Thursday, October 5, 2017

change

October.

Letting that sink in.

October......

It's okay that Texas is still mostly hot. I'm not going to get bummed about that. Because I love that we don't get snowstorms that make driving even more hazardous here than it normally is. No shoveling. No chill way down deep to the bones.... And I like that the coming months are refreshing .... some days cold ... some days warm... I like that the days change and are not all the same like the hot, sunny summer days seem to be .....

October.

Change is near. The good kind of change. The kind that makes me feel hopeful.

I have more of a single thread of hope.... but even a single thread of hope is still a very powerful thing isn't it?

Once again change comes ... nothing stays the same. Sometimes things change in a flash... in an instant.  And other times change happens in tiny little minuscule instances... hardly noticed... until.... everything is totally different. I'm feeling like things are totally different. All of a sudden.

Sigh.

Life. Love. Thankful.






Monday, September 25, 2017

thoughts from my dad's visit


I just dropped Dad off at the airport after being with him for two weeks.

He is alone a lot. Actually he is alone all the time. Since mom died over four years ago he's lived by himself and it's not easy to visit given the distance. But I've done it numerous times and do the best I can.

I've made many trips out to see him and a few times he has traveled back with me to my home. Like this time. The times I have tried to plan a trip for him to travel on his own have not worked out. He is just not able to travel by himself anymore and planning a trip for him alone is pretty much setting him up to fail.... He's 85 and I feel very protective of him.

The last few trips I've noticed a pattern. When we are together initially he wants to talk about the same things. Things that bother him. Things that make him angry and confused and resentful. Like the fact that his brother never spread his wings but spent all his years under his parents' roof, never making an independent life of his own. Like the fact that he was not included in is parents' will. Things that have really hurt him.....I understand .... yet it's still hard to listen to it again and again.... He's a good man and doesn't understand why people do some of things they do.... but none of us do at times...

But then... after a while... slowly.... he begins to enter life again... he gets it out of his system and starts seeing people living and joins in. It's sooooo hard though. The woman he shared his days with, the love of his life, for over 60 years is gone.

Dad was (is) the epitome of loyal. To his wife. To his family. He worked a job faithfully and didn't ask much for himself. His wants were simple. A home. A good meal. A place of belonging. A job to do. Work to accomplish.

He was the man who brought his lunch to work every day in a brown bag. A sandwich. Maybe ham and cheese. Maybe peanut butter and jelly. He said others would go out to eat each day or bring restaurant food back to the office to eat but he didn't mind his brown bag lunch. He saved a lot of money that way he said. Of course mom would make it for him... and for him it was enough....

The things he'd do for his little family.... I recognize now.....they were simple... and yet enormous.

His humility and lack of entitlement is rare and really humbles me... and makes me see so much of our world and the things that others value as being so very shallow.....

I dropped him off at the airport today to make his way back to Oregon. These days you never know whether it will be the last time. He's confident as he walks away.... but also frail and needy. This trip, as easy as I have tried to make it for him, will be hard for him at times. I wish I was with him... just to be at his side to offer support.

But I'm only one person and have limitations myself.... I can't do all I might like to.

While he was here he just fit into the tapestry of my life and home. He came down early for coffee and breakfast. We went out for lunch sometimes and a few other outings. He met his two great granddaughters for the first time and got re-acquainted with his granddaughters.

He said he was so glad he came... to see them... to make the trip before maybe he couldn't anymore... He said he takes each day one at a time....

It was hard to see him go.... knowing he'd be alone again.....

I do what I can... and pray God will take it and make it enough.

Dad and Jenni

Kristen, Jenni, Dad and baby Paislee (Jenni brought everyone out for ice cream)

Pippa, me and Dad




Monday, August 28, 2017

reassurances

Childhood. Many of us remember when we were children. Some of us have wonderful memories of growing up in a loving home. I know I do.

I also have memories as far back as I can remember of being afraid of being separated from my mom. I never went to daycare and probably wasn't far from her until school began when I was five years old. My kindergarten class started in the afternoon and I remember the bus coming down my dirt road to pick me up. At least I have a movie of it occuring anyway.

Though I don't recall the bus ride vividly, I do remember crying in kindergarten from time to time because I missed my mom. I have memories of children being sick in the class and how upset that made me. I worried I would become sick too.

This fear seems to have followed me into adulthood. I would frequently ask my mom as I was growing up if I would be okay today as I left for school. She would always assure me that yes, I'd be okay... and then I knew I would be. And of course I was.

I have always needed reassurance.

Without her here, it's been tough. Sounds silly actually as I am in my 50's now, but we never really outgrow some of our needs. We become strong and able to reassure and help others, but we don't outgrow needing reassurance and comfort ourselves.

So it's okay. It's okay to admit that I'm fearful and need to be told things will be okay sometimes. It's okay to search for healthy ways to get that reassurance too. My doctor, my relationship with God, friends who know and love me....

But something will always be missing without having my mom here telling me .... I sure do miss her.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Home

I've been looking at properties for quite some time now.... wanting to downsize and move. My home at one time seemed right .... for Edd and I... but without him here.... after over five years without him...  it seems as though I'm rattling around in an empty shell of sorts. It's too big and doesn't seem to envelope me with comfort and simplicity and modesty.

Hard to explain in some ways since home isn't just a place for me. It's a feeling.

Home. It makes a social as well as a personal statement about ourselves, doesn't it? I think I try at every turn to get back to the way I felt as a child when home was much more than the actual walls and wood and shingles, but the sense of security and comfort and peace and safety.

Maybe I expect too much? Probably. But I keep looking. Searching.

I want a place that is smaller than I have now. More manageable. A little less to take care of and right for me as I move forward .... "to the foreshadowing chill of possible loneliness of old age." I'd love to be able to make changes if I'd like.. to make it more "me"... and be creative with the space. I'd like it to be full of visitors who enjoy its nooks and crannies too... but that joy seems to escape me somehow.

Oh, how life can get complex if we don't have the wisdom to reign it in when we need to. We try to do the best we can, don't we? But there is always something new to learn. Something we must re-think and evaluate anew.

Sigh.

So.

My search continues.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

change of focus


When I spend time dwelling on things I can't control I'm doomed. 

Living alone is hard in that it is challenging to get out of your own head. 

But looking outside of myself, the bigger universe and how small I am, and finding joy in the 
little things... birds joyfully singing, white puffy clouds, a bubble bath, a loving memory, a child's hug or laugh, washing my hair, a fresh cup of morning coffee, writing a kind note, the smell of the earth after the rain, reading a quote of wisdom or hope ... fills me with the stillness and peace that I crave.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

a safe place


As I sit here with a homemade blueberry muffin and cup of coffee I think of how writing from my heart is my happy place... what people today call their jam. But expressing and going to that place in my heart where all the feely and deep things are has been a slippery slope. It's sometimes a place that's hard to sort out... and then when I do hit a sensitive spot I can flinch.

It seems I've been too much of a hyper-vigilant over thinker for too long now. I'm sometimes jumpy and often my faith has turned to fear. Loss and disappointment has left me hobbling along at times. Although I mostly function just fine, some parts may have to be urged along to catch up and get back in the program. I'll still manage to be in this dance of life, but might not know all the right moves or when the music starts and stops. But I haven't given up trying... to do better... as I learn to be better.

So today... as the storms come, real or imagined ... and the worries of life try to take over... I will find ways to be still. To find that place where peace and calm dwell. To seek it out... To seek out the One who knows me and loves me.... created me and kept me safe all these years. I will put my life in His hands and if I take it back again I'll be quickly reminded nothing good comes from that. I'll remember that it's not about trying hard all the time, it's often about letting go and surrendering. It's about finding the place where you know you're safe ... and can hopefully reach out a hand to encourage someone else find that place too.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

a distant memory





This was my dad's fruit tree "experiment" that didn't work out. About 45 years ago now.

He was always doing something interesting on our country property when I was growing up. We had chickens for a while and he constructed a coop and fenced yard for them. In the daytime they'd often be let out to forage outside of the coop's boundary. These were very healthy chickens and the epitome of happy and cage free!

One night I was walking home up to the house from a neighbor's (I had been babysitting) and heard a baaaaukkkkk that scared the daylights out of me! I had just walked past one of these little fruit trees that had a chicken roosting in it. She had failed to get back into the coop with the others to roost inside and flew into the tree for the night. A memory that has stayed with me.....

I was brought home from the hospital after my birth to this house. This was the home I grew up in. The one my memory returns to again and again. Though it has been inhabited by another family now for about 25 years, it will always be .....

.... my New Jersey home.