Wednesday, September 10, 2014

thoughts about change and consequences… and fear

The clouds were moving across the sky so quickly this morning…. It made me think about how life can change so fast.  And that is true.  Events can occur that we had no idea were about to happen and then life takes on a whole new look.  Reality changes from what it was moments before.

But some things change or reach an explosive head which is unfortunately predictable with some degree of accuracy.  People go on and on… and on… with their dysfunctional, dangerous behaviors taking risks that eventually bring them to unfortunate and unwelcome consequences.  

So yes, life can change fast.  Sort of.  

It can change fast for those who had nothing to do with the other person's risky and foolish behavior.  Like the person who makes the decision to drive drunk and kills another driver in an auto accident.   While one person made the choice to get in that car drugged up or intoxicated, another was just leaving work to go home to his wife and children… but never made it.

Which one here is really the victim?

I've heard people "down on their luck" talk so much about being victims that it's making me numb.  So many just continue the same behaviors that will only lead to the same dead-end results.  I see them unwilling to work.  Continuing to make ridiculous choices.  So many have this illogical sense of entitlement or arrogance thinking that some jobs are beneath them but they have criminal records (all undeserved and unfair they believe) that keep them from getting other jobs.  They're unwilling to just work hard, stick to it, don't give up…  and work their way back up the ladder.  

Choices.  Consequences.  There is a natural correlation.  The two are related.

The frustrating thing about loving someone who is always the "victim" is that they just don't get it.  And there isn't anything you can do to help them if they don't get it.   

Where then is your responsibility when you care about someone like this?  Someone who continues to hurt their own self and spreads it outward to those who love them and … to the innocents?  

I wish I knew.

I had a strong thought last evening about the F-word in my life.  FEAR.  It has at time rendered me paralyzed with bone-deep weariness.  Totally captivating me.  Binding and controlling me with chords I could not break free of.  But that will be my fight.  My persistent enemy is Fear but it will not cause me to become useless or to retreat.  True there is much I am not in control of but I will remember to lean into the One who is the Prince of Peace.  I will love and help where I can and let go to let others fight the battles that they have seemingly so persistently chosen for themselves.   

I can't take away the consequences of others wrong choices as much as I might like to… but I have some say as to how I react to it… as sad as it might be.

People like to say that it is all about the family. But lots of people do not have rich networks of hilarious uncles and adorable cousins, who all live nearby, to help them. Many people have truly awful families: insane, abusive, repressive. So we work hard, we enjoy life as we can, we endure. We try to help ourselves and one another. We try to be more present and less petty. Some days go better than others. We look for solace in nature and art and maybe, if we are lucky, the quiet satisfaction of our homes. Is solace meaning? I don't know. But it's pretty close. 
-Anne Lamott from Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair

Friday, August 29, 2014

the week past

It's Friday.  It's been a busy week.  My date book is full of write-ins and scratch outs, 
reminders and notes.

I like to look ahead, but it's also encouraging to look back and see all that was
 accomplished and learned.

Refrigerator finally got repaired today.  The good thing about that is I asked if the work would be covered since it is only one month out of the 1-year warranty.  "Yes" they said.  Especially nice since it's a very expensive repair job.  I also asked their insurance department if they would cover some food loss.  "Yes" again.  An extra $100 is also nice!

Reminded me that if you don't ask you won't get… so why not at least ask? 

Sold one of the properties Edd purchased years ago.  Though I gave away what I could have made from the sale I feel good about it.  My conscience is clear and I have peace.  Everyone is responsible for their own conscience and that gives me peace too.

A group of widows and widowers I help with did some fun things and I'm happy I can help organize and plan.  We saw Fiddler on the Roof last night performed by the Trinity Street Players and it was a wonderful show.  Such talent …. and one of my favorite stories. 

A family member got the job he's been waiting… and waiting for…. 
I did more seeking and pondering and moving forward….
I exercised, read, danced, ate healthy… fresh greens and fruit smoothies every day…

I worked in the garden…and feel strong.

And this….. 
This is my blessed view as I work at my desk.   I have a warm 
cuddly pooch underfoot soaking in the sunshine.

And beautiful hummingbirds come to a feeder on the window about three feet from my face!

Good for my soul and the view is great!

Good for the body is the work of the body, good for the soul the work of the soul, and good for either the work of the other.  ~Henry David Thoreau

Monday, August 25, 2014


I woke this morning with such gratitude.   

Life isn't perfect is it?  We can focus so intently sometimes on the worrisome parts of it that we don't embrace what is glorious and miraculous.  

Oh, it's true that the refrigerator isn't working right now.  Yeah, the one that is only a year old, but someone will repair it this week and I have another little one to keep food cold or frozen.  

I have little aches and pains and my body doesn't look like it did when I was younger, but I went to see the doctor last week and she calmed all my fears regarding my health (yes, I tend to worry) and even said my weight was fine and to keep doing what I'm doing with healthy eating and exercise.  I feel strong and healthy.

There are so many things that can bring us down and some people are going through very tough times… God knows I have been there…. but today I will glory in what is good and take time to just be grateful.    

The outdoors beckoned me this morning.  It will heat up to 100 degrees this afternoon… summer is still going strong... but the morning was so perfect to get out and get my hands dirty digging and replanting and trimming and watering.


    What is it about a garden and seeing things living that is so soul satisfying?  

Might just be the nurturer in me….

So today, I'm tending.  Tending to my garden… and tending to gratitude.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Unfortunately now that there has been so much jumping on the bandwagon and following the
 crowd for the ice bucket challenge, the strange and "I'll do it different, or better, or more
 creatively or more dangerously or ….. " folks will inevitably get more pronounced to
 try to shock and impress us. Maybe we could all just stop now and donate if your heart leads
 you to do so. And also donate to other charities that truly help people who need it desperately.

And don't forget to lend a helping hand to those in your own sphere of influence ….

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

evening thoughts

Life and all that swirls around us can seem so complicated sometimes.  Relationships, politics, world events, tragedies, who said what and why, intentions, motives, misunderstandings, assumptions, etc, etc.... When I find myself fretting that's when I need to put all these things in a big ol' pile and label it... "Things to give to God"  … I find such peace in being able to give Him all my pondering and the questions with unknown answers … and leave the mysteries of life in His hands.

This seeker doesn't have to know everything.  Not now.  I just have to do my part.  As much as I'm able I have to make one good choice after another.  Every time there is one to make.  Every day.

I was given a gift today.  A good friend told me what he valued most in a person.  Sweetness  ... and said that I exuded it.

Now I don't feel like I exude sweetness, but you know what?  If someone can see a quality of goodness in me I am happy with that.  I know it's only because of what I've been through and things I have learned.  You see... trials can make you hard or they can make you more present to life and what is most important.  They can make you put aside pride and ego and just let yourself be compassionate toward others.  Others who may not even deserve it.  I feel I've been through the fire and I am content that God knows and cares about my heart and the me that has traveled down my own unique road.  He knows all my thoughts and intentions.  I know I belong.

When Edd died ... and when my mom died... I lost the mirror I looked into to see the best parts of myself… the parts others who loved me best chose to see… a place I'd go for validation and worth.  Though in many real ways I still feel their love, I'm thankful for people who are still in my life who share what they see and have the kindness to tell me the good stuff.  We all need to know. 

“And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!” And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.” —IAIN THOMAS

Saturday, August 2, 2014


I'd like to write more even at the risk of not having much to say. Because the more a person writes the better they get at it and the more you remember your ideas and thoughts each day.

Today my best friend, my longest friend, called me.  It's nice when your longest friend is still your best friend.  Maybe the two go together.  Maybe not.  At least the friendship has the luxury of knowing whether it will stand the test of time.  This one certainly has.

We've been friends through many ups and downs.  Some super-high ups and some horribly-low downs.  Real life.   Down in the dirt, get kicked around, wonder-if-it's-worth-getting-back-up-and-yet-you-brush-yourself-off kind of life.  

I was a bridesmaid in her wedding over 30 years ago and she was one in mine… my first marriage that is.  Once we were pregnant at the same time.  The nice thing about cultivating a friendship is that you never know what you will encounter down the road.  You think your friendship and life is just humming along, maybe not changing then BOOM, a major life event occurs and you can prove you're a friend by how you react … how you stick by each other.  How you offer support, show you care, help take the sting away… or you happily rejoice with them during highlights and successes.  Thankfully there are those too.

She had a rough day at work and spent most of our talk telling me about it.  When we were ready to hang up she apologized for talking so much about herself.  But I told her and it was the absolute truth that I was happy to listen and be an outlet for her… It helps to tell someone sometimes.  Almost like letting some of the air out of an over-inflated balloon; we need to decompress.  God knows I've needed her ear many times myself and she's never acted too busy to hear me out.

It's been her commitment and loyalty quite frankly that has made this friendship last and grow.  She is one of those people who takes the time to reach out, call, keep in touch.  I'm not so good even though she knows my heart toward her.   By this time she knows I care and I'm a forever friend.   We have to be!  We just know too much about each other!!

She recently sent this photo to me and I think it's just right.

Friday, August 1, 2014

the I-35 corridor

Today I did it again.  I took the road well traveled.  The I-35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio.

The first time we met he came from Austin down this road.   I traveled the same highway up from San Antonio and we met in between.  I don't know if I believe in love at first sight, but I knew he was a keeper and I wanted to make him happy.  It was the beginning of many… plenty, numerous, hundreds … of identical trips.  All so we could see each other.  He'd leave work on a Friday to travel south down that highway.  Stop for flowers along the way.  I'd make the trip north some weekends, but he did most of the driving…. made the biggest sacrifices…. as he always did.

Mid week we'd meet in between to have dinner just to turn around and go our separate ways again afterwards.  He'd have a conference call with Asia on his way back either staying in the parking lot to participate or drive home listening …. And we never gave up.  Seeing each other never got old.  Never lost its pizazz.

Today I thought that if thoughts could be seen… if they were concrete and had substance…. I would see all sorts of mental activity and reflections flying overhead and around me as I drove.   I'd see his… and I'd see mine.   If that highway could speak….  It was as if it did speak our story and remembered me… remembered us.  Watched us meet…. watched a love mature and grow strong.  Unbreakable.   The thoughts going around in our minds as we drove over that highway week after precious week were too many to count … where is this leading?   It feels good… there's peace… and contentment here… something worth protecting and nurturing.  Safety.   This relationship is so different … like coming home.  I can't wait to get there.  I can't imagine myself with anyone else…. secret thoughts only we shared...

As I drove today I embraced the memory of two souls who used to be one.  I can't help slipping back in time when I make this same trip… and savoring.  The heart doesn't forget.  There is still a part of me back in that place... right there… and a part of me that hasn't moved on and never will…

Now I travel it truly alone.  He's not there at the end of the journey down that highway.

But he is safely tucked away in my heart.

Even now I'll hear a love song with lyrics that speak of love never ending.   The lyrics will talk about the world ending if their love went away.  I hear time and again couples speak about how their love is their whole world, life wouldn't make sense without them, how they can't imagine life without the other… and how lost they'd be.

And it's true.  I relate.  But you DO have to go on… and live life.   You DO have to find meaning again.   But those highways are always there too… that bring us back.

I remember someone saying to me early on… just a few months after I lost him… that she thought some people grieved too long and they needed professional help.  This came from an uninformed insensitive person who had never lost anyone of significance.  I guess that was a less-than-subtle point she thought I needed to hear … but I've learned a lot since those early days.  I've learned that we never completely stop grieving.   We mustn't shut out life or others we love dearly… but the loss is tangled up in all of it too… and we hold the unseen soul deep in our hearts… never forgetting… never letting go of love.