Posts Tagged ‘musings’

The end of the day has come, I should be in bed, and I realize I have yet to write a post.  Today was to be the last day with our younger daughter.  We drove through pellets of ice and roads deep with slush to get her to the airport, only to find that her flight had been cancelled.  A long drive later through the same conditions brought us safely back home.

Bad news.  But there was good news as well.  We were only about a mile into our way back when she texted the information.  She has not appointments or “must do” things in the next two days, so the flight VERY early Wednesday morning will get her back without schedule problems.  She didn’t have to spend the night at the airport, she didn’t have to get a hotel room, she could come home with her family, to through more boxes of her things still at our house, and I could make her another bowl of popcorn tonight.

So many events in our lives seem bad and some, of course, really are.  But many have good that comes from them or aren’t as bad as they initially seem, as in our case today.  Look for those good things and you can change your perspective and your day, as well as that of those around you.

copyright janet m. webb 2015

No, I’m not getting married again.  This is a little something I penned while sitting at a coffee shop in Pasadena earlier this summer, enjoying the ironies of the day (as well as the tea.)

I’m having tea in a large city in a majorly major metropolitan area, having arrived by bicycle in a car-driven society.  I carried in a plastic bag something old (school), a magazine, as well as a notebook (paper kind), in which I’m writing by hand with a pen, and a Kindle with which to also read, as well as a smart (most of the time) phone to use for messages and camera.  I think I’ve spanned more than a few decades!

What old school things do you still embrace in this era of technology?

I hate…

Posted: June 6, 2015 in Musings
Tags: , , , ,

It’s easy to say “I hate….” whatever that something is, but what does “hate” really mean?

verb (used with object), hated, hating.
to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest

The word “hate” gets thrown around quite a bit these days, especially in politics.  Although there are people I dislike intensely and some I detest (terrorists, for example), there are none that I hate in the biblical sense of the word, wishing they would go to hell.

However, I hate…



When the girls were little, they asked me why people litter.   The only answer that made sense to me was that they were lazy.  Perhaps they’re also unthinking or don’t care.  But ultimately, I think they’re lazy and disrespectful of other people, of animals, and of the earth.

If you can smoke it and put it out in an ashtray, unwrap and eat it, drink it from a disposable bottle, carry something in it, or simply don’t want to keep it, take it home and dispose of it properly.  Put it in a public trash can, not on the pavement in the parking lot.  Place it in a bag in your vehicle and toss it in the garbage later.
I don’t hate you.  But I do hate your litter.

Last week, two young men came into the tea shop.  They were probably in college, although they didn’t look very old.  They ordered their drinks, one tea and one hot chocolate, then sat near the window.  I don’t recall how long they were there, but as far as I could tell, they spent most of the time hunched over their phones, not interacting with each other at all.

This is a phenomenon I’ve noticed time and time again: this sitting together, not paying attention to the other human or humans but focusing intently on the “others” caught inside that bit of technology.  Coffee shops have become all too often places where people go to be alone together.  It’s something I understand for people who are on their own and simply want to be around other people while they work or read.  I understand if people meet to work together.  And trust me, I understand the urge to check my email, see what’s been posted on Facebook, or check to see who’s liked my blog for the day.  Before smartphones, it was easy to talk and laugh with someone else without distractions.  There was no internet, no siren song luring you to abandon the puny human before you and take off into the outer reaches of the world.

But I implore you.  Don’t be the person who ignores a friend for the internet.  When you spend time with a person in person, spend time with him or her, not simply sitting in the same vicinity.  Look at him, talk to her, let your friend know that you value him by taking some time to care enough to put aside technology to listen. Leave the phone in your purse or pocket; put it face down on the table, off to the side.  Maybe she’ll do the same and you’ll both feel cherished.

I’m challenging you this spring to take the time to really be with people and to step away from the phone! It will be worth it, I promise.


The word “space” can mean disparate things. There’s “space: the final frontier”, stretching into unending vastness. There are spacious houses and those without much space. And then there are those spaces both too small and too large, although certainly not infinite or vast.

“Space” can also mean opposite things at the same time.  There’s a space between the counter and the stove. It’s not big, not wide enough for anything substantial to fall through, but a yawning cavern for bits of escaping food. An asparagus end cut off before putting the rest into water, a carrot coin afraid of steaming, anything round and distressingly mobile—all these have plenty space to take the, to them, skyscraper-sized plunge into the depths of that cavern.

The space is too small, however, to easily retrieve the miscreants. A yardstick works best, the only thing I’ve found with the perfect combination of thinness and length to reach down and sweep out. Sometime I use the reach-and-sweep from floor level, pushing everything out to the far side of the stove. It arrives coated with the dust that with unseen, relentless determination finds its way into every space, dustable or not.

What does it mean to be content?

A quick look at the dictionary says “content” means that person is “in a state of peaceful happiness.” Are you in a state of peaceful happiness? How many people do you know who are content?

We’re bombarded with messages that to be content, we need MORE, more of whatever. We need more than our family and friends and generally that “more” needs to be bought. We need a bigger car, a larger house (never mind that our children have moved away), more food, a bigger TV, clothes with more expensive labels, to go to a trendier place, to have the latest phone/laptop/camera. To buy things is the way to contentment…until it isn’t. Until our family and friends buy more, do more, achieve more. Then our contentment is gone and needs to be purchased once more in some way.

No age is too young for the message. A few days ago, I drove by a store named “buybuy BABY.” . It’s a clever, memorable name, but one that epitomizes an attitude prevalent in our society: buying as a source, if not the primary source, of contentment and happiness.

When a baby is little, parents want the best clothes, the best shoes (even though baby’s feet don’t even touch the ground), the best crib, the best baby furniture (even though their baby doesn’t care about it, only they do), the best preschool (still four year in the future) , the best kindergarten, the best primary school, the best…. Who needs these things? The parents do. Do those things make a baby content? A baby is content when s/he is fed, dry, burped, not tired, and loved. That state isn’t achieved through any of those things listed above. It’s not gained through anything purchased, although obviously diapers help!

Small children will play with the boxes that held their Christmas gifts.  They don’t care whether their clothes came from babyGap or the thrift store; whether their shoes were purchased at StrideRite or Target. They may prefer going barefoot.  They want to be held, read to, played with, allowed to nap when tired (and sometimes helped to), and to be loved.  These things that make them content are both free and priceless.

Babies and small children are content with the basics. The rest is for parents and grandparents. You often hear, “Don’t be a baby!”  But when it comes to contentment, we need to be more like babies.


(This is a repost, most of it, of a post I did in March of 2012 when hardly anyone was following my blog.  I think of my dream house periodically, maybe adding a thing here or there, and decided I wanted to repost it with one original photo and a few more.  What is the house of your heart like?  Where would it be?  I’d love to hear about it in the comment section if you have the time.  I always like to hear from you.)



The house of my heart has:


As I’ve already admitted, I talk to people on buses (and planes and trains and elsewhere.)   There are a variety of people on buses…people deep in newspapers or books, people with earbuds, people talking to themselves, people staring out the window.  Recently in Philadelphia, I sat next to a woman who was knitting.  We fell into conversation.  She uses the bus regularly and redeems the time creating things like the little purse you see below.  Then she gives them away to children.  She gave me one as I stood to get off the bus, to give to someone of my choosing.  I was touched.  It made me consider how I redeem time that would otherwise be spend just sitting.  I tend to read, write, take photos.  Sometimes I use that time to think or to pray.

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
~Mother Teresa

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One Sunday, I’ll take this purse to church.  I have the perfect little girl in mind.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
~Charles Dickens

How do you redeem time in your life?

Tea and coffee are said to stain your teeth, but much more devilish is the humble lettuce or other type of edible greenery.

Although good for your health, lettuce has a nasty habit of plastering itself onto the outer sides of your teeth (and inner sides, too.)  And there it remains, impervious to whatever liquid you swish through your mouth or the blandishment of your tongue.  Toothpicks, fingers or toothbrushes seem to be the only reliable instruments that will get rid of the pestilent stuff.

This leads to the inevitable questions, two sides of the same coin:

  • Do you tell someone if you spot greenery decorating their teeth?
  • Would you want someone to tell you if they spot something blooming on your teeth?

I’d love to know what you think, so take a moment to leave a comment. Then go out and enjoy your Saturday with clean teeth!

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