today, Uncategorized

I know it’s been a while​

I haven’t posted in much longer than I intended. I had a post all set to schedule but … I just didn’t feel then. I still don’t. It’s sitting ready for another time to share. The next thing I knew I had taken on more than I could chew. My writing fell behind. Actually behind is not even close. I haven’t written anything since finishing up my storyboard. Even my reading began slowed to a halting stop.

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I was reading ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F&*k” but after 2/3 it became rather rote. I read chapter 18 of “Girl Wash Your Face” and put that book right away to the going going gone pile. I was read a trashy novel while flying to see Bob Seger perform. That was an amazing night. That trip also got me started again with feeling something. The book “I’ll Be Gone In the Dark” was given to me and sparked my inner oh. It’s as though the light has turned back on. Even if winter blues are still here my avid love of words is returning. The infatuation with books, the urge to push myself to write my story is returning. I am laughing as I read a novel by Margaret Lashley – if only I could have her gift for description. Glad One was absolutely wonderful and Two Crazy isn’t disappointing.

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I did learn about a new computer program, that hurt my brain. I switched from iPhone to Android yet kept my mac – that was a fun transition I am nowhere near done learning.  I took a couple classes – I finish that today. I hope to take another this summer if I can. I tried out something new that could have helped someone. I was overdrawn. I had nothing to give. I was tired and wanted to have an extra glass of wine not write. So instead I began to work out daily thanks to an insta friend I made who kept encouraging me to try it out. My faithful friend Dudley happily keeps me company with frequent offers of kisses as I sweat and grunt my way through.

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I have terribly exciting plans for this month. We will be exploring England, France, and Spain for a quick jam-packed trip. I must admit I probably won’t be posting while exploring Europe so it will be awhile but I will be sure to share many photos of the wonderful Adventure I am about to embark on when I can.

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memories, Uncategorized

What do you put in your stocking?

It’s that time of year again. Shopping, baking, planning, rushing, visiting, creating. Something different to each of us. I am finally becoming at peace with this time of year. Depression doesn’t rear it’s ugly head as badly. In fact, I might even be looking forward to it a little. Since becoming a mother I was the first one up. Waking the kids in my excitement to see them open their gifts. To spend the day making a delicious meal. To visit with my siblings.

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Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

When I was little we had different ways to celebrate over the years. We camped in a teepee in the forest. We used a long spider plant for a tree. We had a real tree decorated with strings of popcorn and yarn. We again camped in a teepee in the forest. ( see photos from the last Christmas campout )We even spent it in a hotel while we shopped for our years’ supply of clothing from a Thrift store. Knives, Pear soap, and wool socks were sure gifts we knew were coming. Nothing extravagant. No cookies for Santa as he was make-believe since I was born.

One year we had stockings. Dad had a stocking bigger than I was. Since he joked about everyone getting coal it was decided he deserved coal for being greedy with a stocking big enough for a  person. A dozen boxes were wrapped and placed inside one another until the last little box which contained a nice lump of coal. That was a fun Christmas morning.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

After fourteen I don’t really recall Christmas. Not that I recall previous ones. I think I went home to mother for a couple, another with a family who took me in, a few I was alone. The ever-present underlying depression and discomfort of the season as I didn’t really belong to anyone. I hope I have managed to hide that from my children giving them a warm sense of family, of love. Time spent together. Time to think of, to help others if we can.

I don’t recall stockings. I think an orange, a giant stick of a candy cane, was stuffed in a sock. I can’t really be sure. Even that is a glimmer of a thought, not a memory. I have no one to ask if it’s true. If we even had stockings.

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Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Pexels.com

 

So now I prepare for the season. The house all colorful and bright. A welcoming holiday feeling inside and out. The tree, tall and erect minus the usual side lilt is topped with an angel. Santa hits the roof so he has been demoted to a table ornament. To tell the truth when I bought the Santa’s and Angel all I had no idea they were to be on top of a tree. I didn’t know that hollow dunce cap shaped ornaments meant tree toppers.  I have a few to choose from thanks to that information being unknown. Just like how I didn’t know the plastic is to come off the lampshade once you bring it home! There are decorations on each available space. The jolly singing and dancing stuffies that made my children laugh. Now my grandson laughs and pushes their buttons. The cupboards and freezer stuffed with food.

 

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My little elf setting up the tree

 

I think I may finally have figured the stocking stuffing out. It has haunted me for many a season. Specialty soap, deodorant, girlie face stuff or hair things, magazine or book, chocolate and or candy. Then I heard a brilliant way to stuff them. With nuts that need cracking, oranges, chocolates, and a penny novel. You are set to nibble and snack with a book while waiting for dinner or bedtime. Maybe next year the stockings will be full of nuts!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What do you put in your stockings? Does your family have a favorite tradition?

 

 

my family, Uncategorized

When they were little

Thankfully when my children were barely ending their toddler stage and starting elementary I got a divorce. It was the best thing to happen to me, to us and I am grateful every day that he threw us away.  An odd sentence I know.

 

As I struggled to build a life for the kids and I life became busy. Work, daycare, school, soccer, gymnastics, work some more,  night school. The list was never-ending. I thrived from the hectic schedule. I persevered and pushed through it fighting to build a life where I was independent and able to provide for our basic needs on my own. During that time I faced many choices. One choice I had to make was working multiple jobs and jobs that might pay more but would keep me away from the kids most hours of the evening and weekends.  Or I could work for much less but be able to get the kids from school, take them to soccer and cheer them on, tuck them in at night. I had spent a couple years clawing and scratching my way to get to that choice. Working up to 5 jobs day and night while attending night school. I had cleared us from the mess that the ending of my marriage left. Now I could almost breathe.

So what to do? One day I asked the kids as we drove to school. What do you want? Mommy home with you but we have less stuff, fewer toys and shopping, can’t go on big trips but I’ll be able to be home more. My son’s answer still melts my heart. It wasn’t a short answer. His answer lasted almost until we pulled into the school parking lot. He wanted me home. Who would give him kisses when he needed them. Who would make cookies with them, help them read their books, answer their questions, show them how to do their homework, play in the park with them, kiss they’re boo-boos, teach him to tie his shoes, the list went on and on the entire drive. His adorable chubby body I loved to squish and hug settled in the back seat. His blue eyes so clear and trusting. He just wanted me there. My daughter ever the serious and silent one just nodded and agreed with all that he said.

So it was decided.  I took the low paying going nowhere job that let me drive them to school and pick them up. We camped, hiked, flew kites, played games, rolled in the leaves, played in the rain, tried fishing, went canoeing, went sledding in the dark, built fires, set off fireworks, saved unwanted dogs and found them homes, went exploring thrift shopping, made crafts, cooked together, slept in the back of the car when I forgot the tent poles camping, we did it all together. Priceless memories that hopefully gave them the courage to be themselves. The confidence to stand on their own. The unquestionable knowledge that they are amazing and can do anything they choose to. That was and is my main goal as their mother.

 

I will probably always look back and wish I had done more. I think that about the teens I raised when I was too young to know what they needed. I now wish I had done more with them. They are happy and have good lives not wishing I had done more. So I must learn to be as well. Hopefully, when my children are grown they feel the same way. I think it is the way of growing older. Looking back with the earned knowledge only time gives. Seeing what more could have been done. I am ever so grateful to have had the ability to make the memories I have. I sure miss those little snuggly children I had. I adore them no matter the age, size, or stage: but I sure miss the snuggles from when they needed me so.

lifestyle, Uncategorized

Friday means

Friday means the end of week preparations. Cleaning the house, and the making of Sabbath meals.  No work was to be done on our day of rest. No cooking or work of any kind. It is to be a day of rest and contemplation. One of my chores was mowing the lawn. A chore I loved and detested equally. I got the use a piece of machinery which was awesome. The area considered lawn was primarily thistles and some type of oversized grass that looked and felt more like a pincushion weed. If you stood far enough away to look at it when it was cut it looked like a lawn. However, rolling and playing on it wasn’t comfortable. The grass wasn’t soft as a thick lush lawn would be. The grass made my skin itch as I was allergic. It wasn’t soft like a blanket as my lawn is now. I knew it wasn’t something to be barefoot on much less play or have a picnic on.

Part of my happiness with mowing is that it was better than having to wash the land rover and suburban. I hated washing them. Don’t get me wrong; hose with water and soap suds would generally be loads of fun in the summer but not when dad kept finding these invisible dirt marks. I swear he made them up just to keep me working longer. Seriously how many times can I wash a vehicle and it still be dirty? Apparently a half dozen plus! Now as an adult washing my own vehicle I understand the reasoning. I can see the smudges of dirt that the car wash or my sponge misses. I certainly couldn’t see it at as a youngster.

Sabbath was the day of worship. The seventh day that started at sundown and ended at sundown. Ironically I don’t recall anything about Sunday. I would guess there was no school but I am sure we worked or did something for two days of rest seem unlikely. We would attend vespers both evenings for a couple hours. It was a little more relaxed version of church. Hymns were still sung, prayers said, and a Bible lesson read and discussed. Everyone attended together. Men women, children, students, elderly. The married, the families sat together. The single sat in groups but separated by gender. It wasn’t appropriate to sit together to be near each other if not married. Unless working or in a class of course.

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Sunrise at Mombasa beach Kenya

It was this way for as long as I could remember. Every week the same unless going on a camping trip. Clean the house, prep food to go in the oven while we were at church, go worship with the rest, enjoy an afternoon hike and then back to work. Day in day out. Week after week, year after year. No unlike the Monday to Friday grind many of us work to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. The difference is that there if you decided to head out for a trip or adventure it could happen as long as the gardens had water anything was possible. Life here in the world isn’t as kind or forgiving in that aspect. Often no vacation pay for many. The boss won’t let you have a day off except for the planned week you picked the year before.

I couldn’t resist using photos from our three-week adventure to Kenya. Amazing family trip and such an eye-opener for my children. Such a long way from the Saturday’s spent on that solid wood unforgiving church bench.

 

 

lifestyle, Uncategorized

My parents’​ lifestyle change

Our lifestyle was determined by an author who wrote many books explaining what Gods meaning was in the Bible. What we ate, wore, the age men and woman could marry, social interactions, our daily schedule, our seclusion from society. Her word held in high esteem and studied daily.

Our diet was a big change for many. For many coming from a meat and potatoes, butter flavored mash, desserts, fast food, and other mainstream diets. Well, it was incredibly hard to adjust. The diet consisted of two meals a day, primarily raw for the first few years.  It’s no wonder that my mother couldn’t conceive after having me for years. I can only guess at how much weight she lost those first few years. It’s a wonder I was such a chubby cutie. I must have been fed more often although there are not many left to ask.

My mom had a story that they laughed about. When she and my dad were driving to the community after they were married she had a list of all the things she would need to set up the house for them. When I heard the story I would imagine them driving along in the forest green international pickup with its log camper on the back. The road curving and twisting as they kept driving farther north. I can feel the excitement she must have felt inside going to see the home they would share together. Starting a life with the man she loved above all others. Holding her list of all the things she needed to start life as a housewife.Shopping-list-coloring-page

Photo used from

Turns out mom knew very little about the lifestyle she had married into. Dad had disappeared for a year and then called her up and asked her to marry him. He had found God and country living in the year he was gone. He was no longer a computer engineer for a well-known railroad company. He was now a member of a self-supporting community that lived by the good book and the books explaining the good book. She had no idea the life she had signed up for. On that first drive reviewing her list of things and finding only TWO items were approved. Yes, that’s correct only two items were approved for their new lifestyle and diet. Salt and flour.  Yes, that’s correct salt a flour!

She would laugh as she told the story. It makes me sad for I remember her 5 foot  5 inches  95 pounds. Her skin often yellow tinged as though suffering from jaundice. The stress of her God-fearing husbands’ judgment causing her eczema outbreaks to worsen. Her appearance as a 40-year-old woman was a far cry from the photo’s of her as a healthy dimple-faced 22-year-old from the wedding photo.

Over the years the diet had changed. Things like adding yeast, sugar, oils, baked and cooked foods. Even a light supper was added. Working the land, being active and outdoors tends to burn a high amount of calories. Eating vegan three times a day or less would make it difficult to intake enough calories.

childhood, Uncategorized

Walking in the dark

After working the late shift the other night I climbed into bed with my 16-year-old daughter to visit and hear about her day. She had to take the late bus home that day which was a first. I asked if it was dark walking home from the bus stop. ‘Yes it was scary,’ ‘did you call your brother?’ I asked.  ‘No I used the light from my phone and walked fast hoping nothing would jump out at me,’ was her response.

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Her walk in the dark reminded me of the first place I lived after getting on my bicycle and riding away from the ‘farm’ at 13. That is another story for another time.  At any rate, I ended up in the same house I had lived in as a child, even had my old room back. Like that didn’t depress the shit out of me. The community school only went to grade eight so I worked at the bakery from 4 am till 1 pm Monday to Friday. The house I lived in was over a mile up a mountain. I watched the telephone poles be installed. There was no pavement, no street lights. Moonlight was my only guide if I was lucky. I would walk down the mountain using the path as a short cut. It was pitch dark usually. Occasionally the moon came out from behind the clouds illuminating the pathway. I was terrified of mountain lions, bears, and god knows what else. I have no idea how I managed to not only wake at that ungodly hour but to force myself into the cold darkness down that mountain.

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One day at church the elementary school teacher was speaking about things that made her day and my morning walk was one of them. She loved to wake up hearing me sing as I skipped along the path to work. Brightened her day waking to my cheerful song. Little did she know I was singing to keep the paralyzing fear from overcoming me. I had no choice but to get to work walking that path in the dark. Fear wasn’t an option.

Funny it hits me now that in all the things I have done in life:  fear or failure was never an option.