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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Drop it and see what happens

My son and I stopped by to visit my ex who is now a resident of our local nursing home. In examining my feelings about the situation I am happy that there are no negative emotions left. What has happened was supposed to happen and is the direct result of how we have chosen to live our lives.

As I looked around his small living space I felt bad that it looked like an empty closet, except for his TV set. I have in the past visited several other residents and I know that they are allowed to bring in cherished possessions. I mentioned this fact to him and he said, "it's hard to decide what to keep".

Later in the day I thought about when his parents were residents of nursing homes and wondered if there was anything I could take him that would make his life a little happier and not take up too much room. In making this decision I asked myself what was most important to him. My answer was our daughter and our youngest grandson.

I couldn't move them in, but I could take pictures. I selected two that I thought he would appreciate and  framed them. I will be dropping them off today. It's not a big deal, but maybe it will make him a little happier.

Lately I have been thinking about my escape from earth (we are all going to experience that sometime). I have decided to purchase a pre-paid cremation policy so that when the time comes it will be a clean transition and will not be a burden to anyone else. I have checked out several facilities and settled on Cremation Society of New Mexico. I don't feel comfortable taking care of it online so I have an appointment to finalize the purchase in person. I have questions that require answers.

Sometimes things happen that just make me laugh. One of those things happened during my visit with my ex yesterday.

Out of the blue he shared, "When I was working I bought stock that I now want to sell. The policy is in both of our names and I need you to sign the paperwork". I jokingly replied, "If I sign it how much do I get?" He said, "Half." I said, "Are you serious?"

The part that really made me laugh is that my half will pay for the cremation policy I am going to purchase. Is someone looking over my shoulder? For the last several years I have had money put aside for burial purposes and now, well it looks like I can do something else with that money.






The first picture I choose was taken in 2010 of our daughter, son-in-law and grandson.

The second was one I swiped from our grandson's FB wall last fall. He is the one in white.



Both pictures made the recipient very happy, which made me happy too!

Friday, July 29, 2016

More than you need

I'm thinking this morning of people I know who have so many material things they actually rent a storage unit to house the overflow. My opinion is if you have more than you need give it away or at least sell the stuff. I am also thinking of the young who are given every electronic thingamabob that exists. It makes me wonder just what are the parents trying to buy. It's good for kids, especially these days, to experience want.

Having an overflow of stuff reminds me of when we cleaned out my mother's apartment after her death. I have never seen so much stuff crammed into such a small space.When I returned home the first thing I did was clean out my closets and drawers. My thought was, when I die I don't want people to have to go through what I have left behind. I still periodically repeat this chore.

For a writer this isn't always an easy task. The question, what might I need sometime in the future, is always present. I have to be in the right mood to make any progress. Like yesterday my guidance was screaming- dump it! So I did! I lost a lot of weight by tossing out things I had already lived through.

I am intrigued by people who live in those tiny houses. There is very little storage space in them and I am not sure that I could do that, although it could be an option some day. How much stuff does one need to be happy anyway? I have a friend, who for several years, lived in a small trailer pulled by her car. Could I do that? I'm not sure.

All these thoughts about overflow reminded me of another poem I wrote in 2001. Here it is

Greed
When you ask for more than you really need
You are asking to be taught a lesson in greed.
You might be given exactly what you ask
To teach you aren't ready to handle the task.

If what you want is only for you
And not about helping others too
God could consider your request too vain
And insist it's rephrased to include His name.

When power and wealth and material things
Become more important than human beings
Perhaps it is time to take a break from greed
Taking time to reflect on what you really need.  

Monday, July 25, 2016

Another push from the heavens

I see that mercury is about to go into retrograde in a few days. That can affect all kinds of things, especially communication. I also read an article that suggested it is a good time to get rid of useless baggage, including material and not so material things. That makes sense to me as it seems the universe is always, in its clever ways, nudging us to do just that. Do we listen? Usually not.

Well, we do when it throws a rock instead of a pebble at us.

Odd isn't it how we carry around crap that is weighting us down year after year? It's almost like we would feel naked if we let it go. I found a quote this morning that fits that thought. It was, "detachment is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you".

According to author Bob Moawad, "The best day of your life is the day you decide your life is your own. No apologies, no excuses, no one to lean on, rely on or blame. The gift is yours- it is an amazing journey- and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins".

Over the weekend I had a conversation with a female friend about abusive relationships. We have much in common and are both in the process of recovering. I have been in that boat more than once, not only from ex husbands, but from other relatives and friends. There are a ton of ways to be abusive to someone and not all of them require physically hitting another. I believe the non physical abuse may be even worse than the physical kind because it doesn't leave scars that others can see. The scars are on the heart and stay there until you are strong enough to realize they were simply lessons.

I am reminded of a poem I wrote in 2001 and I would like to share it to end this post.

Lessons
Life is full of everyday lessons

based on experiences each has had,

endings always signal beginnings,

adding new experiences to our past,

slowly waking and accepting

lessons needed to stay on our path.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Moving on out

The summer heat is getting pretty hot and I don't have air conditioning. Actually I don't even want it. It has caused my son and I to move outside for dinner. I have a large covered deck that easily accommodates his grill and the camp table and chairs I recently bought.





All was well for the first few weeks of the hot weather. And then... we began being attacked by flies. They seemed to like the smell of my cooking. Last night my son came up with a surprise that fixed that situation. Without telling me he purchased a portable gazebo with a roof and mesh sides.


It is going to allow us to eat dinner under the shade of the trees and not have to fight the pesky flies. You know the saying, where there is a will there is a way.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Family ties


Can you grow up without family ties? Yes you can but it can be a lonely place out there.

Sometimes I wonder why I was cheated out of family. My mother was an only child, my father had 3 siblings who had between them several children and I had one brother. Our family was not close. Even my brother, who was 13 months younger than I am and died in 2011, was not close.

I grew up thinking it was my job to keep my remaining family together. It has only been recently that I realized that was never true. Like many others it was a job I assumed because I was in desperate need of a family who cared. Even my three grown children barely communicate unless they want something from the other. Again, I tried to keep them together without success. That was never my job either.

I found a quote by LaToya Jackson that pretty much sums up how I feel."I'll never stop dreaming that one day we can be a real family, together, all of us laughing and talking, loving and understanding, not looking at the past but only to the future."

Last night I had the privilege of spending some time with a friend and her parents who were passing through town on their vacation. It was fun catching up and more fun meeting her parents for the first time. While listening to the stories being shared I again realized just how much I have missed out on during my life. They have a large family who really care about each other, headed by a fantastic gentleman with a great memory. It reminded me of a Chinese Proverb that I ran across, "A family with an old person has a treasure of gold".

Even though I don't have a biological family who cares I have a spiritual family who does. My current situation was expressed by my all time favorite author, Richard Bach, "The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each others life".

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Time ran out



This post is meant as a tribute to my deceased daughter-in-law, Mary-Ellen. Her time on earth ran out in August 2010, three weeks before she was to become a first time grandmother. I know how much she looked forward to that new title and I am very sad that it didn’t happen.

I have also always felt bad that her family chose not to compose an obituary after her passing. She was a member of the community and also worked here. I think she deserved some recognition other than from her Native American family and their traditions. I wrote a tribute to her a couple of years ago but one of her twin daughters had a problem with what I wrote and threatened me. I deleted it to make her happy. She also warned me never to do it again.

Well my dear child your time has also run out. No one has the power to tell me what I can and cannot write. My suggestion to you is, if you have a problem with that do not read it. Simple!

Mary-Ellen was the ex-wife of my second son. After the divorce she moved to another state to begin a new life. My son had custody of their three children, but they spent time with her in the summer.

One day out of the blue she called me to ask for peace between us. Since I did not divorce her I saw no reason not to accept her request. Any problems between us were forgiven and over time we continued to strengthen our relationship. She eventually moved back to New Mexico because of her health issues and added,” to be close to my parents”. I am grateful that we had an opportunity to forgive and enjoy each others company before her death.

The point of my previous attempt at a tribute to Mary-Ellen was to point out that her main purpose while she lived was to be a mother to her children. It wasn’t always easy, but she did the best that she could. I am very sorry that those children (my oldest grandchildren) do not see things the way that I do. Perhaps they are just not mature enough to understand.

Time ran out for them, but not for me. Peace be with you Mary-Ellen wherever you are.

Something to keep in mind-

 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Fear is a terrible thing

For the last few weeks every time something terrible happens like a person or a group gets killed the media blows it out of proportion. It's really hard not to develop fear, but fear is a terrible thing.

Living in a small town in New Mexico it isn't likely that events would end up on the national news, but who knows, anything is possible, especially with the media's tendency to make sure the population knows every detail of what they consider news.

I grew up in the State of Washington where everything was not only green but pretty darn peaceful. The only thing I was afraid of was my family not having enough money to pay bills and buy food. At the time I didn't know we were actually considered poor. Not being able to afford things some of my peers had was just the way it was. We really never went hungry. When I was around six I survived major surgery, but I still was not afraid, even after hearing a nurse say I probably wouldn't survive.

When I was thirty five, with two young children, I survived my first divorce. I had only a high school education, but I  was not afraid. When I was fifty two I survived cancer with no fear. When I was sixty two I repeated the divorce experience and this time I was alone, after 27 years. I was still not afraid to face what the world offered.

Since 2001 when the twin towers were blown up fear has grown. My last grandchild was born in New York on 9/8/01 about 400 miles from the tragedy. In the last fifteen years it seems it has been one negative thing after another. The events/deaths over the last few weeks have been horrible and it doesn't seem that they will stop anytime soon.

During the 2013-2014 school year I was a recreational aide at our local family center. I was responsible for a dozen or two children who spent time in the computer lab. It was not unusual for me to imagine just what I would do if someone with a gun entered the building and decided to kill anything moving. The fear got worse because my grandson is still in school. With God's help he will graduate unharmed in 2020. 

With the Republican and Democratic conventions coming up I have a feeling that something horrific is going to happen. I hope not but if it does I'm sure the media will do their utmost to inform the public of every detail. 

Today I am wondering what can I as one person do to help? As I was posting things that came across my Facebook news feed I realized that the only thing I can do to help is be sure I am only sharing positive posts. I have decided I will not buy into the fear that is being spread around by anyone, because fear is a terrible thing.

As a step in the right direction I want to share this thought.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A bull in a china shop

Yesterday I met a really good example of a bull in a china shop. Her name is Shirl and she joined our small group of retired souls for lunch at a local eatery called, Kendalben Barbeque. I have never met anyone who more perfectly illustrates this saying.

Before our group of five was even seated the new member took over and never let go of the reins. She had been invited by one of our regular members and was a new face to the rest of us. Before we finished our meal we knew everything about Shirl, from how many husbands she had gone through and what their problems were to what she eats when she is at home. It was more than we needed to know. At least it was more than I needed to know.  I left feeling as if I had been enclosed in a closet and forced to inhale bad air. Get me out of here!

Our guest is 88 years old and  led a colorful life as a dancer before joining her only son in our little town of Grants, New Mexico. In her opinion there is nothing to do here. She is looking for a social life to fit in. I wish her good luck with that.

This experience reminded me of one that happened several years ago during the time I was leading a writing group for older residents. I had invited a man to join us who I knew was recently retired and enjoyed writing. Part of the purpose of our group was to share what we had written on a chosen subject, for instance spring. The man arrived with a pile of papers under his arm. Without being asked he began reading and reading and we thought he would never stop. I didn't want to be rude so I just let him go on and on. Thank goodness he never came back.

Now that I think of it I also had a similar experience while teaching a writing class for children. There was one young lady who had convinced herself that she was writing a book and would have no problem getting it published. Again the children were supposed to write about a particular thing. and then read their work. When it came time for reading this budding author gave us more than we needed to know. She started to read a portion of her book instead of what she had been asked to do. I finally stopped her and said please stop this was not the place to share your book. The rest of the class was grateful that I pulled the plug on her.
 
Next month our group will enjoy the outdoors as we take part in a potluck lunch at our local Riverwalk. It was my idea because it is my favorite place to be in all of Grants.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

A day to celebrate oneness

Besides the birthday of my two felines,  today is the 17th anniversary of my divorce from my husband of 27 years. I look back and I think wow I have done good and I need to celebrate my life choices! I am free to do whatever I feel like doing. No strings!

Those 17 years have not always been smooth and I have often thought, "if only I had someone to help me", but the Universe always responded, "you can do it yourself". ...and I did!

I faced every challenge I was given. I survived health issues, relationship issues and financial issues and I came out on top. Yay for me!

Over the years many souls have been cut from my life because as the saying goes, If you aren't helping you are part of the problem. All of my life I have wondered just why I have felt alone, even in a crowd. Now I understand it was the Universe teaching me that I have more strength than I realize. It also taught me through trial and error to trust in my Creator and the angelic assistance that has always been there.

Today I do look back in awe and gratitude at my accomplishments and like a TV character of the past I ask, "Did I do that?"

Happy birthday kitty kats

Happy birthday Ebony age 12 and her son Smokey age 11. Like any mother Ebony rules the house and still occasionally swats her baby when she thinks he needs being reminded of that fact.



Ebony had a difficult time giving birth to her four kittens. Smokey was her first born and the next day was joined by three siblings, two black like mom and a tiger stripped, which was given to my grandson. I felt sorry for Smokey and I kept him. The other two were later given to friends.
       

 This is my favorite picture of Smokey and has received a lot of attention over the years.
            

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Kissed by an angel

This beautiful poem came across my news feed on Facebook today. I shared it with my friends. It received no response. Not being one to easily give up I am offering it to my readers. To me it seems a perfect response to the almost unbelievable mess our country is in at the moment. I think the last line says it all. I would be pleased to know what you think. Don't be shy.



One Inspirational Poem
(From the website Kissed By an Angel)

One song can spark a moment,
One flower can wake a dream.
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.
One smile begins a friendship,
One handclasp lifts a soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal.
One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room.
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.
One step must start each journey,
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.
One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what’s true.
One life can make the difference,
You see it’s up to YOU!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Why do you listen?

A little while ago I eavesdropped on a Facebook conversation between a couple who were having a conversation about race and the current state of affairs in America.

Female: The nation is out of control

Male: I agree, but what do we do?

Female: We start by listening to understand instead of listening to respond.

What a great answer. I decided to use it to write a blog post. I would only add the word learn. (Hope you don't mind Alaina.)

I am very grateful to have the privilege of having a computer and access to a world I would have never known if I hadn't taken a leap of faith and plunged right in several years ago. As the result I have friends all over the world of every color, race, religion and belief. The only time we don't see eye to eye is when one of them tries to shove what they believe down my throat. I am perfectly willing to listen, understand and learn from their experiences, but my life is mine and I will live it as I see fit.

In addition to FB I also enjoy the Kindle books that Amazon offers. Many of them are free. Two books in particular that taught me things I would never have imagined were:I  Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou and Desert Flower by Waris Dirie.

I had no idea what it was like being a female of color. I also had no idea what Ms. Angelou's life was like as a child and young woman. The things she endured as a young black woman should never have happened to anyone. How she grew up to be the revered woman she was has to be the work of the Creator.

The second book woke me up to learn about a young woman from Somalia who became a super model and United States Human Rights Ambassador. It is a true story detailing the barbaric circumcision of young African women. I had no idea this existed. Her job as an ambassador is to spread the word and end the custom which is still going on today. It's hard to believe she says she still loves her country.

I believe Alaina is right: Listen to understand/learn, not to respond.