Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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SoCS: Trials, Losses, and How Do We Heal?

Our prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “trail/trial.” Use one, use both, use them any way you’d like. Bonus points if you use both. Have fun! ….

There’s a song I like, except maybe for a couple of lines, called “Blessings.” Which lines, I won’t go into. Never mind that. But the chorus goes:

“What if your blessings come through raindrops?

What if your healing comes through tears?

What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you’re near?

What if trials in this life, are your mercies in disguise.”

It’s about how trials, disappointments, and challenges bring us closer to God. The song works well when applied to my divorce which, as I wrote about recently, turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

The problem now is that it does not seem to apply to the loss of a child. My heart and mind go to the parents who lost children to brutal, needless, senseless deaths by an 18-year-old who should never have been able to buy a gun and certainly not a weapon of war, in Texas.

I cannot imagine how those worst of trials can be a blessing. I don’t even know if the death of my sister, killed by a drunk driver on her 16th birthday, could have been a blessing to anyone, even with my parents’ dedicating the family room at the shelter in her memory. I don’t know how the loss of a child could be a blessing. Anything is possible, yes, but I would not say that to someone who has just lost a child. I would imagine the anger and overwhelming grief would be too much to even think of blessings, right now.

The husband of a teacher who was killed died from a heart attack – a broken heart – while preparing for his wife’s funeral. Joe and Irma Garcia had been married for 24 years. They had been high school sweethearts.

It’s so wrong. Wrong upon wrong, upon wrong, as we are finding out in the investigation.

Other countries have done better than the US when it comes to gun control and this type of murder. That’s for sure. There is a sickness in the heart of my country. (I just struck through “the heart of” because we have good hearts. Mostly.) Maybe we can recover from this sickness. Individual states have and can pass sensible gun laws. We can improve mental health services, address school dropout rates, etc., but I believe it’s going to take some kind of bigger shift. It’s complicated. Or maybe not.

I hope the investigations will lead to improvements. My hope is floundering a bit which is not typical. It will come as no surprise to most of my readers that I believe we need more balance between bad news and good news. That’s part of the sickness – a lack of balance.

Healing. How do we heal? Look for the good. Look for the true heroes, like teachers who continue to teach in schools, first responders who do what is necessary, leaders who have the courage to make changes for a more peaceful country, and a more peaceful world, parents who keep going after heartbreaking loss. Look for the heroes. Hold them up. Hold them in your heart. Keep them in your prayers. We can all do our part to nurture peace.

I know this is a rambling rant. Sometimes that’s what you get in the stream of consciousness. I confess I have gone back and edited a little. It was badly needed.

Maybe I should’ve written about hiking trails. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll put some in a gallery. There’s something coming to me about “The Peace of Wild Things” – a poem by Wendell Berry.

Below are some of my most recent photos from the Farm Animal Sanctuary

~~~

For more streams of consciousness and rules, visit our host, Linda Hill by following this trail: https://lindaghill.com/2022/05/27/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-may-28-2022/


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SoCS: Let Go of the Shame, Remember the Lesson

Here’s today’s prompt: “let go.” Write about the first thing that comes to mind when you think “let go.” Enjoy!

Let go, already! It was practically 20 years ago! I was vulnerable and grieving. The rebound from hell lasted only one year – not long in the grand scheme of things. But still, I think, I should have known better, being a counselor and all. I suppose it can happen to anybody.

Maybe shame is like grief in that it still comes in waves as it dissipates. The waves do come further apart and are smaller. And I can say, STOP IT! sooner. Moving on….

Let go my ego! or is it, Let go OF my ego? (Ha! It’s supposed to be spelled Eggo, but I’m going to leave it as ego.) There have been a lot of pancake commercials on TV lately. Must be for IHOP or something. But they make me think about the pancake mix and sugar free syrup that have been in my frig for at least a year. Tomorrow will be cold, so maybe… No, I have plenty of other things to eat. But maybe…. STOP It! Maybe one day, I’ll throw the pancake mix away. Let it go.

Who’s going to share the song, “Let it Go,” from frozen? I don’t know, but it’s almost like a cliche now. I still like it anyway. Hey! I found a great meme with the smarter sister from Frozen. Let me find it…..

The lesson I learned from The Rebound from Hell was, don’t even date someone you just met. Find out about them, do a background check, and see if he meets your list of requirements. Then wait a while. That’s why David and I asked each other a lot of questions on the phone before we had our second first date, then a lot more questions before we got serious. My awesome supervisor at the time did an unofficial background check on David and only found good stuff. Thank God, I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

The key with any mistake is to let go of the shame and remember the lesson.

~~~

Stream of Consciousness Saturday and Just Jot it January are brought to us by Linda Hill. To learn more about #SoCS and #JusJoJan, click HERE.


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Feelings From My Eleven Year Old Self

Writing my family history from my parents’ perspective is emotionally hard right now. The idea that it could some day become a novel is distant. I’m writing about the time when my dad was in Vietnam and my mom was trying to cope with her anxiety and depression and what do to with the family dog. That is the gigantic issue for me. Hoppy.

Hoppy 1967

I was 11 years old. Hoppy, a Newfoundland/Shepherd mix was my confidant. We had moved from Philadelphia to Michigan to New York staying with other families while Dad was in Vietnam. That summer we would stay in Quantico until dad finally got stationed at Camp Lejeune again.

Hoppy had been with us through each move. But something happened to him that spring in New York. I don’t know the truth. My mom made up as story about a sick little girl who needed him more than I did. I believed it. I suppose it could be true. Now, at the age of 65, I wade through my dad’s letters from Vietnam with fear as I approach the possibility of more clues. Any day now, I could read a letter that tells me more about what happened to Hoppy. My parents loved each other very much. It was a terribly hard time for them. I’m trying to look at the big picture and have compassion for all. I wrote this note to myself in my work in progress:

Note to self: Step back and look at the big picture with compassion for all. Allow your feelings. The truth is you don’t know what happened You might was well imagine something good.

So I tried to imagine Hoppy being adopted by a loving family. Then the grief broke through from that 11 year old girl who was me.

I LOVED HIM.

The sobs came and I prayed for guidance, for comfort. All I can do right now is reach back across the 54 years to that eleven year old girl whose body was changing in crazy ways, whose father was in Vietnam, whose mother was on the verge of another nervous breakdown, the girl whose dog was gone – and wrap my arms around her and hold her and tell her she is going to get through this.

In 1967, that eleven year old girl learned to shut down her feelings. She focused on school work and escaped into Star Trek. But she still had that pain and confusion buried all those years ago trying to accept the story her mother told her about her dog.

I guess that’s enough writing for today.

Here’s a family photo from happier times. Probably right after Dad got back from Vietnam since he’s pretty thin.

I’m the big girl on the right wearing hushpuppies.

I wrote this before checking the prompt for Just Jot January which is “button.” I guess we never know when we’re going to bump into a button that takes us back to our childhood, for better or worse, offering an opportunity for healing.

Linda’s Just Jot January story looks interesting. Click the following link for details:

#JusJoJan prompt the 15th – “Button” | (lindaghill.com)


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One-Liner Wednesday on Writing Goals

Don’t Worry, Just Write!

While reading a newsletter from my Trust the Timing editor, Andi Cumbo Floyd, I realized my writing has gone to the back burner. I’ve worked a few measly hours here and there on the novel based on my parents, but I give way more attention to household issues which are primary.  One thing that has discouraged me from working on the novel is the research it will likely take on Washington DC and Vietnam. But I need to stop worrying about that and just write a first draft. Okay, maybe there’s some anxiety related to thoughts like, I’ve never written a novel before, and this seems like it’s going to be a long one.  Then there’s grief. January 21st will be the second anniversary of my father’s death. I must be processing grief as I write about my parents. Deep sigh. However, my goal is to finish a first draft by the end of this year. There. It’s in writing. But I don’t need to worry. I just need to write the first draft, feel my feelings, and breathe deeply.

one-liner-wednesday-badge-2018-19

One-liner Wednesday is brought to you by Linda G. Hill who has written a bunch of novels! Visit her and read more one-liners.

https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/02/jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-2nd-and-one-liner-wednesday/

 


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One-Liner Wednesday: Gratitude Makes Sense of Our Past

woman looking back at rocks

 

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Melody Beattie

I thought I knew all the stages of grief.

But there’s always more to learn.

 I never understood the role of  bargaining in my divorce.

I don’t remember begging, though I did ask “Why?”

wandering around in shock.

The counselor said the marriage could be saved

unless there were other lovers –

then it wouldn’t work.

The other woman had been my friend

before the bottom fell out.

There was no checking in.

No sisterhood.

.

I used to think  guilt was a stage of grief,

guilt the companion of bargaining,

guilt who knows where I live.

Maybe if I’d been more attentive,

 more docile, more playful…

I thought I was doing a good job

for the two decades tossed away.

Why? Why? Why? ad infinitum….,

(until now.)

.

Anger got lost in depression,

the depression I tried to swallow,

but it kept coming back up.

Or I’d stuff it in a drawer and forget about it

until I went looking for that purple scarf

and it grabbed me around the throat

and threw me on the bed.

 I couldn’t get up

but I could roll over and slide down

to put my knees on the floor.

.

All the while I wrestled with depression,

anger lurked nearby growing into a boulder of resentment

blocking my path to happiness.

.

But where was this acceptance I kept hearing about?

I had no idea.

.

It wasn’t until forgiveness

finally got a foot in the door

and started chipping away at resentment,

that acceptance had a chance to work.

It was forgiveness that opened a path for love.

Love of self. Love of family. Love of life.

And finally when the time was right,

Love from another.

.

Now, after all these years, I’ve awakened

to another stage:

Gratitude.

Eighteen years ago I would have never believed it possible

to be grateful for my divorce.

But if the first marriage had not died,

if the other woman had not been there,

I would not have been set free.

Free to fall.

Free to flounder.

Free to fly.

Free to find myself again.

Free to be found.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

one-liner-wednesday-badge-2018-19

 

One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you by Linda G. Hill

at

https://lindaghill.com/2018/11/21/one-liner-wednesday-its-time/

 

Here are the rules that we sometimes follow:

1. Make it one sentence.

2. Try to make it either funny or inspirational.

3. Use our unique tag #1linerWeds.

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

5. Have fun!


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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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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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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.)

 


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When People are Hard to Love

“Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Some people are hard to love.  Maybe it’s a teenager who you love deeply, but it’s hard to like her when she’s spewing drama. I remember telling my daughter, “I love you, but I hate the way you’re acting right now,” and “Please lower your volume. I can’t hear you when you’re yelling.”
It’s even harder to love the haters, the racists, the ones who intentionally do harm. But Matthew 5:44 says to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you. Now, I know I’m not persecuted. Not really. But it’s still hard to love the haters. I can pray for them, but love them? How do I do that?
Can I say, I love you as part of humanity, because you are created by God. Can I ask, Could we try to listen to each other with respect?
I have no way of knowing if that would work. And to be honest, I’m not too keen on putting myself in situations where hate is strong. I’d much rather avoid conflict altogether, though sometimes I’ve pushed past the fear.
My heart goes out to the family of Heather Heyer who was killed when she stood against hate in Charlottesville, Virginia. They had no way of knowing  her life would be cut short by an act of violence. It’s hard to know when and how to make a stand – when to push past the fear and when to love people from a distance.

In Trust the Timing, I considered it a victory when I finally learned I could just walk away from toxic relationships that would have killed me slowly if I had stayed in them.
But I don’t want to walk away from my country. I love my country in spite of it’s flaws and with all our different kinds of people. But I have to admit, I find myself fearing the actions and beliefs of some of those people.

    The Southern Poverty Law Center recommends in this article  that if hate groups plan to demonstrate on a campus (or in a city) to ignore them and ask administrators to denounce them. We need to realize that facing hate head on might give haters the distraction they crave to keep from looking at some turmoil stewing inside themselves. I believe that deep down, haters are using anger to cover up hurt and fear. That’s no excuse. That doesn’t mean we accept the behavior. But perhaps this could bring us closer to the love the Bible talks about in Matthew.

“Grief unprocessed becomes bitterness, resentment, and unharnessed fury.  Grief processed becomes an unstoppable force of compassion, empathy, and love.     __Allison Fallon

I have no plans to go into places where hate is strong.

But sometimes hate crops up unexpectedly.
      I want to be ready with love if hate crosses my path.
I want to avoid posting negative comments on social media.
I want to hold up positive stories of people doing good work.
I want to say less about what I’m against,
and more about what I stand for.
I want to remember that peace begins with me.
      I want to recognize any seeds of hate that might hide away in the deep corners of my mind – the lingering resentments from old hurts.
I want to forgive myself and others, to bring the hurts to the light, open them up and see if I can love the hate away and heal the fear and sadness underneath. I can’t do this by myself. But with God’s help, maybe I can let love grow so big that it takes up all the space and seeps into the dark places.

What if that could happen in our country? In our world?

      We can start by finding the gardens of love within ourselves and letting that love grow. Water the love. Nurture it. Give it light.
        I wish you peace and strong growing love.
The above is from my August Newsletter. Here’s one more article of interest:

SOCS badge entry 2017

 

On a side note, please hop over to Linda’s blog and vote for this year’s SOC Badge. My entry is the “Sparkly Stream.”

Click here:  https://lindaghill.com/2017/08/17/vote-here-for-the-4th-annual-socs-badge-contest-winner/

 


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One-Liner Wednesday X 2 : Grief

“Grief unprocessed becomes bitterness, resentment, and unharnessed fury.

Grief processed becomes a unstoppable force of compassion, empathy, and love.”

                                               Allison Fallon

    “When There is Violence, Hatred, and Evil in the World – Now is the time to Write.”

http://allisonfallon.com/time-to-write/#

 

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

https://lindaghill.com/2017/08/16/one-liner-wednesday-wordless/

The rules, which I sometimes follow are:

1. Make it one sentence.

2. Try to make it either funny or inspirational.

3. Use our unique tag #1linerWeds.

4. Add our very cool badge to your post for extra exposure!

5. Have fun!