Category Archives: Thoughts Expressed

Fear

The picture of two girls is our daughter Andrea on right and her best friend Katie from when we all lived in Sioux Falls South Dakota.

As I write this, I feel so helpless. Andrea is sick for a second stretch, meaning she was well for two days after her first sick stretch of over 10 days and now is experiencing the symptoms again, but this time they are worse! Temp is higher, she has chills and drenching sweat! There is nothing that anyone can do for her as there is no anti viral therapy! During the short time she felt well, she rejoiced at being able to breath again. When she was sick, her voice was tiny because of shortness of breath, and it was tiny because she was scared!

This feels like the wild west, a time before the advent of modern medicine. In those days, if a person got sick, all you could really do was offer comfort and wait it out, praying that the body would eventually fight its way back to wellness again. What is also terrible in this, though, is that we cannot go to her and help her. We want to take care of her, sit by her side, and offer soothing words of comfort! I am so ready to throw caution to the wind and just drive up there. But, I don’t want to add to her concerns!

Since this whole thing has started, I have had images in my mind of times past when we drove down the highway and looked up to see a billboard with the writing “Don’t make me come down there!” (as a supposed message from God). That message would always make me smile because I remember saying that exact same thing to our children when they were growing up!

When the government enacted the lock down, I thought to myself that this also seemed “parental” in giving all of us a “time out”.

As in all time outs, there is much time for reflection of self, family and life! I have done non-stop praying about so many things. Naturally, our child is our number one concern, and I have spent much time in prayer on her behalf! I have prayed for our whole family on many scores, health, job losses, the economy, our retirement funds, and also for us to find strength to face whatever is ahead! I am also praying for the 4 adult children in our family who are now jobless, as they are waiting for this to pass. Not everyone can work remotely from home.

This is a very difficult time and as a country, we have not seen the worst of it yet! I know this is bigger than any of us! if ever there was a message about who is in control over us and our earth, this is it! Only our Creator can help us now.

I do not know how this will all shake out! What I DO know is that as much as I would like to crawl under the covers and hide from all of this, it is not an option! We have no choice but to remember that the whole of this life is really just a blink of an eye in time as compared to eternity.

I pray now for Gods will to be done even as I am praying in earnest for our daughters health. This is one of the hardest times we have EVER faced, and we have faced some hard times, butp a threat upon ones child is the gravest of all concerns. Yet, even as I write this, I know that there are countless others who can say, “I have dealt with much, much worse.” So, I humble myself in face of that and then add to my prayers by asking God to turn my weaknesses into strength….and for Him to please stay by our sides.

The illusion of control comes when times are easy, when life is comfy, and we are happy. Times like this make us realize our life has just been an illusion of control.

I am seeing my daughter now in my minds eye as a baby, a child, an adolescent and an adult. She has brought us SO much joy! She and I are very close and whatever she is feeling, I am feeling. Oh how I wish I could be with her. I am grateful though, that this time around, her husband is there with her. She is not without human comfort and I am relieved about this. God is with her too, and I know that!

Jjb/3/27/2020

 

Uncertain times

This statement, “Here is a test to find out if your mission here is finished. If you are still alive, it isn’t. (Richard Bach) is about how it is!

Really! If we do everything in our power to protect ourselves and it ends up not being enough to save us, our mission is completed and God wanted us back! It is as simple as that!

We have been home for 12 days and I have done endless reading on the subject of the corona virus situation but also on other plagues that the U.S. has suffered in the last 100 years. Al and I also spent time outdoors and went on a road trip where I took some fantastic pictures along the way. I will share them in another post to help you feel less confined in our individual quarantine status.

I slept extremely well last night…thank God for sleep! After a week of phone calls with our daughter who has been home alone and sick with no where to turn, she finally was checked out in an E.R.. We are waiting on the results.Just the fact that she was seen and attended to eased my stress load. I am smart enough to know that even medical people are limited in what they can do for us with this virus, but the part that had me going over the edge, so to speak, was that no one was responding to her cry for help. Once that was attended to, I could relax a little bit.

This virus has created a very isolating situation for all of us. Generally speaking, when someone becomes seriously ill, the first thing loved ones do is come to your aid and tend to you. You may not be able to do much about the crisis your loved one is in, medically speaking, but never underestimate the power of loving care. Statistics show that when a person is ill, they often will rally somewhat under the care of someone who loves them. They rest better, sleep better, eat better, drink better, …the list goes on. Our souls and spirits react to being loved. It is a powerful force.

In this case, with our daughter, she had no one but her little french bulldog who she loved having by her side. One night she called in distress and said, “I am worried about Nugget…What if I die during the night? What will happen to Nugget?” I assured her she wasn’t going to die, (faith and prayers here) but she was becoming very fearful because she could not find a way to be reassured by anyone in the first person. To ease her loneliness, she was on the phone with many people..her husband, her parents, her siblings, her aunt, and friends. She was doing everything in her power to stay connected because as the days passed and her symptoms would go from bad to better to bad again, her greatest enemy was fear which resulted from her being alone.

On this end, our stress level accelerated daily in concern for her. Here we were in isolation ourselves, and we could not go up to help her. I told my husband that I was ready to throw caution to the wind and just make that 3 1/2 hour drive to tend to her, but that I knew if I caught the virus and died, she would feel responsible and I did not want that for her either.

I am high risk because of my age group and because of my allergies coupled with my family history of asthma. I asked my doctor if I am someone considered to be compromised with underlying conditions. She said “yes”. My history is such that often if I get the flu it always wants to settle in my chest. Obviously, with this virus’s main target being the lungs, I am most likely not to make it if I get it.

Hence for the last almost 2 weeks I have had much time to read and think about this. I know I am o.k. with the idea of God taking me home. I have no fear of death. It is more that I just want a little bit more time with my family. I want to feel their embrace once again. I want to be able to sit close enough to them to study their faces as we talk and laugh once again. But, I know that may not be the case, and therefore as my heart sinks when thinking of these things, I also throw up thanks snd gratitude for what I DO still have which is my husband being right here, right now! This crazy invader has me making amends with my maker for anything I have said or done that He would not approve of. I am bargaining with Him to please spare my children and allow them to come through this unscathed. I am praying for society, our economy, and the homeless who have NO protection.

Our life has been so blessed in so many ways. We have always had a relationship with God, but have to say, even when we thought we were on good terms with Him, I see now how much we came to take for granted. Our health, our home, our family, our freedom to go out wherever and whenever we wanted. We came to be complacent in expecting, yes “expecting”, modern medicine to fix most everything and if it could not be fixed, then buy us time. The truth is, we have always lived under threat if death. We just haven’t been aware of it. We only have this moment in time. Maybe more!

Time is different now. I asked my husband what day it was and he said “What does it matter?” I laughed when he said that because he is so right. We are living a life suspended in time. It is an interesting concept to live this way for there are no demands on our time right now as retired folks who have no place to go.

Well, I will now sign off. I feel so much better now that our daughter has had her test and we await the results. I talked with her husband last night and I felt such an enormous surge of love for him for calling me and saying “I am on my way home and don’t worry, I will take care of her.” He plans to stay in a hotel until her test comes back. I am deeply grateful to him!

What is going to happen? It is anyones guess. All we can do is sit tight snd pray. When times are fun and light and beautiful we tend to take everything for granted…even God. But these days, when it comes to believers, I think HE has our full attention and is making note of the attendance to his class.

March 23, 2020/jjb

Life, the next chapter!

It was as I suspected……I left because I knew.

At first I thought I mattered, which happens to NOT be true.

I spent my time writing words, from my heart, my soul and mind.

I felt like I was contributing to the goodness of mankind.

I offered my pearls of wisdom, shared what was on my heart.

I posted pictures of the life we live, the big and little parts.

But then one day I realized, I was spending too much time,

Writing words in stories and words in poems that rhymed.

I was hanging out with people who were social media friends.

It was fun to be in a dialog that never seemed to end.

One day, I rose from my chair. I put on my socks and shoes.

I went outside to take a walk. The sky was sunny and blue.

Oh how the air refreshed my lungs and the scenery was lovely to see.

I came upon a neighbor (who miraculously remembered me!)

We had a lovely little chat about changes that had occurred,

(while I was busy in cyber space where reality is often blurred).

I thought I’d be missed when I left, but it seems this isn’t so.

I heard from a few of my facebook friends who asked “where did you go?”

A very small group reached out to say “YOU have been duly missed!”

But truth be told, it was just a FEW who reached out from my fb list.

Social networks are addictive, we are hooked in no time flat.

We sit at our screens for time on end posting this and that.

So now I go for long, long walks, and read from my stacks of books.

I have reengaged in the real world and its been worth a second look.

It is fun to invest my newfound time in our home and grounds outside.

This is a our much loved private space where we feel a sense of pride.

I am happy now with much more time, and lots of ways to spend it.

I am spending more time in my garden and I am delighted I get to tend it!

 

Jjb/1/28/2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letting go

Long ago when we were young and newly married and having children, we were in the building stage of our life. We got married so one plus one equals two. We had children, add three more. We bought a house, another addition.

We both worked before we had children until I chose to quit my job and become a stay at home mother because it was necessary to have someone raise the children and manage their transportation to school and friends homes and Dr. appointments.

The early years were fun, fairly busy and exhausting. There was always something that needed attention, and I was the one that had to attend to it. As the children grew up they became more independent as they navigated around in their own orbits in their own world. When they left home they left an empty spot in my life which was very difficult to fill.

In this day and age, more often than not, both partners within a couple work out of necessity. This is true even if they have children which creates its own set of challenges, but at least when their children do grow up and leave home, there is something left for the Mother to focus on by way of her career. This was not the case for me. My children remained my focus and so my challenge was to find balance in those relationships.

As the years went by, and after they began the building of their own lives they became progressively more busy, while we found a lot of time to fill. We went out and got a hobby in the guise of a part time job we each enjoyed. It helped fill the hours. We did a lot of traveling which also helped fill the time. We volunteered at church which allowed us to get to know more people.

Growing old is a major change in ones life. In our younger years, the change transforms us from feeling overwhelmed by the responsibilities that come with years of preparation for retirement, hoping we will have enough to get us by when the time comes, to a time when we are trying to figure out how to fill all the excess time.

On top of this, we begin our reductions. In the beginning of our life we are busy building and adding, but now it takes on the form of dismantling as we unconsciously get ready for the next stage of life. All the things we purchased in the building stages of life we begin to eliminate. Out they go as we remember how much we paid for them and we wince as we realize they are no longer needed. We should have known since we saw the process all before with our own parents. But, we never really relate to the generation before us because we are too engrossed in our own busy, youthful lives.

I now see that this is part of Gods perfect plan for those of us who continue to age and move towards old age. It is all part of His perfect design in preparing us to let go of this life. Bit by bit the things that made us feel important and needed are lost to us…our jobs, our children, our health. Granted, there is building and some additions continuing as our children take on partners and have children, but we are no longer central to any of it. We move on from being the sun around which the planets (our children) orbited, and now we exchange places with them. Now it is we who are the planets that orbit around them.

There are a lot of blessings that come with aging, but mostly, I have found it to be a grad course on letting go of all the things that we thought would make us happy in this earthly life. We have to release all of which we gathered and it is rather jolting in the beginning. It is especially shocking when you realize your children are not interested in things you have held dear. We want to hang on to the familiar. In the end, we, just like all those who have gone on before us, are forced to loosen our grip and let all things fall away.

Sometimes I wish there were a waiting room between this world and the next where when we die, we could see our parents and be able to say to them, “Oh my goodness, Mom and Dad, I had no idea what you were dealing with at the time, but NOW I understand! Forgive us please for not knowing how difficult it all was.”

Thankfully, we know that this life is not all there is. There is another, even more beautiful life waiting for us and while we accept that this is so, we still cling to all that is familiar. We do not relinquish the remnants of our life easily, so we find that we have to trust in what God has promised is in store for us. We have to hand over the reins to God and when we do, we feel the freedom that comes with letting go of that responsibility.

There is often a fear of letting go because so much of our identity has been caught up with our being in the drivers seat. Our life has been a repository of all the decisions and choices we have made and we have had to live by them. Letting go is one of the most difficult things we will ever have to do, but once done, a peace takes over in knowing that the responsibilities of this life no longer are on us. We start over in the next life with the innocence of a child living in Gods kingdom with all the wonder and excitement a child feels. Letting go does have its rewards.

Jjb/12/8/2019

Oh! Oh!

My apologies to readers of my Word Press site, known as “Thoughts Expressed from My Retirement Nest”. This morning I got into a bit of a snag when reformatting my story. Me and tech settings are hardly compatible to say the least! I think I somehow got this post sent prematurely and incorrectly and repeatedly!

I find myself in a learning curve and I politely ask for your patience! I love learning new things but sometimes there is a bump in the road just ahead of the learning curve. That said, I love this format for my writings! I hope you do too!

Jjb/11/06/2019

Peppermint Patty!

A while back, I was volunteering at the front desk of a local health care center. One morning, as I was greeting people who were arriving to visit a loved one, I had a fun experience with one of the visitors.

That morning, I saw a very well dressed older woman walk through the front door to visit her husband. She was short and plump with very thin hair. I had seen her before on other visits and had come to see, as the weeks passed, how much she seems to enjoy wearing makeup and perfume. It was also apparent that she put a lot of time and effort in getting herself ready for the day.  She was always immaculately dressed in a flashy, colorful ensemble of one style or another. The style always varied, but the bright colors were ever present.

She must have some form of arthritis because as she pushes through the front door, she walks in an awkward staccato fashion, her heels creating a loud clacking sound with each short, jerky step. Heads turn as she approaches the guest register where she signs in.

One day, she arrived wearing a large hot pink brimmed straw hat which boasted a prominent silk peony tucked into the wide pink polkadot band above the brim. She also wore a long flowing multicolored blouse with Capri pants, all in a matching shade of Peppermint Patty pink.  She was wearing large earrings, a matching necklace, and an infinite amount of thin bracelets stacked high up her arm starting at her wrist. On her feet were cute little pink shoes with a large pink flower sitting on top of each one.

I was blinded by the light….a bright pink light, I might add. She and I had a very sweet conversation where I eventually complimented her on her ensemble, to which she responded,

“Well, thank you Sweetie! You make me happy that I went to all this trouble this morning!” I chuckled and said “Me too!”

One of the most fun parts of life, for me, is seeing the variety of humans God has created.  No wonder we call Him “The Great Creator” because CREATIVE He was when it came to the human race.

Out of dust He created all kinds of people….tall ones, short ones, skinny ones, chubby ones, curly hair, straight hair, no hair, blue eyes, brown eyes, green eyes, hazel eyes, light skin, dark skin, smooth skin, wrinkled skin, big butts, little butts, long legs, short legs, (you get the picture!) 

As “Patty” (the name I nicknamed her in my mind that day in honor of her pink outfit) went down the hall, she left me with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. Why? Well, I just saw a person who was wholly and uniquely herself. She wasn’t following another persons idea of how she “could be”, nor another person’s opinion for how they think she “should” LOOK or be.

In a world where so many people seem to buy into the idea that we should all look the same, weigh the same, live the same and think the same….I was blessed to see someone who walked in as the “real deal”. She was proud to be the person that God created in the first place, albeit “gussied up”.  No plastic surgery for this woman. Of course she was trying to “improve on creation” a little bit with her clothing and makeup, but over all, she seemed content with the package she was born with.

When I told her how much I looked forward to seeing how she was dressed each time she visited, she beamed at the compliment (which, no doubt, reinforced her determination to bless the world with her personally chosen custom packaging), she leaned into me and said…

“Well, honey…The way I see things is this way….the effort I put into my appearance is MY little gift to the world”.

I let out an uproarious and appreciative laugh on that one and she laughed with me. Honestly, she made my day with that statement because she was being completely sincere when she said it. This was, indeed, exactly her motivation in how she saw herself….as a gift! In the south, isn’t this where one says “Bless her heart!” Maybe we would ALL do better to take on the philosophy of presenting our best version of ourselves out in the world.

      Anyway, it was more pleasure to rest my eyes on her than on someone who has bought what the industry has decided is the “perfect” package.  Moral of the story?

BE YOURSELF because NO ONE is better at being YOU than YOU!  

    Besides, I just love Peppermint Patty, don’t you?

Jjb/11/6/2019

From now on..

I have been in a funk lately and I think I know why. Even though we cut cable, news shows, and finally facebook, negativity still seemed to seep into our life. Our “Next Door Neighbor network” on email may need to be the next thing to go. What is it about public forums that are communicated from our homes on a keyboard that creates a platform for some people to spread the seeds of fear, discontent, and mean spiritedness.

Now, I realize these people are in the minority since a lot of the posts are simply helpful posts suggesting good Dr’s, service people, nice walking spots etc. However, though the negative people are in the minority, they can still swing a mighty sword cutting through our happiness. Just last night I was reading a forum that got downright nasty between several people discussing a local topic. I could feel myself tensing up as I read the exchange. I have put that site on mute for now.

So, this morning, after my coffee, I went for a walk in our neighborhood and the psychic transformation was a miracle in the making. Instead of having my thoughts directed at all the things that could go wrong in our future, here I was, strolling along while looking at all that is good right here, right now! My body was moving with ease though it has been pretty sedentary as of late. I almost felt like the tin man on the “Wizard of Oz” when I first started to walk a fast clip, thinking a little oil on this joint or that would be a good thing. As I walked along, I could feel my spirit take flight and my joints loosen up.

It is a perfect fall day. The air is cool and crisp, the leaves on the trees are turning color, the neighborhoods are quiet with kids back in school and people back at work. Mr. Rogers, it certainly IS a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

We have a lot of gentle rolling hills in our area, so when I arrived back home, my face was glazed with perspiration! GOOD! This is what my body needs right now and for the unforeseeable future. What does that commercial say? “A body in motion stays in motion”. I would say that is exactly right!

So, it is still morning and the sunshine with its warm rays is beckoning to me. Mr. is painting the front door and Mrs. needs to go out and tidy up our porch. There is nowhere I communicate with my maker better or more fully than right in His own creation.

Blessings to all!

Jjb/11/4/2019

God

I’m living my life like I used to do.

I woke up refreshed, said a prayer to YOU!

I smiled to myself as I got out of bed.

The whole day was waiting with promise ahead.

We live in an age where busy’s the word.

Our schedules are full, our priorities blurred.

We fill every moment of each hour, each day,

Watching and listening to what the world has to say.

Its been good to reacquaint with my quieter side.

Its uplifting to commune with my spiritual guide.

I focus on whats kind and honest and true.

I take time out each day to spend it with You!

Its a blessing how calm and serene I now feel.

I know its because God my Father is real!

So, now Heavenly Father, I would like to say,

How grateful we are to awaken each day.

My dear sweet husband and his devoted wife.

Feel blessed to have reached this stage of our life.

Our love has deepened, our commitment has too.

We love our morning communing with you.

Thanks to our parents who taught us to pray.

They encouraged us to love you and follow your ways…

We did and we do and we will all our days,

Say prayers of thanksgiving and sing to you praise!

Jjb/10/18/2019

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Great new book

When we were in Italy with a long day of travel ahead of us to get back to Spain, I came across a book store in the airport. I walked inside as I often do because books always beckon to me to read them. Quickly I was reminded that I was not in the U.S. because the titles were in a foreign language and so was the marketing material. A lady behind the desk smiled at me and said something in Italian. I immediately apologized that I only spoke english and asked if she did as well.

She said “Yes, how may I help you?”

I said, “ Oh bless you…I am so grateful when I can understand what someone is saying to me here in Italy!”.

She laughed.

I then gestured around the tiny bookstore and asked “Do you happen to have any books in English?”

She pointed to a tiny wall space about 2 feet wide and 6 feet tall with shelves of books in English. There was an extremely limited selection, so it took me a while to find something I might want to invest my time in. My eyes landed on this. “Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine”. I picked it up, never having heard of it before, and began to read the back cover. It seemed interesting and I thought I might like it.

I just finished it this morning and have to say, I have not been “glued” to a book for a very long time. But, glued I was to this one. It definitely caught my interest right away, even though I was not completely engrossed at the offset. That part grew and deepened as the story grew! This authors command of the english language is beyond anything I have ever read before. Just her wording and phrases and written thoughts were a pleasure to read and take into my mind and turn over and over again.

Can a book be delicious? THIS one is because I savored it all the way through.

I loved it from beginning to end because of the soft, steady intrigue than ran through it. The book made you wait all the way to the end to wrap up the story and I did not see what was coming. It is a story about loneliness, kindness, cruelty, love, despair, the whole human condition.

I am going to save it for someone I think may enjoy it and give it to them. I just don’t know who it will be yet.

What a fantastic way to wrap up a vacation! I am back to reading again and I am absolutely hooked! I am looking for my next favorite read! Try it! You may just like it!

It is SO good to be back in the U.S…..in our home, in my chair, in our own little corner of the world.

It is fun to travel, but

“No matter where I travel, No matter where I roam, be it Palaces or pleasures, There is NO place like HOME!” (My Mother loved this poem…it resonates with me too)

Jjb/9/21/2019

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.

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

 

 

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!