Karen's Musings

Musings for 2001

About Christmas
Like so many other people, I don't find the holidays an easy time. It is a reminder of some key people who are gone, and not easy to deal with. I am relieved when it's all over with. I love looking at the Christmas lights, and the simpler aspects. I had many wonderful Christmases with my family and friends over the years. I enjoy the spirit of the season, and the meaning to me as a Christian. I tend to focus on that aspect. The rest is not important to me anymore. I had my time of decorating and making cookies, and large family dinners. I remember the magic of childhood. My mom and dad always had a nice Christmas for my brother and I. Waking up Christmas morning to presents under the tree, and a stocking at the foot of my bed filled with goodies was sheer delight. I was in my share of Christmas plays and church related activities. I loved going to Woolworth's and doing my Christmas shopping as a child. A bottle of "Evening in Paris" perfume for my mother, and "gold" cuff links for dad. The spirit of giving was very much a part of me, and lasted all year, but Christmas was such a special time to give to those I loved. My father loved a party, and we had one every year. I see I am dragging you down my memory lane, but hope you don't mind. When I was a child in the 60's, I remember the aluminum trees with the color wheel. Wasn't that awful? Yes, we had one. I never liked them as much as a real tree that filled the house with that special fragrance. I remember when the city I live in put up Christmas decorations downtown. I remember the beautiful animated Christmas display in the furniture store downtown that took up a whole block. Downtown is now a ghost town of memories. Everything has moved to the suburbs. The pace of life is different, and I can't help but think something very precious has been lost. It's not the value of the gifts we give, but the love we give and recieve that makes Christmas special. The only Christmas tip I am giving is to hold the ones you love close in your heart. Show them you love them, and not just with material gifts. Hug them and tell them what they mean to you. This heart gift will last a lifetime. I promise you.

Karen Shaw Matteson
2001

Some Days
Some days everything seems to go wrong. The phone doesn't work, the dog gets sick, the bills stack up higher than expected. They say when you've reached the end of your rope to tie a knot in it. I think that means it's time to stop. When I feel overwhelmed, I stop and attempt to put things in perspective. I realize I can't control anything except my own reaction to things. Sometimes that's a full time job. I look at what's happening in the world, and wonder what's going on in people's hearts. All I can do is look at my own, and see what needs to change. I know this journey is a short one. When I was younger, I never even considered my mortality. I'm not sure why I didn't, because time is guaranteed to no one. I have this moment. Some days it's good to remember I can handle anything one moment at a time. I may not do great things, but I can do small things with much love. I can't always see the sun shining, but the sun is always there.

Karen Shaw Matteson
2001

Women
I am just one person, but I can do something. I have thought of that quote many times. When I am feeling down, and wondering what I can possibly do to make things better...I find if I take time to reach out to someone else, I don't feel helpless. I think of the role of women in our society, and their great contributions. They are the very lifeblood of society. This poem came from a conversation with two dear friends. I was so encouraged by their positive attitude and resolve. No matter what life hands us, we find a way to go on and to grow. What we give away, is all we really keep. Women give of themselves to their families, friends, jobs, and tend to a multitude of concerns.

Karen Shaw Matteson
2001

Courage
I wonder how much courage I really have? It's a word we hear a lot these days. I have had a very difficult time writing about September 11. I have read so much beautiful poetry about it, and seen the most touching of pictures and movies. I guess there must be some part of me that just stands back with disbelief. Perhaps for some of us, it takes courage to just get through the day. I think courage is also about doing the ordinary in extraordinary circumstances. The future has always been unsure, but at this moment in time, we are more aware of it than ever. At the end of the day, I expect courage is about doing the best we can, and turning the rest over to God. What more can we ask of ourselves? We still need to laugh, now more than ever, and hold those we love close in our hearts and minds. What better gift can we give each other, than a smile?

Karen Shaw Matteson
2001

The Constant Flow
I sometimes think life is like an ocean. It is constant, relentless, and changes everything it touches. When I walk along the ocean's edge, it is all so familiar and I feel comfortable. What I don't see is the constant ebb and flow of the waves. The strongest rock will eventually be worn away. Change is a given in this life, even when we don't notice. The one thing that doesn't change, is God's love for me, and His light that leads me through the darkest night. People and places may change, but God doesn't. I don't know about you, but that comforts me to know I am always loved, and there is nothing that can change that. I may not have control over anything at all, but I have the love and constant caring of the One who does, and I will listen to His voice.

Karen Shaw Matteson
2001

September 11th 2001
It started out like any other day. It was overcast and rain expected. I was having my morning tea. It was a little after 6 a.m. PST, and events began to unfold. This day will live in infamy. I saw my country attacked on it's own soil. The majestic twin towers of the World Trade Center in ashes. The Pentagon bombed. I heard the screams and cries of pure terror. I bowed my head and prayed. I know we are all hurting deeply. The stunned spectators to this atrocity wandered aimlessly down soot-filled streets. My heart turned within me, and I knew life would never be the same. I offer my deepest sympathy to all who have lost loved ones in this brutal attack. Let love and hope light our way. I don't know what tomorrow may bring, but the One who does will hold us in the palm of His mighty hand. This too, shall pass. Shine on......

Karen Shaw Matteson
2001

Something Of Our Own
Everyone needs something of their own. In my case, it's obviously my writing. It's what we have that sets us apart. It's no secret I also love music and art. There was always music in my home growing up. I started piano lessons at nine, and it's something I learned to love and could share with others. It all started with a little toy piano I received as a Christmas gift from my Mom and dad. I learned to play little songs by ear, and it became a lifetime love of playing the piano. Maybe you can make the best pie crust in the land or make quilts that dazzle and delight. Your gift may be kindness to those in need, people alone in rest homes or just taking care of the family you love so much. It could be doing crossword puzzles or tending a beautiful garden. In this world, we all need something of our own.

Karen Shaw Matteson
2001

The Power of a Smile
Never underestimate the power of a smile. I do believe it's the fastest connection between two people. It's a way of saying I'm happy you're here, without saying a word. It can mean I understand, or it can mean I'm not mad anymore. It can ask forgiveness. It can render joy and light up a mediocre day. I do tend to smile a lot. One word of caution: For a smile to really count, it must reach the eyes. Hmmm, I'm getting out the mirror to check my own. Yep, that one counted. Shine on.....

Karen Shaw Matteson
2001


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