Progress Report

I have made some progress. He helped me put together and set up bookcases to house my books and other items.  I love the way it turned out.  I have the rocking chair sitting at the bedroom window.  The view is of the woods at the south end of the house.  I get winter sun through this window.

I made my way through some areas of the washroom storage spaces. And I am pleased to report working through one kitchen cabinet.  I’m not sure how much actually went to the “out the door” pile. I did relieve some of the congestion in the space.

I am getting a clearer view of how I want the end result to turn out over all. I had cleared some areas in the washroom.  The next day, I went back because I had kept a couple of things that I really don’t want to keep.  They are now in the “out the door” pile.

I haven’t read the Konmari book. I have skimmed over blog posts and e-articles that discuss the ideas in the book.  At first, I was resistant to the concept.  And I did read an inquiry that asked how one is to manage something like a hammer or screwdriver type item.  It doesn’t “spark joy”, but it sure is useful to have around.  I suppose I would have to break down and read the book to see if that writer addresses mundane things or is she just discussing socks and how to fold tee shirts as has been related in above mentioned readings.

Somewhere along the line I have read some helpful things regarding this process on which I am working. One remark is about clutter being the result of indecision.  The idea for me at this point is simply to decide yes or no.  It is either definitely YES!! Or it is no.  There can be no maybe.  I confess I have never watched more than a few limited scenes of Star Wars.  I have heard Yoda get credit for a line that goes something like: do or do not.  There is no “try”.  I translated that to “yes” or “no”.  There is no maybe.  In this process, that means no more gray areas.  No more “we might need it later”.  Either I know we will use it and it is right to keep it or it goes away.

I will have some extra days at home next week. Those days should be the final push.  If I could complete this final process sooner than January 31, so much the better.  Then what will I do?  It will be time to dig deep and get serious about writing.  I will have to face the fear of feeling too deeply.  I will have to face the grief again.  I will have to face the demons that chase me through my dreams.  I have some special people waiting for a real story out of me.  I will have to face the possibility of them being disappointed in the story.  I will have to face the possibility of them not being disappointed in the story and pushing me to do more. To dig deeper. To pour out my soul onto the page.  To feel too deeply.  Am I brave enough to do it?

Let me get through January. In some ways, the task at hand is building my courage.  When I am able to put an object in a box to go away, I have to trust myself that it is the right decision.  February will know if I have been brave enough and bold enough.  If I have pushed my limits of comfort enough.  Everything is intertwined.  One thing builds on another.  If I can do this, I can do that.  That leads to those other things.  On and on.

There is a part of me that stands back and watches to see what I am doing. Judging me. Criticizing me.  Over the years, I have trained that part to be more compassionate toward myself about so many things.  That part of me is on the edge of her seat watching to see if I walk out on this limb and it breaks off.  She can laugh cruelly as I fall.  Compassion will be out the window on this one.  I am my cruelest adversary.

I rode up to a nearby park the day it was cold and sleeting here. The blackbirds were all over the ground.  Like a black cloud.  As I would approach, they would move is a retreating wave further along.  I was unable to capture the wave on video sufficiently to illustrate their movement.  Will I be able to capture my thoughts on paper sufficiently to illustrate my story?  I could only get a photo of them perched in the trees.  Black against a gray sky. Eventually, I will capture the stories black against a white screen.

 

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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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Foggy Living

I try very hard to not live in a fog. I see people so caught up in their own small issues or creating their own personal drama they don’t see life hurling past at the speed of light.

I do find myself in a fog more often than I would like. I was in one this evening. I walked through the park and said my prayers. It did not help much. I got home and made a mega list. It did not help much. I started on my house work. It did not help much. He arrived home and naturally saw I was not functioning properly. He took the time to listen and to talk me out of some of my fog.

Someone I love is having a health crisis. Two loved ones actually. It would seem something like that would clear my brain. But, it makes me pause. I am reminded of my own mortality and the limits of my physical body. I am anxious to make my time count. Am I doing the right things each day? Is my life counting for something greater than my own melodrama?

Yes. I do the best I can with the tasks set before me. Whether at my 9 to 5, at home, at church, tagging along after him, participating in family events. But, still I feel I am missing something. What is causing that nagging feeling that I am missing some element in my life?

I don’t know. I am continually working on that problem. Every day some time is devoted to that very problem. It is the reason for the lists. It is the reason for the digital tape recorder I always have handy in case some thought arises while driving or when otherwise unable to write it down. It is the reason for walking as often as I can. It is the reason for this blog. It is the reason for my journal. It is the reason I go to the deer stand in the cold dark morning to sit alone in the woods.

Find and fulfil your destiny. My son and daughter seem to have worked it out. They have made their destiny. I know they aren’t continually satisfied and I know they have had heartbreaking decisions and choices to make and with which to cope. But, I believe they are mostly satisfied with the life they have and are creating for themselves. Fearless. Or at least saddling up anyway. They have taken life by the horns and made it what they want. He has blessed them with His protection and His healing and they have faith in Him.

He also has great faith. Without his faith and his prayers of faith, I would not be sane. I would have gone completely over the edge. I have been blessed because of him. He has time and again brought me out of the depth of despair with his courage and his strength. He lifts me up to Him. So many times have I let him know I was having problems at my 9 to 5 and he immediately prayed and He immediately answered, smoothing out the wrinkles in my emotions and often completely resolving the actual problems.

The fog still comes in at times. But, there is a strong light beyond burning through to reach my heart and mind. He and his Lord never give up on me. Even if I never find whatever I seek through the fog, I will always have their lights to guide me back into the clarity of love.

 

Monday Blues

I don’t hate my job.  But, Monday is a challenge for me.  Not because of my job, but because of all the undone things from the weekend.

I always seem to have too much to do on the weekends and in the evenings.  But, I don’t stay as busy doing as I should.  I like to sit and drink coffee.  Therefore, I stay behind.

I keep trying to remember I am not 25 and super woman anymore.  I used to go out in the yard and work all day in the flower beds.  I used to start at one end of the house and clean top to bottom, back to front, in a day.

Not only do I not have the physical energy and stamina, I don’t have as much enthusiasm to do so.  I want it done.  But, other things attract my attention.

I keep trying to figure out how to do all of it.  Work all week, cook supper, keep up with the washing, do all the dozens of little things that need doing to keep house. When do I get to the ceiling fans?  What about the rose bush that needs a good feeding before it gets too cold?

So, why didn’t I get a lot done this past Saturday?  Well, he got his four-wheeler running. He took it to the woods.  No way am I staying home when I can ride with him!  Of course, it was rough and tumble and wore me out.  But, I would rather be with him and be behind on chores any day of the week.

Someday, I will have time and energy to do all of it and keep up with everything.  But, not at the expense of time with him.

What about the upcoming weekend?  The women will be gathering again.  I have gumbo and ice cream to mix up.  Four generations of women laughing, talking, and just by being together, gaining courage and strength.

Mother would be so pleased. Is so pleased.  I am sure she knows about it.

We have lived in the house Mother built for ten years now.  No. She doesn’t haunt it.  But, when my little nieces come to visit, I feel Mother there with us.  When we all gather to visit at her sister’s house, no doubt her spirit comes to linger and laugh, too.  I certainly feel her closer after the visits.

We are still living her legacy.  Love, laugh, pull together to face the difficult things life brings.

The dust and the weeds will have to wait.  Love calls. I answer, “Here I come!”

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Real Tropical Living

A weather system is moving in from the Gulf.  It may be a tropical storm by landfall.

Thankfully, I had some time in my schedule today to get the yard readied.  I moved my potted palms against the house along with the other pots of plants.  I picked up some odds and ends and put them away in the shed.  I put my yard tools in the shed from the carport.  I took his flag down and put it in the house.

I know it is only forecast to be at most a tropical storm.  Having seen the likes of Rita and Ike, I try to not get nervously excited over it.  Still, the wind and rain can make a mess of things and I wanted to do a little prevention.

I have plenty of food in the house.  Our water company is set up to provide continuous water.  I filled up my car with gas.  I hope the children and he did the same.

I am sitting out here on the porch now sipping coffee and listening to the rain coming down.  Just a regular rain at the moment.  No wind.  The windows are fully open.

This is one of my favorite kinds of moments.  The porch, the rain, the coffee.  My memories hold many moments of enjoying this kind of thing.  I love the sound of rain.  Thunderstorms are awesome to me as well.  No fear, just respect.

My son and his bride are home from the islands for a short visit.  We have had a little time with them.  This storm has disrupted some plans we had made.  But, just the brief moments allowed are appreciated.  So many people love them so much and miss them being here in Texas, we have had to share them more than we would like.  What parent doesn’t want to hold tight to their child after having felt their absence so intensely?

My daughter and I had a wonderful visit cooking gumbo and potato salad and all yesterday.  She, her father and I rode up to see the overfull lake and rivers.  She is full of plans and has an agenda to meet her goals.  Prayerfully, I hope for continued progress and blessings on her path.

I had not realized how quiet my home life had become until they came to see us.  Something about my two children is so intense and vibrant, it tumbles my heart around and I feel unbalanced.  They are not afraid.  We worked so very hard to make sure they were not afraid.  Their courage and boldness is awe-inspiring.  I don’t mind the unbalanced feelings.  It means they are dancing.  Just the way I always hoped.

Another Long Weekend

Summer is kicking off wet, wild and dangerous in Texas this year.  Weeks of heavy rain have saturated the ground and filled every low spot.  Things are running over now.  There are deaths being reported and dozens of raging water videos and photos circulating the web.

Regardless of the weather threat, we were blessed to have my niece and her lovely family with us for two nights.  We enjoy their visits for many reasons.  He gets to visit with our dynamic and comical nephew-in-law.  I get to visit with my “first child”.  I was sixteen and still at home when my brother had his daughter.  I spent many days tending her the first few years of her life.

Her four year old is a charming pistol.  She is so smart! She tries to work every situation to her advantage.  Often with success.  She and I are always measuring each other up for the next challenge.  I love her and see in her so much potential to contribute to the world at large with her sharp wit and bright mind.

Baby sister is a lovely doll!  She displays a stubborn temper occasionally.  But, that does not detract from the spell she has bound over him.  He melts when she is with him.  The two of them seem to have that special chemistry with each other.  Even though he only sees her every few months, she takes to him each time.

We ate and visited and ate and visited.  We napped some, too.  After they left, I wanted to cry over this empty house.

This morning, he and I had a leisurely start.  Finally, he mentioned something about a fishing trip before the rain returns.  I loaded up as fast as I could.

We had a great adventure!  We saw several alligators, including a small one that chased his top water lure over and over.  He was careful to not let it latch hold.  I got one good strike.  We didn’t land anything.  We also saw several extra-large turtles and one extra tiny one.

Oddly, no one was at the sand bar.  There were very few boaters out at all.  I guess the flood reports and rain threats kept everyone home.  We road down to where the forks of the rivers meet.  The Angelina runs into the Neches.  The boiling Neches did make me a bit nervous.  He asked if I was afraid.  I nodded yes.  He laughed reminding me we were in a boat!  We only barely passed over into the current before turning back to the less turbulent Angelina.

There is a slough that runs into the Angelina from the area between the two rivers.  The Neches is overflowing into the slough and running flood water into the Angelina above the forks.  We road into the slough just to see it.

Thing is, the water is supposed to be still rising.  The floods north of here will run through in the coming days.  Already there are trees toppled into the river and debris piled up in new places.  When the water returns to normal levels, things will be different.  One positive of the high water is evidence of sand bars developing.  They have been non-existent for a while. The Angelina will form long vanilla cream bars of semi-course sand.  Luxurious to lie on and watch the boats go by or the children splash about the shallow edges.

Half my life ago memories were made I still take out and admire from time to time.  Memories of young men and young women and young children playing, laughing, loving life.  We were young and strong and fearless.

Things did not go as I imagined them to go.  Things changed for our family and our friends.

One thing I have come to understand.  Those golden times of our lives are transient.  I look back and see periods of time when everything is remembered as wonderful, though we certainly had problems just as today.

My best example is of my mother.  I imagine she had about 10 years of her 59 short ones where life was as is should be.  She had married my father and he had not yet succumbed to his illness.  But, just like my husband, you would not know the hidden parts of her struggle.

She continued to live, live, live! She did not let illness, hers or his, get in the way of what she wanted her life to be like.  She was never bitter or ill humored.  Yes. Privately I held her when she broke down.  One time it was too much for me.  I didn’t know what to do. It was a time when she really faced that she was close to leaving us.  That is all she cared about.  She hated to leave us alone without her.  She knew the pain and struggle we would have to face without her support and courage.  She knew the joys and triumphs we would achieve without her participation and celebration.

Several times this weekend, I could feel her here with me.  How she would love her now grown grandchildren bringing their loves to see her!  But, I cooked a pot of pinto beans and they were pleased.  As I sit here this evening, I know she is pleased as well.

Summer has again returned.  I have closed the windows on the porch to allow the air conditioning to flow in and cool things.  I do sometimes wish he would let me feed coons again.  Over the fence, away from the dog.

But, he is stronger than even she was and I will not change his mind about that issue.  I do not even try.  He takes me to see the alligators and the flooding water and does not let me allow fear to best me.

Confidence.  They both push me to be confident.  It was one trait my mother insisted I develop and he picked up beside her and continues to this day.  Pushing me to be confident.  My daughter has taken up the task to assist him in her stead.

Golden times are often transient.  But, if I will allow it, the golden times will continue to transition.  One era fades and the next emerges.  I must not wallow in pity or stagnate in the past.  Embrace today.  Embrace the flood of orchids pouring into my life.  Let them surround me with lovely fragrance and move on into the realm of memory.  The next lovely flow of petals will arrive soon enough.  Take in the loveliness of the present bouquets and on brief occasion ponder the past bouquets with gratitude.  Be ever ready to receive the gift of raining orchids.

Sometimes orchids have bumpy hides and live in murky waters.  A wondrous creature to behold……this one is kind of cute, too.

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Yes.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day.  I read many posts on Facebook.  Honoring mothers living and remembering those passed.

My own is gone.  His is gone as well.  Yes.  There are many moments I wonder how different my life would be had they still been here.  I miss them.  I love them.  I long to see them.

But, I direct my focus to my children.  To being a mother.  Both of them are amazing people.  They live incredible lives and create positive relationships with the people around them.  I am proud of them and love them more than I can sometimes contain.  So much love fills me it pours from my eyes in liquid form.

I always pushed them to never be afraid.  To be cautious and careful and sensible, but never afraid.  They are living out their dreams.  No.  Life is not perfect for any of us, but they take hold and run with the opportunities presented.

I am so very grateful for my parenting partner.  He is still my hero.  When we met, I was confused and afraid.  He fought his way through the barriers I had created around me and took hold of my heart.  I still keep barriers up around myself.  I still think I have hidden things.  But, on occasion, he makes a comment or something and I realize, he sees through the mask I wear.

He knows the hidden things.  The struggles, the disappointments, the pain.  He does not let me dwell on the negative things.  When I am “off-stage”, I tend to be depressed and discouraged.  He knows this and watches carefully to take action if I drift too close to the edge.  How many times has he pulled me back from despair that overwhelms me?

He has been father and mother to me these many years.  Poor fella!  Yes, I miss my mother.  Yes, I miss his mother.  Yes, I adore our children more than I can express.  Yes, I am grateful to Him for giving me him to be my strength, my courage, my champion, my guardian.

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