California

I know it is expected of me to write about the arrival of the California Dream.  I don’t think I can do that here.  I will break down in tears like I did the day she arrived.  She was taking her sweet time and it pushed me over the edge to a spell in the hospital chapel crying and praying.  Except now the tears would be bittersweet.  Not knowing when I will touch her again is something I refuse to think about.

Our son’s grandmothers had the same dilemma.  Our son was four weeks old when we left for California.  And we definitely didn’t know when we would see each other again.  Contact was a 15 minute long-distance phone call on Sunday afternoon and “snail mail”.  I still have the piles of letters my mother and I exchanged.

Things are different for our situation now.  Nevertheless, the need to catch a plane to get to her causes my heart to ache.

I am still fatigued from the trip. The all-day travel to then from California. The comfortable yet strange bed.  The time difference.  The anticipation. The anxiety. The excitement. The anguish.

I take photos of the foothills behind her house. In between my turn to hold her, I would go out and look at the hills again. The ever changing light makes them look different constantly.  They are like my lake with their continual cycle of lights and shadows playing across them.  I will try to go back to the lake tomorrow.  Time to start walking again. And I need to tell the ghosts who linger there in my memory about the little one I am loving for them and for me.

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Autumn…….Fall

Mama always called it “Fall”. Autumn is for a place that actually has a time of cooler weather with all the trees showing beautiful colored leaves shimmering in the sun before fluttering and dancing to the lawn.

Fall is for a place that has a time of cooler weather followed by hot weather again, followed by cooler weather followed by hot weather……….usually in the span of a week. This goes on until the rain starts.  Then, we can expect gray, damp, chilly days followed by the most beautiful shade of blue on the planet.  Texas Winter Sky Blue.  After a blue norther comes through signaling Winter’s arrival.

Before that time comes, we have Fall. Some of the trees give up their leaves, dry and brown.  He doesn’t like sweet gum trees because of the balls they dump on the ground.  I forgive them the balls littering the ground because of the blood red color the leaves will soon turn.   Sycamores make the biggest mess of all our trees.  But the yellow leaves shining against the blue sky are lovely.  When they have shed their golden treasure, the stark white of the ancient trunks gleams brightly.  An invasive species of tree I only know of as a tallow tree does have a wide arrange array of colors and a large bank of them makes a fine show.

This is the time of year when my loved ones start asking for a fresh batch of hot chocolate mix. I will blend up a round in a few days.  I keep promising to make marshmallows again.  Perhaps this year I will tackle the sticky challenge.  There is no comparison to store bought with these treats.

S’mores were never part of our camping trips when I was a kid. I first experienced them at the campfire of our best friend and his bride when their boys were tiny.  We have had them a few times through the years.  I have gathered some recipes on Pinterest for variations of the s’mores theme.  I want to practice some different things to see which to do for Hallowe’en weekend.  We have a couple of events that weekend and I want to bring a traditional fall flavor with a new twist.

I love pumpkins and Hallowe’en decorations and candy and costumes. Many childhood memories involve fire department, church or school sponsored Hallowe’en carnivals or Fall Festivals.

Then, of course, Fall means hunting and football. Or football and hunting.  Depending on the day of the week and the weather.   We don’t have a deer camp to go to this year, since changing clubs.  He is making me a fire pit under the trees in the yard.  I will be able to pretend I am off in the woods….and still have a flush toilet available!

Bright fall colors, slightly cooler weather, hunting, football, baking goodies (cool enough to turn on the oven), Hallowe’en events. Fall is here.  By the time it gets to be winter, the California Jewel will be arriving in San Dimas.  This is going to be one of my favorite Falls of all time!

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Oops!

Yes, I know it is Thursday. I did not really forget to do Raining Orchids yesterday.  I just forgot when it got time to do it.  Sometime this morning or maybe late last night when I was almost asleep, I remembered I had not posted.  Coming back to reality after the past couple of weeks is taking its toll on me!

I was a little concerned I would not have much to get excited about for a little while. I was wrong.

I got my iPod going last month. He bought me a new one for my birthday.  I waited until this week to start walking the track again.  Between all the scheduled traveling and the deadly heat, it seemed prudent to wait.  Even today, the heat is causing me to delay a while.  I need the track time.  I sleep better when I have made a few laps.  Better sleep makes for better days altogether.

We have a special event coming up at church. I am looking forward to the event and also the preparations I will have a part in leading up to it.  There is a vacancy at the church he and I are trying to help cover.  I have not worked with youth in years.  A couple of girls come fairly regularly and are delightful to engage in conversation.  He is trying to cover Sunday School and I am trying to do something Wednesday evening until a regular youth minister can be hired.

A new issue of Bella Grace should be on the rack at the bookstore.  I need to pick up some supplies for the activities at church in the big town an hour south of us tomorrow.  I have a few items still needing to be packed up and shipped west.  The gathering of the girls that was delayed last month due to illness has been rescheduled.

We have weathered heartbreaking losses over the years. We are managing something that is devastating to think about.  My mother’s sister has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s for a few years now.  I take her sister to visit her and we have a small party with “the girls” so as not to overwhelm her.  We dress up and act silly for a few hours every month when possible.  When I say dress up: we are dressing up as clowns for our ritual group photo this time.  I hope the littlest one isn’t afraid of clowns.

My life is ridiculously simple to most folks. My life is incredibly rich to me. Small delights and great blessings abound.  Orchids are pouring down upon me. It doesn’t seem right to not be happy.  Not with all I have undeservedly been given.

I always thought somehow we would all finally get well and gather together and live happily ever after. It took me so long to figure out that life is not a destination. I don’t know when I started grasping that idea.  I don’t know if I fully grasp that idea.  Part of me is still waiting for everyone to come home.

Life is what it is. Someone very dear to me recently told me something his father has been telling me for so many years. We were sitting out on the deck looking out over the mountains behind his house.  Talking about this and that.  He said:

“Just be happy.”

Okay, son. I will.  I am.

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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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See What I Mean?

My friends are skeptical about my claim of packing light. This post will be unusual because it is photographic evidence and comments regarding my “luggage” for my trip that starts tomorrow.  I will fly to California tomorrow and spend five nights with my son and his bride.  We will stop off to get a few products like deodorant and shampoo before we go home for the evening.

Exhibit One

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Foreground is jeans and tennies for wearing. See the backpack in the background?  A pair of pants, a pair of shorts, a few t-shirts, swimsuit, pajamas, undies are assembled on the bed.

Exhibit Two

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Rolled up to stow.  Jewelry and undies in the small bags.

Exhibit Three

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Room to spare in this regular student size backpack (Wal-mart).

Exhibit Four

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My purse has a journal and small notebook that I carry most of the time everywhere.  Plenty of empty space here.

Exhibit Five

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These items will load in the morning.

Exhibit Six

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Purse, backpack, white denim jacket, Nook bag.  I weighed the whole lot and it comes in at 16 pounds or so.

Almost ready for take-off!

One thing wrong with the whole deal.  He won’t fit in my bag.  Already the pain of missing him has started.  I will have to enjoy the company of our children doubly for his not getting to be there, too.

 

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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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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