Rhonda Cagle

Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

It’s the Little Things

In Uncategorized on October 23, 2013 at 7:22 pm

In my latest column for the Arizona Republic, I’m writing about the little things in life that make a big difference. Flowers, football games, and friends make the list.

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Read more and join in the conversation. http://www.azcentral.com/community/swvalley/articles/20131021cagle-little-bits-and-pieces-form-big-picture-of-life.html?nclick_check=1

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It Takes A Village

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2012 at 10:07 pm

It’s said it takes a village to raise a child. It’s also true that it takes a village to grieve one. That’s the subject I’m exploring in my latest column for The Arizona Republic.http://www.azcentral.com/community/swvalley/20120514cagle-aftermath-suicide-navigated-help-friends-other-resources

 

Shaelee (left) and Megan at school.

Making Peace With the Pieces

In Uncategorized on May 9, 2012 at 9:50 am

It’s a conversation we don’t like to have. We avoid talking about mental illness and suicide. But when we do, the victims – people such as my goddaughter and my best friend – suffer in silence. That’s why I’m talking about it in my column in The Arizona Republic. I hope you’ll join the conversation.http://www.azcentral.com/community/swvalley/articles/2012/05/07/20120507cagle-sometimes-lifes-pieces-never-fit-leaving-shattered-peace.html

 

Shaelee (left) and Megan wearing matching Mickey Mouse t-shirts on a visit to Disneyland at the end of First Grade.

Dark Waters

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm

It’s the cloudy days I love. Gray, overcast skies with clouds that billow and swirl make me think I’m watching the tides of an eternal ocean from the underneath. If I peer intently enough, I might just catch a glimpse of the toes of a sainted loved one wading and splashing in the tides on the sunny shores that lie just on the other side.

These were the thoughts jumbling in my mind as I set off for a quick walk around Friendship Park on a rather overcast day. Rain was threatening but my need for fresh air outweighed my need of staying dry so off I went.

As I walked I took in the sight of empty sports fields, their grasses withered with our Southwest’s version of winter. Come the weekend, the fields would come alive with the energy of soccer and football leagues, but for now the yellowed grasses were a good fit for their barren condition.

Continuing my stride, I made my way to the pond and I stopped to peer into waters darkened by the weather. Usually the Valley’s endless sunlight skims the surface, throwing sparkling diamonds upon the waters like a benevolent king. But today those waters were dark and brooding, their surface still.

My mind turned to several friends who are facing dark waters in a season of life defined by foreboding gray skies. Cancer has claimed a husband and father. His wife and young children find themselves awash in stormy seas, with grief rolling them over and under in its powerful tides. Another friend, self-employed and self-insured – the only provider in her family – has just been diagnosed with cancer. Surgery and treatment and its staggering costs swirl in the waters as dark, cold wetness laps at her soul. Marriages coming unraveled, RIFs and pink slips causing financial crisis, and sons and daughters facing mental illness and addictions evidence the ominous clouds of this winter season.

A mom and her daughter making their way to the edge of the pond interrupted my thoughts and I stopped to watch their movements. With the delighted abandon known only to a young child, the little girl began throwing breadcrumbs to the ducks and geese living in these dark waters. In an instant, the darkness parted thanks to dozens of webbed feet breaking the surface of the waters and moving frantically toward the direction of the child’s shrieks of happiness. She giggled and laughed, watching the gaggle of life swimming and diving amidst a pond of darkness. Oblivious to the storm, she became my ray of sunshine to a gray day of introspection.

I’m determined to be the emotional equivalent of that little girl in the lives of my friends. I can’t change the seasons or the dark waters. What I can do is stand at the edge of the darkness, throwing breadcrumbs of hope and help to attract to the surface the life that still swims amidst watery midnight. That’s what I can – and will – do. That, and look up; knowing if I peer long enough, I’m likely to see the saints and the sunshine that lie just above the clouds.

Over the Back Fence

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Fall in the sunny Sonoran Desert means the flames of Hades are receding as God decides Arizona is not the prime location for Hell after all.  Sunburnt folks like me, parched and scorched from a summer spent at a level of Dante’s Inferno known only to desert dwellers, begin to inhabit outdoor spaces again. We garden. We take walks. We dine al fresco. And we reacquaint ourselves with our neighbors.

Located in a typical west Valley suburban neighborhood, my home backs to a greenbelt and walking path. Throughout the day, my neighbors pass by. Being a gardener, my yard causes people to slow down and take in the beauty of lavender, pansies, petunias, vines of every color, and trees now turning glorious shades of red and gold. I love seeing the smiles that come over their faces as they slow down or even stop their jogging, pausing to take in the beauty of God’s creation.

Some of these people have become staples in my garden. One woman, a work-from-home insurance broker, walks every morning with her dog. Her determined stride slows as she peers over the back fence to see if I’m out enjoying my morning cup of coffee. Spying me on the back patio, she smiles and stops to speak, her cheerful voice evidencing the fact that she is clearly a morning person. The fact that I am not is evident from my disheveled hair and lack of makeup. Still, it does not keep me from getting up and walking over to the back fence to visit.

Our initial “good mornings” have turned into discussions about snippets of life – living as empty nesters, how she gets her dog to behave so well as mine bark and leap manically at the back fence, the perfect crock-pot meal for a cool fall evening, and how the economy is affecting our respective sole-proprietor businesses. And always, there are discussions about my garden – how my winter grass is coming in, what herbs I’ve planted this season, how my tomatoes are coming on, whether or not I’ll be putting out poinsettias for Christmas.  Sometimes she asks advice; others she just comments on which color combinations she likes the best. The other day, she mentioned how she looks forward to walking by my back fence, stopping for a bit of seasonal color and conversation.

When I first bought my home, I planted vines along the back wall, hoping they would screen out the walking path and those who pass by each day. I’m glad they haven’t. Over the back fence, my neighbors and I enjoy my garden – and the friendships it cultivates.

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