Tag Archives: moving

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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In The Zone

“You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of Sight and Sound but of Mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Your next stop, the Twilight Zone!”*

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*

Working without Wi-Fi or an internet connection in my new home often feels like I actually stepped out of the truck into the Twilight Zone. Things that I once used and rarely noticed before, essentially took for granted, are not available now and I must hourly or daily readjust my movements in their absence.

For instance, we have basic satellite television service, but no DVR. When I settled in to relax a minute with Erin on the first evening here, not pressing a couple of buttons to view my recorded shows we missed while on the road was a shock. The cable network now determines when we see our preferred programming. And without internet access we can’t log on and live stream. Simply shocking.

Every few minutes I grab one of my cell devices or open my laptop and almost immediately Vision blurs, my ears detect the slightest ringing and eerie distant music, and I initially feel light-headed. In nanoseconds I must adjust to the feel of actual paper, reference books and that landline handset for reference.

Even after I remember I can go to the library that’s a good stretch of the legs away to reconnect with cyberspace and the blogosphere, the world around me seems to move slower and slower while I gather my bag to leave.

Now, two weeks since I left Texas, we are still reorganizing and juggling everyday items to fit our combined 50 pounds of stuff into our 20 pound sized home. What I once considered necessities have taken on whole new definitions while I utilize actual antiques in the kitchen and bathroom for the time being, but mostly for the challenge.

Used to glass shower doors, I won’t soon forget the sensation of a shower curtain billowing against my ankles for the first time in decades. Eeek!

However, I am amazed at how quickly I adjust to heating water in a teakettle rather than the microwave, making coffee in a French press rather than the Keurig. More astounding, I actually put oil and kernels in a pot (matching the lid first) and shaking it over a gas flame to make popcorn. And, oh the delight of melting and then drizzling butter – bomb diggity!

Sure I’d like to open the cupboard and see my dishes that have been familiar for years, or see my cosmetics in the medicine chest. On the other hand, I can practically feel the presence of my things, safely stored in the garage until we make space for them – and may actually need them. They seem to call to me every few hours, “don’t forget me…”

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<em>”… the world that was, and the world that is, or the world that will be… In the Twilight Zone.”</em>*

“…but we have this treasure in Earthen vessels, that the Excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:15 (NKJ)

 

*, **Rod Serling, The Twilight Zone TV series 1959 – 64, images courtesy photobucket.com bucket.com

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Amazing, Moving Grace

paper-in-box-4608x3456_85917More than ever before I am grateful for grace today. This is particularly so while our new household seems to be in chaos.

 

However, I’m delighted to report that, uncharacteristically, my mind is not in chaos. I attribute this unusual phenomenon to being in familiar, excellent company.

While many tasks which would help us settle in hourly slip through the cracks, grace and patience abound. With rare, good humor (albeit sometimes twisted) we make our ways together through the challenges of blending our households. Compassion and care are the first rule – as is best.

Our maze is beginning to shirink. The piles and boxes of household and personal items including years of our collected antiquities is becoming less intimidating.

Our options are limited while we manage our very restricting finances, yet we hope to also integrate more modern technical equipment, particularly internet access into our new life together. For now, sister Erin and I focus on our short term goals – finding our stuff and somewhere to keep it all handy. All this while we keep our long-term goals to promote a full, rich life in perspective.

While the volumes of our combined paraphernalia (all necessary to daily life, of course) astounds we two sixty-something women, we laugh frequently (mostly at ourselves). We weep almost as often (sometimes for joy), we hug for any reason and we assure one another constantly, “it’s gonna be great.”

Family pops in frequently to assist with the heavy lifting. This all helps distract me from the huge inconvenience of being disconnected from my cyber-community.

I employ my old Galaxy S3 (without carrier service) as a tablet via my active cell Hot Spot. While I can do many tasks from my trusty phones, we have yet to discover why we can’t connect on the laptops. Up for the challenge, my patience and confidence are tested daily while honing my technical skills.

Now fourteen days since I separated from my flesh and blood family, my heart is calm overall. Though I wonder about my girls in Texas, I am confident this newest change in our family dynamic continues to be good for us all. And late in the day when my faith sometimes wanes, experience encourages and grace comforts me. It’s all good.

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A New List

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During this monumental week I have reflected upon life, family and especially relationships. Creating space between my immediate family and me was heart wrenching. I anticipated the emotional as well as the more tangible hardships – and I’m glad to report we got through unscathed. So, I’ve titled my journals from the past two weeks, The Fine Line; Friends and Family.

Aside from moving to another different geographical climate, the most notable factor of this major life change is my new, immediate sense of belonging. Adjusting to the company of lifelong family friends came quick and easily. Even so, this week my journal sequel will be titled, Dude, Where’d We Pack My Clothes?

In short, my list of profound revelations today are:

  • As much as the world changes some things never will – boiled okra is still slimy.
  • We may grow, learn, shrink, wrinkle and sag, but underneath it all we’re pretty much the same people.
  • Those who take speed limits too seriously tend to annoy the rest of us.
  • God indeed compensates for most of what I once thought I missed in life – and in amazing ways.
  • After following a truckload of freshly baled hay a few hours, it’s flying debris can appear to be grasshoppers. Hay doesn’t stick to the windshield.
  • Friends often have a clearer perspective of who we actually are and what we’ve accomplished than we do.
  • Friends don’t need to know your deepest darkest secrets to understand you.
  • Normal may actually be exclusive to a setting on a dryer.
  • Braving rough waters is easier in the company of a trusted old friend.
  • Boxes of stuff seem heavier in the rain.
  • A good internet connection is invaluable. I’m still working on that!

That’s it for this night from western Colorado.

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” Proverbs 17:17 (NLT)

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Chickie

As I prepare for another relocation, yet uncertain where this length of my journey will take me, I think about people and events that brought me to the present.

A few years ago, while discussing a similar situation, my darling Aunt Chickie once told me, “I don’t have many words of wisdom for you, Dear, but I can tell you about mistakes, I’ve made them all!” Over the following hours, and the years afterward we laughed through her memories and with each visit the world felt far less severe.

Patty n Chickie

As a youngster I couldn’t comprehend Chickie ever making a mistake. Now I can appreciate how in hindsight some of her choices may have seemed so to her, but not to me. Raising three teen-aged children in the petulant 1960’s, I can only now imagine she may have felt fallible at times. As a single mother I certainly made some hard choices. She mastered putting any blunder behind her.

Most notable, Chickie never complained. Though a devout Christian, divorced, her inheritance was a devoted mother who often lived with her. She happily married again and became an exceptional step-mother as well. Despite any hardships, Chickie’s lively demeanor was a beacon to us youngsters.

Regardless of the desert heat causing my occasional sweaty, rank arrivals to her home, she always greeted me with genuine smiles, warm hugs and refreshed me. With each visit she told the best stories with helpful, happy, and usually funny anecdotes.

Chickie was a hero. She was and will always be a shining example of gentle, kind love that she consistently poured out on my siblings and me.

Today, while preparing a picnic lunch for my long drive ahead, I remembered helping Chickie make the same recipe I was employing. Long ago, gathering for a particular Memorial Day family outing, she welcomed me into her kitchen to help her prepare the potato salad. In her company I didn’t feel like a fumbling, awkward, insecure pre-teen. She made me feel like a welcome companion.

Blending the dressing into the chopped vegetables and minced pickles, up to her wrists with her bare hands, she suddenly stopped.

Looking intently in my direction, she wondered aloud, “Hmm… Did I wash my hands after I used the bathroom?” Then she overacted a relieved sigh, and answered, “Certainly I did.” Then as she eyed a piece of pickle sticking to her hand she added, “Oh, but then I fingered in my nose…”

For an instant I almost wretched, but, noticing the twinkle in her eye (and remembering how fastidious, the icon of a lady was about washing up upon entering the house and especially the kitchen), we both laughed heartily, drawing the rest of the family into the room with us. And so it always went at Chickie’s house.

Our only paternal aunt, she grew up best friends with Mother and our maternal aunts. Their combined talents for dramatically telling their stories from parochial school, like sabotaging the fearsome “Sister Rosetta Stone’s” yard stick/cane so it would break on the first strike, for instance. These first-person tales vividly etched in my mind, they provided me bright, happy memories. Such recollections often dispelled some of the menacing gloom and confusion that paved my coming years.

In today’s confusing and uncertain world I often draw upon the wealth my family ingrained in me. Chickie helped me recognize how princesses made paupers, we shine as we rise to heights which even darker, sadder souls would not otherwise aspire. Following her example, my sincerest hope is to shine God’s spirit bright enough to inspire others to rise also.

Mary Chickie Green Prince

“Chickie”
1927 – 2014

With fondest affection and deepest admiration.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

Romans 12:9,10 (NLT)

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Girlz Move Party!

paper-in-box-4608x3456_85917 Days away from loading my worldly goods into a storage cube, leaving my household, my church and home for the past 24 months, I’m profoundly reflective.

I get weepy often lately, but it’s all good. The last tears are almost always sweet with happy memories and gratitude. What’s more, the grit in the experience polished me, so I shine like never before. All glory to God, images actually reflect more clearly today.

I especially appreciate how My Girlz, my friends in the blogosphere carried me these past weeks. I love that about women. Men and women may also connect, and I imagine men encourage other men, but I’m callin’ it; women instinctively do it better.

So here’s my morning line up, hopefully a reminder to every reader to never underestimate the power of the pack(forgive me):

What’s Next: A favorite Oldie But Goodie, Stomp, Kirk Franklin
Michelle at Two Are Better Than One, The Mallone Zone:  I Can Be a Little Punk Sometimes, Hollyn
Psychromatic Redemption: Ever ready Mesca consistently brings beauty, humor, new ideas and inspiration, like: Broken Arrows, Avicii

Simply Marquessa; Life is Just a Story. And I’ve Got a PenShackles, Mary, Mary

Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience – Beautiful stories and images; When the Word is Hurting…
Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha at A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tales: Would You?
Diane at LadiesWhoLunchReviews, For a quick, hearty laugh
Lisa at Kids Crumbs and Crackers: Homestyle laughs with just the right amount of grit

 

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)

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Environmental Adaptation – Mid-Level Lunacy v. 3.1.1

My days typically start hours before dawn. Note: I did not choose to rise while the rest of the world sleeps (and in our household today that would be everyone but me). It is what it is.

Example: Yesterday began at 3:45 a.m. Particularly exhausted after a full, rich, action-packed day I was ready to sleep by 7:00 pm. At around 8:00 p.m. I heard Opal arrive home from her job, revved and excited. The way we know things by vocal tone in our household amuses me. I could tell Opal was also exhausted. Listening to her stories from the other room I began to doze.

Flash! Literally – a flash of a strobe light jerked me to attention. Since I could still hear the same conversation from the other room, evidently the rapture hadn’t happened.

Embed from Getty Images

I also deduced that, the flash of blinding light came from Opal’s cell. Out of consideration to the rest of the household, Opal disables her ringtones at home. She also has a strobe-type light notification so she doesn’t miss important messages or media posts.

However, the random, sporadic flashes of light began annoying this former health care advocate for the hearing impaired (clients’ strobe lights in every room alert them to phone calls and the doorbell). The strobe flashes work well for the hearing impaired who quickly adjust to them. I never needed to get used to them – until now perhaps.

No worries, I plug in my trusty earbuds diminishing all sound outside my head, set the tv timer and I focused my attention on my program. ‘Works better for me than a sleeping pill, without the morning hangover.

So began the night’s program:

– Flash of light! – Still not the rapture, I tell myself it means nothing to me. I nod.

– Flash! – I’m wide awake – again. Just ignore it. I begin to nod.

– Flash – I’m suddenly astounded that I’m the only one annoyed by the light show. I start to doze.

– Flash – Again, it’s just me. Yet again. I’ll shut my door to block out the lights (I loathe doing that)! I doze.

– Flash – Now fully awake with irritation levels rising to the red zone. I pray: “Lord, give me strength. Kind, gracious words suggesting Opal turn off the strobe light wouldn’t hurt… I slip into euphoric slumber.

– Flash – Now I’m upset and not certain why. I must get up and deal with something. I toss my covers aside…

– Flash – Arrgh! That’s it! I’m up now. Hmm… I didn’t close my blinds. I’ll do that.

– Flash – I remove ear buds and immediately thunder crashes. Oh WOW! We’re experiencing an electrical storm! It’s not Opal’s phone at all.

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– Flash – Never mind. I’ll just watch the storm…

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What A Ride

Part of preparing to relocate from Southeastern Washington State to North Texas, Roan and I experienced one of the roughest landings of both our lives.

But leading up to that, our brother Seagh, Roan and her almost-twenties daughter, Opal and I talked for months about combining my household with theirs under one roof. We hashed over each facet and question, until a year later we decided to just do it. I’d move away from my sons’ families. Roan and I would move for her new job in Texas. Seagh would keep his job in Boise, spending his weekends in the apartment at the Ranch, and Opal would take an apartment in town close to her job.

In three days including travel time, Roan and I did what often takes months. We located the best home for the two of us for the next two years, signed a lease and then headed for the airport to return and pack it all up.

Before takeoff

Before takeoff

On the flight back to Washington we were road weary and too physically exhausted to sleep when the Boeing 727 began lifting, dropping and seemed to twist before we approached the Gorge. Within a few minutes, I turned my head down to look around my shoulder and noticed white knuckles all down the aisle. Then the flight attendants strapped in too, announcing we were experiencing some turbulence, blah, blah, blah – an understatement.

Instinctively, I began to pray to remain calm. The rollercoaster ride of the past few years flashed a few still shots through my mind. But then suddenly, I saw like a video, scenes from a rodeo years before playing a continuous loop. I understood the heavenly reply immediately.

With the next upward buck from beneath me and a hard dip to the right, balancing on my seat, I lined up my head, hips and heels, I believed I could feel reigns in my hands, close to the mane. Soon I leaned into the turns as I rode around the barrels. Roan caught on, laughed and let out a “whoop!”

Grinning, she lifted one arm up as we lunged and rocked along, not bothering to look at the other passengers around us. Determined to ride it out, all previous drama faded into oblivion. All I could hear was:

“… Life’s a highway
There’s only one way
You’re gonna get through it
When she starts to twist
Be more like Chris
Pull your hat down tight
And just LeDoux it…*

Though we boarded, weary and worn, we walked off that plane onto the Pasco tarmac with our packs slung over one shoulder feeling delightfully revived. Striding along, we glanced at one another and I had to say it, “Good ride.”

There’s been a few times since when sliding off and walking away crossed my mind. Instead, I pull my hat down tight…

* Good Ride Cowboy, written by Jerrod Niemann, Bryan Kennedy, Richie Brown and Bob Doyle, recorded by Garth Brooks in tribute to Chris LeDoux (October 2, 1948 – March 9, 2005). Emi Blackwood Music Inc., Major Bob Music Inc., First Wind Music, Major Bob Music Inc. O/B/o Cowboy Hat Trick Music, Major Bob Music Co. Inc., New Songs Of Sea Gayle, Rope And Dally Music.

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