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Looking Inward

Day 54

IMG_7907For the last few days, I’ve been wrestling with thoughts. Jumbled, mixed up and confusing thoughts. I could not articulate so even I could understand let alone talk these thoughts out with someone else. I decided to put them aside and just get out and do a little holiday shopping today.

Okay, holiday shopping is a misnomer. I was actually running errands that in some distant way connect to the holidays. That is more accurate. What that meant was I would be running from store to store, looking for little minuscule things I needed to complete decorations or boxes for mailing packages or whatever.

Regardless, I was off.

First stop was Target. I needed birthday cards and Christmas cards and a couple of replacement bulbs. Of course, as soon as I entered the store I was confronted by the very neat Starbucks with NO ONE in line.

I ordered a skinny peppermint mocha latte. I mean, if you’re going to shop in 40-degree weather, one should have a warm beverage to hold — right? The young barista was quick to deliver this nectar to me and I was off shopping. Such a happy girl!

I looked at Christmas decorations I did not need and candy I did not need and art supplies I did not need. Such fun! Then I remembered I needed to get my grandson’s birthday present so I was off to the toy department. By this time I was feeling a bit ‘off’ — a little woozy. I chatted briefly with my son, looked at books and perused the dvds.

That’s when I started feeling lightheaded again. Then it hit me. CAFFEINE. Ha! I have not had caffeinated coffee in months. I had been so fixated on ordering my coffee ‘just so’ I failed to mention I wanted decaf. My bad. At least that explained the wooziness I was feeling.

I had mundane errands for the rest of the afternoon, running in and out of stores. Most of the department stores are in a sad state here. Products are low quality and high priced. Shelves are not restocked and merchandise is displayed helter-skelter around the stores. Not like the old days — before malls.

I thought of my grandmother and how meticulous she was in her shopping. I loved to go to the grocery store with her. In the middle of the store, raised up from the rest of the store was the butcher shop. I remember how discerning my grandmother was about the cuts of meat she ordered. I always loved watching the butcher in his white apron pull the white paper off the huge metal roller and then wrap and label each cut. Such a distinct memory!

Then I remembered the year my Dad gave each of us kids (four of us) $5 each to buy presents for him and mom. He took us to Montgomery Ward. Five dollars didn’t go very far even back then, but I found an old metal combination key rack and letter organizer.

I cannot remember the last time I was in a Montgomery Ward. It might have been when I bought my first (very humongous) microwave oven and cart. They were almost too big for a kitchen counter!

But my favorite shopping of all was when we went downtown. We often ate at the Woolworth lunch counter. Toys were often purchased at the Ben Franklin 5-10. It was always cold and most of the stores were too fancy for us kids, but it was still fun to walk in and out of the stores and see the town all decorated for Christmas — what a great memory.

Winding Down

IMG_7905 2When I returned home hubby was here after his day of jury duty. I warmed up some chili I took out of the freezer last night and we had dinner together. Then our daughters called for a quick video chat with our granddaughter. We talked to our grandson and congratulated him for being inducted into the National Honor Society. Then we turned the lights on the Christmas tree, turned on our various lighted decorations and I started to write my blog.

The funny thing is, the thought I was wrestling with this morning has melted away and no longer seems to matter. I think when we dwell on things and over analyze them, they grow larger than life. A little breathing room and a little time away help us gain perspective and balance.

“Often it isn’t the mountains ahead that wear you out,
it’s the little pebble in your shoe.” 

Muhammad Ali

Blog, Home

Sometimes There is Heartache

Day 7

When I think of home the memories, thoughts and ideas are so pleasant. But there are also struggles – and loss. When you love deeply and honestly, witnessing the struggle and the loss can be the most difficult part of life. But we do move on.

This week has been precarious for me. My daughter-in-law’s brother has been going through life-threatening surgery and treatment and we have been in prayer mode for two weeks.

My niece has been back and forth to the doctors for months and watching her search to find answers is also heartbreaking.

One of my very dear friends and I talked off and on one day as we worked on trying to find balance and understanding in some difficult circumstances. The warmth, comfort and stability of a friendship is an important part of feeling at home. An outside person you can speak openly and honestly with is a critical part of having balance in our lives.

Keeping strong when someone you care about is struggling is not easy. We want balance. We want comfort. It helps us feel at home and at peace to know our loved ones are okay.

And Then There Was Michael

Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida yesterday. The devastation is horrible to see. I can honestly say I hate hurricanes. I have been through more of these storms than I care to remember and have worried with friends and loved ones through even more. It is the most helpless feeling to have someone you love in harm’s way and be powerless to do anything about it.

weather - 1It will be days before we know the full impact of the storm, just as it was days before we knew the impact of Hurricane Florence. We received a lot of rain – almost 10 inches in two days – but have only had minor wind gusts. Slowly we hear from people and our mind is at rest, but not fully. Not until everyone is accounted for.

My heart breaks for those that have or will have lost loved ones in this storm.

As much as home is in our hearts, it is also the physical place where we live. So many homes lost. Lifetimes of belongings, mementos and memories washed away or blown away in the storm. Such an experience changes the ability to feel safe in your own home. I cannot imagine I would ever feel the same about my home being my safe haven after such loss.

I Never Imagined Life Without You

Last night I received devastating news about a dear family friend who passed away. We were not close in recent times, but at one time we were very close. The loss to this family hit twice in only a few days and I cannot imagine how hard that must be.

There are some people you can NEVER imagine will one day no longer be here. This loss hit me in exactly this way. I woke up off and on all night, listening to the rain pounding against the roof and thinking about the fact this dear sweet soul was gone. I am not sure how to come to terms with this.

Loss like this is multiplied when you think about the people you would call to talk through such things. My go-to people to process feelings like this are disappearing from my life. I talked to my brother and my daughter, but after those two, the people I would have called that knew and understood the loss are no longer here for me to call. That is a tough pill to swallow. Balance is lost and it can be a struggle to regain.

IMG_7084Today I wish you a sense of stability in the place you call home. If you have experienced loss, I send you warm thoughts. Life has a funny way of re-correcting and finding balance even after the most catastrophic or devastating news.

The birds are back at the feeder and the Rose Breasted Grosbeaks will soon leave to continue their migration south.

Everyone is headed home.

“I see now how things even up, how they are squared away,
and how they balance under the law of love and justice.
No year of life is emotionally, spiritually or even materially,
all drought or all rainfall; nor is it all sun.
The road turns a little every day, and one day there’s a sudden twist
we didn’t dream was there, and for every loss there is somewhere a gain,
for every grief a happiness, for every deprivation a giving.” 

Faith Baldwin