Its as if..

My son and I were discussing what was left of the tree that fell the other week. While we were up there, I noticed something odd. When the tree fell, it broke the limb on a big Oak, but the limb didn’t fall. Today, that limb had fallen but in a strange, unexpected way. This limb, looked as if someone had taken the limb and carefully placed it on top of the pile of firewood to be that I had stacked behind the Jesus statue.

At the top near center of the above photo you can see where the limb broke away.

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Footnotes Photos

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Finding Our Strength and Place

Do you ever feel as if you are alone? That if you were to disappear, no one would notice or care? Do you ever find yourself in a room, sitting alone, while others seem to be the life of the party? They are the one everyone gathers around, while you feel left out? Do you find yourself deliberately standing back in a gathering, feeling alone while others are gathered together laughing and enjoying the moment? Because you feel as if you don’t fit in, don’t belong, don’t … don’t….don’t??

Where do we get these ideas, thoughts and feelings from?

Yes, we are different from the others. Every one of us is unique with out own set of talents and personality. Some are more comfortable in group gatherings, whether taking charge of the event or their personality draws others in without trying. Others may be better at hiding or working over and through their discomfort. They may be better at and more determined to be a part of something rather than allow insecurities to cause them to miss out. All the while, there may be those who stand on the side looking in, not knowing exactly how to act or what to say to feel a true part of the gathering. Their inner self warring through their own emotions and concerns.

There is a sad truth that thanks to things such as internet and social media giving some people a sense of anonymity, they feel as if they can- and they do- attack people at will. Laughing at the differences we each hold. The thing is, this simply shows their own immaturity and lack of human compassion and kindness. It is not a showing of the one being attacked shortcomings. If you are one who is being harassed or attacked, understand that one truth. It still hurts, but we can learn that it isn’t us so much as it is them. Take the time to step outside your own discomfort and explore, you will see what I mean. Find any mug shot listing or even the single arrest photo, then scroll down through the comments. See what is being said about the individual’s record and or appearance. Even though it may appear obvious they are homeless, have an addiction or both, the fact they were arrested seems to give some the go ahead to ridicule and attack in their comments. Dare to check out political, religious or lifestyle posts and see what is being said. It is not one person. Once the first comment is made, then more will feed on and work to be worse, more cruel in their words. This often will cause people to be afraid to open up and attempt to join with others. Obviously not all groups are this way. More often than not, groups, especially those of like minded people are friendlier, more accepting, easier to get along with and ready to open hearts and arms. One just has to find them.

There are those who feel uncomfortable due to the things that set us apart. The financial, the educational, the social status, the age, the racial, all are open for attack by someone. Even as each of us are important in who we are and what makes us that person. Each individual is a part of a puzzle of this life. We each have our position in making the photo complete. We each add design and color to what would otherwise be a very bland life. Being strong though, is not always easy.

Can we take the attacks and grow from them? If we are in need of further education, lessons on clothing and style, manners, weight, hygiene, learning what talents we possess and which ones we don’t.. or how to be able to dance (even if we have no talent) as if no one is watching. We can, we can take what someone means for pain, and make it a stairway to improvement and really turn the tables on the attacker. Because the sad truth to a lot of the attacks is that the attacker is not as secure as they want others to believe and they attack to make themselves feel better by making others feel less.

Now, one thing we need to remember, we are each and every one of us important in our own rights and ways. We each and everyone contribute to this life through our own personalities and talents. We are different by design. A tree is designed to be tall and create shade, every plant cannot be a tree, we need the shrubbery to provide food and shade for the smaller animals and the flowers for the insects. Not every person can be singers, because then who would dance? Not every person can be writers, because who would act? Not every person can be leaders, or designers….

We are each and every single one of us important in our own selves. We are created to be that way. Do not let another individual, because they do not understand this- make you feel less than who you are. Do not allow your own insecurities to cause you to miss out on life and laughter. Find your strength, find your voice, find your talent..because we all do have them. With our voice and talents we can BE and create a difference in this life- for ourselves and for those around us who are struggling. Once we find our inner voice and strength, we are more in tune to what is going on around us with others. We see the one standing to the side and are better able and more willing to reach out that hand of acceptance and welcome.

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Footnotes Photos

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Footnotes Photos

From the roof of my house.

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Footnotes Photos

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Footnotes Photos

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Footnotes Photos

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To Honor and Remember

Monday is Memorial Day. May we take the time to remember the real reason for this day. It isn’t just about time off. It isn’t just about the food on the grill or the gathering of friends. It isn’t about that trip out of town. It is about honoring those who went into service for this country because of their love for it and the people who call her home. It is about those who went into battle somewhere, risking and giving all to preserve what we have here. “The land of the free and the home of the brave” are not just words in a song. They are a lifestyle, they are a freedom bought and paid for by the blood and lives of those who fought. This day, is about those who did not return, or who did, but in a flag draped box.

It is about all of the grave markers, the empty boots, the flag draped coffins. It is about the fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters. Its about the husband or wife, the extended family that gave all. Who knew the risk going in, but went anyway.

It is about what was given…and would be given again if the opportunity was presented.

It is about the parents and children who watch as family members march away to serve. Praying they return. Feeling a deep, heart rending pain when they do not.

Is it too much to ask, for us to take the time to stop, to remember and realize the gifts that we have been given, by those who gave all. Enjoy the trips, the barbecue, the time with family and friends. Just take the time to remember, all of that was paid for with the lives of those who gave all. Stand in your yard, on a mountain top, on the shores of the ocean and understand, freedom is not free. It was paid for by their lives. Because they loved this land and her people enough to pay that price. They believed in what this country stood/stands for. It is this day, set aside, to honor and remember.

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I don’t know why. It is a real struggle to find understanding and not just understanding, but acceptance. My body aches from the work I have been doing, while my mind rejoices in the ability to accomplish this on my own. Yet, my spirit still aches as I seek to understand. Why alone?

Now, as I have done in the past, I will say straight up, I am so very grateful for the men from the church who did so much work in my home. They did what I could not. I do not hold the knowledge, the experience nor the talent to do carpentry as they did. They took what was damaged and weak and made it new and strong.

What troubles my mind, is so many other things that suddenly I am facing alone. I know why my son has backed off, he wants me to learn and figure things out on my own. What I cannot, he steps in and either explains or does. I did not know what was wrong with the drier. He pointed me in the right direction and I managed to find and clear away the problem. I did need his help in one step, but once he got what I was having problems with in place, I finished putting everything back together.

I have spent the past few days cutting up the tree that fell on my fence. I cut off smaller branches and have dragged most away. I have cut up everything that the electric chainsaw could handle. Most I cut to size, some will need to be cut. Still, I can stand and smile at what was accomplished. Cleaning up the fallen tree and collecting firewood for winter.

I found out that the type Jeep I drive-and other vehicles- have an issue with oil pressure and the motor using oil when coasting. I have adopted the habit of checking the oil on a regular basis. Today, I had to add oil.

Being able to do these things and more, is wonderful. I feel accomplished even in the small things. I feel content in my abilities and my life.  Then, I make a mistake and go onto social media. I see a totally different side of life. I see people hanging out together and having what appears to be a wonderful time. I see people helping others. I see people checking on others. While I am very happy for them, I will admit to being envious. That little devil on my should whispers all manner of reasons. Not good enough. Not important. Not worthy. Don’t fit in.  When allowed that list runs on quite a way. I try to shut it down quickly, but sometimes, the words echo and can be heard for a while.

So why?

To start with, this is not a feeling that is new. I have felt different since high school.  I was not and never will be one of the ‘cool kids’. I was not, and am not meant to be. I am meant to be me, the person I am, in the situation and circumstances in which I find myself. Is it easy? No. Is it comfortable? No. Is there a reason and purpose? Yes.

Currently I am needed as caregiver for my parents. I find myself filling many different positions as needed. Yes, at times the stress gets to me. Yes, at times I grow frustrated. Yes, at times the many calls and interruptions make accomplishing things harder. Yes, I have to be available because we never know what might happen or be needed at any given moment. But, no matter what, I know that I am very blessed that my parents are still here with us considering their ages.

I also believe, that all of this, is a lesson. The financial teaching me to need less. To understand that there are more important things than material possessions. To understand that ‘lay up your treasures in Heaven’ .  To learn how to be a minimalist for all the right reasons.

I believe, that all of this is teaching me to better understand what I am capable of doing on my own. With only my understanding and physical abilities given by God.  I am learning my boundaries and sometimes, how to move those boundaries to accommodate new knowledge and abilities.

I believe, that the solitude is teaching me how to better accept myself. To be comfortable with who I am. To listen and hear, what God is telling me.

I believe, that maybe, I should be taking the quiet times and put them to use. First to spend time in Bible study. Second to find the voice in my head that is seeking to be put to paper. I believe, that the things I have gone through, would help others to believe they too can survive. That they too, have a strength they have not realized. That no matter what you are facing, what storm or mountain is before you, that you can survive, grow and thrive.

I believe, that if I fit in, joined in, had others contacting me, I might miss the lessons. Once I come to an understanding and begin to learn what I am being taught, things will improve. I will have an understanding of what my purpose is and where I am supposed to be going. I will understand, to some degree, probably stronger as time passes, what the lessons are meant to teach me. I will learn, that staying true to that purpose is more important than fitting in with others.

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