Tag Archives: love

Passed St. Pat’s

No matter where in the world my siblings ever were, on St. Patrick’s Day we always celebrated our heritage, our family and our life together. ‘Tis tradition, don’cha know.

I admit, I did not celebrate this year, my first year back home. Three years ago, almost to the minute I’m now writing, my younger brother Seagh’s heart ruptured, he laid down his Harley, shook himself off and then walked into The Great Beyond. That moment changed everything.

We all adore our darling Seagh. Even as a small boy, he demonstrated extraordinary wisdom. We all came to depend upon him, especially when emotions ran rampant or hard times made our choices seem vague.

Over the years Seagh was always my greatest comfort, my touchstone, helping me make sense of the madness that seemed to be constantly lurking nearby.

 

 

After the years he roamed the globe he came home to the family and finally the ranch. For the brief season we were all here together I was entirely contented. I wanted us to stay together and to never leave.

But Seagh always knew something, saw something the rest of us missed. He insisted I stay close to our baby sister, Roan; “She’ll crash and burn without you.” Eventually I resigned to move on to Texas with her. Weeks later I understood why he sent me. Seagh already knew he too would be moving on soon.

Two years after his passing Roan and I were settled in Texas. Then I moved on again. We remain connected across the miles and continue on together – but differently now. Seagh dying when he did seemed to make the world a darker, sadder place and I couldn’t fix that.

It seemed.

Cole and Seagh 2012

Now Roan has Opal and her entourage in Texas. I am at home here at the ranch. I walk where Seagh walked along with Cole, Kendra and Eleven-Year-Old.

Sometimes I believe I can see the world as Seagh saw it. Very often I think I can see his unmistakable stance in the lot or where the patio used to be, one hand in a pocket, the other holding a mug, always taking in life deeply. Sure, I miss hearing him speak his few, pointed words daily. But I hear him.

I can’t conjure up his image on demand. But in the still, quiet of a peaceful day and in the midst of turmoil, I remember his words. When I don’t expect it, they come to me like rain on parched ground. Looking skyward, I soak them in, “You shouldn’t wonder about my soul. God and I are good now.”

Seagh’s death did not end him. Love lives on.

Absolutely.

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. … And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1: 3, 6 (NLT)

For Seagh:

Feature Image courtesy of Gigi @ A Warm Hello.com

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Soar, Bert!

In Loving Memory

Arlene Powers

December 8, 1954 – February 28, 2017

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Long ago and far away
In the driest desert
Broken and abandoned
Wearing pain and regret
A clown touched my heart
And gave me a golden rose.

Hands always busy
Making treasure from rubble
Spinning joy from sorrow
Loving great and small
Footed and winged,
Such virtue lights the world.

E.V.A. Lambert (c) 2015 Rapture Practice! Publications All rights reserved

“Charm can be deceptive and physical beauty will not last, but a woman who reveres the Eternal should be praised above all others.”

Proverbs 31:30

Scripture taken from The Voice™. Copyright © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Experience

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Helper, Captain Morgan at the helm.

Captain Morgan at the helm.

I laid awake most of the night, tormented over breaking Cole’s old Coleman hatchet. Yeah, the one I hammered into a wet, rather green log until the head broke – right at the notch (so handy for pulling nails from construction wood).

 

The upset tortured me while I should have been sleeping. All. Week. Long.

Cole was completely cool about it. I systematically timed telling him I’d broken the hatchet he’d given me on our first cold morning here. The moment arrived as I presented him with a fine, shiny-new, Estwick Sportsman hatchet with all the bells and whistles.

I rarely get to give Cole anything of value. I was initially giddy until I jokingly said the words, “the hatchet you gave me… …worn out…” and “…broke.” Instantly his entire demeanor changed dramatically – merriment abandoned my presentation. His words, “…my grand pa’s hatchet… he’d used it for years…” shot the loss and hurt straight through me too.

I get it: My siblings and I inherited very few, mostly valueless, common things from our parents. Those humble heirlooms are precious to each of us. Destroying something invaluable from Cole sickened me.

After weeping privately I texted him “I’ll make it right somehow,” (forgetting he was working in town). I’ll never forget his immediate reply: “Oh stop it-only made me sad for a min-it has done its job for a long time.” And then moments later he texted he’d gotten more wood to get me through while the grove is still snowed under.

“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…” *

While I may annoy Cole with more words than he prefers, I learn from him. Things like his grandfather – who cut wood into his nineties with that old model, Coleman hatchet are important to us both. Had I known, I would have retired the Coleman and bought the new ones immediately.

The experience stung us both, but to me it revealed the character beneath Cole’s cast iron veneer. He is a treasure indeed. I hope for more, far less painful lessons.

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:21 (NLT)

*Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)

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Wake Up Call

be-still-know-godLate yesterday I wasn’t still. I’d been uneasy. With my lame arm I couldn’t pull my hatchet from a log. Cole didn’t get to the shop until early afternoon – he’d been working in town, so he and everyone else pushed hard to complete the day’s task list. I certainly wasn’t going to bother anyone with firewood.

By then my feet hurt, my back ached and my bad arm felt like it was on fire. Feeling my indisposition weighing on me, I resigned to wheel the log, hatchet firmly lodged in it back to the cottage and think the problem through.

Extraordinarily early this morning my phone rang. For years calls before daylight brought awful news. I bolted up, took a deep breath and answered, “What is it?”

Cole’s voice, “Wake up, Woman.”

Instantly relieved, I replied, “I’m awake Dude, I’m cold and slow…” I hadn’t heard it in a few years, but I’m pretty sure he was giggling before I heard him disconnect.

Minutes later with my latte and the smell of smoke from the stove I realized I was feeling cheerful, prospects abounded again. Even coughs in the pasture didn’t upset me (okay, that and checking with Kendra). Refreshed and fully awake by then I recalled Cole’s last text the evening before, “What are you worried about. Seriously.”

“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again — my Savior and my God!*”

Later, in the morning light, with a cup of tea my concerns from the night before seemed silly. I began to remember scenarios from years long ago; the boy’s dad fussing into the phone after Pa woke him – at four a.m. I could hear The Old Man cackle delightedly just before hanging up. Hours later Ma also giggled describing how much Pa enjoyed waking all the brothers early that morning.

I may have mentioned before how my family tree is more like a tangled bramble bush. Love between us is wrapped in stained, stiff leather gloves. Those calls became a holiday tradition. I missed them after our marriage went south and the family distanced themselves from me for a season. Until this morning.

Today I’m glad I didn’t reply to Cole’s text the night before. Translated, it said, “Remember I have your back, Sister,” sub-text, “Being the only one here for days can feel lonely.” The call this morning confirmed what I already felt. Cole knowing I’m no slacker, my body is aging, but I’m far from lazy isn’t so important this morning. I must rest my arm and let it heal. He’ll get it eventually. Meanwhile God indeed knows.

Now I wonder; perhaps the way we’re all twisted together isn’t all that scary. No matter what, God’s got this.

It’s good to be home.

“But He knows where I am going. And when He tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.” Job 23:10 (NLT)

*Psalm 43:5

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More Thanks

While I await the moist heat to relieve the aching muscles I’d forgotten I have, with a good connection back at home again in Washington, I’ll share a couple of my favorite moments from Thanksgiving weekend in Idaho with the extended family.

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Roo and the new boyfriend

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Show me the snacks

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Do I smell apples?

Potlatch

Harvest time beauty

“May He grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed.” Psalm 20:4 (NLT)

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Total Recall

human-1138004__180You probably don’t experience moments when your brain seems to freeze up. I do. I can easily imagine what a car overheating would feel like; you’re suddenly stuck where you are, unable to move and it’s all you can do to understand what just happened. You’ll get around to wondering why.

I’ve moved around a lot lately. Having driver’s licenses from three states over seven months, that brain fade lately happens to me frequently. I experience the phenomenon especially when I encounter people I haven’t seen or thought of in years. Maybe it’s a normal homecoming thing. Maybe. It has nothing to do with aging.

This week a woman visited our Small Home Group adding a fresh touch to our 6 members. I noticed upon entering the house she looked familiar. I assumed I’d seen her in church. I’ve only attended for 5 weeks, so familiar-but-unplaceable faces are commonplace. Hand extended toward her I crossed the room, when she surprised me by standing, opening her arms to me. I welcome hugs among the brethren, so a hug from a newcomer was nice.

Before letting go she said, “Eva.” And then she repeated, “Eva!” I looked more closely and suddenly recognized the woman I’d worked with at the radio station some fifteen years before. Unlike me she hasn’t aged a day! Nice.

With jumps, squeals, more hugs and lots of oh-my-goodnesses, we derailed the meeting for a few moments covering the broad strokes. I doubt anyone realized I sat across the room from her so I could see her clearly without glasses (mid-range works best for me). Through the study we bounced ideas off each other like we’d done brainstorming ad campaigns. And the memories kept on coming. Please don’t ask me for any minute details about the lesson.

Later at home, during my prayers I marveled over how well she’s done. She married, just sold and bought a new home in town in one of the newer, upscale neighborhoods, her boy grew up and did time in the Service, she and her husband have a growing business and she still screen writes their advertisements, only at the local TV studio now.

I also realized she drove the late-model Cadillac SLT that was parked where Kendra’s Chevy typically awaits us on Wednesday evenings. She and her husband have been charter members of our church since its early beginnings – the one I diverted from, going to Illinois instead of joining ten years ago. The girl’s done well.

Strangely, sleep didn’t come easily that night. I debated whether or not to start a fire, settling for setting up the stove for the morning. I couldn’t even keep my mind on the latest mystery novel I’d begun the night before. So I paced around the apartment looking for little tasks. The rustic character of the place affords them in abundance.

For the first time since my arrival, I wasn’t entirely enchanted with my life. Soon I realized I’d wandered onto the slippery slope of the comparison game. Certain my prayers didn’t get past the ceiling, I decided to burn the midnight oil. Before long at all my mind slipped back into how well my former workmate’s done and I began pacing the open spaces of the apartment trying to clear my mind – again.

As I drug my hand across the polished chrome of Cole’s custom Harley Davidson (yeah, in my living space), feeling the smooth, cold metal against my fingertips, I imagined my far more traditional, conservative workmate’s face upon seeing my new digs – and the jokes about the pair of immaculate Harleys inside my home. For the first time I questioned if I actually liked them here.

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I normally enjoy the bikes wintering indoors. Both my brothers cherished not only the exceptional machinery and stunningly beautiful detailing, but the memories they made riding them all over the country side, just as I enjoy envisioning their stories, usually seated one of them.

But I realized I don’t hold title on either bike.

Looking around the rustic apartment, the stained concrete floors (artfully colored, of course), mismatched area rugs, the shabby chic tables (Joanna Gaines would drool over – jus’ sayin’), boxes wrapped with contact paper for storage (and temporary makeshift occasional tables), the dated sofa, love seat and my late brother’s recliner I won’t disown for love or money, strangers would imagine I’m impecunious. Of course I am, but that rarely bothers me or even slows me down.

Sure, I don’t own a motor vehicle or real estate today. I drive Cole’s vehicles and occasionally Kendra’s car. I actually like hanging my wash to dry rather than run the meter with the dryer and I don’t mind the workout from foraging and chopping wood for heat – yet. It’s been a mild autumn.

With microscopic record-able income, six years after near financial ruin my credit score is now average. Still, on paper my estate’s essentially worthless.

But any time I walk out my door, the pack of dogs are happy to greet me. Girlfriend neighs from the pasture and the cows moo whenever they see me walking westward (they’re always happy to receive any tasty offering). A couple of times a day, no matter what’s going on in the shop, Cole bursts through the door, “just counting noses,” often tossing out some task for me to reinforce I’m wanted – I know, awww… Kendra is always nearby to lend an ear or a shoulder to lean on if ever I need one, the boys help fill the gap when I find time to miss my grand kids and I can text or talk with the rest of the family.

“If you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life.*” 

I spend most of my days doing what I love, so it rarely seems like work. I can walk the acreage without speaking to anyone or find a kindred soul to chat with any time I need to or work on my Spanglish. My age-old dream of a living on a self-sustaining property is gradually becoming a reality.

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Life could be better, but I’d need some serious time to think how. I’ll rest well tonight.

 

It’s good to be home.

 

 

 

”Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” Galatians 6:4 (NLT)

*Ancient Chinese Philosophy (or Marc Anthony)

First Image courtesy of Pixabay.

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Indulgences

As Kiera advances[*] her stylish, world-class mom hat continues to adorn her entire persona. For Erin and me, Kiera’s bi-monthly (or so) visits are occasions for tea. I enjoy entertaining, take each opportunity to put on slightly more festive airs, and I continue to learn from her.

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Kiera and my mother were friends before the latter departed when I was thirteen. In her absence, Kiera and Newlyn stepped in aiding Daddy and our family whenever appropriate. For that we shall be eternally grateful.

Early after my arrival here I noticed that though any number of canine fur kids typically join their family, cats do not. Only the most stubborn, crafty feral felines dare challenge the pack of five Amstaff and Pit Bull Terriers to retain their standings in the family properties. Kiera is also allergic to cats.

Soon into Kiera’s visits here Erin will ask me for Benadryl. That would be for Kiera, who quickly becomes congested, her eyes redden and water, and soon afterward she develops headaches – much like me. I stock diphenhydramine for those occasions when elevated pollen counts disrupt my rest. I prefer to control symptoms of fur and dander allergies with more natural foods, a vigilant cleaning regime, exercise and supplements, but occasionally I too must pop a pill.

During the waterworks challenge I noticed Kiera resists our fur kids no better than I do, caving in to pet and scratch them. After asking how she does it, she explained, “Well Roo, I will leave soon and get over it. I’m just careful to not touch my face or neck after petting Coco and Lucky, brush my clothes and wash my hands – often.”

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While Erin is away the fur kids become pitifully anxious. Before long at all, empathy drives me to distract them if only to silence Lucky’s mrowling and hopfully dissuade them both from joining me in my room/office space. Over the months we’ve developed a routine of cooing, brushing, chasing a laser beam, and finally spreading dried catnip on the carpet – in the living room. Their antics with the catnip is entertaining for me too since vacuuming is a daily task no matter what other chores await Erin’s return.

I will continue to be congested, head achy, marvel over occasional, colorful rashes and my nose continually feels like it is lined with cracking concrete. No. Matter. What. I know, TMI. The point is, I afford it for my dear old friend and the beauty of the Western Slope.

At least misery continues to love company. I can always walk it off – every hour.

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life [or sinuses] for one’s friends.” John 15:13 (NLT)

[*] While she’s clearly finished child rearing but enjoying great-grand parenting, Kiera isn’t aging mentally whatsoever. In her middle eighties she is advancing.

Himmie image courtesy Cattime.com, Tabby image courtesy Google Free Images Public Domain

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Run – Bliends

My marvelous friend and Sister, Jacqueline shared the joy of achieving a yellow belt in Karate-Do recently. Her recap of the story reminded me why I run.

Honestly, I’m not fast or graceful. Imagine Phoebe Buffay, only wrinkly, silver-haired in cut offs, tank top, loud electric blue Sketchers running shoes; that would be me:

In my quiet time today, before I checked my inbox, among the many other things clamoring around in my head I’d been thinking about the circumstances at home; Erin and I are as similar as a desert and an iceberg: a devout liberal and a hard-core libertarian. Comical. Right?

Arriving here this past April, the work necessary to fit me into the property seemed to loom above us like a tidal wave. We’ve made progress in our relationship, but the property is another story. Sometimes I feel like we’re trying to turn the Titanic on a dime!

Challenges trip me up daily – hourly stirring the longing for order and my usual routines.

Determined, I reflected on Paul’s words in today’s study of Galatians’ second chapter:

“I went there because God revealed to me that I should go…  I wanted to make sure that we were in agreement, for fear that all my efforts had been wasted and I was running the race for nothing.”[1]

I’m not a missionary like Paul in the traditional sense, but if I’m not reflecting the love of Jesus, I’m wasting my time and energy.

I’m not fast nor graceful. Uncomfortable in public, finding a smooth pace is sometimes laborious. Occasionally, I feel embarrassed as youngsters whiz past me, chuckling out, “on your left…”

I’m sure Erin and the cats sometimes see me as an alien. I don’t expect them to understand my need for an allergen-free environment. They don’t feel my constantly congested sinuses and the pounding inside my head as I grope around the kitchen for food, tea, coffee, etc. or my need for order and routine.

As I read on, the study led me to Hebrews (again with the running);

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”[2]

Sin can be an attitude. I can only imagine the so-called Entitled Generations[3] miss the joy of serving others. I too must constantly be on guard against negative attitudes that can so easily overshadow my purpose here, love for my crazy family, my friends and gratitude.

Eyes on the goal, I’ll keep heading toward the finish line. Love endures.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way.” 1 Corinthians 13:4

 

Friends episode clip courtesy of YouTube

[1] Galatians 2:2 (NLT)

[2] Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)

[3] I notice the entitled mentality, a habitual behavior, is not exclusive to Millennials. Members of several current generations tend to behave as though they are more entitled, spoiled, and essentially self-serving.

 

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Bliends – Loving

Love, Before it’s Too Late by Mitch Teemley at The Power of Story inspired me yet again today. Getting to know Mitch and his family through his blog, his stories makes today’s crazy world more beautiful and far more fun. If you haven’t met him yet, do yourself a solid and catch up.

 

About Loving

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Love is not always something we do or feel. It’s not merely something we respond to and it is definitely not something we acquire. I know this because of the love I’ve missed in my lifetime.

I learned early in life to never take the people I love for granted. The details of my family history, some of the losses are public record. Aside from our numbers the love is not recorded. The ties that bind my surviving siblings and I are solid, indelible but they are mostly invisible.

valentine-heart-5992x2227_22848Emotions are part of the equation and work closely with love, but emotions are not love. I believe that like matter, love is neither created nor destroyed. And yet, it can be misplaced, as anyone that’s lost someone precious to them experiences. Death can create a gaping void, a hole in life that God alone can fill. But love goes on.

Not my first loss, my dad died suddenly, unexpectedly when I was nineteen. With our dysfunctional family dynamics I also lost my closest friend at the time. The ramifications of that event separated my siblings and me during our developmental years. And yet love kept us closely bound together. I can see Daddy occasionally; in my siblings, my sons and my grandchildren. Each time I again feel the love.

My husband came into my life. Love thrived – and then he left. I have not seen him since 2010. Though I was open to repairing our connection we failed. Yet the love lives.

Loving my family with all that I am made me appreciate love, relationships, free will and to never allow time to ravage the bond.

I mentioned in an earlier post, some friends slipped into my past and will remain there. Others remain close regardless of where on earth I pause. They choose to stay close and they act upon the choices. A visit, a phone call, email or text keeps the love we share vital. Whether we share the same genetic structure or are bound by our histories, I value love above all.

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I’ve missed my parents for a lifetime. Mother left Dad, my siblings and me in 1966. She tried to reconnect until death took her in 2004. Through constant forgiving, commitment and dedication, we loved. My foster parents (pictures not available) passed months apart in 2005. They all continue to be a big part of me.

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My darling brother Seagh left us in 2014. I still feel his presence more often than I don’t. I miss hearing his voice, seeing his face and towering physique. Sometimes knowing I shall not see him again in this world feels crushing. But he frequently reminds me death is not the end.

We love.

 

 

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NLT)

Hearts Images courtesy Unsplash

All other images are private property and not to be duplicated or shared without prior written permission. Thank you!

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Routine

For the past few days I’ve been reflecting upon my early thirties. Then I’d finally come to appreciate the value of routine.

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**

God blessed me with a good foster mom. I often recall her saying during my child bearing years, “Mijita, todos ustedes tienen que tener horarios.” Not really grasping her meaning, I’d typically melt into her arms, soak up the love and forget what she said. In Spanish it sounded far more pleasant than when she would later tell me, “Girl, you must get your act together!”

I’d dismissed suggestions that I had more challenges than dyslexia, possibly other forms of autism. Who had time for health care while caring for four boys, an unpredictable, “bi-polar” and often violent husband, and all their companions-du-jour? Yeah, I knew about crazy – in other people. We were fine…  😉

For me if we all got up, everybody ate, got to school or whatever, nobody permanently harmed and got back to bed at night, it was a good day. I couldn’t grasp the value of scheduled daily tasks, a routine until my marriage finally ended. By then I stopped being a DV victim.

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**

Fast forward some decades and I live within a very structured routine. The time-space continuum shifts when my routine is altered. Erin and I are comfortable with this. She’s a night owl and I rise long before the sun does. Until the dam broke in the plumbing, etc. Aye!

We were unprepared for the disruptions to the entire property. Hourly the sudden changes annoyingly altered our habitual behaviors.

construction pixabayI confess, minutes into this morning I was setting things down and closing doors harder than necessary. “Where is the…” Living alone, controlled but intentional banging and “slightly slamming” doors, etc. to release tension worked for me. Such timid forms of violence is nothing compared to the savagery I’ve survived.

I remembered I no longer live alone as Erin stepped away from me – without the coffee pot. Violence here is never appropriate.

Because today, with so many tasks demanding immediate attention, Erin was up early with me, making coffee, using the bathroom, etc. The newly replaced futon mattress loomed over the love seat in the living room, against the linen closet – where we keep cleaning rags. The vacuum cleaner was parked wherever we used it last – and often. This is not our m.o. Have I mentioned our 480 square feet of crowded living space upstairs?

Now imagine the two cats nervously observing everything, add some large bags of items for family visiting for the first reunion in ten years. And we’re grilling for a small army of out of town family in light, intermittent rain, of course. That had to be ready for someone to pick up and deliver to Keira’s whenever they arrive. Then add contractors working all over the property. Chaos.

There we were, waking our bodies and our brains – in the same tiny room of the house together, simultaneously. One can imagine this is a potentially volatile scenario with two old broads well set in our ways. As the sounds of my banging around Erin increased in volume, she paused quoting, “Something vexes thee?*”

We laughed – hysterically. The frustration and tension from our disrupted routine was dispelled. We sat down together – with coffee and prayed. Several times. All morning.

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“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 (NLT)

 

*The late Alan Rickman and Geraldine McEwan from Robin Hood; Prince of Theives video clip courtesy YouTube

Photo Images courtesy Pixabay

** (c) 2016 Rapture Practice! Publications images not to be duplicated, shared or otherwise distributed without prior, written permission. Thank you!

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