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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Christmas is Here!

Christmas is a time to remember Christ.  A time to remember our loved ones gone before us to meet Him.  A time to gather with our loved ones present and create bonds of love that strengthen throughout the trials the rest of the year brings.  A time to pause and see beauty of baubles on trees and lights on eaves.  A time to believe in goodness and magic and possibilities.  A time to give tokens of love and graciously receive tokens given to us.  A time to grow our compassion for an even greater year ahead.  Always looking upward to the Heavenly Star for guidance and comfort.

A Christmas colored picture to remind me.  Red for His shed blood gifted for me.  White for His perfect peace bestowed on the believer.  Green for His provision of everlasting life.  Merry Christmas to all and may His perfect peace and gift of everlasting life be yours.

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In the way of living

How often I have let life get in the way of living….too often I don’t make the plans I should make to create the life and legacy I want to have.

This weekly confessional has done more to get me going in the right direction than I ever could have imagined.  Especially, since it isn’t the type of blog I intended.  But, it is what is has become.  A telling of the days passing.

For this evening, I had forgotten it was Monday, I suppose.  He reminded me I needed to write.  Suddenly I was flooded with things to consider.

I wanted to write about my friend losing her mother the other day.  The funeral is upcoming.

I wanted to write about how wonderful the sound of my brother’s voice is on the other end of the phone line.

I wanted to write about the thrill of getting a text from my son asking a simple question.  Just seeing his name on my phone…..

I wanted to write about coordinating Christmas gift buying over the phone with my daughter and her beloved.

I wanted to write about missing the deer stand.  Haven’t made it to the woods in weeks.

I wanted to write about the unexpected places and circumstances that create treasured relationships.

I wanted to explain why I want to live to be an old woman who is vibrant and healthy and self-reliant.

So, here goes the “reader’s digest” version of what should be many different posts.

I hated hearing my friend express regret.  Feeling she didn’t do enough to take care of her mother.  Been in that exact place myself.  I just had to forgive myself and give myself compassion.

I loved discussing with my brother how to manage a salt-free turkey breast for a dear aunt’s dietary needs.  Sharing a suggestion for seasoning it.  Hearing his plans. Looking forward to seeing him in a few days.  Trying to not consider how long it has been since we were together.

I believe my son is way more awesome than a rock star.  He is awesome coolness to the max!  The life he is leading is proof that I have done something right in my life.  Of course, I did not do it alone.  But, nevertheless, I take credit for what part I did play in his upbringing.

I know my daughter is the most perfect woman on the planet. Ever. And, I believe her honey knows it, too.  She is another proof of my personal success in my most important job ever:  being a mother.  My parenting partners and I did a great job with both of them.  He and I give praise and gratitude to Him.

I have needed to do some things instead of sitting in the deer stand.  At least, it seemed they were important at the time.  And, of course, some were.  At least one time, it was just too cold for me to deal with that morning.

I have a friend at work.  She challenges me to reach out of my safety zone and ask for the things I need that I can’t do for myself and also to give myself the care I should for my own sake.  She listens deeply to what I am saying and helps me hear myself.

I want to live to be an old woman, fully capable of taking care of myself and my family. I am living a long life without my mother. I want to be strong and well, though.  Not disabled and in need of care, but giving care and love and support and pots of chicken and dumplin’s.  Holding hands and catching tears as my loved ones go through the trials and the joys of this life.  I have learned how to grieve.  I will grieve again.  There are some I hope and pray never to grieve.  But, I want their grief for me to be brief and full of gladness.

Another fifty years or so should suffice.  As long as there are elders to uplift and children to tend, I will have a purpose for which to get up each morning.  And there is always him.  Needful of my care and attention.  And pots of chicken and dumplin’s.

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More Tropical Living

For my entire memory, I have loved tropical things. Seas, jungles, birds, fish, flowers, foods. My Granny Sally made me a “ta-ta” out of a jungle print of leaves and animals backed with brown corduroy. I still have it. It is one of my treasures.
My mother used a queen sheet to cover the opening to the living room to allow the window unit to cool that room while we watched television in the evenings. It was also an African animal jungle print. It hangs in our house a few feet from where she used it.
Banana trees and elephant ears have always been among my very favorite plants. The exotic mimosas that populate my part of Texas and bloomed at my Granny Arie’s house are dear to my heart. Rich man’s grass aka pampas grass is another favorite of mine.  I am accumulating some things.
I have been working again toward a tropical garden. I am making great progress. I did not expect my dear husband to assist the way he has. He has given me generous gifts toward it.  He has encouraged me and offered real labor assistance often.  I am very grateful!
The palm tree he bought me years ago seems to have finally decided to put on some height. Its growth spurt has symbolic meaning for me. I am finally creeping out of my dormant state and into a new period of growth as well, it seems.
Before next week’s post, I will turn 49. Nearly half a century. I intend to live the next half a century being kinder to myself, truer to myself. Growing myself into the fullness of my being and growing my garden into the fullness of a jungle garden that lingers from the daydreams of my childhood.  It is my intention.

Raining Orchids

What does “Raining Orchids” mean?

I love orchids.  I haven’t been successful growing orchids, yet.  But, I love them none the less. 

In my mind, the orchid is the true queen of flowers.  Delicate, long lasting, fragrant, exotic.  Less common than roses.  Very desirable and lovely. 

The idea of orchids relating to life was inspired by Marjorie Hillis’ 1937 book:  Orchids On Your Budget.  She explains the balance of budgeting for the happier things in life such as hosting parties and enjoying entertainments among other things.  She also touches on the idea of making do and being truly happy about it. 

If you are familiar with the phrase “raining cats and dogs”, translate that image to “raining orchids”.  Orchids rain onto my life.  Not in the sense of endless loveliness and happiness, but of blessings sometimes outright and sometimes disguised by difficulty. 

This past weekend, I got to visit with my loved ones.  I was able to cook copious amounts of food to serve them.  I had some time with friends.  We remembered the Easter promises.  Yet, I thought about my mother, gone 16 years, yesterday.  How much I miss her in so many ways. My heart aches for her and so many others gone. 

But, my heart rejoices in the company of my great nieces!  Age three and age 2 months, they bring a kind of joy only little ones can.  And yes, I still get a thrill to see my adult children.  Three of the most wonderful people on the planet.  Period.  And then there is him.  He guards me, supports me, brings orchids into my life every day.

So many orchids in my life!  People and circumstances that create endless love, happiness, and blessings, both outright and disguised. 

Despite the books on growing them, I have lost the live orchids I had.  These silk orchids on one of my treasure tables will have to do until I figure out how to grow the real things.  Meanwhile, I will revel in the symbolic orchids raining throughout my life.  Him, family, friends, a table of plenty, a Risen Savior. 

 

 

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P.S.  65 is the year I was born.  I am too glad to be alive to worry about anyone knowing my true age!