Now What?

I did not complete the January project as planned.  No real surprise there.  How many plans actually go forward perfectly without a hitch?

So, now what?  Should I continue with the idea? Should I back up and regroup?  Should I dump the plan?

I don’t know, yet.  I don’t want to think of it right now.  Perhaps that is my answer.  Nothing right now.  Just let it go for a couple of days.  Saturday has great potential as a day to think about things.  I will have time to ponder over what I am going to do next.

I will have time to figure out “what now”.  I am a little frustrated because I want to be doing something else.  I just don’t know what the “else” is supposed to be.

If the weather permits, time outside in the sun would be a great help.  I need time to look at the trees making patterns against the sky.  I reviewed my personal photos.  I surely love trees.

My “now what?” is to stop and look around.  Look up.  Keep looking up.

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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Difficult Times

The past few weeks have been trying. Several areas of my life have been in turmoil.  I came home early from the 9 to 5 Monday.  I couldn’t stop crying.

I did what was needed to manage the situation. A little dinner, a little nap, a lot of Scripture and prayer. By the evening, I was better. Drained, but better.

Tuesday was better and today is going fine. Tomorrow is Friday Eve.  So all is well.

The weekend holds promise for a blessed time with the clowns…I mean the girls. Our party theme is clowns and our menu is salads.  I am going retro with a Jell-O molded shrimp salad.  I was thinking maybe my aunt’s Southwestern Salad would be a good one, too.

I should not have been so down after Saturday’s adventures. Fishing, breakfast at the lake, a nap, a buggy ride at the lease.  He and I had a great day.  I was feeling ill on and off all day Saturday, though.  I still don’t know if I was stressed and depressed or fighting a real illness.  That is the thing about the depression. It simulates the symptoms of a cold or the early stages of the flu.  Body aches, fatigue, fuzzy head.  I usually manage the thoughts and feelings pretty well.  Especially the thoughts.  The feelings and the body symptoms are the difficult part to manage.

A lot of prayer, some rest, some talking to golden friends, his nurturing love, His nurturing Love, all worked together to put me on track.

The cherry on top was a short video of a high-kicker from Cali! That made everything grand, again! Funny how grands will do that!

I cannot overstate how grateful I am for the healing I have experienced the past few years. Recovering from the devastating grief our family has suffered has been a slow process.  I still reel from it if I let myself think too much about who is missing in our lives.  But, the future is full of hope.  The future is full of beauty.  The future is full of love.  All the love from all the past loved ones will continue into the future through our generation to the next.

I recently read a book that asked what I would want to be remembered for at my passing. I hope I am remembered for believing in love and the power it holds to restore and renew and prosper the mind, heart and spirit.

My political statement: His Love Matters.

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A Long Week

This has felt like a long week. I’m very glad for the upcoming three-day weekend and four-day work week to follow.

We have been working on the yard. He and our son cut a large oak down in the front yard several weeks ago.  It was way too close to the house.  It was a risk during storms.  The roots and overhanging limbs were too near the foundation and roof.  We have the debris almost cleaned up from that.

I am developing some more flower beds. I have a spiky yucca at the front of the house.  I decided I don’t like it being reachable by tiny fingers, so I am expanding the bed around it.  I have plenty of things to fill up a large area.  Elephant ears, day lilies, cannas, sago palms.  Although, this plan is subject to change.

There is a large mound of purple jew providing starts along the front of the house. I am trying to decide if I want to run it all the way across the front or stop at the front door where it is now.

He has set up a deck out back. It needs some more work.  I am already enjoying it, though.  I have supplies to transform a table and chairs to use outside under the carport.  I want the barbecue pit easier to use and a spot to camp when I am tending the groceries on the fire.

I love being outside. When we lived at Campers Cove, I set up a space with a glider, throws, pillows, a table.  I surrounded the area with pots of tropical plants.  It was situated so I could leave things out all day and go back and forth to my work and my rest.

The porch here is enclosed with windows. I love having it.  I spend most of my free time out here.  But, there is something about feeling the outdoors that has a healing effect on my soul.

The digging in the dirt I have been doing is also working its magic. Whether pulling weeds, relocating a plant, watering and feeding things, raking and burning, all are helpful.

I made a comment to a co-worker about my future retirement. I indicated certain things would change for me because I would have a different lifestyle.  It would be more like the way I lived before I joined the 9-5 throng.  I decided I don’t want to wait until later to have my chosen lifestyle.  I will do as much as I can in the time I have to create the life I dream about.

He has been helping me get things done I am physically unable to do. I am a middle-aged, fluffy female. My muscle strength is limited.  I have no idea how to make a tractor or chain saw work even if I were strong enough.  Thankfully, he has been spending time out with me doing those sorts of things.

No, I won’t be able to do everything right now. I can do a great deal, though.  So, I have started digging in the dirt with earnest. I have made up my mind to tackle big projects I have been putting off due to lack of time and energy.  At least that was my excuse. I will make the time and the energy will come.

I have made myself let down some barriers and visited face to face with some people. I have stepped out of my comfortable cocoon and connected personally with others. I still have a ways to go with this one.

I read a book that explained human energy. Barring physical illness, human energy is largely emotional.  It certainly is for me.  If I am tired after a long day or long week and he mentions something I really love doing or someplace I love to go, suddenly I have a surge of energy to get going.  If it is someplace or something I would rather not engage, I have even less energy and more fatigue.

I know if I get moving and keep moving, I will get to my goal. My destination, whatever it may be.  Or at least I will travel on the path toward it.  The journey is the thing.  To keep traveling the journey path.  Whatever it is and wherever it goes.

I believe if I keep following not my fickle heart, but the Spirit leading me, I will have contentment and satisfaction when I lay my head on my pillow to sleep. I listen to my gut feeling, my intuition.  That is where I find His answers for me.  I have known Him so long, I recognize His instructions.  A gentle peace or a hard conviction.  Or just a knowing something is right.  I don’t always heed, but He takes care of that, too.

Just a chair in the shade, a glass of iced tea, a flower or two around. Birds, frogs and bugs serenading me.  Pondering whether to move that plant over there or over here.  Plucking a ripe cucumber and a few squash to take in for supper.  Getting my heart ready to love him when he comes in the door.  Pretty good journey path if you ask me.

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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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.

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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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