The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Saturday, March 28, 2015

things we saw this week in Texas

lunch stop first day - big blue sky

L visiting with his mom

a cool "subdivision" we looked at and really like

great smelling stuff - pink honeysuckle?

the house we liked best
great house bad location

more great smelling stuff, this time a tree - like wisteria

trucks wrapped around and out into the street
for a Starbucks in the middle of nowhere

this one stood up for the photo op ... 

seems like it should be wearing a hat ...

big planes circumnavigating the weather in the middle of the country

as seen this week - it resonates


We were back in Texas looking at properties this past week ... so far no joy, but the possibilities abound.  
I really had only one thing I needed to do.  
Tommy and I saw a few "graduations" at the infusion center.  He said, "I'm really looking forward to having the glitter tossed on me ... ."  I was looking forward to it as well, turns out this is the best we could do.  I had hoped his wife might be able to join us for that but we didn't see her at all during this trip.  She has flatly stated that she doesn't want to continue a relationship with me (us), and though it came as a hurtful surprise, the truth is she probably knows better then I about such things.  I am not good at kicking people out of my life.  It's also true that probably all we had in common was our love for Tommy.  Quite frankly, I found her to difficult to understand, and self involved ... and she is the only person who has ever called me a bitch which was hurtful, but also funny.  I laughed.  I felt bad about laughing at her, but not about telling her that the good thing about the whole weird ending was that I would no longer be required to listen to her constant yapping ... and I did that yapping illustration thing with both hands.  People have asked, "What were your brother's last words to you" ... as though maybe there will be insights on life or meaningful reflections.  We did talk a good bit last year ... mostly laughing at childhood memories, some reflecting on roads not taken and might have beens for him ... he spoke of regrets concerning his children, we talked about him making "it" to remission and what life might look like from there.  Towards the end ... when there was little doubt that the end was near he said he was sorry to "leave me with all this" that he never intended to make me carry the load of being the last one standing ... he said as far as the next bit goes I should get ready for the "histhirdwife'sname show" and that he truly regretted the pain that that was likely to cause me (and I still didn't expect it ... lol).  I've always heard that people get weird when someone dies and that was sure true with this experience.  I never saw the animosity coming though looking back I see that I should have, might have, had I been paying attention. That time, for me, was all about making things as good as I possibly could for him ... part of that was managing her with as much tenderness and compassion as I could muster.  For his sake I would still be doing that.  He loved her and that made her family for me. I think she did her very best with him through out their relationship and I think he was blessed by their time together.  I wish it could have been lots longer.  He knew she was a stinker (and aren't we all?) and he still loved her.  That makes me very happy for him.  

During the year I learned a lot.  One thing which seems important to me is this ...  long term ...  I think people would be happier in the long run if they worked out their stuff and hung on to their relationships.  It really is all about love ... loving an other before one's self ... behaving in a loving way.  I think he was 20 the first time he married ... I wish, for his sake and for her sake, for the sake of love, that he'd been able to have spent an entire life with the same woman.  In the end, I was the only consistent "person" in his life.  He could have done better for himself.  He regretted not having tried harder for his people.

Another thing on my mind in regards to Tommy is this ... he isn't mad, upset, hurt, frustrated, etc. with anyone any more.  He is without agendas.  I wish (for my sake) that his grave site wasn't junked up with solar powered light up glass birds (which might be perfectly delightful in one's garden [lol that may be bitchy, does that make me a bitch?  pretty funny]), but he doesn't care about that at all.  If anything, he would think 1.) that's sweet 2.) what ever makes her happy 3.) that's funny 4.) these could be easily removed by some naughty someone one (never me ... which is another lesson learned ... the last spouse gets to decide how things go (as it should be) (I'd have trouble subjecting my kids to that ...  not particularly the glass birds looking over the grave, just everything ... potential unkindness.).

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. 
You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” 
~ C. S. Lewis

It was hard for me to go out there and sprinkle the glitter on the dirt of his grave.  It was hard to tap the soil down as I saw him do on our mother grave.  It was hard to confirm (as I feared at the time) that I sat on her grave as the preacher said whatever he was saying about Tommy.  Next time I go out there I'll take some hand tools for breaking up the clods ... for pulling the weeds that seem to take hold even as the grass hesitates.  As we drove on down the road another sun set, glorious as only Texas skies seem to know how to do, and I snapped these pics.  A fleck of glitter which had remained on my hand flashed ... it seemed sorta sweet.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March 18 ... here we are again.  Tommy always calls on March 18.  Not this time though.  Never again.  March 18 is now only mine to do with what I can ... whatever best that may be.  Our older brother died back in '75 on March 18.  His death kicked the air out of our family and I'd say, looking back, some of us never recovered.  There are things which happen in a life which change e v e r y t h i n g.

And the thing is ... it's easy to assume that everything changed for the worse.

I don't think that's true.

Here's what I think - Horrible nonsensical things happen, wonderfully sublime things also happen.  I'd like to get "stuck" on the amazingly cool stuff.

Thumbing through Momma's picture tin I came across these two mug shots.  My brother is sporting a silver cap on one of his top front teeth.  The dental idea was that he would get the cap off when he turned 18 and they would "fix" it.  I don't know the rationale behind the cap. But ... the cap became part of a top secret communication between my brother and I (or me - idk).

Here's the true story.
We spent a lot of time out (running wild) on our own.  (How we survived was an amusing treasure chest of conversations for Tommy and I as we sat in the hospital "surviving" the cancer ordeal, but I digress.) Pete, my older brother who I actually called Petey even after everyone else had to call him Pete, Petey was great.  A truly great big brother.  Anyway ... busted tooth ... we loved to shoot stuff up in to the air.  We were always looking for ways to send stuff aloft (that's why I needed the bow and arrows for Christmas when I was in the fourth grade ... I got quite good at hitting a horizontally located target, but it was really all about shooting straight up.  I don't know why.  I think it must be part of the reason why I needed to fly though.  So ... the busted tooth.  We built a launcher with a board and a fulcrum (yeah, like a teeter totter) and the idea was to stomp on one end to launch a rock from the other side.  It worked pretty good, but not good enough.  The next plan was to leap from the top of the arc from as high up as I could swing - which I did all the time - and land in such a way as to really stomp on the launcher.  It took a few tries and a lot of coaching from Petey.  I remember him saying "Alright, just look at me and jump when I say go."  He was situated just in front of my landing spot.  After several failed attempts I finally landed smack dab on the vaulting point. And the rock flew.  For about two seconds.  Then blood and lots of it.  The rock popped my brother in the mouth, busting his lips and breaking his tooth.  I'd never seen so much blood coming out of someone's face before.  "You're gonna get a spankin' for this."  That was the first thing he said.  And he wasn't crying, I remember that.  He never cried. (Which was a source of pride for him and awe for me.) I don't know what I must have looked like ... sweaty, grimy from the serious playing no doubt, but at the idea of a spanking, probably incredulous since the whole thing was his idea.  "Look, we need a story here ... ". And he went on to contrive some tale of falling out of a tree and coaching me on the lie.  I was a terrible liar ... meaning, I wasn't good at lying, Momma always knew.  "I'm gonna get a spanking for lying."  I probably started to cry (like a little sissy girl, lol).  You know what he did?  He climbed a little ways up a tree with blood pouring down his shirt (seems like it was, maybe not) and jumped down.  "There.  I fell out of a tree."

Years later he might signal me that he had my back by touching his tooth, the silver one, and winking ... or smirking.  Sometimes he might be telling a story and he'd look over at me and say, "It was just like falling out of a tree."  It's good to have brothers. And, honestly, even with them gone the memories are ... precious.

My eldest son is a lot like Petey.  Same naughty twinkle in his eyes.  It's cool how families have such similarities even when the exposure across the generations is lacking.  There is a good deal of comfort there.

The picture of me says it was taken in '65, when I was six and Petey woulda been nine. The tooth incident was around this time.  Had he survived our younger years he would be turning 59 this year.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.
~ John O'Donohue

Thursday, March 12, 2015

another little project down ...

I've been busy getting the house ready to "show".  That big project is made up of a lot of little projects.  The chair was in the garage.  It was given to one of the kids (years ago) by the high school art teacher.  Before that it might have been in his backyard under a sweet gum tree.  I have never worked on a nastier piece of furniture.  It looks nice now.  And it is clean from the frame out.  It's in V's room, a gift from big sister.  Tomorrow I'll paint her room (She asked for white this time, with a black chalk board wall behind that chair.)
I usually hang a little heart charm inside the stuff I redo.  I think it will make the next person who works on it smile.
 I'm just taking a tiny break before I look at what I'm teaching tonight.  Then back to work on the house, class isn't 'til 6.  These flowers are making me really happy.  So perfect.  That's it.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

still "on" hope ...

Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. 
Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, 
is not the same as joy that things are going well, 
or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, 
but rather an ability to work for something because it is good. 
~ Vaclav Havel

How disappointment tracks the steps of hope. 
~LEL (Letitia Elizabeth Landon)

Jeffrey Ewig
H is suggesting I read about instances of restoration ... and maybe more specifically about hope.  I didn't realize, until we chatted yesterday, that I am still working on "hope".

I think I grasp the idea of "hope of our salvation".  As I examine my ... self ... I can see that I still feel the God is, must be, busy elsewhere.  And ... I am okay with/accept that as  "truth" when in fact, my head believes that is a partial truth.  Not less true, only way too small a view for what the Bible says about God.  The Bible indicates that God is "big" enough to be present in each life which chooses communion/community with Him.
I am reading in Romans 8 ... all of it, but starting around v 18 ... then this:
 ...24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. ...
Future Glory  (around there)

I'm not trying to aggrandize "my pain" elevating it to being about eternal salvation, not at all.  I'm just trying to get a handle on stuff in my own little day to day life.  I think this time that we call "life" is an opportunity to make choices which shape, also inform, us (collectively and individually) about the thing that God call "life".  My eyes cannot see the big picture ... I am limited to a tiny view, barely bigger then a moment.  How I filter or process my experiences isn't as reliable as one would hope (there's that word again).  

I'm out of time for this writing out stuff ... I like the idea of working towards what seems to be "good" and pursuing that work independent of expectation. 
last week after visiting with Two+
thanks for the big-knitty cap and scarf)

cutting out cord for the new project

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

March.  Already.  It amazes me, looking back from the calm of my home, it's March again ... and I'm beginning to think about Spring Break ... and Spring ... and daffodils.  I dream frequently of my dad and my brothers.  Little snippet dreams without a story to be recalled upon waking.  I dream and remember only their faces and the sound of their voices which ... when I'm awake, straining to recall ... I can't.  But.  I remember how I felt, and that is; comforted.  Comforting.

I mentioned the little dreams to my husband saying it seems weird that Momma hasn't been in my dreams at all.  He joked about it saying "maybe she didn't make the cut" ... referencing all the so many times she informed me that by all appearances I wouldn't be making it to Heaven. He didn't intend the remark unkindly, in fact it's a bit of a quirky homage to Momma.

Well, I hadn't intended to mention the dreams ... they are tiny and would be almost missed by conscious thought if it weren't for the sweetness which lingers.  Maybe memories are stirred by looking through Momma's old pictures ... .

I wasn't thinking of dreams this morning, more in keeping with my morning me ... I was thinking about what I'm going to do today and wondering if I missed my oldest son's birthday last year.  The year is more of a blur then most years and even though many of it's moments were spent in "slo-mo" the year past faster then any I've known previously.  I feel a trepidation which hasn't been part of my way before.  A more cautious approach to life might have served me well.  What fuels caution in a person's life?  

And ... what am I talking about anyway?  (Risk?)

I think I "feel" afraid that bad/sad things will just keep on happening. Like ... an avalanche.  How do people deal with avalanches?  I've never seen one or even spent much time where one might happen.  Don't they just begin suddenly ... and end just so?  And ... after one has seen that  unstoppable, (unseen?) force ... does one become ... wary?  mindful? scairt?  Yeah, I know it's spelled incorrectly, even phonetically incorrect, it's spelled like a whispered question in the dark ... you scairt?  I see it now as I type.  That makes sense ... my guys made me feel safe ... any/all three of them.  (Exactly the way Tommy said it when he asked his oncologist ... "you scairt yet doc?"  Doctor, laughed slightly and said no ... but I could see he was.)

trepidation - a feeling of fear that causes you to hesitate because you think something bad or unpleasant is going to happen

caution - : care taken to avoid danger or risk : a careful attitude or way of behaving

Hmmm.  I don't feel a need to be extremely cautious with my "earth suit", in fact, I think an adrenaline rush might be just what I need to set myself back to straight.  I think it's my heart that's weary/wary.  There's gotta be a word that combines "wary because of weary".

I finished my two chairs. I really liked rebuilding them from the frame out ... 

Today I'll "make" seat pillows for both.  Hard to describe, I made a pattern out of newspaper yesterday - it's just going to be a fitted flat cushion.  Also - pulled Ava's new chair down to the frame and I'm starting  to reupholster it today.  It's a huge over stuffed modern casual looking thing, different from what I usually chose to do ... it's like a couch almost.  So ... I think I'll find a TEDtalk or some documentary on avalanches and ... get going on it.

This is my command--be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." ~ Joshua 1:9 NIV