Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve & Resolutions

     New Years Eve brings the end of one year, the beginning of another  as folks celebrate, reflect, anticipate; some are melancholy and sad remembering the loss of a loved one, others overjoyed with the birth of new life. Some are glad the old year has passed , others sad to see it go. Many make New Years resolutions to rid themselves of negative traits, and make promises to improve their way of eating , exercise, playing , praying and living life; They resolve to become , what they deem better in the new year than how they were in the old year.

        I'm one of those people.  I want to grow in my personal life - to improve my manners, my temperment , my charity toward others . Ah, yes! To exercise more and lose those dreaded pounds gained over the holidays;  To be  more organized , more bold and less fearful , and most importantly to judge less and love more. To practice the Prayer of St.Francis :
Where there is injury , pardon; where there is doubt , faith; where there is despair , hope ; where there is darkness , light ; where there  is sadness, joy

       A lofty ideal indeed,  but still my goal - year after year  after year. Resolutions made,  most often unfulfilled - year after year. Yet, I persevere. Perhaps in that alone I succeed , my perseverance  in striving for that higher ground , no matter how many times I fall short . Or maybe it's not my perseverance at all, but God's grace renewing, restoring , resurrecting my heart to try again as one year ends and another begins to strive to forgive and love better.

    Happy New Year ! Praying your  resolutions be fulfilled , and  the blessings of the Almighty flood your gate each and every day of 2015





Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Social Media - Privacy, Friends, Family & Bing Crosby

     There's been a lot  written  about Facebook regarding  privacy ,  and  addiction to  social media.  Two subjects I take very seriously. I, like most folks,   cherish privacy,  and don't relish the idea of  being addicted to something , anything out of my  control.  Because of this , I have  seriously considered closing my Facebook account.

      But  then  something interesting happened. Bing Crosby ! Yes, that popular crooner from long ago . Bing has always been a favorite of mine  - his songs, classic  movies, and Tv specials  I watched in days of my youth. And now, PBS is airing  an episode of American Masters ,  about Bing! I posted on Facebook about the show.  To my great delight, I  found  cherished friends from  high school days , and newer friends made comments and were going to watch the show, too.  For me , it was  a  welcome connection past to present,   with friendships  I value , and love ; friendships I hold dear .  

    I began to ponder if interaction like this  could have happened  without Facebook, the sharing back and forth in real time , and if this might be the positive of Social Media where long distance families  and  long ago friends , and new friends are able to connect so easily .     Where folks share the happenings of their  everyday  life-  those  fun , silly , happy times; and yes,  broken moments, when life seems in total  despair.  Or are we only  being self centered, yelling out to the world ,  'Look at me, here I am'

   I don't have an answer yet, but  will continue to seek a resolution ,  if social media is a good or bad thing.   I do know I enjoy hearing from long ago friends, seeing pictures of  a beloved aunt , Joy Thorson Mann running in an Omaha marathon,  Cooney cousins and other family members,  and on this night watching Bing Crosby Rediscovered on PBS , and being able to share commentary  about  my favorite song man ,  with dear pals Jeannette, Roberta, Cheryl,  and Kari B Allen.  On this night,  social media seems a good thing, and the camaraderie it brings.






Saturday, October 25, 2014

Now I'm 64

   For the past several days , in anticipation of my 64th birthday I've been going around the house singing in a  slightly off key, but  spirited voice to my husband, Gary

         Doing the garden
         digging the weeds
         who could ask for more
         Will you still need me
         Will you still feed me
         When I'm sixty-four
  When this popular Beatle song from their album Sgt. Pepper's  Lonely Hearts Club Band was released in June 1967,  my friends and I were 16 years old  and 64 seemed an eternity from where we were at.   Our point of reference was  more immediate: Summer fun at the beach, date night , toilet papering the Smith household,  hanging out at Taco Bell, and   anticipating our  senior year at good ol' Bell High.

   But  I soon learned what seems an eternity  is only a series of  tomorrow's , soon to become long ago yesterday's .  Which brings me to this special day, October 25, 2014. My 64th birthday.

     I like birthdays, mine and everybody else's . I think of  them as the day The Lord has made , we shall rejoice and be glad in it (Ps.118:24). To celebrate the gift of life.  I like my birthday is in the Fall of the year, the end of October when the seasonal change in color moves to  autumn orange, gold's and reds, and  the change of weather takes place -  from hot summer  sun to cooler days.  I like Scorpio is my astrological sign, and opal my gem.  I like I'm  a baby boomer and remember hula hoops, silly putty, roller skates with a key, chasing through the sprinkler with my little brother, Walt and neighborhood kids on hot summer days,  and riding my bike  to Bell Park with  best friend, Linda.

  On T.V.  there was   Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, The (original) Mickey Mouse Club starring  Annette Funicello, Cubby and Karen;  My Three Sons,  and The Rifleman. Today, what  I'd call sweet shows.

    At 64 I  look back and  cherish all the times of my life: My early years  in Council Bluffs, Iowa  where I was doted on by loving  grandparents, aunt and uncles, where my roots began as my parents did,  in a small mid western town. I was baptized in the same church my mother was, Holy Family Catholic Church,  and played at my Grandpa Cooney's upholstery shop. I equally relish my growing up years in Bell/Maywood, California where I attended  St. Rose of Lima grade school first through eighth grade, and Bell High starting my Freshman year, and learned lessons of faith and friendship.

     And my working years at the Herald American/Call-Enterprise newspaper and The Los Angeles Times. Editing copy, writing the story, retail sales, meeting a deadline. A job that helped me gain confidence, and gratified me with a sense of personal achievement.

   Then , the most rewarding years - marriage  and motherhood;  my Gary, and sons, Gavin and Garrett. Husband and wife making a home, raising a family, creating new memories for future years. The joy of experiencing my son's first word, first step, first day of school; family trips to Disneyland and Disney World, New York City and Yellowstone. Play days, sick days, Sunday go to church day.  Halloween costumes and Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas Eve at Grandma Nor's, coloring eggs for Easter and  4th of July fireworks, and yes, birthday celebrations filled with smiles and laughter.

   For sure, not every moment in my 64 years has been carefree and happy, but all has been good. I'm grateful for my mother and dad, where I came from and who I am. I'm blessed in family and friends, and knowing God's presence.

    I  started this birthday reflection with lyrics from one Beatles song, and    think closing with another (with slight word change) sums up my feelings pretty well

            All these places had their moments
            with  family and friends
             I  still can recall
            Some are dead and some are living
             In my life I've loved them all










Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Sky

The  poets prose can't
accurately describe the
awesome beauty , unfiltered
and pristine of todays
north Idaho sky
Nor a painters brush
its brilliant hue;
A blue so blue
with clouds so white
bringing to mind
something pure and serene
I wonder,  is  this  what
the  first sky looked like
when the world was created ?
And God  saw what he had done
and proclaimed, This is good

Thursday, September 4, 2014

His 60th Birthday (my brother Walt Cooney)

September 4 , 2014 - note to Mother

Congratulations, Mom! 60 years ago today you gave birth to your beautiful blue eyed baby son! Walter Rod Cooney - 9 1/2lbs. 21" long. Named for your beloved Walt Thorson, Walt was welcomed into the world with great joy  by you and dad,  grandparents, aunt and uncles , and  me - his big sister. But most  especially in your tender and unconditional love, a love that nurtured and guided Walt throughout his life , and helped him become the caring , good man he was.

We celebrated his first birthday, and each year after wished Walt a happy birthday with party, cake and presents; and while all memorable in some way, his 21st birthday stands out as one his most special birthday's.  Not only because turning 21 is considered a landmark birthday, moving from youthful idyllic days into adulthood,  but because of all the friends and family there, including Patsy and Lawrence Mattix; Linda Mattix Funk and Jim Funk, Austin and Mark, Jim Moore , and Walt's best friend, Jimmy Taylor. Phyllis and Don .  You , me,  Gary, and of course, Patty.  Not only was Patty my brothers long time girlfriend, she was, and is like a little sister to me.

And let's not forget Harris the Parrot! Your gift to Walt, the number one gift on his wish list!  Although, I do remember it was a cockatoo, like the crazy bird on the popular T.V.  show, Baretta Walt had  originally asked for , but when learning the  high cost, he said, " you know, Mom, I think I could like a parrot just as well".   Harris fit right in with all  of us laughing, dancing, singing folk - at first a little shy, he quickly began with his squawking, talking parrot sounds. Not exactly, "Polly want a cracker",  but more a deep throated , "Caw, Caw, Caw" .

With Walt's birthday so early in September, the sounds of summer still played in our heads and we listened to some of the great pop  hits of 1975 - Elton John's Someone Saved My Life Tonight, James Taylor How Sweet it Is To Be Loved By You, Bee Gees Jive Talkin , and a favorite of Patty and Walt's,  One Of These Nights by the Eagles .

Mom prepared a lovely buffet of meats and cheeses and homemade dips . My childhood playmate and life long pal,  Linda  (she had known my brother since he was 6 months old) fixed herself and Walt a Rum and Coke  (now that he was a legal age ) , then offered a Happy Birthday toast . When she finished we all clapped our hands and shouted cheers,  and took turns giving Walt a birthday hug.

It is sweet memory of a happy time , when life was good with loved ones near.  But the years pass quickly, and today would be my brothers 60th birthday, though he is no longer here for us to give him a party or buy him a parrot. Yet,  we love him still - the baby , the little boy, teenager ,  and man he was.  Happy Birthday,  dear Walt! Love,  your  Sis.