Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In My Mailbox

Today is a very tough day. My pain is beyond what I can take without shaking. I am fighting tears because they will become sobs and it will make me sick. I have nothing today. No words, not anything.
But this was in my mailbox. Especially if you don't embrace faith in God, please watch this. I accept all of you however you come and whoever you are. This is too beautiful to pass up. It is ALL about His love.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pressing On

 I had been thinking that I have been a real dud of a grandma. This girl has been away from me for years. Now she is here and I let pain dictate how much I do with her, but not today. Look at this joyful smile.
 My body did not want to make cupcakes. My granddaughter was very excited and happy to make different colors of frosting. To see how to put together the piping bag. To squeeze out designs and make Easter magic. She took her finished beauties and displayed them on a platter. All her ideas.
 I thought that for a beginner at this, her work was absolutely outstanding! She shows great promise in the art of baking and making beauty. I loved her designs. I love the freedom that happens when you don't stress perfect conformation. Just let them do it.  Let the child explore. I am a very firm believer in putting the tools in the hands of the child and let them go.
 That belief shaped my homeschooling philosophy. Give them the environment that makes learning happen, with the tools and books to accomplish it, and let them go. I was almost an unschooler. Sometimes when a child spent six hours on the computer writing a story and illustrating it with pictures; I would watch amazed. There is no way I could make them do that.  The soil was there full of promise. I just watered and tended them.
 Life is so much like gardening or farming. I can see why Jesus spent so much time explaining life with stories about seeds and winds, trees, fruit, vines, and wheat. We are so connected to this earth. We are made from it. I have a strong inner need to walk barefoot, to touch, to plant, to be connected to this earth that I live on and in.
 I love randomness. Random growth, random thoughts, the unplanned free flowing flight of ideas and images. It is a large part of who I am and my personality. My favorite way to speak to a group is with a general idea of the subject but no notes, just letting it happen. The difficult thing to do is repeat the message and do the same thing twice. I haven't had the discipline to do that.
 I feel a kinship with this birch tree. Looking at the layers of bark falling and peeling away. Pain peels off the unnecessary layers, it goes to the heart the very core, and exposes what is inside.

What is inside?
 The desire to see the beauty on a cold overcast day. To capture the moments in less than perfect light. The overcast color of the day, connected to the overcast pain in the shoulder, wrist, hands, back,...the pain threatens a storm.  A storm of rain in the sky, watering the earth,  a storm of tears from the eyes letting out some relief.  I resist it, the crying. Instead I choose to look.
 These beauties are on thorns, branches of thorns. A message here for me? A promise to bring a flower of sweetest fragrance and beauty from the thorny branches?
 Perhaps even masses of roses, small as they may be, growing over time into something so large of a blessing...
 that it covers over the structure. All you can see is the mass of flowers, not what is underneath.
 These bloom on wickedly thorny briar's. These could have been the crown of thorns upon His head. They would have hurt, the tiniest prick to my fingers as I prune them brings blood.
Hidden in the mass of vines, one rose. I feel so entangled some days. The struggle just to get dressed, to participate in the life of the family. To engage when I want to let the blankets just cover me up. Sometimes I let out the biggest sighs, or just say out loud,

"so MUCH pain." burning aching ripping the shoulder joint may come fall disconnected away from me.

Instantly regretting, this tongue of mine lets complaint slip out. The confessions come when my guard is down. I do not want to bring attention to this daily physical struggle. Instead I struggle to keep my focus on this day, these moments.

 Looking into the future can bring me to my knees in fear and despair instantly.

What will become of us? how will I endure?

 The future is full of pricking thorns, it is all I see. Only focusing on this day and the promise that I see before me, right here in my own garden; keeps me calm. If the God of this universe is faithful to bring blooms on the thorny vines what more will HE do for me?

What He has already done is enough.

He wore the crown of thorns upon his head.

He understands and He loves me. There is a SheSpeaks writing conference coming up that I would love to attend.
Scholarships are available and one is being given away by a random drawing. Go sign up.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chew on This

I went to my woman baby and said I was sorry. Crawled onto her bed with her and snuggled while she vented. Mothers can be stupid, but we are mothers, so our daughters will forgive us. I have learned after half of a century to just listen quietly. No comments during a vent session is very important for successful reconciliation. The hardest thing on this earth for me to do is to shut up.  Duct tape anyone?

Not only the frustration of living with your mother who blurts out whatever kind of crap she is thinking but ...

It's so hard to move to a completely different place. I remember what it was like leaving my good friends, the beach, the mountains, the trees, the FOOD. It's a big change.
She still hasn't found a girl friend, but she will. At least the kids are adjusting pretty well. They will feel better when they have their own place. As long as she works evenings and weekends though it's better for all of them to be here. We aren't the most attentive grandparents in the world but we are here. That gives them some security. We also need to go out more and see what fun is available.

I know I have needed to let you know after my last post that this was better but.....
this beast which a friend of mine said; I should have named Jethro....(notice the size of these paws?!?)
has been about as bad of a dog as he can be. Yes those are my glasses. What used to be my glasses. We found them out in the backyard. I say we but it was not me. I cannot see more than a foot from my face. My world is a soft fuzzy place with no crisp clear edges to things and certainly no details like little broken glasses in the grass. Sweet Jesus how to cultivate thanksgiving on this day?
I decided I was thankful that I didn't slit that dogs throat. I really did want to kill him. Hell hath no fury like a woman .... blinded by her dog.
You noticed of course that there is another chewed up item. That would be my remote. FIDO has also chewed up Jen's sunglasses. There have been other disasters of late, books, papers off of my desk, and food from the countertops. He has multiple chew toys, rawhide strips and anything else a dog could desire to chew up. He is just plain TALL. He can reach most anything with all four mondo paws on the ground. Should he decide to elevate said mondo paws and raise up, well that settles it. Destruction is inevitable. Do you wonder if this beastie has a death wish?
We have held discussions (Brutus and myself). I have informed him these behaviors could banish him to the great outdoors. He may become a yard dog.
He just looks at me with big brown eyes and says, "No you won't."
He has my number. How on God's green earth do I get his?  I wish I could walk him. He pulls to hard for me to train him. Something has to give- he is BORED. A playmate would help, like another beast to romp with. I can just see the HUNNY's face on that idea! I have not dared to say it out loud.
I myself do not think I could manage the stress of any more critters.
In the mean time.... the sweet fluffy Puffins is scoring points big time. He couldn't be sweeter. He purrs, he cat talks, he cuddles, he's not demanding except to be loved. I have switched him to canned food and he is blissed out. Who would have thought that stinky canned food could make a kitty so adorably happy? My stars, the dog lover is becoming a cat woman.  Will wonders never cease?

Sometimes it takes real determination to find gratitude. My husband rototilled the garden and maybe some irises were sacrificed during the job, but he tilled. The ground looks promising. I cannot focus on the future bug swarms. I must look at that earth we have amended until it is very good soil  and hope for the best. Thinking on the butterflies to come instead of the beetles. Think of the blooms to cut and arrange into vases in the house instead of rotting squash vines, attacked by the insect kingdom.

It's a battle everyday. Seems like ever since I decided to find thanksgiving and beauty in my life the battle has increased. It has.

This is winning.
I have an old pair of glasses to wear until my new ones from zenni optical arrive. My new glasses are $100 which for my prescription is amazing. Provision.
My Hunny has managed to save a bit and has a little emergency fund to buy the glasses. Praise God.
We have plenty of groceries, fresh fruit and spring greens for salad. Provision.
Our weather has been beautiful in a world full of trouble, how amazing is that? Wonder.
I did not kill my dog. I did not even beat him. I kept my temper. Miracle of all miracles.
The cup of coffee I am sipping on is so delicious. Satisfaction.
More and more of the things I need to buy are showing up at the dollar store. Amazing.
My dentist adjusted Lindsey's braces for free. Blessing.
My husband and I have been sitting in the garden together and just talking. Bonding.
I am still thinking of things to do. Maybe read stories to children. I love to read children's stories.
I am a very good reader. I am a very good driver.  Hope and humor.

Be encouraged if I can overcome negativity it is possible for anyone. No matter what your problems are you can too. My dog is peeing on the rug right now! No I am not kidding. GAH

Friday, March 25, 2011

Between Peace and Pain.

At 3:30 am I woke up out of a deep sleep because of pain. What is it about 3:30 am? It's the witching hour. I was flat on my back legs drawn up like a frog and every inch of me hurt. It struck me funny, a frog in a sea of pain. Words started flooding my head. I could have rolled over and gone back to sleep. Go to the medicine cabinet and pick a pill...but when my head is full of words, that's a good time to write and just let it flow.

Yesterday a good friend picked me and my lounge chair up, and we went to the reservoir to just sit by the water and be soul soothed.

It was a great idea. It's been very windy and a bit of a nip in the air. Our last taste of coolness. I could have been looking at Monterey. Yeah, I know that takes imagination but I let myself enjoy it like that.
The cool wind, the pretend peninsula, and that vacation feeling rests me.
Sitting in the chair I notice a teeny patch of wildflowers at my feet. They are almost invisible with the dead grasses,  new grasses and that dark shadow in the corner. It looked like my life.  The tiny sprouts of joy are being threatened by a dark unknown shadow, the weeds, the dead and the living. The flowers are tiny, tender, and outnumbered.

My daughter is darkly angry. I said out loud those words. She hears judgement, condemnation.  What is spoken and what is heard, not communicating. What matters is the wounding, sometimes wounds heal and sometimes they drive wedges.

The mothers words blurted out.... now that dark hole looms like an abyss.

How far will we fall? How much distance? Will she withdraw again?
My heart can't take it. Little flowers of hope and peace threatened by overwhelming fear of the looming shadows....

I spoke the words.
I regret it. I would rather put the beast of my tongue back in the closet and leave it unnamed. Shove it back and slam the door.
Let her have it her way. I want her. I want her more than naming.
She can have her life the way she wants it. It's hers .

But how do you take back a spoken word?

The tension is so thick it could be cut like a knife. Polite words, full of distance as she races by me as fast as she can and hurry to her room . There is no house big enough for people who want to be away...

My heart rips open. Old too familiar pain with new cuts. Fear of losing. It's a fight. More than just the fight between the mother and the daughter. The fight for the peace. The fight for that space that I am finding, the place of resting in the now. Enjoying moments and freeze framing little joys to say thank you for. That's the secret for me. Blessing what is here instead of wanting and wishing for what is not here.

The enemy knows how to rob, steal and destroy. Even while sitting here in this gentle place of rest, anxiety looms quietly in the background.  Will she leave me again? Eight long years I placed the knowledge of a daughter in the bottom of my consciousness. I did not let myself remember  that at one time I had birthed a baby girl. Instead I just lived with buried sorrow.

Then she returned. With loving arms and heart embraces and brought me from the pit. Her love brought healing. Oh the things we do, the things we say, blurting out what needs to be unspoken!

Sometimes something is just so - in your face. Sometimes the elephant in the room is so big... you just say, "there is an elephant".
Why do we as a group of people, our culture,  or is it just me  why do we feel obligated to fix everybody else?

 I have bought into it, gone with the whole idea of conforming every one into Barbie and Ken, fit, thin and free. Having a wardrobe full of fashionable clothes, accessories, and a pink convertible. We are all supposed to be jogging around on our long dimple free legs, eating like rabbits and not having any neuroses.

In your dreams. 

Humans are never going to be like that. We are mess. Humanity is a mess. That is why we need God. We can't fix ourselves. We can't fix each other. The only thing that really does help is to come alongside and give love. Love is patient, love is kind, love does not keep a record of wrongs.

Jesus told us to take the log out of our own eye, before we tell our daughter about the speck in hers.
Maybe keeping quiet and praying about both of those things is a better way. My log and her speck.

I do not know how to restore the peace.
Call it any name you like, codependency, denial,  whatever, I don't care.
It's not my problem to fix. If it's not a problem to her then so be it. She is not my little child anymore she is grown. It is her life. She can wrestle with her own choices.

I just want her. 
I want her sweetness, her arms, her kisses. I want to hear "mama" as only she can say it.

  She is the only one who can say mama.

I refuse to fall into that dark hole of grief again.  I feel like Gandalf facing the balrog in the deep mountain. He stood his ground with that devil and yelled, "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!"
Sometimes we just have to stand against the devils that would kill our loved ones.

Maybe that is part of the lesson of my own life with RSD. Every day is so unpredictable. I cannot plan for anything. I don't know what is possible in the future. I only know the present, from one moment to the next. That is the real truth for everyone but for me it is in my face. MaGniFieD.

Simple things like planning to weed a small patch of ground. I have not been able to play in the dirt again, not yet. (Yes Chris I love dirt)
 Another good day will come. I had hoped to do a little every day, but it won't be like that.  I cannot focus on the weeds. Those "things" that make my life not perfect. I cannot focus on weeds the literal and the figurative anywhere.

All my life I have strived to make my surroundings perfect. To make beauty, to improve, to make it better. An endless supply of ideas to make this home better. It drives my husband nuts. He longs to be content with what is. When I get a glimpse of being "there" content with what is, I understand.
Wanting is a peace robber. Wanting something different than what is. Wanting more.

What I deeply crave now is peace.  The peace that passes understanding. The peace of God. The peace that can fill a soul in the middle of any situation or difficulty. Peace when there is no solution. When my peace is robbed my coping with my pain falters, tumbles, and spills away. I wake up in the night with frog legs drawn up, back aching, hands on fire, every inch of this body in pain. It amazes me that it is possible to feel so much.

Jesus taught us that some demons cannot be driven away without fasting and prayer. I have a host of them to drive away, not by my efforts but by His.

That is the answer, fast not fear. Now I will go back to sleep.
I will pray in my dreams.
Lord restore the peace, and send the robber away. In the midst of this life just as it is, restore my peace.
Cradle me sweet shepherd, soothe this fearful anxious sheep. Carry me across your shoulders so I learn and know the sound of your voice, the smell of your garments, the touch or your hands.
Teach me your ways.

Monday, March 21, 2011


 The daughter took this. I wanted to delete it. I'd like to delete the whole senior citizen droopy bewbs and flabby everything. She said it caught me in my element. She said,"Just go with it mom."
 The green are the perennials the dead stuff is WEEDS. WEEDS that need to be removed.
 Today is the official first day of spring. I turned on the AC a week ago. We are in the eighties already.My prayer of not getting too hot before June is being answered with a "NO." It is only 42% humidity though. March is a gorgeous month. I hope April will be like this too. The forecast for the whole week is sunshine and 80's.
 This is what I have been working on. This old dog   woman can learn new tricks. This is a 3 day effort so far. My left hand has become quite adept. I use it so often that I am truly ambidextrous now.
 I love dirt. I fell in love with mud pies when I was little. Playing in the dirt. Squishing it up. Smelling that wonderful fragrance. Tasting it a little. I don't eat it anymore. I do inhale deeply. I do squish it and break it up and do what no machine can do.
 I work it and play in it until it's like potting soil 4 to 6 inches deep. I use a weeding stick tool and my hands. Hands can crumble up big hard clods better than anything. It's a love relationship I have with dirt.
 This is self control. I am not finished yet. This back area has a small patch of weeds and this dirt needs to be worked. BUT I am tired. My muscles have had enough. I used to do this entire bed in one day. Now it will take a week. It will take a week to do the other side. I'll finish this tomorrow and not push it. Even though it's just a little bit. When it's time to stop, STOP. Giving thanks for what is done.
 I am going to be spreading this out and having a lot more ajuga.  I have decided you can't have enough of this in flower beds. It spreads so thickly that only the hardiest occasional grass can poke  through.
 It's just that it could take me all through the summer and into the HEAT just to get the weeding done.
I want to fill this up with flowers you know I do. Just like always. I have always loved annuals and perennials mixed together. It took me YEARS of study, pouring over magazines to learn how to build beds that would last all year.  I have to adapt, and use what is here already. I'm going to need to have more care free areas. I have built so many large flower beds here.  I could use a nice crew of men to help out. For now it's me and the Hunny. He loosens the dirt for me so I can get into it. We have a system.
 The trees are pinking. I notice while I am playing in the dirt. Sitting down and looking around is such a good thing to do.
 The roses are getting happy.
 I have one tulip. Maybe this hardy fella will reproduce. I don't know why it's so hard to have tulips make it. I kept some in a container out of the ground for winter and then planted them and still got just one. POOT.
 Ach, more weeds. I'm very late getting this out of here. There are a lot of strawberry plants and other lovely wanted plants under this mess. I just have to do it as I can. The MIRACLE is that I am out here at all!!!
 I love this. I do not give a rats a** that they are from the dollar store. They require no water no effort and they look pretty. I am officially a senior citizen. I remember my genuine appall at old ladies who did this nonsense. I also wear strange get ups of clothing around my house, no longer bound by having to look cute, hip, fit, or any other current trend.  I have found freedom. I have found the freedom to just live. We all have enough. We don't need more. We don't need what the magic marketers tell us through every sense we have, every minute of the day, to go out and buy. We need to consume peace. To inhale it, to be grateful. Empty we can be filled. I have nothing, and I have everything. It is a mystery.

 We need peace. We need a place to rest, to put up our feet and enjoy the earth. We have spring.
 Some things only bloom once. They just come for a short burst of pleasure. something to look forward too. A brief moment of bliss.  Masses of tiny yellow roses.
 Sitting in that lounge chair in the sun, getting my vitamin D from the real thing, I can marvel how quickly the sun and the rain transform this. This Ireland green, from dead winter. Could God transform me that quickly? How do I slow it down? I want my winter to become spring. I believe it is. Spending my day searching for gifts to be thankful for is already changing me.
 Taking the time to "freeze frame" a beautiful moment. Listening to these chimes as they dangle gently in the breeze. Making melody to the soul. Enjoying the moment and giving thanks.

 It's so different than wanting more wind chimes. Wanting a bird bath, wanting more plants blah blah blah. Did you feel that?
Wanting ruins the peace. Too soon old too late smart.
 Worry can ruin the peace too. I am over worrying about taking care of him. I just enjoy him now. He makes me laugh this giant doofuss.
 I adore him. I am in love. He is mine and I am in love with my dog. It's blissful. What is this bond that animals fill? It is intrinsic to being at home and in the yard. My buddy, the one who makes a mess and poops everywhere. He brings me joy. It's a mystery how a big poop machine can make love happen so prolifically.
 I love vinca. It's invasive but beautiful. It could take over the yard and I wouldn't care.
 Everything about it is so appealing. The flower , the leaves. The ease with which it grows. The beauty of it spreading like a floral carpet, dense and lush. Yep I am in love with this too.
 He's a little blurry, I am misty eyed with love. Cultivating gratitude in my heart makes love spill out everywhere on everything. I am a mess. Mushy misty mooning over this dog and the vinca and the wind chimes and the Ireland green.
 Filled full of satisfaction, all by changing what I think about.
 When I play in the dirt this doesn't happen. So what? The beds not made. But what a great nest. See the books and the little TV? Isn't it grand? Those sheets are soft, the blanket is soft. I have a bed. I have sheets. I have books. I have so much. So many blessings.  The lack of money is not an issue. Money is not an issue. Am I going to chose faith or fear?
Do you know what I see looking at this unmade bed?

It is empty. I am no longer bound to it.

A few months ago I could not get out of it. It seems like an eternity ago, a different life altogether. Lying there in a fetal position in the dark, writhing in overwhelming pain. The bed was wet with tears. Now it is a place of true rest. More joy.
 It took me one day to clean this room and make these beds. With my physical limits I have to pace or just die.  The difference is, that now I am practicing gratitude for what I do get to do! Some days I may spend the whole day in that other lived in bed. That's OK, I have to listen to the body. I have to live in this body for now, and accommodate it.
 That doesn't mean I can't make plans. My husband gave me these shirts. They are just too big for him. I am dreaming of what I can do with them.
 I bought this from Suzanne over at She has a tutorial on her blog of how to make these beautiful aprons from men's shirts. I am going to give it a whirl.
A girl has to spend time doing more than playing in the dirt. Making things is fun too. I have a gift of 5 beautiful shirts. I can make aprons! I can make doll clothes. So much fun to have. My little four year old granddaughter in California loves to play with dolls. Her birthday is in June. I hope I have a cute little doll wardrobe ready for her by then. I better get away from this keyboard and get started with the day.
My spirit is ready now. Now that I have shared the joy.

Celebrate God all day every day. I mean revel in Him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that your on their side, working with them not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive! He could show up any minute!
Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray.  Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. 
from "The Message", by Eugene Peterson.

We can learn to be content in any circumstance. Isn't that what we all desire?