Tag Archives: changes

Different Beauties – Walk #17

For weeks we’ve walked about at first light in shorts and bare-armed against the heat.  This week I wore jeans and covered my arms from the chill.  Still, by mid-afternoon temps were in the high 90’s to low 100’s again.

Change is in the air.  Around my neighborhood rich greens are already fading.

Late Summer.

 

 

 

 

“As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.” Genesis 8:22 (NLT)

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Pretention

A part of all the moving around this month involved juggling items between the main house and my cottage. My 2′ x 6′ long table is now stored and replaced by a far more accommodating 41” round table. It’s not the drop leaf kitchen island cabinet with pub height chairs I envision – yet – but this certainly frees up more floor space.

And then Brother announced he must find a place for his mammoth treadmill.


After a quick flashback, me longing to walk during the last brutal winter and wary of the upcoming summer heat, I told him, “I’ll figure something out.”  I was thinking it best to move stuff around before the floors are refinished. Besides, he could’ve sold the thing.

With all the bells and whistles of a gym-quality machine, his Healthrider Soft Strider Pro is wide and sturdy, so it’s heavy. And with the handy space-saving fold-up track it’s awkward to haul – especially over the gravel driveway.

After two days of the treadmill and its electronic controls waiting in the heat, the voices in my head got loud, “She canna take any more, Captain.  She’s gonna blow!”

Not willing to risk ignoring Scotty, I pushed at the dolly that my strong, fit brother used to ease it down the porch steps (I’ve learned not to ask things like why it stopped there). I decided to not risk another injury, threw a moving pad over it and reminded Brother the heat can ruin the electronics.

Ten days later I’d had sufficient time to obsess over a plan to move it myself.

With some boards over the gravel, an appliance hand truck noseplate positioned between the wheels (conveniently located under the heaviest part of the machine 😉 ), I slowly, carefully rolled the treadmill through the car door into the cottage. Don’t be impressed – it’s all about leverage. Fine. Leverage, balance and the luck of the Irish.

Once inside I needed to position that monolith for use with the least amount of effort. This was tricky. I need it where I can view my 32” television/computer monitor, but not obstruct the flow. Feng Shui, people.

So, this is the part where I realize the wheels that would ordinarily move the thing easily over the concrete floor are jammed, immovable. “Where’s the damn antimatter inducer, Chekov?”

That’s when I remembered a technique a friend described years earlier after her family had purchased a somewhat dilapidated farm house. After repeatedly asking her husband to fix stuff, and after a reasonable period, she’d craftily take matters into her own hands.

Like Farm Girl instructed, I pulled out my tool box and every power tool I could get my hands on, strategically placed them around the treadmill, close to the door only slightly obstructing the entry, and then I waited.

As Farm Girl said, “nothing motivates men faster than the sight of  a woman with power tools.”

I’m not sure if I would actually have tried to fix the wheels myself or not, with or without the circular saw or grinder. But I am now convinced that sometimes a good pretense makes the best offense.

That evening, after a pitcher of iced tea Brother had the treadmill rolling easily so I can now jog to my heart’s content – while catching up on my favorite audio books, programs and movies.

 

“The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.” Lamentations 3:25, 26 (NLT)

 

Featured Image courtesy ABSFreePic.com

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Seventeen

Do other writers get stuck on a thought, a word, a number that has nothing to do with the current project or task? Anyone else ever struggle to break free from such a grip? I recently resisted a momentary nemesis for days till I turned and met the foe head on.

Fact: Much of my life has been unimaginable to most folks. Several decades ago I realized I was on a collision course with a bleak future. After a series of failed attempts to redirect I got help. It took years to find the right counselor, but for about eight years now I’ve been keeping notes from sessions with the best trauma counselor ever. We’ll call him Rob.

Months ago when Rob pointed out a few concerns, suggested I could be depressed, and insisted I see my doctor, I stopped. I thought hard, prayed harder. And then I stopped longer.

I dread the thought of being known as “that poor thing who…” I write about my life because, well, it’s what I know best. Seriously, I write my stories, my experiences in the hope they help and encourage others. Writing helps me make sense of the grand scheme of things. Plus there’s the perk I get when my work sometimes reveals a bad attitude, it checks me like a friendly punch in the face. Hopefully those that grew up with numerous brothers understand the concept.

This brings us back a little while to shortly after the snow and ice melted here at the ranch, when I hit a wall. That actually had less to do with me injuring my arm and shoulder chopping wood (seriously, don’t all great-grandmothers do that?). The wall had more to do with the preceding twelve years.

Have I mentioned having driver’s licenses in three states within the last two calendar years? Yeah, that’s a lot of moving around. And each move directly resulted from one crisis right after another. When I pointed out this profound revelation to my Go-To Girl, my sister Roan (my on-and-off house mate), she replied,

“Yeah. So?” 

Not the response I expected. She was on her lunch break two time zones ahead of here, so she may have missed my point. We mocked the topic sufficiently enough to laugh it off and we returned to work.

So, after circling back to Roan’s question for a couple of days I set all my other projects aside to seek solid answers.

 

I handle most challenges better when I can break them down to physics, mathematical formulas – or Sun Tzu*. I did the math:

 

 

In the last 20 years Roan has (to my knowledge) moved x times, 6 of which since were her daughter was born, the last six within the past 7 years. But for 17 years she and her daughter were rooted in one place.

Then I again reviewed my nomadic history. Again with the number 17.

  • I was 17 when I married my sons’ father.
  • For 17 years I lived with (and moved around with) my husband.
  • I have lived at 17 different addresses. Seventeen.

Only because of Roan can I imagine living in one dwelling for seventeen years. In my entire life I’ve never lived in any one place for 4 years. That’s a staggering amount of moving around! Additionally some form of drama generated each move and often changed my family dynamics; broken hearts and broken bones (some mine), husbands left, sons outgrew the nest, a heart attack here – loved ones died there, banks became less sympathetic… I tell ya, some hits were hard. But I moved on.

So, our life has been astoundingly complicated compared to most people we know.

So, that itinerant life is over now. And yet, I’m having trouble getting my head around the concept of being home, that I won’t be packing up and moving again in a while. Rob and I figure it’ll likely be three years before it actually sinks in. I marked my digital calendar just in case.

So, days after the aforementioned chat with Rob I visited my Naturopathic Physician. Thanks to our decades old relationship we quickly caught up and then we agreed;

  • I’m tired,
  • I’m possibly slightly traumatized,
  • undeniably I have much to be sad about,
  • but I’m not necessarily depressed.

She studied my blood-work and my DNA evaluation (yes, I happened to have it on me), prescribed a course of supplements and then we went out for tea. Within days the dark heaviness lifted, but I continued to take the time I needed to simply be for a while.

So, the cast in the main house has changed, Kendra and Twelve-Year-Old moved away, but we’re all adjusting. The show goes on. My journals are busting at the bindings and I’m back to working on chapters again. More important, I give myself lots of grace. I walk away whenever I want. And within a couple of hours I walk back – usually feeling lighter. I’m sure there will be more hard days. But it’s like Brother tells me often, “Just settle down. You’re not going anywhere.”

So, today I smile as the mare and the cattle call to me when I step outside my door. I giggle as the hens flutter-waddle to the fence cackling. I’m sure it’s all about me – not the grain, scraps, hay, carrots or apples I bring them.

Most important, hearing how my stories help others also helps me. Having shared the experience with other writers/bloggers, the bobbing and weaving and working it all out, I feel so much better now.

“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NLT)

*The Art of War, by Sun Tzu.  Just in case my humor missed the mark, I translate much of Sun Tzu principles into Biblical scripture – and disregard the rest.

Images courtesy ABSFreePic.com

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East Wind – Walk #10

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“Winds from the east. Mist comin’ in.
Like somthin’ was brewin’; about to begin.
Can’t put me finger on what lies in store.
But I feel what’s to ‘appen, all ‘appened before!”
– Bert, from Mary Poppins, by P. L. Travers

Cocony joined Captain, Scout and me for our noontime walk today. We breathed deeply, taking in signs of new life springing from last year’s thawing remains; the fresh, 42 degree air feeling like 62 degrees after such extreme cold for so long here. Still mostly gray and brown in the pastures, we all felt exhilarated there too!

Enjoy glimpses of our piece of the world today:

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 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT)

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Understanding Helen

I broke my coccyx. Sure, I could say tailbone, but honestly, how often in life do we get to use the word coccyx? Yes, on Christmas Eve 2016 I experienced the full impact of the saying, “… like moving the furniture in Helen Keller’s house.”

slippery-pixabay

*

On the night before Christmas Eve we all prepared for my first visit with extended family for the whole weekend:

Know that, like a true sister Kendra excels at seeing past my mess and makes herself at home in my apartment. She lived here with Cole and the boys, so she knows the layout and gets altered priorities (like saving rinsed dishes in the sink until it’s full and worth running water till it’s hot). Even so, Cole hiding Christmas gifts in my place put a slight hitch in my giddy up. For Christmas Eve-Eve Kendra and I planned some girl time together to wrap the gifts she also hid here. I moved small furniture around (including my desk chair) to give us space and lessen the chances of her seeing anything she shouldn’t yet.

morning-coffee-pixabay

*

With the altered routine and too excited to sleep well, I was slightly disoriented the next morning despite two world-class lattes. At one point I decided to chance having an internet signal to check the weather forecast and be certain I packed appropriately. Surprised to see I had a strong signal, and I’ll admit I got side-tracked, I took a moment to scan my inbox. I began easing myself onto the chair – that wasn’t there.

I’d give anything to have the video as my derriere kept lowering – long after it should have touched the chair that’s most always perfectly in place; the look of confusion-giving-way-to-panic realizing I was falling alarmingly fast toward the concrete floor, and then the hard bonk-jar and the ultimate, graceless bounce as my legs spayed before me.

Assured no one witnessed my ridiculous landing, I was glad to know my floor was clean enough that my lovely skid was without any annoying dust/soot residue on the seat of my black jeans. I realized the level of pain in my posterior forecast a very clumsy, inelegant present me meeting the extended family.

Forever the writer, I quickly began giggling over the scenario despite the agonizing bolts shooting from my nearly freezing fanny as I cautiously turned to lift myself from the floor.

I immediately decided to share the experience with Kendra, which actually required walking it off toward the main house. Certain I’d fractured something, but delighted I actually could walk, I was giggling hysterically by the time I made the back steps. Stepping up with a more intense shot of pain I prayed, “Lord, please help me not throw a wrench into our Christmas and help me through this.” I imagined His perspective of my recent event and laughed even more.

Fortunately Cole was out checking the truck so that between us girls, Kendra soon fully understood what had happened. In rare form I poured on the humor. Despite her obvious concern she too began giggling as she poured a small coffee for me and laced it with some peach moonshine saying, “If your bags are in the truck this will help.”

They were and it did.

Roo & Kendra Christmas 2016

Roo & Kendra Christmas 2016

A week and three long days later, I’d confirmed nothing more could be done to help me. The hairline fracture pains me whenever I move. I often reflect upon Christmas in Washtucna and Sister-in-law’s concern. I explained why I moved so carefully. She understood my example clearly, “… You see, changing my routine can have the same effect as moving the furniture on Helen Keller…”

I was glad that by the time most of us sat at the large dining table playing Nerts, no one was troubled by my stance at the end of the table, or my audible groans each time I reached across it, alternating legs stretching out behind me for balance as I slammed my cards for points (we’re all serious card players). Aside from being especially careful navigating down the stairs to my room and despite the pain it was a wonderful weekend.

Though I never won a single game, I’m content with the abundant holiday blessings. Sure, I could have slowed down enough to look or feel for the chair in its usual place, but then again the fall could have done far more actual damage than it did. I thank God for humbling me – and slowing me down dramatically. Then there were the extra calories I burned standing and walking rather than sitting. Pain also forbade me from risking the frozen steps to tour the chicken house as the youngsters ski boarded the surrounding wheat fields.

washtucna-1 washtucna-2

As I turned 55 I lived in and worked for a 55-and-over community. Over those few years I often witnessed the damage a slight trip or fall can cause aging bodies. Granted, I have 7 – 12 weeks of discomfort to look forward to, but I clearly I am blessed and much better off than I have any right to be. Slightly less nimble than I ever was, but abundantly blessed.

Besides, I can now play the sympathy card at my discretion.

donut-pillow-amazon

 

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” James 1:2-4 (NLT)

*Images courtesy Pixabay

Donut pillow image courtesy Amazon

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Now

bathroomWhile the sickness healed in my throat… What? Okay, now that the pressure’s mostly in my inner ears, I’ve had more time to reflect on life.

I recently recalled the time a beautiful, water resistant shower curtain and rugs display grabbed my attention and held it, I liked them so much. They were pricey for my budget. Still, they inspired a need for change in my house. Usually a spend-thrift, knock offs would not do that time. I cut corners and saved for months until I had enough to buy them.

Lending the illusion of a life I once dreamed of, the bath/spa room is important to me. Having purchased my curtain and rugs I could hardly wait to get home to stage the new look I’d imagined for months. While saving I’d run through every detail in my head and my vision was clear.

old bottlesWhile buying my treasures I remembered I was nearly out of supplies. I have always been careful about cleaning products, but without a spare dollar for the rest of the month, I took a bottom-shelf product and hurried home.

My usual routine was to start with a clean slate, but I’d scoured the entire house the day before. I pressed and then hung the curtain. Taking in the finished scene, I noticed a fresh smear on the wall next to the new curtain. Glad I got the spray cleaner, I pulled the curtain back just a bit, aimed, sprayed and then wiped away the offending smudge. I was delighted with my new decor and how well it blended with my towels and wall color the way I’d imagined. I took a photo to send to friends and flex my bragging rights.

After pasting the photo into the email I couldn’t believe my eyes. There on my new curtain was unmistakable bleaching in the beautiful color! I dashed to the bathroom hoping my eyes deceived me. But no… My wailing brought neighbors running.

In my hurry to make my vision reality and then get back to work, I’d inadvertently grabbed a bottle containing mostly bleach that had been misplaced in the non-bleach section. I’d been so preoccupied with my happy thoughts I didn’t notice the caustic smell. Arrrrgh!cleaner

I wasn’t quick enough to arrest the damage. After sulking a while and, of course bemoaning the unfairness of it all, I began brainstorming ideas to recover some of the original beauty of the curtain. Eventually my imagination kicked in.

What my situation meant for defeat, God used for good. I creatively sprayed more of the the cleaner all over the curtain and then some Ritz dye remnants consistent with my color palette. Eventually I created a poor-man’s Monet, very slightly reminiscent of his Rose Walk.

Even after several washings, the curtain performed it’s primary purpose very well. With every wash the pattern took on new characteristics. Now it’s more like a Wildflower Walk. Yeah, Ritz still bleeds and fades.

I do not recommend intentionally ruining a lovely curtain or settling for less than what we can achieve either. But I can share the worthwhile lesson from that whole process:

Life takes us through lots of twists and turns and we adjust our original plans. In high school I imagined my life in showcase homes. Over the years, with each relocation I told myself, “this will do for now.” I usually settled on the best location, the nicest home with the most space I could afford. While I’m thankful for a great imagination, I graduated magna cum laude from the school of hard knocks, but I’m not the most creative person around. Fortunately, home and garden magazines are always freely available and I regularly thank God for HGTV and DIY network. With that I got by – for now.

Now that I’m used to a healthy over-all lifestyle on a tight budget, it’s all I can do to stay focused on my set priorities. I’ve minimized dramatically while still hoping to become a piano virtuoso. Hey, I can play either one or the other part of Heart and Soul. While I admire friends’ beautiful homes and still aspire to own something similar someday, for now I’m content with a roof that doesn’t leak, food, electricity, and especially good company. Is it just me or is that actually funny now?

Compared to my dramatic, dynamic early years I’ve developed a very ordinary life from extreme conditions. While my long Bucket List continually grows, I have what I need and I’m confident I am exactly who and what God created me to be now.

I believe all the tragedies, hardships, the bad times of my life worked together to bring me right where I am now – I’m good. When we question why God allows so much trouble, sadness and evil in the world, we can too easily lose sight of the joy in life.

victorian house

I won’t lose sight of my ideal house, complete with writing room, and neither will Voithos. Today I’m glad for a modest, comfortable home. While modest, it has been my status quo for more years than I want to admit, with a good, old friend it’s quite good enough for me now. While I keep my focus upon God’s will, He always takes care of the details. I have experienced time and again how He guides me through the necessary clutter with more colorful variations I could never have imagined.

Like the rest of my life, that’s my story – and I’m sticking to it.

 

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment…” Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)

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My Newest Normal

CO 1

Before leaving Texas rising before daybreak was my normal. Three weeks in at my new residence I’ve been up before the sun exactly once. This new feeling of having slept through most of the day is initially offsetting, but I suspect I shall adjust – eventually. We are enjoying catching up since Erin and I last lived together – often most of the night. I wasn’t even bothered after realizing I seemed to have lost an entire day. So, this week my Tuesday post shall be on Wednesday!

This all seems like a natural part of relocating to a somewhat new household. Expand that to an entirely new neighborhood and a new state which I had heretofore only visited and liked immensely. I am happy to report the populace and the environment continues to appear sincerely friendly and welcoming.

My challenges to date:

Household logistics:
I’m now familiar with the layout of the rooms. While not as intense as the first few days, we’re still in the Dude, where’d we put my stuff? phase. I find a modicum of comfort noticing Erin also shares this experience. While we shuffle items around to make room for my stuff amongst the belongings she and her son amassed over their 16 years in this house.

My Inner Compass:
Leaving the house an average of 3 times per week, distinguishing east from west on an overcast day here will take some time. Still, GPS on my cell makes walking to nearly anything I need a delight.

CO 3Visual perception:
I pray I never become desensitized to the often overwhelming beauty of Mount Garfield, the Colorado National Monument, The Little Book Cliffs, Colorado River, the groves, vineyards and the many other natural wonders of the Western Slope. I expect soon these shall help me navigate the area.

Mental perception:
The concept of Home remains a mystery to me, however Sunday Dinners every week with the family of childhood neighbors help tighten my grip on it all.
Home today seems to me to be like a presence that has lurked nearby as long as I can remember. I have longed to know it better but have yet to fully engage it. I am determined to relentlessly pursue.

 

 

“Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s peace be on this house.’  If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you.” Luke 10:5, 6 (NLT)

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The Best Choice Today

Have you ever faced a hard choice wishing it was not up to you? Have you ever regretted a decision? Welcome to my thoughts today, as I seem to bear the weight of the world!

whats right

 

Today I’m considering quotes. Usually quotes from my late brother help me most often, like “It’s not about who’s right, but what’s right.” But that’s not much help today.

I take more time making decisions these days than ever before. Perhaps that’s because America is caught up in the Presidential Election Primaries – so much information, the actual facts (verses misinformation or subjectivity), so little time. Maybe because I am older than I ever thought I’d be and yet vital, I approach many decisions more seriously. More than ever before in my history every choice seems more important in nearly every area of life.

Faced with making a decision that will directly impact my household, possibly my entire family, I’ve been profoundly circumspective the past few weeks – months actually. It’s not all bad. I’ve discovered among the blessings of aging is history; I can look back at choices I made and examine what was good, what could have been better and what didn’t work out so well – and why. As recently as a few years ago, my history had me reluctant to make decisions that had much bearing on anyone but me. One such choice about three years ago was to combine my household with my sister and brother. That decision brought me here, both geographically and metaphorically.

During weeks of introspection and examining the facts, thoughts from Louie Giglio’s book, I Am Not But I Know I Am come to mind (paraphrased):

  • I am not God. Therefore I cannot alter His plan.
  • God doesn’t have a backup plan in case I screw up His plan.
  • This story isn’t over, not even the results of decisions I regret because I chose while angry or hurt.

One choice that faces us all more than we even notice, is to do what’s best. Granted, I like to examine everything from every available perspective –  which often annoys my housemates. For example,

shall I:

  • get up now or go back to sleep,
  • eat cheese, eggs, beef or chicken, tea or coffee
  • walk in the morning or afternoon
  • spend now to save or do without

Under our intense circumstances our household often faces choices that ordinarily seem simple but are actually complex and have an impact on someone else or another area of life:

I’m groping here, but for example:

  • leave a light on in case someone in the household isn’t home yet (impacting the electric bill)
  • shop for food today because supplies are scarce or wait until the coupons and sale ads arrive
  • spend any more time trying to save a few pennies

But the biggest choice facing me now,

  • should I stay in my present household with family or move to somewhere more conducive to my needs.

The hardest part of the process is considering the list under the category,

What if

Some choices offer immediate results so they seem simpler. Those involving others and bear more dramatic, long-term or unseen ramifications are more challenging. With all our advanced technology, seeing ahead is sometimes as difficult as ever, particularly when our choices affect the lives around us.

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Spock

When faced with difficult choices, I rely upon intensive prayer and fasting. Even then answers can seem subjective, especially to my vision in the moment. So, whenever possible I give myself time. I dread the chance I may have missed something important simply because there’s so much to consider. While I’m undeniably an emotional being, just as able to make a decision that could be influenced by my feelings in the moment, faith also guides my decisions.

When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.” Proverbs 29:18 (NLT)

When open communication is tricky, confusion and offenses weigh in, being no more self-centered than the next human, my maternal instincts tend to override other logic. Still, I’m careful about doing something or entertaining thoughts that seem to be all about me – essentially evil.

“See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15 (King James Version)

Today my search for wisdom and direction led me right back where today began. My only plan remains to prepare myself to be ready when the time comes to either stay or move.

“If only you would prepare your heart and lift up your hands to him in prayer! Get rid of your sins, and leave all iniquity behind you. Job 11:13-14 (NLT)

A die hard scout, I shall prepare for whatever, continue listening and wait.

Good talk. Thanks!

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#18 vignettes – The Framework of Family

I wonder that I sometimes seem prepossessed with my family’s recent history. While that’s not an unreasonable guess if you know our history, it also may not be in the best interest of my blog. I appreciate honest feedback.

The Framework of Family

 

Seagh 1988

Seagh 1988

The picture sealed in my mind before I snapped the photo. Seagh had arrived at my Scottsdale door from North Las Vegas just before sunset the day before. I saw clearly beyond his fatigue. A single parent myself, I felt the same pain and disappointment more times than I wanted to remember:

__ moving in with family for a fresh start. Despite his huge efforts, many successful, but without family and good friends he couldn’t keep his head above water in Vegas.

__ Business took off like a rocket, but dwindled away too fast to keep it going. His partner sold the flatbed that brought in the totaled vehicles he redesigned and flipped. Imagine; the guy wasn’t happy making enough moving boats to pay the note on the rig.

__ in the five years he was in Vegas he never actually saw his daughter. Her mother did a great job of poisoning the well.

__ He couldn’t get enough cash from the business for a down payment on even a condo.

__ His lawyer, the guy everybody said was the best, didn’t get him the VA benefits promised to him when he ended his third term with the Army. No college. No health care. ‘Hope he didn’t get something fatal.

I felt it all:

__ I had bought and sold two condos in Southern California. An impressive achievement for a tenth grade dropout with no family resources. After the heart attack my insurance stopped paying for follow up care. They stated I’d exceeded the year’s allowable coverage. I’d depleted my savings and maxed my credit cards so that my only option was to sell cheap, move back to Arizona, stay with family and recover.

__ While my consulting billing rate began at $60.00 per hour, and I had more clients than I actually wanted, meeting the overhead for my home-based consulting business wore me to the bone.

__ Ten years after dropping out of high school I hadn’t realized I needed a diploma to enroll in community college. Three days after my first visit to register for classes, I returned with my letter of certificate from the adult education center. Maybe I was too proud – of my assessment scores and passing the G.E.D. exams in the top 20% of the state without studying. I often wished I’d stayed in law school, but seriously, shuttling the boys between L.A. and San Diego every other weekend – most time only one of the four were coming.

__ While I poured all I had into my boys. The business began to drain me to where I experienced a myocardial infarction at age thirty-five. I sold the business to the boss I had previously left to get out from under it. I often wondered if life would have been as hard had I stayed in law school rather than taking a hiatus until the boys were out of high school.

__ For two years I paid Mimi rent for one of her five, out of ten empty townhomes she owned. While she subsidized two of my sisters’ rents by paying their electric bills, two of my boys and I were on our own. Rather than encourage me to stay positive, she reminded me at least once a week how I sold my late-model Calais to get out from under the payments, drove the VW bug I bought for the boys (or set a good example for my sons walking to work when I was late paying my insurance), and wouldn’t make more than $20K a year in Arizona. Appreciating my bio mother’s “help” was definitely a challenge. I pretty much knew how he felt when she told him he couldn’t stay in her townhome.

 

Still in all, for that short season all but one of my siblings rented one of Mimi’s townhomes. My first son came home and married while we were there. My first, third and fourth sons went off on their own from there. We all had a great Christmas celebration together while Iain and his wife flew to San Diego to have my first grandchild. I saved enough in four years for a down on my first condo. And my siblings were close by when I needed to lighten up.

While each disappointment felt like epic failures, clearly God had our backs, throughout those hard times. Although an outsider would be hard-pressed to appreciate how English was our second language after sarcasm and mockery, we have many good and happy memories now.

Two years ago Roan, Seagh, Opal and I had been a family together under one roof again. Instead of joining us here in Texas by now, three months after Roan and I blazed a new trail for us to follow, Seagh laid his bike down and went on to heaven. That seemingly cataclysmic event was so unimaginable that the aftershocks still shake us a year and a half later. He wasn’t merely the voice of wisdom when hackles were up and fur was flying, extra income and the best entertainment ever, he was the glue that held us all together.

Knowing he’d kick us into high gear if we stayed down over him, we plan and pursue the life we choose together; faithful to our individual priorities and hold tightly to grand, sustaining memories with him. Each new day continues to feel harder than the previous. Still, “…It is well with my soul…”

2014-03-23 18.31.59

Family Memorial   2014March20

 

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” NLT(c)

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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My Circus, My Monkey

If you haven’t discovered Michelle Malone yet, I recommend you take a look. A Middle School Assistant Principal, she helps humans at their most influential stage of life – your basic everyday hero.

Michelle’s article, I Got 99 Problems got me thinking about my circus.

Gabriela Kucerova orangutang

Most times I enjoy being me. I’ve literally worked hard toward that goal. Typically I’m a better person interacting with the wonderful beings around me. Occasionally, not so much. In my particular circus, my area of responsibility, I am learning to own my feelings as they happen – without derailing.

You probably don’t go through a wide spectrum of changes like I do, often minute-to-minute depending upon prevalent events or circumstances. Still, I empathize with those who do. Suddenly the senior member of our household, my feelings are a troublesome monkey.

Throughout my early years, how I felt was literally the least of my concerns. I deliberately emulated Mr. Spock’s logic (okay, mostly my dad’s). Like most everything else, that’s fine as long as it’s in moderation. Yeah, balance was never my strong suit.

Somewhat recently I realized I sometimes made my life harder, more complicated than it had to be, dismissing or at the very least minimizing my emotions. I sometimes shot myself in the foot for the greater good, excluding myself from equations, mostly because I didn’t trust my feelings.

After years of considerable self-restoration work, I am now more aware how my feelings influence my attitude and my choices. While I’ve learned to not sacrifice my legitimate needs, my feelings sometimes seem puerile and confusing. I’m becoming okay feeling silly sometimes.

So, being comparatively new at owning my feelings, in the moment when they happen, my heart should be in prime condition for all the ups and downs, lifts and crashes I experience. Whether we are in a hormonal influx, under intense personal pressure, or bearing the weight of life’s milestones, our feelings (including mine) matter to God, so they must matter to each of us.

Thank God my circus is marvelous, lively and mostly entertaining. I usually enjoy all the monkeys and how they interact with each other; the sweet ones, the lively ones, the dramatic ones and the hurt or broken ones. Even though I don’t always recognize my monkey immediately, I can cage them when I need to.

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