Finding My Way Home

I Need Someone To Set This To Music

Finding My Way Home

Every day, it’s something.

Life just pushes you along.

Moments pass so quickly,

like the words of your favorite song.

All along I wonder:

Is this where I’m supposed to be?

Every day brought me closer

to this person I call “me”.

(Chorus)                                                                                                                                                All our life’s a journey;

paths you choose alone.

Step by step move forward

until you find your home.

 

Each path is so different.

You’re hoping it’s the one.

Yet each time there’s something

that says “No, you’re still not done.

Keep moving forward.

I know it’s hard on you

But hold on, you’ll get there.

Then, you’ll know just what to do.”

(Chorus)                                                                                                                                                All our life’s a journey;

paths you choose alone.

Step by step keep moving

until you find your home.

 

Well all at once it happens.

There’s a vision I can see.

Everything I cherish

is right in front of me.

I can see flowers blooming.

Birds are singing their sweet song.

Someone out there listened

and put me right where I belong.

And when this moment happens,

all the doors seem to open wide.

“This is your home,” it’s calling.

Go ahead. Step inside.”

“Oh the journey’s not quite over.

There’s still lots for you to do

But trust me, this is the moment

that’s been waiting here for you.

(Chorus)                                                                                                                                                  All our life’s a journey;

you’ve never been alone.

Every step you’ve taken

put you right where you belong.

All our life’s a journey;

you’ve never been alone.

Every step you’ve taken

put you right where you belong.

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Words – That Make Up A Life

There’s a book in me, waiting to be written; one book. Probably, everyone has one book. I’m thinking that maybe we all have an obligation to write it down. We, each, have a right to say our words, record our thoughts, share our life with the world. Everyone, everywhere has a story. I’m going to tell mine. I need to tell mine. Something inside me, all around me is telling me to say these words. 

It’s time. 

Stop making excuses. Get the words down. What’s stopping you? Fear? Haven’t we talked about this? Don’t you know that fear just holds you back? Just write! Write like there really is no tomorrow. Tell your kids all the words you want to share, just in case. Tell your friends what they meant to you. Tell your ex-husbands (living and passed) that they played such an important role in your life. Tell your parents, even though they are long gone, that you forgive them, that you understand now. Tell the world your words. One book.  Just one book.  But you need to write it.  It won’t write itself!

Ok, so here we go again. It seems like I’ve tried to start so many times. Once, I even got so far into it that I did a little research on how to publish. That was the last time, actually, but every time something happens that makes me close the file; save it…but stop.

Words. They are just words.  And I tell myself that my words are not so special. My words are no more important than another person’s words so why do I think that my words should be printed and bound for others to see? Why do I believe someone would  actually read it? Why?

I’m going to tell you why.

Guided Memories

Over the past several years, I feel that my reflections have seemed guided. I have written about my life experiences and then, through the act of writing, I have gained new insights, seen my thoughts play out a different way. Heard a voice…come from somewhere; inside my head. 

And with the help of that voice, anger turned to understanding. Frustration became moments to remind myself to just breathe and go with the flow. And joy…joy has become delicious…savored because all too soon, as I have learned with anger and frustration; it, too, passes.

I have learned that I can not expect life to go the way I plan. In fact, that is the one thing I can count on. If I don’t expect things to happen, than I am not so disappointed in some results, or afraid of what might happen.  Instead, I am far more excited about the unexpected gifts.

It’s been the act of writing that has become my meditation, my muse. Words flow into my thoughts as I write. Sometimes, these thoughts seem to be coming from someone other than me. How else can I explain what happened when my anger towards the relationship I had with my mother turned into an “aha” moment of understanding and compassion? How else can I explain the fact that I found life lessons inside every hurtful memory of two failed marriages? And how else can I explain how painful it was to have my daughter and her family move so far away but, somehow, through writing and long meditative walks in a woods, I found the strength to become her strength again.

Writing. Every day. Three pages. Hand written.  That’s what it is now, but in the beginning, it was simply tapping away on a computer; writing what flowed from my brain onto the page. And then, pausing every once in awhile to look out the window or stroll through the woods to see the beauty of life and to breathe.

So, my plan, now, is to share my thoughts, my life, my words with others. I know that they’re just my words. I know that everyone has their own words. But maybe, just maybe, if I write mine, others will see their words as well. And maybe, just maybe, others will be able to take a break from their anger or frustration, anxiety, or sadness, to stroll to a window, or take a walk in the woods to see the beauty in their life, too. 

This time, I will start at the woods and work my way backwards. This time, I will start at that window. And I will share the words that filled my head, the words that guided me, step by step, to today.  I’m going to try, day by day, to share this view of life.  There’s something in me right now that believes that now is the time.

So, hang on.  More is on the way! 

 

“Let Go. Let God”

These words pop into my head every single time I find myself in one of those places where I feel as though there is nothing more I can do.

I am a strong person.  I try to take care of myself.  But sometimes…

It’s Not Up To Me

Sometimes, there are no clear answers, no clear path.  It’s at this moment when I take my hands off the steering wheel.   You know the song “Jesus Take The Wheel“.  Well that’s where I’m at right now. And, I know that I could have done this earlier.  I don’t need to try to control everything so much.  Things will turn out the way they are supposed to turn out.

No Dammit!

I don’t believe that God intended for us to just lay back, throughout life, just waiting for divine intervention.  We have a job to do.  We have choices to make.  This life is crafted by our choices. And so I have a choice right now but here’s the deal…my moves over the next few days are controlled by another.  They’ve been controlled by another for a few weeks now…because I made a choice!  Isn’t that interesting?  How many times do we give our freedom to someone else to hold and then lament our lack of freedom, throwing our arms up in the air saying “There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s out of my control.”

NO DAMMIT! I always have a choice!

But Right Now, I Can’t Breathe

Right now, right at this moment, my stomach hurts.  I have no words to form into a cohesive choice. Right now, I just need to close my eyes and let it go.

I need your help on this one God.  I need your help. Show me the way.  Give me the words to say. Help me make this choice.

And Before You Know It…

I will find myself on the other side.  I will have survived!  I didn’t die!  I’ll be reflecting back at it all and thinking…everything turned out just the way it was supposed to.

God, you’re good at this.  Thank you!

The Stress Of Moving

Dr. Wayne Dyer, in his book “I Can See Clearly Now” wrote about ending each day by thinking about all the positive things that happened during that day instead of leaving the day with anger or frustration.  He called it “Now I lay me down to sleep”.  He talked about how if we fall to sleep thinking about everything that went wrong with the day, it negatively affects our sleep. So then it’s logical that if our thoughts are the opposite – all the good things that happened during the day – then we can enter into sleep with a positive sense of peace and then it’s peaceful thoughts that fill our dreams.

The Stress Of Moving

Develop A Plan

You know, I’m a teacher at heart.  I like having a lesson plan.  So, when I entered into buying a house I had a plan.  And, everything was going according to that plan.  Then, I actually was able to move up the closing date which gave me extra time to make the house just perfect before I moved.  So, I set in on arranging to have the walls painted, the floors refinished, and electrical work done with time to spare so that I could actually move some things in early.

Gather Necessary Resources

And in the beginning, everything was on track.  I have a niece who agreed to paint walls. My daughter’s brother-in-law could fit me in to do the electrical work and I found someone who not only agreed to refinish the floors  but also offered to install a pocket door over a pantry and add a closet at the front entrance.  I was so excited that I came straight from the closing and started pulling up carpet.

I gathered packing boxes and did research on the cost of my top priority items.  I then laid out a time table with the amount of time I had available, bought the paint, ordered the pocket door and scheduled it for pick up and kept working on that carpet.  My hands and arms ached from pulling staples but I didn’t want anything to slow down all these great people who had so willingly found time in their schedules to fit me in.

Thrilled is an understatement.

Carry Out The Plan

I’ve been packing for a month, here and there.  I like to take my time with things; clean things up, get rid of things, sort things into the right box so unpacking will be easy. And, I take care of grandchildren so I can’t pack nonstop.  I like it paced out slow and easy.

Each of my “sub-contractors” checked in with dates and times when they would arrive to begin their work.

My plan was humming along.

Be Flexible

Now I’m going to tell you that not everything always goes according to plan.  Every teacher knows that and adjusts. Still, it’s hard not to get frustrated and anxious.  Will everything get done on time?  Not everything is getting done as fast as promised. My time to get some things in ahead of time is running out. Still I keep moving forward.  Time to order the refrigerator and microwave.  This is exciting.  It can be delivered on Saturday.  Can I be there on Saturday?  Absolutely!

Be Gentle With Yourself And Others

Saturday comes.  The kitchen is in disarray.  The stove had to be moved out of the way.  It was sitting in the middle of the floor. Chunks of drywall and wood needed to be bagged and pulled out of the way from the pocket door work. The wall where the refrigerator will go needed to be painted.  The floor needed to be cleaned. I didn’t have the microwave there early enough to have it installed by the electrician. He had everything else done.  I should have ordered it sooner.

My niece came to paint the wall even though there was an impending weather event.  She got as much of the kitchen painted as she could before I forced her to leave before the roads got bad.

The refrigerator was delivered…damaged.  They didn’t even take it off the truck.  The microwave that I ordered is too big for the space.  It needs to be returned as well.

The pocket door is half done, the floor refinishing is waiting, the front closet is waiting, and I still have more staples to pull!

I looked around at everything disheartened and so I just turned and left.

End The Day With Positive Thoughts

“Now I lay me down to sleep.”  Let’s see.  How can I end today on a positive note?  Easy.

Dear God,

I want to thank you for Rhonda (the painter).  Do you know she came today even though she knew the roads could get bad early.  She came because she had promised. Then when she left, she even loaded her car with excess carpet remnants to free up space in the garage.

Then there is all that electrical work.  Rick (the electrician) had someone cancel this past week so he was able to come both Tuesday and Thursday.  He has taken special care to make sure my house will have the right outlets.  No more extension cords. The outlet is ready for the microwave when I get the right one. He even said that he would come back next week to add an additional outlet on a wall in my new office just so I can add the right kind of light next to a chair.

Earlier in the day, I got to attend a music class with my grand-daughters.  It is the best hour of each Saturday.  Happy little kids.  Proud parents and grandparents.  It always leaves me feeling blessed.

And then, when I locked up the house for the day, I drove to Best Buy where I had ordered the refrigerator and microwave.  I asked to talk to a supervisor (a suggestion from my daughter).  I told him the whole story – the refrigerator came damaged, the microwave was too big… He could hear my frustration.  He said, “Let’s start at the beginning.  Let’s talk about the microwave.”  So I said that I clearly ordered the wrong size.  It will look gigantic over the stove and hang way too low.  He then broke into this little smile and said “You know we have this new microwave design.  I haven’t even put it out on the shelf yet.  It’s that new.”  It’s 10 inches shorter than the other one and will fit fantastically in my kitchen.  Then he said that we would have to reorder the refrigerator and make things right (with the price) because of my inconvenience. I left pleased.

After thinking through all the positive things that happened over the past days, I fell asleep at peace.

And I Slept Like A Baby

Is everything going smoothly and perfect.  No. But, there are lots of things that are going well. Regardless, in thirteen days I will be moving in.  Ready or not, here I come. And I am going to trust that everything will actually get done on time…maybe with a little time to spare!

No Pictures Yet! No One Needs To See Chaos 🙂

 

Finding My Way Home

It’s Taken A Lifetime

I bought a house this week.

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It’s not the first time I’ve owned a house but it is the first house I have owned alone.  I don/t think I was ready to own a house alone … until now.

Now the reality of that hit me the morning after.  It snowed over night and while I was sitting, leisurely writing in my journal, all of a sudden my brain exploded with this thought –

Oh Shit, I own a driveway!

Luckily, the sun took care of the snow this time.

In the past, I bought a house with someone else.  I didn’t feel the weight of all the details like I feel them now.  And, it occurred to me, as I was going through each step towards this purchase, that I feel like I kind of know what I’m doing.  All the times before, maybe I was being prepared to do it this time alone.

This Calls for a Celebration

Along the way, people  really did want to help.  Still, I felt as though this was a “Do I, don’t I?” moment that belonged to me alone.  When I made the decision, it became simple…just take one step at a time. And, just like that, one step after another, there I was driving away from the closing with keys in my hand. And there was that feeling again:  I realized that I had just completed this process by myself – no realtor, no one sitting next to me while I signed that two inches worth of paperwork. How many times did I sign my name?  I lost count. By the end of it all, my hand was shaking. But it was my name, just my name.

Then I was ready to share the moment with someone.  So I drove to my new home.  I parked the car in my driveway and then I walked next door…to my daughter’s house!  She was ready to celebrate with me.

Cheers, Grandma

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Champagne for me.  Orange juice for the grand baby.

We had a moment.

A woman to woman moment.

We can do anything we put our mind to, little girl.

Anything!

 

But Now It’s Time To Get To Work

Ok, so while I got a little help with that snowfall, there are more projects that I have to tackle before I actually move in.  I have a window of time and it was my daughters who both said that I’d regret it if I didn’t get the floors refinished prior to moving in. They’re right.  The floors are beautiful hardwood floors, downstairs and upstairs but the upstairs had been covered with carpet.  I’ve never pulled up carpet before but I did find someone who can refinish before my move in date as long as I get that carpet up. So, armed with a new sharp razor, I set to work.

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I mean, how hard can it be to cut carpet, roll it up and sweep the floors afterward?

My first clue should have been the guy at the hardware store who said that pulling up carpet was one of the worst jobs he’s ever had to do.

Well, let’s just say that I earned my first blister from this job but, after two days, I am nearly done with my first homeowner job.

Here’s what I learned from this task:

  1. carpet holds a ton of dirt
  2. good sharp razors are necessary
  3. get a good staple puller
  4. you will also need  a small crowbar to get under the tack strip and to remove the nails.
  5. and buy a pair of gloves!!!

So far, I have removed two rooms of carpet and feel like a bit of an expert as I round the corner on room number three.

Luckily, it won’t be long and I will be turning the baton over to experts to sand the floors and paint the walls. I’m sore and tired and it’s only been two days.  This is going to be some adventure.

Stay tuned.

 

Fate? Is That What This Is?

Opening Doors

It’s happening again!  I was presented with a door.  That’s how I like to think of big life decisions.  My opportunity.  My choice.

Do I open the door?  Do I step through? Or do I stay on this side of the door?  Safe. Safe from fear of the unknown. What do I do? I think of how many times I may have been presented with a door and I didn’t open it.  Fear is a powerful thing.

I think of the times when I did attempt to open the door and something would happen that stopped me from stepping through.  I had thought the time was right  but something told me “No, not this one.  Not this time.” So, I backed away.

Then there are those times when I felt pulled through the door…let’s say ‘guided’ through.  That seems less harsh.

So Here It Is Again

I’m going along with my life, feeling relatively content yet not quite.  I keep poking at the edges of home ownership.  Twice, I have come close.  Twice, I backed away committing to myself to just let it go.  I’m not young anymore.  I’ve owned homes.  There are advantages to renting.  I haven’t mowed a lawn or shoveled snow for the last five years. Owning a home comes with commitment and obligations, so I was resting back into contentment with my comfortable rental space.

And then it happened.

My daughter and her family moved to a larger home to make room for their growing family.  I help pack them up, unpack them, clean out cabinets.  All of that.  I would say almost immediately I was drawn to the view from their kitchen window.  It was the most beautiful back yard.  It reminded me of a small English garden.  It wouldn’t be long and I would meet the neighbor.  She was somewhat embarrassed with how the yard looked.  She hadn’t spent as much time on it as she’d liked.  Her husband had been ill. As much as I could, I praised her for how it didn’t matter.  It was such a peaceful, beautiful space.

How did it happen that I found out that she was actually moving out?  Her husband had passed away and her children worried about her living there on her own.  How did I hear about that?  It turns out that there is another neighbor who cares for little kids the same age as one of my grandchildren.  This person reached out, almost daily, saying “Bring your grand daughter.  Bring her to play.”  And so I did.  As it would happen, she was very close to her neighbor.  She was saddened by the knowledge that her friend was moving.  I was as compassionate as I could be but also felt bad for my own daughter.  This neighbor was going to be fun to know – a lovely grandma type for my grandchildren to grow up next to.

How did it happen that my interest in this house became known to the owner?  Apparently, my son-in-law mentioned something.  All of a sudden, the owner is asking me if I was the lady who was interested in buying the house.  This took me by surprise.  I loved the garden like backyard.  By looking at the house, though, I assumed that 1) it would be too big for one person, 2) it would surely cost more than I could ever afford.  I was clearly surprised by her question and minimized its validity. Still, I would look across from my daughter’s kitchen window and dream of what it would be like if I were the grandma person next door.  I could see it.  I could see them playing on the patio.  I could see myself teaching them how to plant flowers and water the gardens.  I longed for  a dream like that to actually be possible.  It made me sad because I assumed that I would never see that dream become reality.

When I finally did dip a toe in the water to actually say that I might be interested, I was told that, as I had assumed, the house was going to be priced out of my reach.  I resigned myself to simply being happy that I still lived close enough to care for my grandchildren three days a week and there are so many advantages to renting.

But then I get a phone call.  It’s the daughter of this lovely lady.  She said, “I heard about your interest in buying my mom’s house.  We like your story.  We’d be willing to drop the price.”  Would I be interested in the house if it came at this reduced price?

The Door Had Been Opened A Crack

My first reaction was, of course, excitement…followed quickly by fear!  Slam the door shut! Quick!

I didn’t though.  I took a deep breath and figured that there were many opportunities to close this door.  I didn’t need to rush it.  I mean, after all, I would probably not qualify for a loan or an inspection would probably find that there were costly repairs that would need to be done.  I assumed that, given time, I would learn that this was still out of reach, but then…

This Scrolled Up On Facebook

Sunday Blessing:

May you lean into the change and cycle you are currently going through or being called towards.  May you find the courage to trust yourself and shout YES to the burn of transformation.  May you let go of all the no longer essential parts of yourself, and ignore the fading, fear-filled voices.  Because this is where you cross the river.  This is where you stop being the scared person you once were.  This is where you shoot out of the cracks you’ve fallen into. This is where the waiting ends and a new voice is birthed.  A voice you recognize as your own, the new you.  And there’s no going back, because no one’s gonna save you, except you.  May you lean in.  May you lean in.

________

Tanya Markul, Thug Unicorn

And this may have been the sign that I needed.  So I decided it was ok to ‘lean in’. And I picked up the phone and started making phone calls:  a mortgage company – “Would I qualify? What would an inspection cost?  How much would it cost to hire a lawyer to write up an offer to purchase?”

And so it began.

Potential Roadblock #1 – Maybe I won’t qualify for a loan

I sent all the necessary documents to prove my income and assets.  I had no downpayment. Still, they said I would qualify for a loan.  Pre-approval letter attached to the email response.

Potential Roadblock #2 – Inspection may turn up additional problems

I learned that  writing a offer to purchase typically is done first and then the inspection but the lawyer was a cost that I didn’t want to incur if there were expensive problems with the house.  I wanted to know before I wrote the offer.  The inspection was expensive but not as expensive as paying a lawyer so let’s do that first.

The inspection took over four hours.  I was next door taking care of my grand daughter.  He came, luckily, during her nap so we could really talk.  My first question, “Are there any red flags?”  He, of course, didn’t want to go there first but insisted on going step by step through everything he looked at and what he thought and then, in the end, he said, “basically there are no red flags.”

So now, I know that I qualify for the loan.  There are no issues with the house. So what next?

Potential Roadblock #3 – Will an offer be accepted?

So what offer would I make?  Would I offer them the price they want?  How do I know if that’s reasonable?  My daughter suggested that I ask the realtor that helped them buy their house.  My concern was that I didn’t want to go through a realtor.  My daughter insisted that she would simply give me advise, no obligation.  And that is just what she did.  In the end, she actually indicated that she would list it for the amount that the owners suggested they wanted so that was a good sign but wait a minute…if the house was listed for that amount with a realtor, then there would be fees paid for that assistance so then I had a bargaining chip.

In the end, after talking it through with a mortgage person, I was able to understand the overall costs of a home purchase: closing costs, prepays, and downpayment.  Oh my goodness, this is where I needed to take a deep breath.  Remember, I don’t have a downpayment.

Well, the mortgage company came up with an option that required only 3% down.  I could afford that. Then, after working the numbers over and over again, I figured out what what kind of offer I could make that I could afford.

And they accepted it!

No More Roadblocks!

And so this door is wide open and, step by step, I stepped through that door. I am buying a house!  This house with the beautiful English garden, this house that looked too big for one person, this house that would probably be too expensive, this house that I could see myself in before I ever stepped in the door.

And all I can think is…this must be fate!

 

 

 

 

Call On The Butterfly When It’s Time To Change

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It’s Time For A Change

Time to once again find the courage to break free of a self-imposed cocoon. I need you right now, Butterfly.  Remind me:

Lighten up.  Stop taking everything so seriously. It’s time to make a change. In spite of the challenges, you’ll get through this transition…as always, remember, “this too shall pass”.  (Farmer, S.D., 2006)

Ok, ok. I can do this.

Every Single Time, I Freak Out!

I’ve lived long enough to have experienced change before.  Many times, actually.  Yet, every single time, my brain goes into “freak out” mode.  Still, still, I never ever let that fear stop me from making that change!  NEVER!

Sometimes, it slowed me down, though, I have to admit.  Fear is such a powerful force.  And, slowing down is actually not a bad response.  So I will say that fear can be a healthy thing, for a time.  But, fear should never be used as a REASON to stop you from changing.

So, over my life time, I have learned how to breathe through fear and embrace change.

Praying Through It All

You know, when I was a little kid, I was taught to say specific prayers.  Raised Catholic, I endured rosary after rosary and it was called “praying”.  I didn’t get it.  I wasn’t praying! I was simply barking out memorized lines of a chant.  “Hail Mary, full of grace, the lord is with thee…”  Over and over again, we would repeat these lines because we needed to ask God for forgiveness for our sins.

It wasn’t until I was older that I actually found the courage to tell my mother that I wanted to just talk to God, not say so many Hail Mary’s and Our Father’s.  She did not approve!  Still, it was then that I truly learned how to pray.  But for years, I didn’t pray because I thought praying was all about asking for something, begging for something and I didn’t think it was right to think that I deserved anything better than anyone else.  It was years later that I found that I could actually pray to God in thankfulness.  And I did, and I do most every night.

But then there are those times where I am going through a change and my brain is freaking out and I find myself begging for a sign that everything will be ok.  It was during one of these “freak out” sessions that I learned of Animal Spirit Guides by Steven D. Farmer.  It was at this moment that I felt, for the first time, that I could feel and see guidance from the spirit world.  And, for maybe the first time in my life, I felt that I didn’t have to push through a change on my own anymore.

Now, I talk to God but I also talk to family members who have passed before me.  I ask them for help freely.  And then I pay attention to the signs.  Most of the best signs I see in nature with the guidance of the Animal Spirit Guide and a set of cards.  Messages From Your Animal Spirit Guide by Steven Farmer is the deck of cards that I use on a regular basis.  And when I’m going through a change, I will get messages that may say things that include “go for it” to “slow down” or “step back to see the big picture”.

And Sure Enough, I Get Through It

Yes I do, with the help of my guides, I move through change with strength and conviction but also with thoughtful  reflection.  Fear does not define me.  Fear slows me down.  Fear tells me to proceed with caution but I don’t let fear stop me.  It’s when I feel fear that I reach out to God and all the spirits of my loved ones and say “I need help with this one. Please, tell me what to do.”  And then I listen.

Listen

Pay attention.  Messages are all around us.  Today, I needed the message of the Butterfly.  I am headed into another change.