Enjoing a comptemplative life

Enjoing a comptemplative life
Enoying a comtemplative life

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What I Learned Being Old School

 Technology is amazing. I remember what a big deal it was when my dad brought home a color TV. We soon learned how to adjust the color so everybody on the TV didn’t have green skin. 

My parents bought me an electric typewriter for my 21st birthday!

I remember how important I thought I was when Roger bought me an answering machine (remember the ones that played a little song?)   Or when my father-in-law bought us our first computer.

I also remember how dumb became when I got my first cell phone. They’ve been smarter than me ever since.  I need someone thirty years younger to explain anything important to me. I’m a technology dinosaur.   

I ate with my daughter Anny at the Sunrise CafĂ© on Tuesday morning.  The Sunrise is my regular stop for oatmeal smothered in fruit. I have different breakfast buddies at least three days a week. They know me at The Sunrise, and greet me by name and with coffee. The waitresses are my friends and I know a lot of patrons by sight.  

The only technology involved in my breakfast is the coffee maker, the stove, and the overhead lights.
Anny and I ate, eggs and a pancake for her, and my regular for me. Morning light poured in the window and lit up her big blue eyes. I watched all her nuances of expression as she talked.
Finally I said, “This is the best way to talk. Face to face.”

She agreed.  And she is really, really good with technology!

I left The Sunrise that morning thinking that maybe I not such a dinosaur. That my breakfasat eating buddies and I were really doing something wonderful, creative and old school. That there really was something precious in face to face conversation. 

Technology is wonderful. I learned to skype  and I watch Norah roll across the living room floor in Lubbock, Texas.  And I already have an important skill. One I mastered years ago.

Come on down to The Sunrise.  I’ll introduce you to my favorite waitress. And I’ll buy the coffee and we can just talk face to face.

Monday, August 11, 2014

What I Learned From A Texas Girl

 Recently, my wonderful daughter-in-law Jen recommended that a young woman come and live with us. This woman would be a Clapp, like Shayna and Rachel and Heather. Shayna came to us recommended by Anny. Rachel was recommended by Margaret. Heather recommended by a good friend at church.  

Shayna, Rachel, and Heather have been a source of joy and growth. My heart doesn’t know the difference between them and the children who have always been mine. There’s a lump in my throat every time they introduce me as their mother.  

Jen’s friend is from Texas. She would live with us, work and go to school. Jen knows me. She said, “Don’t get too excited yet. She might decide not to come.” And I tried to take her advice.   But, my child-like heart kept singing, “Our new daughter is on the way."

It turned out that Jen’s friend was “amazed,” that people she didn’t know would take her in. Just ask Sami Jo, who lived with us last year. Jen’s friend decided not to come.

I don’t know if I would trade sunny Texas for NEPA. I don’t know if I would hop on a plane and dive into a new life. But I cried when Jen said our new daughter wasn’t coming. All my plans blew away like dust.  I looked forward to hearing a life story and contributing something to it. I looked forward to having a Texas daughter to be proud of.

I mourned for a few days. I tried to think of a way to protect my heart. But there is no way. My heart is an accordion file. It opens to accommodate those who need it. I can’t hold it back. I don’t know how else to love.

It’s risky, stepping into someone else's life. But my children, both extras and originals, have always given me more than I’ve given them. My deceased friends, and family, people I’ve lost touch with, have made me rich.  
There are people around me who hardly have a place in my accordion-file. I’ve gotten scared and lazy. It’s about time to love them too.  

And, Jen, let your friend know there will always be room for her if she changes her mind. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

What I Learned From the Light From a Bathroom Fan.

I was feeling sorry for myself the other day.

Then  I noticed light. 

In the bathroom at my mother-in-law's house something glowed dimly on the wall. Her bathroom is very dark, with no window to the outside. But today a circle glowed there. 

 On the side of the wall about a foot from the ceiling is the circular vent for the bathroom fan. The light was so bright outside that it shone in the fan grating. There was nothing on the wall there above the potty but the light shining from outdoors, beckoning through the fan grating.

I thought, "Whooee a sunny day," and went outside to bask in the sunlight.

On vacation recently,  Roger and I slept in the basement of a beautiful house up in Lake Placid.  We got settled in on Sunday evening and laughed as we opened the blinds.  There wasn't much to see from our beautifully curtained window. It looked out into a basement window well.

The next day we discovered a deck had been added over the window well. A flight of stairs led up to the ground under the deck, an  alternative in case we couldn't use the hallway right outside our door. We also saw that a spacious deck connected to the house right above our heads.  We could see grass about five feet away if we looked sharply to our left. 

The next day the window got lighter at dawn.  Every tiny space between the deck boards let in some diffused light. The light at the side of the deck even found its way into our hidden window. It was weakened, only a pale reflection of the glorious summer morning that lit the world beyond the deck.  But, wonder of wonders, there was light that turned our window from black to a soft light gray.
The light just shone.  It found a way past the deck boards. The sunlight shone through the vent into my mother-in-law's dark bathroom. The light found a way to do what it does. It just kept shining. It didn't pull back from the window well or the fan grating because it couldn't do much there.

Some of us are able to be the summer morning and some of us are able to be the diffused light of the window well. But don't you think all of us are able to shine?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What I Learned From Norah Ruby Clapp

What did I learn from Norah Ruby Clapp? ( FYI: She's the cute little one. Anny's the cute big one.   I'm the one with the gray hair and the wrinkles.)

I learned from Norah:

*she is the cutest baby girl ever! (You should see Ayden and Townes, my extra grandsons!)

* it's OK to have gray hair and wrinkles! After all I am Grammie now.

* I haven't forgotten, "This Little Light of Mine," "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam," or other songs my Sunday School teacher taught me.

* I haven't forgotten silly camp songs from 4H.

* Dave and Jen are really good parents. The discipline of a daily schedule IS a good idea. (Although it's foreign to my natural hippie-ness)

* I can still change a diaper, carry a baby like a football, and give good baby back-pats.

* it really is nice when they come

*it is even kinda nice when they go. (Grammie is tired!)

* loving Norah is a given!


She doesn't pick who she loves. She just smiles at everybody and expects them to love her back. I know she is a baby and that is her God given reflex to smile at people and be lovable. We are hard wired to love her. Blah, blah, blah, about nature, but the fact is Norah is lovable and made everybody respond. She was quite a hit at the Jaquish family reunion!

She made me think, "What if  I just step out into the world remembering that I am loved by God and my all my family? Wouldn't I be a lot closer to 'do unto others what you want them to do unto you?' Doesn't everybody want to be recognized as a person with value? Doesn't everybody want to have recognized dignity?"

So, if I make eye contact with people in the grocery store or say good morning to a stranger, or offer hospitality to a neighbor or somebody in my church I barely know, I'm just being loving like Norah.

I wonder what she'll teach me when I skype with her next Monday?

Monday, July 21, 2014

What I Learned at the Mohonk Mountain House

I stepped away from writing off all kinds. Kind of like cleaning house.  Well, now the writing house is clean. So David helped me spruce up some things and I want to connect with all of you again. I missed you!

So, if you look on my facebook you will find a lovely picture of Skytop at the Mohonk Mt House in New Paltz New York.  New Paltz is where Margaret Clapp went to school and worked and met her beloved Jesse Littleton.  They have been married almost two years. Margaret liked the little town of New Paltz, because it reminded her of Tunkhannock.

Tunkhannock, where I met Roger F. Clapp.  And why did Roger take a job in Tunkhannock, you ask?
He liked it because it reminded him of New Paltz.

His mother grew up on a farm just outside of New Paltz.  When she came to town she saw the Skytop tower looking down on the town from the mountain top.  Roger grew up going from Lyndhurst New Jersey, to New Paltz to visit his grandparents just like I grew up driving from Clarion to Tunkhannock to visit my grandparents.

He always talked about the Mohonk Mountain House, a swanky old resort nestled in the Shawangunk Mts., part of the Catskills.  The Mountain House is all old wood and stone and was built for sanky folks to vacation.

Roger has talked about the Mountain House for years.  So guess where we went for our 35th anniversary, March 31, 2014?  We faked all the swanky folks out and stayed one night in the elegant Mt. House.  It was fun to play dress up, fun to pretend to be swanky, and fun to finally see, after years of trips to New Paltz, what the inside of the place looked like!

We also decided that we would still pick each other and we hope the next 35 years are just as cool as the first 35!

Here is the view of Skytop that graces my facebook.

Here is the Mt. House. A castle, right?

Here are Les and Rog pretending to be swanky.

Dessert with chocolate lettering!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Norah Ruby Clapp, daughter of David & Jen Clapp of Lubbock, TX was born at 1:44AM on Tuesday, February 11, 2014. She weighs 6 pounds, 14 ounces.  All are doing really fine. Thanks for your prayers!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What I Learned From A Rubber Ducky

Lots of things are perspective, you know? Like we went to see a duck in the water at Point  Park in Pittsburgh. It was a rubber ducky, you know “cute and yellow and fuzzy?” like Ernie sings about? Only this ducky was forty feet tall.  He towered over the point and over all the people gathered there for pictures with him.  He was overwhelming. If I was a little kid he would give me nightmares.   He was too much of a good thing.
Then there is your dog’s perspective.  I remember my dog Goldie. She was perfect, except once in a while she would come home after being out in the field and rolling in deer manure. She got an injured look on her face when we held our noses and exclaimed loudly and washed all her perfume off. Because that’s what she thought all that deer manure was. Lovely perfume. It was a matter of olfactory perspective.
And today? I saw little red flags outlining a triangle concrete barrier in the road.  You know those barriers that funnel the cars in one way and out the other?  Well the little red flags were on wires and they said, SMI on them, “snow removal Inc.” 
Now snow being good news is definitely a matter of perspective. Ask them at Rock and Snow in New Paltz New York and Rich and Andrew will say, “Snow is a good thing.”  They rent and sell outdoor clothes and equipment for all seasons and for all kinds of rock climbers. They think snow is good.
The people who make a living from SMI think snow is a good thing. A matter of perspective.
So the is the fact that I’m the wife of a guy that’s 59 years old and sat and watched the younger set dance at my brother’s wedding this weekend.  I always felt sorry for my mom and her sisters when they just sat and watched us dance at a cousin’s wedding.  Little did I know that they sat and talked about us and everything and enjoyed themselves. Just like I did talking to my cousin Pam and Joyce and my sister. We had as much fun chatting as they had dancing.
It’s a matter of perspective.  But a forty foot rubber ducky is still really, really big.