Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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

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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!

 


11 Comments

Good News Tuesday: A Gift for a Friend, Free Labor, Less Plastic, and India’s Elephant Hospital

Teen Works for 2 Years to Buy Friend an Electric Wheelchair

High School Student Tanner Wilson saved money from his part time job for two years to buy his friend Brandon an electric wheel chair. He’d heard that Brandon’s old self-propelled wheel chair tired him out, and Tanner wanted to help the friend who’s been there for him. A teacher helped decorate Brandon’s wheel chair and they recently surprised him with the gift. Here’s the inspiring video.

Veteran Fixes Cars for Free

Former Paratrooper and helicopter pilot Adam Ely provides free labor to fix people’s cars. He helps them find good deals on parts and consults with a professional mechanic when needed. Adam is a disabled veteran who spent three years in Iraq and Afganistan. Now, he’s studying special education. Adam and his wife Toni started Hard Luck Automotive Services in 2017.

“I’ve never turned anyone away. It doesn’t matter about economic status, race, or creed. I don’t even care if people take advantage, I will help them, regardless,” he said.  (bbc.com)

Here’s there story from bbc.com

Earth, The Blue Marble

Trader Joe’s  Joins Other Companies to Reduce Plastic Waste

More businesses are working to reduce single-use plastics. EcoWatch reports that Trader Joe’s has already “stopped offering single-use plastic carryout bags nationwide and is replacing plastic produce bags and Styrofoam meat trays with biodegradable and compostable options.” The move happened after a Greenpeace petition obtained almost 100,000 signatures. Thanks for listening, Trader Joe’s! This article from EcoWatch contains a link to other companies working to reduce plastic waste like ASDA in the UK, McDonalds, Costa Coffee, and Evian.

India’s Hospital for Abused Elephants

India has it’s first hospital for abused elephants. The Good News Network  reports that “Just months after India was given its first ever hospital for rescued elephants, the facility has already treated 26 recovering pachyderms.”  The medical center was started in November by the non-profit group Wildlife SOS which has also rescued bears, leopards, turtles, and other endangered species.

After the elephants are treated they are taken to one of two sanctuaries in India.

You can read more here:

https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/india-gets-first-ever-hospital-for-abused-elephants/

Got good news? Please share!

Sunflower w address

Seeking Balance. One Tuesday at a Time.


29 Comments

Lonely Hearts Healed

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Today’s SoCS prompt from Linda is:

“ends with -ly.” Start your post with any adverb (oops) that ends in “-ly.” Bonus points if you end with an adverb too. Have fun!

I choose lonely. It’s not that I choose to be lonely. I’m not lonely anymore. I like to be alone with the dogs, writing and puttering around the house. But I was lonely for a partner, oh, ten or so years ago. Except that I didn’t want a partner who added stress  to my life, so I waited and learned to trust the timing. I’m still learning that with other things in my life and realizing what a gift it is to have this time to work on my parents’ old house while our house gets finished and we get to paint the walls!

I’ve been reading the letters my mother wrote to my father when he was in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba after having served 13 months in Vietnam. Her letters are very enlightening and sometimes uncomfortable since they are personal. She writes about how lonely she is and how much she misses him and how she (and us girls) can’t take more separations. I’m learning about how she would find me up reading at 2 am on a school night and how my sister and I were, “sassy.” We were 10 and 12. I was a big tomboy 12 year old. I know now that most 12 year old girls are sassy.  Sorry mom.

My mom was sick a lot and so was my little sister. Mom writes about a cough that won’t go away. I’ve gotten through January and part of February 1968, and she’s still coughing to the point of exhaustion. I resented my mother being sick so much with migraines and nervous break downs when dad was in Vietnam and I was 11. These letters are giving me more compassion as I read her inner struggles of taking care of a home and two sassy girls and missing her man. It also dawned on me that the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune/Tarawa Terrace probably didn’t help her get well. There’s a big thing about that now, but I’ve read many claims have been denied. My parent’s died of “natural causes” in their eighties, but I bet that water contributed to some health problems even if it didn’t kill us.

Dad used to talk to me in his later years about Vietnam and GTMO. Awful stuff. Horrible stuff that gave him nightmares for the rest of his life. After Vietnam, he came home for three months, and then they sent him to GTMO for five months. He told me he drank a lot while in Cuba. He had PTSD before they called it that. A chaplain helped him. I wish I knew his name and could thank him if he’s still alive. Thank you anyway, Chaplain who served at GTMO and helped my dad. I think he needed this time in Cuba maybe to begin to process Vietnam – a job that would never be finished. It was so hard on my mom and him. The separations put a lot of pressure on their marriage.  ( I didn’t know this until I started reading mom’s letters.)

And yet they made it through. Their deep love and their strong faith helped them through the maze and mess of PTSD and all the other challenges life threw at them. I did know that they were very much in love. They were married for over 50 years and still got smoochy sometimes. Dad used to sing to mom, “I love you, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.”

Love and faith and time overcome loneliness. When we are lonely, God loves us no matter what. And dogs too. 😉  I’m reminded of one of my favorite poems from Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese.”

“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination….”      Mary Oliver

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

I’ve probably shared the lonely people song at least a couple of times before on this blog, but it means a lot to me, so here it is again with different pictures.

 

 

 

 

PS: I now realize that I didn’t follow the prompt corrrectly since Linda asked for an adverb and lonely is an adjective.  Letting it be is my goal here. This is progress for a recovering rule follower/people pleaser.

To learn more or join in the stream,  visit Linda at:

https://lindaghill.com/2019/02/08/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-9-19/

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!


35 Comments

#ThursdayTreeLove: Revelations from a Hard Decision

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I discovered #ThursdayTreeLove when Chandra’s post led me to it. See below for a link to the Thursday Tree Love host.

It was a hard decision I didn’t want to make and still don’t want to think about, but the revelation it brought is important. My husband told me the mimosa next to the house had to come down so they could add the rain gutters. Water damage is what led to the major renovations that have had us living in my parents’ old house since September. We could almost buy a new house with the money we’re spending on repairs. As the overhang on our house is practically non-existent, rain gutters are needed. It’s been so long, at least 25 years, that I don’t remember if that mimosa sprouted there on it’s own or if I transplanted it from a more obviously wrong spot. It took root at least a foot, maybe two, from the corner of the house. Now I know that is too close. It’s a hard lesson.

As you might know, my love for trees is powerful. I have a particular fondness for the misunderstood mimosa. When David and I reconnected in 2011, I didn’t know that he would become my husband, but one of the first things I told him was that I was a tree-hugger. He said he was too. That was good to hear, though I doubted that he could have the depth of tree love that I did.

After David told me the mimosa next to the house had to go, I asked him if we could just trim some of the branches. He said no because the tree really was right next to the house. I knew that. The main trunk had grown to be just a few inches from the house, touching the house when the wind blows hard, and major branches draped over the roof in the summertime. I asked David to take care of it and said that I don’t want to be there. I don’t want to see any remains. It’s too painful for me. We’re staying an hour away, and David commutes almost daily, so he would have plenty of opportunity to do it.

A few days later, David came “home” after working in the yard at our more permanent address. He said he took down the mimosa. He told me he said a prayer for it first. He got choked up talking about it. There were tears in his eyes. David’s feelings for this tree shocked me. I knew he cared, but he does not show emotion easily, though has shown it in grieving for dogs. David is strong and very practical, almost Vulcan-like at times which can be irritating but is more often comforting in it’s steadiness.

I knew David told me he was a “tree-hugger” back when we reconnected, but I didn’t know he could feel this depth of emotion for a tree. I didn’t know it would be hard for him. I didn’t ask him to say a prayer – that was all his idea. I just asked him to take care of it, and he did. I thanked him for caring so much and gave him a big hug. The gift in the sadness is that I have a new appreciation for the depth of my husband’s compassion. A person can have a big heart even if he doesn’t wear it on his sleeve.

David makes things from reclaimed wood, fallen trees, or trees that have to be cut down. He said the wood from the mimosa is a beautiful and pink. He hopes to make many beautiful things from it in his wood shop. I hope some day I can bear to look at them.

More mimosas live my backyard, thankfully not close to the house. I call them prolific rather than invasive, and have given a few away. I’m sure some of them came from the mimosa that took root too close to the house all those years ago.

mimosa flowers on path

Mimosa flowers in the back yard

 

Thursday Tree love is a photo feature on Happiness and Food, hosted on 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month. The next edition will be live on February 14, 2019. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to the post on happiness and food:  https://www.happinessandfood.com/thursdaytreelove-56/

 


28 Comments

Ain’t No Grave (Gonna Hold This Body Down)

mlk on love driving out hate with sun rise

It’s strange that I don’t consciously recall hearing “Ain’t No Grave” before my friend Elaine shared it in memory of her father. Strange because it’s such a powerful song, especially with Molly Skaggs’ voice and the stunning images in the video below.

I share this song today in celebration of the spirit of Martin Luther King and hope Dr. King wont mind if I also share it in honor my father who left this earth two years ago today. They both loved Jesus dearly. They were men of courage and conviction. Dr. King changed laws and opened the eyes of a nation with determination, love, and peace. My father worked on a smaller scale. After 20 years of military service, my father  (and mother) volunteered at the local soup kitchen, led a boy scout troop, ministered to disabled veterans, and taught Sunday school into his eighties.

Last night, I discovered a new stash of memorabilia in the attic. I thought I was done with the hard part of processing of my parents stuff, but there’s more. There are at least three big trunks in the attic, and I’ve only opened one of them. Inside the first trunk I found maybe 50 letters my mother sent my father in 1968 when he was stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba shortly after Vietnam.

attic trunk letter 1968

After reading just two letters, I’m beginning to realize what a difficult time this was for my parents when I was 12 and clueless, though I must have sensed something. Who knows what I’ll learn through my mother’s letters and what more I’ll find on this fascinating journey where the scent of my father’s old treasures makes me want to fall into a puddle on the floor.  But I don’t fall often. And if I do, I get up. I keep breathing and digging.

attic trunk items jan 2018 (3)

It’s all a process. Some day, I will have gone through all the physical items. The attic will be empty and the house will be sold. But the memories will live on. The spirit does not die.

As my father told me when I was 12, “Nothing is Impossible.”