Christmas Cards

Let me preface the following with a few statements.  First, I love Christmas cards.  I love getting them in the mail.  Second, I love the cards themselves.  They are mini works of art.  I love that someone took a moment to include me in their ritual of sending cards.

I used to send Christmas cards to every person in my address book.  You know.  The address book in which folks used to keep “snail mail” addresses.  Every year, a couple of boxes of cards, signed, stuffed in envelopes, addressed, stamped, dumped at the post office.

When we first married, I enjoyed the process.  Picking out the right cards, addressing the envelopes, making the trip to the post office.

After a few years, it became just another item to do on the Christmas list.

Then, it became a chore.   I felt obligated to send cards.

Next, it became a burden.  After all, I still received many cards in the mail each year.

Finally, I stopped doing them.  And the feelings of guilt set in. We were still receiving cards by the bucket full.

After a few years, I got over that.  I realized I have a choice.  I can choose to participate in whatever I want.  I owe no one for anything.  I am grateful for the love and support I have received from friends and loved ones.  I still receive love and support from many, including him and the children and Him.

But, I have given my love and support over and above.  At times, nearly losing my health, sanity and economic stability to do so.  I still have love and support to give.  Resilience.  My friend and I spoke of this today.  Mother instilled resilience in me.  He reinforces it.  Life continues.  Through illness, death, dismemberment, divorce, parting of the ways, life continues.  Meals need to be cooked.  Washing has to be done.  The light bill has to be paid.  The garden needs planting and the grass needs cutting.  People pass into and out of our lives.  Some are here for many long years.  Some for a few short months.  Life continues.

No one owes me anything.  I have given whatever I can of service, time and money from the feeling of love and a bone deep desire to serve.  Parents, children, other family, friends, church, co-workers, neighbors.  Whoever He put in my path to touch, I have tried.  I have failed many times.  But, I have succeeded some, too.  I am choosier now about what I will agree to do.  I want to be able to commit completely and in depth to things I do these days.

Someday I may resume sending Christmas cards.  When I do, the list will be select.  I will send out of love and a desire to express it.  If someone is sending cards to me or anyone else, I just hope they are sending them out of genuine positive feelings and not out of guilt or obligation.  If it doesn’t make one happy, don’t do it.  There are enough chores that must be done in this life without this being one.  Of course, this sentiment could translate to a million other things our society members do as well.

“I just want you to be happy.”  Ten thousand times he has told me that over the last nearly 32 years.

So, I say to my reader, if sending Christmas cards makes you happy, please continue.  Please don’t be offended at mine missing from your mail box.  Should I receive one from you, I will send good thoughts your way and prayers upward on your behalf.  If I find out you have a need, I will try to help.  That will have to be my Christmas greeting to you for now.

In a musty trunk, my Grandmother’s and Father’s sentiments to me are stored.  “Dear Molly Darling” begins one from my Granny Arie……………..

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Connections

Sunday afternoon was wonderful! My mother’s two sisters and their daughters and I were together visiting.  Recalling shared memories and retelling family lore.  Lots of laughing and talking!   Connecting with the past and making new memories.

I spoke with my daughter this afternoon and heard from my niece the other day. Holiday plans are taking shape!  We will be connecting over the long holiday weekend.

Since there will only be 4 of us for our official family dinner, it will be a challenge for me to cook the meal. I am accustomed to cooking enough for 6 or more with enough leftovers to divide into three parts for another 6 or 8 servings.  I have some ideas forming about how to create traditional dishes in reasonable quantities.  We’ll see how it turns out!

Of course, I will have some company over the long weekend as well. So some things will work to prepare new dishes from leftover dishes.  Maybe I could do a whole turkey after all?  I have a wonderful recipe for turkey salad I got from my mother-in-law’s step mother.  Even recipes connect the generations and memories of the past.

Great food and wonderful company! Two perfect things for which to be very thankful!  Now to just figure out how to connect the Skype to get through to Maui……………..

Fall in Southeast Texas has it’s share of beautiful color……….connecting the long hot summer to the cold wet winter.

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Some Mondays

Some Mondays, I have trouble getting going writing. Like tonight.  I think tonight has been the worst so far.

So what shall I write about? I have had to make a change to improve my health.  It is a change in more than my diet.  I am a coffee lover. I drink copious amounts of coffee each day.  I buy decaf coffee so I can drink coffee late in the day if I want.  It was killing my stomach.

Last Monday, I stopped drinking all day coffee. I have had about eight ounces of coffee each morning.  But, it is a lifestyle change and a change of habit and a detox from caffeine.  I have been drinking water all day now.  My stomach was better the same day I stopped drinking all that coffee.

Till today……I cooked spaghetti for his supper. I ate some as well.  There went my stomach again.  I don’t really like spaghetti all that much, so I doubt I will miss it.  But, I am not certain if it was the tomatoes, the Italian sausage or what that upset my tummy.

Nevertheless, I was aggravated about it. I had been enjoying not having all those problems this past week.

What else do I need to give up to improve my well-being? Self-criticism.  I abuse myself the way I talk to myself.  That voice in my head is vicious.  But, I have been getting that under control, too.  That shift I mentioned last week would certainly include a gentler observer voice in my mind.

I have continued to retrain my thoughts to be compassionate with my own self. I write it all out in my journal.  I identify a thought or thought process and write the sequence.  Then, I rewrite it like a friend talking to me.  Advising me on what is true and what is assumed.  Digging into the cause of the thought, rewriting scripts to give a positive outcome.  I am not really sure how to describe the method.  Positive imagining.  Whatever it is, it has allowed me to put many dragons to death and get many more chained up.

My dragons range in size and color. Things from indecision, over-sentimentality, laziness, to severe depression and a deep sense of unworthiness, and survivor’s guilt.  I am getting better able to battle them.   Writing Raining Orchids is good medicine.

His letting me go to the deer stand and sit is also good medicine. Sitting in those woods, hours of solitude, pen and paper in hand.  I appreciate getting to spend time in that part of his world.  I appreciate his spending time, money and energy to get me in a warm, dry spot to wait and listen.  I appreciate his patience with my efforts at becoming a hunter and fisherwoman.  I appreciate him.

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Waiting

I spent a lot of time waiting Saturday. I was waiting for a deer to walk out.  I sat on the stand almost all day with no real movement of wildlife at all.  The birds and squirrels were even remarkably quiet.

I spend a lot of time waiting every day, I think. Waiting for something to happen.  What do I think is going to happen?  I can’t even answer that question.  I just feel as if something is about to happen.  Something for which I need to wait.

Perhaps nothing is going to happen. What if I am just waiting?  What if I just sit waiting until my time has run out and the days of my life have gone?

I am not blindly waiting. I am expectantly waiting.  Waiting for whatever it is.  I believe I will know when it happens.

Meanwhile, I try to stay busy. Going to work, trying to keep up with the house, cooking.  I go with him when I can.  Hunting, fishing, riding in the buggy.  Whatever he does and wants me along.  (Which is anyplace except his recliner.)

I also spend time thinking. Mentally preparing for the something that might happen.  I think it might even be something no one else will see.  Maybe it will simply be a shift of my perception.  A change in my belief system.  Not even all my beliefs.  Just one or two.  Enough to make my entire world change.  The world I inhabit in my mind.

Sometimes I feel as if a big reveal is just about to happen. The curtain in my mind will fall away and I will see whatever it is I am supposed to know.  Maybe just the seeking is the happening.  It all feels strange and difficult to explain or examine.

What do I want? Peace of mind, contentment, purpose, a reason to spring out of bed every morning ready to start the day.  I want to know that it is good and well for me to want to be happy.  I want to know that it is good and well for me to want to love and be loved.  I want to know that it is good and well to be alive and well.

I struggle with a type of survivor’s guilt and with a sense of abandonment. I depend on him so much to provide emotional support.  I feel like an emotional vacuum at times.  I try to not cling to him overmuch.  Much of the time I want to curl up in his lap in that recliner and stay there.

One of the best things I have learned is that my feelings are not me. I was born terribly sensitive.  So much so, my grandmother called me “Squall-bags” for a nickname.  She always offered me a sugar tit.  After spending most of my life held hostage by my emotions, I am finally getting free of them.  Peace of mind is sure to come.  Eventually, purpose will emerge with contentment to follow.

 

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