Travel Thoughts

So, here am I sitting here on Vueling airlines while passengers come on board one by one. Al felt so bad about our cramped quarters on the flight from the U.S. (due to flight delays which made us miss our plane from Dallas to Madrid) and our well chosen seats, that he upgraded our seats to Italy to the very front and we each have a seat with an empty one in the middle. It is about as good as it gets. ❤️

Our trip has far exceeded our expectations in many ways. Our decision to have only carry on luggage has now made me wonder why on earth I have always lived and traveled as if I am a pack mule? This has been so much better all the way around. Ironically, I haven’t even used all of the things I brought with, but the weather has been somewhat constant so that helps in not needing such a variety of things to wear.

Before our trip, we bought new luggage to make sure we could carry the correct size onto the Italian airline as they are the most restrictive airline I have read about. We also bought backpacks and fanny packs and all of these combined have made for an almost stress free trip. This is our first time to fly anywhere with only carry on luggage and this is the farthest we have flown besides. Going forward, this experience will change all future travel for us. We both love the back pack situation as it carries as much as my small suitcase, is less bulky and weighs less too. We are happy to ignore baggage claim as well.

I feel very badly that I don’t speak anything other than English. It makes me feel somehow ignorant and disadvantaged when I cannot communicate. I have used Google translate which has helped enormously, but it isn’t the same as actually communicating in the language of the country we are visiting. It causes me to wonder how my Scandinavian ancestors must have felt while traveling to their new country so very far away from their birthplace and most of their family. I can imagine it would have been very hard on their egos and self esteem to have such a large language barrier and no real identity to the new people they were meeting because of a lack of known history.

We have been treated very well by the majority of people we have come across. Most are kind and honest, but we did have a taxi driver that added cost to the beginning of our fare this morning and when Al questioned him, he suddenly spoke no English whatsoever. Ah well, consider it a contribution.

It is fun to see other parts of the world, their customs, food, and especially the architecture. I just love looking at architecture! I am so glad we went on this trip. I was hesitant because of the cost, but Al was eager because of his age.

“Not so many traveling years ahead of me, Mrs. Bussmann! Besides, I would rather spend our money seeing a bit of the world than to pay for the ground where I will eventually be put to rest”

He has a point there, I must admit.

We are on day 6 with a week left. I can’t imagine how my brain will retain it all. This is why pictures and videos are so valuable. Through these we can continue to revisit our trip any time we wish, and we actually already have.

I find myself thinking of my young cousin who was so good to us while serving up a beautiful bed and breakfast in a building attached to a palace in our 4 days there. She really went beyond normal hospitality to help us see the sites of Madrid. We have come to love her little family, her children, husband and her Mother. Well, we actually came to love them a long time ago while they were still living in the states, with us having spent so much time with them when they were in Austin Texas. Despite our age difference, she and I are much alike in our humor and how we see things because we each experienced a similar life growing up. She moved away from the U.P. years after I did, and we each got married. We both moved a lot with our husbands careers, but she moved much farther into the world by way of Europe. She is still young and there is still so much ahead of her! I can’t wait to see what unfolds ahead of her.

Well, I think I will close this little epistle. It is enjoyable to sit in an Italian destined airplane on our way to Venice as I type out my thoughts.

Venice!

I can hardly believe it!

Ooooohhhhhh, whennnnnn the mooooooooon hits your eyes like a big-a pizza pie, thats “Amore!”

Jjb/9/12/2019

Traveling Willie

3 days to departure and after much debate, we have finally decided to take Lil Willie along with us on our trip.

This morning while visiting with someone in our church who has become acquainted with Lil Willie by way of our FB posts, it came as a surprise to me that she did not realize that Lil Willie was loosely related to the infamous Willie Nelson. So, I told her the story about how we came to have Lil Willie living with us.

A few years back, our daughter attended a Willie Nelson concert. She knew that we liked and embraced Willie Nelson as a song writer, (we LOVE the song Family Bible which he wrote) a country musician, and an Austin icon. Everyone loves Willie Nelson here in Austin. He is a legend in his own time. Al has even met one of his children, Suzy.

So, the concert our daughter attended was selling promo dolls that looked like Willie. Unbeknownst to us, she fought through a huge crowd to buy what turned out to be the last remaining Willie doll for her Mam and Pap!

Afterwards she came to visit us and presented the doll to us. We were happily surprised but secretly wondered what we were going to do with it. Put it out on display? Decorate a room around it? What?

Then it came to us. We would name it Lil Willie and bring him along with us on our trips. Most of us know that other peoples vacation photos just aren’t all that appealing to anyone, especially if one has to look at someone else’s picture over and over again in front of various sites of interest. However, we thought maybe Lil Willie could be our own personal travel gnome. We would turn our trips into Lil Willie adventures where people could enjoy our trips in the company of this little faux pot smoking rebel. A new Texas icon was born. Lil Willie!

Lil Willie became our mascot and became the route through which we met people. People were inclined to talk to us BECAUSE of Lil Willie sitting with us. Many a conversation began because people were intrigued with his iconic look. A head bandana, braids and jeans definitely screams country, and no one is intimidated by country folk!

So, stay tuned for Willies next adventure due to begin in the next few days.

Stay tuned!

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Without a doubt, the movie “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” is still one of my favorite comedies as long as the humorous antics don’t actually happen to me!

We are 7 days to departure and I am carefully honing what I think we may need on our trip while trying to keep our luggage to carry on bags only. We can each take a carryon suitcase and a personal bag and it is in these two bags I hope to get all we may need. I have been watching a number of Rick Steeve’s videos and one would think by the passion and energy I am putting into this that we have never traveled before, when actually we have traveled a lot around the U.S. and Hawaii along with one trip to England and France. So what’s different about things this time you ask? Well, the difference is that we (especially Al) are getting very tired of lugging around the equivalent of two steamer trunks wherever we go. Of course this is an exaggeration, but truth be told, I am an over-packer caused by fear of not having what I need when away from home. We also actually WILL be traveling in planes, trains and automobiles, so I want to pack smart. I am planning on a suitcase, back pack AND a bottle carrying fanny pack, for those days we are touring around.

I am seeing progress. I have travel size bottles and jars for everything I need. I am wearing my bulkier shoes while packing the lightweight pair. I have a light wool travel shawl that can double as a light blanket on the plane and which I can throw over my shoulders on a any cool night. I have 2 pair of pants, one skirt, several tanks, a light weight wrinkle resistant dress/casual jacket and a small scarf to wear into churches. A few each of underwear and socks, 2 nightgowns, and small packets of sink suds to wash as needed. A travel clothesline. A small umbrella.

I iphone and i-pad external chargers along with cords along with earphones. I downloaded kindle on my iPad for reading, though I have a book I hope to finish and then donate.

Then there is Little Willie…goodness where will he go?

As I said, I am making progress but not there yet. Oh, I forgot…our pill holders that show days and times of the week take up a lot of space, so I bought tiny zip lock plastic pill bags where I can write dates and days on them, which I will carry in a couple of ziplock snack bags. Saving a lot of room there as I would have needed three trays and these will take minimal space.

As I write this, I am outside in our courtyard and from where I sit, I am enjoying the recent cooler temps, along with the sound of flowing water from our fountains. I can hear the cicada’s chattering away in a rhythmic pattern and wind chimes playing their music which means there is a breeze. So peaceful it is. Well, 90 IS cooler than what we have experienced this past couple of weeks, which was in the 100’s. It is all perspective. People have been warning us that it can get very hot in Spain and Italy this time of year, but when Al checked out the forecast it is predicting the 70’s with minimal rain. However, we know that can change in a minute. Casara-sara! What will be, will be!

Well, time to go in and do some housework. I love our retired life. We work a little, play a little, travel a little, drink a little, eat a little more than a little, sleep alot and pray daily. Like the old song we once sang…”Oh the Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord”.

Amen…7 days and counting….

Hot, HOT!

I’m hot! I’m hot!

I’m as hot as I can be!

The temp is near 100,

I think its melting me!

The birds are hiding from the heat

in the shade of our old oak tree.

The leaves give them sweet cool roosts

and for them it is all for free!

Texans find religion,

(in the summers this is true).

They realize how hot HELL might be,

So prayers begin anew!

Wait a minute! There’s a breeze!

I feel it blowIng on my face.

Our prayers have now been answered!

Texas is a lovely, prayer filled place!

Jjb/8/27/2019

Packing light!

So, the last time we went to Europe, we way over packed!! We went to England and France for 8 days. We each had a gigantic suitcase in addition to our carry ons. The ratio of our suitcase to our body was not too far off from the one in the picture below of a little boy with his suitcase. it was ridiculously cumbersome!

THIS time, we are going for 2 weeks and after seeing our friends Laura and Mark go to Europe with each only a small back pack for THREE weeks, we felt motivated to pack each a small carry on suitcase. Now I am feeling a little bit of anxiety building about my ability to fit all I think I need into that one bag.

I bought some packing cubes where one rolls clothes inside them to keep things orderly. I also bought some “sink suds”, (little packets of laundry detergent and a tiny clothesline to wash things out and dry as we go). Just typing this sentence makes my anxiety ridden heart race a little bit!

I also bought some disposable washcloths because I read that most european hotels do not provide them. The ones that arrived yesterday were individually wrapped to look like wrapped candy. When I saw them in a see through bag, I grimaced, thinking these would be like trying to wash my face with a cosmetic puff! I opened one and ran some water over it and my goodness, it grew and grew to the point of looking like a regular sized washcloth. What a creative invention! I love it! So far so good!

Just last week I went north for a week and packed a very large suitcase along with a carryon. I did not use even half of what I brought along and so it became my dress rehearsal and lesson of what NOT to do for this upcoming trip.

We have been busy reading Rick Steves suggestions for easy travel and are doing our darnedest to follow his advice! Wouldn’t it be a nightmare to wash our clothes on our 3rd day and have them shrink up to half their original size! Haha! Those Italians would be traumatized to say the least.

Well, back to packing.Yikes! It reminds me of the days of the hippie movement, or worse,

Well, back to packing.

True Blue

I am thinking about my different friends,

the ones who ARE and WERE.

It always boils down to one or two,

who give my heart a stir.

Many women seem to need…

Lots and lots of friends.

I prefer just one or two,

with whom my spirit blends.

It is good to sit and talk about

life’s less than perfect parts.

To share and analyze the pain

that comes from broken hearts.

It is also nice to share our thoughts

of all things, good and true.

What better way for us to see,

the inner me and you?

Groups and parties aren’t my thing,

they make me quite uneasy.

I prefer to be with one or two.

Which, for me, is easy-breezy.

When I am with my true blue friends,

my worries tend to cease.

Your acceptance for who I really am

brings me love and joy and peace.

I love my friends so very much.

They are just a special few.

What has been Gods greatest gift to me,

Is this friendship of me and YOU!

Jjb/8/9/2019

Tolerance versus Intolerance

I just read an article by a woman who was ready to cut her children’s grandparents out of their lives because of what she saw as their “intolerant” views. The further I got into the article, the more upset I felt because as I read “her” litany of “their” intolerant remarks, it became apparent to me that their views represented a lifetime of social and religious and political teachings and experiences.

Her in laws are in their 70’s so they were uncomfortable seeing two people of the same gender kissing on t.v. to the point that her father in law walked out of the room saying he had had enough of this. This would have been a teachable moment for the children if handled with love and understanding of their elders past history.

She wrote that they commented on the huge amount of immigrants in L.A. and said “who would want to live there?” (Another teaching opportunity for the children at a later time.)

She wrote that they liked Trumps stance on illegal immigration, which to her was an unforgivable offense. She felt they were intolerant people because they voiced opposite views to societies changes over the past 50 years.

Now, certainly there is much to debate here depending on your religious or world view, but what was clear to me was the writers intolerance for her in laws views. She did comment at one point that her mother in law was sweet and softhearted but she did not want her children subjected to their voiced ideology.

I am sure she felt proud and empowered by “her tolerance” of todays society, but what was interesting to me was how she did not see her own intolerance for her in-laws views and that her intolerance could possibly lead her to take the Grandparents away from her children. How did she not see her own blatant lack of tolerance?

Grandparents are vitally important to the psychological growth of their grandchildren even if their world views are different from the parents. I am not sayin it is o.k. to spew hate! That is never o.k. What I AM saying is how could it ever be justifiable for a mother to separate her children from their Grandparents because she did not agree with their views? Children are perfectly capable of forming their own opinions while observing the mechanisms of three generations within a family. Cutting off contact between Grandchildren and their Grandparents teaches intolerance by that very act. Why not let the Grandchildren socialize with their Grandparents and then be ready for any of their inevitable questions. It could be a valuable teaching tool, rather than isolating ones children to only the parents view of life.

Too often I see this willingness to “cut off” loved ones rather than make the effort to meet in the middle. We are all a composite of every one of our life experiences which means no two people will ever see things exactly the same. Hate is the great separator while love is the binding agent.

Families have a tough go of it in this day and age. Children are often glorified while elders are sometimes vilified. The older we get in this country, the more vulnerable we become because so often our elders are cast aside and seen as an imposition, old fashioned, and unenlightened. Listening to the elderly and understanding where their viewpoints originated while holding onto our own differing views is respect. Listening to the elders in our family teaches our children to do the same.

Intolerance disguised as tolerance is sad because often the person who sees themselves as tolerant does not recognize that they, like everyone else, still have their own set of intolerant views. Loving people despite our differences is a true form of love. Tossing out family members over differences in how we see the world is really not the kind of lesson we want to teach our children, is it? Why not agree to disagree and then move toward topics we, as a family, all embrace?

Tolerance or lack of it is taught at home and within families. Let the children see both and form their own opinion. Generally, a kind heart and tolerance wins when seen in direct opposition to a lack of tolerance.

Jjb/8/7/2019

Choosing our own way

It is summer in the south and we are unpleasantly reminded of this when we go outside mid to late afternoon. By then the sun has heated up every surface not shaded by a tree and these surfaces magnify the feeling of heat. There is no opting to go barefoot on these hot surfaces unless one has a penchant for burned feet. Throw in a little humidity and the air begins to weigh on a person. Because of this, in the summer, most people in the far south choose to spend more time in the comfortable air conditioned interior of our homes, stores, movie theaters and the like. We also love our swimming pools where we can plunge deep down into the cool refreshing water to give us relief from the heat.

In contrast to the extreme heat of the south in the summer, there exists also the extreme cold climate of the north in the winter months. I was born in the upper midwest and growing up there, I quickly learned to come out of the cold once winter rounded the corner. Winters in the northern climates are often long, gray, snowy and very cold. Scenes of fireplaces with dancing flames are frequently pictured in many of the holiday films, depicting a warm and cozy atmosphere away from the freezing temps outside. There is even a song about chestnuts roasting on an open fire! Without a doubt, I think most people embrace the idea of a fireplace in their home because it represents comfort and contentment and warmth. Anyone can easily imagine sitting in a large chair near a fireplace, warming themselves while sipping wine or coffee and reading a book. It brings to mind love filled thoughts and the perfect Norman Rockwell painting for all to enjoy

Here in the south in our retirement years we are busy all the time. I slept in late this morning because the last couple of days we were hard at work on an exterior painting project which carried on into the late and very hot afternoons! Thank goodness for the restorative power of hydrating water! We must have consumed at least a gallon. We hired painters who are now here to finish the project, so I decided to allow myself some sleep therapy. This means when I woke up this morning I laid there a while and then rolled over for a few more winks. Pure luxury! When I finally decided to get up, I padded down the hallway to the kitchen and went straight to the warming coffee pot and poured my first cup of the day, a cup of rich freshly ground coffee with a splash of cream a bit of sugar. My Swedish Grandmothers would have approved!

.

The house was quiet with the exception of a fan whirring and clocks ticking. I think mornings are my favorite time of day when I am able to just relax and enjoy it. The air conditioning turns our home into a cool oasis and I find myself remembering an article I read a while back that said the population of the south grew in leaps and bounds after air conditioning was brought into mainstream residential living. No wonder there!

We love our Texan home. I am reminded of a fairy tale where it was written that one house was too big, and one house was too small, but one house was just right! The last one would be our home. It is just right for these two retired people. We are aging in place and hope to stay here until our next move which should require no packing whatsoever because where we are going we aren’t going to need a thing! Imagine that!

Life simulates the climate in different parts of the country. Sometimes we feel the chill of discontent or loss of love. Sometimes we feel the heat of passion or anger. Either way, we find a way to counter those emotions and bring ourselves back to feeling right within the world, until we are once again productive and of service to others. It is all a balancing act.

People often comment in wonder about how physically hard we work on our home projects and they wonder why. It isn’t that we HAVE to do these things. It is because we choose to do so. If I had to give a reason for why we choose to do a lot of the things we do, it is because we take great comfort and feel immense gratitude in knowing we “can”. We have become aware of far too many friends who have serious health issues, memory issues, and those who have died. We do not know when we will be handed our own departure tickets, so until then, we take pleasure in feeling our bodies reach and bend and stoop and stretch and ambulate. There are many who do not any longer have these abilities!

Our home is our Oasis and we take pride in caring for it! Maintaining it gives us something to do so our bodies don’t seize up. Creating artistically is a good way to keep the brain oiled and greased, so to speak, and I hope to keep it from rusting and grinding to a halt. The most amazing discovery I have made along the way is how ageless my spirit is, and proof of this is how it just keeps wanting to do the things I have always done, not understanding that its home is getting old and sometimes in need of repair! Yet, my body tries to do what my spirit wants it to do. Granted, I get tired sooner and I have to rest more often, but I do find that I am happy despite the exhaustion that sometimes visits me. I offer up thanks for my physical abilities and plan to show gratitude simply by using them. As an ad recently declared, “A body in motion stays in motion!” So, I shall keep rolling along!

Jjb/7/27/2019

How Facebook helped me say GOODBYE!

I started Facebook approximately 10 years ago. In its early years it was an amazing site for connecting with people all over the country. It was so much fun reconnecting with people I was related to, grew up with, and had met along the way with our many career moves. I quickly became addicted to being on the site many times a day, checking to see who had stopped in to say hello, and to see the many pictures people were posting. I became so involved in the communication and sharing, I was not fully participating in my present day life, sad as that is to admit!

But, then, as time went by, Facebook intervened by introducing algorithms that interfered with which friends postings I saw, and which friends saw mine. It was not too noticeable at first because there was always someone I interacted with which kept the fun social aspect of it going. Slowly they introduced ads in place of friends posts. It got so that if I was perusing an internet shopping site, and then moved on to another site, both sites would present pop up ads on my newsfeed with exactly the item I had been shopping. Creepy!

I missed the amount of interaction I once had with my friends but stubbornly pursued it anyway, hoping against hope that things would change, which they did, but for the worse. I want to THANK Facebook for helping me break the most addictive habit I have ever had! When FB eliminated a lot my friends posts by choosing whose posts I would see, and which posts of mine my friends would see, it changed the beautiful rhythm we all once had with each other.. It wasn’t personal anymore and it sure was not fun.

So I started to get back into my life and get involved again. I was no longer obsessively checking my phone anymore and I began a blog where I can share my writing with random people and where I could store my writings for myself. I revisited my creative side and began doing fun projects around the house and yard. I began reading again and painting. How could I have let facebook steal my time like I did? It was quite the obsession.

So, thank you facebook! You helped me kick the facebook habit! When you chose to sell spots for ads on the site in place of posts between friends, I can see now that this was a genius way to help people like me finally move on!

Oh and the photo with this writing? It is a paint project I just finished for my courtyard. Such a fun morning that was!

Let freedom ring!

Jjb/7/ 25/ 2019

Return to me

Growing up, I spent a great deal of time alone and became very attuned to my spirit. We coexisted in this habitat called the human body, and we spent a LOT of time together…that is to say, the three of us. Me, myself and I.

Through the many years that I have lived, I have had to navigate around communities of people for reasons of school, work, children, husbands career, as well as life events that always brought us into the company of other people. Yes, I do like people, but not in large gatherings. I prefer them one on one because the intimacy of two people visiting together gives me the sense that our communication matters so much more than just sitting in a room listening and contributing to inconsequential chatter. Oh how I hate the feeling of having to change who I am to “fit in” to any particular group.

As I have aged, I have given myself permission to be my authentic self, however that may present itself.. I like being one with nature for it frees up my soul to coexist with other living parts of Gods creation. No audible words are needed. It is soul enriching to just see and BE a part of it. When I do this type of living, I revert back to my comfortable company of three. Me, myself and I.

Perhaps this is why I am a writer. I like putting my thoughts down on paper to be read by myself at a later date. It is fun to revisit those thoughts from a different vantage point in my life. To write, one must be alone and yet I never “feel” alone because I am together with my thoughts and whatever brings them to mind.

Today, I am alone in my home and I see the sun sporadically peeking in through my windows. The fan is whirring softly as it rotates from left to right. The clock is ticking determinedly from the mantle, while the cuckoo chirps in the distance from our home office. The Grandfather clock also bongs its announcement of time. At some point I must have had a love affair with clocks for I have so many so of them. These are the only sounds I hear in my house today.

Sometimes, I have music playing from the speakers overhead, reflecting and echoing my mood for the day. I will sing along and let the sound fill my ears and wash over my soul with something that speaks to my feelings.

There are times I love to sink deep into our big old chair to read a book which takes me far away from here both in distance and lifestyle. As I turn the pages, I form a sort of friendship with the characters and the story fills my heart. A good movie can do the same.

I do enjoy people…just not a lot of people at one time. I love my husband and absolutely know God gifted me the blessing of this beautiful soul with whom I share my life. He and I are so much alike, we could easily close the door on the chaotic world beyond our family. Its nice to be with people who know us so well and who love us despite our flaws and imperfections.

Yet, we are drawn into the world, again and again, to try to make a positive impact and leave it a little better than how we found it. We know this is what God wants from us.

So, off I go now, into the rest of my day. I see a breeze ruffle the leaves of a small tree outside my window. The thermometer is warning me of the heat and humidity building up out there, so I must dress accordingly.

I am grateful for my quiet time in the cool interior of my home this morning by myself. My soul has been refreshed and I feel content and at peace.

Toss & Turn

Toss and turn, toss and turn! it’s another sleepless night.

I dozed off in my lounging chair while sitting there upright!

 

I woke up in the morning hours, so I got up and went to bed.

But I could not go back to sleep, so I tossed and turned instead.

 

When will I ever learn? I should not allow myself to sleep,

In my chair, chin on chest, slumbering very deep!

 

So here I am, back in my chair, hoping for a snooze.

Music playing, lights are dim, and I am not amused.

 

I can see what is ahead, later in the day.

After all my work is done, on my bed I’ll lay.

 

I am already looking forward, to that lovely little nap.

But now, I’ll recline in my chair, with an afghan on my lap.

 

My eyelids are getting heavy, my breathing begins to slow.

My chair is like a sedative, so off to dreamland I go!

Jjb/5/14/2019

 

 

Dust to Dirt

I am trying to recover from yesterday’s gardening session. We did some heavy work yesterday in the corner of our yard where a few weeks back we had some extremely tall fungus infected hedge plants cut down and hauled away. The shrubs there had essentially turned into trees, which would have been fine had they grown tall and straight.

Unfortunately, they had grown at odd angles into our Yaupon Hollies on the other side of our rod iron fence and up into a couple of 2 story trees which cut off the sun supply to one side of them, so, when the hedge was cut down, we were left with warped dead looking backs of what remained. No leaves could grow where the shrub trees had invaded the space, so the backsides of remaining trees had bare branches. arggggh!

Yesterday, we attempted to fill in the area with some new plantings along with some dark rich mulch to cover the dead debris on the grounds. EVERYTHING was difficult to do, (no doubt due to my old age where I enter a new decade in a month’s time). Al’s job was to go to a local nursery ”Natural Gardener” and other nurseries to bring back plants and dark mulch material to enrich the look of that corner. While he was gone for the second time, I was trying to dig a hole in some root invaded soil and had to use loppers to cut roots, a pick ax to loosen the soil and a shovel to dig the hole.

With each motion of the shovel, I was getting progressively more tired, and at one point, I stumbled over a small sawed off stump and pitched forward into the garden. I tried to use my other leg to correct myself but stepped into the hole I just dug and then suddenly, there I was, face planted in a bed of very old, moist, and decaying garden matter. I had also landed on top of a 18” irrigation head with my wrist underneath me at an odd angle. (That irrigation spike could have done some serious damage to me, but I like to think that my angels were protecting me). I thought for sure I broke my wrist. I allowed myself to lay there in the undergrowth and proceeded to check all my parts to see if I was still o.k….Eyes? Check. Face? Check! Wrist? Maybe a check. I moved my wrist slowly and realized it wasn’t broken, but man oh man did it hurt. I think I sprained it. Today, I KNOW I sprained it. Oh my…it hurts!

Hauling those bags of mulch, Al says, is equal to dragging a dead body around the yard. (Obviously an assumption since neither of us has done this) I suspect he is right about that assumption. I did most of the dragging and dispersing while he did the purchasing of materials because he is even older than I am and he is SO DONE with all of this! He was appeasing me, and it helped me that he did all the driving and running.

We usually hire out most of what we want done, but there are some situations where I want to be “hands-on” because I am so particular. I think this will be our very last yard project. I have unwittingly proven to myself that I am NOT young and strong anymore, and besides, whoever cared that I was once young and strong in the first place? (ME…I cared!) I have always loved gardening and enjoyed feeling all of my muscles at work. I always sent up thoughts of gratitude for this most amazing human machine given to me. I have always loved cohabiting with nature, but THIS time Mother Nature gave me a STERN reprimand by letting me get slightly injured as a message to hang up those tools. It is one thing to plant a pansy in a pot and quite another to be digging holes in rock hard soil. I shall embrace my flower pots and be glad I can still do that!

Why is it so hard to admit that we cannot do some of the things we used to do? I don’t think I am trying to “prove” ANYTHING! Not really…..My mind simply doesn’t understand that my body isn’t keeping up with my mind which is as sharp and clear as it ever was. It is so true what my Step-Dad used to say….”The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”. He always made me laugh when he said that, but as it turns out, it is as true as it ever was!

So, I slept 12 hours last night…Yes! 12 hours! And when I got up, I really did not want to. My wrist is fussing at me today as I try to do the simplest things. Even lifting my coffee cup is a challenge. Yes, it is my right wrist which is my dominant hand.

Still, as I went outside this morning to look at what we accomplished, I feel proud. I like how it looks and I am so proud of myself that I was able to do it! I do wonder though, how Al would have felt when he got back from the nursery, if he found me unconscious on the threshold to eternity? Dust to dirt and all that?

Yes, I have promised him to behave in the future and tomorrow we are off to get flowers for my new garden which sits in a pot on my porch!

Jjb/5/14/2019

 

 

Little is Big!

In this world of surplus, In this world of “stuff”

When exactly is, enough, ENOUGH???

What was once thought big, is now thought small.

We don’t want “some”, we want it ALL!

We have three cars, when two would do.

What we think we need is very skewed.

Every bedroom has a bathroom because heaven forbid,

Sharing a bathroom with someone may upset the kids.

We want a new car though the old one is fine.

We search for new treasures all the time.

We bury ourselves in material goods.

Most of us have much more than we should.

Our house is much bigger than our parents had.

Our pursuit of happiness has simply gone mad.

Life should not be about how MUCH we own.

Rather, its should be about the LOVE we have sown.

We work, work, work for material things,

When we could be listening to nature sing.

The people we love will see us grow old.

We will lay in our bed as our stories are told.

Do you want them to say we spent our time

Chasing the dollar while in our prime?

Or would you like to hear them say,

“I love this person who taught me to PRAY?”

We need to see that HOW we live

Are LESSONS in life we unknowingly give.

Life is shorter than we could have guessed.

Count the blessings with which you’ve been blessed.

Thank you to Mom who taught me to pray.

Thank you to God who gave me this day.

Little IS big in this world full of stuff.

It takes COURAGE to say when ENOUGH is ENOUGH!

Jjb/5/7/2019

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good times!

I am feeling very tired, my head is hanging low.

The skies outside are dark today, a breeze has begun to blow.

Rain is in the forecast. Oh! Such a dreary thought!

I don’t feel like doing anything, though I know I really ought.

I turn on a lamp for it’s light. I have music playing low.

My brand new book beckons to me. On my chair is an old wool throw.

Candles are lit and flickering, soup is cooking in a pot.

I pour myself a glass of wine. I sit in my favorite spot.

Oh I think this book is gonna be good, I was hooked at the very first line.

I have finally reached the ripe old age, where a book Is a VERY good time!

Jjb/5/2/2019

For all the Saints

I love this picture! A picture similar to this hung in our childhood church and I was always transfixed by its artistic beauty and its quiet message. To me, as a child, it was the blessed assurance that when we folded our hands in prayer, our Heavenly Father listened and cared about our earthly concerns.

14 years ago, on Maunday, Thursday, Al’s Mother died. To her, he was always “Allen”, her only son, and one she loved very much. We were there with her on her final earthly evening, Al, his sister Joanne and myself. Joanne sat on one side of the bed and we sat on the other, holding her hand and talking softly to her. We read verses from the bible that we thought would give her comfort. It was a long night, so we also just sat there in quiet conversation going back and forth across her bed, speaking of our faith and our belief of life after this life. We had heard that before people die their hearing is always intact, so we were just a small gathering of family, holding hands and talking as families do. We like to think it gave her comfort.

That night, after sitting with her for many hours, visiting, reading and listening to deep ragged breaths, her breathing slowed and quieted. The evidence of physical stress left her face, replaced by a soft, peaceful look. Beneath her eyelids, her eyes were moving about as if she was seeing something and a beautiful smile crossed her face. Then she was gone. There is no doubt among us who witnessed this moment that she had gone “home”. We are certain, by the look on her face, that she was greeted by a welcoming, comforting, light filled love that arrived just for her, dear sweet Verona, to bring her to her eternal home.

The following Sunday was Easter and we worshipped with our son and family at the church they attend. As we sang Easter songs of glory, I imagined them written just for her.

“🎼🎶

For all the saints who from their labors rest,

who Thee by faith before the world confessed;

Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.

Alleluia, Alleluia!🎵🎶

We looked at the white cloth draped cross which indicates that through Christ we have victory over death. Those songs had special meaning that Sunday because as we sang those joyful songs, we could imagine our Mother in heaven among all the saints who had gone on before her. When the Pastor stated, “He is risen” the congregation responded with “He is risen indeed”, which I added in a whisper, “She is risen indeed”. Our Father in heaven came to live among us and to die for us and because of Him, our souls are eternal.

I imagine her soul now resting in our Holy Fathers beautiful hands, along with all the other saints who have gone on before her. Happy Easter Verona….happy Easter to ALL our Mothers and Fathers, gone but never forgotten.

Happy Easter dear friends! He IS risen!