Saturday, December 7, 2013

learning

Life is interesting… and much is unexpected.  In spite of every sad thing I could think about this time of the year I have joy.

Maybe I'm getting somewhere.

Just maybe I'm learning to savor the times when peace reigns in my life and giving myself permission to let go of things beyond my control and…. exhale… enjoy.

Some things haven't changed any.  Missing loved ones not around to hug is a constant.  The missing part is always there and will never go away…But I'm learning to accept.  It makes me human... and fully authentically me.

Also this is the first Christmas in my entire life that I won't get a stocking filled with thoughtful lovely things from my mom, but I'll survive that too and I'll savor and cherish all the love and memories that are still very much ALIVE!  The love is almost tangible and as real as anything could possibly be…. It fills me up.

So I'm learning.  I'm learning to accept myself right where I am…not comparing myself to anyone else.  Why do we do that?  Experiences and people are so different…..

Learning to embrace who I am with my own strengths and insights that have been hard earned and picked up along the journey that is uniquely my own.

I'm learning not to edit myself for anyone …

So remember… Remember when you think you aren't making progress in your life that some things just take time… more time than you think you should have to go through … but if you're willing to stay open and teachable the end result will be worth it.











Sunday, December 1, 2013

this picture

circa 1975  New Jersey

This picture might just look like a house on a hill to some, but to me it is a lot more than that.  It speaks volumes.  It kind of haunts me, but in the best of ways.  Each window conjures up a memory of life under its roof and within its safe walls.

I see a kitchen window and my mom inside making this house a home.  This time of the year I'd look for the spritz cookie recipe that we'd use with Christmas cookie cutters.  There would be sprinkles and flour everywhere… and warmth.

I see the living room window panes where mom would tape her homemade snowflakes each year made with white tissue paper… the Christmas tree would be near by.  It wouldn't have the cool small twinkly lights on it that we have today.  The bulbs would be colorful, larger and hot … and I'd occasionally put tinsel on one of them to watch it melt.  The mantle would be decorated and a crackling fire would be lit underneath. 


I can still see every square foot of our property in my mind.  I walked it.  I explored it.  I climbed it.  I cartwheeled and sleigh rode across it.  I grew up in it.

I see my brother's bedroom window and remember the view looking out of it into the woods.  Though I can't see mine I know it's on the other side of the house where the driveway wound down to the dirt road below.



I'm reminded of a back door that for a time wasn't used because there was nothing to go out to.  The rock stairs had crumbled over the years and were replaced later by a nice deck.  But the in-between time  resulted in a door that stayed locked.  This speaks to me about my parents inability to get everything exactly when they wanted it.  They had to save for things.  They had to wait and didn't get into debt just to have stuff right away like too many do today.  They worked hard.  It didn't effect or hurt us one single bit to have to wait to have any material possession.   Even a back door.

I'm hoping future generations see that clearly.  In our pursuit of stuff I hope it doesn't get lost.  The news is full this time of the year of people shopping for the best deals and fighting over them.   Consumerism is running rampant.  I see many houses so full of stuff that they can't even park their car in the garage.  It's so full of stuff.  

New so quickly becomes old… and pushed aside.

My mom and dad made the wise decision before I was born to raise their family here.  Where there was space and fresh air… and a special freedom.  They really did live the American dream.

I don't know.  I like things same as the next person, but real life doesn't consist of more and more stuff.   The best things in life aren't things at all. 

I heard this quote today by Sandra Bullock… She said, 
"When people are like, 'Life is good,' I go, 'No, life is a series of disastrous moments, painful moments, unexpected moments, and things that will break your heart. And in between those moments, that's when you savor, savor, savor.'"

I kind of liked that.  At least the words struck a chord in me.  I try not to focus on the disastrous moments though, but on the savor, savor, savor…...

Richness consists in being able to look back and say how good all the memories were that were made… and all the lessons that were learned and lived…. Richness comes when we love one another through the tough times…. 
knowing that is where a lot of the "good stuff" comes from….


Saturday, November 23, 2013

thoughts for today

I decided today that waiting till Thanksgiving to make a pumpkin pie is a bad idea.  I think this year I will spread Thanksgiving goodness throughout the whole week before and even after Thanksgiving!   I think the expectations we build up over the holidays can threaten to lessen some of the joy and I don't want to do that.



Thanksgiving Day I plan to do some volunteer work in the morning.   Other family members have plans for part of the day too.  When I get home I'll make a turkey and lots of other yummy things, but it's all about enjoying this time of year and remembering the good in our lives.  We can have leftovers all week.  I'll drag out some Christmas decorations ….

I'm learning that I need to be able to be flexible and fit into the changes in my life.

I took a walk this morning and gathered leaves as I went along.  They were so pretty. Texas changes in the fall too.  It just takes longer…  Few things bring me back to my childhood the way a cold Autumn day does.  The memories are vivid…. the way the air smelled along with the smoke coming from our chimney in New Jersey as my dad burned fragrant cedar logs.   Today was cold… all day…  upper thirties here as I walked… and the air made my ears sting.  I like to walk because it's a good time to think and pray…  remember… and center myself.


Changes come all throughout our lives.  Maybe I'm just more aware of it now than I used to be.  As soon as you settle into a new "normal" that normal changes again and we need to readjust to begin to feel comfortable again.  Like the seasons….

I'm looking forward to purging things out of my life that aren't useful anymore.  Things that aren't positive or helpful or beautiful.  I am becoming more and more drawn to simplicity and ridding my life of clutter.  In a world where people seem to want to continuously accumulate stuff I am seeing the enormous value of getting rid of the noise in our lives so we can really hear what's important.  It's a process and I have a long way to go.

My wish today is that all have enough….. being content and grateful… with always enough.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

timing

Recently I heard a statement that I could really relate to.  You know how you can hear words expressed and not think much about them ... and then you hear something that brings poignant truth straight to your heart.

"Life is about timing... and timing is everything in love and in loss...."

When I look backwards in my life it only confirms that.  I am still amazed at the perfect timing in meeting Edd.  How we almost lost touch, but then reconnected.  About the rightness of it all.  How I believe we were put together for something of eternal worth... much bigger than we could have imagined, for a special purpose and time.  For both of us.  Though I miss him no less each day, he is still with me... and it's a warm comfortable place in my heart where I sense his love still...

I'm not naturally a patient person when I want something to happen.  But some of the best things that have come to me in my life came unexpectedly... and were dropped in my lap.

Timing.

I'm grateful for the lessons I've learned and how it's changing me.... where it's leading me.

It's leading me to embrace more of what is eternal and less of what is temporary.  It's pressing me to not fret the small stuff and really see what is before me and whether it has value or not.  To take the time.  It's made me see how so much of what people do in this life is chasing after the wind.  Chasing after things that really don't satisfy.

I've always been grounded, but it's upped the ante... or raised the bar... for seeing what is important and what is not.  It's solidifying my values.

Our society is way out of control with its consumerism and we've just lost touch with what contentment and satisfaction is all about... with a lifestyle that knows how to love simple things and enjoy moments.  We think we need more and more stuff to be happy when that has nothing to do with happiness at all.

Timing is everything in love and loss...

That truth gives me faith and courage for the days ahead.



Thursday, November 14, 2013

many "to dos" to do today

It's been a busy week.   A leak here, a leak there...  some repairs made.  Getting the furnace inspected and up to speed for some c-c-c-cold nights!  Brrr.  When it rains it pours and everyone can relate to that one.  The recent storms also revealed I need a new roof ... bummer.   Such is life.... But today was full of tackling projects and it felt good.  Pushing forward and eliminating things needing to be done.  One day at a time as they say.

I like looking at my "to do" list after a day like today and seeing all I accomplished in my waking hours.  

Got my windshield replaced.  Grrrr.... a stone flew up while on the highway and cracked it a few days ago.

Took down and cleaned some vents on the ceiling that looked yucky.  I bought new ones, but they were the wrong size of course.  I always have to make at least two trips to Home Depot or Lowes to complete one simple project.  Decided to just wash/scrub them instead though!  

Changed AC/Heater air filters and vacuumed the dusty area.

Pruned plants and flowers.  Planted some in pots to replace a few that froze to death last night.  Poor things.

Got current on my "bill pay" and organized piles of papers on my desk.



Ran a multitude or errands, bought and mailed a couple gifts to family and friends, did some grocery shopping...

Got brave and tackled difficult phone calls I was putting off.... 

Sigh.

My desire, my hope, my goal ... is to simplify my life and home more and more.... and more.   There are still some uncontrollable aspects in my life, but much I can do to move toward that end to simplify.  It's a process and I can't expect to get there all in one day... or week... or month but I can keep moving in the right direction.  And I intend to.



You can't reach for anything new if your hands are still holding on to yesterday's junk.
  ~Louise Smith


Simplify:  Eliminate the unnecessary so the necessary may speak!










Tuesday, November 5, 2013

ever changing

Just got back from another trip to the Oregon Coast.  It hasn't changed too dramatically since the first time I went out there.  The Pacific ocean is just as beautiful and majestic as the waves hit the shore... and they hit ferociously too since it was stormy.  Though I got one good walk in along the rocky paths it mostly rained.  One day the weather was sunny, then rained, then sunny, then hailed, then sunny, then rain.... and so on.  Ever changing.

Like life.

The biggest change out there is that mom is missing.  Her smile, warmth and open arms.  Her presence seems to be everywhere though.   It's nice, but painful.  Bittersweet in the extreme.  Memories come one after another like the ocean waves.  Love seems to fill all the nooks and crannies of a home that was filled with her influence and beauty.  

I want so much to embrace and then share all the good that has been mine... so many blessings.... comfort and warmth.  Love and acceptance.... I'm still finding my way in all of this.  Some people seem to go on and embrace life to the fullest again... but I'm still a bit stunned.   Sometimes I curse the deep thinker and overly sensitive me.... but it's who I am and that's okay ... and there must be a purpose in it all....

So I wait, and I move forward, and I do what I can each day.... carrying all the good stuff I've been given close to me ... deep in my heart.




Saturday, August 31, 2013

restyled


When Edd asked me to marry him back in 2007, on New Year's Day, it was one of the best days of my life.  Not only because of how happy his proposal made me, but because the ring he chose was so incredibly beautiful.   It gave me great joy to wear it.

After losing him I found comfort in wearing my rings .... but after a while looking down at them brought pain.  Everyone is different.  I have another widow friend who still wears her wedding rings and does so with great happiness.  I couldn't bear to wear them, but I couldn't bear to have them stay tucked away in my jewelry box either.  It made me sad to see them there.   I've wondered what to do and found a perfect solution for me this weekend.
  
The jewelry store where we purchased the rings was having a reuse/renew/restyle event that I went to.  I was able to pick out a new setting and I did!  It's completely different than the original and now my beautiful diamond sits in a white and rose gold setting that accents this Masterpiece perfectly!

I am also going to get the original setting and my wedding band disconnected and have the band saved in its original state.  Then I'll get another gemstone (Edd's birthstone perhaps?) put into the original engagement ring setting .... 

I love it.  It's bringing joy again ... and I know Edd would be pleased....  

... pleased that I can move forward... and still honor our love and special memories!



Restyled

The original