Father’s Day

Today is Father’s Day. My father was wonderful in many ways. But, his mental illness had a negative impact on my thought processes. He wasn’t the champion and hero I needed. He loved me. He was proud of me. I love him and miss him very much.

I married a champion and hero. He and I raised a champion and hero. Our son is like him and like me, too. Strong, take charge, fearless and still a sacrificial care giver to his family.  Our daughter is the same.  The best of both of us has come together in our children. As we see them parent their little girls, it is very apparent.

I praise Him, today. He is the True Source of my joy and happiness. All the time I am wanting to be different, He is making me different.  Not my ideas, but His so much better ideas for me are working themselves out.  I am not really an adult orphan, after all.  My Father is still protecting, guiding, patiently teaching me with His loving ways.  Happy Father’s Day, Lord.

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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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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.

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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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Lessons Learned

My trip to Maui was multi-layered.  Time with the children.  Seeing the sights.  Relaxing in the warm sunshine.

The unexpected layer was discovering myself not weak and old.  I am not beyond pushing physical limits.  I hiked two five mile trails.  One was challenging.  The other was not for the faint of heart.

The ridge hike in the rain and the mud is the one of which I am most proud.  I was slow.  But, my son was absolutely patient and encouraging.  He guided my steps and we joked along the way.  What a kind person he is!  I did the hike without incident and without excess pain and fatigue during or afterward.

I didn’t and perhaps still don’t appreciate how hard I was rolled at Big Beach.  I had some bruises I didn’t realize I had gotten until the places turned black and blue.  It took days for all the sand to come out of my ears.  I still have sand inside the lining of my swimsuit.  I will have to work on getting it out when my package arrives in the mail. (I packed up extra clothes, shoes and my souvenirs in a box and am letting the mail lady bring it to me rather than having to check a bag at the airport.) I didn’t panic when tumbling under the wave.  I just relaxed and waited for my head to come up and my feet go down.  I didn’t feel any pain.

Again, I marveled at my endurance traveling home.  I awoke especially early in the morning.  I was unable to sleep at all on the plane during the overnight flight I took late that evening.  I was up about thirty six hours.  I wasn’t really exhausted feeling.  I was sleepy by the time I had my bath of course.  That is usual for me.  But, I did not feel horrible as I expected.

Those long hikes didn’t hurt my feet.  A good pair of shoes made the difference.  My feet often hurt in the morning just from an ordinary day at work where I sit most of the day.  I do not like wearing athletic shoes.  But, I did buy two new pairs of casual work shoes last week and had a pedicure to take better care of my poorly treated appendages.  They deserve the best care as reward for taking me along marvelous paths.

I discovered I am more physically durable than I believed.  I did more and suffered effects less than I ever imagined possible.  This body, even at this moment, has a spot or two of sharp pain and a spot or two aching just it has these many years. Nevertheless, I am pleasantly recalling my adventures in the middle of the wild blue Pacific.  My body didn’t ache and my mind didn’t race.  I longed only for certain amber eyes as the days blended into each other.

How does one live on island time here at home?  How does one live physically challenging adventures here at home?  How does one overcome the compulsion to push against the waves and get rolled rather than bobbing and floating, laughing and loving through the tumultuous days?  There is a time to dive into the waves and a time to paddle along the stream.  There is also a time to drift and notice the color of life.  The color of my life is aquamarine.  What color is yours?

 

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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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