#32#weddedbliss#hardheaded

Tomorrow marks 32 years of wedded bliss for the two of us! Of course, it hasn’t all been bliss….  We have had many challenges to face together. We have had many challenges to face head to head.  Our hard heads butting against each other.

That very characteristic we share is the reason we are still together. We are both too hard headed to give up or give in.

Yes, there were times we may have wondered what was going on and why were things happening that shouldn’t. He may or may not agree with that.  I don’t know if he gives such things much thought.

He is the man God needed to take care of me. I had such a rough time getting through things that happened when I was younger.  He fought the demons that tortured me.  With words, actions and prayers he fought for me.

I still have moments or even days of blue and black moods. I am confident to state I feel mostly healed. There are scars. But, the wounds don’t seem to be open.

He is strong. He is tough. He is brave. He is my champion.  He is my rock. Did I mention he is tough?

He does have a tender heart. It is way down under all that gruff exterior. He melts over babies and children.  He adores old folks.  His love and compassionate concern for our children is overwhelming at times. He loves our Father and His Son beyond measure.

He seems to like me most of the time. He puts up with me and my goofy self. He isn’t as hard on me as he used to be.  I don’t know if it is because he is mellowing or because I am becoming one of those old folks he adores.

I completely appreciate who he is, good and bad, tough and tender. I completely appreciate our long life together.  How precious it is to have such a friend.  Thirty two years since we vowed ourselves to each other before Him.

Two years since our vow renewal. We didn’t really need it, but our daughter wanted me to have a “wedding ceremony”.  I completely appreciate her and the rest of the crew making such a marvelous event happen!

We have special things going on in our lives right now. Still too precious to write about.  I get overwhelmed with emotion.  Today, California is a million miles away.

But, he will be home shortly. Just having him at home makes everything better.  I am so glad we are both so hard headed.  I love him beyond measure. #happyanniversary#rock

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Weeds

Every spring we plant a garden. Tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash and peppers are regulars.  We did this year as usual, along with eggplant.  We had greens earlier in the season. Every year, I promise myself I will keep up with the weeding.  And every year, I don’t.  Including this year.

I spent time yesterday trying to restore order from the chaos among the tomatoes and peppers. I will work on it some more over the next few days.  I ask myself why I even bother to plant.  Of course, we have fresh vegetables to eat.  Usually we have enough to put extra in the freezer.  I always make pickles.

Along the same lines, I got a dozen herbs and potted them. During the days of neglecting the garden, I also neglected the herbs.  I didn’t get them watered in time and lost a couple.  Why?  I ask myself.

It is because I don’t keep up with the weeding and watering. I let the grass grow in the tomatoes and the pots go dry on the carport and my life get overcrowded and parched as well.

So often I plan a project, prepare for it, launch it, progress with it. Then suddenly I look up and it has fallen by the way and been overrun with weeds.  In the past few years, I have been less productive. I have also launched fewer projects.

My main project at this point is editing. Even with the garden and flower beds and yard care, I am working toward less to maintain.  I am looking for beautifully streamlined set ups.  Yard care, home care, personal care, self-entertainment.  Streamlining and editing the things that must be done to make room for the things that are a joy to do.

I want my house to be tidy and clean all the time. I want my flower beds and vegetable garden to always be in great shape. I want my chores and personal care to be perfectly current.  I want time to read and watch movies.  I want to cook delicious meals for him.  I want to feel energetic and enthusiastic all the time.  I want time to paint my walls and redecorate my house.  I want time to fish and to go swimming. I want time to go visit family and friends.  I want to visit museums and parks and go to the zoo.

I want so much and reach for so much, I don’t have time or opportunity or energy to keep up. The weeds invariably grow in some areas.  Streamlining.  That is my current project.  I am streamlining as many processes and areas as possible.  Get rid of this to make time for that.  Weed out this just because it isn’t worth the place it takes in my home or my life to keep up.  This includes hobbies I thought I wanted to pursue.  I have gotten rid of more arts and crafts things.  I do still backslide in this area. But, I am quicker to notice and redirect my path.  Even getting rid of or returning items I have purchased very soon after acquisition.

Weeding. My life, my home, my heart, my mind.  Digging out things that don’t belong and making space for things that bring forth fruits of joy and satisfaction. I am happy with my progress.  I see more and more ways to make a difference, to improve my allocations of resources.  I enjoy the process of housekeeping.  I simply want to be sure the house I am keeping is one of my choosing and not what I have allowed to creep in like the weeds in my garden.

There is a reason growing in California to increase my rate of progress toward my goals these days. I need to get my life, my home and my resources in order. She won’t be here in this house for a good long while. But, she is already taking over my heart and my mind like a weed!  She is one weed I will keep!

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Summer, again.

I miss some of the full experience of summer.  When I was growing up, we didn’t use air conditioning. We had a window unit, but it was only used to cool the living room in the evenings while we watched television after our baths.

This insulated world I inhabit does not allow the sights, sounds and smells of nature reach my senses. I don’t feel the thick tropical air of my Texas jungle home.  People today seem personally offended by the natural heat and humidity of a Southeast Texas summer.  I just take off my fogged up eyeglasses when I go outside to get in the car.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the air conditioning very much. Especially to sleep at night.  Still, I sometimes wish to open the windows in the darkness of twilight and hear the crickets and frogs sing to the stars.

When I was a child living in this very house, a pair of whippoorwills lived in the front yard near the cedar tree that is no more. I heard one a few nights ago when I happened to be outside at dusk. My heart was thrilled at the sound of music in the fading light.

Grape sodas, fudgesicles, bologna sandwiches all tasted wonderful when I was a kid. Water from the end of the water hose was the best thing in the world to drink.  I had to be careful to let all the scalding water run out before touching it.  There will never be a watermelon that tastes like the ones I ate before age twelve.  It all tasted better because my body was hot, thirsty and tired from physical exertion running and riding a bike and swimming.   Anyone who knows what it means to “smell the rain” understands the feeling of relief and sense of peace it brings.  Childhood was summer spent outside.

The world felt better because I was innocent.  I didn’t know about death and disease, war and hate, discrimination and intolerance.  I knew the clean facts of history presented in school classrooms, but never imagined all the horrors as an adult I have learned existed and still exist.

Innocence of childhood. Truth and honesty of living. I can only bare so much pain.  It is a fine balance point to remain compassionate and not become indifferent to others’ sufferings.  It requires retreating to the mind of a child.  Taking things as they come and responding with honesty and truth.  Tasting the fullness of living and not gorging on the horrors of life.

I must again express my gratitude for having a loving Father and a loving spouse. Both provide me with strength and protection from the horrors of life. When He allows or sends something into my life that is too difficult to bear alone, He and he are with me to get me through to the other side.  They help me remain compassionate and regain my balance.  I am eternally grateful for what I do not deserve.  The blessing of being able to smell the rain and hear the night creatures serenade the stars.  A Father’s Mercy and a husband’s love. I cannot regain innocence.  I can get up and live fully, engage with life to become thirsty and hungry and truly taste the fullness of living.

Hatching a Story

After these many months of posting here, hinting about writing a book, I finally have a storyline. I will divulge nothing about the plot. However, if any of my readers know of good resources about the Big Thicket during the first half of the last century, please send me the link, title, writer.  I want to supplement my second hand lore and childhood impressions with other sources.

I did tell my daughter about the plot and the inspiration. She immediately told me of my responsibility to paint a vivid picture of my protagonist.  I will have to demonstrate the character through realistic scenes to make her believable.  Otherwise she will seem too extraordinary and not inspire empathy or sympathy.

I purchased a couple of notebooks to start the first draft. I type these posts on the keyboard.   It is not my favorite method.  I prefer to write in my journal.  I use approximately 5×7 size unlined hardbound sketchbooks for my journal.  I keep a similar size spiral for lists and temporary notes. In view of these preferences, I purchase similar sized spiral tablets.  They will feel familiar.  They are lined pages.  I don’t think that will make a difference.

Time to write. I don’t want to waste time trying to figure out the opening line.  In fact, the story may start in the middle and I will need to work on the beginning after I see where it goes nearer the end.

I picked up a tablet to work on the non-fiction piece I have in mind. It may be more a series of short essays with some recipes and “how we used to do it” descriptions.  That will be fine.  It is the kind of book I like to read.  I don’t want to lose all of the heritage from my mother and grandmothers. I already have forgotten things that a photograph or something brings to mind. I don’t know if I will recall clearly.  No doubt others near me will recall more clearly.  But, they can write their own book if they don’t like mine.

I am slowly but surely eliminating the excuses. Now to push aside the fear.  A phrase I have on a card.  “Keep feeling along the wall for the gap.  When you find it, just go on through. Even if you drown.” I wrote this after I awoke from a dream seeking a gap in a cliff wall.  I did find it, go through and woke up as the water rushed around me.  But, that was better than standing at the blank stone wall, waiting to die slowly.   Powerful images for powerful feelings.  I intend to use those very feelings to get the letters into words into sentences into paragraphs into chapters into a story.

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The Feeling of Freedom

One of the loveliest sites to me is an expanse of lush green lawn.  Neatly manicured and surrounded by a jungle of vegetation.  I like my flower beds and borders, but I love my lawn.  We have almost completely cleared up the area where the oak tree was removed.  The turf is damaged and of course the ground is bare where it’s shade and leaves restricted growth of grass.  It is still early enough in the season to recover the damaged areas.

 

I did change my plans about the flower bed at the front of the house.  I will restrict everything to the area nearest the house.  I will keep things along the fences and along the house.  I want to reduce the edges to maintain.  And again I want to keep the green expanse unbroken as much as possible.

 

Deep breaths of air.  The open area feels like deep breaths of air.  I feel the same when I am on the lake or at the sea shore.  A far horizon.  Even if it is only a few yards across the front yard.  Freedom.

 

What is freedom?  It is as personal in definition as terms like success or failure.  For some freedom means not being physically locked in chains.  For some freedom means no relationships to interfere with choices.  For some freedom means being able to walk without assistance.  No one is every truly free unless they are completely without confinement or relationships.  I have been reading the Tarzan series.  Even then, there is a law of survival that restricts him.  If one has a conscience, one is never free.  One is bound by honor, duty, integrity, love to respond with others than themselves considered.

 

But, one can still have a feeling of freedom.  Whether I stand on the lawn and breathe or float on the lake in the sunshine.  Or perhaps if I gaze into the eyes of one I love, I can feel the essence of freedom.  Freedom to love and be loved.

 

And freedom to love and accept myself.  Freedom to choose what to do with time not already committed.  Freedom to eat what I want, wear what I want, sleep when I want, where I want, read what I want, watch what movie I want, pray how I want, say what I want.  Simple freedoms.  Precious.  Blood bought.  Soldiers and sailors and Savior.  Blood bought freedom is mine.

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Our lush green lawn, watered with the blood of patriots and adventurers. Warriors and pioneers.  Deep breaths of freedom as I look over the open expanse.