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.

import 12716 463

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.

fullsizerender-17

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.

FullSizeRender (16)

 

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.

13261022_1703290829944713_416820874_n

Strange Treasures

From time to time, I consider the following question. If I had to load my earthly possessions in my small car and evacuate, what would my I count as irreplaceable treasure?

Like most, I have photographs. I have two small trunks full of old mementos. The trunks themselves are heirlooms.  Then, there are my books.  I have a lot I would not pack. But, I have previously shared comments about the ones I would try to save.

I have a large pottery jar and an ostrich egg. There is a glass tray of sea shells.  An old flour barrel has some dolls and toys.

I do have a few pieces of furniture I would like to somehow stuff in there. They wouldn’t fit in my car.  So in my imaginings, I allow him to place them in the truck.  One piece is a credenza.  It is full of glassware collected from both grandmothers, my mother and my own purchases.

Three jewelry boxes should go in the pile. For themselves as well as for the odds and ends in them.

My kitchen cabinets are an entirely separate problem. The collection of dishes, pots, pans, casseroles is two lifetimes of work.  My mother’s and my acquisitions are interwoven behind those birch panels.

I am resisting getting up from my writing to wander the house and see what I am missing in my description.

Just today, I pulled from my shelves a small assortment of vinyl LP albums. These are the melodies I would put on the turntable on sultry summer afternoons.  Exotic, dramatic orchestral performances by Mancini or Mantovani.  What does this collection of music my mother acquired reveal about her?

Many of the tunes familiar from old movies that were broadcast on our little television that got two channels, NBC and CBS, until I was a freshman in high school and mother got an antenna booster than allowed us to get ABC, too.

Those albums would go in there someplace. Though I don’t have a turntable to play them anymore, I would rather not leave them behind.

I have had to let go of so many people and so many ideas and dreams for one reason or another. My treasures, strange though they may seem to onlookers, help me feel a connection with my ancestors.  Perhaps my strange treasures will help my descendants feel a connection with them also.  And with me.

FullSizeRender (9)

He Answers Prayers

Over the past few days, I have seen Him answer prayers. Some prayers are for newly developed situations.  Some prayers have been ongoing for many months.

Our friend recently became very critical from seizures. His father and mother are longtime friends of ours.  Our children and our ill friend played together when they were youngsters.  The prognosis was many long weeks of a medically induced coma.  But, He had him sitting in the chair, talking and eating ice cream after only a couple of weeks.

A man we go to church with also had a severe seizure but was home and back at church in a week or so.

Our friend who once was also our pastor has been seeking a pulpit for months. He has been given one by Him just this week.

My beloved cousin is scheduled for surgery tomorrow. (I hope you get to read this tonight.  I love you so dearly.  I expect another answer to our prayer for you.)  Miraculous recovery time from this crisis and I am also going to seek spontaneous permanent remission.  He does that sort of thing.

I have been struggling with anxiety. In the past, my circumstances would have me succumbing to the screaming memmies.  I have several things going on right now.  Not exactly negative, but trials none the less.

I am waiting for an answer about a business matter. I am in charge of a special event at our new church, not knowing even where things are stored.  I am trying to get back in the swing of teaching a Sunday School class.  Hunting season, festival season, the holiday season are all upon us.  Then, the previously mentioned health problems of people I care about concern me greatly.  My baby niece has not been well.  A dear friend is struggling with her marriage.

But, I have been praying. And He has been working on me. I don’t usually show my stress.  Years ago, one lady was shocked and surprised to hear me speak during a ladies’ meeting about my self-esteem, anxiety and depression issues.  She had spent quite a bit of time around me and had no idea I struggled so.

It has been many years since that time. Slowly but surely I have been healing.  From the inside out.  Praying and working on my thought patterns and feelings. Working through grief.  Working through pain.  Working through anxiety.  Praying for answers.  Praying for focus.  Praying for Him to heal people I care about.

Who can know what He is going to do? Why He allows certain things to happen?  Why He lets some things continue and some things end?  One thing is certain.  Most of the prayers I pray are for immediate things of this earth.  However He answers them, I rest in His assurance of my final healing, my final peace.  Complete in Christ.  Doesn’t get any better than that this side of the gates.

IMAG0575

 

 

A Weekend of Orchids

What a wonderful weekend!

I spent time with my aunt and my beloved cousin working on a special project.  How wonderful it was to have time with my cousin not sitting at the side of her hospital bed.  She is the toughest, frailest woman I know and I love her dearly.

I spent time with him.  We traveled to my niece’s home to attend her little girl’s first birthday party.  Our littlest great-niece holds his heart in her little hand.  He adores her and she adores him.  We went early to get some special time with the family.

We were able to help my niece and her husband get things together for the party.  I love the two of them so much.  She was the first child in her generation and I was still at home when she came along.  She was my first baby to love.  Her husband is such a loving, dear man.  He is precious and funny and I am always glad to see him.

The day also brought a moment or two to hug my brother and my wonderful sister-in-law.  My nephew and his sweet wife were there with their charming little boys.  It was great to see them!

Sunday morning brought a surprise to my door.  One of our “like family” friends came to visit.  We were expecting him and thought his wife was coming.  Instead he brought his mother.  She and my mother were best friends growing up.  It was wonderful to spend time with the two of them.  Our visits are usually as part of a large, loud crowd when we all gather.

We don’t all gather nearly often enough.  Mother had us all together three or four times a year and smaller groups rounded up in between those times.  Daddy was either on the ship or didn’t mind when he was home or didn’t say if he did mind.

I will not dwell on that.  We have plans in the works to gather some more.  I have a milestone birthday coming in the summer.  Time for a big party!  Meanwhile,  some smaller gatherings……….perhaps not so far away from Mother’s way afterall.

A note about the photograph.  It is a camping spot we used often and referred to as “the point”.  It is a short walk from my home and is full of memories for the people who loved my mother and her gatherings.  The park is only open for pedestrian day visitors now.  But, there are many ghosts of memories………..

IMAG1675-1-1