Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


23 Comments

Mini Vacations, Assertiveness, Forgiveness, and Catching Bugs

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Our instructions for Stream of Consciousness Saturday are as follows:

…”instructions.” Write instructions for anything you know how to do. As detailed or as rambling as you’d like. Enjoy!

There are a lot of things I could write about. None of them are mechanical. I shy away from mechanical things. I will not write about technical things which I have forced myself to learn.

First vacations. Linda said she needs a vacation. While I’ve never taken a glamorous vacation or been on a cruise, I know how to take mini vacations, which in some ways are better because then you don’t need a vacation from your vacation.  If you can’t get a week off, take a weekend. Until you can get the long vacation, take a day, or even 4 hours. Three might work, but, nah. 4 is a minimum. That might not seem like a vacation, but when I was a single, working mom, four hours off to do something I loved was very important. I wish I’d taken more “mental health days” when I worked in the mental health field.

Anyway, the first step is to schedule it. Well maybe you need to make arrangements for child care or pet care first, then schedule it. Write it on the calendar and put it in your phone. Put stars around it. Don’t let anything get in the way of it. This time is sacred. Plan to do something you really love or enjoy. You could take a nap, but then you might miss your mini vacation. Read a book. Put on some of your favorite music. You deserve this! Pretend you are a tourist in your own town. I read this thing once that if you have three days, pick a direction. Drive the first day, spend the second day exploring and drive home the third day. I’d rather pick a place. Something with a body or water. Be mindful of all the things around you in a beautiful place. A garden maybe would work. Not a garden you have to tend, unless you really love that.

Okay, enough of that. You get the idea.

I know how to be assertive, though sometimes I forget. The steps to assertive communication I used to teach in my groups were:

1. State the facts.

2. State your feelings.

3. Say what you want or need.

Of course you can be assertive with yourself about why you / we deserve a vacation for example:

I’ve been working x number of hours per day for x number of days per week. I feel exhausted/tired/worn out/ (whatever the feeling) and I want/need you to watch (child’s name) for a couple two days.  Be specific. If you’re talking to someone who is not a friend or who may be difficult, you can skip the feelings part, maybe even just state #3.

I know it’s not always easy, but I’m open to questions.

I was going to write about forgiveness, because I know how to be in that process which, for me, might not ever be finished. I’ll cut it short and say first I had to pray for the willingness to forgive.  I focused on compassion, kindness, and gratitude for my ex husband and his spouse for about a month before I saw them at my son’s wedding. Then I went right up to my ex husband who I hadn’t seen for many years and shook his hand and introduced him to my husband. I wasn’t trying to be anything. I asked how he was and wished him and his spouse a safe trip home two days later in the parking lot….. I am convince that God was with me during these encounters, prompting me, nudging me, because I asked God to do that.

Lastly, here is how you catch a spider or other bug you don’t want to kill and take it outside.

  1. In advance get a clear or semi clear jar or cup with a mouth about the width of your hand.
  2. In advance get a stiff piece of thin, slick cardboard or thick piece of paper (I usually use junk mail) bigger than the jar or cup mouth.
  3. Put the jar/cup and paper/cardboard in a place you are likely to need it.
  4. When you see the bug you want to catch, try to make sure your back door is unlocked. Quickly place the cup/jar over the bug. (Flies are really hard.) Be careful if it’s on a window. Don’t hurt yourself. Try not to hurt the bug, but you have to be quick with some of them.
  5. Slowly and carefully slide the paper/thin cardboard under the cup and under the bug. Sometimes I move the jar/cup at the same time.
  6. Carefully carry everything to the door. I usually put the bottom of the jar on my stomach if I have to open the door.
  7. Once outside and at least a couple steps away from the door, let the bug go in an appropriate habitat.
  8. An alternative that sometimes works for small lizards is to throw and old towel or sheet on them and carefully gather it up and hope they’re in there when you carry it outside.

Good luck!

Here are some bugs I’ve caught and released:

better yellow moth

 

glass wing moth with tail (2)

Glass wing moth on a dusty lamp. The posterior end was moving back and forth like some kind of alien.

 

spotted moth in bathroom

Sweet visitor in my bathroom.

 

spider on the ceiling

Spider on bedroom the ceiling. That was a tough one.

 

big mosquito in bathroom

This was on my brand new bathroom wall. No way I was gonna squash it.

SoCS is hosted by Linda G. Hill who will soon or now be on vacation. For more streams of consciousness and related rules, visit Linda at:

https://lindaghill.com/2019/07/12/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-july-13-19/


14 Comments

One-Liner Wednesday: Nothing’s Off the Table

2019 1linerWeds badge

On July 15, 2011, I had my second first date with my high school sweetheart. It had been 39 years since we last saw each other, though the second first date was preceded by Facebook messages, emails, and phone calls that lifted my 55 year old heart like I was a teenager again. The date started with dinner at a casual restaurant near the river. As we sat across from each other in the cozy booth, David reassured me of a guideline we established in an early phone call:

“Nothing’s off the table.”

The dating books said to not bring up past relationships or issues that might scare off a potential partner. But we’d both been unpleasantly surprised over those 39 years by people who  were on their best behavior at first. We didn’t want to waste time, and we didn’t want any BIG surprises. So we asked lots of questions and shared about our past successes, mistakes, and lessons learned – not all on that second first date, but over the next several months of a long-distance romance. We’ve been married 6 and a half years now. But I can still remember the butterflies of our second first date, the after dinner walk along the river, and the second first kiss.

You can read the whole story in Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again.

For more one-liners, visit Linda G. Hill at:

https://lindaghill.com/2019/07/10/one-liner-wednesday-so-much-water/

Here are the guidelines:

1. Make it one sentence.

2. Try to make it either funny or inspirational.

3. Use our unique tag #1linerWeds.

4. Add our lovely new badge to your post for extra exposure!

5. Have fun!


20 Comments

#SoCS Ramblings on Social Justice and Being Social

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Today’s prompt for the Stream of Consciousness is the word, “social.” We can use it any way we want and have fun.

Social studies, okay. Social Justice, Yes! I’m not the most social person, especially in person. But I do believe in social justice. I can be social for a while, but when there’s an event that is purely social without any other goal, I tend to flounder. I’d rather be social for social justice – marches, meetings, volunteer work, picking up trash, protesting – it’s easy for me to be social when there’s a cause.  Years ago, I was pretty active in environmental and animal rights groups. Social justice should include animals and the earth. Trees, too. I find it easy to be social with trees. They’re such good listeners.

Not that I can’t be social with people at times. (And I can be a good listener – too good for my own good in times past.) There are people I enjoy being with. For a time. People are interesting. People are amazing. Social. Dogs are social. So are elephants, whales, dolphins, and pigs. They like being with family. They need social justice, too. What if ants are social, and bees too, in a different way?

Social justice is for everybody.

Just don’t make me be social too long.

Coincidentally, or not, I happen to be watching Steel Magnolias while I write this Friday evening.  It sure does remind me of the value of friendship and being social. It’s worth the effort for sure, both here on WP and in person.

For more info on Stream of Consciousness Saturday, visit Linda G. Hill at:

https://lindaghill.com/2019/06/14/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-june-15-19/

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. I will post the prompt here on my blog every 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 will simply be a single word to get you 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 all of them! 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 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!


32 Comments

Saying Goodbye to my Parents’ House

birds on the wire at 312

We closed on my parents’ old house on Monday and got the last of the stuff out. Besides paperclips, I will never have to buy duct tape again, or screwdrivers, T shirts, pencils, blankets, or coffee mugs just to name a few of the things my house is now full of.

At first I thought I might not cry, being so busy with loading the car. But as we approached the end of the process, I found it hard to breathe. Crying is a good thing and healthy at times, so I did.  Intellectually, I knew the house was just a structure, a building, but somehow it felt like I was saying goodbye to my parents and the end of an era. So many important things happened in that house. I lived there through my teen years and into my early twenties. My parent’s were there during the death of my sister in the mid seventies when she was 16.  After Mom died in 2008, Dad insisted on staying there by himself until he joined her in 2017.

My husband David was a big help. As we got ready leave for the last time, he said, “We have to decommission this house!” David spent much of his life on the New England coast where old ships were decommissioned to be removed from active service. I’m sure my parent’s house will go through a lot of changes before it returns to active duty. Standing in the front threshold, David said a prayer of thanksgiving for the vessel that served my family well.

It had been drizzling off and on for most of the morning, but the sky opened some clear patches as we carried the last items to the car. Looking up, I noticed four mourning doves perched on the electrical line out front. They seemed to be watching us.

birds on a wire at 312

All four members of my family of origin – my father, mother, and two sisters – have passed away. I wondered if these four doves could be spiritual representatives of my family in heaven.  As we finished loading the car, the doves flew away one at a time in the direction we would be driving home.

bird flying away

IMG_E0658 (2)

The last dove to leave seemed like the biggest one. It (he?) lingered for a bit, watching, then finally flew away.

It’s hard to put into words what I felt about the four doves, but I will try. I felt comforted by their presence. I think they were there to tell me that my parents and sisters are no longer confined to that house or this realm. Their spirits are alive, well and flying free! It’s time to move on.

I will carry with me the treasured memories from my parents’ old house and the lessons they taught me into new adventures!

 


24 Comments

Don’t Strain Yourself

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Today’s SoCS prompt is the word, “strain.” We can use it any way we want to.

“Don’t strain yourself,” has been a sarcastic response to someone not working hard, doing the minimum, or less. Sometimes we have to strain. But often things don’t have to be as much as a strain as I make them by worrying. When I remember to breathe and let things happen naturally – taking action and making plans without the angst of what ifs, or at least with a lighter heart – I’m a lot healthier.

Work without strain. I can do that. Sometimes. I’m writing this Friday night as is my habit. I’m tired after a day of wrapping and boxing and carrying things from the house that was my parents’ to my renovated house.  Soon it will be done. Maybe in a couple of weeks. The house will be sold and this physical work will be done. And I will hold the memories.

There are some timing things in the works. Lots of personal stuff going on between now and the end of June.  Change can be exciting and tiring. But it doesn’t have to be a strain. Maybe I should write this in the morning when I’m no so tired.  We’ll see. I could start over.  That’s what morning is. Starting over. And you can start your day over at any time. But it was a good day. I’m thankful for my high school friend helping me today. SOOOO thankful.  She went to high school with me and now we are friends again in our 60s. That’s very cool.  On the way to my parent’s old house we drove through our old neighborhood listening to classic rock from the 70s, and singing along with some of the songs.

Here’s one we sang in the car to the mellow classic rock station:

 

Don’t you just love that album cover?  Music sure does help turn strain into flow.  There now. That’s better.

For more on the Stream of Consciousness Saturday, visit Linda Hill’s blog:

https://lindaghill.com/2019/05/10/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-may-11-19/

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. I will post the prompt here on my blog every 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 will simply be a single word to get you 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 all of them! 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 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!

 


26 Comments

Newbies at the Senior Center

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Today’s SoCS prompt is: “lip”

To be honest, the first thing that came to mind was how my lips are thinning. A lot. Then how I have a lot of lipomas, benign lumps inherited from my dad. But don’t give me no lip about that. I’m gonna flip the script. We all have “imperfections.” But God made me this way. We all age differently.

Speaking of aging, my friend from high school who just got an early retirement thrust upon her is happy about that – retirement – not necessarily aging. We went to the senior center to check out the classes they have. Most classes are free, and they have a gentle yoga class for back issues that’s like $5. I drove the hour to my real home to go with her. It was her idea, but it was a good one. I had to laugh out loud when we were making plans to go. This friend and I hung out a lot off and on in high school and in our early 20s. Then we had little contact until the girlfriends’ reunion in 2011. Then she moved back here to retire. It’s just funny to think about the two of us going to the senior center. As we approached the front door, it felt like going to a new school or something.  We filled out forms and then got the tour of classrooms, exercise rooms, bulletin boards, and the dining room. They have free lunch! Though they ask for donations – pay what you can. Not much in the way of vegetarian entrees and not much recycling, so I probably won’t partake much, but it’s nice that they have free lunch. We were the youngest ones there. “Newly retired.” They have art studio time and an art support group I’m going to check out when I get back settled in my newly renovated house.

I believe we’re going to start moving back on Monday!!! Can’t believe we’ve been “displaced” to my parents’ old house for 7 months. But it was all part of God’s plan. Our house renovations and processing my parent’s things are wrapping up at the same time pretty much. I had a feeling it might work out that way. Just one more lesson to Trust the Timing!

To learn more about Stream of Consciousness Saturday, visit Linda Hill at:

https://lindaghill.com/2019/04/12/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-april-13-19/

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. I will post the prompt here on my blog every 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 will simply be a single word to get you 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 all of them! 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 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!


42 Comments

Doctors Did Not Expect Her To Live

FA8B561A-59CA-4E63-8F22-815B036DD1A4

Here’s today’s SoCS prompt from our hostess, Linda Hill:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “fab.” Use it as a word or find a word beginning with “fab.” As always, use any way you’d like. Have fun!

I don’t know if I’m going to have fun with this, but I will have … meaning? I have a story I want to tell. I will not fabricate it. It’s a true story about my friend, Fleming. On the day you read this, if you read it Saturday, I’ll be going to Fleming’s funeral. That feels final. And sad. But it’s not really final because she has a spirit that is alive and well.

When Fleming was born, the doctors did not expect her to live more than a few days. She was born with spina bifida. Back in those days, babies with her condition and severity were not expected to live long.  The doctor told her family to leave her at the hospital.

A couple of weeks after she was born, the hospital called her mother and told her that Fleming was still alive and they could take her home. They did not do surgery because she was still not expected to live long. That was the way it was back then in that hospital anyway. So Fleming came home.

She told me that her mother saw her two brothers in her room standing at the crib one day. I think it was late in the day. They were being quiet and her mother did not disturb them but later asked what they were doing. They told her they were saying prayers with their sister and laying their hands on her.

Fleming’s mother did extensive research on her daughter’s condition. She changed the dressing on her back every day.  She wrote a letter to a hospital in… I don’t recall where, another state, maybe it was Pennsylvania or Virginia – where they specialized in helping children with spina bifida. She got a letter back from a doctor there who let her know they had had good success with surgery and that she should make the doctors in Durham do the surgery to close Fleming’s back.

I’m writing this from memory about what Fleming told me, so I hope it’s accurate. I met Fleming about three or four years ago through Cursillo, which is an intensive weekend of classes on Christian leadership and lots of folksy music at Trinity Center.  We met at the closing service which is open to everyone and went to dinner with a group afterward. Over the next year or so we became friends. I saw pictures of Fleming when she was a child on crutches. She had the same bright smile. Later she had to get a wheel chair, but she remained independent. Fleming graduated from high school, went to college, worked as a substitute teacher and volunteered with terminally ill children for many years. She was very active in her church, especially with youth programs. Fleming made a lot of friends, and I am very honored and privileged to have become one of them.

The doctors had told her mother she wouldn’t live long and would be “a vegetable.” What a horrible thing to say. But Fleming lived 51 years. She lived a life full of love and spirit. Fleming and I got closer as we talked about the loss of our parents. She helped me with both of my estate sales. Just to get a visual glimpse of who she was, this was her last Facebook profile picture:

Peace Fleming

Fleming lived a rich life. I will miss her and the things we didn’t get to do and talk about. When I think about her life, I think about it as a rich fabric. That reminds me of the song by Carole King. Tapestry. The first and last stanzas of the song are fitting. The rest of it’s always been enigmatic.  So here’s the first verse.

“My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue
An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view
A wondrous woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold.”
                                                                                                   Carole King

Fly free Fleming. Run, dance and be happy.

For more info on SoCS, visit:

https://lindaghill.com/2019/04/05/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-april-6-19/

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. I will post the prompt here on my blog every 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 will simply be a single word to get you 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 all of them! 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 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!