All posts by dixonl2014

Rendered Speechless!

This is a spoiler alert! When I recently finished Louise Erdrich’s book The Night Watchman, I was rendered speechless by one of the subplots, not the main plot, of this engaging novel. One of the focal characters, Patrice (Pixie) is the breadwinner for her indigenous Chippewa family. 

She is the only one in the family who has a job, and she works at a jewel factory performing very delicate operations. Her father is broken from the many onslaughts of reservation life, and he has become an abusive alcoholic who is often gone away from the family. No one looks forward to his infrequent returns, especially their mother because of what they all must endure when he is at home.

Her older sister, Vera, has moved away to the Big City but is now considered to be missing and the family is deeply concerned about her. Pixie puts her job on the line as she borrows days from her co-workers to venture into the Big City to look for her sister. She is tricked at the train station and ends up in a would-be perilous situation herself. She temporarily works at a bar swimming in a fish-like tank with dyed water for the customers’ entertainment. 

One of their friends, a boxer named Wood Mountain, senses that she could be in danger, and he goes to the city to make sure that she is okay. No one will tell them where Vera is at that time, but they do end up bringing back Vera’s infant son after Pixie makes her get-away from  the bar.

The family embraces the baby and all cuddle and nurture him as Pixie returns to her regular job. She eventually begins to fall in love with Wood Mountain and finally gives into him as her first lover. Overtime, Vera surfaces and she has been detained against her will and trafficked on a ship. When she is used and nearly dead, they discard her on the side of a road in Duluth and fortunately a medic finds and helps her. 

Vera makes it back home, but she is damaged both physically and spiritually. They are happy to see her and she falls back into the embraces of the family. By, then, Wood Mountain is extremely attached to the child and often frequents the family home. And then, it happens. 

Pixie returns home from work one day and notices the rhythm between Vera and Wood Mountain as tries to say he loves them both. But Pixie, says, “No. It is not going to happen like that!”  Instead, she agrees to help fix up a small house on the property for Vera, Wood Mountain, and the baby Thomas Achilles.  

 I see Pixie going on to greater heights like on to college or choosing some new path for herself.  She has the strength of character to do so, but this part rendered me speechless. How much can one give? And how much can one accept from another’s labors? It reminded me of the movie The Valley of the Dolls, when Anne Welles (Barbara Parkins) walked away with a wrangled, wildly beating heart but definitely moving on! 

Lynn M. 
July 28, 2021 

Summer Reads, Thus Far!

 I have been inundated with some great reads, so far this summer. We still have a ways to go, but here is a line-up of exciting books for avid readers. These reads have kept me calm and engaged during these ever-changing times.

Val Poore’s Faring Forth Again on the Shoe takes us on another boat journey from the Netherlands, through Belgium and into France with her and her skipper, Koos. Her historical notes, photography and colorful descriptions of each town entertain us as we hold our breaths to see if they will get through the next lock to continue on their way.

Bill Clinton and James Patterson join magical forces in The President’s Daughter as they tell this thriller! We sit on the edge of our seats to see if the former president will ever see his kidnapped daughter alive again. She was taken from the rural parts of New Hampshire and ends up overseas in some pretty frightening situations.

Then, Lally Brown takes us to the Caribbean again in The Volcano, Montserrat and Me, but this time it is a much more harrowing experience. She recounts her time as an ex-pat on the island of Montserrat during the volcano’s high activity in the mid 90’s. She has all of us rooting for her and her family while feeling quite concerned about their safety while many do flee to other places.

Rez Dogs by Joseph Bruchac was added to the list after hearing him speak at a recent librarian’s conference. A young Bostonian girl is unexpectedly quarantined with her indigenous grandparents on a reservation when the Covid pandemic shuts down all travel. She learns a lot about her parents from her grandparents along with other life lessons. Then, a mysterious dog shows up and acts as her protector and companion during her lengthy stay on the New England territory.

Dear Fran, Love Dulcie is a heart-stopping tale of two pen pals who wrote letters from Detroit, Michigan to Queensland, Australia. These young married women never meet in person but we see deep into the heart and life of Dulcie who is a hard-working farm wife. Her letters were preserved and lasted from the late 50’s to the early 80’s before they found their way to Author Virginia Tweed.

Covenant: When We left Paradise by Mary Clark takes place in 1960 on the Gulf Coast of Florida. It is a coming-of-age novella where a girl named Orchie is the leader of the pack. She rules her buddies: Red, Bobby and Lucy as they enjoy the beaches, listen to Elvis, while other famous names pop up like JFK, Sputnik and Enos, the space monkey. They learn many crude things about adult life as they observe their parents. They realize that in a short time, they too will be faced with similar dilemmas as they evolve into grown people.

There are many positive ways to stay cool and grounded during the summer. Fun comes in a variety of ways and delving into a good book is a sure way to take a trip to other lands without leaving home!

Lynn M.
July 24, 2021

Eyes Open!

Keep your eyes open,
Peeled back. Aware.

As you enjoy these summer days,
Which are short though sweet.

Cook, dance and sing, if you want,
As you embrace life to its fullest.

Give life a big squeeze like you hug your loved ones,
Listen to the birds sing and doing their thing!

Take a few mini naps while the cicadas hum,
Or relish in the rippling laughter of happy children.

Yet, do notice the warning yelps of the dogs,
As you stay vigilant and keep your eyes open wide.

Do not hesitate to take in all of summer’s delights,
And the wonderous joys and beauty it imparts,

But, do stay in the moment, my dears,
And most importantly, be safe!

Lynn M.
July 18, 2021

Your Business!

In Your Erroneous Zones by the late Wayne Dyer, there is a scene where a dog is going in circles trying to catch his tail.  He was instructed to mind his own business, and his tail would follow him.  This lesson has stayed with me over the years, and I try to remember to practice this in my daily life.  

When I find myself getting off course and indulging in the daily hype of pop culture and social media, I feel like pinching myself and saying, “Okay.  Enough already!!”  I tell myself to snap out of it and check out my own affairs.  Are they in order?  Could they be more intact?  What can I do to make things work even better? 

I recently had the occasion to check in on some unfinished business.  When I noted the calendar, I could not believe how much time had passed.  When I had a moment to ask what on earth I had been doing, it became quite clear that I had been minding my own business.   

I took some time to make a list of what I had accomplished during that time period, and I was astonished to see the list of things that I had done.  It was comparable to Nehemiah who ignored the detractors as he focused on building the much-needed wall for his city.  I was so immersed in the projects at-hand that time just continued to pass, as it surely will do. 

It is important to ‘keep your nose to the grindstone,’ and there will be a less likelihood of getting caught up in what Alice Walker calls, stuff.  There is so little time, and we don’t have the luxury of wasting our precious moments by staring at other people’s affairs.  Wasted energy and noses in others’ business is a sure equation for ending up with tattered, torn lives that are in disarray and shambles.   

It would behoove us to take care of ourselves just as often as we take those self-absorbed selfies. And one day, we will have a moment to pause and look back and say, “Wow!”   Remember to “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.” Ecclesiastes 11:1 (ESV) 

 Stay busy, stay focused and handle your own business! 

Lake Michigan

Lynn M. 
July 14, 2021 

Continual Hope!

Following your own path, 
Though filled with twists and turns, 
Filtered with high levels of uncertainty; 
Ultimately leads to a straight line, 
Designed specifically for you! 

Though it appears to be non-linear, 
With many oblique questionings 
Of both self and others  
Strewn along the way;
There is a master plan. 

By assertively placing one footstep 
In front of the other, 
Whether moving rapidly, at a slower pace 
Or even in a tired trudge;
It is imperative to ‘keep it moving.’ 

Who knows where the journey will take you? 
If you hold on. Work in the moment. 
And when you turn that next corner, 
Pleasant surprises could be in the cards, 
If you don’t give up on that continual hope

Lynn M. 
July 10, 2021 

Exalted!

When the Creator exalts us, it is sure fired. 
Permanent though often hard-earned. 
Others will see our good works 
Like a light sitting high upon a hill. 
After enduring blood, sweat and tears, 
Along with some misgivings and perceived misfirings. 
 

We will come to understand that quite like a volcano, 
He is both purging and creating at the same time. 
Still molding, still shaping and still making us presentable to the world. 
In a fashion which truly honors and represents Him. 
No longer cleaving to the fleeting tinsel which only shines and blings, 
Temporarily before changing to rust, disgust and immense letdowns. 

To those who understand that we ourselves are not the molders 
Of the clay, will quite likely continue to carry on! 
So, wait and work and work until the One who made it all, 
Is pleased with our efforts. 
For He can exalt us like no mortal ever could or can, 
As we showcase our wares for a borrowed season! 

Lynn M. 
July 3, 2021 

Perfect Timing!

Spirits are everlasting, 
Though they leave worn-out bodies. 
They just go somewhere, 
And they wait.  And wait. 

Quite like hiding in the wings, 
And they watch.  A high watchman. 
And when all of the ingredients are ready, 
And the circumstances are all set, 

They speak.  Yes, but through the living. 
Their voices rise again and once again, 
Their names are on the lips of many. 

They probably just stand to the side 
Smiling, grinning and thinking, 
‘Aha!’ Now you hear me, 

You really, really hear me.” 
And the timing is perfect, 
As they speak even louder
And more clearly! 

Lynn M. 
June 26, 2021 

Looking at the Trees!

Muir Woods- California

Sometimes we must put aside our tribal differences and focus on what’s good for the greater whole.  Wayne Dyer often mentioned the whole enchilada in his talks for he realized that a bit here and a bit there rarely makes a meaningful force. 

We all harbor hurt feelings or disappointments but ultimately we see that (as one writer wrote), “things don’t just happen; they happen just,” or more pointedly, justly.  The Rolling Stones duly reminded us as they sang “You can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need!” 

Once we have shaken off the dust of dark, error thoughts, we thank our lucky stars that we were saved from the glittery, metallic doom that we had in view.  We could not see the thick, wooded forest because we were looking at the beauty of the trees. 

But grace reached down and scooped us up and we were saved from a greater harm.  We may have emerged from the dangers of the thickets tattered, torn and even somewhat disheveled, but we came out on the other side with clarity of purpose.  We walked out of the bush with new arms of wisdom, buckets of strength and oodles of renewed fortitude. 

We pause and give thanks.  We then delve into loads of self-care as we regather ourselves and regain our rhythm and coordinated moves. When we finally have the nerve to take a close look at our new reflections in the looking glass, we sigh, ‘Okay.  A little wear and tear but still in one piece.  Not bad.  Not too bad.” And then we think of J. Herbert Brewster’s poem, Be Proud of Your Wounds and Scars and know that we earned every wrinkle which equates the rings of the tree! 

Lynn M. 
June 19, 2021 

What is Love?

What is love? 
Love is not selective. 
It does not pick and choose. 
It is all encompassing
Like a huge circle of arms embracing
All in its sight while giving a big squeeze. 

What is love? 
It is unconditional. 
It does not pick and choose. 
It is expressed during wrongs and rights. 
It still hugs really tight. 

What is love? 
It comforts and soothes
Those who are known 
And those being met for the first time. 
It does not discriminate, 
But flows like a steady stream. 

If these qualities are not being shown
Or displayed universally, 
Well, it just isn’t love.
Period. 

Lynn M. 
June 12, 2021 

Going Through the Locks!

As I read a dear fellow writer’s book, Faring Forth Again on the Shoe (by Val Poore), I can easily compare it to life itself.  She and her skipper companion continually navigate the waterways and canals from the Netherlands in route to France. 

As in life, they cannot proceed on their journey without the skill and mercy of the people who open the locks.  If the operators of the locks are not on duty, are running late or if they even feel contrary, all advancement stops.  Period. 

If we are not shown grace by those designated angel helpers that the Creator has strategically placed, we too are stopped in our tracks. Sometimes, we simply must wait and ride out the tide until the lifts are up and we are allowed to carry on. 

Therefore, we learn to communicate, cajole, shuck and jive, so that we can get what we need from those who can delay or stymy our ability to move forth. Those who are wise, learn to talk the language of the people and acknowledge as well as respect their lifestyles, beliefs, and ways of life. 

I listen to Val and her friend, Koos, switch languages and truly deal with the temperaments of those that they encounter along the way. They know how to negotiate, banter, and recognize a good bargain when they get one. They have learned how to speed it up or slow it down with the keepers of the terrain as they maneuver their way through visiting lands. 

We, too must silently and prayerfully wait for the nod of the head or that gesture which waves us through meaning, “Come on.”  All these movements equate a green light which is what we want most as we advance on our paths.  Once we have gone through, we can let out a huge sigh of relief.  But just as we begin to rejoice, there lies another lock ahead. 

Questions begin to swirl.  Will the next crew be friendly or cordial?  Will it be easy or challenging?  We do not know.  But we do know that our confidence has grown because are no longer greenhorns. We are more seasoned. We feel more assured that we will know how to cross that next bridge or go through that next lock when we get there! 

Lynn M. 
June 5, 2021