Because my body has been hurting in various place for such a long time, I've been reading a lot of self-help websites on both physical and mental health. From what to feed my body, mind and spirit, to how to think about and accept my body, mind and spirit, to how to exercise my body, mind and spirit.
Tuning in to know when your body, mind and spirit are hungry, sad, tired, lonely, thirsty etc etc., is a really good and necessary thing - like recognizing when to remove your hand from that hot burner on the stove - and when I apply the suggestions and advice that resonate with me, it's helpful and I'm even successful in accomplishing a goal here and there, especially when I stick to the advice and stay consistent in applying the suggestions.
But sometimes there's a deeper thing going on inside my soul. A rumbling and tumbling of something trying to be seen and heard and felt. Or fed. A craving for deep knowledge that I sense but haven't known. Ancient wisdom. Ancient memories clambering to be remembered.
Most of the time I ignore those noises, tune them out because when I take the time to look inside myself to see what's going on, I see, not a "thing", but a person. A little girl longing to be fed with love and attention; acceptance and approval. She looks up at me with big, sad, brown eyes and she breaks my heart. So I don't look. I just feed her with food to dull her senses and lull her to sleep.
The thing is, she always wakes back up. And she's always hungry.
I'm not sure why I don't just give her what she truly needs, what will truly nourish her. I want to. I want her to be healthy, happy and alive. I want her to finally grow up to be big and strong, lead a fulfilling life and be who she was created to be. So what's stopping me?
This is terrible to feel and say, but it's easier to let her languish hidden away and allow the distractions and pushes and pulls of everyday life to drown out her plea. It's a sacrifice on my part to pull up the patience required to listen and pay attention to her needs, take the time to cook and feed her healthy food, call her forth, invite her out to play, teach her how to be a woman, explain to her the ways of life.
It can be a tough world out here. Is she strong enough to survive? I'm afraid for her. Afraid she'll be criticized, scrutinized and found lacking; put down, beaten up, poked in the nose. Would she be able to stand up for herself? Defend herself?
Honestly, it frightens me, even though I know she has what it takes to do this. She already has everything within her necessary to live and thrive. And it's apparent by the racket she's making down there that she wants to come out and give it a go.
So perhaps it's me who needs to swallow hard, buck up and have a little faith. I gotta let go sometime. Every parent does. I can't protect her forever. She has to endure the skirmishes of life and push against the hard things and test herself in order to become strong and beautiful and knowledgeable about herself and the world. She has to learn to have faith herself and grow in wisdom, and experience the good things in this world and know the satisfaction of coming full circle by offering to others what she's learned.
I know there's only one love greater than the love I can give to that little brown-eyed girl, and that's the love given by The Creator who fashioned and formed her. So, to Him I must look, who is above, inside and all around her. In Him is where I will find the courageous love I need to call her forth. He is the Ancient Wisdom and the Holder of Ancient Memories from Whom I must draw. He has the instructions I need to quiet her rumblings and tumblings.
So when she comes out I must point her to Him, put her in His capable hands and have the faith that He will take care to lead and guide and protect her. And I do know He will.
This is a simple post about being thankful, grateful. Something I have to continually remind myself to be. I have a few aches and pains in my body that can get me down, and a few of my "very important dreams" remain unfulfilled. But, even so, I need, want, to be thankful.
Today, I want to list, actually write down, what I'm thankful for:
* Good hearing
* A good mind
* The ability to express myself
* The strength and ability to care for myself
* A loving husband
* Family and friends who love me and whom I can love back
* A solid home; warm, safe, with a pretty garden I'm still strong enough to work in; and it's close enough to the water for me to hear, like right now, the fog horns out in the Strait.
* A washer and dryer - right inside my house
* Running water
* In-door toilets - 2 of them!
* Trash pick-up service
* A good job with a fair and appreciative boss - he sends me home on occasion, with a really good bottle of wine
* Satisfaction of doing the best job I can at work
* Ideas and dreams
* A fair amount of compassion
* More wisdom now than I had 10 years ago - 5 years ago, or yesterday even!
* The ticking grandfather clock in my living room that reminds me of my mother, though I don't need that to remember her, every day I think of her.
* My father, too
Hey! Did you see what happened? This is such an incomplete list and I wrote these down in no particular order, just as they came to mind, but one thought would spark another, which led to another. As if they were all connected. Isn't that amazing?
And look, watch this! I could greatly expand on each one of them. Each one could be a category all in themselves, such as:
* A loving husband who is... faithful; kind even when speaking a truth I don't want to hear; rises early in the morning and goes to work every day so we can enjoy food, shelter, entertainment; wise; strong; an excellent spiritual leader in our home; honest; respectful; intelligent; loves God...
* Good hearing to... hear the clock in my living room, the fog horns in the Strait; the wind in the trees; my friends encouragement; the words that come out of my own mouth; the birds chirping; the rain tapping on the window panes...
And did you notice? Each item in each category could become a sub-category all in itself.
Thankfulness surrounds us. Thankfulness begets thankfulness. When I list my "thankfuls", I see how wealthy I truly am... hummm...
Okay, so... buh bye for now... I'm gonna go think up some more, embrace 'em all - and become a bizillionaire!
She's tall, wide, accommodating and 50' long. She carried us safely from Anacortes to Roche Harbor in just a few hours.
Pushing off from the dock, it was cloudy, but by the time we pulled into Roche Harbor the sun was out and stayed with us until it set the trees in silhouette that evening.
Motoring between islands large and small, with tip-of-the-iceberg like rock outcroppings here and there, we gawked our way, binoculars ever in hand, past homes, other boats and ferries. A small, woodsy cabin here, a captain's cottage there, some nestled in trees by the water, some open to the sun; some with companion yachts moored at their long and languorous private docks, extending their domain into the sea; one home with pink flamingos - yes, even out here there has to be one - and this one had two pairs sitting on the waterside, a classic stick figure version, only very tall, stretched high to be seen; and the other pair a blow up version resembling huge beached floaty's waiting with silly-smiley grins for their children to come play.
Come late afternoon, securely anchored, embraced by the island arms of Roche Harbor, we relaxed in the cockpit of the Tani Kaye, the little coffee table laden with snacks of salmon spread, pita chips, veggies and wine - with nothing at all to whine about. Later, an easy dinner of BBQ burgers, potato salad and chips.
At sundown, the dusky evening brought blasts and a boom, and air horns blowing all around, as the tradition of ceremony saluted the retiring of the colors honoring "Our America" and our neighborly Canadian friends.
Right now, looking out over the water I see a sea of anchor lights marking the location of each boat at anchor in the harbor. The fringe of trees at the top of the islands are all that remains of the silhouette against the darkening western sky. Lights of houses on the hillsides illuminate the spaces and occupants within.
Bobbing, bobbing, flowing with the winds of the currents. The moon, a little more that half full, casts it's arrow of light, only slightly rippled by a gentle breeze, across the water pointing directly in my direction, pointing to me.
My boating companions down below laughing, joking, dice in a cup - shakelshakelshakel crussshc! - as they spill onto the table. Apparently Paul's the winner of this round.
Sounds of laughing, joyous merrymaking float my way from boats across the water. We are almost still now. The water is calm. The sky almost dark. I am getting drowsy. Rock me to sleep, sweet Tani Kaye. Let me wake to the sunrise in the early morn.
This Memorial Day I attended one of the most moving ceremony's I've ever been to. At our Sequim View Cemetery, veterans and civilians honored our fallen soldiers with prayers and poems, flags and flowers. The day was beautiful, a slight breeze, cool, with Sequim's classic "blue-hole", of blue sky and sun and big clouds moving by.
In attendance were my loving husband, Ron; two sister-in-laws; one with husband who served in the Air Force in the 70's; one with husband in a grave near the base of the flag just in front of where we stood, who was committed to serve in the Reserves; one of her sons just home from his second tour in the Army, the first being in the Navy like his Grampa; and one nephew with wife and two children.
Also in attendance were memories of my father, Ellis, who patrolled our western and southern borders in the Cavalry on his horse named Rony, during World War II; my cousin who cooked on the front lines in Viet Nam; my father-in-law who served in the Navy; two more nephews recently returned from the Middle East; a niece serving as an Army medical professional; a nephew-in-law who gave his all in the Army; another brother-in-law who also served in the Army; another nephew who served in the Marines; and the many Veterans who come through our doors at work where it's an honor to serve them.
My goodness, have I forgotten anyone? I hope not.
As the ceremony began, people gathered around the tall American flag in the military section. I was compelled to stand with my nephew recently home. I couldn't bear that he stand alone, by himself. I tucked my arm inside of his and held on. I needed him. Together we watched the ceremony.
At one point, an elderly gentleman veteran directly in front of us, standing at attention, holding the flag, tottered a bit when a strong breeze caught it. I wanted to reach out and steady him but knew it was his to do. It was his honor. His determination to stand at attention and support his flag demonstrated it was his honor. I felt his strength, the same strength I imagine him exerting as he fought the enemy, and won, when he was young.
Protocol and order. Somber faces atop bodies at attention. Hats removed and replaced at proper times. Taps played... and tears.
I am surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses whose eyes have seen the atrocities of war, whose ears have been blown out by the unbelievable blasts of bombs, whose minds and hearts come home changed in ways I cannot fathom. I've never heard any veteran willingly chatter on and on about their experience. I imagine their feelings are too deep to even express.
A few of my above people escaped the battlefields, but each one in their faithful duty stood between me and the enemy. Each one contributed to my safety and protection. Each one made their sacrifice. That word seems so small compared to their act. And that doesn't even take into account the spouse, child, brother, sister who released their loved one into service with a heart full of emotion and prayers. The only reference point I have is when my father passed away. I was speechless, my heart in my throat, so full of unutterable sorrow.
Whether it be a family member or a friend, most everyone has been touched by war at sometime in their lives. A "thank you" seems inadequate. They gave their whole selves, how can I thank them enough?
The only thing I can do, I think, is to receive their gift and incorporate into my life the freedom they preserved. Enjoy fully the life I have been given. I can move forward in love and appreciation and value what's truly important, which is family, friends, people. I can pray for this country and it's people, for a country is nothing without it's people, for as long as I am a citizen here.
And I must remember... to never forget.
"One day at a time, sweet Jesus
That's all I'm askin' from You.
Just give me the strength to do everyday
What I have to do..."
That's what was in my head this morning when I woke up. Marilyn Sellars sings the perfect scratchy vinyl version on youtube. (I'd publish a link to it for you if I could figure out how. Still working on the techno part of this blog). But, it's interesting that a song will sound in my head at just the time that I need a little encouragement. My friend calls it a "companion song". That's a perfect description. I could use a companion right now.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with life. Like today. I'm working on two very big projects at the same time, the garden revamp project and the re-do the guest bedroom project, both of which need my full attention. At the same time, I look around and see all the other garden projects waiting for me. Then I look around the house and see the purge the linen closet project, the reorganize the pantry project and then there's the Garage with a Capital G project where all the extraneous things from the previous projects pile up. Projects, projects everywhere!! Arghhh! Maybe I shouldn't look around so much.
I have to remind myself that they don't all have to be done immediately and I can set aside the jumble and overwhelm and just focus on one thing at a time. Like getting the guest room done before our family arrives this weekend, and then our friends after that. Everything else can line up for second place. Except the plants my friend gave me. They have to be planted several days before yesterday.
Oh dear, what's a girl to do? Well, first off, she shouldn't panic. What's the worst that could happen? The plants will languish in wait, the weeds will keep growing, the pantry and linen closet will remain unchanged and the guest room will be just a mattress on the floor. The only thing possibly harmed in this scenario would be the plants. Which may now be dead.
Okay... so what's the best that could happen? Everything could magically get done and done perfectly without me exerting any energy whatsoever either physically or mentally. Or I could move forward and calmly apply my gifts and talents to accomplish the tasks before me and learn to enjoy the process of "living in the midst life", and understand that it's ok to feel the pressure and pull of life's inevitable events, big and small, for there are blessings to be reaped from that.
Since I don't believe in magic and I need to exercise my "moving forward skills", and I am motivated by love and the deadline is just two days away, I think my choice is pretty clear. The most important thing for me to focus on today is the guest room because that most closely involves relationship and love. No, my family and friends don't need a fancy guest room to sleep in while they're here but I love them and I'm so happy they want to visit, and it's a blessing for them, and for me, to be able to provide them a comfortable and pleasant place to rest.
So, there. Thanks for helping me sort this out. I know what I must do. I'm gonna get those plants in the ground!! <kidding> They'll be fine. And though there are love and blessings to be had in accomplishing the myriad other tasks I could do around the house, today I'm gonna go for the guest room kind.
I've finally come to realize that it's okay if others don't agree with my opinions or the way I conduct my life. To some my life may seem random, without focus or purpose. It seems that way to me sometimes for I have not accomplished any great thing, by the world's standards. But I have been married to the same man for 38 straight years-in-a-row-one-right-after-the-other, and we like each other better now than when we married. That's so amazing, especially when I think of those difficult times when we could have chosen to separate. Each time we chose to work it out. Those were the best decisions I ever made.
I believe all things work together for the good of those whose hearts are seeking after God. All of the things and events that have happened to us, all the choices we've made in our lives, the things that make up our individual histories, are all integrated into the people we are today. The good, the bad and the ugly, to quote a famous saying.
Problems may occur if we deny those events, decisions, choices. In fact, I'm going to be bold and say that problems will occur if we deny our past. Like our Creator YHWH, we are made body, soul and spirit to reflect Him, Father, Son, Spirit; yet in a mystery yet to be fully understood, integrated into one. If we have unresolved issues hidden in our hearts it affects our entire being and eventually those deep things will work their way up like rocks in the ground work their way to the surface to bend the blades on our lawnmowers.
We have to accept the choices we've made and make amends if we need to and are able. That means we need to ask for forgiveness from God and others, or extend forgiveness, even if it's <gasp!> God we need to forgive. We also need to forgive ourselves. Forgiveness is the great releaser. It frees us to let go of the event, removes the hook from our heart that continually catches us so we are free to be healed and move forward into life.
This does not mean, however, that we can flaunt the bad or even good choices we've made in life, for that demonstrates pride in ourselves and shows we find our identity in our hardships or accomplishments; or our accomplishment in overcoming our hardships; or in ourselves, a tenuous being who is changing every day. But neither should we deny them if we are to be whole and available to engage with others and embrace life in our present.
Measure by measure, freedom comes from the balance of embracing our past tempered with living honestly before God, ourselves and others. If someone asks, tell them the truth, using wisdom as to how much you tell them. Some are unable to handle the whole truth all at once.
This is a process that is never complete, will never be complete. For the rest of our lives there will always be another rock that will surface. This, too, is something we must accept. This is one facet of how a life must be lived. Acceptance of our past coupled with the pursuit and allowance of healing will birth a life well-lived with as few regrets as possible.
I really did know what I was getting into when I decided to tear out all the lupine in the driveway circle. We had done it once before. It is hard, dirty, frustrating work ripping out those dead, dry, brittle plants whose tap roots can be up to 3 feet long and, I don't know, 8" around at the top tapering down to a point at the 3' mark. They are really pretty and green in the spring producing beautiful yellow bract-like flowers and when massed together are very attractive. But when the flowers fade into dry seed pods, they literally explode and shoot the seeds everywhere to ensure next years crop. Then the plants seriously degrade into dry, brown, scraggly messes. Lupine are very invasive and very persistent. So I knew I had my work cut out for me and I had a plan to transform the scrubby circle into a lush example of nature's beauty.
After working for a day by myself, my strong hubby, Ron, volunteered to help. Every difficult job goes easier with a buddy, and in one mighty and valiant effort, we cleared 3/4 of the circle before we ran out of oomph. We still had to haul the mess back to the burn pile and thankfully I was inspired with the idea to work smarter, as they say, and use the truck to deliver them to their fiery fate. Brilliant!
So now there was only a "little bit" left for me to finish up the next day while Ron went to work. I thought, "No prob. I can handle this bit", and tore into it with great optimism, in spite of the soreness from yesterdays effort. After only about 15 minutes of slipping down the sloping side of the circle, attempting to effectively wield my shovel against those evil shrubs whose cantankerous and mischievous tap roots invade the plumbing systems of China to tickle the bums of proper Chinese ladies, and whose branches fight back slapping me in the face, smearing dirt in my hair, shoes and down my shirt stuffing what little available space remains in my bra, I was exhausted. I plopped down on the log bench under the maple tree in tears. "Why am I doing this? I just wanna be done. This is so freaking hard! What are you trying to teach me?"
After I caught my breath a bit and got over myself, a few thoughts began to surface inside from the place where God speaks to me. They went like this: "Are you really going to let these measly shrubs defeat you? You are smarter and stronger and tougher than they are. Look inside, find your strength. Be persistent and complete the job."
Persist. Persistent. Persistence. Continue despite opposition. Endure, recur (do it again). (Webster's Dictionary).
The word stuck out like a cross between a spanking and a pat on the back. Is that a definition for life in general or what? Life can sometimes give us a spanking and make us cry. Things don't always come easy. Especially the good stuff. I had to pull myself out of myself and make the sacrifice to finish the job I wanted to do. Most everything requires a sacrifice. Of time, of energy, of money, of love, of strength, of endurance, of ego, pain, forgiveness, of, of, of...
It's just so plain freaking, hard sometimes but we have to persist, make the sacrifice and move forward. Even if it's just pulling up one root at a time with a slip back down only to have to climb back up to do it again. But it's worth it. Worth the big and little sacrifices. Opposition and persistence make us strong and, when we look back to see how far we've come, brings fulfillment and satisfaction to our hearts.
And this is important, we have to remember that when life spanks us we need to give ourselves a pat on the back by looking around to see how much we've accomplished, how far we've come. It's an immediate reward and encourages us to continue, to "recur", to do it again. There will always be another opportunity to exercise persistence. My next opportunity is at hand. I must complete the job I started, finish the clean up and replanting. When it's all done, and it'll take a while, I'll have to persist in it, I can look back, remember what it was, see what it is and, with "recurring persistent patience", imagine what it will become.
It takes so long to see progress when one is waiting for lushness. So much work and money and time and energy. But I must just continue to bite off a little at a time. Like the deer.
The deer. The deer. The deer. They nibble everything right down to the nubbins. A bite at a time. Very patiently.
Patience. Patience, like a deer, is beautiful and there's always a surprise, a pleasant one or more, or a mangled plant or two, waiting for me along the path, which end I never reach.
There's always something to do, plant, pick up, weed, trim, repair ~ oh goodness. But it's okay. This is what it's like to stay put in one place for longer than a few years. It's homey and comfortable to live in a place long enough to really experience the thought and planning, then the execution of maintaining it. And then starting back at the beginning with the re-doing of it. There's a peace, brought through continuity, that grows inside my heart. Cyclical, familiar, comforting, renewing, nourishing, fulfilling, satisfying. Even in spite of the place being imperfect, not matching what my initial dream was of "my home" here. This is a good place, with challenges that are teaching me to be patient; to grow up, become mature; accept and live in reality; learn discipline and obedience; embrace pain and disappointment and know that it won't last forever, that I will live through it and be stronger in the end, and for those challenges that do last forever, I will have the strength and courage to face and endure them.
Patience. I thank God for patience. Even in writing it takes patience to think thoughts through, take pen in hand, translate from heart to head and put to paper each little loop of each letter, or each individual strike of each key one at a time, to form the words that express the thoughts that began as little bright spots in my heart. From a nearly imperceptible spark deep inside of me to full-fledged complete sentences, paragraphs, whole pages even, of words strung together into an idea or observation that someone can read, comprehend and grab hold of. Fascinating. Seeds sprouting, spreading perhaps by underground runners to bloom and produce nourishment and beauty for the body, spirit and soul. And as such, are words strung together sprouting fresh thoughts that form nourishment of a more intangible type for the same body, spirit and soul. All because of patience. And hard work, of course.
At least that's what I got out of it today. I know there's more. More digging, pruning, planting, weeding, in both the garden and my life. One day I'll stand up, straighten my bent over back, look around and see, the deer!? Yes, the beautiful deer peacefully grazing through my garden. They must feel safe here in my garden. They come often enough.
Hopefully, too, I'll see how far I've come, how much I've accomplished, how much patience I've acquired. I'm so glad there's tomorrow. I've so much more to learn and need more time, and the added perspective of hindsight.
A garden is not static just as God’s time, times and seasons are not static. Nothing stays the same. One change only leads to another. Spring, summer, autumn, winter. We are as connected to the earth as are the elements He created us from. We cannot escape it. To be out of sync with creation is to be out of sync with God Himself. He gave us the stars, the sun, and the moon to show us His proper order for our days on the earth; the clouds that bring the rain in their season to water the ground in and upon which lives every plant and creature ever created. He gave us dominion over every living thing ever created. Some of these He gave us as elements to nurture the bodies He created; all of these elements, including each one of us, expressing a facet of His infinite character.
I’ve been reminded of this recently. For a full cycle of seasons now motivation to get out in the garden has escaped me. Every task, and there are so many, seems insurmountable. Unfinished projects loom before me. Where I weeded just last week needs to be done yet again. Weed. Repeat. Weed. Repeat. I can never seem to get beyond the weeding and clean up to the fun and exciting building and planting part. And for the last several months I’ve been unable to garden because of a knee injury.
But now, my knee has mostly recovered and I’ve been catching up. Again! It’s like starting all over again with the same tasks, the same problem areas. And I’m sure it’s the same weeds. But my recent physical slow down and continuing recovery has produced a shift in my attitude. No longer do I dive all-in and hurriedly attempt to tackle every project in a day so I can see the end result and move on to what I [think I] really want to do, like watch TV; instead I’m required to work more slowly, a little bit at a time, submitting to, synchronizing with the times and seasons of each project, whether weeding, building, planting plants or waiting for them to grow; purposefully observing as each unfolds, unveils and reveals its beauty. It’s a process requiring me to live in the present and learn to nurture and be patient with life in its many-faceted and beautiful seasons.
I had been asking God to give me patience and He asked me to garden. I asked Him for discipline and He asked me to write. In the time, times and seasons of my walk with Him, He continually reveals His deep and abiding love and patience for me and His many-faceted and beautiful disciplines of life. My heart is fulfilled and deeply satisfied when I put my hands to the tasks they’ve been given, expressing what they have to say.
Last night I sliced up and sauteed an onion for dinner. Well, I had more than just an onion... it topped our hamburger patties along with some cheese... Anyway, when I went to bed I could smell it, the onion not the patties (no, not the panties, either), in our bedroom. The smell seemed to be at one with our bedding. Certainly a most unwelcome bed partner. Then this morning I put on my jacket to run an errand in town. It reeked of those sauteed onions with the added depth and texture of "stale". So, upon arriving home, I searched the internet for instructions on "how to remove odors from the house". The one I found, and chose, suggested simmering water and vinegar together with a slice of citrus peel for the pleasant fragrance. Right now, two hours later, the onion smell is gone but the sharp vinegary, poke-in-the-nose stench has spread throughout the whole house and the citrus fragrance is nowhere to be smelled.
I should have known after all the times I rubbed vinegar on my teenage sunburns. Each time they convinced me the smell would go away but it always hung around like a stinking sulfur cloud.
Then there was the time a friend gave us a pound of fresh ground venison with the instruction to soak the meat in vinegar, squeezing out the excess, before cooking, to remove the game-y taste. We were wild-game babes then, inexperienced. The awful smell permeated the house. We could have run the venison through multiple extract cycles in the washing machine and not gotten all the vinegar out. Sad to say, even the dog wouldn't eat it.
So, I've had enough of this unruly odor and have replaced the pan full of that odious vinegar mixture with a nice roast in a fresh, clean pot with seasonings and garlic and bay leaves, my current rediscovered favorite, along with a generous splash, or two... okay three generous splashes, of Sherry. Not the cooking stuff, the real stuff, it adds such richness to a good piece of meat. Now, delicious and tempting aromas waft through the house. And, thankfully, when Ron gets home from work tonight, he won't have to ask the obvious question.