Simple Ambitions

 

I have such painfully simple ambitions.

Once upon a time, you could eat off my floors.  Ceiling fans to baseboards, pantries and potties.  All were kept immaculately clean and tidy.  Even when I started working at the school, I had enough time and energy to keep up with things.

Between working a full-time 9-5 and reaching my 50s, I don’t keep up so well.  We discussed the possibility of hiring some help for me.  At least someone to do the ceiling fans and floors.  I’m not sure how our puppy dog would feel about someone being in the house with us not here.  So, that is on the back burner for now.

One thing I have noticed.  The messes don’t bother me as much as they did when I was younger.  I don’t think my standards have lowered. Rather, I have begun to have more compassion for myself.  Historically, by this time, I would be having a nervous fit over the condition of some areas of the house.  Don’t get me wrong, the house is not filthy.  Things are not piled up everywhere.  Still, things are not as pristine as I would like them to be.

A couple of my phrases from my life book are:  über tidy and operating room clean.  Some of my other catch phrases include words like immaculate and other such “perfection” words, it is easy to understand how I fall ridiculously short of my goals.

Yes, it is my intention to “put wash away warm”.  My poor beloved knows how to dig socks from the hamper of clean clothes.  I console myself by noting that the clothes are clean.  I have heard of those having to dig in the dirty clothes for something to wear.  Never at my house in all my years of housekeeping have any of them had to do that.  Please forgive my boast.  I need something today to reduce the level of guilt over my neglected floors and rugs.

So, my house is not looking the way I would prefer.  My schedule is looking great.  I have several events upcoming.  Nearly every Saturday has some special something to occupy my time and energy.  I will have a large quantity of memories scheduled for accumulating over the next several months.  Memories with my church family, my nieces, cousins, aunts, daughter.  Memories with him and our son and his bride and the Jewel of California arriving soon.

That accumulation more than offsets any anguish I might feel over the accumulation of dust bunnies in the corners.  Über festive, immaculately pleasant, are those good phrases? Maybe I will adopt those to replace the more difficult ones.

Perfection is being in the presence of my family and friends, him, Him, and especially that Jewel on the way.

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Still Too Much

Last week I did a photo group of what I was taking with me for five nights in San Dimas, California, via plane trip.

I still had two shirts I didn’t wear. I opened my Nook for about 3 minutes on the flight out there.  I didn’t wear or need the jacket I took.  I would take it again anyway.  I left my damp swimsuit with my son’s bride to run through the wash and stow.  We had a late evening swim the last night I was there in the newly filled pool.  I plan to need it there, again.

Hollywood is an experience! The crowds on the street were a little overwhelming. Like midway at the fair here in the country.  I did love the opportunity to see some things in person.

The pier at Santa Monica is crazy. Well, the folks on it seem to be. On the pier and along the boardwalk we saw some interesting characters.  I know what slacklining is now.

I got to put my feet in the Pacific again. I always try to take a photo of my feet in the sand at the edge of the water.  Just one of my personal traditions or rituals.

The best part of my trip was simply the visit with two of my favorite people in the world. Just being in the house and watching them living was worth more than anything.  Did I mention how talented his bride is at decorating their home?  So lovely and tastefully done.

Well, actually the best part of my trip was this:

I had the privilege of feeling our little one kicking and squirming. I got to hook up to Facetime and share a photo session with him.  It was a shoot of her perfect little face and a wonderful little hand and two little feet with legs crossed at the ankles.  The wonders of technology exposing the miracles of Him!  It is all so surreal.

It’s good to be back home. With him.  But, come on November!  I am ready to fly again.  Next time we go together.  For a very special someone’s Grand Entrance!

There was a lot of too much this past week. I took too much stuff in my bags.  I was stunned by too much traffic in the Greater Los Angeles area. The concept of that little girl growing is still too much for me to grasp.  I can’t completely write or even think about her.  I become overwhelmed with too much emotion, still.

I will set aside a day, soon, to let my mind and heart go. I will let it all be too much and when my tears have been shed, I will know it is all much too wonderful, still.

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Difficult Times

The past few weeks have been trying. Several areas of my life have been in turmoil.  I came home early from the 9 to 5 Monday.  I couldn’t stop crying.

I did what was needed to manage the situation. A little dinner, a little nap, a lot of Scripture and prayer. By the evening, I was better. Drained, but better.

Tuesday was better and today is going fine. Tomorrow is Friday Eve.  So all is well.

The weekend holds promise for a blessed time with the clowns…I mean the girls. Our party theme is clowns and our menu is salads.  I am going retro with a Jell-O molded shrimp salad.  I was thinking maybe my aunt’s Southwestern Salad would be a good one, too.

I should not have been so down after Saturday’s adventures. Fishing, breakfast at the lake, a nap, a buggy ride at the lease.  He and I had a great day.  I was feeling ill on and off all day Saturday, though.  I still don’t know if I was stressed and depressed or fighting a real illness.  That is the thing about the depression. It simulates the symptoms of a cold or the early stages of the flu.  Body aches, fatigue, fuzzy head.  I usually manage the thoughts and feelings pretty well.  Especially the thoughts.  The feelings and the body symptoms are the difficult part to manage.

A lot of prayer, some rest, some talking to golden friends, his nurturing love, His nurturing Love, all worked together to put me on track.

The cherry on top was a short video of a high-kicker from Cali! That made everything grand, again! Funny how grands will do that!

I cannot overstate how grateful I am for the healing I have experienced the past few years. Recovering from the devastating grief our family has suffered has been a slow process.  I still reel from it if I let myself think too much about who is missing in our lives.  But, the future is full of hope.  The future is full of beauty.  The future is full of love.  All the love from all the past loved ones will continue into the future through our generation to the next.

I recently read a book that asked what I would want to be remembered for at my passing. I hope I am remembered for believing in love and the power it holds to restore and renew and prosper the mind, heart and spirit.

My political statement: His Love Matters.

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A Ticket

I have a ticket to fly to California! I am going to see our son and his bride. And I am going to touch a tummy to feel her kick, I hope!  She seems like a half remembered dream.  I can’t get my mind wrapped around the reality of her existence.  I see the pictures of the ultrasounds. And, yet….

I have felt a shift in my perception of my world, too. I don’t know if it is the recent birthday or the slowly developing thought of her coming.  Perhaps, both? Things I thought I wanted are fading. Even the things I thought I wanted for grands is changing.  I had some preconceived ideas about what I wanted to do and how I wanted things to be when they came to our house.  I may be letting go of those ideas in favor of more meaningful ones.

I was thinking about what my grandmothers meant to me. What happened when I was with them that made the difference? What made them so golden in my memory? They listened to me. They wanted me near them always. They just paused and connected with me.

I could tell them anything. Especially my maternal grandmother. I could say whatever and she would never be shocked.  Only one time did she fuss at me.  I was mad at my mother. I was about 18.  She told me to get over myself and be respectful and compliant with my mother’s wishes.  I don’t even know what the details of the disagreement were.

Time. Not toys, games, events, tea parties and costumes. Time is what they gave me. Never too busy to sit and snuggle or hold me in their laps.  Even as a gangly teen, my one granny would hold me in her lap. Our big adventures amounted to walking to the cemetery on a dark night or watching the full moon rise over the lake.

My paternal grandmother would let me do her makeup for her. I would smear the green primer over her smooth rosy cheeks.  Then, the foundation and powder. I think that is all she used.  I was quite young when I started.  I don’t recall ever seeing her correct my work.  She likely did when I wasn’t looking.  Later, after her stroke, when she would come visit, I would help her dress.  She didn’t really need the help, but it was a few moments of intimacy we both loved.

My own children were young when my mother left this world. They have some memories of her. His mother saw them to young adulthood before she left us.  Both of them left their mark on the lives of our children.  Our daughter is so much like both of her grandmothers. Our son, too, has some ideas traced to them.  His love of fun and ability to connect to people are part of that legacy.

What legacy will I create for the California Dream? I want her to know that she is loved as much as one human being can love another. Already. Even though she is elusive in my mind, she is rock solid in my heart.

I will be on a westbound airliner, soon, little one. The love is already pouring out of my eyes and down my cheeks.

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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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A Challenging Year

He has had a challenging year.  At least a dozen medium to major problems have plagued us.  Him, particularly.  A deer hit his truck and it had to have extensive body work.  A tree hit him and his tractor and the tractor had to have serious repairs.  He was only slightly damaged.  The children have had vehicle issues with which he assisted.  He had some minor health issues to get through.  He changed hunting leases. We lost a good cow.  I counted one day and came up with twelve or thirteen issues.  Since that time, we had a few days without power.  He had to get the generator going to keep the icebox and freezer in good shape.  The big trailer’s tongue broke off at the lease and he had to get it welded back together.  Most recently, major plumbing problems have arisen.

If any of this is mentioned, he is instant to say:  “God took care of it.”  And of course, He does.  There is insurance for the truck and the health problems. A generator is ours to fire up for power.  There are friends to help with a place to sleep with air conditioning.  Other friends to help with on-site welding.  His own strength and hard work to take care of many other things.

I am grateful for the protection and provision He supplies.  I am grateful for the strength of the man I married.  Physical, mental and most importantly, spiritual.  I see the side of him the world never encounters.  I see him tired and frustrated.  Wanting to just crash in his chair and zone out watching television.  I see him deal with headaches and back pain and kidney stones.  But, I see him get up and go to work day after day.  He has almost never missed work due to illness.  When he did, we likely went to the ER for something. I admire his toughness and his courage.  It can make for some difficult moments for me and then protect me from difficult moments as well.

Occasionally, a tender spot will show.  Usually it is associated with our beloved children or with Him. I see him tense and concentrated thinking about them.  They are both married, independent, well into careers of their own.  But, his attitude of protection and guidance is still as it has always been.  There is a grand on the way.  It will be very interesting to see him interact with the little one.  I am sure I will see things unimaginable from that tough, old bull.

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