Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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Sorting Through Memories

 

folder-for-dads-retirement-certificate1.jpg

I’m very close to finishing up with my dad’s room. Today, I finished the closet, except for some shirts. I already donated about 30 pairs of pants, or as my dad would say, trousers. After wrapping several years of receipts and tax records in paper bags and duct tape  and lugging them to the trash, I finally went to reach up to the top closet shelf. There were more tax records to wrap,  a picture of some general or colonel he must have served under, and finally a large padded envelope. What could it be? Something important, I imagined.

Inside the envelope was a thin red book with the Marine Corps emblem. Opening the book, I discovered it was a folder with my dad’s certificate of retirement after 20 years in the Corps and a photos of him with 17 other retirees in khaki uniforms. My dad was clearly the handsomest. But they made a mistake on the date! The certificate says he retired in 1979. But he retired in June of 1969 right after I finished 6th grade. Oh, well.

I carried the red folder in the chair I keep in my dad’s room, my grief chair, where I go to feeling my feelings, and cried. I’m not sure if it was the significance of the retirement certificate or that I hadn’t cried in a while and have been working intensely on this room for a few days. Then Doodle came in, tail wagging and a concerned look in her big brown eyes. She can be a sweet dog sometimes.

I took a breath and decided to talk to my parents:

“I’m sorry I didn’t appreciate you more when you were alive. All the challenges and struggles you went through. Your strength. Your courage. Your faith. Thank you for passing that on to me. If you can, guide me, help me to pass that on to my children, even though they are grown.”

My parents responded:

You’ve done a good job. We are proud of you. Just keep setting a good example. Love them. Don’t be afraid to tell them, “Jesus loves you.” He does love them, and he loves you, too.

Talking to my parents helped. Their message helped. Crying helped.

My father’s retirement must have been a big deal. Definitely a relief, but maybe a little scary. Like my retirement. If I’d gotten a retirement certificate, I would’ve hung it on the wall. Or at least the refrigerator.

My father is the person who told me when I was 12 years old, “Nothing is impossible.” His words made an impression. But now, I realize that his life made even more of an impression. Even after his 20 years of military service, my parents faced and overcame big challenges. They want me to clarify that they couldn’t have done it without Jesus.

I still have a little more of Dad’s desk to clean out. No telling what I’ll find there. He saved everything. There’s a cigar box full of shoe laces. And I will never have to buy paper clips again. Here are some things I’ve found in and around my dad’s desk. You never know when you might need some carbon paper.

stuff from dads desk

Later I spent a couple of hours making a collage from one of Mom’s old angel calendars. It was an intensely fun diversion. I think the hands are interesting.

Angel Calenar Collage

Tomorrow, I switch gears and get some yellow paint samples for the kitchen!

 


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Home Repairs: Bad News & Good News

We got so much rain in July, I almost took the kayak out for a paddle in our backyard.

kayak refected in the backyard water

The monsoons delivered bad news in the form water seeping into our bathroom where the wall meets the tub. I knew we needed a new bathroom floor because of the soft spots.  The house was built in the 1940s and is way overdue for some updates. So, I’m going to get a whole new bathroom with a WINDOW which I’ve wanted for a long time – ever since the hurricane when we lost electricity (notice I didn’t write power) for ten days in the summer and had to take candles into the hot bathroom. Now, I’ll have some natural light in the bathroom! We’re also getting a metal roof. That’s the good news.

The bad news is we only have one bathroom. That by itself has not been an issue. I’ve lived most of my life with one bathroom – a condition that teaches patience, planning, and courtesy. But because of the single bathroom, we have to relocate for “6 to 8 weeks.”

The good news is that we can stay at the house my parents left me, so I’ll have lots of time to finish sorting and organizing their stuff for donation, sale, recycling, keeping, or the hardest one, disposal. I still think of it as their stuff, but technically, it’s my stuff. Hard to wrap my brain around that…

Zenith Radio

typewriter.jpg

hutch with china etc. (2)

old-books.jpg

The bad news is that we’ll be an hour away from “home,” which could be worse, and there is currently no internet or cable at the house that was my parent’s.

The good news is that apparently I can transfer my internet and cable temporarily. We’ll see. I’ll be crossing my fingers.

Going through my parents’ stuff  will be my job for the next two months. That’s how I’m going to approach it because I want to get it done.  It’s also going to be emotional. The good news is I’m “retired” so I have time. I get to make my  own schedule and rest when I need to. My plan is to journal about the experience and cut back on social media and other activities without guilt. I won’t be volunteering at the school on Wednesday mornings, so maybe I’ll get back into One-liner Wednesday because that’s fun and easy.

I’m a little nervous about vacating the house I’ve lived in for 30 years. It’s going to be an adjustment for the dogs, too. But it’s temporary. And when I come back home, I’ll have a new bathroom with a window and new walls painted elfin sage. That means goodbye to the familiar faces in the old paneling. This one looks like Admiral Akbar from Star Wars

Bathroom fish face

It might sound weird, but you get used to these things. The good news is, I’ve put all the faces in my sketch book and will turn them into art that will not be in the bathroom.

In the end, it will all be good.

 


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Round Two

bird nest from pixabay

 

Round is the shape of a baby’s head crowning,

Round is a mother’s breast,

A robin’s nest.

Round is how love makes the world go.

Round is the ring on my finger,

The center of a flower.

Round is the shape of suns and planets,

Round is mother earth,

A full moon.

Round is the seasons coming and going

And coming back around again,

Another chance.

This is second response to Saturday’s Stream of Consciousness prompt: “round.” The no editing rule was not followed.  For more information, visit Linda Hill’s blog: Life in Progress and click on “prompts” in the menu.

 


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Grieving a Lost Love (What I’ve Learned)

bird alone at sunset

In the divorce support group they said it generally takes one year of grief for every five years you were in the lost relationship. I did not want to hear that after my 20 year marriage ended. But experience has taught me a few things about the process.

  1. There might not be an end date. You can have moments of grief which may include denial, anger, guilt, depression… even acceptance, beyond the 1 to 5 ratio.

  2. The good news is, it gets easier with time. The waves of grief come further apart and they eventually get smaller. There will come a time when you rarely think about the lost love.

  3. When you’re grieving, you’re vulnerable, so be careful. I thought I was ready to date after the divorce was final. Boy was I wrong.

  4. Love YOU. Focus on the constants that have always been there for you and the the things you’ve always wanted to do. Take good care of yourself.

  5. Know you are loved unconditionally by a divine Power who is working on a plan for your best good.

  6. Believe that someone or something even better is on the way and will come to you when the time is right.  Trust the timing.

Here’s one of my favorite scenes from Cast Away. “Who knows what the tide could bring.”   (You might need to turn up the volume.)


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Highly Sensitive

Touch lamp

I’ve been writing about my mother lately (maybe for a Chicken Soup story) and found this post by Trini Lind about highly sensitive people which made me realize that my mother was a HSP, too! It helps me appreciate her more, even though she’s no longer in this world.

“Overly sensitive,” was the phrase back when I was a kid. I fought against my sensitivity my whole life. I didn’t’ want to be like my mother who had nervous breakdowns and migraines. I loved my mother, but I wanted to be strong like my father. Since I couldn’t fix my mom, I watched Star Trek and developed a huge crush on Mr. Spock. Calm, cool, logical Spock. Someone had to stay calm. So I suppressed. I did well in school, drew pictures, and made up stories in my head. And I watched a lot of Star Trek.

Somehow, I managed to become tough enough as an adult to work as an addictions counselor for 30 years, with only occasional meltdowns on my kitchen floor after a hard day.  With all the counseling skills I applied to myself, I guess I became a moderately sensitive person – on the outside at least.

As a retiree, I have begun to embrace my sensitive nature.  I love staying home with the dogs, writing, doing a little painting. At home, I have plenty of time to recover from the times I do go out and interact with people and plenty of time to think about my parents.

Now that I understand more, I wish I’d been nicer to Mom. I wasn’t mean to her. But she tended to bring out my logical side which might been cold sometimes.

I finally painted over the hearts that mysteriously appeared on her bedroom ceiling after she died in 2008. I try to go to my deceased parents’ house at least once a week to sort through their things. There’s a Tiffany style touch lamp on my mom’s old nightstand. On two separate visits in the past month, I was sure that lamp was off before I left the house.  But when I returned on the following weeks, the  lamp was on. Maybe touch lamps are highly sensitive, too. But I have to wonder.  Was that you, Mom?

On my last visit, I unplugged the lamp. If it’s on again when I go back, I’ll know something’s up.


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Take Two on Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Being Real

SOC winner 2017

I typed up a post following the prompt, starting with his and ending with her for bonus points. It was about God being beyond gender. But I just don’t know if I can post that one. My heart hurts for the 17 who were killed at the Florida high school by a shooter with an automatic weapon. My heart hurts for their families and for the world – that this keeps on happening. I’ve read the FBI knew about social media threats made by the shooter and former student. Shouldn’t that have been enough to investigate? To search his home? I go back and forth between enjoying being outside, puttering around the yard, and wanting to flee. Part of me wants to fight this evil, this sickness. And part of me wants to not think about it. I’m tired of this happening. Of course we all are. I guess I’m feeling despair. I know I will be okay, and that I’ll fight this darkness in some small ways. I’ll keep volunteering at the school and talking and writing about peace. But it seems so not enough. I’m usually hopeful. Optimistic. Just not right now.

My original post was about how I’ve been conditioned to think of God as Him, because the Bible was written during a time when males were in control and women were not valued. Are men still in control? Is it always males who do these shootings? It seems like that. I’m sorry, men. I know there are many of you out there and in my life who are good and decent and loving. But maybe it’s time for the nurturing, maternal, feminine side to bring balance and healing to the violence of this world.

Maybe I’ll refer more often to God as her. I used to think of this as rebellious. But now, I see it more as being authentic.

Here’s the picture I was going to use for my original post. I’m putting it here because I think I need some light.

God's hand with sun coming through

I know there’s still a lot of goodness and beauty in the world. I won’t let the darkness swallow me up. I will find my light and let it shine.

For more information on the Saturday Stream of Consciousness, visit Linda at:

https://lindaghill.com/2018/02/16/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-17-18/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!

 


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Just Another Wave of Grief

April Evening Wave

 

I used to be good at math.

Now, the numbers get tangled up

With tax brackets and grief

Falling from my family tree

To cover the ground

Like dried up stars.

I have so much to be thankful for.

So much to be thankful for.

So much to be thankful for:

A good man who loves me

Who came before my father died,

That retirement gives me time

To deal with all this….

Is this just another wave of grief?

Holidays on the horizon?

Feeling my feelings more easily?

Now that I don’t have to be strong

All the time?

Is it just grief and the new role

as the senior family member

Against the backdrop of

All I have to be thankful for.

All I have to be thankful for.

All I have to be thankful for.

It must be time for a gratitude list.

(I started writing this Monday night and feel better now with some perspective.)