Aggravations

Sometimes I get really aggravated. Not about anything in particular.  Just everything in general.  The garbage service didn’t pick up my trash again.  I don’t know why and he isn’t answering the phone.  The rain storm caught me by surprise today and I got damp and chilled.  I watched the weather and the storm that came was not predicted by the weather man I was watching.  My shoulder is hurting for unknown reasons.  Hurting a lot.  My honey is going to be away for a few days coming up and I am going to miss him terribly.  I still have too many unresolved projects cluttering up my house and yard and life.  I can’t find a new pair of shoes that won’t hurt my foot and will look dressy enough for my taste.

See. Nothing major.  Just a lot of little things piled up.  When I see my list of complaints in black and white, they seem even more trivial.  I have loved ones going through very serious health problems.  I have friends in various personal crises.  There are terrible things happening out in the world at large.

But, sometimes I still have to stop and acknowledge that I have aggravations piling up and getting in the way of joy and thanksgiving. Just because my problems aren’t huge and not really problems at all, I still have to deal with them.  They are like the dripping faucet.  Something that needs to be fixed.  And next week will have another round of problems to deal with.  It is called life.

The up side of things today includes the following: I have steaks marinating and potatoes baking.  Yes, for Monday supper.  I have a great porch to sit on and rest my achy body.  I had a lot of hot water to take a shower and warm up and relieve some of my shoulder ache.  My honey is home.  He is going to help with the trash problem.  I got to visit with my daughter and her feller yesterday.  We had shrimp gumbo.   I have a crochet project I am enjoying.  I have an embroidery project I am enjoying.  I have a book to read I am enjoying.  I just heard that a dear friend got a cancer free report today.

So, I will be joyful and thankful and glad with life and the blessings generously given to me. The orchids are still raining down even when I am aggravated.  All I have to do is stop grumbling long enough to notice.  Out of the darkness of my thoughts and into the light…………………

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A Lifetime

On June 30th, we will be married 30 years. A lifetime of growing together and alongside each other. A lifetime of figuring out how to keep in the same boat paddling the same direction.
Some things we have worked out:
When we don’t like each other much, we remember how crazy about each other we were in the beginning when things were really tough and hang on till we do like each other again. This doesn’t happen much anymore. For my part, I am crazier about him now than ever before. Love is a choice. Love requires feeding and pruning, grooming and tending.
We don’t argue anymore. This is difficult for me because I like to argue. But our rule is that if it is important enough to argue about, it is too important to argue about. Secondly, we don’t try to resolve any thing in the evening or near bedtime. Go to sleep mad, if needed, and if it was important, it can be discussed in the clear light of day. Most likely, it is one of those “Mama, he’s looking at me” things anyway and we won’t recall what the issue was.
I learned a long time ago the real meaning behind “Let the wife submit to her own husband.” Not to all men, but to him alone. And it is the wife’s choice. He submits to Christ, so this is not as difficult as it may sound. In such a situation, the blessings are immeasurable. He assumes full responsibility for our household and all our business. I do my part under his authority and consent. When something goes awry he takes care of it. I don’t have to fuss with anyone or anything. I am expected to keep up my end, but I am not left to keep up both ends. By my willing submission to his authority without exception, he protects, nurtures, encourages and loves me.
My only concern is that I am not doing enough for him. I want my part to be done better. He never complains outright about things, so it is not easy to determine if I am getting it right. I suppose if I mess up royally he would explain it to me.
I spoil him all I can, deferring to him and his plans. I want to be with him and do things with him. I don’t want a separate life only spending a few hours a month on a date or something. I want to be in the truck, on the buggy, on the tractor, on the boat right alongside him. It takes extra time and effort to take me along and help me with my gear. I guess he wants me there. He always expects me to load up.
He is my best friend. He knows me better than I know myself most of the time. He makes me tell him what I am worrying about. He catches my tears. He advises me and prays for me. He refuses to let me wallow in my depression. He checks me when I don’t check my own attitude.
He has no clue about shopping for gifts for me sometimes. But, then, one of our two greatest accomplishments helps her Daddy figure out just what it is I was wanting. That is fine, too. One of the things that makes him so precious to me is the father his is to our children. Though they are both nearer thirty than I care to recall, he is still fathering them in a marvelous fashion.

 

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Not that there are thorns on rose bushes, but that there are roses on thorn bushes.

Surveying the beautiful life we have and are sharing, it has not and is not always a rose petal laden path.

But, the roses on the thorn bush grow lovelier and more fragrant with each passing year.

Love grows richer and deeper with each passing year.

Not settled and ordinary, but robust and flamboyant, with deep roots and sturdy canes.

Yielding blooms in all seasons and all weather.

Not blown to pieces by the storms, but sparkling with raindrops caught in the ever returning sunlight.

 

 

Things to Do

What really important thing am I forgetting to do?

I have that question written on the icebox. There are so many levels to the answers for it. From simple chores to life purpose fulfilling goals.

The forgetting part is the tough one.  I feel I can’t quite remember what I am supposed to do or I haven’t quite found the answer. It seems like I am looking through a veil. That if I could ever get the veil open or if the fog would lift I could see clearly.

If I could ever get to the top of that magnolia tree, I could see the answer:  What really important thing am I supposed to be doing? When I was a kid, there was a huge magnolia in the edge of the woods near the top of the hill overlooking the river valley. I never was big enough, strong enough, or brave enough to climb further than the lowest limb. I always believed that if I could get to the top and look out, I would have the answer. I am not even sure of the question. It may not be what am I supposed to be doing. Maybe it is something completely different. Maybe there isn’t really a question, just a clear vision.

I am not talking about finding a cure for cancer or making a major discovery of some sort. I am talking about my life here in my world of Town Bluff. Right here at this place I call home. Maybe I’m not really forgetting. Maybe I am doing most of it. Maybe there is no clear vision to be had, but rather a learning to seek without fear and without reservation.

Gardening, canning, cooking, reading, writing, growing houseplants, painting, coloring, cleaning, mowing, raking, tending flower beds, making a pretty garden, raising cows, tending to dogs, cats, fish. Spending time with my family and friends. Entertaining. Movies, games, fishing, hunting, swimming. These things are my life, now.

The magnolia tree is gone. There is no longer a place to climb to see the answer. I will have to keep seeking the answer from right here on the ground. What am I supposed to be doing? Am I doing today what will grow me rather than crush me? Am I creating today the life I want to lead? And then tomorrow, I will have to create it again, building on today. One beautiful present time. One beautiful moment connected to the next. Living is what I am supposed to be doing.

Living, loving, giving.

Burning Leaves

I am finally getting a chance to rake the oak leaves in the front yard and burn them. I prefer burning pine straw. Oak leaves have to be stirred and coaxed and tended carefully if even slightly damp. I want things to be bright and easy and fun. I am not even planning to burn my pine straw. Rather, I am going to use it for mulch under the fig tree. Sacrifice immediate gratification for longer term satisfaction.

Am I talking about yard work? Sounds like life to me. Life needs stirring and coaxing and tending. Life is not often bright, easy and fun. And giving up something now can often mean something with a better return later. I would rather burn pine straw. But, we did work hard to clean out the fig tree. I don’t want to lose that progress. I have fought hard to get to a point in my life where I can write publicly.   Talking about life again, rather than yard work.

I have spent some moments recalling dark hours and years of despair. Despair driven by grief and self-condemnation. The one thing that has been most difficult to overcome is guilt. I have had to get over feeling guilty for being alive. My loved ones are gone. If they could tell me anything at all, I know it would be to live fully in their stead and be happy. To grab every opportunity to laugh and love and be joyous! Not trudging through life like burning oak leaves, but flaming brightly like burning pine straw. Bright and easy and fun at every opportunity. And get out and rake up the straw. Gather up the loved ones, make new friends, round up the old friends. Light the pile with laughter, food and drink, games, boat rides, buggy rides, skeet shooting, fishing, hunting, jumping into the river, snuggling newborns, romancing him.   Smell strongly of the smoke of memories made fresh and new, bright and easy and fun.

Sometime life will need for the oak leaves to be burned again. Meanwhile, burn the pine straw.

burning leaves

Smoldering, smoking.

Glowing, flickering.

Grieving, aching.

Loving, believing.