WW2 and after  Admiral Byrd’s confusion in the Arctic. compass-163722_640 pix a bay

My head was spinning about the earth moving like that and how much my dad knew. He never went to college and graduated from high school by taking night classes while he was in the Marine Corps. I was surprised to learn that he never made Eagle Scout. He said he was too busy.

Re-blogging about Very Hard Things

Sometimes computers are hard for me. Or maybe it’s just my I phone. When I tried to re-blog this post with my phone, other random post parts jumped in uninvited.  I deleted the post, and now, I’m starting over on the lap top.  But it says I already re-blogged the post. Oh Well, there’s always a way.

http://tonningsen.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/very-hard-things/comment-page-1/#comment-6973

I like the post from Eric Tonningsen’s blog because it gives three clear suggestions to help make coping with very hard things possible.

Like in January when I put my Golden Retriever, Jesse,  “to sleep.” I had no idea when I started to re-blog Eric’s post that I’d get to process some of this grief again, but that’s how grief is sometimes.

http://joannaoftheforest.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/ill-see-you-on-the-other-side/

I used Eric’s suggestions then and now.

I found, and still find, beauty in the memories of  our life together, Jesse’s protectiveness, and how he loved to swim.

I let family help me but asking my husband to carry some of the weight (figuratively and literally carrying Jesse when he couldn’t walk) and calling my father on the phone from the vet’s office to pray with us.

I had compassion for myself, reminding myself of all that I’d done to try to make Jesse comfortable, and that I would get through saying goodbye to him. I feel sad remembering this now, but after nine months, it has gotten easier: the waves of sadness do not come as often and they’re not as intense. (Deep breath.)

I would just like to add that, in my experience, God can help too. When I don’t feel like I have the strength to get through something, I ask:

“God help me, get through this,”

Courage comes to me from a power greater than myself.

I know I am never alone.

 

Snakes, Swans and Waterbugs

socs-badge

This is my first Stream of Consciousness Saturday post inspired by http://lindaghill.com/2014/10/10/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-october-1114/ with the prompt that we write about what ever comes to our mind first about the letter S.

Snakes come to mind first, but I really want to write about swans. I’m not as afraid of snakes as I am swans, but I’m more afraid of water bugs than snakes. Whenever I see a snake it seems to be trying to get away from me. It’s more afraid of me than I am it it. Just like waterbugs.  I stepped on a snake once in the woods. It was fat and grey and trying to get away. It did get away, unharmed I hope.

I have to remember I’m not supposed to edit. Just write what comes into my mind.

Yep, I’d rather write about swans. When I was in first grade we played with clay. I was really good at rolling the clay into a snake like shape with one end much wider and then fold it into a swan, pinching the other end for a beak. Everybody loved my swans. Yes, that’s a good memory.

My son used to have a pet snake. He fed it live mice. I don’t want to write about that though. I’d rather write and think about swans. Lovely peaceful swans, gliding along on top of the lake, mating for life, with their S shaped bodies. So I guess I’ll end with swans. Swans eating snakes. Stop! Don’t think about snakes! SWANS, SWANS, SWANS!

SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS…

Hey, that was fun!

Here are the Rules for SoCS Saturday:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” or “Begin with the word ‘The’.”

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments, for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. Have fun!

Love Letters from a Sycamore Tree

tree sycamore thru leaves

The sycamore that grows in my backyard, near the house, has been leaning (away from the house) ever since a major hurricane years ago. I think it was Bertha in 1996. With each hurricane since, I go outside and give the tree a hug before things get dicey. “Hang in there,” I murmur. I think it was during Floyd in ’99 that I watched the roots heave upward a few inches with each powerful gust tugging at the branches. “Hold on,” I whispered from the back door.

Tree sycamore trunk 2

The sycamore held on through the storms, through my divorce and through the raising of two teenagers. Now, a smaller trunk grows from the base of mother sycamore, leaning in the opposite direction, providing balance. The mother tree seems to be leaning less, like  maybe at a 5 degree angle instead of 20 degrees.

Some people would have cut this tree down as soon as the lean was discovered.

But not this tree hugger.

Each year the leaning tree sheds it’s bark as sycamores are known to do. This past summer, I noticed natural heart shaped holes in bark offerings. Maybe they were there before, and I just didn’t notice. I don’t know. Life is what you make it, and I like to think that maybe my old friend sent me summer valentines.

Heart bark w plant     Heart in bark green

The wide leaves are just starting to turn brown. Soon they will begin to fall.

Trees give us shade in the summer as their leaves soak up the sun’s energy.  If you have as many trees in your yard as I do, you can save a lot of money on air conditioning.

As the weather cools, some trees let go of their leaves, letting the sun shine through to warm us in winter.

Is it a coincidence that trees benefit us this way?  Are we just lucky? Or are we blessed?

Then there’s the whole oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange thing.  Trees make the stuff we need to breathe in, and we breath out the stuff they need.

Do you ever stop and think about how amazing and wonderful this planet is?

This poem is from Earth Prayers 1991, Edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon:

Few things that grow here poison us.

Most of the animals are small.

Those big enough to kill, do it in a way

Easy to understand, easy to defend against.

The air here is just what the blood needs.

We don’t use helmets or special suits.

The star here doesn’t burn you if you

Stay outside as much as you should.

The worst of our winters is bearable.

Water, both salt and sweet, is everywhere.

The things that live in it are easily gathered.

Mostly, you can eat them raw with safety and pleasure.

Yesterday, my wife and I brought back

Shells, driftwood, stones and other curiosities

Found on the beach of the immense

Fresh-water Sea we live by.

She was all excited by a slender white stone which

“Exactly fits the hand.”

I couldn’t share her wonder.

Here, almost everything does.

                                  Lew Welch

Whether it’s luck, or the grand design of a generous Creator, we need to be more thankful for our planet, and particularly thankful for trees. If a tree’s growing in an inconvenient place, try to move it while it’s still small. Put small seedlings in  pots and give them away. Give them a chance.

Tree at Old winter Park

What have you learned from trees or from nature?

Saint Francis Tames a Ferocious Wolf

St Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio

(An imaginary letter  from 13th Century Gubbio, Italy)

My Dear Sister,

As you may remember from my previous letters, there has a been a dangerous wolf terrorizing Gubbio. The large wolf has been seen stealing sheep and goats, and has even taken away small children as well as grown men, or so I have been told. Yesterday, Friar Francis of Assisi, who has been a guest in Gubbio for some time, amazed us all by taming the vicious beast.

The wolf was outside the city walls chasing some sheep, as men gathered with pitchforks, rocks and slings to try to chase the wolf away. Our beloved Francis intervened and asked them to wait. The brave friar walked toward the wolf who snarled viciously and then charged at him with his mouth open. We could see the white of the wolf’s teeth from the city walls.

Then Francis made the sign of the cross, and the wolf stopped suddenly, closed his mouth and crawled on his belly toward the friar to rest at his feet. Francis appeared to speak to  the wolf who became as docile as a lamb and followed Francis back to the city. The friar told the townspeople not to harm the wolf.

“Brother Wolf has acted in evil ways due to his hunger. If you will feed him every day and care for him, he will not harm anyone. I ask you to forgive him and show him God’s mercy,” said Friar Francis.

He asked who would offer a piece of  food to the wolf. I looked down at the loaves of bread I was to deliver to my neighbor, and ignoring all common sense, I broke off a piece and walked toward Francis and the wolf. I do not know what came over me. In spite of the warnings of my friends, I knelt  cautiously before the wolf, and reached out to offer the bread. The wolf took the bread gently from my hand, like an old dog.

The people of Gubbio have promised Friar Francis to feed and care for the wolf, who is becoming a part of our community. We shall see how this unusual truce plays out. What is more unusual: I am considering joining the holy order of this Francis who some are calling a saint. Please do not tell our parents of this yet, as I know they wish for me stay here as the baker’s apprentice, and I am not sure if I will awaken from some dream about a wolf being tamed by a holy man.

My love in Christ,

Your brother, Antonio

______________________________________________________________________

I share my imaginary letter hoping to honor Saint Francis and his upcoming feast day, celebrated October 4th. The following article tells that the wolf lived in Gubbio for two years and offers evidence that there is some truth to the legend.

  “According to tradition, Gubbio gave the wolf an honorable burial and later built the Church of Saint Francis of the Peace at the site. During renovations in 1872, the skeleton of a large wolf, apparently several centuries old, was found under a slab near the church wall and then reburied inside.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_of_Gubbio

One of my favorite sources on Saint Francis is this beautiful book by Robert F. Kennedy Jr:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/797841.Saint_Francis_of_Assisi

Is there a Blessing of the Animals in your church or community honoring Saint Francis this weekend? Does anyone know of a Saint Francis Festival? If so, I’d love to learn about it.