My Autumn To-Do’s

autumn-country-roadIt’s a new season, time for some changes.  Isn’t change a wonderful thing?  We can choose to change or not to change.  Or maybe I should be saying having a “choice” is the wonderful thing.  There are some things in life I love changing and experimenting with.  But there are others I don’t want to see change at all and do not welcome any sort of circumstance that tries to change them.  For instance, as much as I love technology and typing this on a computer, I still love writing with a pen in my personal planner.  Don’t make me try to stop doing that; it makes me a nervous wreck.  It might also be the obsessive compulsive in me but I can’t rely on just one of them, I need both paper and technology to keep me going in the right direction.

Almost every season, and sometimes every month, I make a To-Do List.  It’s sort of a bucket list, just in a shorter time span.  I make these lists in both my iPhone and in my personal planner so I will always have access to them.  Here’s what I have on my list for autumn:

  1. Keep making lists.
  2. Write down my weird dreams in a Dream Journal.dreamjournal4
  3. Attend a weenie roast.
  4. Visit a new produce market and buy an apple I’ve never tried before.
  5. Drive on the gravel roads of my old stomping grounds when the autumn leaves are in full color.
  6. Go to the lake on a sunny, warm autumn day to write poetry like I did in my teen years.
  7. Try out a restaurant I’ve never eaten in alone, just to prove I can.
  8. Go to one movie matinee and see a great movie on the big screen.  It’s been several years since I’ve done this.
  9. Clean out my garage.  God help me.  Please.
  10. Write, write, and write.
  11. Read, read, and read.
  12. Work on my fiction to make my characters more interesting; more quirky.
  13. Lose 20 pounds.  (I think I can, I think I can)
  14. Eat one piece of something pumpkin.
  15. Visit someone special to me.  I am so guilty of not visiting because I always feel awkward and uncomfortable in someone else’s home.
  16. Have a Golden Girls marathon for an entire weekend.golden_primary
  17. Make and keep an eye doctor appointment.  It’s overdue.
  18. Spend as much time as I can with Maggie outside while the weather is so nice.
  19. Go out with friends at least once.  I know I’m a loner, but I also love my friends.  It’s a hard balance for me.
  20. Find a covered bridge in my county and take pictures.  This has been on my list nearly every year and I still haven’t done it.
  21. Call my brother.  I have no idea why I haven’t.
  22. Find a dark chocolate that I like.  Oddly enough, I have read it can do good things for blood sugar.
  23. Read one book by an author I’ve never read before.
  24. Read one book of nonfiction.
  25. Write more on my blog.
  26. Take flowers to my family’s graves.  Flowers for autumn or Christmas are always nice and I haven’t done this in a long time.  Difficult memories, I hate cemeteries, but I need to do this.
  27. Teach Maggie to sit.  This will probably be my most difficult challenge.
  28. Stop being so hard on myself when I mess up.
  29. Forgive everybody everything.
  30. Stay away from people who deliberately hurt me.
  31. Vote for Hillary.

OK, I’ve shared mine, now you can share yours.  Do you have a seasonal To-Do List?

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Blessings

 

 

Grey Hair, Gravy, and Lipstick

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Wearing my wig.

“Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.”   Wait, I stole that line from a soap opera.  But ain’t it the truth?  As a child, I was always told that time moved much more quickly as an adult.  I had no reason to believe that; I saw no end in sight to Fifth Grade. 

The days of our lives turn into the decades of our lives before my crepey eyes blink twice.  The sands of time pile up from a play box to barefoot on the beach.  Unfortunately, it took a few dump loads of sand before I realized this really wasn’t a dress rehearsal and the time I need to enjoy is today.

It’s been a trip watching and feeling the changes to my body as it has gone through each decade to its current latter side of 50.  It has grown wider, heavier, curvier, and given into gravity.  It’s been abused, and sometimes pampered.  Scars have been carved deep both inside and out.  Arthritis has settled in to stay, my gall bladder was sucked out and discarded with the trash, and gravy can no longer be tolerated on a daily basis.  I do miss gravy.

I’ve gone through a few identity crisis over the years.  One was about six years ago when my thinning hair became so thin I felt everyone was staring at my glaring scalp.  So I began wearing wigs, and they saved me for several years.  They saved me from self-esteem issues and gave me some peace of mind for a while.  They served their purpose and gave me a little confidence in living.

About three months ago, I was sitting on the deck on a particularly warm summer night, and I began thinking how lovely it would be to not have to wear wigs. How nice it would be to experience the freedom of driving with the windows down and not worrying about my hair flying off.

I began asking myself questions, like was I trying to capture the attention of the male species with a gorgeous, Raquel Welch inspired thick mane of hair?  Did I care what others now thought of me when looking at my hair?  Was I trying to impress anyone?  Did my self-esteem lay solely on Eva Gabor?  My answer to all those questions was, “No.”

So I began thinking that maybe, just maybe, someone could take a pair of magic scissors and do something with the impossible.  You see, only a couple weeks before, I had taken an old pair of dull, rusty scissors and chopped away at my hair with a vengeance. I figured it didn’t matter because no one would ever see it under the wigs.  I couldn’t let just anyone see what I had done to my hair.  It had to be someone I trusted and knew would care whether my bald spots were showing, and I knew exactly who to call, my cousin-in-law, Kris, hair stylist extraordinaire.  I made the appointment.

With quiet observation, Kris looked at my hair, gave it a wash, and then set to work.  It had been several years since anyone had touched my hair and the clipping of the scissors made me a little nervous inside, but I trusted her, and I knew the important thing was that I regained my freedom.  It was no longer about how I looked, it was about how I felt.  Kris made it easy.  No judgement, no shocked looks, no screams of terror.  She had a plan.

With what little she had to work with, I felt Kris had performed a miracle.  I walked out of the salon armed with new product and a sense of freedom I had not had before.  Traveling down the highway with the windows down and the warm air blowing against my face and through my hair, I smiled at the absolute joy of it.

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My new, natural hair.

 

Since that day, there have been a couple awkward moments when someone would see me and express a terrified or shocked look.  I grew to embrace those looks as much as I have embraced my crown of grey.  I am one step closer to being the me God created, and enjoying his creation.

With this new found freedom to be myself, I have discovered that freedom goes wonderfully with a lovely lipstick, in any color that makes me happy at the moment.  It’s my life, I shall use all the colors in the box to bring joy to it.

What moment changed your life?

Please feel free to share this and I invite you to subscribe.

 

Blessings

Movies I Can’t Stop Watching

I confess, I love movies.  I love how they can entertain, transport me into another time and place, send my emotions in spirals, and cheer me up when I’m feeling down.  There’s nothing I like more on an “I’m not feeling great” day than to line up my favorite DVD’s and have a moviethon from the comfort of my easy chair.  Here are a few of my favorites, in no certain order:

chocolat-movie

  1. Chocolat:  I love the cinematography of this film.  The characters are unique and interesting and I always have hope at the end that all is well.  And let’s face it, Johnny Depp is a pleasure in this movie.
  2. Funny Farm:  Chevy Chase’s character as a newspaper writer buying a home in the country to live the life of an author and write a book just fires up my own dreams of doing the same.  It’s funny, and it brings back warm memories of my mom and I watching it together and having a good laugh at all the things that happened while he was living the dream.
  3. You’ve Got Mail:  Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are always good together.  The romantic part of me likes the idea of two people meeting and falling in love online.  The practical side of me says, “Don’t do it!”  But it’s a lovely movie and I adore the apartment Meg’s character lives in.Baby_boom_1987
  4. Baby Boom:  One of my all time favorites.  I love how Diane Keaton doesn’t let being knocked down by disappointments keep her down, how her priorities change, and the move to a house in Vermont is my idea of a beautiful life.
  5. While You Were Sleeping:  Who doesn’t like a Sandra Bullock movie?  It’s cute, romantic, and fun.
  6. An Unfinished Life:  When you pair up Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, and Jennifer Lopez in a movie, it’s gotta be a good thing.  It’s not for those loving an action-packed film, but it’s a good movie about life and how circumstances can change in a heartbeat.
  7. Pretty Woman:  This was the very first movie I went to by myself at a movie theater.  Although it definitely seems a fantasy to me, it is fun to watch and dream.  Julia Robert’s character is charming and likeable, as is Richard Gere’s.  And I truly loved the Hotel Manager, Hector Elizondo.
  8. Fletch:  Chevy Chase again in his prime.  It’s fun, with a bit of mystery.
  9. Fletch Lives:  Same as above.
  10. Sleepless in Seattle:  Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in another sweet romance.  It just makes you want to love both of them all over again.
  11. The Pelican Brief:  While the adaptation from book to movie did disappoint me a little, I still enjoy watching it.  A bit of a thriller, it kept me on edge.
  12. The Fugitive:  Harrison Ford…need I say more?The_Fugitive_movie
  13. Clear and Present Danger:  See #12.
  14. Steel Magnolias:  Fantastic cast, interesting and unique characters, and makes me feel good at the end.  It follows the relationship between friends and shows the strength of women.
  15. Sleeping With the Enemy:  Julia Roberts as an abused wife, this movie sheds a little light on the fact that appearances can be deceiving.  I love the life she carved out for herself after leaving him, and the ending always makes me smile.

What are your favorite films?  Do you share any of these?

 

Blessings

Bible Study Benefits

Bible4We are all so busy.  There’s always some place we need to be, someone we need to see, or something we need to do in our daily life.  We stretch ourselves thin while pursuing the wants and needs we all have.  But what if we are neglecting one of our greatest needs during our busyness?   How do we keep it all together while at the same time increasing our faith?

 

I wish I had all the answers and could say I follow them daily.  But I will be the first to admit I fail to some extent each and every day.  For me, my faith is probably the most important aspect of my life I want to hold onto, and yet I am guilty of setting it aside at times.  I started off missing church because of illness, then it became a habit, and then a practice of not attending Sunday service.  Sometimes I’m uncomfortable in larger groups of people, but I haven’t even tried lately.  True, I’m at the church normally six days a week working, but it’s not quite the same.  Yet, if you were to ask me, I would probably tell you I go to church all the time.  And I do, but I’m not worshiping in a way that God deserves.

A few weeks ago, I began attending a new Bible Study on Wednesday evenings.  I thought maybe if I could do this a few times it will “make up” for missing Sunday mornings.  Well, it has not served that purpose; it has not given me a good out that clears my conscience of not attending Sunday morning worship, but it has given me a few unexpected benefits.

  1. Reading the Bible.  I wonder how many of us could honestly say we read the Bible every day, and be very honest about it.  I imagine not many of us.  It’s so easy to put the Bible on the backburner.  We’ll get to that later and then later never gets here.  Not only has a weekly Bible Study given me more Bible reading time at home, I’ve begun exploring different versions online.  I’ve even become very fond of a couple versions I had never heard of before.  It helps me have a clearer understanding, and it keeps me reading.
  2. Friendships.  Meeting in a small group, reading and studying the Bible together, sharing thoughts…it has created a bond amongst us I wasn’t really expecting.  It has brought together folks who were friendly, and made them friends.  When the pastor was out of town and we had no leader for the group, we went out to dinner together.  We prayed, we ate, we laughed.  We chose to spend that time together rather than go our separate ways.  That is God working a plan in our lives.
  3. Socializing.  I could very easily become a hermit.  Rather than force myself to go out with friends, I would much rather stay at home with my pets and watch a movie or read a book.  I’d rather make a To-Do List in my notebook than have conversations with people I enjoy.  It doesn’t make much sense, but it is what it is and that’s how I am.  Being an introvert isn’t a terrible thing, but there is much about life I sometimes miss because of my tendency to seclude myself.  Bible Study forces me out of the house and among friends.  The group is small enough I feel comfortable.  Granted, if it was a group larger than ten, I might not feel the same way.  Our group is cozy, but not overwhelming.
  4. Laughter.  With most small groups, there is going to be laughter at some point. And you may have heard the old saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.”  If it doesn’t cure you, it’s bound to make you feel a whole lot better!13938387_1114010325302730_9169913728093619050_n
  5. A stronger relationship with God.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?  Studying God’s word, sharing thoughts, supporting each other.  It all adds together to bring us closer to each other and to God.  At the end of every study session, we pray.  We can pray silently or out loud, however the Spirit moves us.  It is a peaceful time, and I usually feel God’s presence in a strong way.

I would encourage everyone to join a small group for Bible Study.  Not only has it strengthened my relationship with God, it is time well invested in making my life more balanced, more meaningful.  And maybe, just maybe, I will be a better person for it.

Blessings

 

Letter to Grandma Flossie

723608-Portland-Rose-GardenHi Grandma,

It sure has been a long time since we’ve talked.  I hope all is well in heaven.  Have you and God been having long conversations?  You’ve been on my mind a lot lately, so I thought I’d write you a letter.  I remember how much you always loved receiving a letter in the mail, and that you would write letters to your family who lived miles away, too.

The last time I turned on the TV in the afternoon and saw a soap opera on, I thought of you, Grandma.  You used to love watching Days of Our Lives and General Hospital.  Not much has changed.  Well, maybe.  There’s still always drama, crying and yelling.  People can’t get along.  Except now, Grandma, they have men kissing men.  I know.  Even as progressive as you were in some of your thoughts and ideas, I don’t think you would have gone for that.  Seeing how Elvis would shake his hips when he was singing was enough to make you scowl, though I did notice you kept on watching.  But two men kissing on TV…nope, I think that one would make you turn the TV off and go water your flowers.

Speaking of flowers, I’ve never seen flowers like yours much since.  Somehow, it was always comforting to see you outside working in your flower beds.  Pruning, trimming, digging, planting.  You would have sweat dripping like crazy off your forehead, but you’d just take your apron hem, wipe it away, and then keep on working.  Every so often, I’d see you with the wheelbarrow loaded up with cow manure that you got from the pile back of the barn.  You knew exactly which kind you wanted, too.  The kind that had mellowed for quite a while and was a bit on the drier side.  You knew exactly what would make your flowers and vegetables grow.

You had the loveliest roses in your garden.  They were always beautiful.  You spent a lot of time reading up on how to keep bugs and insects away organically, but if that didn’t work, you’d blast them with something.  Nothing was going to mess with your flowers and get away with it.  I liked that about you.  You took care of who and what you loved.  You took care of me.

I miss the conversations we’d have on the front porch while we were shelling beans.  Didn’t matter what kind of beans they were, and you had several kinds.  I’d fuss and complain about having to do it, but secretly, I loved spending the time with you.  You told a lot of stories about growing up and I wish now I had listened more, or written them down so I could have remembered.  You didn’t have an easy life, but I don’t remember you ever complaining, just reminiscing.

The other times I really enjoyed was when everyone else was out at the barn milking thebarn-silos-park-city cows, you’d come over and we’d watch little Joey together, and you’d help me with my homework.  Oh, how you fussed about that “new math.”  I think it’s even worse now, Grandma.  But then, if we could get that homework out of the way, we’d play Chinese Checkers.  It was so much fun!  You’d almost always beat me, but it didn’t really matter.  You’d get on to me when I missed a really good move.  It made me mad, but I know you were trying to teach me to be more observant, and to think more.  You were great like that.  You knew that women could be great thinkers and do pretty much anything they wanted in life.  Back then, that was pretty progressive thinking.

I was always proud of you, Grandma.  You lived in California for a few years as a housekeeper/nanny and experienced things I will never experience.  You worked for a family named Finkle, who made hats.  Hats were a big thing back in the day.  You had so many stories to tell, places you’d been to, people you saw while riding the bus shopping in Los Angeles.  I think those were probably some of the happiest days of your life.  But when Joey was born, you felt there was a need for you to come back to Ohio, and you did.  I was probably one of the luckiest little girls in the world to have my Grandma living just a few yards away from our house.  You were a big help to everyone.  I know Dad yelled and grumbled a lot, but you were always there to help and I know you were greatly appreciated, even if it wasn’t said.  Thank you, Grandma.  Thank you for caring enough to help with Joey, and with me.

101471842_webThere are so many memories I have of you, joyful ones.  Picnics in the backyard, trips to Pomeroy to go grocery shopping and to the feed mill.  You loved riding into town.  It didn’t take long at all for you to put on a little rouge and lipstick, a “good” dress and pair of shoes.  The good shoes and work shoes looked the same, except the good shoes were newer.  And then you began wearing pant suits, polyester pant sets that looked so good on you.  Again, you showed the progressive side of yourself, even if you were a devout Republican.  You knew the value of a dollar and chose your spending wisely.  But you never failed to bring me back a gift when you were away visiting or traveling with someone.  You always thought of me, Grandma, and it was so very nice to be thought of.  You even gave me the first Bible of my very own.  I hope you know how much that changed my life.

Well, Grandma, I’d better close for now.  I still have a couple chores to do and I know how much you liked chores being done.  I miss you and love you.  We’ll talk again soon, I promise.

Blessings

 

My Ex-Anniversary Celebration

13239089_1060769970626766_8569802778752923799_nMay 20th, 1978, at just shortly after 7:00pm, I married my high school sweetheart beneath the maple tree in our backyard.  It was a beautiful May evening, warm and sunny.  The wedding was very simple.  Two yellow potted mums sat on either side of where the preacher stood in front of the tree trunk.  My dad, dressed in his one and only brown suit, walked me across the porch, down the steps, and handed me over to the groom, quite eagerly it seemed to me.

The ceremony was short.  A bird pooped on his aunt’s head in the middle of it.  I thought everyone was laughing at us, that the dress I had sewn myself must have been coming apart at the seams or my tomato red sunburn from the day before was causing too much of a glow.  But it was soon over and I wouldn’t find out about the bird until much later.  I thought I would live happily ever after from that day forward.  That was my plan, anyway.  That was the fairy tale.

The trouble began just a few hours later, after the reception.  We couldn’t go on a honeymoon because we were both unable to take time off work, so we spent our first night together at the Uptowner Inn.  He was upset with me.  He said I stayed at the reception too long.  I said it was the only wedding reception I would ever have.  He said he was hot, I should have known.  And the next time he tells me he wants to leave, I’d better leave.  I’d better get things straight right then and there.  I spent my wedding night crying.  Things weren’t going the way I had planned.  This wasn’t the fairy tale I had imagined.

And so it went for the next eleven years.  His drinking was non stop.  At times there were drugs, but I’m not certain how long or at what frequency it happened.   The control, the anger, the abuse all escalated.  There were holes in the walls of our mobile home.  Plates of food had been thrown against the kitchen wall because he didn’t like what was served.  Dishes broken.  Glasses thrown and broken.  I was constantly walking on eggshells, never knowing what I might say or do that would set him off on one of his temper tantrums.   He kept a loaded pistol beneath his side of the bed.  It was a not so subtle threat.  There was absolutely nothing I could do right.  He would hurt me in any way he could.  My punishments were frequent.  For weeks he would give me the silent treatment, until he wanted sex, and then he was all loving again.  He reeked of beer and barbeque pork rinds.  The night before my brother died, he tried to kick me out of the house because I hadn’t been home from the hospital to do the dishes.  I was too tired to go and begged to stay until morning.  By morning,  Joey had passed away.  He bought me a new TV to make me feel better.  I was being a bitch because I was crying all the time.  And then my dad died, and it was all about how hard it was on him.  Somehow, that was all my fault, too.

It was a secret life I kept to myself.  First of all, who would believe me?  He was a good guy.  He’d never do anything like that.  And if he did, it had to be that I drove him to it.  The pain ran deep inside me and what little self esteem I had was no longer existent.  Then one night around 2:00am when I was home alone and he was out drinking or with his girlfriend, I was crying and screaming into my pillow, asking God what I should do, praying like a woman who had nothing else to lose, God answered my prayers.  I still remember this intense calm that came over me, inside me.  It was overwhelming.  My tears stopped.  I felt God’s presence in every fiber of my being, and He told me it was time to go, that I could do it.  He would be with me through it all.  He did not want me to live a life of fear and pain.

When I filed for divorce the next morning, I cried the entire time I was speaking to the attorney.  I asked if he could make it happen quick, and since it was uncontested, it did happen pretty quick.  But then I had to tell my family, and it wasn’t easy.  My mother even told me things would have been different if I had stayed at home instead of working, if I had taken better care of him.  If I had raised a family.   If I had been a good wife.  He was supposed to have told his mother and family about the divorce, but didn’t, and his mother had to read about it in the newspaper.

I moved to a little one bedroom apartment with my cat, Tuffy, on July 1st, 1989, two weeks after I had filed for the divorce.  I couldn’t get into the apartment I had leased before then.  He had ran over Tuffy with his truck a few weeks earlier when he came home drunk.  Tuff survived, got patched up, and I promised him a better life.  At that point, he had already beaten a dog I had owned, killed a kitten, and now he was going after my Tuffy.  I didn’t care if he killed me, I was leaving and Tuff was going with me.  It meant selling my horse, but I finally had the strength to get out of there, and it had to be done.  The night of July 4th, I could see some of the fireworks in Parkersburg from outside my apartment.  It seemed a bright light, a sign of a better future.  Later, when Martina McBride came out with the song Independence Day, I would think of that night.

My soon-to-be Ex found where I was living and showed up at the apartment to try to rape me.  I screamed.  There were workers outside the apartment, so he left.  It was odd, because he had been cheating on me for a long time, yet he didn’t want to let me go completely, he still wanted that control.  I still couldn’t do anything right.  He would call me on the phone and complain that people were spreading rumors about him, that he was a drunk.  I told him the rumors weren’t started by me, I hadn’t told anyone anything.  But he was certain it was all my fault.  In his mind, even the rain was my fault.  August 10th, 1989, the divorce was final.  I was free.

Now, I’d like to say the healing was quick and easy and all things wonderful within weeks.  That would be a lie.  I spent decades trying to get over the pain and damage the marriage had caused me.  There are parts of that life that will forever haunt me.  But I kept going, finished night classes at college, and kept putting one foot in front of the other.  A year after the divorce, I bought a house.  It was something I had always dreamed of.  It didn’t happen in the way I had planned, but it happened the way God planned.  And I did it on  my own.  He again found me and showed up on my doorstep a handful of times.  It’s one of the reasons I do not answer my door today when someone knocks.

Today is my EX-Wedding anniversary.  I have chosen to celebrate this day with joy, because I want to.  I’m doing what I want to.  I’ve worked today, which I enjoy.  I purchased a couple beautiful magazines to look at when I get home, and that’s a guilty pleasure I have not done in years.  He always hated when I read or looked like I was enjoying myself.  So I bought myself a bottle of nail polish, too.  OPI Cajun Shrimp, because I love polishing my nails.  And I’m going to pick up a Garden Patch pizza from Napoli’s on the way home, because I love it.  And I’m going to celebrate my life of freedom from the pain and abuse by spending it with my little dog, Maggie, and my Jonnie Katt, because I love them dearly and I know they love me.  They love me unconditionally.  Sure as anything, I believe that’s why God placed pets into my life, because they can love unconditionally, like humans cannot.

I did not intend this post to be what it is.  I was going to make some light hearted attempt at showing how I don’t need anyone and I can celebrate this day without any pain or memories.  That’s not quite true, and it seems my story needed to be told today.  But this I know is true, I have survived, and I will continue to survive, because I put my trust in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  And that is how I get from one day to the next.  It is how I can celebrate this day with JOY!

If you are a survivor, or if you know of someone who needs to read this story, please share it.

 

Blessings

 

 

 

 

Sneezing and Other Scary Signs of Aging

10647242_739465662757200_3738853354570463578_nThere’s that moment, when you’re driving and know you’re within ten minutes of your house and sure you can wait to pee until you get there, so much better than using a public restroom….and then you sneeze.

There’s that other moment, when you walk into the kitchen to get something out of the refrigerator, and you stand with the refrigerator door open long enough to get goose bumps under your nightie trying to figure out what you wanted.  You don’t really see anything in there you need.  You’re not really hungry.  Nothing looks appetizing.  So you shut the door and go back into the living room to finish watching The Voice, and you reach for your beverage…..and there’s nothing there.  Must have been a Diet Coke that you needed out of that refrigerator.  Too tired to go back and get it now.  Waiting on the next commercial break seems prudent.  Same for going to the bathroom.  And then you sneeze.

You’re eating alone when all of a sudden something doesn’t go down quite right and the coughing spasms of choking come on strong and urgent, and you cough and cough so hard you think your eyes are going to pop out of your head….and then you sneeze.

Ladies, can we be frank for a moment?  This getting older thing has its advantages.  AARP has a few benefits and discounts that I don’t mind admitting my age to take advantage of.   For the most part, I’m way beyond caring what anyone thinks about me anymore.  They can talk about me, judge me, and turn their snooty little noses up in the air as they walk by and I will just shake my head.  I’m more accepting of my short comings, usually, and most of the time I’m pretty accepting of the quirky behaviors of others, unless it goes beyond quirky into downright mean, sick, and deranged.  There’s no excuse for that.  I no longer care who has the best looking hair, wears the prettiest clothes, or check labels to see what designer they have caressing their buttocks.  The petty peer pressure of my youth is a distant memory.  Should someone decide they would like to be my friend, yet seem to derive pleasure from insulting and ridiculing me, they will not be my friend.  At my age, I’m OK with dumping people who aren’t really my friends.  Yes, it’s one of the perks of being in my 50’s.  I can ignore the best snooty people I know.

But then there are those other things that are not quite so pleasant.  Like peeing my pants when I sneeze.   That’s just not kosher.  Like forgetting where I put my grocery list while I’m walking around the house with it in my hand.  Like not remembering if I took my medication or not.  Like not being able to walk without intense pain that brings tears to my eyes and knees that snap, crackle, and pop so loud I’m certain everyone around me is wondering what that noise is.  I have to gauge the height of the couch seat at someone’s home to guess whether I will be able to get back up off it.  Long drives are mostly a thing of the past because of the pain and stiffness of arthritis and fibromyalgia.  To be honest, these things just plain suck.

I’ve decided it’s just a play off to get older.  I have to give up certain things, like my mobility and memory, in order to enjoy the benefits, like being more comfortable with my likes and dislikes.  Is it worth it?  I’m not sure.  I suppose the alternative would be that I’m dead and gone and wouldn’t have to worry about any of it, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, but I don’t think God is quite ready for me, yet.  I’ve still got some unfinished business here on earth, like trying to give myself a pedicure this weekend.  I’m getting nervous just thinking about it.  Will I be able to do it?  Can I bend that far and that long?  I’m pretty sure I can at least soak my feet in some delightfully scented foot bath.  That’s a start.

Adjustments will need to be made, like longer handled nail files and foot scrubbers.  Long handled scrubbers to wash my back.  A bench in the shower.  And that’s kind of how it is.  Each year, I have to make more and more adjustments to get me through to the next year.  I’m not overly anxious to see what kind of adjustments I will be making the next ten years.  But if the good Lord doesn’t call me home first, I’ll make the adjustments.  That’s just how the old life bounces.  But I still think it kind of sucks.  Now, if I can just figure out how to remember where that “safe place” is I keep losing things in.

How are you handling aging?  With eagerness and a sense of fun?  Or with a bit of dread?

Blessings.

 

Rain

RainWhat can I say about rain that hasn’t already been said?  Yet, I feel impelled to try to explain all that I know about rain on this day, at this moment.

Rain can bring darkness to the day, with a sense of calm in that darkness unlike any other.  It is peaceful.  The calm, steady rain soothes all that is bothering my soul.  It feels like God is sprinkling me with His peace.  Listening to the light pattering of raindrops on the roof, the steady pounding of water on solid ground, the drizzle of water cascading down a windshield, outside the window.  They all soothe and caress my emotions into something more fluid, more bending with life.  There is no more rebelliousness against what is good.  I can go with the flow of the rain and know that it will all turn out OK and tomorrow will be another day of surprises, and that’s OK, too.

Cold rain on my skin wakes up every nerve in my body.  Sending a direct jolt of life to my brain, it is like an electrical current turning on my thoughts.  Hello, Day!  How are you?  I am awake now!  Let’s do something crazy and joyful!  Let’s create the perfect plan to turn my life into the life I want to live today.  Let’s take at least one step toward that change, that change that will give me a future worth living in the rain!

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.   Langston Hughes

Even as a child, I can recall rainy Sunday afternoons in the summer when I would stretch out on my Flower Garden quilt covered bed with my Barbie doll and all her outfits, dressing her up to live an adventurous life of work, play, and sleep, all while listening to the rain falling with determination outside the open, screened window.  My imagination seemed to go to more places, further places, than it could without the rain.  The rain mattered.  It was nourishment to a young mind.  And it made me feel less lonely.

The rain today made me yearn to write.  I couldn’t wait to finish up what I was doing so that I could take a few minutes to put thoughts into a visual.  Rain does that to me.  It makes me eager to do things I love, and to feel more love in my heart.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe it’s because of its soothing sound, or what it means to me, but it does.  I’ve learned at this stage in life not always to question why, but to just enjoy the process and be glad for its presence.

Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.   John Updike

When the fall of night brings quiet rain, it is a comfort.  Sleep is brought on by its’ calmness, by its’ very voice of a flowing lullaby.  Imagine a child wrapped in a soft, warm blanket, being held by the gentle arms of a loving mother and rocked to sleep.  That is how the night rain feels to me.  I am the babe being lulled to sleep by God’s tender touch of nature.

How does rain make you feel?  Does it calm you, or cause you angst?  If it is the latter, I challenge you to take a few moments to listen the next time it rains.  Listen, and feel.

Blessings

 

 

Tried and Convicted in the Grocery Line


Have you ever been behind someone in the grocery line the first couple days of the month…they’re purchasing a LOT of food. And then, it looks like they’re paying with “food stamps” or whatever they call it these days, and your eyes immediately rake over their food choices. Are they buying healthy food, or junk? Sugared cereals, or healthy grains? Expensive cuts of meat, or cheap hot dogs? I’ve done that. I’m guilty. And I am ashamed for having done that. It’s none of my business.
I’ve had people make comments about what is in my grocery cart when I’m in the grocery store.  Well meaning friends scrutinize my choices.  The check out clerk might make a comment about some of my foods.  It’s none of their business, and I find it embarrassing to have that done in the grocery line.

Often times, that person using food stamps is a young mother with one or more kids in tow. That’s none of my business either. I don’t know what kind of road she has had to travel to get where she is right now.  I don’t know her circumstances, whether she has a chronic illness and is unable to work, cannot find a job, or has just made a series of poor decisions.  Who hasn’t made poor decisions in their lifetime?  Who am I to be making any kind of judgment about her life?

What I don’t understand is if we don’t have some sort of public assistance in our country, who is going to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves?  Yes, I realize the system is taken advantage of by some and it was never meant to be a career choice or lifestyle.  But what about those who genuinely cannot take care of themselves?  What if it was your sister?  Your grandmother?  Your brother?

I hear folks get very heated over this, over “welfare”,  and label everyone who uses it as a bum who should get a job.  There’s a lot of stone throwing by folks who call themselves Christian, too.  This saddens me, because I don’t think that’s what being a Christian is all about.  And if you don’t feel led to help someone, fine, but don’t label everyone who needs help buying groceries.  This is where love and compassion for our fellow man might be put to good use.

I really try not to judge, but I often fall short.  I’m a sinner who is far from perfect.  I also know it is only by the grace of God that I am not on public assistance.  I do not take grocery money for granted.  I don’t mind my tax dollars helping those who need help.

For those taking advantage or cheating the system, I’ll let God do that judging in his own time.  In the meantime, I will try to keep my nose out of other folks grocery carts.  It’s none of my business.

Blessings

An Introvert’s Saturday Night

13092171_1049850765052020_9125567350055287945_nIt’s another Saturday, the last Saturday of April 2016.  It’s Spring time and many people are celebrating better weather (though it’s a bit chilly and dreary today here) and spending time outdoors with family, cookouts, and picnics.  Or maybe going out to a club or having dinner at a nice restaurant with a group of friends.

And then there’s another group of people, each of us celebrating our Saturday night’s alone, apart from the crowds and noise, and in our own ways.  Welcome to my Saturday night; an Introvert’s Saturday Night.

  • 6:00pm have nightshirt on.
  • 6:05pm let Maggie outside.  Stay inside the garage so neighbors don’t see me in nightshirt.  Feed Jonnie Katt so he can eat in peace without Maggie.  Hold and pet the boy while he purrs.
  • 6:20pm or thereabouts, Maggie comes back inside, tongue hanging out, hot from running all around the yard, feet wet and cold.  Jumps on me so I can get the full effect of the cold, wet feet.
  • 6:23pm give Maggie her supper.
  • 6:30pm Google what shows are on the three channels I get on TV tonight.  Notice there’s nothing worth watching.
  • 6:32pm check Facebook.
  • 6:35pm drag out my Art Journal and colored pencils or pens and doodle.
  • 7:30pm notice my doodling is not improving and looks like child’s play but don’t care.  I’m OK with never being an artist.   It’s my doodle.
  • 7:35pm pick out a DVD to watch.  Tonight, it will be Spenser for Hire, Season 1, Episode 2.  After all these years, Spenser and Hawk are still cool dudes.  Maggie snuggles up close and goes to sleep.
  • 7:37pm check Facebook.
  • 8:30pm let Episode 3 play of Spenser for Hire while reading a chapter of Unstuffed, by13139192_1049850411718722_8024304825355673105_n Ruth Soukup.  I make notes and highlight text.   Maggie snuggles against me and snores.
  • 9:30pm hope is renewed that I can get rid of “stuff.”
  • 9:31pm check Facebook.
  • 9:35pm feeling hungry and open the bag of White Cheddar Popcorn I brought home, accompanied by some ice cold Diet Coke.
  • 11:35pm wake up after having fallen asleep with my hand in the popcorn.  It’s sticky.  At the same time I notice my nose itches and wipe my sticky fingers across my nose.
  • 11:40pm turn the TV on to see who’s on Saturday Night Live.  Watch for a few minutes.  If nothing they say makes me angry, I’ll watch for maybe half an hour.  If they make me mad, like making a joke about God, then I’ll turn it off.
  • Midnight turn off the TV and start reading whatever book I’m reading from my Kindle.
  • 12:15am check Facebook.
  • 12:17am resume reading.
  • 12:30am out of popcorn and fall asleep, if I’m lucky.

And there you have it.  My wild and crazy Saturday night.  And I like it like that.

If you’re single and alone, how do you spend your Saturday night?

 

Blessings.