Happy Father’s Day Dad

Hi Dad, it’s me.  I love and miss you eery single day. More than I can every express, I miss you.  And I think about all the things you taught me, from fishing, to how to fix my car, to how to know how a man should treat me, by how you would treat Mom.

Miss you voice, your hands, your advice, your smile your funny one-liners, your gentle advice.  I miss eating hot dogs with you at lunch, and sharing an N/A beer with you at dinner.  I miss sharing boiled peanuts with you, and watching the news with you too. I miss so many things about you. I just miss you.

Thank you for being the best father in the world to me.  Please hug Mom for me too.  And please visit me in my dreams.

I publish this every year in honor of my father:

My Dad is like one of those men from the old movies. The hero. A man of few words rides into town, stands up for what he believes in, and touches everyone around him.

He leads by example: Loyalty, honesty and spirituality. Always keep your word. Hold family close and God Closer.

My Dad has worked very hard to make a business and a reputation many would envy. He’s worked hard to give his family the kind of life and opportunities where we would want for nothing. He has integrity and honor, and those are not easy qualities to find these days.

He has been a wonderful example of a man, a father and a human being. From quietly asking mom about our dates to sharing boiled peanuts and beer, to watching thunderstorms and lighting with us. To teaching me how to sing silly songs, teaching me why it’s important to watch the news and be aware of the world in which you live.

He has taught me so many things about life, just by example. And he is the best father a girl could ever hope to have. I have so many wonderful memories of him growing up, and as an adult. Like him, try to read fairy tails to me and mispronouncing the names – like “Ra-pun-zel”, or reciting the bedtime story of “Once upon a time, a deer drank wine…” To holding me while I sobbed when I thought my mother was dying, to our first father daughter dinner when I was a teenager.

Then the is “Piddles Jumping Spunker” and Chief Beer Fetcher in Charge (CBFC), can’t forget being the Cowstail, or all the lessons on the bottom shelf.  There were all the times he, as a typical protective father, scared any young man who came to the door to pick his daughter up for a date.  There was the one time he tried to teach me how to drive, and both of us returned scared and barely speaking.

There is the time I ran over the water pump with the riding lawn mower and he had to fix it (the pump not the mower) and all the things I accidentally busted, broke r short circuited around the house. To all the conversations we may have on the phone now, however short, whatever the topic, are always treasured.

There is hearing all the stories of his youth, and when he blew up the river bed with dynamite, and how he hid an alarm clock taped to one of his teachers desks at school.  To his trips at Oscars Br in NYC, to all the slides and stories of when he would dive and was a dive master.  To all the amazing things he has designed in his career, and last year, I went to the Smithsonian and finally saw, up close, the missiles he designed.

He taught me how to change the oil in my car, how to rotate my own tires, change the break pads and calipers, check the spark plugs (when cars actually had spark plugs). I remember going out to dinner with him, and how he opened my doors for me, pulled out my chair, found out what I wanted to eat and ordered for me. Always wanting to make sure that I was happy.

I will always love his voice, his hands, the way he smells and his little smile. Yes, I will always love my Daddy. The first man to make me feel safe and secure, the man who has always been the example of how a man should treat a woman, and how I should expect a man to treat me.

And he gave me the best Christmas present I have ever been given. One he hand made a wonderful case for my Barbie Dolls, complete with a little mirror for them, a place to hang all their little clothes, and he even hand made these little wire hangers for all their clothes to hang. I still have it and it is one of my most cherished possessions.

For these and so many reasons, too many to list, I am proud to call Jim Burch my Dad. If I could have looked out and chosen who my father would be, I would have chosen you.

Love you Dad. Happy Father’s Day.

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Let the Fierce within you sleep

Though she be but little, she is fierce. –  Shakespeare

It has been said by many that you must be fierce in order to survive in this day and age.  Indeed, with internet trolls, bullying, rude people, and those who just don’t care, it’s a tough world out there. And indeed, I have had to be fierce as well.  Especially after the passing of my parents.  Dealing with estate issues, family issues, legal issues and financial issues, I was all issued out.  And I had to be assertive to make sure that everything was done correctly, on time and by the right people.

But being fierce will also wear you out.  Because you must constantly be on the lookout, always aware, always “on.” You cannot be fierce all the time, you must be able to relax and enjoy life too. You must be able to be vulnerable, to laugh and smile and have fun as well. You must be able to have compassion and empathy and kindness and grace. The fact of the matter is that there is a season for everything in life, and fierceness cannot last.

With God, you are stronger than your struggles and more fierce than your fears.

And so it is with me.  This is the season, this summer, of relaxing.  Of having fun. Of enjoying fireflies and putting my bare feet up on the dash board while singing at the top of my lungs. It is planting 130+ day lilies from my mother’s garden.  It is enjoying the smell of the honey suckle and watching the humming birds at the feeder. It is spending time with sick friends, talking softly over fears and memories. It is walking in the woods, being in nature and breathing deeply.  It is live music, and many concerts that I will be attending this summer.

The mountains, the forest, and the sea, render men savage; they develop the fierce, but yet do not destroy the human. – Victor Hugo

When you are strong, you do not need to wear that strength and fierceness on your sleeve, you do not need to advertise it or make sure that others see it.  It is there, when you need it.  And whether or not it is seen is not your concern. Your concern is to be happy, and to love life. You concern is to live the life you intended, the life you will be happy with in your last moments, will as few regrets as possible.  Your concern is to smile at the sun and howl at the moon, to run with the starts and sing with the wind.

I don’t always feel fierce and fearless, but I do feel like I’m a rock star at being human. – Tracee Ellis Ross

And I will let the fierce within me sleep.  I have fought to have everything in order, I have fought to put myself back together, one heartbeat at a time.  I have fought to have only those who deserve to be at my table, and I have fought to drive out those who are not worthy. My soul needs the rest and my mind needs to fun. My lips need to smile and my heart needs to laugh.

And so goes.

The interval between the decay of the old and the formation and establishment of the new constitutes a period of transition which must always necessarily be one of uncertainty, confusion, error, and wild and fierce fanaticism.  – John C. Calhoun

Steak and Honor

This Sunday is Father’s Day, a day to celebrate and honor fathers everywhere.  This day can be bittersweet for those who no longer have a Dad on this earth, but I will celebrate it with Joy.

Dad loved a good steak.  Especially on a Sunday.  For many years, we had family steak dinner night on Sunday, with Mom at the grill and Dad anxiously waiting with his fork.  And so this Father’s Day, I will sit down to a delicious steak dinner and have a toast for my father.

The last Father’s Day he was here was probably the best one he had ever had.  He was happier than I had ever seen him.  All of his children were with him, at the same time, in the same room.  That had not happened before, and he just kept smiling and saying he never thought is would happen, never thought is was possible. Having ever one there was the best gift that could have been given to him.  I am so glad you had that experience.

So this year it is about celebrating him, and being thankful that out of all the Dad’s in the world, he was mine. My Dad was my hero. And steak dinners are delicious.

Honor Thy Mother

Everyone loves anniversaries it seems.  And indeed, we as humans seem to keep track f how long since this event, or that.  We celebrate, reflect, drink or just quietly remember.  And we have anniversaries for everything – how long married or divorced, how long sober, how long dating, how long since we have seen someone…we celebrate anniversaries for just about everything.  Even death. Many honor their loved ones who have passed on that anniversary.  I have a shot of Makers Mark every year to mark the passing of a good friend. We honor them in a thousand ways.

In July it will be two years since Mom passed. And I was wondering how I will honor her this year.  Last year I was sad and cried a lot, drank wine and had a good dinner. But this year I will honor her by…going skydiving.

My mother was very daring and adventurous.  She was the first of her family to leave her tiny town in Tennessee.  She was in the Air Force and had special training, which was rare for a woman in the late 1950s, early 1960s.  She carried a huge .45 on her hip during some of her assignments.  Then she worked in the Pentagon, as a cryptanalyst/cryptographer, which again was very rare for a woman in that time.  She had the most secret clearances, because of the sensitive and classified information she handled.  She had to have roommates that would report her if she talked in her sleep.  And she talked about how she had to go through so many personality tests by the government so that they could find out how much torture she could endure before giving up national secrets.

She had certain medical procedures that are common now, but very experimental during that time. She traveled by herself, flew over the Bermuda Triangle, lived in Washington DC and was engaged seven time (yes, 7) before she married my father.

And she gave it all up to be with my father, who was the love of her life. She was an amazing mother and wife.  She took care of not only her children, but 65 foster children as well, not afraid to go toe to toe with judges if she was fighting for what she felt was the best for the child. She was loyal, and stubborn, and determined, and kind and cull of Grace. And now she is free.

So, to honor her free, generous and adventurous spirit, I will go skydiving. She wasn’t afraid of anything and no one intimidated her. I think it is the perfect day not only to honor her, but to take the opportunity to do something new and scary. To broaden my own horizons and celebrate the amazing woman she was, and who she taught me to be. And I cannot wait…

How to Know You Have Arrived

There many lists out there telling us when we have arrived, or when we know we have accomplished our to do list. There are books about it.  But really, how do you know?  To b=me it is rather simple.  You know because you are in a happy and calm place.

I don’t mean what you present to the outside world, I mean what is there on the inside.  What the inner conversations you have are saying. When it is quiet and dark and still at night, and there is no place to hide…what do those moments feel like?  And in this world of bigger, faster and richer is always better, how can we quiet our inner world enough to tell?

When, in those still moments, where the heart meets the soul. you feel at peace, then you have arrived.  You have lived and accomplished what you needed to do.  And this is where I am.  I am at peace with life, at peace with all the past, and at peace with who and what I am.  And it feels good.

So I may not write as much as I usually do.  Because I am enjoying life.  Because I am laughing and loving and smiling.  And that is how you know you have arrived. That is how you know you are where you are supposed to be. because someone will always be richer, more accomplished, skinnier, or better looking than you. And that is OK.  Knowing who you are and being comfortable in your own skin means you are in competition with no one. And that is priceless.

When Your Past Catches up with you

Many times we are surprised when the things we have done in the past are suddenly brought to the present.  No matter what we do, or who we are, our past eventually catches up to us.  And that was the case this week.

It was several years ago that I got a call from a fellow acting friend.  they needed someone for a shoot the next day and he wanted to know f I could do it.  I said yes.  It was for a re-enactment on the show It’s Supernatural about a man who had cancer but was healed by God.  This topic was very personal to me at the time, because the same thing had happened to my mother.  Her stage 4 ovarian cancer had been in remission for several years.

It was nothing big, just a small part on the show, but it was a lot of fun.  The crew was wonderful and professional. The whole experience was wonderful.  Everyone was so kind and enjoyed what they did.  Everyone on that shoot was happy. The crew loved shooting the show an hearing about all the miracles.  There was laughter and good food and good stories.

I never watched the episode.  Soon the experience became a fond memory and good story.  Until a few nights ago when it was brought to my attention that I was in the show during an interview with the man who was the subject of that episode.

I was blessed to be a part of that episode, blessed to be a part of the production and blessed for the miracle that I have seen. And what a wonderful reminder of a great day.

Here is the link for the interview.  I can be seen a little after the 7 minute mark, with short hair.  Your past catching up with you doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Live life in a way that it is a good visit when either the past or Karma come back around.

Here is the episode:

 

Only Love

“I want love to be so present in my life that it is tangible.”

I said this over a year ago, and set this out as my intention with life. After heartache and loss, I want love, everywhere, in everything that I do. But you have to have a foundation to build upon first.  And that foundation is build from the inside out.

Why is that?  I think it is because you cannot receive love without giving first.  You cannot be a bitter, nasty person and still be surrounded by love and goodness.  So, you must work on yourself first, so that you emit love, so that the love and Grace of God flows through you and to others.  At least that is how is seems to me.

And maybe that is the way it is after there has been a lot of loss.  When you no longer have parents or a family, you must create those safe spaces for yourself.  And that takes time.  It takes time for those roots to set in, to get used to the fact that the safety you enjoyed as a child must be redefined as an adult. I can no longer go to my childhood home, sit up late at night and talk to my Mom, making plans with her wisdom and love.  I must create that space for myself.

And that space is my home. Maybe this is why I have been a bit of a homebody.  To establish home as my safe harbor in the world, where I have peace.  And don’t we all need that?  A place where we know our emotions and bodies are safe, where we are sacred, where we can be sheltered from all the world throws at us.  A place to rest, convalesce, dream, build and have those who mean the most to us close to us.

I am making it so I can be at home as much as I want, to be in my little slice of heaven. To cook for friends, have wine out on the back deck (if it ever stops raining), to have coffee in the morning and hear the birds, watch them as they settle on the bird feeders. To have my home filled with great memories and laughter, peace and love.

There will still be travel, as I will always be curious to the about the world and all it contains. When you cease being curious about the world around you, you stop growing. But I am not in a hurry to rush around town, doing this and that. I am not interested in seeing and being seen. My time in limited, so I want to be very purposeful with how I spend it and with whom.

Because that is all I have room for in my life – only love and all the good things it brings.  And that is how it should be with all of us.  Happiness takes vigilance and regular pruning to make sure that only the love gets in.

That which gives you peace will also bring you happiness.