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! 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

Those Dreams That Haunt You

Many times I dream, but more often than not I forget them the minute I wake up.  Once in awhile there is a dream that lingers in my brain and simply cries out to be brought into the light of day.  I just had one of those dreams.

It Takes Place In a Storage Facility

I was walking by these storage units. Each was open and people seemed to be selling their wares.  I was a visitor walking past so many vendors.  I ran into an old friend.  She and I had been great friends years ago.  She was displaying her baskets.  I remember how much she loved making her baskets.  We hugged and she simply said, “I decided it was time to share these.”  We didn’t talk about the years that had passed without even a word between us.  We just simply enjoyed the moment.  Then we saw another man wonder by; another visitor like me.  He looked depressed, walking slowly and reflectively, and he looked especially old at that moment.  He smiled when he saw both of us. It turns out that we knew him. We shared the moment and then separated.  I continued walking past vendor after vendor, lingering on thoughts of these past friends.

And Then I Realize That No One Is Selling Their Wares

I happen onto a heated discussion between a vendor and a passerby. The passerby wanted to try a piece of the vendor’s prized carrot cake.  It seemed to make the vendor angry. Why wasn’t he pleased? It was then, I think, that I actually realized that no one was selling anything.  These were displays!  People were displaying the things they loved the most!

They Were Sharing Their Dreams

Then it dawned on me:  that’s why my friend was sad.  He seemed to have nothing of significance to share. I remember him as a very smart man, full of passion for his job, working long past normal work hours and long past his formal retirement date. But, when he finally stopped going to work, his dream ended.  This job that had consumed his life left him with a huge hole. Now, here he was walking past person after person who seemed to have realized other dreams; dreams that didn’t earn money, that weren’t  “jobs”.  They were passions outside of work.

The Storage Unit

This location; this storage facility, today, was bursting with excitement.  Dreams had been brought out of storage.  Dreams were being celebrated by their owners.  Those dreams weren’t big deals to anyone, maybe, other than the dreamers. “I make baskets.”  “I make  really good carrot cake.” Dreams, so many dreams, brought out of storage to celebrate and share on this day.  So many dreams are left in storage while we work on the things that we think will make us important.  For my friend, his job was his dreams.  Now it left him sad and empty. My other friend seemed content.  She’d had a good job too but she had moved on. She was content with her projects.  They were her projects, after all.  Like them or don’t like them:  she didn’t care.  Yet, she was thrilled to share them on this day.

So Why Am I In This Dream?

While I was dreaming, my thought was that this might be a great place to try to sell my nature photos; the objects of my current pastime.  But when I realized that no one was really selling,  I woke up.

I was puzzled and needed to continue to ponder this dream.   I felt bad for my sad friend.  It was his sadness that had me thinking…My work had been my passion too.  When I left, I felt that same hole.  Did he represent me?  Or did the other friend represent me?  Was I walking past the vendors because I have yet to accomplish my dream? Will I someday regret letting life pass me by and not finding my life dream? The thing was, I didn’t feel sad. Other people’s sites left me inspired. What is it that I’m doing that fills me with joy; that thing that I do for no pay and it would be something I would never sell?  I wanted to figure this out.

And Then I Did!

I have the opportunity to spend beautiful time with four little people.  I gladly do it for no pay. My grandchildren make my heart sing.  Fighting fires with my four year old grandson or racing Hot Wheel cars up and around his Super Ultimate Garage, listening to my two year old granddaughter burst into full out sentences, singing songs to the one year old granddaughter and watching her make connections with pictures in books, and now snuggling with my one week old granddaughter.  This is the gift that has been given to me.  This is the passion that I have found since retiring that fills me with joy.  And, I share this joy as often as their parents allow. And there is something that comes from sharing joy.  Joy spreads!

What a wonderful dream.  What a wonderful time pondering its meaning.

And, wouldn’t it be fun if everyone pondered what their passion is?  But it has to be something that you don’t do for money.  It has to be something that simply brings you joy.

Slow Down. Wait For Me!

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Wait for me you guys!

 

Why be in such a hurry?

Let’s enjoy today.

 

 

Remember when days seemed to go so slow?

When waiting for something seemed like an endless chore?  “I can hardly wait until…I turn sixteen so I can drive.. graduate from high school… turn 21 so I can legally drink… graduate from college… get married… have a baby… buy my first house.” And then something happens. All of a sudden, the “I can’t wait until” becomes  “I don’t want to turn 30…40…50…60!  Slow down! Hold on!  Everything is going too fast!”

And then, something inside your head says, “Just breathe.”

You stop for a moment and do just that and it’s like the first time that you actually heard birds singing or saw that tiny flower poking through the ground.  It’s the first time that you stood still and actually felt the warmth of the sun and saw the rays beaming through the branches of a tree. And hearing a baby cry sounds more like a miracle instead of a noise.

Slow down

It’s at this point that you realize that each day is a gift and you have a choice.  You can rush through the day and fall exhausted into bed each night feeling as though you will never ever get everything done and time is passing you by.  Or, you can find it in yourself to slow down and look at everything as a gift.  Today is a gift.  My home, the people who surround me, my health, the food in my cupboards, and that sunshine are all gifts.

Enjoy the moment

Once you allow yourself this moment, you realize that nothing is more important…not yesterday…not tomorrow.  This moment is a gift.  Enjoy it.

 

 

 

I Am A Little Pencil

“I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.” Mother Teresa

I’ve taken a long extended break from WordPress but have continued to write in my journal – three pages, every day.

After writing, I  feel a need to simply be still, for a while, and have found this to be a good time to read a book called Spiritual Literacy – Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat.  It’s a book that’s been around for awhile; copyright 1996, but I have carried it with me, with good intentions, and now seems to be the right time to savor the words.

So there I was, reading for a bit, after writing in my journal and up crops this quote.  This is one of those quotes that jumped out at me and I knew I would have to write about it further.  One of the reasons that I stopped sharing in this blog was exactly this.  I had come to feel as though God had picked up my pencil.  I was being guided through thoughts and feelings too personal to share. Too many things happening too fast.  I couldn’t process it all.  I was being told that I was stronger than I believed, that I had to let go, lead each day with gratitude, believe in my creativity, intuition, and most importantly, believe in the messages. For some time, my journal entries were assisted with “Spirit Guide” Cards by Steven Farmer, as well.  Every day – shuffle the deck of Spirit Animal cards and pick number 14.  Why 14?  That’s just what I seemed directed to do.  Every day; number 14.   Every day, the message was different but it always seemed to fit me that day.

Today, I felt as though it was time to shuffle the Earth Magic cards instead.  I use this deck of cards only when I feel as though I am going through a transition.  This deck gets shuffled.  I count to number 14 and pull that card.  That will stand for my Past.  I keep counting out another 14.  This one will be my Present.  And finally, another 14 and this will represent my Future. For some reason, today was the day to do this.

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My Past:  Forest (Breathe)

This one caught me by surprise.  It was so perfect.  I have moved away from the home on the edge of a nature preserve.  I would walk these trails every day, sometimes twice.  I felt I had been brought to this very location for a reason.  I needed a place where I could feel safe and I found it under the trees (the Standing Ones).  I found gentleness and courage with the animals: deer, squirrels, chipmunks, turtles, and birds.  And then, I saw the glorious beauty of the butterfly on flowers and I came to understand that this signified a time for a change.  It was time for me to move on.

 

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My Present – Crystals (Focus)

“Where your attention flows, your intention goes.” Since moving away from the woods and going through significant change within my family, I have struggled with the idea of allowing things to just be.  I have needed to come back, again and again, to “Focus”.  Focus on the moment.  Focus on gratitude, Focus on positive energy.  It has been hard, hard work!  That might be why this card presented itself upside down!

 

My Future – Mountain (Strength)

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In the center of this frame is a photo I took from the side of a mountain in Sedona.  At the time, I was sitting there alone and afraid.  Now, I get a Mountain card as my future and it says “It makes no sense to deny the strength you have at the cost of allowing yourself to be reactive and subject to external influences far beyond what is healthy for you.”

It says that the current situation requires vigilance but not to the point of fear or paranoia.  I am to imagine myself as “a mountain of strength, solidly grounded, head touching the sky.”

See, God speaks to me.

“I am a little pencil, in the hand of God who is sending a love letter to the world.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words

 

It’s all been said before.
You’ve heard the words.

“Relax.
Go with the flow.
Just focus on today.
Take one moment at a time.”

Right? Right!

Words!
Just words!
No one can tell you how to handle this.
No one can feel what I feel.

Everything will be ok.
 Just breathe!
Focus on this moment.
Don’t worry about tomorrow.

But everything doesn’t feel ok.

It’s hard to breathe.

I can’t focus.

I am worried.

Ok.
I will listen.
I will be by your side.
Cry, if you need to.
I’ll hold your hand.
Scream if it helps.
I’ll understand.

Sometimes,
Silence
Is the best advice.

Sometimes,
Being present
Is the best friend.

The words will always be there.
They linger in the air
For just the right moment.
When I’m ready
They’ll be heard.