How time gets away from me amazes me, but not always in a good way.
Life has a way of changing from one moment to the next.
As one has said, “just when we started to think we had a somewhat “perfect” life – not all things were perfect, but they were good for us – the bottom crashes out under out feet and we are brought to our knees barely holding on!”
The job: I worked for Holiday Inn in the housekeeping department for 2 weeks.
With only about 25 hours a week.
The hours were good.
The work should have been easy enough.
I have cleaned my whole life!
However, the pace of cleaning the rooms, making beds, scrubbing bathrooms … my knees just could not keep up.
Every day when I got home, I literally changed my clothes, and crashed into the recliner – with a heating pad across my knees, regardless of how hot the weather was!
And I sat there, all night.
As late into the morning as I dared before moving.
Getting up to knees that were screaming with the over-using of them.
Tendons and ligaments that reminded me of not so long ago when the ACL and MCL were torn, and the Baker’s Cyst at the back of one knee blew out causing all kinds of damage within.
Rick told me for years that one must know what their limitations are.
And as hard as it was for me to admit this was beyond the scope of my limitations, I had no choice.
As I told one grandson, “I know I can’t get out here and dig a 6-mile ditch in a day, so I don’t even try.”
His response? “Grannee, I don’t think I could do that!” LOL
So, I no longer work for Holiday Inn.
Back to searching for a job that my body will be able to do.
A job that will work with me in my limitations – not only physically, but financially as well due to being on widow benefits.
The RV: still working on it.
Some things have come to a standstill due to the job … and due to my son being in the hospital.
Last Thursday, my son had a doctor’s appointment.
He said he walked into the office, doctor took one look at him, did not touch him, sent him straight to ER.
After several hours of testing, it was determined that he had a tear in his colon area.
Into the hospital on IV antibiotics.
More tests and blood work for a couple of days.
Then, he was discharged to home with oral antibiotics and placed on a residual diet – that was on Saturday afternoon.
By Monday morning he was in so much pain that the doctor was called, another trip to the ER … and readmitted into the hospital, for more colon rest (meaning ice chips ONLY) and more IV antibiotics. Doctor said that this latest CT scan showed no more damage than last week, and that his numbers are all headed in the right direction.
However, the inflammation and infection had flared back up.
Doctor wants him on complete colon rest for several days while he is getting these antibiotics in the IV.
My son said that ice chips are not easy to imagine being real food – just saying! LOL
Doctor has told him that it appears the hole was in the colon itself, but the fluids were held in the intestinal wall, did not leak into the peritoneal cavity. Thank the Lord!
He wants complete colon rest in order that the healing will take better.
His concern at this time is either an abscess, or a tumor – neither of which is showing on the x-rays or CT scan.
But still … a concern.
This may be diverticulitis.
That is what it is being called at this time.
Only a scope will give a definitive answer.
Therefore, a scope is being discussed once this heals to a proper level.
Changes to diet and exercise are being heavily discussed, cussed, and discussed many times over!
Tomorrow, April 14, is my son’s birthday.
He will spend it in the hospital.
It is also the 1 year anniversary of their adopted son’s death.
My heart feels squeezed down to barely beating at this point.
Hurting for my son and his family as they deal with the memories – memories of that phone call no parent ever wants to receive.
Memories of hours and days that seemed to move forward without their permission, but at the same time, seemed to stand still for an eternity.
My heart is hurting for all my son is going thru with his body, too.
I told him yesterday that if I had the power, I would take it from him.
Allowing him to return to his “normal”.
I am older, already with stomach pains and ills … as well as not working right now.
If anyone has this kind of time to go thru this – it would be me.
As hard as it would be to be away from my children and grandchildren … at least it would be me laying there – not him.
Many tears, intense prayers, and little real rest.
Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I will trust in the Lord”.
There are days, like today, when I am so thankful for that one word – WHEN.
That word is a permission from our Father in Heaven – One Who understands us completely.
It is a word that asks us to be nothing but who we are, just as we are.
God gets it.
I am afraid.
Of so much these days.
Trusting in Him, and asking with every breath I take that God Himself will help me trust Him.
Some days, it’s all I can do – be afraid … and trust in the Lord.
We all know that life can, and does, change in a moment.
A storm that moves thru the area, or a wildfire completely out of control.
Thru a word spoken by a boss.
Or words from a “friend”, even a family member.
And … Life changes.
In the last month there has been so many of those changes in my life that I sit here this morning with my 2nd cup of coffee and simply shake my head in wonder and amazement that I still breathe … I still fight.
In the course of 10 days, my family took 5 hits of death. Suicide. Short term illness. Long term illness. Expected, and totally unexpected. Shock. Sorrow. Regrets of not enough words spoken before that moment that death claimed.
We all know it takes time to even begin the healing after 1 death. So, the very thought of 5 in a time of 10 days? Overwhelming. One heartbreak upon another. So many lives forever altered when the beating of hearts stop.
I have watched the news with a broken heart, and with horror showing on my face – storms of such great intensity and crazy patterns … wildfires out of control … seeing the destruction left … and witnessing the coming together of peoples who give no thought to race or religion, or even to political differences – just a coming together to take care of one another in a time of crisis.
A meeting with the boss.
A paper signed.
A contract of almost a year terminated.
A job over.
A place to call “home” taken, because it was part of the compensation package.
Working 5 days after the paper signed, and then, walk away.
A quick trip with my son to look at an RV … thoughts and prayers … conversations that followed … a lot of hours in packing, moving, setting the RV up, repairing and putting some healing (hopefully) touches on this RV that was severely neglected and mistreated … costs that I really cannot afford, but somehow did.
And here I sit this morning.
Paradise RV Park, just outside of Graham TX. On the banks of the Brazos River. Looking out the window, watching the birds, the squirrels, and seeing a feral hog with her baby on the shoreline of the river. A 2nd cup of coffee at hand. Quiet music playing in the background. A thousand thoughts flowing thru my mind. And starting a new job come Sunday morning at 8:45 a.m.
How is this just the 25th of March?
February 23, I sent a message to my children that my job was ending, and that I had to be out of the cottage. There are few times in my life that I can remember feeling so lost, so alone, so afraid … as well as confused, a bit angry and having to fight so much resentment – all at the same moment. The assurances of my children and my grandchildren carried me thru those dark thoughts and moments – with promises of hope, help, and that it would all work out. In the words of more than one, “Losing a job, or a home, is not always a bad thing”. With the strength of the Lord giving me courage, hope and a way to make it thru.
One of the last RV parks that Rick and I stayed at together, was right here. The name was different. The park looked a bit different too. But the location was the same. That was in 2014, so I can’t clearly remember if I am now parked in the exact location or not. But if not, I am close to it.
There is a bittersweetness to being here. The memories of being here with him. The memories of when life was more better. The memories of when our grandkids were little and spending time with us. The memories of when CR was still alive. It still amazes me to realize how memories can be both bitter … and sweet. And how very real the sounds, the sights, even the smells, can be of those memories. Sometimes the memories are like a soothing calming rain to a dry and parched ground … and sometimes, well, those same memories are like gut punches that literally take my breath away – but not in a good way!
This RV is a 2004 Forest River Wildcat. 5th wheel. It’s about 32’ – 34’ feet long. With one large slide in the living room area. I knew when I looked at it that it was not “perfect”, even for its age. But goodness! I did not realize the depths of neglect and abuse it had taken! Nor what it would take to make it more livable. Laughing as I write this, but there have been times (and probably will be many more yet) that laughing was not even the last thing on my mind!
I do not know the reasons for the abuse and neglect. Some of it was obviously from a very disturbed individual – as the pictures will attest to.
The price was such a good one that I just could not say “no” – especially when he took $2000 off the day we looked at it! Structurally, it is mostly sound. Thankfully! A few things that needed, or still need, attention. Cosmetically? Well, it’s not a total disaster 😉 But a LOT of work to be done. Some has been accomplished … and more will continue.
I am thankful for the RV.
Rick and I lived in our RV’s for about the last 15 years of our years together. I love the lifestyle. Course, I am finding out that things a LOT different now … simply because I am a woman alone, a widow, rather than married to the “jack of all trades”.
This is a challenge … and an adventure. I know that not everyone agrees with what I have done – either in buying it to live in, or in the way I have repaired & decorated it. But … this is mine. No one else is being asked to live in it. I sit here in the evenings and look around, and realize just how far I have come since that first walk thru before the decision was made to purchase. And yes, I am well pleased. Not content yet, lol – because there is much that still needs done.
My thoughts, ideas, dreams and hopes, tend to run a bit rampant at times. And my reality brings it all back into focus. But here I am. Full-time RV’ing once again. Living the “tiny” life, alone this time. Thankful for the years of doing this with Rick – as I remember the do’s, the don’ts, the can have’s, and the don’t even think about it’s!
Rick and I were always careful in choosing names. Whether for our children, our animals, our vehicles, or our homes. Think that comes from being Scottish (him) and Irish (me) as well as Native Americans (both of us). Names always held special meanings to us. So, in purchasing this RV, and working on it so much these last 2 weeks … I have thought and prayed about a name for this home of mine.
ASHA. Means Hope and Promise. It fits 😉
Oh, the new job?
I start working in the housekeeping department of Holiday Inn Express come Sunday morning. Changing sheets, dusting and cleaning. I met with the manager yesterday. She told me that I will have about 5 days of training to go thru – learning to clean to their standards and ways. She is going to work with me on the hours, so that I will not work more than about 25 hours per week.
I think about what that will be like. To have time in the mornings for my devotional moments, as well as a cup of coffee or two … not pack for overnight stays … just drive to work for a few hours - - and then come HOME. I know it will be strange to me. Lol. But I really think it will be one of the best stranges to happen!
What will it be like to not pour my whole life, soul, and time (as well as money) into a job? To actually have TIME OFF that is away from the work?
I thought about the last time I had such a job. When our kids were in grade-school. I worked for a time as a cook at the teacher’s daycare. About 20-25 hours a week. Went to work. Came home. Job done each day.
This will be a new challenge to me 😉
But one that I am looking forward to.
So, yes. Life changes. And sometimes the changes pile up on top of one another, and you cannot think straight, nor get a deep breath. Changes that take time to pick apart and work thru. Changes that require extra tears, more sleep, and finding a way to combat the loneliness and fears.
Thankful that there are Changes that seem cruel in the moment, but in the words of my son – “aren’t always a bad thing, Momma”.
Now, just to get Internet here so that I can post this to my blog! LOL
Time gets away.
The hours tick minute by minute.
My life ?
There are hours that drag by, one slow heartbeat at a time.
Then, there are hours that somehow grow wings and fly with such force that is scares me at times.
Maybe it’s that way for all of us ... but lately, it seems either one extreme or the other for me.
And it’s like I either get so many things accomplished that it amazes me -
Or I am so far behind that I can only hang my head in shame and despair.
Where is that middle ground that is more comfortable to walk upon?
I got sick on January 1 ... and here on February 10 - I am still struggling with the lasting effects of bronchitis and sinus congestion.
The fatigue has hit me hard as well.
At times, taking what feels like ALL my strength and energy to just get up and walk across the room before needing a moment to catch my breath.
To say that I don’t like this is probably the understatement of the year!
Little by little though ... moment by moment ... better and better.
I am determined to be better
To do better
To feel better.
Not ready to give up yet 😉
Work is still ... work.
I love our Miss Lady with all my heart.
Waiting to see who the next resident will be - hoping it will be a good friend for her.
- I know that the isolation and loneliness wears on her.
She talks of memory times when her and friends would get together for a meal, or a game of cards.
I know she misses those times so much.
With the weather being cold, as well as nasty some days, it’s hard for her to get out and about.
The sun shining thru the windows gives an impression of warm and spring time ... but the reality is a brutal force of cold wind blowing more than not.
I think sometimes that only deepens the loneliness and isolation.
As well as watching out the window and seeing peoples walk on the sidewalks, or driving on the roads.
All bringing memories to the surface of the mind and heart of days long ago ... and some days not so long ago as well.
Or maybe ... that’s just me ?
Working 48 - 72 hrs at a stretch, with no breaks in those hours, are getting to me more than I want them to.
It’s a lonely job.
It’s a job of isolation.
Yes, we watch movies and TV shows
Yes, we talk and we laugh
Yes, we listen to stories from one another.
But ... there is a growing restlessness within me.
Some on the days that I work ... but more on the off days.
When I don’t work.
When I sit here at the cottage - because so often when I am off, those that I would spend time with are working, busy with life schedules.
Factor in the exhaustion from being sick ... and being a caregiver = the total lack of energy and motivation to get up, get dressed, and go find someone to hang out with, or even something to do.
I know that caregiving is a much needed job.
It is mostly a thankless job.
Whether you are family or friend, or paid for the work.
It takes more out than what is replaced.
It means long hours, empty nights, tired bodies and exhausted emotions.
You lose social contacts - even social media contacts
You basically give up all forms of a “normal” life
The rate of burn-out is high.
And yes, I know that I am quickly approaching that burn-out phase.
I have been caregiving most of my life.
I started helping with Daddy and Momma when I was about 7 years old.
- that was the first year I remember doing anything more than my child chores.
Then, I married at 19.
- and for almost 35 years, I was Rick’s caregiver ... as much as he was mine.
- until the last 3 years of his life, when I became the 24/7 caregiver for him.
2 kids who made me a Momma - caregiver
Grandkids who came after those kids grew up and started their own families.
Years of working in the churches as youth ministers, deacon’s wife, associate’s pastor’s wife, pastor’s wife.
Many hours of caregiving going on in those years.
Helping with my Momma as her health declined.
Helping some with Rick’s family members in those years.
After Rick died, I worked as a caregiver to a friend whose granddaughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
And then, now ... working in this position at a resident home.
No regrets in giving of myself.
No sorrow in being a caregiver all these years.
The memories are held as treasures to my heart.
The stories I could tell 😉 ... I have, and I will yet more.
As it has been said many times by many authorities -
The caregivers suffer the most.
We give up a lot
We lose more.
People, even our families and friends, do not understand our level of devotion and care.
We hear that we do what we do for attention to ourselves
Or that we are nothing short of a martyr.
We are told that if we would only walk away, someone else would step in and take care
- perhaps they would ...
- but what if they don’t?
Just this week I read a story from CNN about a woman found sitting in her chair, 2 YEARS after she died.
How does this happen?
Because those in her life thought someone else was checking in on her, and promising themselves that they would soon.
Now, it is too late.
I have always known that I could not take care of everyone ... but those I could, I would.
But, we don’t take care of ourselves the way we should, while we are taking care of others -
Time does not often allow us to take care of our own selves, especially when those that can - do not step up, and in, to help
We put others always before ourselves
We will not allow our care - be it family, friend, or paying client - to suffer, or to be neglected.
We go without proper diet and nutrition
We go without proper activity - physical, mental and emotional
We do not take enough steps away to really even rest.
We let ourselves go -
For the good of those that we care for.
Or so it seems.
What we don’t realize, until it is either too late - or almost too late, making us question our sanity, and our abilities - is that we are emptying ourselves out
And if we don’t fill ourselves back up?
We are going to be empty
And basically, good for no one.
It’s getting close to that time for me to step away, or at least step into a different form of caregiving.
In all these years of my life - almost 61 now - I have poured myself out
To my family
To a job
Seldom asking much for me
Rarely spending much time or money on me
- and when I do, knowing that guilt for doing so
While Rick was alive, he would step in at times and say “Enough, it’s time for YOU!”
But in these years since Rick died, there is no one to take that step forward,
No one to intervene
No one to intercede.
So, here I sit, greatly feeling the heat of burn-out
Smelling the fires
Looking down and seeing some ashes about me.
That time is now ... before it is too late
That time of me.
That time for me.
To give some intense care to me.
I’ve been struggling with this idea and concept for the last 2 years, at least.
Trying to do so more and more ... and yet, feeling like it is more fail than victory.
You know, where you feel like you take 2 steps forward and like 100 back!
I have been working on reading more -
I used to be a voracious reader ...
In the last couple of weeks, I have finished one book that I was struggling with reading for at least 3 months, and then read 2 more!
Oh how I have missed reading!
I am determined not to miss it any more!!!
These 2 books that I have read, oh my!
Not just a good story -
But so much wisdom, clarity and insight that both of them gave to my heart and soul.
Talk about confirmations!!!
I will share more about that in coming blogs ;)
Also watching movies that for the most part, I have seen many times before -
But this time in watching them,
Really WATCH them,
LISTEN to the words that are said,
PAY ATTENTION to more details.
Again, I will share more about this in coming blogs ;)
I am realizing that while there is a lot of fight left in me,
There is also a lot of love left in me.
And of course, there are the fears,
The questions of can I do that? Can I be that?
I keep hearing Reba’s song, Is There Life Out There. .
I’ve done what I should
Should I do what I dare?
After several months of working long, hard and stress-filled hours ... my body became immunity compromised.
I could feel the attack coming on.
Knew it was coming.
Just didn't know when it would strike, or from what direction.
Made it thru the holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even New Year's.
New Year's Day.
That afternoon I took a hot shower, put on clean night clothes, and since I was feeling very tired - decided to call it an early night.
About 5:30'ish p.m. I settled down under my blankie and turned on The Reba Show.
Did not take long for the sleepies to take me under completely.
I woke up sometime during the night with a stomach raging against me.
For the next 48 hrs or so, I was held in the grip of a nasty stomach flu.
Most of that Sunday was spent in the recliner, literally cuddling with a heating pad on my belly.
The room temp was 72*, but I was freezing with fever and chills.
The only time I crawled out from under my blankie and heating pad was to inch my way to the bathroom and back.
Monday came with time to clock in at work for 48 hrs straight shift.
I managed. Slowly. Easily. Doing what was absolutely required, nothing more, nothing extra.
Sprite became my bestest friend. Sipping slowly to keep the nausea at bay.
Wearing a mask was most unpleasant, but was necessary to at least try and keep my germies from the ladies.
I endured the 48 hours.
Finally Wednesday morning 7 a.m. came, and my other caregiver came to relieve me.
I came back to the cottage, took a hot shower and decided I needed a couple cups of coffee please.
Thinking I was just tired and run down from the stomach flu and working 48 hrs straight, I curled up in the recliner after my coffee and promptly took a sweet nap.
Only when I woke up a couple of hours later, I was SICK.
Headache. Fever. Chills. Earache from some dark netherworld. Hard to swallow. A pain in my upper left bronchial tubes. And a cough that was beginning to sound hacky.
I took some cold and flu meds ... curled back under my blankie, again reaching for my heating pad.
Up and down thru the night. Couldn't rest. Couldn't sleep.
The next morning, Thursday, I called my insurance company to see if they would cover the local urgent care clinic. Yes!!!
Next call was to the clinic. She said to come on in, that they were not very busy at the moment.
The sweetest dr came in and examined me. She asked a few questions. Then said:
: You have a double severe ear infection. Left ear is so swollen it has sunk in. And the right ear is so infected, it is bulging out.
: You have a severe case of allergies, that has now gone down into your bronchial tubes. Your lower lungs sound good, but I am concerned about either bronchitis or viral pneumonia trying to get set up.
: Since you had the stomach flu, it has most likely compromised your immunity even more than the long, hard and stress filled hours at work that you have told me about.
: And, I cannot be positive without the blood test that is not recommended at this time, but I am almost positive that you have the Omicron variant of Covid 19.
She prescribed antibiotics and prednisone.
Told me to NOT lay down, no more than a 45* angle.
To get up and walk around at least once every 1-2 hrs.
Drink lots and lots and lots - water, juices, coffee, sodas.
Eat when hungry, but eat light.
Stay away from people.
No work for 5 days.
So ... for 6 days, the recliner had my butt being held. My blankie and heating pad got a major work out.
And I drank enough liquid to float the Ark!
I put movies in the player to watch ... and went to sleep on each one, I'm pretty sure.
I don't remember them, except knowing that I have seen them so many times before.
This past Tuesday I began to feel a bit stronger.
Good thing - cause I had to work Wednesday and Thursday, another 48 hr straight shift.
Again, I took it slow and easy. Doing what needed done, without doing much else.
One of our ladies had been moved to a rehab unit for intensive therapy. Leaving me with only one precious lady.
Sadly, she had just tested positive for Covid and strep throat. So we kept our distance, while working thru the discomforts.
Yesterday afternoon I started feeling better. Not good - but better. I think my fever was finally breaking - I could not stop sweating!
She also started feeling better yesterday afternoon. She woke up early this morning, with a "wild hair" she said. LOL It was so good to see her up and about at 6:35 a.m.!!!
I am still coughing, a choking congested cough - but thankfully, there is production in it. Nasty production - but still! As Rick would say, "More room out than in!"
My head hurts, but not the raging headache as last weekend was.
My right ear has little pain in it. The left ear is not so good. Still a lot of pain and pressure there.
I sat there yesterday afternoon making my notes for work, wrote that it was 1/13/2022 ... and just stared at the date. How in the world has 13 days gone by already? That's what being sick will do - steal away the time!!!
I am to finish up the antibiotics come this Tuesday morning. Hoping that this ear issue will be resolved by then!
Back on my vitamins, and supplements, to build immunity.
Still drinking much water, and juices.
Trying to focus on proteins when I eat.
It's not easy to get well. Just saying.
But better than being sick!
I would not wish this on a worst enemy!!!
It’s been a while.
Too long a while.
How are you doing?
Every day you are on my mind, in my thoughts.
Every morning and every night I say a prayer that God will watch over you and keep you safe from all harm, and that He will bless you.
I miss being here with you.
I miss sharing my heart.
I miss wondering what you think about what I’ve written.
Life is crazy. Hectic. And just plain messy.
Too much of the time.
My soul is not happy lately.
Actually, my soul has been (and to some degree continues to be) downcast within me.
What does downcast mean?
: low in spirit
: an old English shepherd’s term that means a sheep has turned over on its back and cannot get up again by itself.
This also makes me think of a turtle on its back, legs flailing, a look of terror and hopelessness in its eyes.
Either the definition used for a sheep, or a turtle, would fit me lately.
But then, so would the dictionary definitions/synonyms of down-cast.
Every morning I sit here at my computer, with my journal and Bible at hand.
I pray. I read the Word. I give thanks to the Great Shepherd, our Father. God.
I recognize my blessings. Counting many of them every morning. As well as thru the day.
Singing songs of thanksgiving and praise.
Listening to calming piano music.
Trying hard to focus on the present moment, moment by moment.
My soul has become downcast within me.
The holidays are harder this year than what they’ve been since Rick died.
Even that first holiday season wasn’t this hard.
Oh, there were more tears that first year than this year.
But, then again, maybe not.
This year, this 7th holiday season without Rick - the numbness is gone.
All I feel is emptiness.
And the realization everywhere I look, everything I hear - Rick is not here. He’s not coming back.
This is NOT a bad dream that I am ever going to wake up from. (Even if it is a nightmare to live!)
Adding to that, this is the first Christmas in about 13 or 14 years without CR.
That weighs heavy on my heart, just from a Grannee’s perspective.
But that heaviness does not even begin to compare with the heaviness I feel as a Momma to my son and daughter in love, or what I feel as a Grannee to my other grandchildren - as they miss his presence. As just the mention of his name brings a tear to the eye, a catch to the breathing. And I know this. I know what grief does to a person. I know it all too well.
- I never wanted my kids and grandkids to know this kind of pain and grief. But they do. And all I can do is listen, then cry out to God to help them.
So, yes, the tears fall hot and heavy, sticky on the cheeks, with the pain of loss, the remembrance of love shared, the laughter of the years, the emptiness of today.
The work has become increasingly more demanding.
From the chart recording notes to the time needed with one of the clients.
From the more involved cooking to the deeper cleaning that is being required.
Which also means that one of the “easier” clients is being neglected and it hurts the heart to see the loneliness grow on her face, and hear the sadness in her words.
Add to that a schedule that is (in the words of a dear friend who was a nurse once upon a time) - insane and impossible!
84 hours every 7 days to work.
Not one 24 hr period of being completely away from work.
In, or out, of the resident house every day ... 7 days a week.
I gave my opinion of the schedule, before it was ever published to be worked.
I told her it would not work for my body, for my life.
- not setting myself up for defeat.
But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to THINK about my life, my body, and consider what this schedule would mean, or take away.
Ever since Rick died, my kids and grandkids have become that anchor for my life.
That part of my life that makes me take a deep breath, and centers my thoughts, my emotions.
I see them as Rick’s legacy, and yes, as mine, too.
But this latest schedule has taken me farther from my children and grandchildren than when I lived and worked in Kentucky!
I just can’t anymore.
So, this past Sunday, after much prayer and thought, I sat here at the computer, and I typed out a letter of resignation.
As well as a letter of explanation, to be given if the discussion became “Why? Why are you leaving?”
Today was the day that I was going to print them off, and give them to boss-lady.
And then, yesterday.
I was told that the company and/or family is hiring a separate caregiver for this one client who has become so challenging. Which if they follow thru, will relieve a great amount of stress in the home, for all!
Then, in talking with the other caregiver who works when I am off, the schedule came into the conversation.
Come to find out, she’s as unhappy with it as I am!
So, we talked, I cried.
I told her that I can’t do this anymore.
And that I am seriously thinking about quitting.
She teared, and begged me not to.
She asked me to just hold on a little while longer, in hopes that things will be better - SOON.
3.Then, I received an email from Rick’s aunt - or is she mine? Telling me that she is praying daily for me, but that she would encourage me to wait on the Lord, just to see what He would do for me. No knee jerk reactions. I had only told her that the job was stressful, and that my heart is aching for an RV. It has been a while since we had chatted or talked, mainly due to my job schedule, as well as my soul being downcast.
So, why yesterday? Why send me this message yesterday? A God-thing.
2. Over the weekend, when I was talking about all this with my daughter, she encouraged me to make sure I have all my ducks in a row, all the “i’s” dotted, all the “t’s” crossed. No knee jerk reactions. As hard as it will be to just wait, just wait.
1. Several days ago, during a long conversation with my son, he said he absolutely understood about my frustrations, and he was frustrated for me. He had tears wanting to fix everything for me. But knowing he could not. He also encouraged me to wait. To think. To pray. And to consider carefully before making a knee jerk reaction.
And then, there are so many memes that have come to me seemingly out of nowhere ...
- one in particular sent to me by my son. A yellow sign with the words “NO Time Off Requests will be accepted from November 20, 2021 until January 2, 2022.” It was these words that are almost a mirror of what was sent out by our boss-lady a few weeks ago. It is not these words that struck the chord within me. But the words that the one who originally shared this sign said, (borrowed from Facebook) - “OOF. here’s the thing: your employees do not owe you every waking minute of every day. you are not entitled to all of their time because you are their employer. this is why the term “requesting off” annoys me so much. I am not making a request. I am notifying YOU that I am not available to work those days. the reason for my day(s) off doesn’t matter, my job is not my entire life. If I want to take days off and spend my hard-earned money in order to have a gratifying, joyful existence then that’s what I’m going to do. The end.”
As well as the devotional pages I have read lately ...
The words of a song ...
Words spoken on an old sitcom ...
And I guess the most telling?
This quote that I “happened upon” the other day.
“I counted my years and discovered that I have less time to live from here on out than what I have lived until now.
I feel like that kid who won a pack of sweets: the first ones ate them with pleasure, but when he realized there were few left he began to taste them intensely.
I no longer have time for endless meetings where statute, rules, procedures and internal regulations are discussed, knowing that nothing will be achieved.
I no longer have time to support people who, despite their chronic age, haven't grown up.
My time is too short: I want the essence, my soul is in a hurry.
I don't have many sweets in the package anymore.
I want to live next to human, very humane people, who know how to laugh at their mistakes and who are not inflated by their triumphs and who take on their own responsibilities.
This is how you defend human dignity and move towards truth and honesty.
It’s the essential that makes life worth living.
I want to surround myself with people who know how to touch hearts, people who have been taught to grow up with gentle touches of their soul.
Yes, I'm in a hurry, I'm rushing to live with the intensity that only maturity can give.
I don't mean to waste any of the leftover sweets.
I'm sure these will be delicious, a lot more than the ones I've eaten so far.
My goal is to reach a satisfied and peaceful end with my loved ones and my conscience."
~ Mario of Andrade
Mario of Andrade was a Brazilian poet.
Lived from 1893 - 1945.
He did not know me.
I did not know of him until just a few days ago.
He had no way of knowing that these words are the EXACT cries of my heart and soul this December month of 2021.
Ever since I read these words, I have thought about them, shared them, prayed them.
I have decided that as soon as I can, I am going to have them printed and framed - so very worthy of that!
Anyway, given all these signs and confirmations -
I know that I will be leaving this job.
I just don’t know when.
There’s more to life than this for me.
I am so thankful for those who are called to do this long term. It is a much needed care facility.
But for me?
The isolation, the loneliness, the stress ... it’s more than I can handle.
And yes, I realize how shallow and weak that makes me sound.
But then, not everyone can build a road.
Nor can everyone drive a tractor and be hours upon hours in an empty and isolated field.
Not everyone can scale the heights to build the buildings and bridges.
Not everyone can bear the heat of a burning home to rush in and save a life.
Not everyone can put their hands inside a person to perform surgery that will add quality and quantity to a family.
We are all called to something.
We all have someone to reach out to.
We all have a purpose.
We all have a direction for our life.
I sit back and wonder at my daughter, the teacher. All that she does to reach out to these children who are challenged in so many ways. The way she interacts with parents and other educators. The way she advocates for these children who deserve just as much a chance at learning and growing as anyone else does. Doing a work that I cannot do. Doing a work where my passions are not. Doing work that I appreciate and honor her for doing.
I also sit back and wonder at my son and daughter in love. All that they do in working with cattle and horses. Dealing with the extreme weather conditions - be it floods, droughts, hail, tornadoes, 115*, or -10*. So that others can eat. Doing work that I cannot do. Doing work that I have no passion to do. Doing work that although I appreciate in them, it’s not my life.
And the list goes on.
Law officers. Firefighters. EMT’s.
Linemen. Tow truck operators.
Helicopter pilots and crews.
On and on and on ...
Work that we would all suffer from if someone didn’t do it.
But work that I either have no skill at doing, or no passion to learn.
I have been a caregiver for most of my life.
Few people know how that I became a caregiver when I was around 7 years old.
To my daddy and my momma. Behind closed doors, where no one saw, no one heard.
In ways that a child should never have to do.
But I did. I handled it.
Then thru the years of being a wife, a Momma, and a Grannee.
First a deacon’s wife, then a pastor’s wife - and all the caregiving that goes along with those positions.
As my Momma grew older.
As Rick’s grandmother grew older.
As others in the family needed care.
No, I wasn’t always there 24/7 with these. But some, I was - at least on occasion.
Then, when Rick’s health began to decline.
I was there 24/7.
If he went somewhere, so did I - and that often was even in the private times of bathroom breaks.
Giving him care until that last breath he took, when my hand was on his chest, and I had turned my head for 3 seconds just to look for his water bottle.
Then, in a time of searching for me, for direction and purpose for my life as a widow, I found myself in the home of a friend who was raising a granddaughter.
That granddaughter became a Type 1 Diabetes warrior. And in the course of those first 2 years, I found myself as a caregiver yet again.
Followed by a couple years to re-group, focus more on “me” ...
And here I am again.
Thought I could do this. And I can.
Thought it was the right job for me. It’s not.
I will pass the torch to someone more passionate in the coming months.
Where will I go?
What will I do?
I have thoughts, ideas, hopes and dreams.
What will come of those?
Time will tell.
Every day I am praying that God will go before me, that He will open doors that no one can close, as well as close doors that no one can open.
God and I have a unique relationship.
I know that some do not, will never, approve. But you know what? They don’t have to!
This is our relationship, not yours, not anyone else’s.
I’ve learned a lot about God in these last few years.
He’s still showing me Himself.
He’s still bringing me around to His way of thinking.
God is so much more than I ever thought He was!
God is so much more than I was ever taught Him to be!
There’s so much more to life than being downcast.
And I’m ready to be gotten up.
But that’s the thing.
If you are truly downcast?
You cannot pick yourself up.
You cannot right yourself.
You need someone to come in and rescue you.
Turn you over.
Rub life back into your legs.
Spat you on the butt and let you bound away in freedom!
And then, it’s up to you to stay upright!
To do those things that keep you upright so that your soul does not become downcast again.
Someone once said, “If you can’t runaway to a cabin in the woods right now, start small.”
And they went on to give examples of “starting small”.
Those words resonated within me when I read them.
I’ve been waiting for a “cabin in the woods” -
I realize that now. But it’s not here right now. I can’t get there from HERE. Not yet.
So I have to keep on waiting.
But in the meantime,
While I am waiting -
I will fight for moments of peace in the midst of the crazy! I can do that!
I will start small.
A cup of coffee.
A sunset to watch.
Turn off my phone.
Read a book.
Take a long hot shower.
Go for a drive and blast some great music.
Play a game, be it on my phone, or a board game with others.
Listen to laughter.
Watch a good movie that I know by heart, all over again - like it’s the first time I’ve ever seen it.
Eat a good meal.
Drink a glass of sweet wine.
I will fight for moments of Peace in a world and life of crazy!
I can do that!!!
I will do that!!!
I know it’s been a while since I have written anything here.
I could give a litany of reasons and / or excuses.
But will suffice it to say that I have not had the interest to do so.
Oh, the thought has been in the back of my mind, probably every day since I last wrote.
3 months ago, today.
However, the lack of desire, the lack of inspiration and encouragement ...
And me just allowing life to overwhelm me -
Well, I haven’t written.
Life is dark at times, and not just because the time changes.
Been going thru a lot of storms, struggles, stumblings and stresses.
Very much feeling like failing tests I didn’t study for - because I didn’t know there was any lessons!
Part of this time has been spent in a fog.
A thick, pea-soup kind of fog.
Where the motions of day to day life was about all I could handle.
Getting from one moment to the next and finding myself on the edge of exhaustion at all times of the days and nights.
Sometimes, life is simply heavy.
This has been one of those sometimes.
I’ve spent some time feeling much like a failure, that I have let God down, disappointed Him beyond what I can say.
The song by Casting Crowns about getting from the altar to the door ... yeah, that one.
And there have been times of feeling pretty much the same towards my kids and grandkids.
That I have let them down.
That I have disappointed them.
That it is better for me to stay away than to be a burden to them.
It’s hard to explain -
But everything has taken more effort and energy than what I’ve actually had.
I love the ladies that I give care to, but ... work has become a burden of epic proportions.
Not easy to admit to.
Not something I want to admit.
But it is - as Rick would say - what it is.
Work has been a crazy time of schedules not being regular.
Doing the 24 hrs at a time, from 2-4 days in a row?
That’s hard for this old woman that I am quickly becoming.
As well as having worked at the other resident house for over a month.
Doing my hardest to help the ladies deal with their health issues, while struggling with my own.
Feeling, more often than not, that I need to be in a resident house - as a client!
Instead of a caregiver.
The kids and grandkids.
Time with my daughter has been non-existent since the first weekend in July.
Her schedule, my schedule, and then my truck “issues” - where the truck was back in the shop, costing me $3000, and of course, leaving me short on fuel $$$ to make the travel to see her.
Thankful for the messaging, for Facebook, for Snapchat.
But ... there comes a time when all those things fall short on me, though, and I find myself needing some MOMMA time with her!
Time with my son has been at best, spurts.
A moment here or there - when he was bringing my truck back to me, or picking me up from leaving it at the shop yet again.
A moment where they stopped by the cottage, or resident house.
A moment here or there when my truck was working, that I drove out to their house - picking up a package or the mail, getting a quick hug or two.
Again, thankful for those moments, as well as for a working phone - - but craving, yearning, NEEDING some MOMMA time!
I am thankful for a place to keep my things.
I am thankful that it comes with the job, thereby saving me on rent and utilities.
However, the small size of it has really been pricking my mind and heart lately.
- It’s basically a bedroom and a bathroom. No kitchen. No separate living area & bedroom area.
2 or 3 people in here and it is a full house!
It's a full house just with me - turning around twice!
- so the thought of gathering with the kids and grandkids here? Out of the question.
- I think because it is the holidays, I am already missing the cooking and baking. The frig being so small I do not have room to actually “buy groceries”, nor to even store groceries to take anywhere for the cooking there ... nor to keep leftovers, if I did figure out a way to cook! I only have a microwave and a toaster oven - so any “cooking” is out of the question anyway.
But the reality of life in this cottage does not take away the aching and missing of cooking!
Going thru a few things here and there at the cottage, what time I haven’t been working, or resting after working.
"STUFF” has lost a lot of meaning to me lately.
It’s just fillers - taking up space, making the cottage not look so empty.
And yet, it shocks me just how empty the cottage is - even with the “stuff”.
As the holidays approach, how is it that they seem to be coming faster this year?
- And, how is it that these 7th holidays without Rick are hurting my heart just as much, perhaps even more, than the first holidays did?
My schedule at work, as it sits now, has me working Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve, as well as New Year’s Day.
- Maybe in some ways that will be better. Keep me busy thru those days - when families and friends are gathering ... and here I am alone.
- Maybe with me working, it will allow someone else who has family and friends to spend it with them.
- Doesn’t mean that I am excited about working all the holidays.
I sit here and look around at this cottage and realize that even if I had a reason to put up a Christmas tree, there is no place for one.
- What would be my reason to put one up this year anyway?
Rambling thoughts about the holidays.
Bittersweet memories of years gone by - decorating, baking, shopping ... sigh.
So, yes, I have thought about writing a blog post.
But with all this heaviness and darkness upon me, and about me, it’s been a hard thing to do.
I promised Rick that I would write.
Good days, or bad.
That I would be brutally honest.
That I would remain outside of my comfort zone with my writings.
Not going for warm fuzzies ... but for honesty.
And that promise of honesty that I made to Rick -
Is why I write these words today.
After so long a time.
God is Faithful.
He never changes.
Life is heavy.
Darkness is thick.
And I find that I am -
Wondering how this day will turn out
Wondering if life will ever be better than this.
How in the world has it been 2 weeks since I last wrote here?
With all that has gone on, surely it has been longer than that?
And yet, where did these 2 weeks go?
Life is a very wicked see-saw! Just saying.
Not a smooth ride at all.
One moment we are up soaring with the eagles, and the very next heartbeat we come crashing down so hard that we are jarred to the very core of our beings.
Life. It just IS.
We have a new to us lady here at the resident home.
Sweet lady, but at the present time, quite a handful.
I wonder if she will calm down and settle into a routine of sorts, or if this is just her standard of living?
Only time will tell.
For now, my responsibility is to love her, care for her, and do what I can to help her - even when she doesn't want my help.
Just to be there for her, but even in that, not to be "there" too much - because she does need to learn a measure of independence that she is lacking in.
So, there's that see-saw.
I have prayed harder in the last few days than I have prayed in a very long time.
And cried more tears than I could have imagined.
My oldest grandson is our Marine.
Since February when he left port, we have been able to hear from him - not all the time, but with a little regularity. Just to hear that he's ok, that things are good. To tell him that we love him, and miss him. To hear and read his words that he loves us and misses us, too.
And then, this administration decided to withdraw from Afghanistan. And deployed almost 7,000 troops to help in that withdrawal.
Yes, my grandson was one of those.
And while I have prayed every day for him since he left for basic training a little over a year ago, the prayers intensified with this news.
Prayers and tears were sent heavenward.
And as Moses got tired in the battle of holding his arms up, so he called for those beside him to hold them up for the victory - I have called many times on my friends and families to help me pray. Not only for the safety and welfare of my grandson, but of all those who are deployed, the almost 7,000 with anxious waiting family and friends.
Then, the nightmare began in earnest on this past Thursday. Suicide bombings, and 13 of our babies were lost. 13 knocks on the doors came within 8 hours. 13 lives gone. 13 heart beats stilled. 13 families whose tomorrows are forever altered.
While I thanked God that my grandson was not among that number, and thanked God that there were no knocks on the doors for our family ... there was the gut-wrenching ache and grief for those who were having to answer the doors, see the men in uniform, and knowing what it all meant.
And the fear.
Such fear as I have not known in years. Fear for my grandson, because he is still there. And we have no idea what the day will bring. Each day it is like I hold my breath for every news cast, for every written report coming out of that area. And each night when I lay down to sleep, I am held awake with the darkness of not knowing. Fear for my daughter, his precious Momma. As she waits anxiously for a message from him. As she fights back her fears, and holds in check her tears. Fear for my granddaughter, his sister. As the missing him mingles with pride for his service. As she sees the same newscasts that I see. Fear for my son, his wife, and my grandchildren there.
I know the Bible says 365 times "Do not be afraid" or "Fear not" ... but the one verse that is flashing neon to me, a beacon in all of this darkness - "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you." Psalm 56:3
When. What a treasured word to me right now.
When. No judgment. No criticism. No fault at being afraid.
And here's the see-saw.
So, here I sit on a still and quiet Sunday afternoon, hot as blazes outside, an oppressive heat.
But no hotter outside than in my soul.
So hot within me that I swear there must be blisters on my heart.
I wrote in my journal this morning that I am on overload.
I know no other word that so aptly describes how I feel on this afternoon.
The wildfires that rage across our nation.
All this that is Covid related.
The conspiracy theories that make me think of someone snatching out of the thin air something that somehow sounds plausible to them in that moment, and they run with it. People that at any other time would be rational and filled with common sense being sucked into a vacuum of thoughts, ideas, and far-fetched imaginations. All fueled by the media in one way or another.
Hurricane Ida coming ashore even as I write these words. Thousands of people unable to get out of the path of this Cat 4 hurricane.
Afghanistan. Almost 7,000 troops stationed there. 2 days left to the time given to get our people out.
The truckers are threatening a strike beginning on Tuesday in protest of Covid related mandates.
And the list goes on.
But then, there are the restaurants that are setting aside a table with 13 drinks, a folded flag, and other objects in honor of the 13 who will never sit at a table again.
People who are reaching out in love and in kindness to those in need around them.
Teachers who are loving on their students because we are living in such a turmoil filled world.
Strangers reaching out with a helping hand to put gas in an elderly woman's car, and then help her get back in the car.
Strangers paying for meals of those in cars behind them at the drive-thru's.
And again, the see-saw shows up.
I find these days there are things that I once deemed too important to live without, can be lived without.
And there are those things which used to irritate me that no longer do.
So many things, I just don't care anymore.
I don't care.
However, things that I once was able to overlook and simply look away from?
I can't anymore. Such as rude behavior.
I no longer care if you tell me that 1+1 = 5 ... I will say, "you go you!"
I don't care.
It's more urgent now to tell someone "job well done", or "you are so loved".
I absolutely crave the voices of my children and grandchildren.
But the noises of the world hold so much less than they ever have for me.
So one more time, the see-saw rears it's ugly head.
These are a few of the truths that I am living these days.
Some go deeper.
A few are surface only.
I pray more, but they are gut wrenching prayers.
When I laugh, I realize now that I actually mean those laughs, it's not nervous laughter any more.
I weigh my words more carefully.
Not because I am afraid of what anyone thinks of me -
but I know all too well how easy it is for words to be taken wrong and out of context ... and to hurt like hell when they are.
I'm enjoying my coffee more ... savoring the sips -
I listen more intently to the birds singing -
I watch the sunlight filtering thru the trees -
I truly try to pay attention to where I am, and to the things my eyes see.
I seldom listen to music that has lyrics, opting for piano worship music softly playing.
Rarely do I watch TV or movies, unless they are the old ones, like "I Love Lucy", "Andy Griffith", a John Wayne western, something that if I go to sleep on I don't have to worry about language and subject content seeping into my subconscious.
And yes, if I go to sleep while watching something? I sleep! It's usually the only real sleep and rest I get.
See-saws are not so fun as an adult.
I sit here with only about 13 hours before starting a 48 hour straight shift, and I wonder if these things will ever change?
Or has this become the new normal for my life?
Is there "normal" any more?
I will end this day with a hot shower, probably a margarita, and some tears as I pray over our children and our grandchildren, and say an extra prayer of pleading for our Marine.
Life on the see-saws.
What a month it has been.
The day after I posted the last blog, was the beginning of the whirlwind.
Our Alzheimer's Lady was no better, and just progressively got worse.
A flurry of activity all around her, nurses, caregivers, family.
She became more than I could handle on my own.
The boss lady came at my calls time after time, to help get our Lady up, to the potty, and back in bed.
After that weekend, it was decided to hire another caregiver to be there at all times, round the clock - so that the primary caregiver could administer medications, and care for the other Lady as well as cook and clean.
In the midst of this severe progression down, our other primary caregiver was exposed to Covid, and placed in isolation for 10 days, with testing and while waiting on results. Which left me alone to know the medication schedule for our Alzheimer's Lady.
12 days has 288 hours.
In the 12 days after my last blog, I worked 247 hours. Round the clock, without time to step away outside.
To say that I was exhausted is probably THE understatement of my life!
The family decided Aug 6 to move our Alzheimer's Lady to an Alzheimer's unit facility - in hopes that they would be able to work with her in a way that we could not.
Sadly, she passed away a week later.
My heart was/and is broken.
In the 2 months that I had been with her so much, I had become quite attached to her, and her to me as well.
I will treasure her memory and the times that we spent together.
Yes, there were a lot of moments of frustration for both of us - but a lot of love and care between us, too.
I will miss Miss Lady.
The weekend after she left, I was required to work due to the other caregiver having been exposed.
Granted, it was an easier weekend, but still I was already exhausted! And keyed up to the point that I did not sleep, did not rest.
When our other primary caregiver was released from isolation, testing negative - thank You Lord! - and came back to work, I was given 5 days off due to scheduling changes.
In those first 5 days, I did little but try to distance myself from the job, and pray.
In the words of my momma, "I was too tired to sleep".
I really tried.
But in those 5 days, my sleep was mostly a couple of hours here and there.
I was just too grief stricken to think, or to rest.
In the first 5 days off, one of my best friends - of 45 years - died.
I cried a river of tears that day.
Still easy to feel the tears welling up inside my heart when I think about him.
I will always remember his love, his support, his sweet words of encouragement.
And I will forever treasure the way he made me smile after Rick died, when I didn't think I would ever truly smile again.
Thank You Gary - for being a friend. I love you - to the "moon" and back ;)
Not sure what it was about Gary's death, but it was like every death I had endured over the last 15 years of my life all happened again in that moment when I was told that Gary had died.
Maybe because in so many ways, he was my memory keeper of all those deaths.
He had been the solid one all those times, telling me to "hold on girl, it'll be ok", or "I'm praying for you girl, you know I am", and then his ever present phone call or message - "It's me again, Margaret! You ok, girl?"
And his "you ok, girl?" was a REAL question.
Not just a passing nicety of hello.
He REALLY wanted to know.
And I was REALLY honest with him.
The one person I always knew I could trust.
I wrote on Facebook the words that scream in my heart and mind: "Gary, how am I supposed to do this widow's life without YOU?"
Then, I was on schedule to work 2 days.
And another 5 days off - with the office trying to get the 2 primary caregivers back on schedule.
Today is my last of the 2nd set of 5 days off.
I still do not feel completely distanced yet.
Nor do I feel completely rested.
Today is Gary's funeral, that final good bye here upon this earth.
I will forever miss my friend.
Yes, there are tears again today.
I suppose some would say they are selfish tears.
I know the platitudes - "he's in a better place".
But for now, I am not.
My tears are drops of love and care - I love you Gary.
Tell that husband of mine how much I love him for me, would you do that?
Oh, and in this last month, my truck has had a squeak get progressively worse.
Finally got it into the shop to see what it was going to cost to fix the AC - too hot in Texas to be without one!
And to have them find the squeak.
$300 to fix the AC.
Another $2500 to fix the squeak.
- tie rod ends, hubs, brake pads, brakes, sway bar links, and only the mechanic knows what else!
But now, the truck is out of the shop ...
Parts are paid for.
Working on paying out the labor.
Thank you, William for allowing me to do this.
Returning to the "schedule" tomorrow.
At least for now.
The other resident house, where I began this journey, is going thru caregiver changes the end of this month.
Boss Lady says that due to how good I was with those ladies there, she is moving me back over there - unless by some miracle something happens, or doors are opened for someone to step in.
My heart is torn ... I really want to stay here with Miss V - she's so much like the grandmother I never had!
And selfishly? I have not had enough time with HER!
Lord, my life and the times of my life are not my own.
YOU are in control.
Not a Boss Lady. Not a schedule.
YOU are in control.
Do with me as You will ... where and when as You will.
Please, help me just breathe.
Trusting in Jesus. It's truly all I can do.
My heart and mind dream of having an RV.
Regardless of whether I continue working as a caregiver,
or if I go into the work camping experience as a widow.
I think about having an RV of my own - my own personal space to do with as I want to.
Lord, I wonder what Your plans for me are.
All I can do is continue to pray, and trust You.
Then work for what I am praying for.
Please, guide me in this life.
Lord, move in my life - or move me.
in Jesus' Name I pray, asking.
Well, that's a quick outline of this last 3 weeks or so.
I will try to so some fill-in's as this week goes -
Hopefully life has calmed and will be quiet for a few days.
My one day off this week ... facing a 3 day work weekend beginning tomorrow.
I truly do care about these ladies that I help.
However, I feel so very limited in my abilities ... and in my capabilities.
My one hope and constant thought has become - His Grace is sufficient. His Grace is enough.
When working 24 hour shifts, that are 2 and 3 back to back - the body, the mind, the heart, and the soul, get weary and worn.
And from this past Monday until next Monday morning at 7 a.m. I will have worked 125 hours.
That's just hard on this old body and heart of mine.
Even when things are going good ...
- but when things aren't so good - yeah, it takes a greater toll.
I know that money is not everything. And it isn't supposed to be the entire reason for working.
But ... it's a struggle not to think right now about $$$.
I am working on a small monthly salary + this cottage (which is the size of a master bedroom with a bathroom).
When I hired on, I told my boss that I was more than willing to do all that I could
- but I did not want to work more than about 30 - 35 hours in a week's time.
And no matter how I try to pencil whip these hours ...
- 125 hours is MORE than I want to work ...
- more than I can honestly work.
Lord, please, move in my life ...
- - or move me.
Our sweet Alzheimer's lady. Things started going down hill for her a couple of weeks ago. A growing agitation and restlessness. Weakness that we were noticing more and more. We requested testing for infection. The first urine test came back negative. Even the blood work came back all clear. But her progression down was gaining speed. In the last week she took 4 hard falls, with hospice being called each time. Medication reviewed and instructions given. Yesterday, none of us could continue the way we were, so 911 was called. The EMT's arrived, and with love, care and protection, they transported her to the hospital. She does indeed have a bad bladder infection. She is back at the house this morning, on antibiotics, drinking as much as she can. We still aren't sure if all the symptoms are related to this infection, or if the disease of Alzheimer's has progressed as well. We won't know until the infection has abated. Praying for her, for her family, and for us as caregivers.
Seeing her being loaded onto the stretcher, and rolled out the door, took my breath away.
At first, I thought it was just because my heart was so concerned for her.
But as the day grew longer, and my work time ended there ...
I came to the cottage, curled up in the recliner, and literally cried myself to sleep.
Woke with tears still streaming ...
And then, I realized.
The last time I had seen someone on a stretcher, being rolled out the door ... was Rick.
I was completely unprepared for what this made me feel ...
- how this took me back to that day 6 years and 3 months ago.
Even now, knowing that she is back at the house, my breath still doesn't want to come "normally".
Rick, I miss you.
But just with every breath I take
- and every move I make.
Lord, I want so much to LIVE this life.
Not just simply exist.
These days, it feels like all I can really do is exist.
And that makes my heart hurt even more.
Please, show me how to just breathe thru these days.
Trusting while praying that there will come a day when I will LIVE again.
In Jesus' Name I ask.
Thank You God for understanding me so completely.
I love You.
I know that Danny Gokey did not write this song for me ...
well, he doesn't know that he did ;)
But today ... these lyrics ARE for me.
Devastated, an understatement
It's not part of the plan
You're asking why He didn't stop it
If the whole world's in His hands
Suffocating in the waiting
And your faith is wearing down
But there's hope even though
You can't understand the pain of your road
He's in the future, He knows something you don't
One day, you'll see, you'll be on the other side of this
All done with it
Better because of it, because of it
Better because of it, because of it
Someone's gonna need your story to get them through the night
Someone's gonna see His glory, by the way, He won your fight
There's a breaking in the waiting
And the storm keeps bearing down
But there's hope even though, even though
You can't understand the pain of your road
He's in the future, He knows something you don't
One day, you'll see, you'll be on the other side of this
All done with it
Better because of it, because of it
Better because of it, oh
Everything that you think will break you
Are the things that He'll use to make you
So hold on longer, so hold on
Everything that you think will kill you
Are the things that He'll use to build you
So you'll be stronger, you'll be
You're better because of it, ayy
Suffocating in the waiting
And your faith is wearing down, mmm
Better because of it, because of it
Better because of it, because of it
Better because of it, oh
Ooh, oh yeah
He's making you stronger through it all
Making you stronger
Songwriters: Bernie Herms / Emily Lynn Weisband / Daniel Gokey
It's Sunday morning, and so far this weekend (Friday and Saturday), I have hid away in this cottage for the most part.
Hot shower. Clean and comfortable sundresses. Bare feet.
Not eating a lot.
Did drink a bottle of watermelon wine over the 2 evenings. So very good!
Did some reading.
And a whole lot of praying.
Going thru some computer stuff, trying to do some organizing of my online life.
Time with my son on the phone ... sure do love that boy!
Listening to soft and gentle piano music, makes me feel like what I think it would feel like if God were holding me, rocking me, soothing me with His Voice in that sing-song humming.
Just a "down-time" for sure ;)
I am enduring a headache this morning.
Think it has a lot to do with allergies ... and with this neck/shoulder where there is such a knotted muscle.
And almost guaranteed that the neck/shoulder knot is from tension and stress.
Woke up at 2:15 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep.
Feeling a bit anxious about this week, because powers that be have messed with my schedule and in these next 8 days I am slated to work 125 hours.
- Not sure, but having used the calculator a LOT lately, I'm thinking that is over full time (40 hours) - anyway it is figured!
I told the boss when she hired me that I did NOT want to work full time. That I would work and do my best in the job, but I needed and wanted to keep the hours around 30 at the most, with only on occasion it being closer to 40.
... trying to figure out how it has gotten to this point in just these 3 months of working.
And pretty sure that this is the largest contributor to "Caregiving Burn-out".
I told myself, and God, yesterday that I would do this week ... and I will finish out the month of July.
However, soon and very soon, there has got to be some changes!
I am 60 years old, and I want a life more than this.
I have spent a lifetime in a caregiving role ...
No offense intended -
But I AM TIRED.
I just can't continue at this pace.
No matter how much I love these ladies.
I can feel myself going down ... more quickly than I want to, than I thought I would.
I am going to implement some changes this week and see if that helps at all.
The last blog I talked about Caregiver Burnout, the signs and symptoms.
In this one, I want to share with you some of the ideas that "might" help -
- and hoping that even if they don't help me, they might help someone else.
*Talk with employer.
I am going to do this, but first - I need to try these other ideas.
I have to "rescue" myself in this.
And when I do talk to my boss? I want to be able to say, this is what I have done to fix this ... and while it has helped, it isn't "FIXED".
*Join a support group.
I looked at some caregiving groups, but every one that I have found so far - directed at family being the caregiver. I am not family here. So, rather than look at caregiving support groups, I went to the MyFitnessPal website, and have joined several groups in the forums there.
As much as I love these ladies, I am realizing that this is not my LIFE. It's only what my job is right now.
I need to be preparing for what I am praying for ... and that is MORE to life.
*Find someone who will listen without judgment or agenda.
This is a lot easier to write out than to actually do. But I am not giving up ;) I'm too stubborn for that! LOL
*Get in, and stay in, touch with family and friends.
I have already been working on this. And will continue to do so. A phone call when I have a few minutes. A message sent. Thinking about that quickly fading art of writing letters and sending cards. I used to do that all the time, it's time to get back to the basics of LIVING and LIFE.
*Get out of the house.
I'm going to start going for a walk in the yard every morning between 6 a.m. - 7 a.m. Just for a breath of fresh air. Both ladies are sleeping at that time. I will be just outside the door. Going to stretch my legs and arms, breathe deeply, and get back to centering myself with nature. Even a few minutes at a time.
*Journal thoughts and emotions.
I already have my prayer journal, but this is going to be a place for me to write my thoughts and emotions off and on thru the day - good, bad, or indifferent.
*Pray and read the Bible.
This has been my lifeline to sanity for almost 2 years now. I never should have allowed it to fall by the wayside after Rick died, but that's a whole 'nuther story.
*Pamper yourself without guilt.
This will be a hot shower at night after the ladies go to sleep. I know their routines pretty good by now, so I feel pretty good about a 15 minute hot shower.
I'm already getting my nails done once every 4-6 weeks. I may start going more often, at least to have them filled once in between.
The problem for me? The lack of guilt. I am the Queen of Guilt Trips ... especially to myself. I must stop that!
*Make a list of daily activities.
I know the things that need to be done, but there are times that it all gets scrambled in my head. And then, either something doesn't get done, or I am totally spazzed out about getting it done.
I have been often criticized for making a to-do list. But in this, yeah ... going to do it regardless of what anyone says. LOL
This one is hard for me. It was near impossible when I was Rick's caregiver. And in these 3 months I have been greatly reminded of just how hard it is for me. Sigh.
I cannot do all of this alone.
Nor is it my job.
As precious as these ladies are to my heart, they are not my family. I am their caregiver. Hired by this company to work here.
I have to take that step away - let others do what they do, without my involvement or 2 cents.
There is also that realization that this is NOT me taking care of Rick ... nor my Momma.
This is my JOB.
It's been extremely hard for me to walk away on my days off. To get out of the job in my head and in my heart. But I have recently come to realize just how important that is. I had to draw my boundary lines, and make them firmly in place. NO wiggle room.
*Accept lack of control.
Again, this is hard for me. I have a loving heart and a giving spirit. And I want to fix things for those I care about. This is NOT a fixable situation. It is what it is ... and it will be what it will be. I am there for care, for companionship. I am there to help insure their safety and dignity.
Everything else is out of my control.
*Realize that no matter what, this is not going to get better.
I knew going into this resident house that this is not a "short term" situation where they will be rehab-ed so that they can return to their homes. This is their home, until their bodies demand more than we can give. Or until the Lord says "Enough".
*Set realistic goals - for the hour, for the day, for the week.
This is what I was talking about in the first thing, "talk to employer".
My goals for this week are to try these things, but with the knowledge and realization that anyone who works 125 hours in 8 days is going to be EXHAUSTED no matter what they do or don't do!
And having some health issues of my own to deal with? Yeah, gotta keep my perspective right in this.
There will NEED to be a reduction in hours to work along with these ideas done.
Also, I need to stop putting more on me than I can do. I cannot work 125 hours in 8 days and be here at the cottage taking care of cleaning, organizing, going thru stuff, making a "HOME".
Realistically? This cottage is NOT my HOME.
Realistically? I do not have a HOME at this time.
This is where I sleep when I am not at work.
This is where my things are stored.
Don't like it ... but any more thoughts about this being "HOME", only lead to frustration and a greater dissatisfaction.
It's hard to read and study about Alzheimer's, dementia, and even just old age. But the more I read, the more I know, and perhaps the better prepared I am to deal with the bad moments.
*Lighten up, using humor to diffuse.
If I cannot use humor to the ladies, then I will use humor to myself.
Or I will message the kids and grandkids with something stupid or silly, or funny.
I will watch more of the Mark Lowry videos.
I will enjoy more of the older sitcoms whenever I can.
I will spend some time scrolling thru pages of memes for something to make me laugh.
This may be where I even download TikTok, LOL
*Accept the feelings of being unappreciated, and being inadequate. Own it. Then - Let. It. Go.
This is probably one of the most thankless jobs available. Caregiving.
A caregiver gives a lot more than they ever receive.
A caregiver loses a lot more than other people realize.
I found that out when I was Rick's caregiver.
- I have NO regrets about being his caregiver. There was never any question or hesitation on my part to do it. And now, looking back - yeah, I am so glad I did.
This is different. I did not realize the difference until the last 2 weeks. And now, I find myself trying to work thru those differences.
*Make time to do some stretching exercises every 2 hours.
If I have to go to the bathroom, shut the door and just stretch and move for 10 minutes every 2 hours, I am going to do it.
*Drink water, water, water!
I already drink water. But not enough.
Now that there are the extra locks on the outside doors, I feel a greater sense of security to leave our Alzheimer's patient and go to the bathroom. (And we all know that drinking more water, you WILL spend more time in the bathroom! LOL)
*Eat more nutritious meals and foods. Be aware of empty calories.
I try to fix the most nutritious meals possible for the ladies. But sometimes, well, they want the "junk foods" LOL - and at their age? What does it really hurt if they want ice cream for dinner, or Fritos for lunch?
But I don't need that! So, this will be more of a challenge to myself.
*Sleep when possible. Even a 10 - 15 minute nap can alleviate stress.
Sleep is hard to come by when I am working.
Even at night.
There is an easy chair - that's not so "easy". It is worn out!
There is a couch that is uncomfortable to sit on, and even more so to lay on.
Besides, when our "A" Lady has taken to wandering more at night, I can't go sound asleep anyway.
But this whole sitting up 90% of the 8 hour nights? Yeah, it gets too much for my old broken body. Especially when there are 2 - 4 nights at a time doing this.
*Realize, and accept, that NO ONE is going to step in and take care of ME while I am taking care of others. If I don't make the time to take care of me, there will be nothing left of me to take care of others with!
I think this is the hardest of all.
Rick was always so good about having my back. He would fight for me. He would defend and protect me.
It's up to me now ... and I have never had to do this like I do now.
I do not want this JOB to take away the best part of me.
There is more to life than a JOB.
- and when that job is requiring so many hours, for so little pay? It's time to re-think some things.
So, as Rick would say, "this is where the rubber meets the road" ... it's time to make some changes.
No matter what others think, say or do.
I have been in much prayer and seeking God about all this.
Researched, and read.
And I'm not finished yet.
But these verses give me affirmation and confirmation that what I am hearing in my heart and feeling deep in my spirit is absolutely right for me.
: Proverbs 11:14 - "Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
: Proverbs 15:22 - "Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
: Proverbs 24:6 - "For by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory."
I will be blogging about this week, and how goes it with these changes. Good. Bad. Indifferent.
Sometimes life is more "eh and bleh" than anything.
Busy with work, honestly busier than I want to be ...
Tired, no - exhausted - when I get off work, so I try to decompress and rest, especially that first day off.
And the days swirl into nights, which are endured until morning.
Not a lot of changes, or exciting adventures, to share these days.
Seems not even a lot of "new thoughts" to expound upon, either.
I don't like it.
I. don't. like. it.
Life is too short, too precious, and gone way too soon, to let these days and nights run together with little to nothing to write about.
Lord, move in my life and change it ... or move me, change me. Please, Lord. Please.
I've been doing some reading and researching into "caregiver burnout" ... and as much as I really do NOT want to write this, Yes, I think I have entered that all over again.
Hopefully, this time, I have recognized the signs and symptoms early enough to catch it, stop it, change it ... before it completely takes me under again.
It did that when I was Rick's sole caregiver. Sadly, even 6 years after he's gone, I still feel the effects of burnout ... and I think it has made it easier for this to start in on me all over again. Maybe I wasn't healed from that time with him, before I started this job in being a "professional caregiver". I don't know.
I do know that I don't want to go down this path again.
So, reading, researching, and praying A LOT - seeking a better way for me in all of this.
There are 7 indications of Caregiver Burnout :
1. Feelings of depression, anxiety, isolation.
Resulting in a deep sense of not being appreciated. Often leading to a difficulty in exercising and/or eating - where one either does/eats too much ... or not enough. Upset stomach, with gut issues developing, or increasing. Headaches. Back pain. Mood swings. An overwhelming sensation, where the simple every day things become too much.
Yes. I feel these words. Deeply. Strongly. Sadly.
2. Increased irritability and agitation.
Resulting in times of saying things you don't mean. Short temper, and long words. Lack of sleep, or too much sleep. Low blood sugar, brought on by poor nutrition. The belief that caregiving is controlling my life, rather than me controlling it. An anxiousness about the future, or a lack of concern/care.
Yes. I have found myself just in the last week or so being short on temper, and feeling that sudden urge to lash out at whoever is the closest.
Definite lack of sleep. When at work for the 48 - 84 hours straight, there is no comfortable place to lay down, and even if there was, it's a situation where in order to sleep, must keep one eye open, and one ear listening.
And just in the last 2 weeks I have thought, felt, and wrote in my journal, about how caregiving is controlling my life - not what I ever wanted to do again. But ... here I am.
3. Lack of energy.
The physical, emotional and mental demands leaves your brain feeling overworked, under-paid, and basically - "fried".
Resulting in an overwhelming fatigue. Where every movement seems to bring pain. Where even taking a deep breath seems to big of a chore to do.
Yes. Oh my word! Could this be any more ME right now? I don't think so!!!
4. Neglecting one's own needs.
Questions to ask: *Do I bathe regularly? *Do I drink enough water? *Do I eat nutritionally sound food? *How much junk food/fast food do I consume? *When was the last time I "unplugged" and just settled in the stillness and quietness of the moment?
Hard questions but ones that must be asked.
Too tired to take a shower and deal with my hair, too many times lately. Making me think about a very short hair cut. But keep talking myself out of it, because I have had short hair before and didn't like it.
Taking some time today to unplug. To enjoy the stillness and quietness.
Inability to fall asleep within 20 minutes of laying down. Inability to stay asleep for longer than 2 hours. Inability to fall back asleep after waking.
Yes. No other words to say, just a resounding YES.
6. Reliance on substances or stimulants to get you thru the day - whether working or off.
Ask yourself WHY are you drinking? Or smoking?
Yes ... if you count coffee!
But on this one - honestly?
I've counted on coffee for so long that I don't remember life before Coffee!
I do not smoke.
I do drink an occasional glass of wine, on my days off. Had a small glass of banana rum over this last weekend, while visiting with my kids and grandkids.
7. Losing interest in favorite activities.
How much time are you spending with family or friends? Whether in real life, or on the phone, with messages.
Hobbies that were once enjoyed have now been pushed aside.
Do you feel cynical about life? About the caregiving?
Are you resentful?
Yes. This makes my heart cry out! Please God, help me out of this burnout.
Been wondering if I am really ready to do this again.
Yes, it has been 6 years since Rick died ... but have I healed enough to do this?
Still praying for that answer.
All of these things can lead to an overwhelming sense of hopelessness.
And since in answering these honestly, I must answer "yes" - it's time to do something! I am important to me.
God, please, show me what to do, and teach me all the how's.
I don't want to be burned out.
I want to take better care of me.
Please, help me.
I am going to take some time this day, this weekend, to read, to pray, to search out my heart ... and hopefully with God's help, find a way out of this before it gets more of a hold on me.
Prayers would be appreciated.
I sit here at 9:55 a.m. on this Saturday morning.
I enjoyed a couple of cups of Southern Roasted Pecan coffee - oh my goodness! This tastes like Heaven must feel! Pretty sure God drinks this ;) LOL
Been watching it rain. People call me crazy, but I love a rainy morning. Especially when drinking a wonderful cup (or 3) of coffee! Listening to soft and gentle praise music, no words, just the music. Calms my heart and mind.
And I am reminded all over again about how much I miss the conversations with Rick.
There were battles of mind and will in our marriage. Even arguments sometimes.
But when we sat with our coffee ... oh the conversations we would have.
We could (and did) talk about anything.
We would discuss and share.
This morning I miss the conversations about God the most.
How we would take a Bible verse or story, perhaps just a topic that we were interested in, and we would read ... and then talk.
What did those verses say to you? To me?
What application do they have in our life today?
No judgment if we disagreed.
How often the light bulb would go off for one of us, then for the other.
We would smile, and sometimes a soft tear would roll down our cheek.
The hand that reached across the table and took mine in his -
The look of love between us.
Oh how I miss those conversations.
Even more so this morning.
The topic of discussion on a Facebook post this morning was, "Was Jesus ever sarcastic?"
One was very adamant in saying "NO! He was NOT!!!"
No offense intended with my words then, or now -
Jesus WAS sarcastic.
Jesus fought against an entrenched power structure. One that was in contrast to the Loving Heavenly Father.
Sarcasm is the use of irony - saying one thing while meaning another.
Sarcasm and satire are both used to expose the foolishness of people's actions.
Used properly, it is gentle, but firm.
A way to get the point across to someone who is being hard headed and stubborn.
So many people, especially Christians (or so it seems) have the misguided notion in their heads that all sarcasm and satire is sinful and wrong.
It doesn't have to be.
Therefore, nothing could be further from the truth.
Sarcasm and satire are NOT plain old insults.
Sarcasm and satire can be very pointed, provocative, rebuking even, but not sinful - IF what they convey is the truth.
There are stories after stories of where He was talking with, to and about the Pharisees and religious leaders of the day, and He used sarcasm as a rhetorical weapon.
Mockery, satire, and sarcasm do not have to be mean spirited responses.
Sarcasm and satire defy the status quo, challenge power structures and strip away affectation.
Jesus was all God, yes.
But Jesus was also all man.
A real human with real emotions, and a real sense of humor.
Which made Him our Perfect Savior.
He knew the life we live.
He knew how dirty and messy life gets.
And He showed us the way to stand firm in Who He is, and who we are - HIS.
Jesus was sarcastic toward the Pharisees, and He was even snarky toward the Jews that wanted to stone Him, BUT
- and here's where reality meets Jesus:
He still died for each and every one of them.
He loved them to the ends of the earth, and into eternity.
He just didn't feign politeness when a dose of real sarcasm was necessary.
He kept it REAL.
And I for one, am so glad He did.
Luke 13:33 (Love, love, Love this one! He’s basically saying, “I know you Jews love to kill your prophets. Far be it from me not to trek back to Jerusalem to give you the opportunity. )
Matthew 23:4-7, 13-15
Which all makes me very glad indeed that God understands me completely.
I will continue to miss conversations not had, though.
For there was another who understood me as well.
And I deeply miss being understood.
I sit here on this Tuesday afternoon, and I find myself wondering yet again, "Where has the time gone?"
It has been a few days over a month since I last blogged here.
I've had time.
There have even been things to write about.
I haven't wanted to write.
Sometimes there is a heaviness on my heart, and the words just won't come.
A weariness on my mind and body, where all I really want to do is sleep.
I know it is wearing the veil of grief as a widow.
Yes, even after 6 years.
- I have come to accept that I am a widow. And I will always be. Until I take my final breath.
- No matter where I am. No matter where I go. No matter what I do. No matter who I am with. I am Rick's widow.
- and in being that, it overshadows everything. Sometimes that shadow is sorrow. Occasionally a mixture of anger, resentment and bitterness. Mostly, a shadow of a love lived and now gone. A breath of memory that the winds of life want to blow away.
And when those shadows come?
I let them now.
I let them come.
And I let them go.
So, here I am now.
Catching up yet again.
: I did go to the Horton Family Reunion on June 6.
I am so glad that I did. And Kyla went with me :)! Not sure she was as glad as I was! LOL
It sure was good to see family that I haven't seen in years. Some I have never seen!
I truly hope it isn't that long before I see them again!
The heart was hurting, because there were so many more the last reunion I went to. Including my Rick.
We talked, we laughed, we told stories - mostly lies, lol ... and oh how we hugged one another.
: Dr appointment went well.
My lab numbers were mostly good.
Protein was down some. Cholesterol was up a little.
Still not wanting to put me on anything, because like she said, "Margaret, there are just too many side effects to those medications at this point. Let's try this more naturally."
So, there are a few more vitamins and supplements for me to take. As well as learning when to take them, and whether to take them with water or food. That was a lesson to be learned!
I had lost weight since the last visit. Not as much as I had wanted to show her. But, I accept responsibility for it not being more, and am thankful that it was less!!!
The take away was to do BETTER!!!
Be more committed, more determined, more pushing thru the temptations with the word "NO". Just "NO". No arguments. No reasonings. Just "NO".
And should I stumble?
Accept it. Confess it. And just don't do it again. No more beating myself up over it.
: I did talk with my daughter about it all.
And she suggested that I try the app for my phone MyFitnessPal.
I downloaded it that day and started using it the next.
I have learned so much this month - about ME. About my habits - bad ones, mostly, lol. Also learning how to stop them, to make wiser choices.
Yes, I could put in whatever I want to, or I could leave something out.
But - the whole reason for doing this is to be more healthy!
So, if I am not honest with myself, what good does it do?
If I want to eat something that (or more of something) then just put it in. I am my own judge, jury and executioner. Deal with it.
One meal, or one day, gone bad doesn't mean that I give up and quit.
It means that I take a deep breath and press forward.
: Back to Graham, and back to work.
Only I have been moved to another resident house. This one with Miss "L". Our Alzheimer's patient. A beautiful Lady still.
My schedule still has me 2 days on/2 days off & working every other weekend.
We've had a bit of a struggle this month with the other co-manager, but our boss has now got it all changed, and the new co-manager is amazing.
I worked with my Momma, who had dementia there towards her end. And Momma was always a bit "simple minded" in ways.
I've known others who were caregivers to Alzheimer's patients.
And I have dealt with Alzheimer's patients and/or dementia.
But this is my first face to face longer term dealing with Alzheimer's.
It is such a cruel disease. Taking so much from the family, from the friends, and mostly, from the individual.
Every moment of every day at work my heart breaks.
One evening this month we were sitting in the living room watching TV, and suddenly Miss L had even a farther away look in her eyes. I paused the TV and asked her if she was ok.
"Yes, I just miss him so much."
I knew instantly who "him" was. For she is also a widow.
I felt her pain, her aloneness, her fear, her emptiness.
And even now, as I write about this, there are tears that burn my eyes, and streak my cheeks.
For love never dies.
Even Alzheimer's cannot take it away.
: My youngest grandson, Shell, turned 18 last week. It was such a blessing to see him on his birthday.
I sat there and looked at him across the table, and remembered 18 years in just moments.
He wrapped me in his arms, and I thought about holding him the day he was born. So tiny! He became "Grannee's Tater Tot".
Oh the years, where have you gone?
How did we get here so fast?
: I heard from my oldest grandson, my Marine, Elijah.
Sitting here one morning and the Facebook Messenger box came up - with "Hi Grannee"
Oh my heart!
The tears came and flowed freely.
Just to know that for that moment he was ok ... and he was thinking about me.
Then, while I was with my daughter, she face-timed with him, so I got to see his wonderful face and hear his amazing voice.
Oh how I miss him!
: Time with Kyla on the way to Sulphur Springs, while we were there, and on the way back ... oh how I love that girl!
And yes, we even cried a few tears when we talked about CR.
: A little time with Brooke while we were there. She has grown into such a lovely young lady.
So hard to believe that she is 18 now, too.
I listened to her, and watched her swag into the room ... and I remembered clearly going to the zoo with her. How she couldn't see the animals all that well, so P-paw picked her up and held her high over the fencing. One of my most treasured pictures.
: Going thru pictures on my phone and computer the other day, and I found another one of CR.
Another gut punch of reality.
That boy wasn't perfect, but he sure was mine. And I miss him like crazy.
I know that God didn't have to let us have him for 13 years, but I sure am glad that He did.
: There are days when I simply breathe in and I breathe out.
There are days when I feel like I am actually living.
There are days when I really do feel like a warrior woman for God.
But lately, most of the days, well, I feel like little more than a child.
- which makes me smile.
- because "I am no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God."
Yesterday morning I came in after 84 hours straight with Miss L. Exhausted. Weary beyond all words. Tears that would not stop. Memories that were rushing my heart like flood waters.
I found myself sitting here at my journal, crying out to God.
And then, I felt His arms encircling me. Actually FELT them.
I don't deserve to be held.
But oh how much I want to be.
With every breath I take, please dear God, hold me still.
: I have come to realize that I cannot do this life without God.
And not in a "good morning God, gotta run" kind of way, either.
I want to walk with Him, and talk with Him.
I want to listen to His Voice.
I want Him to show me the way to do this life.
Simply put, I trust Him now.
He knows me more than I can tell or explain.
There is nothing hidden to Him.
He sees all.
He hears all.
He knows everything there is to know.
And the funny thing? That's what I want!
There are no games, no excuses, no reasonings.
Oh I still stumble and fall
Life is messy and it gets all over me, even when I don't fall in!
But you see, God already knows this!
He's always known it.
Even before the world was formed, He knew my mistakes and missteps.
And He made a Way for me -
His Amazing Grace.
I wish others could know this, without going thru the hard times of life.
: I am still searching for my place in this life - alone.
I often ask God what He has for me
- where He wants me to be
- what He wants me to do
- who He wants me to see or talk to
But I trust Him
He knows best.
And He knows that my comfort zone is to have a "plan", LOL.
Course, He has a plan ... but I want to know at least a little bit of what it is! LOL
: Well, guess I need to close this for now.
It's getting almost time for me to take my shower and get my things ready for tomorrow's shift - beginning my 48 hr one.
I need to get a little sleep and rest, too. Maybe that will help this blasted headache!
Life goes on ... even when we don't know how.
... and even when we don't want it to.
Amazing Grace ...
((( these are a few pictures for this month. I will be sharing more as I get them uploaded.)))
Sometimes you read something that absolutely explodes in your heart, mind and soul - today, this was it for me!
“I am at the point in my life that I do not expect too much from people anymore.
If you want to get out of my life, I will not stop you.
If unfriending me makes you happy, go ahead.
If the efforts I make do not get reciprocated, that’s fine.
If you can’t equate my love for you, I will respect that.
If you do not like me, I can accept that.
It takes maturity to reach this point.
It takes self-love to be on this level.
It is just that it is too tiring to please people.
It is so messed up to beg for people to be a part of your life.
It is pointless to force someone to be on the same page with you.
I am at the point in my life where if you stay, you’re mine, and if you are not, then I let go.
It is too tiring to keep on forcing things to happen.
It is too painful to see your efforts getting unnoticed.
It is not worth it to beg for someone just to let them see how much you love them.
It is not worth chasing people because you deserve better.
It is too unnecessary to force friendships.
It is too tiring to make reconciliation for people who do not deserve it.
Do not regret anything, especially if you made efforts to make it work in the past.
Focus on your life.
Focus on people who love you.
After all, that is the only thing constant in this world.”
I do not know the author of these words, but they are the wisdom to my life, and the echo of my heart.
I wonder if Sundays will continue to the be the hardest day of the week?
I know that the memories play their part too well on these days.
Remembering the Sundays of my past.
When at home with Daddy and Momma, these were the days of church and Sunday dinners, afternoons with the brothers and sisters gathered round. Often other family members, friends, or neighbors, would drop by for a glass of sweet tea or lemonade and a bit of porch sitting and tall-tale telling.
When with Rick for those almost 35 years, these were the days of church, then Sunday dinner with parents or grandparents, often a porch sitting time with them. Sometimes it meant a long motorcycle ride with Rick, or a back road country drive with the kids.
As life changed, and these Sundays became more just Rick and me, we would use these days to simply rest and be lazy - together. Wrapped up in one another on the couch while sleepily watching a movie. Maybe tangled up in the sheets taking a nap. Sometimes huddled near the fireplace on a cold winter's Sunday. But always together.
Since Rick has been gone, Sundays have been a struggle.
When spent with the kids and grandkids, they are always better - because the laughter and the love. Even when we have been working, or at a rodeo, a playday, or just taking that back road lazy drive.
When spent with other family and friends, they are better then too. Lazy talking. Slow walking thru the day.
When working, they are bearable. Even though these days make my heart heart for the elderly. Because they, too, remember those busy days of yester-years gone. And they ache for companionship, for conversation, to get out and go ... and yet, they sit alone, or almost alone. Sunday after Sunday.
When there is a Sunday where I am alone, more often these days than not - well, it's a struggle to just breathe sometimes.
My memories are too fresh.
My emotions are too raw.
The past doesn't seem that far away.
Seems so close that I can still hear the laughter, still smell the dinners, still feel the plates in my hands under the hot soapy water.
I can feel the sway of the porch swing, or the squeak of the rocker.
I have found that taking a long Sunday nap does help ... in a way.
But then, waking up alone doesn't.
I watch a movie, and whether I enjoy it or not ... there is no one to discuss it with.
Social media doesn't help ... not on Sundays.
Sundays have become a day to be endured.
A day to focus on breathing in and breathing out.
A day to let the tears fall freely.
To feel the ache of emptiness and loneliness.
To sit with my memories and speak out loud to them - sometimes to come closer, and sometimes ... well, just go away and leave me be!
I have been told to "just turn it over to the Lord", to "draw near to Him", to spend my day worshipping Him.
Course, this is told to me by those who have spouses, or families and friends, around them.
I have spent my whole Sunday with my Bible open, reading it, praying for myself as well as for others, listening to (and singing along with) praise & worship music.
It's still being alone.
God is a Spirit.
God is altogether wonderful.
God is amazing.
God is God.
A widow misses skin.
I started reading the book of Lamentations today, and I was quickly reminded that God gets it. He understands the emptiness and the loneliness of my heart, mind and life. No matter how I try to fill the hours ... I am still alone ... and lonesome. Especially on Sundays.
Days to be endured.
Days to breathe.
Days that end blessedly on Monday.
It’s been a little over 3 weeks since I last wrote
I wonder sometimes how time can seem to move so slow, yet speed by ... how does time get so mixed up?
I have now been working for Seniorly Yours for about a month.
- and am in place at the resident house.
- my schedule has me there 2 days on, 2 days off, and then working every other weekend.
- the ladies are precious. Miss L is a sweetheart! And Miss R? Well, she’s a hoot!
The job came with a small apartment. Well, more like a wee little cottage than an apartment. About the size of a large master bedroom with an attached bathroom. No kitchen. A small frig, and space along the wall to put a table that I might have a toaster oven, coffee pot, burner, and soon - a crock pot.
- the bed was not comfortable anyway, so I have taken it down and replaced it with an electric recliner. The last lift chair I had was hard and actually uncomfortable. It served its purpose in helping me get up from sitting when I had my cancer surgery, but it just wasn’t fluffy. This one is! It feels like arms wrapped around me holding me when I sit there. The first night, I sat down and powered back with my feet up at 6:30 p.m. When I woke up it was 6:30 a.m.!!! I have not slept for 12 hours in YEARS!!! I was more tired than I thought! LOL
- I have one corner of the room with a table for my desk, looking out 2 windows. I get to see the birds at the bird feeder, and the squirrels along the fence top. Occasionally the squirrel gets too close to the bird feeder and the birds are NOT happy with him! LOL
- having this wee little cottage provided is going to allow me to actively prepare for what I am praying for. An RV. There’s not enough room in this cottage for much, and with no cost involved, it will allow me to save money. I’ve started a wish list on both Walmart and Amazon for things I think I would like to have in an RV. And I am going to be saving money towards those things - whether I buy them there or not. My Pinterest is taking on a different look, too - ideas and thoughts, it’s a good place to bulletin board those.
- God has the final authority for my life. He may not have the plans for me to get an RV, and that’s ok. But until He shows me clearly “no”, then I will continue to prepare for what I am praying for.
There are moments when missing CR comes over me and even at work, there are tears.
I miss that boy more than I can say.
He’s on my mind every day.
Loving him changed my heart. So it’s no surprise that losing him has changed me, too.
I sat here this morning at the breakfast nook table, drinking my coffee, watching the morning break thru the trees and clouds
And my thoughts turned, of course, to Rick.
I found myself writing these words in my journal:
God, here I am, Rick’s widow:
Will there always be that part of me that stomps her foot, with a pouty face, and says, “I don’t want to be his widow!” ? ? ?
That insists I was a better wife than widow
That struggles and rebels with the mornings alone and quiet
That fights with the lonely nights
God, while there is an acceptance of being his widow
There’s rebellion in my heart with that word
There is a realization that he’s not coming back
A thankfulness that I will see him again one day
But an almost resentment that he’s not here now
All I can do is cry out to You
You know how strong I have tried to be
You know how tired I am
God, I miss him
Everything has changed
Nothing is the same
How can I see him sitting at this table, when he never was in this house?
I know how we would sit here and drink our coffee while watching the morning breaking through the windows
I know the quiet talking, the soft laughter
Does he know the tears that fall in the darkness of this room now?
No one told me that 6 years later it would hurt this much
That the emptiness and loneliness would be so heavy & hard to bear
No one said that while life goes on for those around me
Mine would stand still even while moving forward
It’s like I am living 2 lives
One that everyone sees and hears, the one that they read about thru my writings ...
And the one that I really live
God, I miss my husband
I miss being his wife
In Jesus’ Name I cry out to You
Thank You for making me his wife
I will still love You, as his widow
Blessed be the Name of the Lord - You give and take away, still my heart will say, Blessed be the Name of the Lord!!!
Jehovah Uzzi - The Lord my Strength
El Nehkumah - God of all comfort
El Nekamoth - God Who Avenges me
I am thankful that God knows the pain and sorrow of my heart
Thankful that He cares enough to read my tears
Thankful that He understands more than I can explain.
The kids and grandkids are busy
It’s that time of year for farmers and ranchers - busy with plowing, planting, cutting hay, baling and hauling; calving season; getting all the equipment serviced and ready for the summer times ... and doing so with the see-sawing weather! Hot one day, cooler the next. So dry at times that every step makes a puff of dust, and then the flooding that comes and turns it all into a slosh-pit of muck, mire and mud.
It’s the last of the school season for kids, and teachers - which means crazy schedules, early mornings, late afternoons, and exhausted minds. Counting the hours becomes the norm - no longer counting the days.
With their schedules, and now mine - our seeing one another comes in spurts. A few minutes here, a few there. Always precious, and even more treasured these days.
Looking forward to June 5 - 9. I am going to Sulphur Springs for doctor appointments, and a family reunion - - and it means that I get some TIME with my daughter and granddaughter!!!
- I am totally stoked and excited beyond words at the thought of going to the family reunion. It has been years upon years since I was able to go to one of these! Talk about someone counting the hours! LOL
And speaking of family -
My sister, Bettie, had done many years of genealogical research. After she died, I had asked Jimmy about all of it. Nothing ever came of that conversation.
But then, not too long ago, I found out that her son had gotten all the documents and information. I asked that I might be able to make copies of it all. He sent me word thru his wife that he was going to mail it to me!
I picked the box up this past Wednesday and it is a treasure trove!
Pictures. Genealogy charts. Stories. Books.
I have already enjoyed unpacking it all.
I know I am going to go crazy when I start uploading it all! LOL
Well, guess this has been a good catch-up time.
Hopefully, (no promises), I will do a better job of keeping up ;)
Remember - You are SO LOVED!!!
Life bites hard sometimes.
It has been a whirlwind since the last blog I wrote on the 11th of April.
: I received a phone call from a company in Graham, replying to my request for information about a job back in February. A request that I do not remember making. But we talked, and she wanted me to come in for an interview. So I did, Monday the 12th. Filled out the application, had the interview on the spot, and was told that they would get back with me.
I explained 2 things.
1. I do not want to work full time. I don't mind working, but I have things to do that aren't part of the job, too.
2. I cannot make more than what my allowance is with the widow benefits.
The next day, April 13th, I received the call that I had been hired! With my first day scheduled as Thursday, April 15th.
I am working for a company called Seniorly Yours, out of Graham, TX.
It is an in-home caregiving service. With 2 assisted living residential houses as well.
I cook for the clients. Clean the house. Make sure they take their medications. Insure blood sugar is checked, if needed. And be their companion while I am there. We talk, we laugh, we watch TV. And I watch over them while they sleep.
My shifts are from 6 hours once a day, to 24 hours with 2 or 3 days at a time.
The job comes with a monthly salary that is just below my limits, so that is awesome!
It also comes with a small apartment! All utilities covered! Even more awesome!
This will not only allow me to be closer to work, greatly reducing fuel costs ... but it also allows me to be a bit closer to my son and his family, as well as in a position of being more available to them.
And it puts me about 30 minutes closer to my daughter as well.
Now, I am living in disarray! LOL
Boxes, totes, garbage bags (is there anything better for bedding and pillows?!?) surround me in this apartment at PK Lake.
I am going to be moving what I can today and tomorrow, then on Wednesday afternoon, my son and grandson are supposed to come over and help me finish the moving.
Thankfully the company gave me this whole week OFF so that I can get moved, settled in a bit, and take care of some errands before starting the new schedule on Saturday, May 1.
I will be co-manager at one of the resident assisted living homes.
2 precious ladies will be my clients there.
I have stayed with them 3-24 hour shifts since I started work.
They are absolute treasures!!!
I also stayed with a gentleman who has adamantly requested me as his ONLY "day girl", lol - simply because he likes my cooking! LOL I promised him that even if they did not send me back to stay with him, that I would go visit with him, and bring him some homemade foods ;) He's a mess! Not hard to have fallen in love with him!
I've said for a good many years now that a good day always follows a bad day ... and a bad day follows a good one. It's the cycle of life.
These last 12 days have been absolute proof of those words.
I was hired on April 13 by Seniorly Yours.
April 14 was my son's birthday.
I drove over and spent the afternoon with them. We talked, we laughed, we enjoyed cake.
And I came back to this apartment so that I could rest up for my first assignment with Seniorly Yours.
Thursday morning, 2 hours into my first shift, Joshua called me. 3 times. Back to back.
All the kids and grandkids know that if I do not answer on the first call, give me some time and I will call you back.
But they also know that if it is an emergency, call me 3 times back to back.
My heart froze. And I held my breath as I called Joshua.
Just his voice told me something was dreadfully wrong. My mind was racing. My heart knew it was a death call. But who? And what had happened?
A moment of silence ... and then I heard.
"CR had a wreck last night. He rolled his truck. He didn't make it. Momma, CR died."
My mind crashed as my heart broke. I swear you could have heard the pieces of my heart falling if you had been there.
13 years ago, my son and his wife adopted a small boy who had a terrible home life. They tried to formally adopt him, but it didn't work out that way. Yet, CR became OURS. Fully and completely OURS.
And we had watched that boy grow up into a fine young man. He graduated high school against all odds. He was enrolled in college. He had hopes and dreams. He had the passion for life.
I wonder where he was going at 9'ish on the night of the 14th? We think he may have been coming over to Joshua's - because it was Joshua's birthday, and CR loved him with all his heart.
Why did he swerve as he was driving? Was it a hog like they think it was?
He over corrected - went down an embankment, thru a fence, hit a tree, and rolled many times.
At some point he was ejected. Did the seatbelt break?
Official report is that there was no alcohol involved, and that he died on impact.
The one thought that I have to keep pushing away - did he know what was going on? How long did he know? At what "impact" was he killed.
My heart is broken.
The pieces will eventually be pulled back together.
But the scars will forever be there.
Etching my grandson's name.
The family night was brutal.
The funeral even more so.
I am so proud of my grandchildren, they way that they loved CR. They way that they showed their love to him.
Not one of us will ever be the same.
Even though life goes on,
and this world doesn't stop for my broken heart.
Friday, April 23, 2021 -
6 years since that last kiss with Rick.
6 years since I looked into his eyes.
6 years since I have heard his voice.
How is that even possible?
We rarely went 6 hours without talking - for 35 years.
- even when he was working, before the advent of cell phones ... he would find a pay phone, or use the office phone, just to call me and say, "I Love You"
We never went 6 days without seeing each other.
So how is it possible that 6 YEARS have passed?
How does life go on?
How does the world keep turning?
One moment at a time.
One breath at a time.
All thru these last 15 days, I have written in my journal, spoken the words, had the words spoken to me - JUST BREATHE.
Some days ...
Some nights ...
It's all I can do!
There are times when life moves along one step in front of the other. And honestly? That seems to happen only on occasion for me these last few years. For me it is more like 1 step forward, 2 to the left, 1 to the right backwards, 3 straight back, 4 going in a circle, and maybe on a good day, 1 more forward. I have learned different ways of coping, the main one being to Just Breathe. No matter where I am, no matter who I am with, no matter what I am doing - Just Breathe. This moment will pass, too. Look for the reason, or maybe the lesson. And especially look for the blessing. More often than not, there are secret treasures hidden all along the day's path, and it is up to us to find those treasures, so that we can appreciate them.
I remember when our kids were little. We didn't always do a big Easter egg hunt. Oh, they always got a basket of goodies. And they always had an Easter egg hunt. But depending on where we were living, and what was going on that day, there were times when we would hide the treasures in the house - and when we did that, sometimes those treasures were not all found in that one day. The first time it was such a joy and blessing to hear their squeals several days after Easter when they found a treasure, that it became something to be done on purpose. Hide things in unexpected places. A new pencil or pen. A bookmarker. A small toy. A special book. Maybe a candy treat, if I was sure it would be found before it was too late, lol.
I learned that from God.
God, does that. He hides treasures all in our days. He knows the end from the beginning. So it is no surprise to Him where we will be on a given day, or what we will be doing. But just as it gave Rick and I great pleasure and joy in hearing the kids laughter and squeals ... it gives God great joy when we do the same. The Bible says that God takes great delight in us.
Psalm 149:4 - "For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation."
Psalm 147:11 - "But the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in His steadfast Love."
I don't want to deprive God of His pleasure. There's too much hatred and ugliness in the world as it is. Even God should be allowed to smile, to laugh out loud, to find pleasure. May He in me.
I am working my way thru writing a book.
It is not the book I thought I would write. But, I am working as the Lord leads my heart.
Only He knows what He wants to do with it beyond me writing it.
There is much thought and prayer going into it. And I know there will be much more before it is finished.
Thought I would share the Introduction here.
A Widow's Dare to Love
- by Margaret McCoy, with God's help
A journey into loving myself the way God does.
Dedicated to my Sweetheart.
Rick, you taught me the real meaning of loving and of being loved - every day.
Not just on holidays or special days.
This is the book that you always wanted me to write.
- well one of them ;)
I love you.
Forever and always - to infinity and beyond!!!
- your Beloved Megan Lee.
Chapter 1 (or Introduction)
I just watched the movie, "Fireproof", again. First, let me say what an excellent movie it is! I have read blogs and articles that attacked it as being "unBiblical" or detrimental to relationships. But, done right? With the right heart and spirit? It WORKS!!! Rick and I learned that. We proved that.
Before I pushed "play" this evening, I stopped a moment and asked God one question, well, more than one really ;) - "Lord, what can I learn from this tonight? Why even watch it? I am no longer a wife. I am a widow. But surely there is something here for me, or the urging to watch it would not be so strong."
Push play. Watch the movie with an open mind and a seeking heart.
In the last few minutes of the movie, the tears began to flow hot, sticky and heavy down my cheeks. I miss Rick SO very much.
So, did I take away anything for ME, as a widow? Yes.
A 40-day challenge to love God, who is now my Husband. Isaiah 54:5 - "For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is His name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth He is called."
And to love myself, Rick's widow, as God loves me.
First, I must answer this question: WHO AM I?
*I am a Christian
*I was Rick's wife
*I am Rick's widow
*I am momma to Angel and to Joshua
*I am Grannee to Elijah, Brooklyn, Shell and Kyla
*I am mother in law to Dessie
*I wear a lot of different hats with family and friends
But thru the years, my roles have changed, my life has rearranged. I am no longer needed like I was once. Sometimes I have even wondered if I am any more wanted.
So, I sit here this evening, asking myself, "Who are you, Margaret? Really? Where is your identity? What is your worth? What is your value?"
These are hard questions any time in life. Near impossible questions to answer in the emptiness of the night, with tears streaking my face.
I know it's time to answer them.
WHO AM I?
I am a bruised reed.
A faintly burning wick.
Holding to my promise from God: "A bruised reed He will not break, and a faintly burning wick He will not quench." Isaiah 42:3
"Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you." Isaiah 43:4
Part of the Holy People, Redeemed of the Lord
"And they shall be called The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord." Isaiah 62:12
I am Blessed. Ephesians 1:3
I am Chosen. Ephesians 1:4
I am Holy. Ephesians 1:4
I am Blameless. Ephesians 1:4
I am Predestined. Ephesians 1:5,11
I am Adopted. Ephesians 1:5
I am Redeemed. Ephesians 1:7
I am Forgiven. Ephesians 1:7
I am to the praise of His Glory. Ephesians 1:12
I am Sealed with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13
I am Called with a Hope. Ephesians 1:18
I am part of the Body of Christ. Ephesians 1:22-23
I am Alive. Ephesians 2:5
I am Saved. Ephesians 2:5,8
I am Raised up. Ephesians 2:6
I am God's workmanship. Ephesians 2:10
I am Created in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:10
I am Near to God. Ephesians 2:13
I am Reconciled. Ephesians 2:16
I am no longer a stranger or an alien. Ephesians 2:19
I am a Citizen in the House of God. Ephesians 2:19
I am a Dwelling Place for God. Ephesians 2:22
I am - all of this and so much more!!!
Not because of who I am in myself. Not because of anything I have done. I do not deserve God's Grace.
But I am because of the Great I AM!
Because of what HE has done. Because of Who HE is!
I am no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God. Romans 8:15 & Galatians 4:7
That is WHO I AM.
That is my identity.
That is my worth.
That is my value.
I am a Child of God.
And as a child of God, I am loved.
If God has loved me enough for Jesus, His Only Begotten Son, to die on the Cross, then I am enough to be loved by me, too.
Jesus said that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Matthew 22:39
If we don't love ourselves, then how do we love others?
Not fully and completely as God wants us to, as God commands us to. And not as God loves them.
This is NOT about the whole "ME" generation we see so prevalent in our society these days.
God loves us first. We love Him back. And we show our love to HIm by loving others.
But how can we say we love God, we love others, and yet hate (or detest) ourselves?
Do we not know who we are?
I am a child of God. Romans 8:15 & Galatians 4:7
We take care of ourselves, sometimes spending a great amount of time, energy and money on ourselves.
Is it because it is expected of us by society?
Are just trying to keep us with the Karen's or the Jones's of our world?
Are we compelled to do this because of TV, movies, and advertising?
Are we trying to make a good impression on those around us?
Are we trying to fix an inward problem with an outward solution?
Dig deep into your heart, and answer this for yourself.
What does it mean to love ourselves as God loves us?
So that we may learn what it is to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
This is my journey in daring to love me like God does, and like God wants me to love others.
"A Widow's Dare to Love"
It is loosely based on "The Love Dare". But with personal inward applications. Interspersed with some stories of my Sweetheart and our Loving Life together.
Perhaps there will be another book, I can feel the stirrings of the words deep within me as I write the words for this one.
I do not know what I am doing in writing, Lol - but God knows.
He wrote a Bestseller, so I figure He has the wisdom and direction I need to get this in print. :)
All I can do is to do my very best, and then leave the results up to God.
I resolve to give it all I have.
Then simple trust in Jesus and Just Breathe.
Sitting here with a lot on my mind this evening. Wondering what to write, where to start. And praying about how much to share.
One of Rick's last requests was that I continue with this website and blog, and that I make sure I am being brutally honest - even if it is out of my comfort zone. Every time I hold back much at all, I hear his voice pleading with me, and encouraging me by saying, "Honey, if by being brutally honest, you being out of your comfort zone, just ONE person is helped, inspired, strengthened or encouraged, then all of this will not have been in vain."
It would be easier if he were here to read these words and give me his approval. Just saying.
But here goes, yet again:
At 6 years out, I often feel far removed from the overwhelming intensity of the pain that I once knew.
But, sometimes, I pull myself back into that pain.
*When talking, or praying, for a new widow/widower, or one who is having that gut punch in this new reality of life alone.
That one needs me to remember how I felt in those darkest moments.
When I was on the floor sobbing so hard that I was afraid I would die, or rather afraid I would not.
When I was absolutely convinced there was no way I was going to make it to my next breath, let alone the next hour, the next day, and forget about the next year!
When I couldn't think straight.
When my vulnerability allowed me to put myself into a compromising situation that took God Himself to intervene and get me out of.
When the best I could hope for was to Just Breathe.
Someone needs me to meet them where they are in their moment.
Letting them know with absolute assurance that this is only a moment in their time, and it shall surely pass.
They need to know that there is Hope, in their nightmare, in our nightmare - someone before them has survived the worst.
And so shall they.
*I also pull myself back into that pain in order to feel closer to my Sweetheart.
Yes, I can now feel close to Rick during moments of laughter and joy, but there are times that I want to feel that pain again.
As weird as it sounds to someone who isn't on the journey, it's real.
Maybe it's just for reminding myself of that love and bond that we shared, in sickness and in health, in being richer and in being poorer, in the bad times as well as in the good times.
Maybe it's to in some surreal way remind myself that this really happened, it's not just a nightmare that I can't wake up from.
Maybe it's to feel, at least in my memories, that surrounding of family and friends in those first days.
*I pull myself back into that pain to remind myself of how far I have come in these 6 years.
Because in those first days, weeks, months, there was no Hope, no Faith, to even begin believing that I would survive such unimaginable pain as losing my heart and soul.
To even think in those hours that I would somehow survive the pain that we both endured in those last 4 months was impossible.
And yet, here I am. Day after night. Night after day.
Sometimes thriving with the kids and grandkids.
Sometimes enduring loneliness.
Sometimes enjoying the fellowship of family and friends.
Sometimes with the raging emotions that are raw and sore.
But still here, and still fighting my way thru it all.
To everyone on this widow's walk, no matter how long you have been on this road, when you are overwhelmed with that horrifying intensity of raw grief?
You are stronger than you know.
You can do this.
When you cannot see the light in your darkness, look to those who have come before you as the strength you need to just breathe.
And remember, there is always someone farther along that you are, but there is always someone coming up behind you, too.
You are NOT alone.
You are LOVED.
You are NEEDED.
Yesterday was my 6th Easter without Rick.
Easter was a day of celebration because the remembrance of Jesus rising from the dead. But again, Rick was not all about holidays. He said so many times thru the years that if we could not celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord every day of our lives, then he was not going to be a party to the once-a-year-putting-on-a-show.
So, the hardest part of yesterday to me was in seeing all the family photos, and missing mine.
I was blessed to be with our son and his bunch for a cow working, though.
Not that I work cattle. I cook.
I can work cattle. Have done it. But these days, I serve as the cook.
And yesterday was simple hot dogs, chips and drinks. Cookies and cupcakes rounded out the break time for lunch.
I didn't get a lot of pictures, but here are the ones that I did get:
Next Saturday is a Youth Ranch Rodeo, I will get more pictures there! ;)
I am working hard to get some things caught up and done.
Been going thru stuff at hand, and on the computer.
Trying to get things a bit more organized and into a format that I can handle no matter where I am.
I know that my time in the apartment is coming to an end. Most likely, 56 days left here at the most.
This apartment has been good for me in some ways, allowing me time to pray, to seek God with all my heart and all my time. It has given me some sleep and much needed down time.
It has kept me cool on the hotter Texas days/nights ... but also warm on the colder Texas days/nights.
It has also drained every penny of my savings.
And I can no longer afford to be here.
I was concerned when I rented it. But I had hoped there would be a job, that somehow it might work.
There is nothing.
I have applied for financial aid thru the state, but have been denied because I make $55.50 too much to qualify for help.
Being told yet again, "I'm sorry, but you are one of the unfortunate ones that falls thru the cracks of our society."
I have also applied for food stamps (The Lone Star card). If approved, after jumping thru all their hoops and forms, she said that I would be getting $19 a month.
I know that God is my Provider, but it's hard not to get frustrated with a system that rewards liars and cheaters and punishes the people who live by honesty and integrity. Sigh.
God has promised to take care of me ... meeting all my needs according to His riches in Glory thru Christ Jesus. And He has promised to set the lonely into families. As well as establishing the boundaries of the widows.
In Him I trust.
However, I'm a little trepidatious, wondering how things are going to go.
But holding to the promise in Psalm 56 - "When I am afraid, I will trust in the Lord."
I know that the Bible tells us 365 times "Do not fear" ... but I think this verse is one of my favorite concerning fear.
Because of that first word, WHEN.
God knows my heart is trusting Him. He also knows that my mind is afraid. He understands the conflict between being a human, and being a child of God.
How does He understand?
Think about it. Jesus was ALL God. But Jesus was also ALL man, human.
Hebrews tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way as we are, He had to be in order to be our Great Savior.
So, yes, I am afraid. Change is scary to me - especially these days without Rick's arms around me.
But, I am trusting in the Lord. Because He holds me, tighter and more secure than Rick in all his love ever could.
Not sure at this point what I am going to do, nor where I am going to go.
Still praying about it all.
Waiting to see what direction God will take my life.
I know this above all things though -
I am no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.
And the desire of my heart?
Whatever brings Him the Glory.
I would love to have an RV.
Rick and I lived in our 3 different ones for about 15 years of our marriage. And I loved it!
I love the lifestyle. I love what he called my "little shoebox".
I have found several jobs that are in the area of my son and/or daughter. Close enough to still spend time with them and the grandkids.
BUT they each one require an RV.
I have been looking for an RV, too.
And I have found several between $3000 - $5000.
- some are ready to move in to, which would allow me to begin a job sooner.
- some are needing to be worked on, mainly cosmetic issues inside. While that would be interesting and fun (done it before ;) ), it would also delay getting a job. But it would allow some personal time with my kids and grandkids as they have all said they would help me do whatever needs done to one.
I have been questioned about my fear of tornadoes when considering living in an RV.
I understand the questions. But look back at the tornadoes that have hit Texas and other southern states just this year.
Were only RV's destroyed?
No. Brick homes that had been there for years. Houses made of wood destroyed. Mobile homes were ripped apart.
When a tornado strikes? Little to nothing is safe, unless it is underground.
And living underground poses its own set of risks and hazards.
No, I do not like the "t" word when a storm is brewing.
Yes, I will sit wherever I am, staring at the radar screen and praying with all my heart!
And it doesn't matter what kind of house I am in!
One year, Rick and I waited out a tornado warning and hail storm for 3 hours in a storm shelter! I was just as afraid. I prayed just as hard.
So, yeah, when I am afraid, I will trust in the Lord!!!
I still would like to have an RV.
I have committed this to the Lord, and I believe if it is His will that I have one, He will work it out.
Nothing is impossible to the Lord. He is able, more than capable, to do exceedingly abundantly more than I could ever hope for or imagine.
So, as His, I am in His Hands, for whatever He wants me to do, wherever He wants me to be, and whatever He wants me to live in.
It's hard sometimes to live in Faith.
I long for roots, while wanting wings.
And more than not, I feel like I am stuck in mud that is eyelid deep, just spinning my wheels.
Again, that struggle between being human, a woman, a widow ... and being a child of God.
Good night for now.
I have a long next few days.
Should prove for some interesting writing ;)
Thank You for reading.
I find it so hard to believe that about 6 weeks has passed since I last wrote.
How? I shake my head at the wonder of how quickly time passes when you are almost 60 years old.
I look back at the pictures I have of our children and our grandchildren, and what seems to my heart and mind to only have been a few days ago ... years upon years ago.
And when I look at the pictures of Rick, he still seems so alive and vibrant.
I treasure pictures, don't get me wrong - they are my touchstones!
But, at the same time, they are almost wicked in the games they seem to play with my heart and mind.
So, what has happened in these 6 weeks ... a little catching up time here.
Gall bladder and colon attacks.
I feel confident in saying that all of this has been about 90% stress induced.
I am feeling better, most times these last few days.
There are still moments of pain and/or discomfort, hours where I can't find that sweet spot of comfort to rest and sleep.
Of course we had the big freeze here in Texas, where all 254 counties were under a winter storm warning - for the first time in history!
The power here at the apartment went off for 4 days.
I went over to my son and daughter in love's house, stayed with them thru the worst of it.
Came back to frozen kitchen pipes, a frozen shower, and a refrigerator of freshly bought (before the epic storm) groceries that were now ruined. With no money to replace them. Leaving me with cans of soup and a couple of packages of ramen to make do with.
It's been a LONG time since my refrigerator only had 2 eggs, a 1/2 bottle of ketchup and a few dill pickles in it! (And it has been this way for over a month now.)
I remember years ago when I was a kid, that Momma's frig got empty once, stayed that way for a couple of days. Momma did not handle it well, to say the least.
It's a good thing that 1. I am alone & 2. I needed to lose some weight anyway.
All of that being a lesson in learning to trust in the Lord.
To read my Bible.
To do some wrestling with my mind and heart.
Spring has finally sprung here in Texas.
The birds sing loudly from morning till night.
The sun shines warm against these old bones.
The breeze still has a cool bite to it at times.
The wildflowers are beginning to pop open.
The trees are turning their spring green.
Easter is this Sunday.
What a wonderful, and almost magical, time of the year!
The only thing I do not like about Texas spring?
No matter how much I pray
No matter the reasonings I work out in my head
No matter what -
Once that word is spoken or written in the news and weather forecasts?
I'm over the thunderstorms and rain.
Rick knew how terrified I was.
I miss him.
He allowed me to be afraid. Without judgment or condemnation. Without trying to change me.
He would simply hold me. Pray over us. And wipe my tears away with his sweet soft kisses.
Yeah ... I miss him.
Our oldest grandson, our Marine, is now deployed.
This is our first. (Another vivid reminder that whoever said all the firsts as a widow happens in that first year, did NOT know what they were talking about!)
My heart has been in constant prayer over him, and about all this for his momma (my daughter) and his sister.
This world is crazy, and in an extremely volatile state of affairs - which doesn't do one thing for giving us comfort, just saying!
I pray Psalm 91 over him every morning. As well as over all of us. And I will continue to do so.
I know that Greater is He Who lives in him, is greater than he who lives in the world.
I know that God is the God of angel armies, and He is always right by his side.
I continue to pray that God will be Merciful and Gracious to us all, and that He will bring my grandson Marine home - safe, sound and healthy, when this deployment time is done.
I am already aching for his arms to embrace his Grannee!!!
Life here in the apartment is not what everyone said it would be.
Mostly, it is more like what I tried to explain to others what it would be like. (I'm not as ignorant as others have treated me.)
Day and night.
Too far out, and no extra money for fuel, to go anywhere.
No one around to get out and see, talk to.
Even my stupid "smart phone" doesn't have good signal here for a phone conversation. The only way it really works is to make sure my left pinkie is pointed south and my right big toe is pointed north, and my butt doesn't move at all while on the phone. UGH UGH UGH
No jobs available, at least none that I am qualified for - for one reason or another, I have been told "no".
There are no jobs around PK Lake. The closest town is about 20 miles away. Which would be do-able, IF I had a job that would pay for the rent and fuel.
The rent here is expensive, as it is everywhere.
But when I live on a very small widow's benefit, and the rent is 1/2 of the amount I get per month?
It makes it seem even more expensive.
By the time I pay the other bills, there is maybe enough money left for one tank of fuel in my truck, and little to nothing for groceries.
Again, it has been a lesson time in trusting in the Lord with all my heart.
As well as the focusing on "this day".
Having the manna for "This day".
I've been going thru pictures, clothes, books, memory stuff, odds and ends.
Sorting out what I don't really want, even wondering why on earth did I keep this, lol.
And I have spent some time working on the computer - looking for cheaper housing, looking for a job.
Even applying to different programs.
All to no avail.
Being told time after time, "I'm sorry, we can't help you." "You make too much." "You don't make enough." "You are too old." "You aren't old enough."
Just as it has been since Rick died, "You are one of the unfortunate ones that fall thru the cracks of our society. I'm sorry."
Which is why I had stayed with kids, family and friends for 5 years after Rick died.
The money I do get helps when I am staying with someone, but not enough to live on.
I have looked into house-sharing. But still on the fence about that. Who can you trust these days? It's hard to know.
And I have looked for live in positions, whether elder care, or child care, or even a cook for a ranch.
I am exhausted from looking.
My heart is too weary.
I read something the other day, 7 words that have changed my outlook, my perspective.
“Prepare for what you are praying for”.
It took about 3 days for those 7 words to really take hold of my mind and heart.
But when they did! Wow!
*I have long prayed for Peace. Not the peace of the world, but God’s Peace that passes all understanding.
Prepare for what you are praying for:
- and now have begun to simply cry out to Jesus, calling His Name, every time an unwelcome, unpleasant, toxic thought comes at me.
- dreams have assailed me these last several weeks. Some are terrifying. Some are troubling. Some are disturbing. And some, well, they are simply confusing as all get out! But when I wake up from them, “Jesus help me”, as I breathe in and breathe out.
*I want to weigh less, and be in better shape.
Prepare for what you are praying for:
- changing the way I think and feel about myself NOW.
- digging deep into the reasons why I want to lose weight and be in better shape.
- changing the way and what I eat, and drink.
- no more clothes shall I buy until these are hanging off of me, and I have taken them to the sewing machine for the very last time
*My heart’s desire is to have an RV. I loved the RV lifestyle when Rick and I lived in ours for about 15 years. I really believe I would enjoy it now, too.
I have regretted greatly selling our last one. At the time, I thought it was the right, and only, thing to do. But now, regret almost overwhelms me.
Prepare for what you are praying for:
- going thru stuff and downsizing.
- organizing what remains.
- reminding myself of all those RV tricks to making a small space HOME.
*I do not want to just make it check to check. Always wondering if there will be enough money for rent and bills, and if there will be any left over for fuel or groceries.
Prepare for what you are praying for:
- trimming down the bills as much as I can
- curtailing the spending greatly
- changing even the way I buy groceries, when I can.
- looking for work, especially what I can do from home, so that it doesn’t add fuel costs at this time.
**These are just a few of the ways these 7 words have impacted my life.
I’m sure that as time goes forward, there will be more!
I have given myself to some intense prayer this week.
And in that, I have learned much.
I am still processing those answers, and the revelations I have received.
As soon as I can formulate words that make some kind of sense, I will be sharing.
Perhaps some of it will encourage and inspire you, as much as it has me.
Ok. That's not everything for the last 6 weeks, but it is a pretty good outline. LOL
And enough for right now ;)
I will be back ... and this time, sooner than 6 weeks!
To all you of SINGLES out there!
You don’t have to feel alone!
This one’s for you!
Valentine’s Day is coming! 🥰❤️
Here’s our story:
How’d you guys meet? On the front porch, under a starry night
First Date: A long conversation in an old porch swing
How long have you been together: 35 years
Married: He still calls me His Bride • He’s off building our dream home. He’s coming back to get me very soon! No one knows the day or the hour though, only His Dad.
Kids: Yes, many spiritual sons & daughters
Age difference: It’s an eternity
Who was interested first: Him
Who is taller: Definitely Him
Who said I love you first: Him again!
Favorite tv show to watch together: We prefer reading together (the Bible).
Most impatient: me
Most sensitive: Him - He’s full of compassion
Loudest: Him! He preaches without a mic and even His whisper can be heard.
Most stubborn: me
Cooks better: Well He knocked it out of the park with the loaves & fish that time. 🐠
Better morning person: Him
Better driver: Him! Jesus take the wheel!
Most competitive: Me. He’s already won every battle He’s ever fought.
Where do you eat out most as a couple?
Hello...!!!! Chick Fil A, of course. Isn’t that God’s chicken!?!?! Like... that’s His Dad! LOL
Who is more social? Him
Who is the neat freak? Him again, He's building me a mansion so I know it will be spotless! ;)
Do you get flowers often? Yes! I find them everywhere I look (in season).
How long did it take to get serious? About 6 years.
Who plans date night? He does! “Where He leads me I will follow.”
Who picks where you go to dinner? He let’s me choose, and He goes with me no matter where I pick!
Who is the first one to admit when they’re wrong? Trust me, He’s never wrong!
Who has more tattoos? Him • He has my name engraved in the palm of His hand!
Who sings better? Him! He has the whole heavenly host backing him up!
Hogs the remote? We’re not into tv.
Spends the most? Him! He gave his whole life for me.
Did you go to the same school? He was with me at school everyday and I called His name out a lot, especially when I was taking a test.
Where is the furthest you two have traveled together? Been all over the USA, took Rick along too ;) <3
Post a picture/picture(s) of you and your valentine 🥰
Stars & Stripes
We listen often
we listen well
to the stars
on the screen
to the tales they tell
and enduring romance
we are lost
in the magic
forgetting our reality
their stories we repeat
about the stripes
upon the chest
of the one who bled
who gave his life
on a foreign field
that we may watch
the fancies of the stars
where was this one born
with stripes to carry
who is left behind
to bear the pain
in their name
while the stars
play the game
make us free
in who we are
to give power
to the stars
the tears upon our face
when a star falls from grace
the stripes that lead
that we may not bleed
to another memory
in our empty heart
a cold white stone
once upon a time
a love lived
in the stripes
than any star
could ever tell.
I didn’t want to wake up this morning and face this day - Sunday.
Sundays have been long and boring for a while now.
Being a widow alone.
Add to that all the Covid-19 "stuff".
Growing up Sundays were long and boring unless someone came over - which was most Sundays, thankfully.
But those where no one came, oh those stretched on for months in a day.
Sundays with Rick were mostly good.
Church. Time with family. Or a lazy Sunday afternoon nap. Watch a football game. Go for a long walk. There was always something going on.
Well, until the later years of his life.
Then those Sundays become more of the long and boring kind, or the kind where he was irritable and just picked an argument to have something to do.
And now, since I’ve been here in this apartment?
Long, boring, and dreadfully alone.
But as I was beginning to get dressed this morning, I hear that still small Voice:
- Stop expecting.
So, me being me with the love affair for words, I look up what is the difference between hoping and expecting - because they seem, at first thought, basically the same.
Therefore, if I don’t expect, I don’t hope.
Granted, hope deferred makes the heart sick - so if I don’t hope, I can’t get heart sick.
And I find this:
Having hope means you are trusting the process.
Having an expectation means you are trusting the results.
Having a hope means that the future is uncertain.
Having an expectation means that you are predetermining the future.
Having a hope is an action of humility.
Having an expectation can be an act of pride.
Having a hope does not disappoint.
Having an expectation often falls short.
Having a hope helps us acknowledge that God knows best.
Having an expectation often indicates that you know best.
All I can say is WOW. What a Light! What a Blessing!
So, I can Hope today is a good day, filled with laughter and blessings.
But not expect it to be filled with busy-ness or people.
Not expect to see anyone, but Hope I get to hear from others.
Hope knows that God has the best day lined out for me, one that will have me in my place for helping to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Not expect that I know what makes a good Sunday.
I am so thankful for those 2 words: Stop expecting.
I’m so glad that God loves me and He cares even about the little things.
I think that’s the one thing I have learned so far in reading the later chapters of Exodus and these chapters of Leviticus -
- God, is IN the details.
- God detailed everything then about the building of the Temple and the clothes the priests were to wear, to the way the offerings were to be presented, and more. Every detail of life was laid out.
- God is the same God today as He was then. Because He never changes.
- So ... He is in the details of our lives, too. He cares. He cares about what’s important to us.
- just like Sundays are to me.
And therefore I stop expecting.
My Hope is in God.
That He knows best, even for my Sunday.
Even if it is to be here in this apartment alone.
He knows best.
I need to keep my heart in Hope, not expectation.
Wait, watch and see what He will do with this day.
This has been a tough week!
Sometime Sunday afternoon a headache came against me.
I fought it best I could. But to no avail.
The night came and I laid on what felt like a block of concrete.
Then, a migraine headache from HELL overwhelmed me on Monday.
I have headaches a lot, always have. I don’t remember a time before having headaches.
Mostly due to sinus/allergies, or stress.
When I was about 18 I went to Six Flags over Texas with a church group, and we rode The Shock Wave. Which messed my neck up horribly! I spent a week in the hospital with all kinds of specialists working over me, tests were run, I was sent to a brain specialist in Dallas. Suspected brain tumor, or brain cancer. But, it was all because of severe pinched nerves in my neck.
And those nerves flare up ever so often, making me have horrendous headaches.
I am also highly allergic to cigarette smoke, since I was a little girl, and when I breathe it in - well, a sinus infection sets in.
Even though I have had some #10 headaches in the last few years, it has been a LONG time since the wavy spot and bright lights.
Sitting at my computer Monday morning, writing in my prayer journal and enjoying a cup of coffee -
There appeared a spot about the size of a half-dollar that was like looking thru a glass of water.
It was on the left side of my left eye, and when I tried to look directly at it, it would move up.
It grew larger and larger.
When it was about the size of the top of a coffee cup, the broken and brightly colored lines appeared all around the edges.
It continued to grow.
This lasted about 30-45 minutes.
Then, it just went away - as quickly as it had come.
A breath of relief.
Because then the absolute WORST headache I have had in the last 7 or so years hit me.
The nausea began as well, with a mouth of what tasted like hot salt water.
(I don’t throw up very easy, takes a LOT to make me. But oh the nausea HURTS!!!)
I made it the 5 ft from the computer over to the futon.
No noise at all in the apartment. I could not take even the heater on, too loud.
I have a neck pillow that I now am in love with - and I put it behind my head.
Gingerly got the blanket I made from Rick’s t-shirts and covered up with it.
And I forced myself to swallow carefully and slowly.
As well as to breathe deeply in and let it out as slow as I could.
At some point, I fell asleep.
A couple of hours later I woke up, cold and shivering, yet feeling hot.
Temp was 98.9 - so that’s ok.
Headache was down to about a 10 at this point.
And most of the nausea had subsided.
I opened a can of cream of chicken soup, heated it and ate it slowly with a few crackers and cheese.
The rest of the day was pretty much spent on the futon until my back was hurting too bad, then set in the desk chair with the heating pad on my back until I felt like I was going to fall out of the chair
- so back to the futon.
Bedtime came early.
Just too exhausted to make it past 9 p.m.
Tuesday I just felt weak and weary.
Did go over to son’s house and help with granddaughter getting connected to the Wi-Fi for remote learning.
- it was good to get out of the apartment, and REALLY good to see them!
Wednesday I was feeling better, but the headache was a dull roar.
Literally a roar that I could hear when the apartment was all quiet.
So, I tried to sit still more than move about.
Grew agitated by the evening, and exhausted.
So bedtime last night came at 8 p.m. - practically unheard of for me, so I knew I wasn’t feeling good.
Today, I felt like taking a shower, hoping the hot water on my head would make it feel better, and that soreness from the headache was gone enough that I could enjoy the shower.
So, at least I am clean now, LOL.
Feeling some pain and pressure when I move certain ways.
Ears are still hurting, especially the left one.
And I feel like there is a band around my head that is tight then loose, then tight again, oh wait, it’s loose.
No - tight.
Today I have worked on the website and blogs, a few emails and chat messages.
Of course the daily Facebook posts and comments - but of course ;)
Just not a lot of movement, and being careful when I do move about.
Not wanting the bad part of it to return!
Tried to take a nap, but the cigarette smoke from neighbor is somehow leeching thru to my apartment, and it is making it more of a challenge to get rid of the migraine and the nausea keeps cycling back around, too.
So, I sat on the futon with my face buried in the blanket of Rick’s t-shirts for most of 2 hours.
I’m sure the cold, rainy weather with wind blowing more hard than not, hasn’t helped any either.
But it is Texas, and it is winter time.
It’s been a doozie of a headache this trip around!
Christmas Eve alone.
Waking up Christmas morning alone and to a bare tree underneath.
New Year’s Eve alone.
Waking up New Year’s Day alone, with no one to say “Happy New Year” to, or back to me.
Spent the rest of Christmas Day with my son and his family.
- so thankful for that time with them.
Spent the rest of New Year’s Day with my son and his family.
- we laughed so much while playing dominoes that night!
My daughter and her kids came down to my son’s house on the day after New Year’s Day.
- oh the hugs for my Marine grandson that I had not seen in a year!
- and the laughter that we enjoyed, and I will hold in treasure to my heart!
I learned something thru this holiday season.
I can survive the alone times, the lonely times.
And while I crave, and need, some alone time - the lonely times make me cry out with sorrow and grief to God.
I also learned that God comforts in ways that we don’t always understand.
- sometimes it is thru a movie watched, or a book that is read
- sometimes it is thru a game of solitaire where the mind is not really occupied
- often thru a meme shared on Facebook
- or a particular Bible verse that comes to mind
- a song that is heard. Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone - by Chris Tomlin - became the mantra for getting me thru those hardest moments of the holidays.
- perhaps a perfectly timed message, just when the tears are falling the hardest and hottest.
- maybe a phone call that is unexpected, but very much welcomed
- even a nap
- listening to the birds singing in the trees
- or watching the snow falling
- catching the glint of the sun off the waters of PK Lake
- watching the wind blow in the trees
God comforts us in ways that we need.
Not always the ways we want.
I want to FEEL Him here with me.
Not just to KNOW that He is here.
I want to FEEL His arms holding me.
I want to FEEL Him breathing on me.
I want to FEEL His heart beating as I lay my head on His chest that I can FEEL.
I want to FEEL Him.
God is sometimes hard to feel because He wants us to know Him by Faith.
I get frustrated with Him over it. lol
- but He's stubborn!
And I know He is right, it's just easier to feel than to have Faith.
I keep trying to get Him to understand that if only I could FEEL Him, then I would have Faith to believe He was there.
And I keep hearing His voice of patience, "Margaret Lee, you know it doesn't work that way." LOL
To which I answer, "Yeah, I know. But You are God and You can do anything - so You could make it work that way!"
And He says, "Don't start with me!" lol
I am also learning to listen more than I talk.
Which has proven to be a hard lesson for me
- because I have always loved to talk. Lol
But there comes a time in life when it’s better to listen
Learning to listen more and talk less with people has helped me to listen more and talk less with God.
And listening creates a learning space in the heart and mind.
Spending a lot of time alone has helped
- maybe that is my “classroom” of learning.
I listen to the music more these days.
Not just the notes, but the lyrics.
I often listen to my play list in the phone .
Whenever I listen to the worship and praise songs, it makes me feel more like I am being held and sang to
- like I used to hold my kids when they were little and I would sing to them until they went to sleep, or when they were just oofie.
And that is a good feeling ... even if it is only in my heart and spirit.
I’m going thru some stuff, working on downsizing my “collections”, lol
Seems I have collected emails, and pictures, and memes
Books on the Kindle, hard copies of books
Files with documents, both on the computer and in boxes
Along with coffee cups (holding on to those with the hope and prayer of perhaps one day having a coffee shop 😉
- it may never happen, but I truly hope it does. Only God can open doors that no one can close, and make the way where there is no way.)
I have also collected clothes, without even meaning to
- some of them I went thru the other day and wondered why on earth I had held on to them! Way past time to let them go!
So, going thru all these things and taking a hard thought look to see what I need, what I want, and what I am going to do with what I decide to keep.
I have decided to make each of our kids and grandkids a quilt for Christmas 2021.
I’m excited and looking forward to watching these quilts take shape
And hoping they enjoy seeing them, as well as using them
I have told them not to expect perfection
- because the quilts are being made by hand, just the way my Momma made her quilts.
But there will be LOTS of thoughts, memories and prayers going into each one.
I started with my own prayer quilt that was made and given to me when I had cancer.
It has some wear on it - because I have used it just about every day for the last 8 years!
So, I took an older blanket that was also showing wear, used it for the filler, and put a back on it.
Pinned it all together and am now quilting it together.
When I finish with this, I am going to put a border around it.
It will make the prayer quilt just a little larger, and will increase the use of it to some degree, too.
Makes me smile remembering what Rick used to say:
“ Honey, I’ve never seen anyone that can use something til it’s done its due, then reuse it, and use it one more time!” lol
So, that is how my 2020 ended, and 2021 has begun
I think the greatest lesson I have learned has been -
God is God over the storms, and I am His.
That absolute knowing
And the Peace that blankets me because of the Truth -
not such a bad way to end a year and start a new one ;) !!!
And it SNOWS!!!
I love snow!
Yes, I know
It tends to make the roads slick to drive on
And it is sometimes treacherous to walk on
I know it’s miserable to have to get out in and go to work
I know how hard it makes it for those who work outside
And what a mess it makes when tracked into the house
Or the horrible slushy mucky mire it is when it starts to melt
But I love snow!
Thru all the years of Rick being grumpy when it would snow -
I still love snow!
I know when it snows I will get “that” phone call from my son -
(He’s like his daddy, you know, lol)
He will complain
And I will laugh
He tells me how crazy I am for loving the snow
And I answer with “It’s so pretty!”
Doesn’t matter if we get a snow once a year, or once a week!
The same snow-call ;)
And yes, I love it!
I love the snow-call more than I love the snow!
So many memories flood my mind on days like this
: living on that acre in the Brinker Community, when we lived in the mobile home on the backside of Rick’s parents’ place
- one year we got so much snow at one time that the kids were able to go out and build a snowman!
- I had hot chocolate ready for them, with extra marshmallows
- potato & broccoli soup cooking with cheese added
- fresh bread baking in the oven
- cookies were on the table
- another “kid” came over and ran our kids thru the snow till they looked like snowmen!
- Rick was not so grumpy that day. But he was hovering over me in the kitchen. A hug. A kiss. A pat on the butt. Sharing a cookie. Teasing. Laughing.
- and all the while old rock and roll playing in the background.
- oh what a wonderful day that was!!!
: living on Dickie Prairie Road out of Molalla OR
- when it snowed there it meant time for the woods!!!
- bundle up, hats, gloves, boots, coats and scarves
- pile into the old truck and lumber up the mountain
- find a grove of trees and take a long walk until our noses were so cold we couldn’t feel them
- pile back into the truck and go to the house
- undo ourselves while we stomped the snow off on the porch
- hot chocolate was made and enjoyed
- and then we would play a game, or watch a movie
- treasured memories of wonderful days!!!
: when Rick was driving a truck and I was his navigator, we found ourselves in New York on a cold & snowy winter’s day
- and since the roads were too bad to be driving, we were on lay-over at a truck stop
- I do not remember the town we were in, but I remember clearly the time with Rick
- just to sit in the warmth of the restaurant and enjoy a meal, no rushing needed or required
- then the snowy walk back to the truck for a nap, a conversation, a little time on the computer or watching a movie
- walk it back to the truck stop and do a little shopping
- 36 hours of laying over in the 12” of snow!
- good times, good times!!!
: then after the kids were grown and on their own with their families, and we lived in the old family house in Brinker Community
- Rick was gone off on the truck delivering milk
- I was at the house alone
- the heaviest snowfall that we had had in years, the winter of 2011
- I kept the wood brought in, and the fires fed
- not so much laughter then, lol
- but Rick was glad to walk into a warm house, with the potato soup ready to eat
- and I was so glad to see him walk in that door, stomping his feet on the back porch, unwinding from the coat, hat and gloves
- I still can feel his cold nose on my warm neck, hear my squeals, and know his arms holding me close.
- oh Rick! I miss you on the snow days.
: and then, when we lived in Homedale, Idaho, in our RV.
- the RV was 8x26 ft. It wasn’t big enough to have everything Rick wanted, lol - so he contracted with a tent maker. And a 10 x 20 ft elk hunting tent was added to our RV. The canopy was removed and the frame for the tent was set in place. The elk tent was then attached to our RV with the snaps and pulled over the frame. The front of the tent was in 3 sections, independent of one another so that we could roll up one or all 3 during the summer. We had a window in one end, and a man door in the other end.
We could open the 2 doors on the RV and it was just a step up into the RV from the tent.
Rick put a camp stove (oven included) in the corner. We put down 3 room size rugs for the flooring. Added a swing that also made a bed, and a chest of drawers.
Rick called it our “redneck double-wide”, lol. When going into the RV he would always say I’m going “upstairs”. LOL
We LOVED the whole set up!!!
The only problem we had with it was when it either rained, or snowed. And the top of the tent, in between the frame, would stretch with the weight of the rain or snow. We would have to take a broom each and work the rain or snow off the roof to the edges so that it would not cave the tent in. It snowed A LOT in Homedale, Idaho. Just saying. LOL
Spring, summer and fall we kept the front sections rolled up more than not, so we had this huge “canopy” that we lived under.
One morning it was 4*, so Rick built a fire in the wood cook stove and went outside the tent to feed our dog. In about 20 minutes it got so hot - 91* - in the RV that I had to call Rick on the phone and ask him to come open the tent door and window to allow some of the heat to go out!
Maybe the reason I love the snow so much is because of the memories.
I can remember when I was a kid growing up, we were poor.
So poor that when it would snow, we didn’t have boots to wear, and our socks were kept for “special occasions” - like church, or for me, school.
Momma and I would put the plastic bread sacks on our feet, then wrap our feet in old towels, and she kept large rubber bands to go around the middle of the foot and the top of the towel on our legs.
Off we would go to the barn.
Hog still needed slopped.
Chickens needed fed.
And cow needed milked.
Besides, we had an outside toilet for day time use, and pee-pots for night time.
There were times that Momma’s heels were so raw and cracked that they left tracks of blood in the snow.
Yes, bleeding so heavily as to soak thru the bread sack and towels.
I used to walk behind Momma crying for her.
But she never uttered a sound.
Often I would try to cover over the bloody tracks so Momma wouldn’t have to see, nor would anyone else.
I remember when we would get the chores done and back in the house, we would undo our feet and hang up the towels for the next time.
I would wash Momma’s towels out while she put water on to heat at the wood stove.
Once the water was warm enough, we would wash our feet
Then I would take a slimy concoction and rub it on Momma’s feet,
Looking up at her, I could see the tears streaming down her face, but never a grunt or groan did she make.
I would then take a warm towel that had been hanging beside the wood stove, wrap it around her feet so that it helped the concoction to soak in.
Momma never complained about a snowy day.
She always made potato soup on those days, and after we ate, before the next set of chores, we would quilt.
Oh the stories she would tell while we sat around the quilting frame!
Before dark set in, it was time to do the chores again.
Even those memories are treasured now.
I learned a lot just watching my Momma live her life.
Snow day memories flood my soul.
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here