First Monday

In August, I decided I would post on first Mondays.  I was preoccupied with Harvey for September’s first Monday.

I’ve been enjoying some time outside.  The intense heat and humidity has been a bit less.

I have been trying to decide on whether to expand a flower bed or not.  I have been moving toward simpler and now this would not be simpler. It would mean more to tend.  I’m not sure if I want to commit to taking care of twenty feet of border.  For years.

I read back over some posts from earlier this year.  I have continued to get rid of unneeded items.  I read the Kon Mari book.  My impression of the writer is that she has no clue what it means to be a traditional Southerner. Sentiment and keepsakes. Decorative trinkets and festive decor are part of life.  And our life has included households of deceased relatives to deal with.

He is not a minimalist.  He likes to have two and a spare for most things.  I have a problem with books and clothes I never wear among other things.

We have our daughter’s salvage from their apartment stacked here.  I can honestly say it has not stressed me having it everywhere.  If it was my stuff, I would be having a stress meltdown.

Our prayer is for she and her family to find a home quickly.  Not because of the stuff in the kitchen or the cats on the porch. But, because they need to get resettled from being displaced.  The Harvey flood effected so many.  And many of my dear loved ones.

Strength and resilience.  Now that the urgent phase is passing, the long haul through restoration is beginning.  Grief must be dealt with.  Then a new normal can grow into a renewed life.

I praise Him for being Grace and Mercy and Strength and Hope.

 

Now What?

I did not complete the January project as planned.  No real surprise there.  How many plans actually go forward perfectly without a hitch?

So, now what?  Should I continue with the idea? Should I back up and regroup?  Should I dump the plan?

I don’t know, yet.  I don’t want to think of it right now.  Perhaps that is my answer.  Nothing right now.  Just let it go for a couple of days.  Saturday has great potential as a day to think about things.  I will have time to ponder over what I am going to do next.

I will have time to figure out “what now”.  I am a little frustrated because I want to be doing something else.  I just don’t know what the “else” is supposed to be.

If the weather permits, time outside in the sun would be a great help.  I need time to look at the trees making patterns against the sky.  I reviewed my personal photos.  I surely love trees.

My “now what?” is to stop and look around.  Look up.  Keep looking up.

Another Christmas Passes Into Memory

This has been an extraordinary Christmas for me simply because of the Jeep. I find myself thinking I will need to take it back to whomever it belongs to any minute now.  It doesn’t seem real that it is mine to keep.  I still can’t believe he bought me such an extraordinary gift.  Sorry my mind still doesn’t wrap around the California Dream living in the shadow of the mountain in the photo.  She is real and yet elusive in my comprehension.

As I was sitting here pondering what to write about, I was looking at the Christmas tree. I plugged in the lights again.  I love colored lights on the tree.  I miss the adjustable twinkle lights we used to have.  I could turn the dial to the perfect speed to set a tranquil mood in the darkened living room.  I would sit and drink my coffee with just the tree lights sparkling to illuminate the room.

I will probably take it down this evening or tomorrow rather than leave it up through New Year’s Day. The thought makes me feel sad, as usual.  The feeling seems amplified because of the feelings about the Jeep being temporarily at my disposal.  If I take the tree down, Christmas is really over.  And I will wake up and the Jeep will be gone, too.

Craziness of my thoughts. My mind argues with my heart.

I am already looking into the next year. I have a line-up of projects to do.  I have the materials to do all of them, too.  Just need time and focus to get them done.  Time is not so much of an issue as focus.  I piddle around, stalling.  Stalling because the creative endeavor might not turn out the way I had hoped.  Or maybe I won’t be able to work it out technically.  Will I have the skills needed to turn the idea into a successfully completed project?

I am such a sporadic “crafter” I don’t have a depth of skills. I have hit a lick at this and a lick at that.  Never really committing to one thing or another.  I don’t seem able to get too involved in something.  I tell myself it is because the something isn’t Something.  That I am not really all that interested in it.  I’m not sure what is the underlying issue.  Maybe the shadow of my father’s illness?  Fear I will get too involved and go over the edge.  Maybe some notion that the only thing I should be really interested in is evangelizing lost people and anything that takes from that energy and focus is sinful.  Concerned that I will get lost in the “flow” of creativity and lose track of time and not have supper ready or my chores done and he will be put out or inconvenienced because of it.

Maybe all of the above. There is a song on the radio: “you keep a slip knot in the strings you attach”.  Yes. I do.  I don’t maintain long term relationships beyond my family.  I keep to myself most of the time.  Oh, I yak and laugh with co-workers at the 9-5 and with fellow members at church.  But, I have difficulty socializing outside those arenas.  The friends we’ve had over the years have, like us, moved along in life phases and most have moved geographically, as well.  The ones nearby are busy with other things.  No one has the energy to take time to be together anymore.

One of my hopes for the New Year is to re-learn how to “visit”. To drop by a friend’s house to chat.  To call someone up on the phone to trade gripes about some trivial nothing that happened to us.  To ride to town and go “fumbling”.  That is what my grandmother called what might be translated as window shopping or browsing.  All we would end up buying is a cold coke to drink on the way home.

Another Christmas passes into memory. Another year passes along right behind it.  I feel like Bilbo when he said, “I want to see mountains, again”.  The “mountains” I want to see again are friends.  I want to see my friends, again, and see them often and casually.  Without all the planning and strategizing it seems to take these days.  It feels like a mountain of a wish.  If it plays out, it will bring a mountain of memories.

Next Christmas with two Dreams in the world………………….

Come on New Year. Bring with you more time with certain little Dream girls.  Bring with you more time with friends.  Bring with you mountains of memories and tie my strings into knots.

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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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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.

Beginning, again.

Folks who know me personally will expect this to be about the news we recently received. I am not yet ready to put words to that.

New hope. That is what I want to talk about.  Sometimes we go along and things seem to be flat. Like a Coke sitting open on the counter overnight.  Still sweet, but no fizz.  Life needs some fizz to keep one from becoming flat in the soul.

I have a new hope. Someone who makes all the difference.  More than anything, I have been concentrating on the feeling of hope.  Not the kind of hope when one says “I hope so”.  But, the kind of hope that says the rescue ship is sitting at the shore.

Things have been challenging for us this year. I counted up a dozen crises he had to deal with in a couple of months or less.  His health, the children’s vehicles. A tree falling the wrong way.  He always says “the Good Lord takes care of it”.  And not casually, but with absolute unwavering conviction, he knows He is taking care of all the “its” in our lives.

Some things turned out to be blessings in ways we never imagined. Some things just turned out.  I have often felt my prayers hit the clouds and crashed back down.  He (the Father) showed me a specific and powerful proof that He is listening and working things for my good and His glory to use a cliché.  Truth, though.

Recently, I have been shown some things. I have asked for some things in prayer.  Not so much for something to happen or to be granted.  My salvation is secure and I am “forgiven” in the grand scheme.  I needed to ask His forgiveness for some other things and truly acknowledge in my own heart that He granted those petitions.  I asked Him to change my “heart-itude” about some issues.  I asked Him to let me pray for certain things with a pure and sincere heart.

Some special things have occurred that directly impact my outlook and my direction. He also reminded me of a truth I have let get too far from my thoughts.  If His plans agree with mine, I will retire in just over three years.  I am fairly young for that to happen.  But, in my heart of hearts I am a homemaker.  I enjoy taking care of the physical structure we call home.  Additionally, I am a writer.  Perhaps, someday I will even be an author.  Meanwhile, I have new hope growing in California.

My photo was taken late winter. The tree is still bare and the sun is setting.  But there is the hope of spring and the dawn of a new day very near.  So it is with me at this time.  Very near are He and he.  Very near is new hope.

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Rats

I have delayed long enough.  Time to restart my posts.  I did not intend to take off this long.  I was going to post in January and in February.  Here it is March and I am just now getting something going.

I had a rat turn up in January. Literally.  I have a small storage shed in the back yard.  I used to keep my “attic” boxes in it.  I didn’t have an attic at the house where we raised our children.  He bought me a building in which to keep Christmas decorations and canning jars and odds and ends.

After we moved to this house, I have an attic and more closets than I can keep up with.  I have actually forgotten about a closet on occasion when trying to remember where I stored something!

I didn’t need the shed any longer.  I thought.

He used it to store feed and seed until the mice drilled a few holes and set up housekeeping.  So, we emptied it out, moved it closer to the house and I started using it to store yard tools and ice chests.  Mouse-less as far as I could tell.

This past Christmas, getting things down from the attic was more challenge than this fifty year old self wants to face.  I decided I could clean and rearrange my little shed and use it for my Christmas decorations and things again.

I did not know that it had become a pack rat condo. Not the human kind of pack rat.  The rodent kind of pack rat. Corn fed fat. Literally. A mostly empty bag of deer corn was left on one of the trailers parked near the shed. He found it.  I know he did, because there was a lot of it inside the shed where he dropped it.  In the process of clearing out my things, I came across the loose corn and very large droppings.  Knowing it was not simply a mouse, I continued cautiously clearing things.  Finally, I realized where his nest was located. Right in plain sight. But, camouflaged with flowers he had scavenged from the ones I had laid on the shelf previously.

He finally appeared when he was between me and the door. I did not know if he went out the door or behind the ice chest below the shelf that had become his condo.  Well, he didn’t go out the door.  That is how I saw him creeping his obese self along the back wall of the shed.

I called him on the phone to tell him to not forget to get chupacabra poison. Not just mouse poison, RAT poison.  He assured me it was already in the truck.  The creature does not appear to live there now.  He consumed a large quantity of the bait.  I presume he went on to his reward.

I have let other rats set up housekeeping in my life. The rat of uncertainty.  The rat of laziness. The rat of self-condemnation.  The rat of insecurity.  I have set out poison for those rats, too.  His Word is good bait to get rid of those kinds of rats.  I must keep feeling my way along, even when I don’t have “enough light for the step I am on”.  Even in the darkness of indecision, I can press on.  Do what I have been doing until a new way opens up.  Just keep going along until the path is shut off and no passage can be found.

I don’t have to know the way. I don’t have to know the how.  I just have to show up at the appointed place at the appointed time.  Where is that place?  On my spiritual knees in prayer to Him.  Seeking the Spirit’s guidance and strength and wisdom and discernment.  But, then get up and do the thing that is due.  Without any idea of outcome or expectation of satisfaction.

For me that seems to be here at this keyboard. Typing. Or even in my journal. Scribbling. I just scribble a million thoughts one after the other.  I hope someday something cohesive might come together.  But, if not, the scribbling helps me be better able to meet the world with compassion and understanding.  And the typing connects me to a few people I love more than my very breath.

The rats will keep coming. I will continue to battle them.  I am so much stronger than I thought.  I am going to keep fighting, even in the dark.  Against the rat of doom that sometimes makes me feel life is too sad.  Against the rat of sorrow that threatens to set up a condo in my heart. Against my own rat of attitude when my compassion fails and I just want to make my nest tight around be to ward off people who make me sad and angry.

He went in the shed and got the rat condo out for me. He put it on the fire pile and burned it to ashes.  He does his part to help Him take care of me.  Even when I act like a rat, piling things up around me to keep myself insulated from the world.  So far neither of them has decided to use “bait” on me!  I must still have some redeeming qualities or some certain purpose to fulfill. I will ease along then.  Seeking the next step to take no matter how small.  And if I stall like I did with my posting, I will get them to help me clear out the rat’s nest in my mind and heart and get moving again.

 

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