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!

No News is Good News

Quite a while ago We eliminated t.v. news from our life by cancelling our t.v. subscription and it was a relief.  I became a headline reader to reduce the stress. That practice helped because I was no longer being drenched in the constant negative news where people were hurling insults at each other rather than having a dignified debate. After a while, even the headlines seemed to seep into my psyche with negative messaging.  

The negative bias was not limited to politics.  I realized after a fashion that most advertising uses fear when trying to sell products.  Pharmacy ads are prolific and costly suggesting we should ask our Dr. for this med or that med…then listing about 100 possible side effects if we use it.

Retirement ads are everywhere asking “Do you have enough to retire?” Well if I don’t know the answer to this, there is someone who will help me figure this out (for a fee). Do I really want to know at this late age?  Where does faith come into these ads?

There are ads out there showing us the latest and the greatest in everything. If we buy into this line of thinking, then pretty soon our cars and houses seem old and small when previously they suited us just fine.  

Oh, and then there are the exercise ads that show buffed, lean, glistening younger (and older) people running down the road in an attempt to tell us we are unfit and unwell if we don’t look this way.

I stopped reading headlines and I have never been happier. I have also stepped back from negative people. I decided to stop reaching out to people who did not reach out to me. I politely declined lunch dates with someone who would always tend to make me feel less at peace upon leaving the lunch than when I first arrived.  

This isn’t to say that we are ostrich’s with our heads in the sand.  What we are saying is that we are taking control of our lives as much as we are able and seeking the goodness and blessings in it.  To those who might fault us for not staying informed, I say we can be informed without subjecting ourselves to a constant onslaught of toxic input.  We will do it from our viewing seats which are now the furthest possible seats from the arena of todays news.

We are both so much happier as we thank God each day FOR each day we are given and for a multitude of blessings.  We also choose to BE a blessing to those around us.

It is Good Friday today, the anniversary of a day when a perfect man’s life was taken from Him because of the negative news of the day spreading in nasty fear filled rumors.  Beware of popular opinion….it is not always correct nor is it always spread around for the good of mankind.

Its a solemn day in the retelling of the story of how badly humans can behave. But it is a good day in showing how God conquers evil.

Church tonight and we are going.  Easter is around the corner. Praise God!

Ups and downs

Don’t you worry about me, I am fine.  My life has been good to me.

There are those in my life who love me lots,  whose love I feel and see.

Sometime I write dreary poems Just to vent the feelings out.

Its my own personal kind of therapy, much better than to cry or shout.

Life brings to each of us challenges, which arrive in the form of a friend,

They come to our lives with a lesson to teach, and then the lesson ends.

I do not write only happy stuff, for that would make me sound unreal.

My life has been blessed in so many ways, but heartaches I have been given to feel..

While it would be so nice to think that we are loved by one and all.

The reality is we are loved by many…but some DO NOT LIKE US AT ALL.

This is fine because the same is true for me and those I know.

There are some who I want to keep real close. There are those who I want to go.

 

Jjb/4/15/2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

The happy dance

I often wonder if you know

how SMALL you make me feel?

You pretend that I do not exist.

You wish I was not real.

You do not want to be my friend

This was clear from the very start.

No matter how I reached out to you,

I was shunned by your cold, cold heart.

All these years I have tried my best

To be a friend with you my dear.

But now I think I understand,

Its my love you have always feared.

Its really sad but I have given up.

You have what you’ve always craved.

A space that is far and away from me.

Someday you’ll dance upon my grave.

Jjb/4/15/2019

Grandma’s Pancakes

Grandma made pancakes this morning.

They were thin and crisp and light.

She came for a visit and leant me a hand

As I prepared and cooked them just right.

My grand girls cannot eat pancakes.

They are gluten and dairy free.

So, I decided to be my own Grandma

And made pancakes especially for me.

Their aroma brought back memories

Of Grandma’s pancakes, lovingly cooked.

She turned her pancakes with a flip of the wrist.

My tastebuds were entirely hooked.

These days people eat differently

Times have changed and so have we.

People are health and weight conscious.

They do not eat so frivolously.

Over the years, my meals became healthier.

But, I still remember those home cooked meals.

So, as my Granddaughters eat gluten free salad,

I eat pancakes for the love that I feel.

Thanks Grandma Esther and Grandma Annie.

You were each such a wonderful cook.

You taught me how Grandmas expressed their love,

Right out of a recipe book!

Jjb/5/5/2019

Girlfriends

A week of reminiscing, reflecting, laughing and crying is over and I am already lonesome, pensive, and feeling a bit adrift. Two long time girlfriends flew in a week ago to spend some quality bonding time and it has been wonderful!

There were the three special girlfriends this past week spending time together along with one very special man who has always been there for us. We officially have dubbed him the 4th “Musketeer”, or the 4th “Amigo” because he is so willing to help it all come together. He was our cook, our chauffeur, our bartender and our very, very good friend (and my love). In my case I get to be his wife and that is like being given the crowned jewel to wear for life.

One of the two women is a friend who came into my life long before I met my husband and who was a bridesmaid in our wedding 46 years ago. My other friend I met when we moved to a new town because of a career change for my husband. We were married by then and had three young children. My husband and her husband became fast friends and we were two perfectly matched pairs who enjoyed spending a lot of time together.

These friendships have endured the test of time. We have witnessed each others lives unfolding as we each walked along our unchartered life paths. We have shared our secrets, our insecurities, our triumphs, our tears, and most especially our failings. Sharing our losses and our painful events became the glue that bonded our friendship together. Acquaintances are often formed at happy events, but bonding friendships occur when we help one another traverse life’s rough patches, and rough patches we have ALL had along the way.

Most of us enjoy sharing our fun times, our achievements, and the highlights of our lives. This is perfectly normal because happiness is such a gift. We want that joy shared and spread around! But there are only a very few with whom we will share the darker, more humbling and more emotionally painful happenings of our lives. I guess our need to appear “perfectly put together” is a defense mechanism to protect us from any kind of perceived criticism.

So, while we all love laughing and celebrating the good things in life, the sharing of our darker moments, our very humbling moments, is relegated to a very, very small trusted few. The operative word, of course, is trust. To find someone with whom to trust our fragile hearts and egos is a rare find indeed. Once found, it is to be cherished because this is no small gift.

I have never been one to mix in larger groups of women. While I am quite talkative, I am not necessarily extroverted, so my nature is much more suited to waiting for that one special friend with whom I can feel safe and happy. God has granted me a few of these women friends and two of them came for a visit this week!

As we spent this week together we attended fun activities, and we laughed until our faces hurt. We also sat up late in the evenings in our pajamas while sharing a few tear producing stories from our lives. There is something cleansing about sharing our imperfections with our friends, who in turn, share theirs too. We become a sisterhood as we reflect back upon our mistakes and realize that while we all look so different on the outside from each other, we are all the same inside. We are delicate and fragile and loving human beings who all just want the same things in life. We want peace and joy and love and harmony and we all have faith these will come to us intermittently along life’s path.

We our similar ages, my friends and I, and we are all weary of trying to be perfect or trying to “fit in” to what society decides we need to be in our looks and behaviors. Old age brings to us many imperfections we cannot hide anymore. We don’t see as well, hear as well, or walk as well as we once did. But, we laugh every bit as heartily as we ever did because we know that where it counts, we haven’t aged a bit. Our inner child is alive and well and ready to go outside and play despite the many adjustments that need to be met.

They have gone home now, these friends of mine, (of ours) who came to visit. The house is very quiet, and now I have time to reflect on the past week. I realize more than ever how valuable time is, especially now when I look ahead and see how much less there is of it for us than the time we have already spent.

My life is not full of an endless roster of friends, but the friends I do have make my life full, and this suits me just fine!

Jjb/4/2/2019

Joiner

I am not a joiner. People who meet me would find this hard to believe because I am friendly and talkative and enjoy spending time with others. But joining a scheduled formal group of people just does not come naturally for me. I don’t really care for group activities.

Yet, I like having friends and have had good friends for most of my life. Give me a cup of coffee and a friend sitting across the table from me and I am in my own kind of heaven.

I have often wondered why I am like this. I come from a very small town and was part of a very large extended family. Fitting in was never a problem because everyone knew everyone else since birth. There was an general acceptance for who and how we were because these traits were just present from the beginning.

Despite having all that family in close proximity, I found that my favorite activities were usually solitary ones. Reading was as important to me as eating was for sustenance. I loved reading biographies of people who lived long ago. I also enjoyed history and fiction. I enjoyed the act of reading so much that if I poured myself a bowl of cereal for breakfast, I would sit and read the box it came in for entertainment. I was happy and comfortable in my own skin.

I was very observant of my surroundings and how things were. The smells, the sounds, the taste of things. I enjoyed looking at all forms of architecture, noticing the smallest details. Without realizing it, these observations allowed for me to become a writer which was also a very fulfilling activity, albeit a solitary one.

I loved going for walks in the woods that surrounded our home, my senses taking in the smell of the dense undergrowth amidst the decaying leaves. I loved laying on my back on the floor of the forest and looking upwards, watching the suns rays being filtered through the leaves of the very tall trees. I enjoyed watching the insects flit around happily in their own little part of the world. I enjoyed listening to the murmuring evergreens as the wind rushed through their branches.

Growing up I had many friendly acquaintances and a few friends. I never felt a need to belong to a group of girls. I appreciated most of the girls I knew but did not like putting myself into a group where I was expected to take on a group approved opinion. One time, as a young girl, I witnessed a group decision that determined that someone was not up to the groups standards, and they decided to shun that person. I dropped out after that.

There always seems to be a pecking order in these gaggle of girls and I never understood the reason for this. Pecking orders within groups are stressful because it seems to put into place a preference of some over others. Nope, this isn’t for me. I have been asked to join many different groups over the years and have tried to be a part of these. Inevitably, I always ended up dropping out for one reason or another.

I can usually find something to like about most everyone I meet. I don’t need someone telling me who to like and who not to like. My opinion counts to me even while it may not matter to you. I like being free to go through life in a way that (MY spirit) guides me!

Those of us who are not joiners are not anti-social beings. Quite the contrary. At least I speak for myself when I say that I thoroughly enjoy socializing with others whom interest me. I just don’t have a need to fill my days with it. I like leaving room in my days to pursue my life long passion of reading, gardening, and writing. It does not take very much to fulfill my need of social activity. Actually it takes very little.

So…to my friends, both new and old, if you are in the mood to commune over a cup of coffee or a glass of iced tea, please feel free to give me a call. I love sharing world views with another person and am open to being shown another persons slant on things. So, you want a little time for one on one? Oh yes, yes indeed! But if you want me to join a group, I love and appreciate you for reaching out, but think I will pass.

Jjb/2/5/2019

No suitcase needed

When we die, we leave exactly how we arrived…empty handed. I remember hearing once that a shroud has no pockets, referring to the fact that “you can’t take it with you, whatever “it” happens to be.”

We have been purging for quite some time now so we are getting down to the things that make us pause before we donate. Our criteria for whether we donate or keep is whether we think our children will want whatever is under consideration. One object under discussion is a small handmade barn full of different sized hand-cut blocks of squares and rectangles. The blocks are building blocks that become whatever the chikds imagination wanted them to be. These belonged to my husband so they are probably around 70 years old.

We have only two grandchildren, both girls, now in their teens. They are well past the age to play with these and even when they were young children they were far more sophisticated and technologically advanced than the original child who played with them. So the question becomes…now what? Someone made them with love and effort for a small child long ago. It feels almost wrong to give them away to strangers, but the truth really is, will a modern child even want it?

Then there is my wedding dress, saved and carefully preserved. It meant so much to me, but when on display for our 40th anniversary, there was no real interest or curiosity about it from our Granddaughters. So I asked my husband, “What should I do with it?” He looked at me and said “Well, for my part, I rented a tux and someone returned it the following day!” I just looked at him while letting that sink in. Hmmmm! So why have I been carefully moving this bridal gown and veil around for 46 years through a multitude of moves? After some thought, I think I will look for a place that takes bridal gowns to be used by women who can’t afford one. My gown was already a vintage look when I purchased it all those years ago, and I imagine someone may like the vintage look today.

Then there are two little puppy blocked quilts that were made for our sons when they were little boys and purchased by their paternal Grandmother. Because they are blue and show little puppies, our Granddaughters never received them because they were boyish.. Besides, our Granddaughters other Grandmother made them a plethora of quilts while she was still alive and I doubt very much these were ever needed or wanted anyway. So, we will look for someone who will enjoy these here and now.

Keepsakes are items that have been kept in memory of the person who first gave it. At most, the memory only lasts a couple of generations and after that it may become a family heirloom but only if the descendants find it desirable. In this day and age of plentitude and excess, it is unlikely that things of the past will capture anyones attention.

I used to really love touring old homes and mansions until one day it came to me that the original owners of the house and property were out lasted by their stuff. No matter how much you have in this life, you cannot take it with you, and even when you leave it behind to specific family, you need to understand that it may not matter to them as much as it has to you.

I am not sure why we are so intent on leaving things behind for our offspring. Maybe it is our way of making peace with the fact of death, as in “Well, I won’t be here anymore, but my stuff will be here as a reminder that I lived and walked this earth. We think a particular item will give them some idea of who we were and what interested us.

But, even if what we leave behind interests the immediate descendants, it isn’t too long before it is just an object from long ago and we are a picture in an old album.

So, with this in mind, we will load up the car and bring these things to places that may find good use for them. In doing so, I feel just fine with saying goodbye to parts of my past. The past is gone anyway, so these mementos may as well be gone too!

It is good enough for me to know that I have been privileged to draw my first and last breath on this earth because God willed that it be so. I have been blessed and loved and have gathered knowledge my entire lifetime. I am NOT my stuff! I am the hugs and kisses I gave to my children so they would learn to pass on the love. I am their first teacher of the difference between right and wromg. Their father and I demonstrated true love between spouses and a faithful marriage so our children would go into their marriages expecting faithfulness too. We taught them about the existence of God and how to communicate with Him through reading the Bible and prayer. We introduced them to Gods son Jesus whose birthday we celebrate every Christmas. We taught them about salvation through faith and grace. We provided for them an education where they would learn to think and contribute positive things to the world. We loved them unconditionally so they would have strength of character in the knowing of their worth..

What we leave behind does not require a suitcase. What we leave behind lives through our children and hopefully also our grandchildren. By not leaving too much “stuff”, the message is that material goods are not that important in the scheme of things. We are leaving bits and pieces of our heart and soul and our intellectual teaching guided by what our own parents and Grandparents taught us. That is what we leave behind. Verses of a hymn their Grandmothers once sang, instructions about how to fish by their grandfather, love of farm life from their other grandfather, how to play cards as a family and bond in the process.

Not gonna need that suitcase for the final trip. The kids won’t need it either. Gosh! It really IS good to travel light isn’t it?

Jjb/2/4/2019

Love is a verb!

Because we felt so negatively impacted by the news, we canceled our television service and opted for a leaf antennae for our local stations. We rarely turn the t.v. on any more unless we are pulling in a movie or watching a DVD of scenic vistas. Radio and music and books have been enough for us. (Well, except, when we first cut the cord, Juanita thought she should at least read the headlines to stay a bit informed, thinking the headlines would not affect me, but I was wrong)

I have noticed that even in headline reading, anxiety will rear its ugly head, because most of it is horribly negative. What I have observed is that the anxiety doesn’t come from any one topic really….it comes from the ongoing onslaught of the ever present, broad based ugly trashing of each other over EVERY. LITTLE. THING! How we look, how we vote, what we wear, how much we weigh, what we drive, where we live, etc., etc,.

Meghan Markles jealous sister is being given a platform in social media because it causes a stir! Me thinks she will never go quietly away. She will harp and harp and harp until the media chooses to NOT print her hate. But of course that will never happen. We have news feeds to fill!

The press is trying to create a fabricated rift between the two royal brothers because loving brothers don’t sell.

We see the press demonizing our First Lady on everything she does, finding fault with her even while she rarely speaks. She is just trying to stay out of the line of fire, yet they constantly harangue about her too trying to provoke a response! When did we come to think it is o.k. trash the First Lady of our country? Why are we being so mean spirited about her when we could be lifting her position up and in the process lift our country up?

Politics? Hate and intolerance abound. Al and I won’t discuss politics anymore. It is just not worth the angst that comes up in any conversation.

I have noticed that even neighborhood news feeds seem to have someone who is always trying to instigate a heated exchange.

Why?

During the Second World War, musicals and sweet movies were being mass produced because people needed a place to go to escape the horrors and reality of war and death. I am noticing that the sweeter fantasy type movies are on the rise again in recent times and surmise that this is NOT a coincidence given our ever increasing negative talk taking place everywhere.

I am so happy about the fact that there are other softer choices in movies for those of us who want to circumvent the dark side of life. Personally, we recently reserved tickets to see the newly released movie, “Mary Poppins Returns” and plan to see it with our Grand Daughters while they are visiting. I am so excited about viewing this lovely movie.

Here we are, heading towards the annual celebration of Jesus birth because “God so loved the world”. Faith, hope and love are referenced a lot in the Bible, all while emphasizing that the greatest of the 3 is love. Why does it seem so difficult to love one another? Kindness goes a looooong way in this world.

In a response to my trying to smooth a heated conversation that was taking place between a couple of people within a group, I was told “Oh for Heavens sake Juanita, life isn’t a fairy tale!” In knee jerk fashion, I responded with the comment, “Well it could be if everyone just tried a little harder!”

I still feel this way. Why do we not just try a little harder to make this world a better place? There IS love out there, little beacons of light within the darkness of hate. These little pinpoints of light are proof that it can and does exist. We ALL want to be loved and valued. Rather than look for affirmation for ourselves, we should give affirmation to others. The response is usually the sweetest gift one could receive!

This commentary wrote itself on the heels of reading today’s headlines. I now plan to give myself the Christmas present of “NO MORE NEWS”. I have stacks of good books to read, beautiful music to be played and lovely dvds to be enjoyed. I do not plan on retreating from the world for I know kindness and love and and encouragement is needed out there more than ever. It is easy to find need out there. We do not plan to be self serving, because we know love is a verb!

As for me and my house we WILL serve the Lord!

My Dream

Image result for pictures of bows of boats on an oceanI had a crazy dream last night. 

In my dream we were a young family again and our three children were just adolescents.  I was feeling emotionally devastated because I had just recently been informed of my fatal diagnosis where the treatment required was brutal and painful and would make me very, very sick, with no guarantees of improvement.

I looked online for alternative medicine and found a site that advertised a fleet of boats that were titled “Watery Graves” where anyone who had a terminal illness could make a reservation to be brought out to sea and just dropped in.  It had been listed as a “Cheap Leap” and went on to read that it was the perfect solution to those people who did not want to suffer before they died.

As the dream continued, I told my husband and children about it and they were appalled, but understood my reasoning and were determined to allow me my one last wish. They were all sitting around the room trying to let this sink into their psych, when I told them I was going to go check out the boat.  They were really sad but resigned with what I wanted to  do.

I went to the pier where the boat was docked, and was told that my departure was leaving in a couple of minutes and I had to board the boat or forfeit my entire down payment which had been a large sum of money, so I got on the ship.

There were many passengers, and I managed to find my way to the front bow of the boat. I felt the cold wind whipping against my face, and I could feel my heart drumming against my chest as the boat gained speed and bounced across large waves that had begun to roll and churn in an angry fashion.  I knew this was the last leg of my journey on earth and now I wasn’t so sure I had made the right decision. 

Just then, several trios of porpoises leaped out of the water right in front of the bow of the boat and gracefully reentered the ocean in a perfectly synchronized fashion.  “How beautiful they are” I thought, and then realized they may well be the welcoming committee to heaven.  My heart slowed down a bit as I took in the beauty of the moment and realized that going to heaven was not something to be feared, but embraced.

I felt a hand on my elbow when a soft voice said “It is your time now, come with me”.  This statement filled me with terror and dread because I suddenly realized I wasn’t ready to die right now.   I knew I was going to die because the Dr. had said I was terminal, but I realized that if I took the situation into my own hands, and took my life early, I was really cheating myself and my family of time together.  Besides, what if somehow, miraculously, I would beat the odds?  I didn’t know what was in the future so why should I end my life prematurely?  Sure, there would be pain with treatment, but it was nothing compared to the pain I would inflict on me and my family by doing this.

I turned to the Captain and said, “I have decided I don’t want to do this anymore”.  He smiled and said “this change of heart happens more often than you think.  It is really o.k.  Just go inside until the others have fulfilled their wishes and we will bring you back to shore.”

Then the dream ended and I woke up.  I was quite unnerved by it because it had felt so real.  It felt real and was extremely stressful to think of myself in that situation, yet so many people find themselves being given a diagnosis with an expiration date on the end of it.  These kind of circumstances are very jarring and often require a quick answer from the patient about how to proceed while our brains are still spinning with the unexpected news.  

I think my dream was brought about by one too many reports of yet another friend dying.  As we age the sum totals on the list gets larger, of course, but also as we age, more and more reports come to us at an ever increasing speed, and it is unsettling to say the least.

We have known many people in our lifetime because we have moved so many times. We have met many people through work, school, neighborhoods, kids, promotions and then there are the many extended family members too. Because the number of people we know are many, so too are the amount of passing’s.  When we are young, we are always shocked by someone dying before their time but we do not really relate to it.  However when we are old, we almost feel like we are standing at the entrance to a large dark forest full of monsters.. 

The entrance to the forest represents our entrance to old age and the dark forest represents our fears of what is ahead.  The monsters represent what going to “get us” in the health department to cause us to die someday.  But, also in the forest there is an ever present gleam of sunshine that threads its way down to light our path and that light is God. So we look where the light leads us and follow the path and pray that all will be according to God’s will.

Yet, again, we received word about someone younger than us who has died this past week and we add him to our list while reminding ourselves to not be distracted by the monsters in the woods. We will keep our eye on the lighted path and pray God will stay with us until our time is up. In the meantime, we will let God be in charge of when that will be.

Jjb/2018

Still…

Sometimes I think we humans must resemble pack mules in what we decide to carry around with us, and as the years continue to pass by, the load becomes ever so much more burdensome. So many of us have a very hard time letting go of the things we have collected, from material goods to grudges to memories of people and places we have lived. Our minds tend to multitask in this modern technological world, trying to find order to the many things that demand our attention. I imagine our minds look like an office with computers and file cabinets and storage closets just filled to the brim with things that need our attention or action. Learning to let go is extremely difficult, but once done, it becomes the ultimate GIFT.

We have read the biblical verse that says “Be still….and know that I am God”. It was written as a suggestion to all of us that we are not to be physically or mentally busy every single minute of every single day. My husband used to say that he felt the definition of the devil would have to be the word “busy” because when we are busy, busy, busy…..going and doing…..always in motion, we have no time for contemplation. Very few of us have or allow ourselves spare time to quietly sit in awe of our most Holy God where we can contemplate and give thanks for all He has created and gifted us.

Few of us take the time to quietly ponder the fact that we, you and I, were chosen by God Himself to be brought into this existence. Just think of it! He chose YOU and ME to live this life! This is a powerful statement of affirmation for the times when we wonder about our worth in this life. If God saw the value of “ME” and “YOU” then certainly, who am I to question Him on this?

I firmly believe that our life on earth is an enormous gift to us from our Creator. We are here to learn so many facets of human existence.  We are here to learn and experience firsthand how joy feels, how sadness feels, and how freely given and received love feels. We learn how it feels to experience rejection and physical and emotional pain. We learn about honesty and loyalty and betrayal. We see the sunrises and sunsets and we learn about the vast contrast between light and dark. We experience heat and cold and we feel hunger and satiation. We experience the happiness of being a part of a family and the loneliness that comes from feeling alone due to rejection. I believe that much like when God sent Jesus to earth to walk as a human being among us, He also had a plan for when he created a human being where our spiritual force could take up residence. This earthly life is Gods gift to us to do with as we see fit and he gave us the Bible for guidance.

If one looks at life span statistics, my husband and I are in the early winter of our life. Our lives are winding down and with the exit door not as far off in the distance as it once was, we have felt the need to regroup and rethink our priorities. Time is a very valuable commodity because it is a limited resource. Heaven is eternal but life on earth has an expiration date and we have only so much time. We need to cherish and respect the time we have left not knowing how much there really is going to be of it and use it wisely. While it is good to give to others and serve others, we need to remember that our God given families need us too. Once we have given of ourselves to our families, we can then reach out to serve others.

We have had ups and downs in life…We have had rough patches to get through, and we have had some dark days where We have asked for and received the light of God to show us the way. We haven’t received everything we have wanted in life, but we have been blessed in so many ways We never would have thought of asking for. We can choose to look at the lacks in our life or we can look at the blessings. I, for one, prefer to concentrate on the many blessings.

Do NOT measure your life by anyone else’s life. Our life experience is custom made and uniquely chosen just for us because WE are uniquely made. Follow your instincts, because they are our inner guide as we make choices along our life’s path.

Right now, my husband and I are entering a contemplative period in our life. We are choosing to slow down and take time to reach an awareness we haven’t had in a while because of overfull schedules. We want to step back out of the frenzy and negativity of this modern world and just “BE”. We want to “BE STILL…and KNOW”

When was the last time you were still and reflected on the source of your existence? Maybe the time is now!

Jjb/11/15/2018