Another Christmas Passes Into Memory

This has been an extraordinary Christmas for me simply because of the Jeep. I find myself thinking I will need to take it back to whomever it belongs to any minute now.  It doesn’t seem real that it is mine to keep.  I still can’t believe he bought me such an extraordinary gift.  Sorry my mind still doesn’t wrap around the California Dream living in the shadow of the mountain in the photo.  She is real and yet elusive in my comprehension.

As I was sitting here pondering what to write about, I was looking at the Christmas tree. I plugged in the lights again.  I love colored lights on the tree.  I miss the adjustable twinkle lights we used to have.  I could turn the dial to the perfect speed to set a tranquil mood in the darkened living room.  I would sit and drink my coffee with just the tree lights sparkling to illuminate the room.

I will probably take it down this evening or tomorrow rather than leave it up through New Year’s Day. The thought makes me feel sad, as usual.  The feeling seems amplified because of the feelings about the Jeep being temporarily at my disposal.  If I take the tree down, Christmas is really over.  And I will wake up and the Jeep will be gone, too.

Craziness of my thoughts. My mind argues with my heart.

I am already looking into the next year. I have a line-up of projects to do.  I have the materials to do all of them, too.  Just need time and focus to get them done.  Time is not so much of an issue as focus.  I piddle around, stalling.  Stalling because the creative endeavor might not turn out the way I had hoped.  Or maybe I won’t be able to work it out technically.  Will I have the skills needed to turn the idea into a successfully completed project?

I am such a sporadic “crafter” I don’t have a depth of skills. I have hit a lick at this and a lick at that.  Never really committing to one thing or another.  I don’t seem able to get too involved in something.  I tell myself it is because the something isn’t Something.  That I am not really all that interested in it.  I’m not sure what is the underlying issue.  Maybe the shadow of my father’s illness?  Fear I will get too involved and go over the edge.  Maybe some notion that the only thing I should be really interested in is evangelizing lost people and anything that takes from that energy and focus is sinful.  Concerned that I will get lost in the “flow” of creativity and lose track of time and not have supper ready or my chores done and he will be put out or inconvenienced because of it.

Maybe all of the above. There is a song on the radio: “you keep a slip knot in the strings you attach”.  Yes. I do.  I don’t maintain long term relationships beyond my family.  I keep to myself most of the time.  Oh, I yak and laugh with co-workers at the 9-5 and with fellow members at church.  But, I have difficulty socializing outside those arenas.  The friends we’ve had over the years have, like us, moved along in life phases and most have moved geographically, as well.  The ones nearby are busy with other things.  No one has the energy to take time to be together anymore.

One of my hopes for the New Year is to re-learn how to “visit”. To drop by a friend’s house to chat.  To call someone up on the phone to trade gripes about some trivial nothing that happened to us.  To ride to town and go “fumbling”.  That is what my grandmother called what might be translated as window shopping or browsing.  All we would end up buying is a cold coke to drink on the way home.

Another Christmas passes into memory. Another year passes along right behind it.  I feel like Bilbo when he said, “I want to see mountains, again”.  The “mountains” I want to see again are friends.  I want to see my friends, again, and see them often and casually.  Without all the planning and strategizing it seems to take these days.  It feels like a mountain of a wish.  If it plays out, it will bring a mountain of memories.

Next Christmas with two Dreams in the world………………….

Come on New Year. Bring with you more time with certain little Dream girls.  Bring with you more time with friends.  Bring with you mountains of memories and tie my strings into knots.

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Hidden Things

What are the hidden things in my mind and heart? What drives me to do things I do? What prevents me from doing things I want or need to do?

I often seek occupation with a hobby. I have tried to get involved in several different types of arts or crafts. I don’t get much further than buying some supplies. Sometimes, I do a project or two. But, then something will come up and I will have to put the supplies in a box and clear the work area. Nothing more happens. Things stay boxed up until I get rid of them. I seem to associate pursuit of artistic things as with my father’s mental illness. He would often reach for the arts when he became manic. Perhaps that is why I won’t let myself like arts and crafts enough to keep going with something. Perhaps there is some other totally different hidden thing that gets in the way.

I make lists. I have written of this before. I make lists and remake lists. I have lists of things I need to do. Lists of things I like. Lists of chores I need to do regularly. I recently noted in my journal that I feel if I could ever get the list right, or get the right list, my life would be all worked out. Life would not feel so hollow. Not sure if that is the right word. There seems to be something missing in my every day moments.  This compulsive behavior has both good and bad properties. In a sense, I rely on the lists too much. I spend too much time working on them. On the other hand, the lists keep me on course to get chores completed, to keep my nine-to-five job duties prioritized, to keep my home supplied with essentials like milk, eggs and toilet tissue. I don’t know why I list. Fear of forgetting. Struggling to put order to my scattered thoughts. I don’t know why I do this either.

I refuse to ask for help. Not in a stiff-necked way, but in an “I don’t want to trouble anyone with my incompetence” way. If I ever do ask for help, I am usually so far gone I don’t know what to have someone do for me. So, I just don’t ask and give up until I can go again. I let myself go with unmet needs because of this.

I did not learn this from my mother. She was a five-star general at getting people to help her get things done. She did it with love and honesty and great home cooking. “I want to do project X. Y’all come Saturday and I will cook a roast and some beans and make a cake.” She would get everything to do her project and to prepare the meal. Extra hands would help in the kitchen and on the project. We made grand memories in the process.

Why won’t I even ask him for help with simple things that I struggle with? Little chores around the house that I may be behind on or just need to get ahead on. I don’t know about this one. I have realized I never asked my childhood friends about anything either. They were putting on makeup and I was too embarrassed to ask how they managed to apply eyeliner. That sort of thing. I don’t know where they learned things. I just figured I wasn’t clever enough to figure it out and they were.

He gave me a generous gift card for our anniversary. I spent almost all of it on shoes. What I needed was pants. Shoes and purses don’t depend on my size. Most blouses and tops will go from one size to another without much problem. My top half doesn’t change sizes that much when I am thinner. But, my pants size will change if I ever get my diet and exercise going in the right direction. My crazy mind thinks if I buy pants now, I won’t have money to buy smaller pants. Or that it means I am giving up getting fit. Or what? What is the hidden issue here? Why won’t I buy clothes that I really like and want to wear that fit me now?

I wonder at my quirks. I don’t mind having the more harmless ones. I want to know why I do what I do. Why I behave and respond the way I do. What makes me withdraw into myself and not allow others too close. I want to know why so I can undo the more harmful ones. Even knowing why may not help me change things. But, it is a start.  I want to do better for myself so I will have a better starting place to do for others.

I don’t know why I love the full moon so much. I love her rising over the lake. Is it because my grandmother would come to visit when the moon was going to be full just so she could take us down to the lake to see her rise over the water? Did she really time her visits that way or did it just work out that way very often? My mother’s mother is the reason for many of my favorites. Full moons over the water, jungle print fabrics, canna lilies, pampas grass, cemeteries, red “tennie” shoes to name a few.

I went down to see her the other night. I had almost given up when she appeared from behind the low clouds. I still feel excited anticipating her appearance and restless when her light shimmers around me. Restless to walk along quiet, white sand roads, listening to the voices of the past echo through the stories Granny always told me. Laughing and playing. Yes. I do know one certain reason I love the moon. My granny who loved me and understood me so deeply bound me to the full moon rising over the lake by loving me in the beams of light shed from the evening sky. Here is our August moon, Granny.

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Sinking In

I am always reading self-improvement things.  Books, blogs, magazine articles, whatever.  Always seeking a magical answer.  The question isn’t really clear.  I cannot find a magical answer if I don’t know the magical question.

One concept I have often read about is breaking down the project into manageable tasks.  I am a very organized person.  I always think about projects and plan them in what I believe is the most sensible and efficient order.

Then, I begin said project.  I follow the plan.  The problem seems to be that I believe I can do more than I can do. I overextend myself.  I get halfway through and run out of time and/or energy.

I don’t know if I am just trying to do too much or if I am not planning a well as I think or what.  I just know I end up with a mess to clean up and a project not completed the way I imagined.  It is finally sinking in that I need to not only think of the project in steps, but I need to do the project in steps and stages.  Don’t try to change my entire world on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.

The next chapter of this saga is about purpose.  I plan a project.  I think about the area I want to improve.  I set about the stages of the project.  I realize I am only trying to distract myself from something else.  I get bored because it is being done for the wrong reason.

If I have a project to complete, I don’t have to think about not achieving the real goals.  I can fool myself into thinking I am busy taking care of important issues.  But, only for a little while.

Suddenly, the curtain is drawn back and the truth comes out.  The great Oz is a fraud and a fake.  The truth is in the ruby slippers always with me.  Just get on with it.  The way is there.  Stop following someone else’s yellow brick road and get back to home base.  Get centered and grounded and back on the real track.

I have set myself a task and a deadline to meet it.  He is backing me 100%.  He is my partner in this life and my champion, too.  Together, we will get me where I need to be.  Following my own brick road.  Not the yellow one.

It is finally sinking in.  I must be true to myself.  I must follow my own path.  I must stop trying to take part in things I care nothing about.  Most of all, I must stop running away from my destiny.  The line in a movie that haunts me and my son:  find and fulfill your destiny.  Perhaps, it isn’t so hard to find after all.

Keep paying attention.  Keep listening to my instincts.  Keep battling the fear.  Keep pushing back the mindless distractions.  Keep pursuing life and destiny and love and truth.

 

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Flood

He and I walked down to see the muddy water boiling through the gates from the lake into the flooding river bed.

This gushing torrent is pouring from the same serene lake whose lovely face I have shared previously.  She is overloaded with rain and bursting at the seams.  Not her normal self.

I know how she feels.  I have a torrent of thoughts flooding my mind.  I recently filled one of my paper journals and switched to a fresh one.  I keep hauling around the old one.  I have been back through it several times trying to figure out what I am afraid to discard or shelve.  Finally, yesterday, while again going over the pages, I realized the whispers of the bigger story I want to tell is started there.

I shared with my friend today my idea of what I want to tell.  She had asked me if I have taken classes or is my writing a gift.  I don’t know about it being a gift, but, no I haven’t taken writing classes.  I haven’t even read many books on the prescribed reading lists from high school or college.  I simply write.  I have written forever.  When the prescribed writing of school days ended, the pen of teenage passion waned, and my babies were big enough to play without constant surveillance, I began journaling.  From the first time I heard about the concept of blogging, I wanted to try it.

I always wanted to be like John Boy Walton and write stories.  I never felt I had a story to write.  I still don’t have a fiction story to write.  My cousin encourages me to write the book.  I want to tell my story.  Every woman’s story.  Wish me courage.  Wish me discipline.  Wish me strength.

I fear letting the story come forth, I will become like this raging river boiling from the depths of the lake.  Churning out of control and spilling forth over the banks meant to contain me.  The banks of calm rationality I try so hard to maintain.  But, dear reader, you know I despise fear.  Here is a fear I must overcome and free myself.  He will hold on to me when I start to go under.  He will not let me be pushed to the bottom of the churning turmoil of emotional energy.  He will lift me up to Him in his prayers and we will ride out another flood of life together.

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Spring

The air has changed.  Even if we have more cold temperatures, spring is upon us.  Green buds peek from tips of limbs.  Weeds are more than ankle deep.  Bird songs have changed.  He heard geese traveling north the other evening.

I am restless with the changing season.  Wanting a change.  Not knowing what to change.  I am ready to get my plants off the porch.  Ready to rearrange the furniture for the changing light.  The daybed is in one corner for winter sun and will be moved to another corner for summer shade.

The azaleas should be in bloom within a week.  Already the redbuds bring vibrant hope.  I love every season in its turn.  I celebrate the fading of one and the coming of another.

The transitions remind me of the ever-turning pages of time.  I am reminded to seize this moment and be joyous at the life pulsing through my veins.

The difficulties we face today will be overcome and become distant memories.  I know this because it has happened before.  We have faced difficulties and with His Help, we have overcome them in the past.  There are some things that happen which must be endured until the end of life.  Most things pass.

Challenges are to be faced.  I may have moments of weakness and feel overwhelmed with fear.  But, I must not give in to the fear.  I must stand and face the lions in the den.  Fear leads to confusion and poor or delayed decisions.  Fear leads to despair.  Fear leads to bitterness and anger.

I watched a movie once.  I have it on DVD.  I cannot bear to watch it again.  I love it, but it is emotionally taxing.  What I learned from the movie is simply to feel the cold and not fear it.  Feel the pain.  Feel the heartbreak.  Feel the feelings.  Do not fear them.  I don’t know if I would see all of that if I watched it again.  I doubt anyone else would find that message in the movie 300. 

It corresponds with my Grandmother telling me about childbirth to let go and let it hurt.  I had both of my children without pain medication.  It was not easy to let go and let it hurt.  But, it was worth it.

The current challenges I face will pass.  I have a choice.  I can face them with good humor and a smile or I can make myself miserable along with everyone around me.  No matter the outcome of the situation, I have a choice about what I think and what I allow myself to feel.

I want to get through this happy and laughing at the moments that exist between the battles.  I want to be able to focus on the battles when they are before me and leave them on the field when the time for rest comes.  I do not want to be covered with the smell of fear.  I hate feeling fear more than just about anything.

I will be strong for him.  I will be faithful for Him.  I will not fear.  I have my sanity and His Salvation.  And a thousand other blessings………………………………..

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Sweetness

I got to see the nieces this weekend. One was celebrating her fourth birthday.  I did manage to catch her for a split second two or three times to steal a hug and kiss.  The other delight was napping when I got there.  I had to wait till Sleeping Beauty arose to get my hands on her.  And, no, I did not put her down or share her with her other relations.  I had a couple of hours to get a month’s worth of snuggles from the happiest baby on earth.  She is quieter and happier than my daughter was at that age.  That is saying volumes.  Her great-gran and I decided she knew before she was born how loud the other household members are and figured quiet patience was going to be the best course of action!

I stopped by the hospital to see my cousin. She harangued again about my writing a book. (I hope she never stops!)  I don’t have a story to tell.  Well, I don’t know if I do or not.  Certainly, I don’t envision my writing fictional work.  I hardly read fiction.  A good real life adventure story appeals to me vastly more than an imagined and improbable made up story.  Although, I have read some fiction recently.  I have a couple of new novels awaiting a lazy afternoon and a short wish list of a few more titles.  Perhaps allowing myself to relax into such leisure will inspire me to put pen to paper and work out the anecdotes in my memory and notions floating in my mind.

One real reason I put off writing is the same reason I put off reading novels and watching movies. I don’t want my tender heart to ache from things not really happening.  I fear writing will bring out all the carefully stored pain from the grief of losing my loved ones.  Things from the past.  Things not happening now. I despise feeling fear.  I know I will eventually face the fear and beat it back into the hell from which it creeps. I will write the heart ache onto paper and if the tears don’t blur the ink too greatly, I will attempt to share it with the world. If the Lord allows.

Love is the only thing that heals all things. Time is given credit for love’s work.  Time means nothing to some wounds.  Time only passes.  Love is the true healer.  After the passage of time, love comes stealing into a wounded heart.  Someone to love still holds fast.  Someone new to love enters the scene.  The wound is knit together with the bond of lasting love or a new love.  Love is not only for lovers.  It is for mothers and fathers, sons, daughters, and grandparents, brothers and sisters, cousins, nephews and nieces, uncles and aunts, and for friends.  Death, disease, divorce.  Destruction comes.  But, love is greater.   Love is the eternal choice.

Let me have a few someones to love, always. A baby in the mix is pure magic.  But, I will take a near half century old feller who has held fast to me these many years for the daily dose of everyday magic.  Love is what he and I have chosen for each other.  The fear will be faced and the stories written with his courage and His peace to shore me up against the tears.  Love is greater.

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Still Struggling

I have a lot of free time. I could spend more time cleaning house and doing yard work. I feel I should do so. I want to get to a place of contemplation and quiet.
I want to learn to do yoga and to paint. I want to learn to meditate. But I fear meditation because I am afraid of what it will bring up. I must decide whether to forget about meditation or to forget about my fear. I know I can paint. I just have to figure out how to manage the material. The acrylic and the brush and the canvas. Just need practice.
I do not want to be sad and grieving anymore. I want to not feel lonely anymore.
I don’t know what I want to do each day. I feel as if there is something missing. Something I should be doing. Something that would make me feel less mournful and more anchored. Do I want to feel anchored? Or do I just want to feel safe floating and drifting?
I am not afraid, am I? I despise fear. I fight to overcome anything I fear. I am still working on fear of heights. I feel as if I am going to be flung off into the abyss. I have a couple of unspeakable fears. I tried to write them but could not. I will never overcome them. They are acceptable fears. Natural to a mother and a wife.
Only love can heal. Only love can overcome fear. Not time, not conditioning, not anything can truly change the heart aside from love.
I keep struggling for answers and I don’t really know the questions.
What does my life look like on the other side?
I don’t want to feel compelled to do anything remarkable. Is it enough to simply live? To get up each day and enjoy getting dressed and preparing food to eat and playing. Whether the playing be on the computer or writing or creating a pretty bauble.
I spent so many years taking care of others who were either growing up or fading away. Now, with time to do what I always thought I would do if I had time, I don’t seem to be able to commit. I always thought my lack of commitment to creative development was due to fear of interruption. I didn’t want to be in the middle of something and be called away to hospital or school or some family need.
Part of my dilemma is not having a place to work. A place to set up arts and craft supplies and spread out projects and leave them there to work on when I have time. It has to be a place I can close off from site. Remember that I cannot abide messes. I am constantly rearranging my nest to reduce clutter and mess. I bring in things and arrange them only to pack them up and store them out of site but never out of mind. Worrying about the space taken up in the attic or back closet or on the carport. A part of my insanity. Each of us has something to some degree or other.
So, I am struggling still. When I was on Oahu, I would sit on the beach and try to get my mind still to think. I could barely put a thought together. I could barely write. I am feeling that way some now. My mind scattered and tired. My heart achy and sore. This will, of course, pass shortly.
Tomorrow, I will be soaking in sunshine and later this week snuggling with little people. Can anything feel better than a child’s love? My mind may still flutter away unable to focus a thought, but my heart will be soothed and comforted.

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What chased my mind all over the island?

What churned my soul like the waves breaking over the reef?

What simmered beneath the surface of my heart like the sunlight in the lagoon depths?

Dare I chase away the fear?

Dare I overcome the feeling of fear and climb the heights?

Dare I be flung into the abyss of the unknown adventure?

Time will tell if Love will overpower fear in this struggle.