Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


31 Comments

I Can Write a Novel (As My Parents Nudge Me From the Other Side)

stream-of-consciousness-saturday-2018-19

 

Can I really write this novel based on my parents? Can I fill in all the gaps using my imagination? Yes! I can. I’ve always had a powerful imagination. But I’ve used it to fantasize (and sometimes catastrophize) visually. Now, I’m putting it to work. When I wrote my memoir, Trust the Timing, I relied on my memory of the facts. I took journalism and technical writing in college. I majored in a science (though they called psychology a “soft science”) denying my creative tendencies, more like squelching them.

Dabbling in fiction, with my recent post, The Postcard from Malaga, about my parents, gave me confidence to get back to the novel about them that I started a couple years ago. Yesterday, when I was working on it, I got lost in their world. The world of two young lovers in 1950 in Washington DC. He’s a marine and she left her abusive husband with her baby daughter (my older sister.) Those are pretty much facts. But I made up stuff about their first date. I do know, because my dad told me, that my mom, who was not yet my mom, called up the barracks asking for some other guy. Jim (that’s my dad) answered the phone and said, “Why do you want to go out with that guy when you can go out with me?” And that’s how their romance started. While making up the details, I became so absorbed in their developing story, that at one point I stood up to stretch (my body knew I needed it) and for a second wondered where I was. It was very cool. Then I got caught/distracted about wanting to research restaurants in Washington DC in 1950 where they might have gone on their first date. That pulled me out of the story, but it was still fascinating because it was about the story.

Anyways, I need to remind myself that I don’t need to research a lot just to pound out this first draft. Yes there will be holes in it, and I’ll want to edit as I go, but they say just keep going, otherwise, this could take way too many years and I’ve not got unlimited years to work with. But I CAN write a first draft. I know I can.

Mom and Dad in 54 in Washington

(Betty and Jim, 1954)

Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was: “can” with bonus points for beginning and ending our post with the word, can. Yes, I can do that, too!

For more information, visit our host, Linda at the link below. Linda, I hope you feel better real soon. Take care!

https://lindaghill.com/2018/10/19/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-20-18/

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. 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!


18 Comments

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!

 


30 Comments

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.


33 Comments

Clutter, Treasure, and Ceiling Art

(Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt was to “start with a noun.”) 

Clutter is what I’m going to be dealing with tomorrow at my parents’ house that is now my house, so the clutter is all mine. My plan is to get up early and hitch a ride with my husband who has business an hour north of their house (now my other house) which is an hour north of where I live. I don’t mean to be confusing, but my stream of consciousness can easily be confusing.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell if the clutter is trash or treasure. There are books, many of which I’ve already donated, and lots and lots of paper which might need to be recycled or shredded, or treasured as in the case of the letters I found from my father or the poetry written by my mother’s father who I never met. So many electronics, cassette tapes, rubber bands, gadgets and doodads of my dad’s…. and photographs galore. Photos are in photo albums, boxes, bags… Many photos contain people who’s identity I have no clue about. I’m going to trash those. Sorry, unknown friends of my parents. But some photos are treasures like these two I discovered in a box somewhere or maybe a photo album and brought home with me.

JoAnne and Dad Dec 1965 (2)

When me and Dad both got watches for Christmas  ? 1963

Mom JoAne Mary Kaye 1967 (2)

And this one you might remember of my mom, my little sister and me. Dad was in Vietnam

Sometimes the process of going through my parents’ stuff/clutter/treasure is overwhelming. But it’s getting easier as I make progress. After one year, I think I’m about halfway done. I usually find I don’t want to leave their house to go to my house. There’s so much to do. But I like to congratulate myself for each bag of trash discarded, or treasures found, or items donated.

Another thing I do at my parents’ old house is painting over the most obvious blemishes. But one person’s blemish is another person’s treasured message. Like the water damage stains on the bedroom ceiling from before Dad put the metal roof on. I think they look like hearts.  They appeared there not long after Mom died. I think she had something to do with it.

hearts on the ceiling

Painting over these hearts was very hard. I had a good cry after I started the process. But it was a cleansing cry, and Mom told me it was okay. I started with kilz? and then white paint just to see how off it would be. Then I laid down to rest on the bed and noticed my sample white paint kinda looked like an angel. I did not plan this at all. It was just getting paint up there. Mom collected angels and has passed this down to me, so I’ve been painting angels for a few years now, just not usually on ceilings.

angel on the ceiling

Do you see an angel?

I guess white is not going to work on this old ceiling. One step, one layer at a time, I sort out the treasures from the clutter.

I’m posting this early since I’ve got my work cut out for me on Saturday. Catch you later.

SOC winner 2017

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

https://lindaghill.com/2018/06/08/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-june-9-18/

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!

 


9 Comments

No Sides, Only Love

Suicide is the leading cause of death for young people in Utah. Too many young people have died, both in body and in spirit, as a result of being marginalized, hated, and abused. “Encircle” is a resource center, a safe haven, for LGBTQ youth and their parents started by a Mormon mom in Provo, Utah. After watching videos about the program, I feel tremendous admiration for those who had the courage to open its doors with the motto: No sides, Only love.  It’s not always easy to lead with only love. But programs like Encircle and its people give me great hope.

 

Got good news? Please share!

Sunflower w address


28 Comments

Dealing with Clutter on the ADD Spectrum. Good thing I’m “retired.”

SOC winner 2017

Do, do, do. I’m supposedly retired, but still have so much to do. I can’t imagine being bored ever again. Except when I go somewhere and do something I don’t really want to do. Trying to not do that so much anymore. I saw a meme the other day that brought back memories of my old job. Let me see if I can find it.

Okay. I’m back. That took longer than I thought because I went to Facebook to find it and got distracted by this guy rescuing an antelope out of a mud pit.

Here’s what I went looking for:

work to death

I would never post that when I worked at the forever short staffed place. Now, it’s such a relief not to be in that craziness.

My response: NO.  No, I will NOT work myself to death.

Speaking of getting distracted, when I go to my parents house, which now belongs to me since they are happy together again in heaven, my ADD really kicks in. I’ve never been diagnosed with ADD and probably wouldn’t because it’s usually a mild case, and I’ve compensated well for it. But I think ADD is on a continuum, like the Autism spectrum. Except my continuum/spectrum theory is pretty broad. I know people who are introverts at heart who might be on the the spectrum… have just a tiny touch of autism, but would not be likely to be diagnosed. I might even be one of them.

But back to the ADD. My kids have more of it than I do. We have no H to go with it for hyperactivity. We are those spacey day dreamy types. I only have a tiny touch of it. But when I go to my parents house (my house now though I don’t live there) I get easily distracted. Because they have a lot of clutter. I’m not going to call it hoarding because their living room looks fairly normal. It’s just clutter. Clutter is on the low end of the hoarding spectrum. Or maybe it’s pre-hoarding. Yeah. I like that better. Because, hey, they grew up kinda poor around the “Great Depression” and you don’t through things away. Like my dad put things in his old empty Rx bottles. I found one Rx bottle full of those square, plastic things that you close bread wrappers with. Not the twisty ties, but the square things with the notch. Cause he figured he might have to use them one day for something.

Anyway, my goal yesterday was to clean in their house and porch to get ready for the “estate sale,” as I’m calling it. But I kept getting distracted by trying to organize items to sell. And then there are all the memories and sentimental artifacts. But my goal is to focus on one thing at a time. Cleaning. Then organizing. Then pricing. Good luck with that. I feel a sense of satisfaction when I can throw away a whole trash bag of “trash.” But I’m going to keep the Rx bottle of bread wrapper closers because it’s funny, and it doesn’t take up much room, unlike this typewriter my dad used probably right up until he died.

Typewriter

Its still works! Sort of.

Well, gotta go do stuff. So that’s it.

Thanks to Dan for filling in for Linda and giving us today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt: do/dew/due.

For more streams visit:

https://lindaghill.com/2017/09/29/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-september-30-17/

The rules of Saturday Stream of Consciousness are:

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!

 

 


28 Comments

Love Letters From My Father

Dad with Baby mk and me (2)

 That’s me on the right, just in case you couldn’t tell.

After my father died, I found letters he’d written to me over the years and saved, like a journal, hidden in the old cabinet he used as an end table next to his recliner. I’m still processing the content of these letters. One of them is about why he didn’t come to my rescue when I wanted to come home from the college in the mountains.

This excerpt from my work in progress explains:

On my second day in Boone, before classes started, my roommate and I went to a pub not far from campus. I recognized Chris, a super brainy girl from my high school who’d already been at the college for a year. She waved to me and invited us to sit with her. My roommate saw some people she knew and went to sit with them. Chris made me feel welcome, and I started to feel comfortable with her. Maybe the beer helped. She asked me how I was doing.

“Well, I’m a little nervous,” I admitted.

“That’s normal. It’ll get better.”

“And I miss my boyfriend. I’m actually thinking of going back home.”

Chris looked thoughtful. “You know, you’ve got your whole life to go to college,” she said. “If you want to go home, it’s okay. It’s your decision.”

I was surprised by her response. I’d expected her to encourage me to stay. If this brainiac said it was okay to go home, then who was I to fight it any longer?

I called my parents and said I wanted to come home. Having just driven seven hours each way to bring me there a couple of days earlier, Dad refused to come get me. He didn’t say much, leading me to guess he was disgusted or at least disappointed.

Being stubborn, I managed to find another way home, but that’s another part of the story.

Fast forward to 43 years later when I read my Dad’s secret letters last week. One his letters revealed that the reason they didn’t come get me was because their old station wagon had a blow out on their trip home and left him “without a spare.” He wrote in Jan 2011: “Money was very short and, we had very little in the bank, and almost nothing on hand. I would have to have gotten permission from work…We also thought about what you were giving up….I have to admit my love for you was and still is a factor. After we made our decision not to come up, we went to bed, but I don’t think either one of us slept that night. The decision bothered us for years and we talked about it for even more years, even after you were married….I still felt guilty.”

I had no idea that money was a problem back then! I figured it was all about not wanting to bail me out when I should have stayed. I thought it was just because he was mad at me. I’ve carried that shame for years. And all this time, HE felt guilty for not coming to get me. I knew my parents loved me, but I didn’t know how much until I read these letters full of love.

Ive always wanted my father to be proud of me, even when I resented him. Even when I didn’t like his conservative beliefs. Even when I avoided him. I still, deep down, wanted him to be proud of me.

And what I’m finding out from his secret love letters is that he was.

love letters from dad (2)

Some things are worth waiting for. For a chance to win a free, signed copy of When God Says Wait, sign up for my monthly newsletter before March 21st by clicking the box on the side bar to the right, or just click here: http://eepurl.com/ch52KT