Advertisements

Posts Tagged With: lessons

The price we pay

I’ve been absent, that much I know:  1 post in August, another in September.

I used to write almost daily. What happened?

I’d like to say life happened but that’s just not true.

Yes we’re busy.  Busy-busy-busy.  I am so sick of the word busy.

The truth is harder to admit out loud:  I. Miss. Her.

It’s been a year+ since she left.  It was time and believe me when I say I don’t want her to come back for things to be how they were in the end.

Just last week a colleague’s mother passed away and the grief paid a visit. A Tsunami wave of it so strong and deep I nearly lost my footing.

So many of my stories, experiences and thoughts have her intertwined throughout.

But.  She wouldn’t want this. She would not want this for me at all.

She would set her mouth in a firm way, frown and tell me, “it’s time.  You have to carry on.”

And so I do. I try.

Some days  are better than others.

Some days I forget to think of her.

Other days I dial into conference calls and try not to shout out loud “OH FOR CRYIN’ OUT LOUD!” like she would have been tempted to had  she been there.

Some days I move around as though nothing happened.  As though the void of her passing wasn’t there.

Other days I prep the coffee maker to wake up and find I never added … water or coffee.

Some days.

Some days I laugh and chat with my sister and a memory makes us both giggle then gasp back tears, all at once.

Other days I can engage with humanity as though nothing happened.   Like the wound isn’t still gaping.

There’s a lesson for me here:  Grief has no timeline.

It’s real and raw and it’s why I haven’t even thought about writing.

Because to write now is writing in a world without her in it.

All that she was and all that she shared and encouraged in me – a love of reading and writing, of good books, breaking news, meandering conversations, being still and quiet,  political nuances, singing along to songs worth singing to, Sunday supper on the stove, and a home tidied with things in their place  – all that I love to do and 5 million more – are because of her.

God, I miss her.

  * * *

“So it’s true, when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love.”
― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

 

This song was one of her favorites ~ and it echoed one of her favorite Bible verses.  Sing with me will you?

Advertisements
Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Determination, Faith, Family, Grief, Growth, Love, Mom, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Where is there?

Walking downtown one morning recently, I thought about how my phone’s GPS had done all it could: It got me “there.”

But where was “there?”

The locator announced “You’ve arrived at your destination.”  I parked and got out, looking around. Up, down, all around.

Where is there?

Her voice chirped in my earpiece, “head north for 200 feet.”

Which way was North?   Was I supposed to start counting steps?

question

I turned, felt the biting wind, and turned again.

Walked some more.

Nothing.

Popped into a coffee shop and asked a young man serving.  He knew his address but not any others. I found out he lives in Eastown.  Pleasant yes, but totally irrelevant.

I bought a coffee anyways.  Delicious.

Stepping back into the wind, I turned right, away from it.

Followed my nose, so-to-speak.

Finally, I ducked into another portal and called the # associated with the meeting.  Thankfully the meeting organizer answered.  Explaining my dilemma, she laughed and said, “I didn’t think to give everyone a landmark, sorry about that.”   She described their building, gave me the suite number, and that was the end of that.

Looking up, I saw the building, and realized I’d been there, or close to there, the whole time.

I was here … and there!

“The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.” ― Barbara Hall

 

*Can you relate to this?  Have you ever found it hard to tell here from there?  How often do you turn off GPS and follow your instincts?

 

Categories: Determination, Faith, Growth, Personal, Quotes, Random, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Random 5 Sunday – Coyotes, silence and Carpe Diem

It’s Sunday and I’m still in a bit of a fog after being “away” on vacation.  I went home to the family farm in Saskatchewan – to visit Mom, attend a wedding, and catch up with family.  Here are my random 5 thoughts from this past 10 days:

1. Lessons. Other travelers sure were chatty.  On 3 out of 4 flights I had someone older sit next to me and once they learned what I was up to every single one spoke longingly of their departed family members.  Some had a parent or sibling remaining, others had none.  It was not lost on me, as the youngest of 5, that time marches on and there will come a day when I don’t have them anymore.  Coincidences are just His way of remaining anonymous.

2. Time.  I found myself wide awake before 5:00 a.m. most days (that’s 7:00 a.m. in MI) and outside soon there-after. Hitting my 5 mile daily walking goal was a breeze. Most days I walked 6 miles before 9:30!  That time gave me the opportunity to visit with my brother & sister-in-law, chill with the farm dog & kitties, and drink in the intoxicating fragrance of freshly cut hay.  Ahhh.

Stevie the dog and the road to home.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Stevie the dog and the road to home. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3.  Silence.  I hadn’t realized it until I was there but opportunities for meandering conversations with Mom don’t happen as frequently as they used to.  She doesn’t hear as well now and it frustrates her to miss out on things.  And as busy and restless as I tend to be, it was challenging to sit in the stillness with her.  But I’m glad I did because opportunities still came.   Case in point:  The day we left for the wedding city, a 2+ hour drive, I could feel her anxiety and sensed she might pull the pin on our plans.  It took several hours for me to get everything loaded up and once I had her buckled in I asked, “You ready, Thelma?”  Her response? “Let’s do it, Louise!” That – and a fist bump from my 85-year-old Mom – and we were off.   Traversing roads she hadn’t traveled for years I laughed when she chatted and commented the whole way there.  She told me, more than once, that she never could have gone without my help and thanked me time and again for making it so much fun. Priceless!

Me, Mom and my Sissy, Mother of the Bride.  An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Me, Mom and my Sissy, Mother of the Bride. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

4.  Milestones.  We had fun at the wedding but, as we suspected might happen, the excitement and schedule left her a bit weary.  Plans to go out for a birthday supper were changed to a gathering at home instead.  She got into her comfy chair, surrounded by kids and grands, and smiled all afternoon. We enjoyed take-out Chinese food and my sister’s delicious home-made chocolate cake with Opal’s Caramel Frosting .    Between the pictures taken and the smiles shared we all felt a pinch wondering how many more times we’d get moments like this. Not one to dwell on such seriousness, she polished off her Caesar (aka Bloody Mary) and asked that we move outside — it was too hot in the house and she wanted to visit where it was cooler.  In the dusk of twilight, we listened to the yips and yelps of nearby coyotes and Mom had her own “Carpe Diem” moment right there.

Mom's 85th 2015

Mom’s comment: “I’m glad there are 2 big candles instead of 85 small ones!!” An Emjayandthem (C) photo.

5. Appreciation.  Being away from Hubbs made me appreciate him even more. How I missed our daily conversations and comments and humor.  How I missed being able to chat with my boys and get regular updates on their lives. I looked around my childhood bedroom and laughed to myself that the same types of things “saved” there are “saved” in my MI home.  I am my mother’s daughter in a very big way! My first morning back in MI youngest boy commented that he’d always known I did a lot (around here) but he didn’t know how much until he had to do it.  “All I did was clean and tidy up and take care of things and water your plants and look after the pool and … wow you do a lot!”  So as much as I love going away, hey, it’s good to be back home again.

 

*I’ve missed all my blogging friends and am way behind on reading your posts. I’ll catch up as soon as I can – in the meantime – how’s your week been?

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Beauty, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Home, Life, Mom, music, Personal, Relationships, Seasons, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Random Five Friday

Inspired by Dianna at These Days of Mine, I thought I’d play along – on this Friday after Thanksgiving.

1.  No, not shopping. Wait. My mileage reimbursement just landed in my slush account … hmmm … maybe some online deals today?  I see coffee, pie and Amazon in my future :).

2. The best part of yesterday?  Smiling faces, laughter throughout the house,  a kitchen smelling yummy and no one wanting  the day to end.

Playing in the dress up box!

Playing in the dress up box!

being silly in Nana's kitchen

being silly in Nana’s kitchen

3.  It’s cold today but the fresh snow is beautiful, and every tree looks like they’ve been frosted with icing … a very good day to be tucked inside and cozy.

4.  I’m not one to leave dishes in the sink; no matter how late it is or how tired I am, I take care of them because  I’d rather get up and see a clean, shiny sink than a cruddy one. You?

5.  Before yesterday, I had set aside a stack of Christmas Toy fliers from past Sunday papers.  Why? I remember the joy of skimming through the Sears “Wish Book” and poring over all the neat things we dreamed of.  When Grandson A arrived, the first thing he did was grab that stack and ask if he could start circling… and of course I said, “Yes.”  He circled many items, putting his initial next to his selections, all while touted their merits in adorable detail, but it was his special attention to this section that made me beam with pride.  While some would say that my son is just his StepDad, moments like these let me see that the effort he’s invested in this little boy is coming through loud and clear as L-O-V-E.

with a "D" for Dad

with a “D” for Dad

Care to share your “Random Five?”

Categories: Blogging, Faith, Family, Gratitude, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 26 Comments

Facial lessons

“Some people come into your life as blessings; others come as lessons.”

This is the face I’ve caught myself making when encountering yet another lesson.

You?

jan14mama1

google.images.com

Happy day, all.

Categories: Attitude, Forgiveness, Friendship, Fun, Life, Life Lessons, Quotes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

It’s in the watching

Father’s Day takes me right back to being a little kid.  I remember the hours spent making a special card and saving a little money to buy Dad something he’d really want. Except that my Dad never seemed to want anything. Oh he loved black licorice, chocolate bars and pretty much any kind of candy, but if ever there was a man hard to buy for, it was him. He wasn’t like those guys on TV or in the Sears Ads: He rarely wore slacks, he didn’t golf or fish and he certainly didn’t putter in a workshop.  He worked in one but that was an entirely different matter.

As a farmer, Dad worked more days than he didn’t; unless it rained, there were no days off.  When everyone else took holidays, that’s when he worked the hardest.  Toiling in the summer sun, he’d come in for lunch and enjoy a cold sandwich, iced tea, and a bite of pie or two.  His hat would come off and he’d wash the grit and dust from his face and neck before sitting by the fan, his reading glasses on, perusing the Western Producer. Smiling at us, he’d mess our hair and ask a question or two but it wasn’t long before he was out the door again.

Father’s Day usually found us all gathered at Grandma and Grandpa’s house for cake & ice cream, coffee and orange pop floats.  The grown-ups would visit and we kids would mess around. Sometimes we’d all gather for a wiener roast at the local park, my mom and Aunts making extra Tang and working hard to keep the cold food cold and the hot food hot.

It was one of those hot summer days that I remember whining to Mom about how I wished I could spend more time with Dad.  In her usual efficient style, she answered simply “Go where he is.”

“Huh?”

“Your Dad is always around, dear. If you want to spend time with him, go spend time with him.”  I can still see her shooing her hand at me as she said it, iron in hand, a pile of laundry behind her, and jam jars simmering on the stove.

The next day, I got up extra early to find he was already gone.  Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, my flip-flops padded softly down the dusty prairie trail to where he was, laying underneath the swather.  I figured I could be a big help by handing him tools and stuff but I forgot to think about how hot that summer sun would soon be, beating down the back of my neck.  I hadn’t considered how quickly I’d grow bore of this chore.  I listened as he hummed his way through the morning, wondering aloud at what time we might break for lunch.  I’m sure I was more in the way than not but, later, when he told Mom what a “big” help I’d been, my chest swelled with pride. Dad taught me that the most mundane jobs can be enjoyable with a little tune and the right attitude.

When I think about what Dads teach us, it’s easy to compile a list of all he taught me:  how to hold baby kittens like their Mama does, how fun it is to squirt cow’s milk at the barn cats so they stand up to reach it, how to cinch a saddle tight enough that I wouldn’t fall off but not so tight that my horse would want to bite me.   Dad taught me to be gentle with living things, to have fun in my world and that being responsible brings a certain level of safety.

I wasn’t strangling Tigger, I swear!

Dad was the one who steadied me when the training wheels came off and he was the one who gave me a little push and yelled “you can do it” and I did.    Dad taught me to stretch myself and grow.

Dad made hauling manure fun!

Dad was the one who reminded us girls that “too much makeup … was too much makeup” and it was always his praise we looked for when we debuted new dresses or pretty hairdos.  He demonstrated gender equality by handing me things that were far too heavy for my little arms to carry; he expected me to manage it .. and I did.  Dad taught me that girls could do anything but that looking like one wasn’t anything to be ashamed of, either.

Grandpa, me and Dad;

It was with Dad that I stopped in to check on elderly neighbors, and it was Dad who pulled teenagers cars out of  the sandbars down at the lake. Dad taught me to make time for people, and that being helpful and kind are just good ways to live your life.

Dad showed us where the Saskatoon berries grow the best, how to find fossils in the riverbanks and why we should leave Indian graves undisturbed.   Dad taught me respect and the importance of honoring where we come from.

Saskatoon berries grow best down in that coulee

It was Dad who taught me to dance while standing on his feet and that it was perfectly OK to make up a song and be silly once in a while.  Dad taught me that laughter is part of living.

Dad & I dancing at my wedding; He was so happy!

He taught us all what persistence looks like, braving rehabilitation hospitals and strangers after a series of strokes.  It was Dad who taught us how to let go and that, no matter the distance, that I was still his and that he would always be mine.   Dad taught me to handle what life throws at you with grace and dignity.

One afternoon, when our oldest was still in high school, he whined a bit about wanting to spend time with his Dad.  I looked at him and instinctively I knew what to say, “Go where he is.”

He gave me the same look I’d given my mother, all those years ago and I gave him her answer, “Your Dad is always around, dear. If you want to spend time with him, go spend time with him.”  I said this as I shooed my hand his way, a pile of laundry behind me and supper simmering on the stove.

* * *

He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.  ~Clarence Budington Kelland


Love you, Dad, forever and for always.  Happy Father’s Day in Heaven.

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Faith, Family, Holidays, Joy, Life, Men, Personal, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , | 26 Comments

Fruits of Disconnection

I don’t know about you but sometimes I just need to disconnect. To unplug. To step away.  Emails, texts, phone calls, voice mails, faxes, Mail, deliveries, neighbors and friends; you name it, sometimes it’s just too much.

As connected as we are (you’re reading my words via the internet and an electronic device, right?)  there are days when I just pull the plug.  Sometimes, as much as I enjoy taking it all in, I take in too much, and others’ problems and energies overwhelm mine.

I’ve cultivated a few strategies and these include:

  • Take a trip  … to nowhere-ville.  Shut the door, close the blinds, turn off the

    Frankie hangs out in nowhere-ville, too

    TV, radio, stereo and phones.  I cozy up in my favorite spot, burrow under a soft throw, and stay still.  I don’t speak, I don’t watch, I don’t engage.  I just enjoy my little slice of nowhere.  It takes practice because I’m a multi-tasker and always have a to-do list rolling through my head, but practice brings ability.

  • Hide.  This one I save for company trips; after a day of meetings and ideas and business dinners, when others head for the bar, I head for my room.  I bolt the door, draw a bath, pull back the sheets and luxuriate in all that space …just for me.  I enjoy my book and a snack brought from home. I slip my tired, clean self into the middle of that big ole bed and dream the dreams of the rested.  I get up refreshed and ready for the next day’s meetings or travel.  And I smile tenderly into the bleary eyes of the over-served.
  • Assess relationship ROI(return on investment).  Sometimes you’ve got to divest yourself of relationships that wear you out or just don’t return the investment you’ve made.  You might need a hand scraper and you might need

    so effective, so satisfying

    some Lysol, because my experience has taught me the toxic ones will try and to pull you with them when they leave.  You might encounter tempers and hurtful words but you can do it; you must do it, for your own well-being.

  • Be careful who you fill your friendship cupboard with.  When you’ve made room in there, take a little time to think about who has the right to occupy it.  You might be tempted to reach out and fill the void right away.  Don’t. Be choosier this time.  Pay attention to signals you might have missed in the past.  The friend who seemed just a little too eagerto be mine. The super competitive/ultra ambitious friend who’s made me

    No need to fill your friendship cupboard right away; image andorra.ok.uk

    think “what ever do they see in me?” The friend who only called when they needed something but have never asked if I do.  Pay attention. Pay attention. Pay attention.

  • Reflect – and say out loud – what’s good in your life?  What’s working? What makes your heart sing?  What makes you smile?  For me, it’s the little things and here’s just an example: I am quite sure I look a bit crazy driving down the beltway smiling and singing but having a great sound system with good music thumping makes me happy to be driving.  Every time.

Every time I make a point to stop – to step away, get still and clear the clutter –  I discover just what I’m thankful for. And always, I find there’s more than I realized.

Do you make it a point to disconnect?  And what do you find when you do?

Categories: Growth, Life, News, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , | 37 Comments

Because sometimes I just know

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where what you feel doesn’t match what’s being presented to you?  I have and I experienced it again this summer.

We’d been introduced to a new couple via mutual friends when I experienced something that gave me pause:  A feeling of unease. Butterflies. A sudden upset stomach.  Wooziness.  (and no, I wasn’t ill and only had 1 drink).

I acknowledged my feelings but attempted to shelve them; they were insistent and kept re-appearing as the evening progressed.  The hostess was lovely, their home was beautiful but it was him that I reacted to.  I took note of my body’s reaction whenever he addressed me. He was agitated and trying especially hard to be liked.  I felt for him in that moment but couldn’t help but notice how he frequently criticized and dismissed her .. in front of all of us.  I saw the sadness in her eyes and soon I really saw what my body had already recognized: a bully.

And then I felt it again; a primitive tug, pulling me away. I wanted to grab my purse and flee, to get as far away as possible.  Emotions washed over me.  Grief, sadness…  desperation. I had to get out of there and I found myself in the bathroom trying to compose myself.  I remember thinking, “I am truly losing it!”  But .. still, I listened.  I’ve learned to do that.

Thankfully, the evening ended soon after and before we were out of the driveway I said to everyone in the car: “I don’t ever want to see or be around that man again.”

That’s fairly clear, even for someone as direct as me.

I didn’t say, “I am not sure I like that guy” or “He’s not my favorite.”

I said, “I don’t ever want to see or be around that man again.”

Not long afterward, I heard that she was injured in a household accident and a shudder passed through me.   Because sometimes, in spite of the mask someone wears, sometimes I just know … better.

***

I am currently reading “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker and right after I started it yesterday, this post came to me.   

In his book, readers learn how to:

  • Recognize the survival signals that warn us about risk from strangers
  • Rely on their intuition
  • Separate real from imagined danger
  • Predict Dangerous Behavior
  • Evaluate whether someone will use violence
  • Move beyond denial so that their intuition works for them

 

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Quotes, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

A Simple, Village Undertaker

A Look Out My Window…header photo of Galway Bay, by Elissa Visotski

A New Day Dawns

Arise, shine, for your light has come...Isaiah 60

Virginia Views

Country Living for Beginners

Waiting for the Karma Truck

thoughts on the spaces in between

Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

Kate's views on life edited by three opinionated cats

Renee Johnson Writes

Novelist, Traveler, and More

Grit & Honey

Women clothed in strength. Your story isn't over yet.

Live & Learn

David Kanigan

Life Is A Journey... Not A Guided Tour

My Journey From Merchant Mariner to Mother, And Spiritual Being.

notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Flamidwyfe's Blog

Midwifing women all over the world!

Operation Gratitude Blog

Care Packages for Deployed U.S. Troops, Veterans, New Recruits, Wounded Heroes, First Responders & Military Children

Hot Rod Cowgirl

Riding Through Life One Horse At A Time...Courage Is Being Scared To Death But Saddling Up Anyway!

Holy Ghost Bumps

...For when I am weak, then I am STRONG. 2 Corinthians 12:10

She's a Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

security is for cadavers

"One can attain a high degree of security in a prison cell if that's all he wants out of life." - Dwight Eisenhower

Stevil

Death Before Sour Mix

The View Out Here

A view in pictures, from me to you

Kathryn M. McCullough

Author, Artist, Expat

Iced Tea with Lemon's Blog

Random Thoughts by Karen

I also live on a farm

Just another WordPress.com weblog

The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife

A prairie woman choosing to enjoy each season, in weather and in life

Undercover Surfer

...random thoughts and images overflowing from my brain

Wordsmith's Desk

some thoughts along the way

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

music, poetry, musings, photography and philosophy from a woman who found her way back home and wants you to come over for a hike and a cocktail.

these days of mine

Stop in and see what's happening during these days of mine

Writingfeemail's Blog

Random observations on writing and life

Grace and Life

Looking for grace notes in life's journey...

When I Ride...

How life coaches me as I ride...

RICH RIPLEY

EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS...