Up on The Roof Top

After finally getting a long over due mammogram and taking my mother to get her groceries, I decided it was time to do what was needed. I borrowed the ladder from my folks and after tossing the broom onto the roof, I climbed up myself. I seriously needed to clean the leaves off the roof. I also needed to see if I could find what hit the roof hard enough to shake the house. Now, I will admit up front, heights make me nervous. I’m okay once I get on the roof, I am not comfortable climbing up and down that ladder. With it being the only way onto and down from the roof, climbing the ladder it was.

I did find the cause of the thud. It was a medium size limb that appeared to have fallen flat and shattered on contact. After checking the roof it appeared that no damage was done which made me feel better. I did not time myself on how long it took me to clean the roof. I was careful to stay as far back from the edge as possible while sweeping and took my time just to be safe. I swept part of the leaves off the back of the house which really scared the cats hanging out in the backyard. I was careful to keep the leaves from the gas pack, furnace/air conditioning unit in the back yard. The rest of the leaves I tried to sweep off as much as possible in one area of the front yard so as to not have leaves nearly knee deep all across the front of my house. Okay, slight exaggeration but still, it was a lot of leaves.

Once the leaves were cleared I took the time to enjoy the view. I do love sitting on the roof and watching the woods out back. I would love to have steps that lead up in the back yard, but there are so many other things more important. While I was up there, I answered a call from my son, I made a call he asked me to, I watched the neighbors slow down as they passed. They’ve seen me on the roof before, and weather and Good Lord willing, I’ll be backup there tomorrow hanging lights.

When I finally set foot to ground I got a call from mom. Dad had managed to get the foot rest on his recliner stuck in the up position. I remembered my son telling me how to get it closed so I walked down and actually managed to get the recliner to close. I then walked their dog, filled the wood box and after cleaning up behind the dog, headed for home.

Just another day. Another normal, business as usual, get the errands and responsibilities done day. I love days like this.

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The Most Important Test

In a couple hours, I will be going for the test that once saved my life, or in the very least my breast. After a lapse of four years, I am going for my mammogram. Once during an appointment a part of the process was not functioning properly. When I asked, I was told it was only the part that told the percentage of possibility of my getting cancer. Since I had already had cancer, mine was one hundred percent so it didn’t matter if it worked or not. For the last four years, I have remembered that and felt that concern in the back of my mind. I’m glad to be able to finally return to getting the procedure done. The lack of insurance has caused me to put off doing a lot of needed things that I am finally getting done.

Getting these things taken care of, also gives me the understanding that there is the possibility of actually finding a problem, even as I pray not. I do need to know though as I need to be able to take care of my parents. Doing the preventative now is important.

But, these are merely the things to attempt to keep me healthy in this life. This a temporary journey from birth to death. Death simply being the doorway from this temporary life to an eternal one. The tests, procedures and actions taken to keep me, or anyone, healthy now are important. What is more important is what we do to prepare for the eternal life.

The way I see it is that we are spiritual beings in human form. We are sojourners here, learning, living, growing in knowledge and compassion as we travel toward home. The life we live, is important, but the way we live more so. Christians are instructed to live like Jesus the Christ. He taught, He healed, He showed great compassion and love to all whom He encountered. He did not back away from anyone who sought Him. He did not come into this life to judge, but to teach and to save. He paid the price that no one else could pay, and all He asks is for us to believe, to trust, to live as He did.

There are no medical tests that can look into our heart or mind to see if we are true followers. The evidence and proof of that is in how we live. The only standards to check and follow are His life, explained in the Bible, God’s holy word. To clarify though, this does not give the Believer any right to judge others no matter what. Jesus himself said that he came not to condemn but to save:

John 3:17

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

If Jesus the Son of the most high God, did not condemn, who are we to do so? Who are we to say to another, you are doomed? Instead we are to love as instructed, to teach, to guide, to care for those in need. Lead by example, love with full and open heart, act with nothing less than true compassion.

A mammogram uncovered a cancer in my breast, saving my life. My faith, my belief, my trust in Lord Jesus, saved my eternal spirit. While I strive moment by moment to live as He did, to live as instructed, I am an imperfect being, so I fall, I struggle and fail. Yet His love, forgives me and gives me the strength and encouragement to stand up and try again. It gives me the desire to not seek the praise of men, but to seek to hear the words when my time is finished, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

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Oh Christmas Tree

My son prefers that holidays each have their time. Due to that, I do not decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. I could if I chose, but it seems a small thing to wait.  With Thanksgiving long over with, I decided it was time. Due to the problems with my floor and being uncertain of what this is going to cost me, the Christmas Spirit is not what it ought to be. I’m hoping that I can shake the concerns and celebrate the reason for the season.

After church today, I brought the dogs inside (so I would have to worry of anything was residing in my storage building) and asked my son to help get all the boxes moved from the building to the house. Many years ago, approximately twenty, we purchased an overly large artificial tree. When together it is so tall that there is no room for a tree topper. It is so big around at the base that usually I need help getting the strands of lights wrapped around. When apart, I need two giant storage boxes to store it.

Once we got the boxes down to the house, I made a comment on if he could get the television in that room to work. It had not been on in a couple of years. He fought with that for almost forty-five minutes. His frustration over cables that refused to work, a phone that he hates, and a television that was too old to do as he wished grew swiftly. My telling him to never mind I’d listen to the radio did not help. In the end, he brought his television out of the room he no longer uses and managed to get his old phone and television to cooperate and allow me to watch television while putting the tree together. Once he had that working he left me to the tree.

In the past, I would separate all of the limbs by size and then begin placing them on the trunk from the bottom up. Today, I began with the box with the largest limbs. Once they were in their perspective piles I began putting them onto the trunk. At one point I had an extra limb. I checked all the others already on the tree, I was confused as to why I had an extra. I set it aside and moved to the next limbs. I had two extra. Now I was not only confused but slightly frustrated myself. Setting the extra limbs aside together, I kept going. By the time I put the top of the tree in place and turned around, I saw an entire set of limbs, waiting. Something was definitely wrong here.

Finding my flashlight I began checking the tree. I finally saw what I had done. I had missed the second from the bottom ring for limbs. I sat back, took a deep breath and after a moment, I began what I had to do. I reached into the tree and removed the second row of limbs and dropped them down into the place they should have been. One extra limb found its home. With the next row of limbs moved down, I found the home for the other two extra. Slowly and methodically I moved the limbs from the wrong spot to the correct.

All the while doing this, my front door was open to the warmth outside. A warmth being pushed away by strong winds. The winds were also frightening my dog Molly. The other dog Bella, was not bothered in the least. Molly kept running in and out like an over excited toddler. When I could handle her anxiety no longer I closed her up in the bathroom. Bella curled up in the floor just out of the way and watched me

Once the tree was together correctly I moved all the storage boxes outside onto the front porch. I then tested all the light strands to make sure they worked properly. I then began wrapping them around the tree. Once the first strand was in place, I connected the next to it, but also plugged them into a drop cord so as to plug them in making it easier to see what I was doing. After the lights were on, I prepared to begin with the rest of the decorations. Right after a short break including a cup of coffee and the last slice of chocolate cake. And after going down to mom’s and walking their dog and filling the wood box.

Usually I’ll cover the tree with as many of the decorations as possible. Today I didn’t.  Partially because of not being able to see as well as I needed and partly because I was still battling the less than Christmas mood. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll see if I need to add more or if it really looks good as is. Once the final decision is made on the tree, I’ll begin with the rest of the decorations. The one thing I will have to remember, is that I will need to leave all the areas that are in need of work clear. This means my decorations will need to be swapped around or not put out at all. Otherwise it would make it difficult for whoever comes to check out the floor.

For the moment, as I sit here sipping hot tea with the dogs sleeping by my side, while my mood may not be jolly, it is content. As I listen to the wind blowing outside creating amazing music with the chimes, my heart is at peace. An animated movie is on the television, one I’ve seen before and can ignore. It gives me time to reflect. My son grew frustrated enough to toss the flashlight and a remote. His comments on what he thought of my phone were less than polite though not ugly. Standing off to the side and watching him, I remained quiet. I did wonder if he realized just how much like his dad he was acting. It also helped me to remain calm with my own issues with the tree. I didn’t grow overly frustrated when I made my mistakes. I took a deep breath and fixed my errors. I do have my moments of frustration, but I am learning how to not allow it to control me. Life is so much easier, if we learn how to act in patience and not react in frustration to the things that don’t go our way.

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Books I Have Written

These are the links to the books I wrote a while back. I feel it is time to get busy and see what else my mind can produce.

Blessed in His Promises and Blessed are faith based poetry. The Legend of Dragon’s Doom is technically a young adult novel, but many of my kid at heart friends have enjoyed it. Do not let the name fool you. It is a coming of age, being a hero adventure.

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Challenges

What is more fun than having two kittens in the house? Having two kittens who are visually impaired in the house. Having two kittens that beat the odds that were against them, in the house.

Up until recently, I have kept Mojo (female) and Moxie (male) secluded in a spare bedroom, safe and secure from my two big dogs. I would open the door, but had it barricaded in a way they could see, but could not escape into the house. It no longer works. For them it is a climbing wall to freedom.

Today both kittens took full advantage of the dogs being outside and escaped their room to explore and play. They visited every room of the house multiple times. They tried to visit the Diva of the house, our fourteen year old cat Cricket. Cricket thinks she should be the only cat and is not friendly to any other cat that dares enter her domain. Even with her hissing and attempted slaps at the kittens, they paid her no mind and went on about doing kitten things. With their impaired sight, this included a lot of running into walls and doorways and falling often from anything they dared climb up onto. They are fearless. While sudden sounds and things entering their field of vision unexpectedly does cause them to jump or back away, they then return full speed ahead. They believe themselves by their actions, unstoppable and invincible.

We can take lessons from these two wild ones.

When I brought these two into my home, they were not in good shape physically. They were tiny and had an infection which had infected their eyes. Thanks to a safe environment, an individual who helped get them seen by a veterinarian and medication, they not only survived but thrived. They had a very strong will to live in spite of their difficult beginning. They learned and were filled with love, in spite of being taken from their mother. Every day, they showed an increasing love and lust for life. Low visual abilities be hanged, they were going for it and making it count. No excuses, no hesitation.

For a while, when they came to the barrier at the doorway, they accepted the no pass zone and remained within the confines of that room. Yet every time anyone passed by that doorway, Moxie would be waiting, front legs raised in the universal sign of ‘pick me up’. And everyone who passed by, would pick him up for snuggles. They did not see the barrier and a sign of being unworthy or unwanted. It was simply a bridge to be crossed to affection. Then, they learned or simply realized, they were cats and cats can climb. The barrier is a barrier no longer. They cannot be contained by it ever again. It was a challenge that has been defeated. It is now, up and over into the areas waiting to be explored. Explore and enjoy they did. It was pure joy and excitement in action. Bounce off a wall? Its fine, back up and try again. Fall from a low shelf? Get up, dust off and bounce step forward through the amazing things yet to be explored and discovered. Stop for a snuggle then head off at full speed again. Visual impairment? What visual impairment?

These kittens are not allowing anything to stop them. They may not see their surroundings clearly, but they keep going. They may be a bit small for their age, but they keep going. They keep going. Strange sounds, unexpected movement, they keep going. Damn the torpedoes full speed ahead. They aren’t worried about what if something bad is out there, they are living life and enjoying it as fully as a kitten is able. But it isn’t just these two kittens. The not so feral colony outside show me every day how they face life at its fullest. They do not have an inside home, but they have learned to trust, they have learned to show some affection, they also play often and sleep in a way that shows they are no longer deeply afraid of what lurks in the woods.

And yet humans. While this is not all humans, but some of us, often including myself. We often allow our difficulties to prevent us from living fully. We allow anxiety and fears of the unknown, to stop us. We see a barrier as not a temporary thing but a full stop blockade. We fear the unknown to the point of hiding within our safe place. We could be living life more fully, more joyfully, more blessed, if we took a lesson from the two kittens and dared to live without reservation. 

It is my belief, that every day is a lesson. Everything we face, every struggle, every battle, every storm, is a lesson. Those who believe in God and have an abiding relationship with God, need only trust and believe that those lessons will help us through everything we face. That when we step out on the other side, we will be all the better for what we went through. It may not be easy, lessons generally aren’t. But once we see the results, we can live as those kittens, as if we are unstoppable and invincible.

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okay, reluctantly

I did something I really didn’t want to do, but at the moment see no other choice.

My son moved my couch so I could set up our Christmas Tree in front of the window. When he moved the couch, which had not been moved since we got the thing, we noticed something not good. The floor of my house is sinking. I have no choice but to find a contractor, hopefully and prayerfully one who is trustworthy, competent and not too high priced. I need that floor repaired.

Many of you who are following and have been reading my posts for a while know that I had to take early retirement to be here for my parents. Taking care of them is pretty much a full time job so even trying to find a part time job is not possible. I never know when I will get a phone call with a need or concern. I don’t mind and readily go to help, but there in lies my problem. Time.

I really need that floor looked at and what ever needs repaired taken care of as quickly as possible. But, money. So I started a go fund me in the hopes that there are kind hearted souls out there who may have a dollar or two to help in my moment of need. If not maybe you could or would share this in the hopes that there is someone who will.

Thank you, for being with me through all my mind ramblings and word bleeds. Following is the link to the fundraising page.

https://gofund.me/69ea16bc

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Thankful For Thoughts and Memories

Three years ago today. It was three years ago today that my brother left us for his Heavenly home. It has been five years since we have spent a Thanksgiving with my husband. My mother is always sad during the month of November. Her mother left us in November as did her son. Yesterday, Thanksgiving Day, could have been a sad time, but it wasn’t.

The doctor has told my mother not to walk on uneven ground. My dad is still wearing the medical boot due to that broken ankle. My brother thought the best idea would be to have the meal in my parent’s home. For the past few years we have been having the big meals in my dad’s garage size storage building. Plenty of room to eat, for the kids to play and mom doesn’t have to get all worked up if her floor hasn’t been swept. But, my brother really believed this would work.

We ended up with the tables to eat on being placed in the carport. The food was staged inside the house. We gathered, we ate, then as the kids played outside in the amazing weather we were blessed with, the rest spent time inside with mom and dad.

It was crowded. It was chaotic. It was amazing. It was a blessed day in which no one allowed the sadness of those missing  to invade our emotions and cause the day to be difficult. They were not forgotten, never are they forgotten. Michael always carved the turkey and offered grace before the meal. My husband always had a turkey leg and a plate overflowing.

 Thankfulness takes many forms. It isn’t only the possession of material things, or the personal health or family gathered together. It is also the memories we hold close. Remember the wonders and amazing times past. Remembering those who made those times amazing. Missing them and loving and remembering them at the same time. While my brother is no longer here to accuse me of scaring his deer every time I walk and my husband no longer is here to lecture me on the safety and or dangers of walking alone, I am blessed with amazing memories of both. So in that way, they were with us yesterday and every day.

The following is what I wrote the day my brother left us. I share again in honor and memory of the anniversary of his passing.

Day 329-

A day that started out in hope. Hope that my brother would awaken from the medically induced coma and speak to us. A day, where I went in to work, not fully able to concentrate, but trying. A day, where I looked up and saw my son, and I knew. I knew, and I lost it. All James could do was hold me while I screamed for my brother. My son, whose very heart was also breaking, was trying to hold me while I fell apart.

James brought me home, then stayed with his grandfather while I rode with the others to the hospital. I went in with mom while my other brother Kevin and his wife parked the car. Mom and I went ahead and got our identification stickers then waited. Slowly most of the family came together in mass then went up to the room. Going into that room was so very hard. Seeing him unmoving on that bed. His body there, but he was no longer. He was home.

Knowing, I would never be teased again, never hear that voice, that laugh. I would never again see him walking up the road with a grandchild riding on his shoulders.

My heart hurts, but how much so must Donna’s and their kids. The tears that fell today, are nothing compared to what is coming. Mom, fell apart in the hospital. She had ended up in a wheelchair because her legs would not hold her. Her heart broken.

But, while we mourn and we cry his leaving, oh the celebration that must be going on in Heaven. Mom knows he has already been with our grandmother. Always with the best hugs, always with the greatest love. My brother, is no longer in pain, he doesn’t have to fight the monster that took him from this life, but was his key to the next. My brother, who I love and so dearly, deeply miss already, has seen Jesus face to face.

The tears that always threaten to fall, but don’t are still so very close to the surface. The pain, that is ripping my heart apart, constant. Even as I know, he is wonderful now. Closed his eyes here, opened them in glory. How amazing is that?

I love you my brother, I miss you, you are, forever in my heart.

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Worn Out In A Good Way

I am exhausted. What a day today was. I would do it again tomorrow.

Like many families, it is very difficult for us all to get together. Today we were able to do just that.  It wasn’t without its struggles and bumps and problems, but we got it together and made it work.

Even though I had stayed up late last night starting on my part of the meal, I was still running late today. I was doing good right up until I forgot to turn on the deep fry and had to wait on the oil to heat. While I was doing my cooking, my son, nephew and brother were down there trying to get the tables sat up. They started in the house but we all wouldn’t fit, so the tables were moved to the carport while the food was left inside.

Since the weather was amazing the kids were able to play and run to their hearts content outside. After everyone had eaten, we gathered inside again to chat. The good thing, we can actually discuss those things that you often hear where others ended up in battle royal that ended up with someone either going to jail or the hospital or both. As some of us had other obligations and young ones getting sleepy, we began to prepare to take our leave. That meant taking tables and chairs back to the storage building. It meant doing some sweeping and returning furniture to where they belong. It meant for me multiple trips to the house carrying my dishes back.

After getting everything including myself home, I sat down to rest. Mom called a bit later to see if I would be able to walk their dog. Returning home after the walk, I pulled a cart up to the wood pile to get it loaded and moved to the porch. The all knowing weather prognosticators are calling for rain. Since wet wood doesn’t burn, I felt it a good idea to get wood on the porch in the dry.

That done, I took one look at my kitchen and knew I needed to get that taken care of right then. Combining what I could I put the leftovers away. Putting the dry dishes where they belonged, I began washing the dirty. I had gone over and told my son he needed to start a load of his work uniforms. He brought his laundry and I carried a couple dirty dishes back from his camper. Dishes done and the kitchen tidy I came in here to sit down. I am exhausted, but it is a good exhausted.

I spent time with my family that I love. We have our differences, our quirks and individual personalities. It makes us more fun to know and from time to time, a challenge to understand and even tolerate. But we know each other, and as is said often, we know who we are related to so its understood. To be able to spend time with loved ones, I would do what ever it takes. Spend hours cooking and having a kitchen in dire need of cleaning. Move furniture, sweep leaves, make sure mom and dad are taken care of fully. I’m tired, but it is a really good tired. My heart is happy.

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Gratitude

I stayed up late last night preparing what I could for today. Currently the ham is in the oven, the outside colony of cats have been fed, the dogs are out in the front yard barking at everything that dares move. I’ve had cuddles with the kittens we managed to save and which we are getting way too attached. I’m half way through my first cup of many cups of coffee to come. I have a moment to reflect.

It is the morning of Thanksgiving here in the U.S. A time meant for giving thanks, of gathering with loved ones, of taking the time, to recognize what we have. Because it could be so different. There is the saying, “there but for the grace of God go I”. https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/what-does-there-but-for-the-grace-of-god-i-go-mean.html

Sitting here, I can remember clearly my past. I remember where I was, and even as I am no longer there, remembering then, keeps me humble now. Then, I was hungry. Then I was close to homeless. Then I was in an abusive relationship no one should endure. Then, I was a lost individual, struggling. It took leaving that life and finding my way home. Not just to here on this narrow, dead end dirt road, but to my Lord and Savior. Returning to Him, brought me far from then. He brought me to now. Do I have all my wants? No, of course not, but I have my needs.

When I take the time to pay attention, I see the blessings. I see the times I have been kept safe. I see the times when needs were filled. I see the times when the waves of the storm could have swamped me, but when I clung to the hem of His garment, I was kept safe. He did not calm all storms, but He brought me through, making me a better person.

Two years ago today I retired. I had not planned on retiring so early, but my parents needed me. Taking care of them, has taught me so very much. It has strengthened the patience, the compassion and respect that I already felt. Not merely for them, but others as well. It has made it easier for me to wait and smile an honest, gentle smile when  apologies are offered for slowness or being in the way. It has given me a more observant mindset to see those struggling. It has given me a heart to help.

If I were still working, then yes, I probably could afford to do a lot of things I dream of doing. But I would not have the time to learn the lessons I need nor be given the gifts this time offers. My focus and attention would be elsewhere.

I have members of my family who are close physically and those who are close in heart. We do what we can to help each other and to encourage each other. We have a bond that keeps us strong, even and especially in tough times.

I have friends who remind me to have fun and who help me when a need arises in which they can step up.

I have the variety of animals living in and around my home. The dogs who offered canine friendship and companionship. Bella has been my emotional support since my husband died. Molly is the comedic relief. The official cat, prefers my son’s company. The outside colony of cats has been an amazing distraction from moments of frustration of loneliness. From them came the two kittens saved that offer wonderful snuggles and purrs of love. Being visually impaired, doesn’t stop nor prevent the trust, love and desire to be held. I read once that a cat’s purr is healing, I believe that.

I have a home. I have a car. I have electricity. I have food. I have the clothing I need for the various weather temperatures.

I have a Lord and Savior who loves me, and who brought me from a dark, dangerous time to now. When I look back, it is not because part of me is still there, it is to see how far I have come from there. I have come from fear and pain to peace. I have come from hunger in all its forms, to being fed. I have come from a struggle to contentment.

Life is not easy, it isn’t meant to be actually, but it has grown worse. So much going on around us making it difficult to live a peaceful, quiet, fulfilling life. All one has to do is see a headline, hear the news, listen to conversations around us. There is a lot of bad going on and for that we need to seek answers and solutions. While we do that though, we need to remember what we do have and be grateful. That attitude of gratitude does really go far.

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Day 327; Footnotes Photos

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