Mom called, was it today or yesterday? She asked if I would mow their back yard. It was bothering dad that it was getting high. Sure mom. I’m not finished with my yard, but sure. So today, I crank up the push mower that can and set to work. I get their side yard and back yard mowed. I really hope that there wasn’t anything back there that she didn’t want mowed down because if there was, there isn’t now. It didn’t take that long to get it mowed since it wasn’t that long since I had mowed it and it really wasn’t all that high. Still, if it will calm dad and get mom and few minutes peace, while he thinks of something else, its all good.
When I finished that, I worked on mulching the leaves between the two yards. I then moved to the upper part of my yard. The only area where grass will grow, and that growing grass was fighting up through last fall’s leaves. I spent what felt like forever trying to work my way around, mulching the leaves as much as possible.
I need now to get the bag for the mower and try to clean up the leaves that are up there and get as much as possible cleared away so the grass and flowers can grow.
I did check out the area that was one of the first I cleaned up once it started getting warm. I had dug up and moved the Iris last year, but I noticed there are a few coming up. There are also various wildflower and wisteria growing. I debated on mowing anyway, but I didn’t. Maybe the wildflowers will look and do better since a lot of the growth has been moved. We’ll see. Or I’ll break down and mow it.
As I was wandering around the front yard, cleaning, clearing, mowing, I noticed that my red azaleas are finally in full bloom and another flower that I wasn’t sure had lived is also in full bloom.
I have flower seeds that mom gave me, something someone had sent her in the mail so I’m sure there isn’t much in a packet. I’ll try to get that in the ground tomorrow.
I finally got around to raking the leaves away from the back of the house and into the edge of the woods. All of those up against the house bothered me. There was so much of them and knowing that a copperhead would be difficult to see in that, I raked it away. Thankfully there were no snakes to be seen. So far.
At one point as I was raking, I stopped and simply listened. It was quiet, peaceful, relaxing. Even as I had raking to do, even as I had all manner of things I needed to do inside. I stood there and absorbed the peace that is nature. Of all the things I may not have, I do have this. I have my family, my home, my home in the country, a couple spoiled pets and some hilarious to watch stray not so stray cats. We have what we need, we are blessed.
So yeah, every time I get the call, and I am physically able, I’ll answer the same way, Sure mom.
Are some people born with a more innate inclination to be brave? Does their newborn heart beat slightly differently with that web of bravery and courage woven throughout? Are they the ones whose parents are always chasing them maybe watching them as they take life head on, hang the consequences? Picking them up should they fall and telling them (once assured no harm has been done) to walk it off, they’re fine.
Do these children grow up to be the warriors of life? Those who gladly wear the uniform of soldier and head out to protect the land and people they love. Are they the ones who run into burning buildings, who rush into dangerous situations as paramedics or police seeking to help and protect? Are they the citizens who see an injustice or a wrong being done, and stand up to do what is right?
Can one of those, who have that heartbeat of courage and bravery, have that beat stilled? Can people or events along life’s journey change bravery to fear, or in the very least, a hesitation? Is it possible, for that beat, that breath of courage, to be rekindled?
What of the ones who have always been a bit timid? Who watch from the sidelines and wish, but simply cannot make themselves take that first move outward into challenge and adventure? Can one learn, to be brave?
Is it being brave, or courageous, or a different strength, or many strengths, to face something that frightens you? When you suddenly find yourself having to stand up and act. Whether the action is great or small?
There were many things that over the course of time and life, I developed an extreme dislike, akin to fear, in handling. Calling any customer service or support even doing online chats with them, had me shaking. I left everything I possibly could for when my husband would come in off the road. Then, he died. I had to make all of the calls to close his personal accounts and change some to my name. I had to find someone to repair the roof of my house. I had to replace the kitchen stove and refrigerator. I had to replace my car. I had to face, what I had avoided for so long.
Not only that, I had to face living alone and finding my way. I was working. I was running errands. I was getting out some hiking. I was attending church.
Then, the pandemic hit. Even though I have never and am still not afraid of the virus, everything shut down in some form, and I became comfortable at home. My son began calling me a recluse. There have always been reasons I have felt an outsider, but I needed to find ways to make new friends. I’m working on it, slowly. Some lessons take longer.
But others, how do others have to be brave? What fears and challenges must they overcome? The ones who don’t have to run into burning buildings, or jump from planes to save someone. What of those who have health issues that restrict their abilities? How brave is a child, or an adult, who goes in and faces bullies every day, even and especially when they should not need do this? How brave the individual who for what ever reason, has lost a limb and must face life in a new way? The challenges vary for the individual. My late husband struggled to read well, but he faced it head on and managed.
I knew a person many years ago who had mental health and addiction issues, yet had the understanding that only they could help them self. And they did. The way a bit unorthodox, but it worked and last I heard, they were doing very well.
Are there variations and levels of being brave? Does courage have degrees? Can fear, be overcome?
I once had a fear of heights at a magnitude that climbing onto a chair, made me tremble. (This from a child who once climbed as high as possible in trees moving from the limb of one tree to a limb of the next.) I grew tired of being afraid and decided to face that fear. I would get on the roof of my house at every excuse. I would seek out ways to face high places. Now, while I wouldn’t try sitting on the edge of a cliff, I am much better. I have a healthy respect for the potential danger, but can enjoy the view from different perspectives.
When my brother found out he had Leukemia, he told our mother and told her that he would either be home for Thanksgiving, or he wouldn’t. He was facing his future with all the bravery he had always held. If he could face his possible (and eventual) death with bravery, how much more so, should I face life?
I hike Crowder’s Mountain for several reasons. Other than the obvious of, because I can.
I do it to make sure I get my exercise in. I always take the trail with the 336 steps going up. That trail is steeper and… has the steps. The steps that are of varying heights. Some may be four to six inches high, others are nine or so inches. There are spaces where there are no steps. Trust me, that is a work out. I tell people that is my cardio. Especially now, while I’m adjusting to the increased weight of the new backpack.
Depending on how much walking around Bella and I do, I can rack up several thousand steps on my fitness band. My heart rate is thumping, my legs are screaming and as warm as it gets, I’m definitely sweating out any impurities. I also make sure Bella and I stay hydrated.
I will go ahead and admit, I use it to escape. No one can ask for favors while I’m somewhere between the beginning and end of the hike.
I use it to stay at least slightly connected to humanity. I had a really nice conversation today with a lovely seventy something year young lady who was sitting near where I always give Bella her water. I talked with others as well, but not as much.
I use it as a time away from electronics. Yes, I do take a few photos, but really not many compared to how long I’m up there. I did purchase an inexpensive pair of earbuds a couple weeks ago thinking I could do as I’ve seen others and listen to music as I walked. Then I got to thinking, that would defeat the get away from electronics thing.
I watch others as I pass them, many listening away to what ever is playing on their phone. I’ve overheard snippets of conversation from people talking work. Maybe, they are out for the exercise alone and the music helps them hike. Maybe it distracts them from how much further they have to go. Maybe it helps them to keep a rhythm in their step. That hike is great exercise, there is no doubt there, but its more. Its more, and they are missing it.
As you hike, which ever trail you choose, the natural beauty that is around you, the trees, the flowers, the boulder formations. All waiting to be seen. That Carolina Blue sky overhead. The ones where the hawks and buzzards sail on the air currents. You see their shadows cast on the ground as they fly overhead. The butterfly that dance closer to the ground but not quite. The squirrel run among the rocks and fallen trees, teasing and tormenting the dogs that pass. A lizard or snake slithers in the leaves causing you to look and try and find what was there.
You feel the dirt, the gravel, the small boulders that are scattered along the trail. You try and avoid where the water runs down and off into the woods, leaving parts of the trail muddy. At various times there will be trees and wildflower in bloom, waiting for the butterfly and bees and to be seen by those passing.
As you walk, especially if it is a day when you find yourself a solitary figure as you hike the trails. Deep in the woods you can hear the winds whispering. Sharing what has gone on before. Reminding you, there is a comforting peace to be found in the quiet. When the only sounds are those of nature and your footsteps along the path. Your mind can wander to where ever it wants to go, imagining who crossed this mountain in years past and for what reasons. How people years and centuries ago must have felt, what they thought, as they made their way.And those folks, with their music, or pod casts, or videos, are missing it.
As Bella and I hiked back down off the mountain, we took our time. I saw no reason to hurry. I really don’t want to push her too hard, making her too tired or too hot. She loves it, but as soon as we get home she stretches out on the floor for no less than an hour as she rests.
After Bella had finally gone back outside, and I was preparing to go on a grocery run, I heard both dogs bark. I walked into this room to look out the door but something out back caught my eye. Mom had wondered if the black cat they’ve been feeding had her kittens or if she lost them. Nope, she had at least one, because she brought it around and took it under my house. I’m hoping the other two cats don’t give her any problems. As far as that goes, she may have already moved again.
I hope she’s careful My son went outside earlier tonight to move the bowl of dry food in case it rains. He was calling me to bring my camera. There was a huge owl just at the edge of the yard. It flew the minute I walked out with the camera. It was too dark anyway. But I hope mom kitty keeps her baby (Plural?) safely out of sight. Because I’m pretty sure the cats missed seeing the owl.
I went by the handy dandy home and garden center and picked up a few more plants, since they are on sale. I’m going to try and get everything in the ground tomorrow.
As I’m sitting here, working on this, the dogs start barking at something out in the dark. It reminded me of an incident. well, two.
As Bella and I were hiking down the mountain, we passed a lady and her young daughter. The daughter may have been five of six. As we passed, she made barking sounds at Bella. To her credit, Bella paid her no mind. Mom though proceeded, after greeting me, to remind and explain to her daughter why you don’t make barking sounds at dogs. She spoke not in anger, not yelling, not unkindly. She calmly explained in a manner that the child would understand but also pick up on the seriousness of what she is being told.
The other was at the handy dandy home and garden center as I was making my way back to my jeep. I passed a man and young boy. The young boy started out across the parking lot to be stopped by the man. There is basically a road that runs directly between the front of the store and the parking places. The man, what ever his relation, also spoke calmly to the boy reminding him about looking before walking out into the road.
Both kids faced a possible dangerous situation, but they’re missing the harm that could come, because someone loves them enough to explain calmly, rationally, completely.
I keep saying I would love to get up to the mountain to get my hiking in earlier, and yet…here I sit. I’ve almost finished a pot of coffee, I’ve fed the cats and talked with mom, which didn’t go as well as usual. I still have yard work that needs to be finished and I need to drop by the handy dandy home and garden center to check on vegetable plants. I also need to vacuum.
So, if I were fully honest, I would say I am guilty of procrastination. In some things. Now, I get things done, except vacuuming, there simply isn’t a big hurry in most of them. The only thing really needing to be done timely is washing dishes and feeding the critters. They outnumber me, and one simply doesn’t want to be outnumbered by hungry animals. They tend to be ornery.
The try to hike earlier thing is simply because thinking it would still be a little cooler and therefore easier. Especially on Bella who has that permanent fur coat. She hasn’t complained yet and still hints of wanting to go every time she passes where her leash hangs.
If it isn’t the procrastination thing that has me feeling guilty, what does? That conversation with mom. Before I go any further, let me state up front that I love and respect my mother dearly and I believe with all my heart, she means no harm. She goes out of her way to show appreciation for everything I do, and tries so hard not to ask for favors too often. I also realize, that part of what happens, happens out of her grief.
I understand all of that, but still, this morning was a conversation that nearly broke the camel’s back and my ability to ignore. I may or may not have made my love for where I live obvious. While my home isn’t large or fancy, I grew up in this house. The memories of childhood and love fill every fiber of the place. The woods out back hold the memories of growing up, of exploring and laughing and living. I still hike these woods. I sit out back and enjoy the symphony of nature that flows in surround sound at all times. Many times covering up and muting the sounds of man.
In conversation today, my mother mentioned how much my Grandmother and my brother Michael, who we lost to Leukemia, loved the woods. These woods meant so much to them. Oh she was sure I liked the woods, but not like them. Just another comment on top of the many others about how other members of the family was effected worse by things that happened. They were or would be hurt more deeply. Even my own son, would care more than me, by the way she thinks and speaks. And no, I’m not imagining, because she commented on how afraid my son was when he found her that day she fell and how calmly I took it. (Even though she taught me, take care of emergencies first, fall apart if you must, later.)
I didn’t mean to, I’ve tried repeatedly to ignore and allow her comments to simply roll off like water off a duck’s back, but it slipped out. I interrupted my mother, my dear mother, to tell her I did love these woods and they do mean a lot to me. Now I wasn’t really rude, and I didn’t yell, I was merely adamant in my statement.
The silence was telling.
I felt this horrible dread and guilt. One simply doesn’t talk to their parent that way. It isn’t respectful. But, her comment struck a nerve, that had been struck often, and the hurt this time was too much, so I spoke out. She apologized to me, saying she simply didn’t realize the woods meant that much too me because I didn’t show it to her as much as they had.
Now, I could go off here and make some really sarcastic comments, but I won’t and I didn’t. I simply restated that I do love the woods. I didn’t give reasons, they were unimportant at that moment.
Mom will soon be eighty-five. Mom misses Michael and her mom deeply, which is fully understandable. Mom, thinks I am less emotional than other members of the family. I have been by others called, guarded. I have been told that I have a wall built. I am told I am too independent. I’ve been accused of all manner of things due to my, yes, guarded nature. None of that bothers or concerns me as much as mom thinking me unemotional or having a less caring nature. So, I finally commented and had to face the results.
That really long silence. The uncomfortable remaining conversation. That lasting feeling of guilt because one simply doesn’t disrespect their elders. One just doesn’t talk back. Do I really even feel better for having corrected her impression of me? Not really, not at the moment, maybe later, maybe if this feeling of guilt eases and we can move forward.
I love my mom, I really do. I simply wish she could see that I am the person she taught me to be. Strong, independent, calm, capable. Falling apart in private. Yet, I still feel guilty.
I wonder too, how often we do that with others who are important to us? When we stand up for ourselves whether after repeated issues or with the first, do we feel that guilt? Why did I do that? Why didn’t I simply let it go? Can we move past this? I would hope, that with all, there can be a level of maturity that would allow for conversation to explain and understand what caused the reaction so that an understanding can be reached. And that any guilt feelings, could be set aside, because the way I see it, there should be no guilt in politely and calmly standing up for one self.
The blog that I wrote this morning, , “Okay, I’m Confused” was meant to be a lighthearted take on confusion. With me being retired and all the days seem to run together. But, it isn’t all fun and silliness.
Person A, had been living in an unknown location for a while. Not that they were hiding, it was simply were they happened to live. Person A’s family had been searching and when they finally found them they were over joyed. Person A, had some age on them, so the time after being reunited was short. Person A, also lived in an assisted living facility miles from family. A member of Person A’s family went to visit one day and Person A, had no idea who they were. Person A’s family member left later, nearly in tears. However, the next time they visited, Person A knew them. This went on for a while until Person A passed away. One visit they knew, the next they did not.
Person B, was prone to wander. They would suddenly decide they wanted to go somewhere and simply start walking. A neighbor, friend, family member would come along and see them walking along the road miles from home and give them a ride back. Person B ended up in a facility that would prevent the wandering and keep them safe. Person B wasn’t happy and felt imprisoned attempting to escape every chance they got. This went on until they died.
Person C, had a stroke. They began seeing old time actors, long dead, coming to visit them. Person C’s family were forced on Doctor’s orders to place Person C, in a facility because it was too much for them to handle on their own. They went daily to see Person C and would walk down the corridors with them. All along the way Person C would discuss what they were seeing as if they were headed on a trip to another city or state, or most often, going home.
Person D, had an emotional trauma which created stress and issues with their mental health. Their mood would change within a nanosecond. One minute calm, the next angry and not even sure why.
Person E, finds themself remembering the past more and more. They forget having told a story already, repeatedly, so they tell it again, near word for word. They understand the present, they are in the present most of the time, but then, suddenly they aren’t. And they aren’t sure why. And maybe this one, doesn’t fully fit, because theirs isn’t as much confusion, as seeking a normal they remember.
All of those are or were, real people. All facing the demons of confusion. All wondering, their mind working as if in a fog, understanding a fleeting, rare thing. Clarity of the moment, a wisp in the wind to chase and grab for, only to have it blown away, out of reach.Many things bring this on, it has many official names and treatments. But the greatest, is love.
Love those you know who are suffering. Don’t try to play mental, do you remember games. Don’t try to force them to know whom ever it is that is with them. Love them, just love them. Let their mind wander, discuss what they remember, discuss what they are seeing even if it isn’t there. Just love them. Keep them safe, keep them cared for, and love them.
Just over a year ago, long about this time of day, I would be hard at work at the job that had held me prisoner for nearly thirty years. Is that actually fair to say? I mean I was free to quit at any time. Just hand in my notice and walk away. But..the job was only six minutes from the house, I knew it well, I had earned lots of paid vacation time, just a few of the chains that kept me there. Plus the fact I knew most of the people who worked there at varying levels.
Then, this virus came along. I will admit that for months, I said I was tossed out like yesterday’s trash. Unneeded, unwanted, thirty years meaning nothing. Then, after calming down and accepting that the promise to be called back was yet another lie among many I began to rethink the situation.
After I decided to take early retirement, and calmed down even more, realization set in big time.I had been rescued, released, set free of a job I probably would have never voluntarily left. The locks had been opened, the chains removed, freedom beckoned. I have said that it was the Lord who set me free, took me from that position, so that I would be available for mom and dad. Stubborn me just took a while to understand.
Which I now understand as wonderful and amazing. But yet, I get confused.What day is it?
Monday had always been the day to dread. The weekend had been much too short. Where did it go? Wasn’t it just four o;clock Friday? But wait, working ten hour days, we usually finished on Thursday. That made it worse.
Tuesday was usually Monday on repeat. maybe, unless it took an attitude, it would be just a tad easier, but that all depended on what all was going on across the manufacturing floor.
Wednesday was a day where that annoying phrase “What day is it??” kept echoing across the room. Usually with someone shouting, “Will you stop it?”
Thursday, unless we were flooded with an abundance of orders requiring overtime, the last day of the week. Smiles covered the room, laughter was often, annoyances easily worked through. We only had to make it to four. Then the weekend could begin.
Friday, as long as we weren’t working, was a good day to take care of all that stuff you couldn’t get to during the first of the week, like doctor’s appointments. Unless missing work wasn’t a big deal then you just went.
Saturday, was play day.
Sunday was a day of worship.
Unless there was a holiday tossed in or the plant shut down for Independence Day. That changes everything. And we won’t discuss that first day back after a shut down.
Unless of course my over the road truck driving husband was going to be home, then everything was upended, until he died.
I spent what seemed to be forever trying to clear away the fog of confusion on how I was supposed to act and feel. Am I supposed to be? Am I supposed to be sad? Angry? Lost? Strong? What am I supposed to do?
But back to the suddenly free, clear and…confused. I have a calendar open on my desk, right in front of me. I still get days mixed up. My son laughs at me when I make mistakes, when I lose days, or dates, or events.
Currently, with nothing much going on, each day tends to blend in to another. I wonder though, if that is really a bad thing? Being free of restrictive time schedules leaves me free to be able to assist others, to be here for my folks, to do what I want to when I wish. I can write, I can read, I can sit and stare out the window.
I’m thinking though that after we finally make our way through this current storm, I may find a part time job, or volunteer somewhere, or find something to do with myself….or not. I’ll figure it out, right now I’m just a bit confused..
I don’t know. This morning I either saw a ghost cat, yet one more cat among the many, or Mustard, the cat that has been missing for weeks, was in my back yard this morning. I really doubt that it was Mustard, or the ghost of Mustard, but it really did look like him. It would be great if he were back though. I know my dad would be over the moon. His dog would be happy also because mom tells me that Bandit looks for Mustard all the time. One thing is for sure, if there is any confusion among us humans, that dog will know whether it is the real Mustard or an imposter.
I’ve already written about mine and Bella’s visit to the mountain today in Butterfly Ballet. So I won’t rehash that.
After we got back, I did get other stuff done. Boring stuff like laundry. But, if one wants clean clothing to wear, one must do boring stuff like laundry. Another good thing about today was that stimulus check showed up. Now I can pay at least part of my taxes.
Being a breast cancer survivor, I have participated in Relay for Life for years. Last year was a non year we all know that, nothing happened. this year they are trying again and have a date set finally. So, even though I hadn’t planned on doing it, I did sign up for this year in memory of my brother who we lost to Leukemia. I miss him.
We not only lost Michael, my grandmother died from a brain tumor, two uncles and two aunts to cancer of various forms. I can’t tell you how many friends I have lost to cancer, or who are cancer survivors. It is a horrible disease.
The very first Relay event I attended, they were still going all night. Long about 2 or 3 A.M. walking alone around that track, felt so very odd. So quiet but for a night bird calling. The air was cool, but not cold. I remember that night vividly.I recall the events that followed. The challenge of getting everything together. The challenge of weather. I have been so cold I could barely stand it. I have gotten badly sunburned and had storms blow in and destroy our tents. It took a virus to put a full stop on the event, for last year. I’m hoping that this year will happen. Especially since the date scheduled, is my brother’s birthday.
Today was day four with no hard candy, actually, no candy at all. I’m doing well considering that for a while there it was a constant, me having a piece of hard candy in my mouth. But when I went through a ten dollar bag of candy in a few days, that’s too much. Time to stop that mess.
I have a goal of ten thousand steps a day. When we go to the mountain it is much easier to reach. In fact right now my fitness band reads 11006. I hadn’t reached my goal hiking, so after we got home, I went out and walked in circles in the yard until I reached the ten thousand. Since it was early, obviously I have gone further. I hope to get in better shape, have more energy, gain strength in my legs so they don’t scream at me just because I added a pound or two to the weight I was carrying.
Today was a good day. The weather prefect, friendly folks on the mountain, and a check in the mail. I’ll take it.
I wasn’t sure if Bella and I were going to the mountain today. Monday is normally my son’s day off from work, so for what ever reasons, I stay home. He had to work today so I finally got ready, got Bella and off we went. On arrival, I got everything, got Bella and off we headed toward the trail.
It wasn’t crowded so there were no issues about other dogs. I couldn’t understand at first why my leg muscles were complaining so much when they hadn’t been. Then I remembered, I was using a larger backpack that was loaded with stuff like a first aid kit, gloves, antibiotic cream an extra water bottle, my bigger reusable water bottle and Bella’s water bowl to name part of whats in the thing. Extra weight, extra work on muscles, extra complaining. Ah well, I’ll adapt and be fine.
I do need to either dig out some shorts that fit, or find some jeans I can mutilate into shorts. It gets miserable on warm days wearing long jeans. Thankfully though there was a nice breeze today that kept it from becoming unbearable.
There may have been a dozen people topside, but they were spread out to the point it was difficult to tell. Its nice though when it isn’t crowded with people. Which is the main reason I don’t go on weekends. I gave Bella her water and I then quenched my own thirst. We moved over closer to the overlook so I could take more photos of the same shots I’ve taken before. You know, just to prove I was there again.
As I did that, a girl who had just walked past, asked if I would like photos with Bella. Yes, thank you. She took a lot. But I’m glad, I can pick and choose my favorite that fits the mood. She introduced herself and made friends with Bella. She appeared to be in her early twenties, very friendly, very respectful. Even if it does make me feel old, it also makes me feel good when I’m called ma’am.
It was when Bella and I started down that the magic really began. The past couple of times I had gone to the mountain, I noticed that the usual feelings that came with the visit, had been absent. Too many things prevented the peace and contentment to get through. Not today.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love butterfly. If you go through my photo files you will find hundreds of shots of butterfly. Today, on top of the mountain I had noticed butterfly would float past ever so often. As we began to make our way to the Tower Trail to hike back down the mountain, I began to notice more butterfly.
Once we got beyond the tower and around the first curve headed down, the ballet began. They seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere. They dipped, they floated, they moved in varying circles. From one, to three, to five, they danced around us. I was enthralled at the sight. I didn’t even attempt to take photos. A photo might capture the butterfly yes, but not the feelings of what I was watching. My heart quickly filled with a peace I can’t begin to find a way to describe.
I stopped at one point and standing where I was, watched as they continued. Anyone coming up on me would have wondered if I were alright. Standing still, watching the ballet going on around me, words unspoken. Even Bella sensed it and didn’t try to walk on. She waited, as I watched.
There are times I think, that you are just meant to be in a certain place, at a certain time, to be part of an event. It is up to you, to notice and understand how something simple, can be so special. The ballet didn’t last too terribly long, ten-fifteen minutes maybe. Yet, I carried the feelings it brought with me all the way down the mountain.
There were not that many people hiking up the trail, but those who I passed, I was smiling and greeted them as if they were well known friends. Sitting here now, I still feel the magic of the moment. I’m so glad I got up and went, so I could be part of the ballet on the mountain.
I could say that I love my morning routine of sitting here with my coffee, alternating between scrolling through the blogs others have shared and staring out the window at the glorious day opening before me. I could say I love my peaceful life, my friends, my pets. All of that would be true.
But my family..
My maternal grandparents lived next door to us. They were a second set a parents, helping in so many ways to help raise me and my two brothers. Then, our dad worked out of town a lot and mom worked the day shift. When we weren’t in school, we were at grandma’s.
Grandpa provided ways to exercise our imagination through the wonders that he would find out in the wilds of society and bring home. From a screen wire, he built a sieve for us to sift dirt through looking for treasures. Sheets of tin created clubhouses to hide from the enemy or sit and listen to the sudden summer showers hitting the roof. What should have been poles for his green beans, found and brought out of the woods, became stick horses. Complete with rag saddles and twine bridles.
But it wasn’t all games, he taught us how to plant, maintain, and harvest a garden. The bounty his garden would produce was amazing. The vegetables always tasting oh so good. He shared his wisdom and his adventures. He also made sure we understood respect and obedience. He never punished us, but his quiet demand for respect, was always obeyed.
Grandma, was a true gentle soul and so lovely in a beauty that shone from the heart. She was a slender, lady of average physical height. Her great size was her heart and tenderness. She held a quiet strength that was as strong as the best steel.
In all of my memories, I only recall her striking me once. That was because I blatantly told her no, I wasn’t learning those spelling words. The strike so sudden and unexpected, I immediately stopped disobeying and learned the words I had refused moments earlier.
I do remember, homemade hot cocoa, butter and honey slathered on a slice of folded bread for a snack and meals to die for. Her cooking simple, but tastes like the greatest banquet ever. I also remember, you never-ever-ever, uttered the words “I’m bored”. You learned how she could quickly find something for you to do. Even if it was weeding flowerbeds or hoeing rows in the garden.
She could also so an amazing Charleston. Age did not stop her from dancing.
My mother tells me that I got my love for flowers from Grandma. I remember her flowers. A Wisteria vine that grew, controlled, on an enormous frame built by Grandpa. Daffodil that lined the drive and along the dirt road. Azalea bushes in groupings around the house and front yard. I can’t go into a garden center without at least looking at the flowers. I rarely buy now, the money thing, but I do enjoy looking. And friends do share in their abundance with me. Something of which I am grateful.
Grandma taught us, even as we may not have realized at the time, a gentleness and peace of heart. She taught us strength in a way many have forgotten.
Dad, has this odd sense of humor. Comments that come out of nowhere. Zingers made off the remarks of another. Silliness with a touch of sarcasm. He passed it down to us, and my brothers and I being the good children that we were and generous adults that we became, passed it on to our own children. The unsuspecting don’t have a chance.
Dad taught us how to fish. The entire process, from digging your own worms, to rigging and baiting the hook, to removing and cleaning your catch. As soon as we could hold a cane pole, we were fishing. Those lessons saved me a time or two but anyway…
Dad raised hunting dogs for a while. He taught us how to care for those dogs as well as our pets.
Mom, taught us strength, patience, compassion. She fed the birds, she fed the stray animals that wandered through. She taught by example. She read, a lot. She sewed many of the dresses I wore even up through high school. She made several quilts that she gave to us.
She fought for us when she got word that something unfair had happened in school. Not in a Karen sort of way. If we deserved correction, so be it. We were corrected at school then again at home. An example of unfair, I was failed in a class because of having an incredibly, lousy, handwriting. Mom goes to the school and asked the teacher to show her with whose handwriting he was comparing mine. The handwriting on that sheet was perfection in ink. She asked how many students could write that well, on the response to very few, my grade was changed from failing to passing because my work was correct, just poorly written. I still have a horrible handwriting.
My brothers, taught me how to stand up for myself. How to be strong. To be tolerant while under brotherly attack and patient in the waiting for my turn to retaliate–in a loving, sisterly manner.
My husband, a part of my life lost four years ago. One who taught me love, patience, tolerance, during all forms of storms and struggles. Who taught me just how good a simple, tight, hug could feel. Who left me with so many memories.
My son. Oh if I were to try and write all that there is about him and love, I would write an amount rivaling War and Peace.
Love is a feeling, and an action. We can easily toss the word love about, but to show real love, is in the action. I do understand that there are those whose family is toxic. A family who has created a situation where love may be impossible. Maybe though, being family, there is still a form of love, but not like. I can love you, but not like what you do?
I love chocolate, but don’t like what it does to my weight?
I love my solitude, but there are times, when the company of another would be nice.
How would you, define love? How do you, show love?
One of the greatest acts of love I know, is when my Lord and Savior died for me. Willingly going to a horrible and painful death on a cross, to pay for my sins. The only prefect sacrifice, for love.
Have I mentioned, I’m sure I have, that I really love helping in the nursery at church? Those two and three year old kids are so much fun, even when they are challenging. That moment when they have to have the block or crayon or truck that another has. Even though there are dozens of other blocks, crayons and three other trucks and various vehicles not being played with. Its all good though.
When they sit there and tell you correctly color after color of the crayons. When they show you things in the coloring books that you didn’t think they would know. When their understanding and comprehension is off the charts, its amazing. Even if their arrival does start with not wanting to be separated from their parent. It usually doesn’t take long before they are fully distracted in play. Spending time with those kids is incredible. It makes your heart smile, your spirit life and the big kid trapped inside out to play for a while.
I mentioned on my social media page how as I was driving home from church this morning, I had to make a stop at a local store. Leaving here as I went through an intersection and headed home, I saw a familiar jeep approaching. They waved! Its a Jeep thing to wave at each other, but since I don’t drive a Wrangler, it rarely happens. My son laughed at me as I described it later. He knows I suffer from Wrangler envy, so for my not a wrangler–well wait–okay, so as I said, this was a familiar Jeep, so we have been at some of the same events, so maybe instead of simply acknowledging another Jeep, they were waving at me?! That’s even better.
Speaking of, I had hoped to attend a jeep event today, but I didn’t sleep well last night and once I got sat down at home, it was all I could do to stay awake. In fact, I didn’t. Which was annoying on many levels.
I did manage at one point to walk out to check on the flowers I had planted after last night’s rain. They all actually looked really good. I noticed that that it appears something has been eating a bush I planted last year. I need to find a way to try and save what is left of it before what ever is doing the munching, finishes it off.
I need a better calendar. I had no idea until just a bit ago, that today is National Pet Day. I almost missed another National what ever day. So, in honor of pet day, here are a few photos of the spoiled ones.