February 26, 2013

Spreading Wings

The hostess with the mostest, Conceicao
We've all been in Madeira, Portugal the last ten days visiting Tom's Dad and his wife Conceicao in part to celebrate Tom's 50th birthday. Aside from the usual grueling eighteen hour journey on three planes to get there, we had a lovely time. The days flew by.

I met Conceicao almost thirty years ago on my first visit to Madeira. Back then she worked in the house in the city for Tom's grandparents and oldest aunt. What a surprise it was, fourteen years ago, when Tom's dad told the family that he was going to ask Conceicao to marry him and bring her back to the states part-time. She was 52 then, had never married, and was delighted to take his hand. 

The language barrier has been hard for her however.

I love Conceicao's warmth, and that she loves to laugh, and have fun. She is an amazing care-giver to all of us, as well as an incredible fine delicate embroiderer.

Now 65-years-old, she and Tom's dad live a simple life out in the country, where they each were born, high up on a mountainside, overlooking the sea.

Every morning the bread man comes and Conceicao throws a rope over the terrace, to which he attaches a bag of delicious fresh rolls.

Tom's wing-dinger of a birthday party.

And nearly every day she ironed a fresh cotton tablecloth to have beneath our delicious meals. I love this.

Like most Madeirans, they grow vegetables, bananas, grapes, raise chickens, and best of all- make wine every September. The wine is made the old fashioned way; by putting the grapes into a specially made square cement tub at their home and squishing them with bare feet.  I kid you not!

And it's surprisingly good.

And very potent-as are many things in Madeira.

Visually, being there is like being in a dream.

As we were leaving she hugged us all tight and started to cry. In Portuguese she said, "My home has been so full and now it will be so empty."

It brings tears to my eyes again just writing this.

I know what she means. I know the challenge and excitement of preparing for a full house, but also the relief and sadness when it empties.

I imagine that you might too.


February 15, 2013

We're All Here

Blogger Angela Gentiles created this video of beautiful older women from around the globe.

It makes me happy.

As I begin a new year for myself I want to tell you how much I love Lines of Beauty. It enriches my life more than you can know. To always be looking for nuggets of beauty in aging is a lovely thing to concentrate on. It keeps my mind off my failing eyesight and memory for one- but more than anything it makes me grateful, every day, to have place to share the celebration of growing older.

Plus it keeps me conscious about what is going on in my life. I didn't always use to stop to think about what I have been thinking about. And we women think a lot.

So thank you, my dear readers, for tuning in, inspiring me, and for helping my intention here on Lines of Beauty, and me, continue to grow.


February 10, 2013

The Way You Are

I know the digging
The broken fingernails
The frantic scratching
Hard earth, sharp stones
Can’t stop you
Knowing you’re almost there
Where the answer will lie like a glowing light
Buried and hidden from sight
You’ll go all the way to China
And back

You will break your back
Break your shovels
Break some hearts
Before you will ever find
The broken part of you.
You have found the wrong question
And can’t put it away
Turning it over and over in your hand

A shiny coin, an illusion
That your mind can’t let go of
Watching it turning, turning
Hypnotized to the soft seductive message
Etched on the metal
“What’s wrong with me?”
It’s a fool’s gold
You chase

I know the search
I love your journey
You will find some answers
But not this truth…
You’re perfect
Just the way you’re supposed to be
Why can’t that be enough
Why can’t you, any of us, come to a place of peace
A place of rest
In that.

You’re perfect, just the way you are
And there’s no one else like you.

James wrote The Way You Are for his sister, my friend Monica, in response to her search for understanding her lifetime struggle with distraction.

Jame's poem resonated with me because I too struggled with distraction through all my years of formal education, and still do.

It took me until recently to realize that being a top ranked swimmer back then was one of the only ways I ever really felt successful.

It's amazing what we figure out as the years move along.

The truth shall set us free.

Thank goodness for this.

Happy early Valentine's Day everyone.

Extra XOXOXOs, 

February 05, 2013

Fifty-Six Seconds to Well-Being

It's been a crazy week, partly because my ninety-one year mom came down with pneumonia and ended up in the hospital briefly. She is doing much better but boy was it a lesson in how quickly the elderly can lose their strength.

I've been trying to visit her as much as I can, but it hasn't been easy while trying to push back the chaos of life!

At the top of my list of people I would like to invite for dinner is Dr. Christiane Northrup, who dedicated the first half of her life to studying all that can go wrong with the body, and how to fix it, but is devoting her second half of life to illuminating what can go right.

She spends her time these days teaching women how to flourish.

I love this.

Dr. Northrup is the perfect example of how the pieces of our lives come together as we grow older. I like to read stories about how women's lives change course as they age. I guess it's really one of the things I love most about aging, that we all have this ability, especially in more recent generations.

There is always the chance to reinvent ourselves, learn new things, and spread our wings, no matter how old we are. Older people who do this are very interesting to me.

Anyway, I like her suggestions on the above video. I am doing well with her first two pointers but could use improvement on the third. I know that the first thing I do when I am stressed is not breath enough and it's when we need to breath more fully than ever.

Another video I like of Dr. Northrup's is her clip on dealing with difficult people.

Chic at Any Age you are the winner of the give-away! Please email me at louise@linesofbeauty.com and let me know what colors you like and also your mailing address. Congratulations!