Dixie Darr

Morning Prayer

In Learning, spirituality on April 18, 2018 at 12:23 pm

Dear Lord, please surprise and delight me today. Help me to be a blessing to someone.
This what I pray for every morning, not because I believe there’s some old white guy with long hair and a beard sitting on a cloud waiting to hear my prayer and grant my wishes but because I believe in setting my intentions for the day.
While I may not consciously think about it again for the rest of the day, somewhere in the back of my mind a little voice encourages me to seek surprise and delight, urges me to show kindness to the people I encounter.
I don’t look for any grandiose results. In Anne Lamott’s classic advice for writers, Bird by Bird, she explains that she keeps a one-inch picture frame on her desk. When she starts feeling overwhelmed, she reminds herself that all she has to write is what she can see through that tiny frame. I’m looking for results through that one-inch frame.
A nice surprise could be a package I’d ordered arriving earlier than expected or a text from a friend asking me to lunch. Delight me with flowers blooming in the snow or sparkling lines in the book I’m reading. My blessings to others, likewise, are small–a compliment to the store clerk on her fingernail color or a like on Facebook.
You probably see me only in my guise as a crotchety old biddy and never suspect I’m trying to locate my inner Mother Theresa.
Most days, I don’t even come close to my ideals, but I pray the same thing again the next day and the day after that and the day after that. On rare days for a brief and shining moment, I see a tiny bit of progress.
As Annie Dillard observed, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” On my last day on earth, I’d like to look back and say I spent my time enjoying all the wonders the world offers and doing my best to contribute to good side of the scales.
It could happen.

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

In Books, Friends, women on April 17, 2018 at 7:43 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eleanor Oliphant reminds me of the guy in The Rosie Project except she isn’t on the autism spectrum. Her controlled and awkward life is a result of horrific childhood trauma, and although early hints in the book Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, tell us a little about it, author Gail Honeyman makes us wait for the ending before revealing the whole scope of hideous details.
Eleanor’s life is disciplined and contained. She is unrelenting in her logical, reasonable responses to life and all the people she meets. Her only friend is the vodka that gets her through her solitary weekends. Then she meets Raymond, the IT guy at work, and when they begin to form a tentative friendship, Eleanor’s world opens up.
While she focuses on meeting the man of her dreams, a musician she saw perform one night, her life begins to change. She buys new, fashionable clothing and tries makeup to distract from the burn scar on her face. She accepts a promotion at work, attends a few parties, and makes more friends.
Suddenly her life cracks open and she has to confront all her demons at once. Through it all, Eleanor learns about friendship and the strength of the human spirit.
This is one of those books that I read slowly because I didn’t want it to end. Eleanor is smart, unintentionally funny, and brave. I want to be her friend.
My only disappointment was learning that this is the author’s debut novel. Normally when I really like a book, I will look for other titles by the same author. Picture me pouting. I guess I’ll have to wait for her to write another one.
Meanwhile, Reese Witherspoon is turning this book into a movie. It goes without saying that it won’t be as good as the book, but it could still be wonderful. I’ll expect nothing less.

Reality Bites

In Auntie Flat, Denver, Home, neighborhood on April 16, 2018 at 7:38 am

Once upon a time, my architect brother was trying to figure out how to make my property in North Denver work for both him and his wife and me. The idea was for him to redesign my house for them and add a small 5-600 square foot unit for me. They wanted out of Westminster, and I could no longer handle the upkeep of the house and yard by myself. He asked me to find houses in the area that I really liked for him to use as a model. I picked this house.
Located at the corner of 38th and Newton, this house had the historic character we all preferred. The yard was all garden instead of lawn. When I went to Carl’s after church yesterday, that house was gone, with nothing left but a hole in the ground.
I suppose they’ll build a modern, boxy, duplex and sell each unit for a million dollars. The same fate faces the recently closed and sold Dairy Queen one block west. In case you hadn’t noticed, the face of North Denver has changed. A lot.
I always loved Highland neighborhood and didn’t understand why others couldn’t see its potential. I longed for a little gentrification—a few shops with things I wanted to buy and a bit more variety in our restaurants. Be careful what you wish for.
I lived in the Potter-Highlands National Historic District, so my old neighborhood has remained largely unchanged by the mad development surrounding it. Unlike most people, I actually like the new modern buildings going up; I just wish there weren’t so many of them. I wish they hadn’t displaced so many of my neighbors. I wish they hadn’t taken over the whole area and changed the character of my beloved North Denver. I wish it were really true that the more things change the more they remain the same.
The street view of Google maps has some catching up to do.