Category Archives: Faith Path

He’s Retired, so now what do I do with him…

Friday the 13th  2019 was the last day of work for Hubby.  Ross is his name but I do like the term Hubby so this is what I will likely stick with.

I’m not into the whole superstition thing but it is quite amazing how certain things learned from childhood hang around, like it being a bad luck day, don’t walk in front of a black cat, throw salt over your left shoulder or right, step over a crack or you’ll break your mothers back and that is all supposed to ward off bad things.

I grew up with all that vast knowledge, which didn’t mean much then, and even less now but someone has made mention of the date of Hubby’s retirement and that is what triggered all the memory quotes.

Well, no bad luck events took place and obviously Hubby didn’t take any notice of the date either. It was all about the dates lining up for the best possible scenario for holidays which began Friday and extending into January 23, 2020 which will be the official retirement date.

It was also all about dates and taxes.

Hubby had his farewell work event, cards and gifts given, hugs and best wishes and a boot out the door. Done.

Actually, he was well respected and will be missed by those who were supported by him and with those with whom he worked. Hubby assisted people in crisis, taught workshops on grief, loss and resiliency and emotional first aid…and much more. I wasn’t there and knew very few of ‘his people’ so will just leave it at that.

He’s taken his gift of new binoculars and packed them for our upcoming trip and is waiting for a new piece of luggage which may or may not arrive before we leave.

One of the gifts he received from his closest colleague is a wooden plaque of one of hubby’s favorite quotes, “Anyone who willingly enters into the pain of a stranger is truly a remarkable person” by Henri J.M. Nouwen. It sits prominently on our fireplace mantle.

We, as in me, our daughter TL, our son Ra and our daughter in law Ca, had our own event,  a family pizza making night and gave hubby some new bike shorts and a snazzy shirt… nice gift but really it is a motivational device to get him out of the house and staying active.

He likes bike riding so it won’t be a new experience – he will just look a lot better doing it.

If I know him… and I do, he will find some random patch and sew it or glue it onto his shirt.  It will be some gleaming adoration for the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team.

Since Friday….

Packing for our holiday.

Playing pickleball.

Packing for our holiday.

Shopping for Christmas gifts.

Packing for our holiday.

Hubby – Seeing the doctor for an ongoing (4 months) sinus infection, getting x-rays and blood-work done.

Pickleball workshop for people from Hubby’s work environment. That was fun. I and two of our pickleball friends assisted with reigning in the keener’s and encouraging the shyer ones.

Arranging plans for looking after our beloved Thomas the Cat…upcoming Vet appointment to get an anal gland expression done. Just imagine that for a minute.

The list for cleaning the house is growing…we have a person moving in and well, the house needs to be presentable.

There are still ten days until departure and events to attend, appetizer and drinks, friends to see, annual 24th extended family dinner and gift exchange, one more pair of baby booties to crochet, likely a last minute gift to buy, our immediate family breakfast, gift exchange and dinner, then our main tidy and pack day and we will be off…

But first, Hubby doesn’t know this yet. I have arranged a date for us. We are going for a manicure and a pedicure. This is all so self-serving of course.

Hubby will be switching shoes soon for flip flops and I may be sitting next to his feet on a lounge chair. I want to like what I see.

 

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Filed under Faith Path, Life Lessons, retirement

Facing Fears and Trying New Things

 

The idea of creating sixty-five activities or events came as I looked at a selfie picture on my phone, just before a walk over a bridge.

My husband Ross and I were camping at Whistler Mountain this summer with our son and his wife and one days’ adventure was to go on the gondolas and chair lifts then cross the recently finished suspension bridge called the Cloudraker Skybridge.

Check out whistlerblackcomb.com

 

Photo of me…

IMG_8799…just before taking the first steps onto the bridge.

 

 

As I’m not a lover of heights I was a bit nervous but determined to show a brave face and enjoy the trek.

Not quite a quarter of the way over I heard a lady say, “I think that’s far enough” and she turned back. I agreed, said, “I think so too” and was about to follow her when I realized others were also hanging onto the rail. Perhaps they weren’t gripping with all ten fingers like me and moaning quite as loud, but we were making progress as we inched along.

With my son appearing behind me and talking close to my ear, each step was an encouragement to succeed, being told I was doing well and that I indeed could do this. I wasn’t sure I believed him, but I kept walking and trying not to see through spaces in the slotted steel plank to the earth far below. I was simply trusting the massive structure to hold me and listened to the sound of my son’s voice.

Arriving to the safe side, a platform with a solid base…well, a solid wood floor with waist high railings, perched atop a leveled surface on the top of a mountain. I was able to take a deep breath and enjoy the view of the beautiful valley all around me.

I was verbally thankful that the next stage of development was not finished yet – a glass bottomed view point which will be just another several steps beyond the safe platform.

That is not on my bucket list of things to do or conquer.

My next concern was that eventually I would need to go back over the suspension bridge as there was no other option.

I overheard a girl about 10 years old telling the adult near by that in no way was she going back over that bridge again. I wanted to encourage the adult to call for a helicopter to come get the girl and that I’d offer to go along for the ride but knew the possibility wasn’t likely to happen.

And so, we set out…I hovered my left foot over the solid platform while I grabbed at the cold steel railing with my two hands again and waited, waited while my body and brain were synced up and then allowed my foot to drop down onto the walkway.

We walked forward and left the girl behind – not knowing how her people would get her moving.

On the firm ground of safety, I was euphoric.  I can’t say I enjoyed the journey but I can say I did the walk successfully and am proud of myself.

Reflecting on the photo and the trek across suspension bridge I’ve come up with the plan of exploring sixty-five new adventures over the next year to celebrate a birthday of the same number.

I’ve done the math and have included the suspension bridge as my first event. There will be sixty-four more at this time next year. It seems to work out to roughly one new item to explore, touch, feel, go to, do or experience per week. I may have to expand them or bunch them up but the goal is to manage sixty-five new things in the next year.

Come back and see what this official senior citizen is doing.

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Filed under Faith Path, Life Lessons, Writer Writes

Infectious Bacteria Stalkers-My Summer Saga

Seven

After nearly two months of illness, on Sunday July 11th I felt well enough to attend a church service.  The pastor who spoke that day read Psalm 23 and challenged others to read and ponder over a weeks’ time what God might be saying individually.

I took up the challenge and my regular journal recorded… after my first reading, the 4th verse jumped out at me, “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death – fearing no evil…  my immediate reaction is fear. Perhaps because I’ve been ill for 2 months and that’s been terrible enough. I would struggle greatly with a “death sentence.”

I’m not finished here yet but often I wonder what I’m doing – what’s of value – what’s not.  Too often I believe I’m simply coasting, putting in time – wondering, waiting, – not living the life intended for me…I then recalled some areas of my life where I’d struggled by not fulfilling my own life’s dreams and the current journey to rectify that.

My journal ended with, Now what? What’s it all meant? How am I moving forward?

It was weeks before I made it back to my journal as my body let me know it had been through a battle and needed some more assistance.

With all the antibiotics and pain medications going into me my gut ran out of good bacteria and the nasty bacteria called Clostridium Difficile decided to take over. Was it already there? Had I picked it up somewhere else? Why me?  I’ll never know…

The bacteria were in control and with a bare minimum of details, I stayed home, I stayed close to the bathroom and I stayed in bed.  It was the amount of blood passing through me that sent me back to plunk myself down in the doc’s chair once again.

So, one might ask, how does C Difficile get treated?  The crazy answer is with yet another antibiotic.

In my Gratitude Journal July 22 – Grateful for “more” antibiotics to kill off the C Difficile bug in my body.  I will hopefully be on the mend. 

On that day, I continued my Psalm 23 reflections and in my regular journal, recorded some notes…Bang – right off the top – The LORD is my shepherd, not life, not hubby, not the things about me.  “I shall not be in want”

He will satisfy me – as I think about what to write, what to paint, where to spend time…if I go to my Shepherd and ask for his direction he will guide me, show me and lead me because “his rod and staff” they will comfort me. In him, amid his presence I am surrounded by his cloud of protection.  Whatever it is I do; it will be right.

The following day in a continued somber mood Psalm 23’s reflections met mine and my pen flowed with ink over several pages in my regular journal.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.”

The water runs out of the spout in my garden fountain, into a bowl and trickles below only to cycle through the system again, and again.

This is how God is leading me beside quiet waters.

I’ve sat many hours this summer, listening to the water, waiting to be well while one strange infection after another attacks my body.

I live in a Modular Home Park – AKA (also known as) a mobile home park where a typical impression might be one of lower class, poor and unkempt – a TV view of what I’ve often heard called, ‘white trailer trash’.

I love it here, when I can put aside my own biased views of my home location. Out my back door is the deck designed by hubby who then enlisted the services of his talented brother to build.

Surrounding our little yard is the wood fence designed and built by hubby earlier this spring just as the garden was coming to life and I became ill. My daughter and I had assisted just enough one day to get bragging rights that ‘we’ built the fence together.

The fence keeps Thomas the Cat within, who graciously chooses not to jump and run and is the perfect backdrop for the multitude of seasonal pops of color that have entertained me.

I feel protected and contained within my boundaries – it reminds me of ‘walking with Jesus’ along the narrow path – completely free within.

So, I sit, I think, I pray…

I wish I were well, I fight with the frustration and anger that rises within me.  I have little choice but to relax, accept that I feel fatigued, have little energy and I cannot control this current situation. I can instead, enjoy watching my cat enjoy being outside with me looking at the birds and listen to their songs.  Like him, I can stretch out my legs and lift my face to the warmth of the sun and simply… be beside quiet waters.

This is my moment to be grateful for all I have and which is being provided for me.

On Monday, August 1st I wrote in my Grateful Journal, Grateful. Feel better/off medication.

On Monday, August 22nd I wrote in my Grateful Journal, Grateful.  Sunshine. Feel Healthy.  Have options. Have a future to enjoy.

 

Please look for my next and last entry on …my summer saga…after all, summer came and went, fall rains arrived and it is nearly time for Christmas trees and snowfalls.

 

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Filed under A Cat's Life, Art/Draw/Paint/Create, Faith Path, Life Lessons, Writer Writes

Infectious Bacteria Stalkers-My Summer Saga

Six

With my suspicions (drug induced?) that some bacteria, perhaps from my treks to the emergency ward and my overnight sleep in ICU had mysteriously found its way into my blood stream I spent my days at home.  Over the next weeks I managed to become well enough to gather blankets and pillows and sit in my glider chair and watch the goings on in my back yard.

Observing a garden come to life may not be exciting for some people but for me it is like having more and more friends popping over just to say hello.  I hung out on my deck so long  I watched the stalks grow taller and my ‘friends’ bloomed with vibrant colors of purple, white, yellow.   Just for added fun, my Hosta leaves unfurled, opening like fans over all to bring shade roofs for tender shoots.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous writing, I didn’t have much to do but look about, pray, think and write in my journal.

I also began a new project of creating a Gratitude Journal because it was the right time to dig as deeply inside of myself to see what I could be thankful for.

May 20/16 – thankful my cat hovers close by – he’s never seen me hanging over a toilet before making noises.  He sits and watches me.  Comforting.

May 23/16 – thankful for my oasis of a deck, a rippling water fountain, sounds of cars in the distance, bird’s vocal vibrations, planes overhead and tree branches gently bobbing up and down which soothe my questions, fears, concerns – quiets my mind.

One Sunday morning in early June as I was nestled in my blanket cocoon a bible verse appeared on my phone from the radio station Praise 106.5.

From the new testament in Romans 12:12 I was instructed: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer and I wrote, nice to try and keep in mind.

June 5/16 – Grateful.  Want to be…

Outside my fence, in the common area of my complex, Mom and Dad crow became my favorite entertainment day after day while they squawked and brought scraps of whatever it is that crows feed their babies.  The little family were in a condemned tree and I like to think I saved their lives.

After a big wind and a large branch blew down the tree was deemed unsafe.  On tree death day, the hackers came to cut it down. I purposely took a stroll and casually mentioned to a hacker that a bird’s nest was way at the top which I had observed from my back yard.  That halted the rest of the tree coming down until late summer and when the birds would be gone.

Thus, for the next few weeks it became a daily ritual to visit with my bird pals.

In the morning, I’d make a cup of herbal tea though I preferred coffee and Thomas the Cat and I would head outdoors to hang out until my medication wore off or we were bored.

Later in the month, after one full glorious week of feeling good and health was returning, my throat again became raw, my voice disappeared and the painful pressure returned to my face. The wretched cough increased along with my despair. Within the week, it was necessary to begin a new round of antibiotics.

My regular journal entry at the beginning of July states, I cried yesterday.  I cried today.  My goal is to get through this day.

I read in my bible, Proverbs 19:16-29:  Many are the plans in a ‘wo’/man’s heart but it is the Lords purpose that prevails.  The journal answers back…What is your purpose in my life – I sure don’t get it.

A couple more weeks passed and I became well enough to go beyond my deck, take short walks, drive my car and venture off to various public locations where I tried to avoid any potential germs from stalking me.

I was returning to my healthy normal…or so I thought.

 

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