It happens when I listen too often to too much news! All the horrendous happenings going on around the globe and within the boundaries of our nation grab at my consciousness and try to pull me under. And if I'm not diligent, or if I don't finally turn off the TV, I begin to think that the balance of good vs. evil is tilting in the favor of evil. And perhaps it is. But, having admitted that possibility, I choose to seek out and concentrate on the goodness and hopefulness that can still be found in the mix. And most often, I find the light of hope when I look not with my natural eyes, but with the eyes of my heart. It is then that I see that the ordinary pieces and moments of living are actually extraordinary reminders that life is, in fact, very good!

I can't make nations get along, but I can get along with my family and friends. I can't clean up the whole environment, but I can pick up trash that a thoughtless person threw on the ground. I can't make people be nice to each other, but I can be nice to other people. I can't stop bad things from happening to people, but I can make good things happen for those I care about. I have no control over the ways of the world, but I have control over myself, my thoughts, and my actions. I can't stop hate, but I can give my love. I can't stop death, but I can appreciate my life. I can't predict the future of the entire world, but I can live in the moment and choose to be happy in my world! Okay, so maybe my spectacles are a bit rose-colored, but I truly believe that each of us are blessed beyond measure to be members of this humongous, messy, sometimes-evil-but-more-often-good mass of humanity who call earth “home”!

FFFFFFFFF

And speaking of finding the extraordinary within the ordinary….Sunday afternoon was a spectacularly perfect afternoon. No wind, pure sunshine, and the thermometer showed it was close to 80. On the spur of the moment, I decided to invite four wonderfully wild little girls to go for a walk. The city sisters, Kaytlyn and Tambre, along with their country cousins, Ariana and Coda were more than ready for an adventure, and in short order we were heading uptown from Freeman Street . Sometimes arm-in-arm, more often jostling one another, the girls talked non-stop as we walked. They gleefully told me grand stories about this and that, even as I pointed out special places along the route. We stopped to rest in a patch of shade next to the old Mobil station, and I was surprised when they listened as I told them my memories of Daddy owning the station when I was a young girl. Then we were off again, with a destination now in mind…Loaf n Jug. The girls were getting mighty thirsty! We walked by the post office, and then by the show building, stopping for a moment to check out the Coming Attractions, and for the next block they regaled me with tales of scary movies they had seen. We looked in the windows of the old Style Shoppe as we passed by it, and I told Coda that her great-grandma used to work there. And just like me at their age, they all wanted to go up the staircase next to the building. But it was the “bomb” on the corner of the square that brought the most questions from the city sisters. “How, when, why, huh?” And Kaytlyn's parting remark of, “They'll never get it out of that cement!” We then checked out everything in the windows of Pam's, and I was glad it was Sunday and Pam wasn't there! We walked on, and just when they didn't think they could take another step, we arrived at our destination. A bottle of cold water and a miniature candy bar revived the girls, and soon we were on walking westward, back to Freeman Street . We stopped at the bridge on West Main , and I felt a little sheepish when I told them that trolls lived under the bridge and they best beware! At least that's what I believed when I was their age, and why I never walked over the bridge, but always ran over it, on my way home from school. But these four worldly girls weren't afraid of some moldy old trolls, and they just laughed at my silly story.

With a few more steps, we were at Mom's front door, and the end of the journey brought with it the reappearance of the ordinary. But the memory of this Sunday afternoon will always be extraordinary for me. Because, from the first step until the last, at one time or another, each of these little, wonderfully wild girls chose to slip their small hand within mine, even as they gleefully told me grand stories about this and that!