My life is a journey...I never know who or what I will meet just around the next bend that will give my life experience!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sometimes Life Keeps Piling It On...


Do you ever have those days when if they put just one more bale of hay on my truck, I'm just going to tip over and die?  Well, it seem like my life is  truckin' down that road lately and I'm not sure what the outcome is going to be.

All of my life, I have trusted in the Lord, that if He "brought me to it, He will get me through it."  I have given this load completely to him...well, at least I thought I had until yesterday afternoon.

Let me catch you up to speed...Here's my (our) story.  Two yeas ago, Dean got pulled over and cited for the ridiculous charge of "DUII and Reckless Driving."  We thought it was never going to come to a hearing, because the limit to "file" such a charge in Oregon is 2 years.  I guess the Officer just wasn't going to let this one slide, and with a clean breath alcohol test and no illegal drugs in his urine test and a dash-cam that shows nothing more than him passing a car a bit too fast, at the most, he should have been cited for speeding...nothing more.  It is a shame that this is being pursued.  Dean goes to court tomorrow and his Attorney has asked the DA to drop the reckless driving and DUII charges and move on.  We shall see how the Judicial System works in Oregon!  Dean's greatest fear is that the Oregon State Board of Licensing (Pharmacy) will remove his license and he will be without a job!  Prayers needed!

Item number two:  Nearly 2 months ago, Dean tore the Rotater Cuff in his right shoulder and separated his bicep from the shoulder, as well.  He desperately needs surgery.  It is scheduled for May 16th.  Hr will then face 6 weeks of rehab before he can return to work...if he has a job to return to.  Prayers are needed here, too.

And, here's the kicker!  Yesterday we received, by mail, a notice to "vacate the premises' by April 30.  We are being kicked out of our rental...for what reason, they didn't say.  Apparently in Oregon, they don't have to!  So, with a court date coming up tomorrow, a shoulder surgery coming up in May, and finding a rental and packing up and moving by April 30, we are tearing our hair out!  BIG prayers needed!

Can someone please explain to me why bad things come in "three's" and happen to "nice people?"  I'm trying to keep a smile on my face and a positive attitude, but I am finding it really, really hard to do!  I have been tested big time before, and I should be stronger than this, but I'm not 29 anymore.  I'm not even 59 or 69 anymore!  Oh, Lord give me strength!


Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Winter of My Life...


I woke up this morning with the realization that I am no longer approaching "The Winter of My Life,"  I am in the thick of it!  I am in the middle of a full blown blizzard!

Why do I say this, you ask?  Well, here are just a few examples.  My hair is now snow white, but I disguise it; I lost my teeth a long time ago, but thanks to the miracle of the Dental world I can hide that fact; I can barely see to read anymore, but thanks to the technology of magnification, I read...just slower; and if you want me to hear you, you better not mumble or whisper!  Then, there is the matter of the numerous joints in my body that creak and crackle when I wake up in the morning...allowing me only minimum movement when I try to stand.  The knees want to buckle and my back doesn't want me to stand up straight and my feet?  Well, they are a totally different issue altogether.  They hurt!

I knew I would get here "some day," but for me that "some day" came far, far too soon.  There are so many more mountains I want to climb, so many more words I want to write, so many, many more books I want to read, so many more grandchildren and great grandchildren I want to hug and play games with.

I look at the picture above and it is everything I used to love about winter.  There is serenity there.  There is a communion with nature and God there.  Isn't that what I am supposed to be experiencing in the winter of my life?  Oh, I do have moments of serenity...when I am completely alone and I visit my quiet world of reminiscing and those feelings of love I hold so close in my heart for my family...my parents, my siblings, my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren, my husband(s) and also my friends.  But those moments are fleeting and far between.

My communion with God comes in spurts of feeling the spirit commune with me throughout the day and in those quiet moments, there is peace.  "Forgive me, Father, for my transgressions this day,;"or "Thank you, Father, for those billions of blessings that come to me every nano-second of each and every day;" or "help me, Father, to be a better person tomorrow than I was today."


Someday I would like to find this lonely bench in the middle of a snowstorm and contemplate all of these things.  Yes, I am in the winter of my life...I have learned much, I have experienced much, and I hope I have much to give.  If you are where I am, God Bless you...you are enduring!  If you are approaching this season, God bless you...you are accumulating knowledge and experience.  If you think you still have a very long way to go, God bless you...you will need to gather strength, because it will come upon you a whole lot sooner than you will ever be ready for it.

My thoughts for this day!

Reflections...


Each night I try to reflect upon the busy-ness of the day.  This night has been most difficult, because so many images and impressions and "stuff" are cluttering my mind.  The last two days have been particularly trying for me.  Call it old age, call it frustration, call it whatever you want to call it, but I think I am losing my brain power...literally!  The only thing I can focus on is writing...and sometimes I find that hard, because words have to be chosen so carefully, and the ones that fly out of my brain onto the paper (or computer) weren't the ones I was thinking at all.

Yesterday, we had planned a perfect day of finally getting the Christmas stuff put away.  I know, I know...it is January 27th, right?  Well, I'm slow...what can I say?  Anyway, I was organizing the Christmas corner in the garage, and Dean comes out and wants to put the outdoor chest that was supposed to be water proof, got full of water in the rain, dumped over, fell apart, etc., etc., etc.  Anyway it ended up in the garage and I moved a lot of things to make room for it next to the door that goes out to the backyard.

When Dean came out to the garage, he found a terrible flood of water all over the floor.  He proceeded to yell, "Get some rags or a mop or something.  We've got a mess out here!"  As it turns out the water was coming from the lid of the chest.  So, we drag it outside to tip it every which way and try to put it all back together.  That done, we dragged it back into the garage, where we left it all night.


What a mess...both of the garage and of our nerves.  I'm finding that I lose my temper more and more lately...and I cry because I am so inept.  It was a terrible day.  We had a 6:00 dinner appointment in Lincoln City, and by the time we finished everything, it was 5 pm,,,no time to make the 40 minute drive to meet friends, so we called the whole thing off.  Just one more thread that unraveled in my brain.


Today brought the promise of a better day.  More time spent in the garage...more water to clean up and more stupid words that brought misunderstanding changed all that!  Some days I just want to go back to bed with the covers over my head and put a "Do Not Disturb" sign on my back.

Looking back, there are a couple of things I learned from these two days.  One, communication will always be clearer if we just break down and have a conversation with the one we don't understand; and two, I CANNOT WORK WITH MY HUSBAND!

I shall tuck it all in bed for the night and try to get some shut-eye and dream of riding high in the sky in a beautifully colored balloon without a care in the world.  After all, tomorrow is another day

.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Do You See What I See? Do You Hear What I Hear?

We have just concluded an event in history that has men (and women) at odds with each other!  It was the Democratic Process to nominate, elect and swear into office this country's 45th President.  For the first time in my lifetime I was witness (both personally and as a viewer on TV) to the most controversial election process in the history, as I know it!  Perhaps there were other elections where there was so much hatred expressed, but I just didn't notice it -- until this go around.

The thought came into my head almost simultaneously with one Newscaster (forgot to make note of his name) that what we have just witnessed throughout this entire process was a "Political Rorschach Test!"  This thought brought much clarity into my mind regarding all of the arguing and Political viewpoints of the Press and others...and it is true!

For those of you who are not familiar with the age-old Psychological Test known as the Rorschach Test, let me fill you in on what I know.  From my online searching and The Wikipedia, I found this definition:

"The Rorschach test is a psychological test in which subjects' perceptions of inkblots are recorded and then analyzed using psychological interpretation, complex algorithms, or both. Some psychologists use this test to examine a person's personality characteristics and emotional functioning. It has been employed to detect underlying thought disorder, especially in cases where patients are reluctant to describe their thinking processes openly. The test is named after its creator, Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach. In the 1960s, the Rorschach was the most widely used projective test."

Here's a really good example of what the "see-er" of this particular pattern might see.  What are your first impressions?  For me, when I first saw the ink blot, I saw a Butterfly.  But, when I looked at it a second tine, I saw something altogether different.  Here's another:

Again, what do you see?  Your interpretation might be completely different than mine.  And here is where the Psychologists and I disagree.  I don't think you or I have a personality "disorder" just because we see different things...merely different experiences in our lives that lead us to see things differently.

President Dieter Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said this in a recent talk at the Women's General Conference:

",...there are more ways to see than with our eyes, more ways to feel than with our hands and more ways to hear than with our ears.
"...just because we can't hear something doesn't mean there is nothing to hear.  Two people can listen to the same message or read the same scripture, and one might feel the witness of the Spirit while the other doesn't."

His advice to us is to "...listen differently..."

From Saint-Exupery's Little Prince, we are told, "One sees clearly only with the heart.  Anything essential is invisible to the eyes,."

Now, let us look at another test.  I cannot put into this Blog any audio or musical entries, but based on your experience, what do you "hear" when you go to a Classical Concert?  A Rock Concert?  Or a Concert of your favorite Artist?  We both will hear each differently.  I happen to love Classical music, so I can close my eyes and be lost in the beauty of the music.  I listen with my heart!  My mother, on the other hand could not stand that "long-hair" music, so she would always ask me to turn it off!  The same is true of all of the genres of music.

This test explains to me why there are so many different interpretations of the exact same speech!  Those who are looking for the worst will find it.  Those who are looking to be validated in their choice will find it.

What is the point of all of this?  I guess it is to try and persuade others to stop quibbling about what is and realize that there will always be more than one interpretation of what we see or what we hear.  The majority of the states chose our new President.  It is over!  It is time for all men to come together and move on so we can help heal this country.  And I am sure there are some out there who will disagree with me.  This is not an argument, simply an observation.  You see what you want to see, and you hear what you want to hear.  Just remember, when you listen or see with your heart, the outcome might be quite unexpectedly different.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

And So It Begins...A New Presidency for 2016-2020...

In just a few days, the United States of America will see the dawning of a new era.  January 21st will usher in the Republican Presidency of Donald J. Trump.  The past year has been one of so many upheavals in our Government that it has made this old lady's head spin.  Never in MY life have I ever seen such wild shenanigans, displays of ugly tempers, outrageous lies about and within both parties, and outbreaks of fights and name-calling like seen only in the movies!

If I were an historian of any merit, I would say that the past 100 years have slowly been leading up to just what we are witnessing today.  The world is in chaos and so is the United States of America.  I don't recognize my country anymore.  I don't think the new generations coming up, who certainly don't remember a thing about "the good old days," if there really were such a thing, really have anything tangible to compare what we see today.

The youngsters of today don't remember Nickel ice cream cones or Penny candy.  They don't remember the newsboys standing on the corner calling out the latest headlines that were selling papers, like "Japanese Bomb Pearl Harbor," or "WWII breaks out in Europe."  They don't remember playing out until after dark in the streets of their neighborhoods games like kick the can or tag or hide-'n-seek.  They don't remember walking a mile to school...and home again in the afternoon, because there were no school buses and mom's didn't have 2 cars in the family to pick them up.

Even then, though, our world was not perfect.  Government was always scheming about how to pinch the very last Nickel out of our parents.  Savings accounts were unheard of, but that coffee can on top of the Frigidaire held all mom could save out of her grocery money so she could send the kids to the movies on Saturday for a Quarter.

I remember!  I was born when WWII broke out and a toddler when Pearl Harbor was bombed, but I remember the '40's and '50's.  If you asked my mom, she would say those were hard times, but if you asked me, I would say they were the best of days.  It's because I was a kid!  Responsibility hadn't set in yet!

Today's kids have a lot of Technology at their fingertips, but I remember our first radio, telephone and television!  Why, they opened up a whole new world to us!  I would fall asleep on the floor in front of the radio, listening to my favorite mystery programs and when TV came along, I would fall asleep in front of it...on the floor!  After all, my first communication gadget was the radio, and I didn't need a picture to hear what was going on!  Those were the days of imagination!  Those were the days when Disney created Mickey Mouse and gave children wonderful tales to imagine, hear and see.

Presidents have come and Presidents have gone.  We have had some good ones and a few bad ones and a few really, really bad ones.  But, we always manage to survive.  My parents survived the Great Depression, the Crash of Wall Street, The Roaring Twenties, and the uncertain thirties.  They managed to get through two Great Wars and have lived to go from Horse and Buggies to Jet Plane travel.  Me?  I've just come from cars to trains to Airplanes to Jets to Rocket Ships and putting our American Flag on the Moon.

If we have survived all of those old Presidents, we will survive yet another.  We are seeing changes, sure...but every generation has seen their fair share.  I remember my mom and dad saying they didn't think they would survive Harry Truman...but they did.  I didn't think we would survive Richard Nixon, but we did.  And I didn't think we would survive Barack Obama, but we did.

And every new President coming into office has a boatload of messes to clean up from his predecessor!  Donald Trump will be no different.  I must say, however, it will be a pretty unusual "picture show" to watch.  But I think we will survive this one, too, we always do!  After all, it is "We The People" who actually keep this great experiment called a Republic afloat.  Roll up your sleeves, America, we have work to do.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Magical Christmases...Never Forgotten...

I don't know why I didn't write a Christmas post last year.  Perhaps it was because I wrote a Christmas letter and just left it at that.  But, as I was contemplating the many Christmases past, a memory came into my mind that I feel I must write down.  So, here is my contribution, though late, for Christmas.

 
                                       

                                                  Magical Christmas

I miss the "Magic" of Christmas!  I remember, as a child, there were so many wonders that just could not be explained...except with one word..."SANTA!"  One of those memories will forever live in my heart as I have grown up to grasp another wonder of Christmas...the true "Reason for the Season"...Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior's birth.

When we were children, my brother and I, we couldn't wait for daddy to bring home the most beautiful blue spruce Christmas tree he could find on Christmas eve day.  He would bring it through the door, plop it down on the floor in front of our living room window and there it would stay for the rest of the day.  I remember looking at that tree and imagining in my child's eye, just how beautiful it would be with all of the decorations on it.

On Christmas Eve, Mama would read us the story of the Birth of the Christ Child from the Bible.  We would drink hot chocolate and eat Christmas cookies or a candy cane.  While we had a warm home filled with love, I thought about that first Christmas morning.  It was a cold, unadorned stable.  Its only light was from a bright and heavenly star shining high above.

Everything in the world would change, even that stark little scene, at the moment of His birth.  A King was born that night in that cold stable.  His mother would place Him in a manger filled with straw.  And the stable was filled with His light.  That night, a miracle occurred!

"When are you going to decorate the tree?" I would ask my mother.

"Oh, no, I don't decorate the tree!  It will be decorated by Santa's elves while you are sleeping."

I accepted mama's explanation, and would go to bed with wonder in my head and envisioning the little elves who would come with Santa and while he was placing presents, they would decorate our tree.  I found it very hard to fall asleep.

On Christmas morning, my brother and I would be the first ones awake and we would run to the living room to see what miracles had occurred while we were sleeping.  I always stopped short, in front of the tree.  It wasn't the presents that caught my eye, it was the miraculous transformation that the tree made overnight.  It was beautifully decorated from bottom to top and there was always a bright gleaming star on the very top.  Each branch had very carefully laid tinsel/ice cycles.  It was a work of art and took my breath away.  This was our own Christmas Miracle.



I will never forget those Christmases etched in the memory of my childhood.  I have tried to duplicate them in my own family...but somehow I didn't have that same magical touch that was there in my early home.  But, more and more lately, as the world drifts farther and farther away from the beauty of the Christ Child on Christmas, the focus in our home is on Him...the first Miracle of Christmas.


Monday, January 2, 2017

Selfishness...My Battle With Addiction...

Today, barely 2 days into the New Year (2017) I was privy to the most unselfish acts of love I have ever experienced.  And it took me back 47 years to a time when I first realized I was addicted to "Selfishness!"

Let me try to explain.  Selfishness (my own) nearly destroyed my wonderful, loving, trusting husband!  Selfishness (my own) nearly destroyed a family.  Selfishness (my own) nearly destroyed me!

I began my addiction in 1970, when I decided I was unhappy and needed verification, justification for my my un-Godly acts of selfishness.  (Let me clarify...I'm certain that it started long before this...probably in my childhood, but I began to recognize it in 1970.)  It grew to the uncontrollable stage in 1972, when I ran away, vowing never to return home!  And then something wonderful happened.   In 1974, my Saint of a husband wrapped his arms around me and told me he would walk this road to redemption with me.  And he did.

Repentance was not an easy road to travel, but with Gerry's and the Lord's help, I did travel it.  There are so many things, and even people, I had to give up in order to conquer Selfishness.  I had to learn to be Selfless...to put others and their needs ahead of my own.  This was new to me.    Even as a mother, I was Selfish!  But I was determined to conquer this addiction.

"Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection - or compassionate action.”
― Daniel GolemanSocial Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships

Today I realized that somewhere along this dark road of mine to reovery, I planted seeds of unselfish love, empathy and compassion to my children.  Early this morning, their brother reached out for help in making a decision that, at the time, seemed life-threatening.  Ir was as though the clouds parted and love shined down from the Heavens  and encircled my girls and Billy, their other brother, with wisdom.  Heather called upon cousin, Ann, to please get her boyfriend (an EMT) to get to Mark and assess him.  He is afraid of the expense of going to the hospital!  Within minutes, that was accomplished.  Prayers were sent Heavenward; tears were shed; and a blessing was poured down from Heaven.

Mark will be OK.  He just needs to take better care of himself.  My son(s) and daughters  are the most selfless people I know!  They always put others first before self.  However, when it comes to nutrition and caring for this tabernacle God gave us, we must not be too selfless there.  TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, MARK!  iILOVE YOU AND COULDN'T BEAR TO LOSE YOU!

Have I conquered my Selfishness?  Not entirely!  But, with the help of the Lord, I am more aware of my tendencies and I try tirelessly to put my own problems "in the periphery of  (my) mind" and am becoming more aware of how small they are now.  God help us to try each and every day to be like Him and create selfless acts and not selfish ones.  Like any addiction, the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem.

"Hi, my name is Florene Davenport Henderson Mickelson, and I am addicted to Selfishness."
t