Away Too Long

I didn’t realize it has been almost a month since my last post until this evening.

The orchids have continued.  I’m not sure what kept me from the page.  I noticed my private journal has been somewhat quiet most days.  Just a spell, I guess.

My next to oldest friend came to see us.  It was so comforting to simply visit with him.  I look forward to him coming again and bringing his bride.  She is my oldest friend.  Fifty years this summer since we started playing together as babes.

Our best friend’s step dad passed away.  We went to see him and his mother one evening.  It was good to see them even with the circumstances.  His mother was in her characteristic animated mode.  Showing off the cows and wild deer and wild ducks.  Feeding everything that moves.

I attended my littlest niece’s birthday party.  She is three already!  I got to see several beloved family members and friends that are family. Pizza, cake, piñata and lots of toys to open.  Great fun!  Our baby girl, the one about to be thirty and a first time mother was there with our acquired granddaughter. She has a ten year old step daughter and is expecting our new girl in May.

Two dear friends and I went to the annual ladies’ retreat sponsored by our association of churches.  We had a special time.  It was a time of bonding for the three of us that is not possible in the settings where we usually encounter each other.  The retreat itself was okay, but we came away with inspiration and direction that came more from left field, so to speak.

He has been terribly busy with many obligations.  All I can do is continue to lift him up to Him for care and protection.  I try to stay alert to his needs that I am able to meet.  The Father is blessing his work in all areas.

I have some friends recovering from or going for surgeries and other medical procedures.  I am trying to be careful to lift them often to the Physician in my prayers.  He heard me the first time.  But, it builds my compassion and matures my heart to maintain contact with Him on their behalf.

I have worked on my Facebook news feed and my Tumbler dashboard and my Pinterest account to increase seeing scriptures and praises and prayers on them.  I have adjusted other things to reduce adverse exposures.

My friend asked me if I listen to contemporary Christian music.  I told her no.  Our area has limited reception to most contemporary Christian stations.  But, I have set my dial to some so I can try to tune in when possible.

I want to draw closer to Him.  I want to be more for Him.  That is one prayer I know He will answer.  Anyone who seeks Him with a sincere heart will be rewarded with Him making His presence known.

We anticipate a visit with our California Dream in the near future.  I can’t think about it too much.  I get giddy with excitement.  More than a kid on Christmas Eve.

So, yes, the orchids have been pouring down.  A sweet fragrance of blessings all round.  This is short and sweet, this evening.  I give myself credit for showing up on the page.  It is enough for now.

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Her Wedding

Our beautiful daughter has married her true love in a wonderful event this past Saturday. She combined the old and the new throughout.

The ceremony was held at the more than a century old farmhouse of our friends. We used Skype to connect to Oahu. Our son and our daughter-in-law were able to be with us through the latest satellite technology. Antique chairs combined with iPhones and iPads to have us all together to see them wed. My office mate first mentioned the satellite link up to me. I hadn’t considered it until then.  Her father gave her away while I held the camera for her brother and sister-in-law to watch.

Afterwards, we blended the current idea of cupcakes for the bride’s cake with her grandmother’s cake plate. The table also held her grandmother’s punch bowl set and was laid with the Battenberg lace tablecloth belonging to the same grandmother, my mother.

We indulged in sirloin steak at a table set with even more of her grandmother’s treasures. The tea cups are a collection of my mother’s. We use them every chance we get to have a special event. No two are alike. There are a few dozen in the collection. They always elevate things to something more with their delicate loveliness.

She used the flowers she had arranged for his and my vow renewal last year. She carried the bouquet she had made for me as well.

Her dear friend acted as official photographer for the day. If that wasn’t gift enough, she presented the bride with a handmade quilt sewn by herself and her grandmother.

Old and new. Tradition and modern. Very much like the bride. Understanding and honoring the old ways while expressing her own imagination and creativity in modern ways.

The local restaurant we used for the reception is owned and operated by a wonderful couple. He makes trademark cinnamon rolls as lagniappe occasionally for diners. We were generously provided more than we could possibly eat! The guests were thrilled with the take out boxes of cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, mints, and chocolate cake.

We wished the bride and groom away with traditional rice. They flew out to Maui the next afternoon. They are there now and will join her brother and sister-in-law on Oahu in a few days. Yes, there is a tropical system headed toward them. Prayerfully, it will pass far enough north to not interfere with the honeymooners’ plans!

 

 

Haunted

You know what haunts me?  Images of white gloves and pearls, white patent Mary Janes with lace trimmed socks turned down at the ankle.  Mother used to dress me in them.

I scroll through Pinterest and view all the fashion.  I even wear a lot of the types of things I see.  But, I remember a time before I reached my teens when Mother tried to dress me as a young girl once dressed.

I had some lovely outfits she purchased.  Even more lovely things she sewed for me.  As I go along in my day to day life, I feel some frustration at myself for not meeting the standards set by the past.

Search Pinterest for 1950s.  See how women were dressed to go the grocery store.  See how women dressed to work in an office.  See how women dressed period.  I realize “things” have changed.  My question is why?  Couldn’t I adjust my own standard?  Couldn’t I dress in prettier, more lady like clothes?

Of course I could.  But, even this weekend I succumbed to the “boyfriend” jeans with a rip in them.  Topped with a bright oversize tee shirt.  But, I wore cute sandals and layers of bracelets.  Does that count?

I troll the resale shops for dresses.  I have a collection of dresses I can wear around the house.  But, I don’t wear them much.  Again, I ask myself why?

I suppose by the time I work my day job, change to work out and do my chores, then shower, it is time to put on jammies.

I struggle inside with the need to be practical in my dress for my clerical job in a high-security Texas prison and my need to turn out properly.

In my next life, I want to have a job that I can dress the way I want.  I want to dress to make Mother proud.  I do wear a dress, hose and heels for Sunday morning worship service.

I wonder if my angel baby remembers how much I anguished over the fashion faux pas she insisted on making by wearing flannel shirts in May.  I finally asked her why she insisted and she simply said it was freezing cold in her high school classes and flannel shirts were just right to keep warm and to haul around outside of the building.  I let it rest.

Looking back, I should have taken her to buy a stylish jacket to wear.  But, my girl is probably laughing at my even thinking about it now!  Oh, well.  Such is the way of hauntings.  They make me recall a different time and place.  I still insist that formality of dress might bring back formality of behavior.  Maybe people would be kinder and gentler, if the idea of being a lady or a gentleman was revived.

Manners, protocol, etiquette, proper grooming, standards of dress.  They may seem shallow and old fashioned.  But, the outward reflects the inward.  The inward reflects the outward.  It boils down to respect.  Self-respect and self-esteem.  Respect for others, too.  My appearance makes a difference.

The best thing I have to wear is a smile.  The best accessory a kind and encouraging word.  I hope I show love and compassion whether I am wearing orthopedic shoes and an oversize tee shirt or my best dress with heels, hose and pearls.  But, that haunted feeling insists I would do it so much better in a skirt and heels!

Disclaimer:  all of my girls (daughter, daughter-in-law, niece) have a wonderful fashion sense and personal style.  Moreover they have such tremendous compassion and scope of mind, I marvel at their magnificent capacity to love.  I only speak to my own self and my own ambitions.

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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.

More Connections

Friends, friends, and more friends!

Friday with a couple at their special place simply referred to as “the hill”.  We hadn’t seen them in nine months.  Just that couple of hours were wonderful.  Touching each other’s lives again.  Feeling like we had never been apart.

Saturday a road trip took him and me to spend the next 24 hours or so with our bestie.  Our best friend and I have been friends since I was 14.  When I met my husband, they also became best buddies.  Our friend has a lovely wife and three of the most wonderful sons I have ever met.  Crawfish, huge delicious crawfish were on the menu for supper.  Lots of laughs with the larger group of their friends.

Sunday, home and a nap!  My porch felt wonderful!  I laid up and read a book all evening.

Monday morning brought severe weather to our area.  Many of our neighbors and friends are still without power.  Thankfully, ours came back on earlier this afternoon.  He spent a good part of his day going round the neighborhood helping neighbors with trees and clearing the side roads.

We did get to see another couple of our friends.  She is a precious lady in my life.  I can go to her with my heartaches and my happiness and her compassion never ceases to amaze me.

Our son sent video posts of the amazing waterfalls on the road to Hana.  One of the videos has his voice in the background.  It is just a passing word or two.  But, I listened to it over a couple of times.  Just to hear him.  Yes, we can call on the phone.  But, the time difference and the reception on his end along with my job place restrictions regarding cell phones reduce the window of opportunity for that.

The best part of the past few days was this evening.  My daughter turned 28 today.  I cannot begin to describe her endless wonderful qualities.  I would certainly be accused of exaggeration by those who do not know her and scolded by those who do for leaving out their favorite thing about her.  Generous to a fault, incredibly smart, energetic, creative, compassionate, sassy, stubborn, beautiful……her father and I were blessed with a brief supper date this evening.  We had planned on a slightly grander event, but the weather put us off from that trip.  Still, no matter where we are or what we do, time with her is all that matters.

Orchids pouring like the waterfalls of Hana, like the powerful storms of a Texas spring, like the love of friends and family.  Filling my life and my heart with a lovely fragrance and beautiful blooms.

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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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