Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ideas, plans and good intentions

                   This is a section of the yard beside my house. This is also where the septic tank and drain field is, making it a more fertile growing area. Still yet, this is a mess. This, is a portion of my summer vacation plans.
                    I honestly don't feel all that bad that we-- I-- can't go anywhere for the week of the Fourth. I honestly do not mind, celebrating Independence Day here at home. Yes, it would have been more fun to spend at least a portion of the week in Tennessee with my family, but since that isn't going to happen, I've made other plans.
                   I, am going to reclaim my yard.
                             

                       Wood that has been stacked along my driveway for too long. I'll have to use a long handled shovel or hoe to move this out of where it rests, just in case something long and slithery has taken refuge underneath any of it. The last thing I want is to be snake bitten and end up in the hospital. I think we have an ax somewhere. Most of this should be easy to break up and stack on the pile that remains from this past winter. I do know that if I start on this, there will be a lot of beetles unhappy with my actions.
                                       
                           This is beside the carport. (We won't even mention, and there are no photos, of the inside of the carport) I'm not even sure what part of this mess is, and this is more mess that will need a long handled utensil int he moving of stuff. The car I can't move. I'm going to try and find someone who buys junk cars. James was going to try and repair it, but he waited too long.
                                        


 Directly behind the house. Weeds, vines and bushes that seems to have sprung up and taken over. I'm almost afraid to walk out the back door for fear of spiders and or snakes lurking about.
                                            
 I'm not sure what it is, but hopefully it will be easy to pull down and drag off down the hill.
                                      


  This is over on the far side of the yard. It looks as if nature is trying to reclaim what was once hers. And to think, we once had an above ground pool over here.
                                                       


                    The top photo is of the mess around my mailbox. I just cleaned all that out a month ago. I knew it would come back, I just didn't think it would do so quite so quickly. The other two are along my  fence along the dirt road. I had not mowed because every time I do, everyone coming in or out think the road has gotten wider as they drive up almost to my fence. I need to break down and mow it though as it is definitely snaky looking.
                     I have a lot of work ahead of me. I have to get this done, my husband would be so ashamed to see the place this bad. I'm ashamed that the place has gotten this bad. I won't offer the excuse of working and having all the other stuff to take care of. It needs to be done, and since I'm off next week, I'm making the list and putting it out there and hoping that y'all will help keep me accountable.

  Getting  this up may be a little tricky, but nothing ventured nothing gained.

      






Monday, June 26, 2017

Without You






                      The Fourth of July week is coming up. I'll be off from work as we usually are. All I can think is that you had wanted to make plans to go to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. You loved that area as much as I do, even though you couldn't hike to the fall at Cades Cove, you were going to take me and watch me walk away as I've done before. Through the woods and up the hill, all the way to the falls. While you waited for me back at the creek. You would have driven slowly through the park, helping me watch for the wildlife that live there. You would have shook your head at my excitement, you would have offered to carry my camera bag, you would have, but you can't. I was looking forward to going, to doing the things we always did. To eating at the same places, or maybe getting all crazy and trying somewhere new. You would have found a comfortable spot in front of the tv, or broke down and went with me on a souvenir hunt where I usually don't buy a thing, just love to look.
                     But you are no longer here, and I just don't think I'm ready to go there without you.
                     So I will most likely spend the week doing things here around the house. The yard all the way around needs work. Some of the stuff growing around the side of the house is so high and thick Tarzan may actually be hanging out in there, or Big foot..so I really need to get that down. I planted cucumbers over beside the storage building, but the trees and shrubs have grown so tall that they aren't getting enough sunlight. You had planned on cutting that mess down a while back. I guess while I'm off I can do it. I don't look for ward to any of it, I hate the thought of uncovering a snake. Especially without you, because you always had the best reactions when you found a snake, right before  you almost step on it. I'll just have to be extra careful.
                      I had James get the push mower out of the building and fill it with gas. I plan on getting up there between the road and fence and mow that stuff down. Some of it is already over my head. I'm not sure what those weeds are, but they're blocking some of the solar panels so they have to go. I can only hope that the people driving up and down the dirt road don't do what they have always done in the past and suddenly think the road has gotten wider.
                        I hope to get the carport cleaned out. With you not here I might can now trash some of that stuff. I don't even have any idea what some of that is, but it was yours and you brought it home when you left Fisher Brothers to driver for Abilene. James or I neither one have any use for any of it so it will probably go .. somewhere.
                        Did you see? Can you see, from where you are? I got this huge couple of tomatoes out of the garden the other night. The kind that you always wanted but would never grow. That was one of the best mater sandwiches I've had in a long time. It still wasn't as good as it could have been, since I was eating it without you, knowing how you would have liked one yourself.
                        This  life is so strange now and so different without you. Its too quiet, its too empty. There's no one in the other room making weird, overly loud yawning noises just because you could. No one tapping on the table because you knew it drove me nuts. No one asking what was for dinner, or did I want to go somewhere, or did I need anything at walmart. It is such a difficult adjustment, here without you. But we're getting there, just like I know you would want, just like you told me, should you go first. I hope you like the marker I chose, hopefully it will be set up Thursday. It was one of those things we were going to do together, but I did it Saturday, without you. I do dread some of the things coming, that will be done without you..but I wouldn't ask you to come back, not from where I know you are..
 I do miss you though, and I do love you.. always..

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Finding Direction






                         All of this has been such uncharted waters for me. I feel at times, like the captain of a ship who is on their first voyage, only they have no clue as to how to find their way to their destination. If there is a road map to this anywhere, I'm sure it would probably be very out of date the way things change these days. So here I am, now a widow, now alone, now trying to find my way through the maze of red tape, bureaucracy, financial, emotional, etc... that confronts me at every turn. I know that I am not the first to deal with this, and there is no way I will be the last, but I have realized that it is a journey that we all must face on our own as each journey is different. Before I go further, let me say that I do not believe that on my own means alone. My God, my Strength, my Comforter, has been with me and continues to be with me through all of this. I know that I would not have made it anywhere near this far without my knowing He is here.
                          One of the things I have done from the beginning, is make lists. I have listed phone numbers. I have listed names and gifts. I have listed organizations. When we were trying so hard to get my husband's earthly body home, I had the numbers ready when I needed them. I still have them should questions arise. I made lists of everyone we owed and how much. As each one has been paid, the name has been checked and struck through and the amount deducted from the checkbook. Sadly the amount in the checkbook dropped quicker than the names on the list but I know that it will work out. I have faith that everything will be paid. I made a separate list of those I needed to contact for changes in accounts. Some were easy, some were not, some have required multiple phone calls and visits. Slowly though, the names are being checked off. The sad part is that is seems that every time I manage to strike through one item, something else comes to mind. But I think, that I am seeing a bit of daylight finally.
                          My son and I went yesterday (6.24.17) to see about the headstone for my husband's grave. The gentleman who owned the business I discovered to be a gentle soul with a huge heart. He was very kind and very informative. He made sure that I understood each thing and checked every item of information that is to be on the marker. Even when I told him that I had walked off without my checkbook (no, not intentionally) he told me that he would give me an addressed, stamped envelope that I could mail him the check and that he should have the stone in place by Thursday. The check is already in the mail. Yes, I will be up at the cemetery Thursday afternoon, with flowers, with a sad heart, but knowing I'm trying and I'm trying to follow his repeated instructions given to me long before he passed.
                                 One of my husband's pension plans have let me know what I am eligible for and when. That letter has been responded to, now I await the other one.
                              I still have two items, that I currently know of, on the original list. To take care of one of them, I am waiting on the check from where I surrendered part of my own life insurance. The other I am going to have to pay a visit to the place find out exactly what I need to do to be able to mark this item off the list. Years ago my husband and I had purchased two cemetery plots in a large cemetery. Instead of placing him there, I had him buried at the church we attend. I hope to be able to sell the other two plots. The money from them would help greatly.
                               Once that list is done, my next list is ready. I'm trying, really trying to find my direction. There is a part of me that feels that I need for all of these lists to be done before I move forward with other things I know need to be done. The yard is in serious need of work. The house needs things done. But those are lists waiting to be created, I need to do first things first and not get ahead of myself. I know that I can do all things through God who strengthens me, but I know that to try and do too many things at the same time only leads to confusion, exhaustion and possibly depression when I don't get them done in the way and time that I think I should.
                                    As it is, I will take paperwork with me tomorrow, and after work I will head down to the cemetery and see what they have to say. Hopefully that will be one more item struck through soon. I will continue to move forward, one day, one breath, one prayer, one list, at a time.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Without







                       I've been struggling here. I've made no secret of the battle. I've made no secret of how badly I miss you.  Its been very difficult to leave the house except for have to cases. I know, that you would not want me to be this way. Knowing that, I took a step to combat the fear of moving forward. Bella had been wanting to go for a car ride, so I took a deep breath and reached for her leash.
                      Bella must have heard the clink of the leash as she was at the door in a heartbeat wanting in and wanting 'dressed'. The vet had told me on her last visit that she was too heavy so I've been feeding her less. Its working as the halter fit once again. I opened the door and she of course beat me to the gate. Opening the car door she was up and in. We headed out and I saw that I was going to need gas so we went there first. Once that was done we headed for the park. I figured we might as well hike around the lake. You and I only did it once, and that was a long while back, I was hoping that the memories wouldn't attack too strongly.  Parking the car I got my backpack and then let Bella out. Another deep breath and we started out.


                      Our first stop was down on the pier. It was a beautiful day so it seemed as if there were people everywhere  fishing. I took a few photos from the pier and then headed back up to the trail around the lake. I met this gentleman who was leaving. He saw Bella and started a conversation. He was very nice, showing me photos of his dogs, but he was wound up and ready to talk a while. I managed to get away from him and we headed on our way. Every so often I would stop and take a photo or two or three. Bella was raring to go but she behaved well with each stop. The path was wide enough and well marked. I really doubted there would be a problem of us getting lost, but I didn't want to make Bella walk too much as it was a warm day.


                     Bella was noticing every scent along the way and for the most part I let her take her time. I was noticing the flora and fauna along the trail and the scenes of the lake. I could also hear the group that was not too far away who were fishing near the upper section of the lake. I doubt they were catching much with the amount of noise they were making. When Bella and I came into view the first one who saw Bella shouted "wolf!!" I'm looking down at the German Shepherd thinking, really? Ah well, if they want to think she's a wolf and that keeps them away from me, that's fine. From the sound of it, there had been a bit of alcohol mixed in with their fishing. I didn't tarry because I didn't want that one who had said they were getting ready to swing their fishing rod to decide that maybe he wanted to do that anyway. Even with Bella on a leash.
                       Its an entire network of trails that circle the lake, they are designed for hiking or mountain biking either one. At one point I waited for a bike to pass by before we moved on forward. I did manage to take a couple of wrong turns that had us traveling in a circle, but I would always find the right path and head on forward.


                        At the dam end of the lake there was a flock of geese resting in the grass. When they saw us approaching they crossed the roadway and into the lake. Bella saw them and thought to give chase but one word stopper her cold. She does understand that word - no. She had started out all excited and nearly pulling me along. By this point she was tired and walking beside me right where she should have been all along. At one point we both heard a noise in the woods not far form us,  we both glanced over but made no move to investigate. 


                        Finally, we arrived at the gate to the parking area. Walking in the grass beside the pavement we made our way to the car. Opening the door I made to get the bowl and water I had brought for Bella but she wasn't interested. I believe her adventure had totally worn her out. Fastening her in place I closed the door and got in the driver's seat. I buckled up and started the car. Pulling out of the parking place I headed for home, Bella was stretched out across the seat, panting and feeling the wind from the windows.



                          Back home Bella attacked the water bucket and then found her favorite place to rest, on the cool cement of the front porch. I watched her for a moment and then went inside. Looking at the clock I saw that we had been gone nearly two hours. Two hours of walking in the woods, seeing the water, hearing the sounds of people enjoying themselves. Two hours of photographing water, plants and bugs. Two hours, of healing. It was a baby step, but it was at least a step.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

... as I was meant to.....










                                          Last Monday I went down to mom's and dug up two small tulip trees. I then walked across the dirt road and dug up what mom called a coconut tree. I carried these up to the house and planted them in different areas of the yard. The coconut thing looks pretty good, it has a small amount of wilting in one area. One of the tulip trees doesn't look good at all, but I'm hoping a little tender loving care will save it. I went up to water these earlier and was amazed at how many of my cone flowers have suddenly burst forth in bloom. I was searching everywhere for cone flowers to purchase, when the ones I had planted last year decided to let me know they were still here.
                                           Why did I bring all of this up?  I guess a couple of reasons actually. One being that here I am, having been uprooted from the life I knew and transplanted into a totally different lifestyle. I knew my husband was not the healthiest of people, but I really never thought he would leave me alone like this. I've gone from being a wife to being a widow. Separated from my life partner much like the trees were dug up and separated from their mother plant. The trees are struggling and learning how to survive on their own, as I am. Their roots are having to grown and reach deep into the earth to give them the support and nutrients they need to survive. I am having to seek out the things that will strengthen me, that will feed my spirit and give me the ability to move on into this new normal. At times, I'm going to feel very wilted from the stress of this life. At times, I'm  going to feel like finding a dark corner to hide away from what I don't want to face. At times, I'm going to wish for a little attention from friends and family to help me over the rough spots. My prayer life has definitely gotten stronger and deeper.
                                              With the emergence of the cone flowers, I believe that I'm being shown that with a little patience, I will see that life is still beautiful. The flowers, the music, the laughter, is still there. It is biding its time to appear at the right time. When my heart needs to see it the most. That even though at times in this life, the color, the beauty, the glorious sights of nature and life, can seem hidden or even gone completely, but when we least expect it, or when we need it the most, if we open our eyes and hearts, we will see that they are still here with us.
                                             I have noticed that flowers have even came up in areas where I did not plant them. I imagine that they are either offshoots of other plants or from seeds dropped by birds or scattered by the winds.  When I see them, I realize that all of our words and actions are seeds. They can be seeds of weeds that attempt to take over our life and make us miserable. They can be envy, anger, self pity, hate, any and all of the negative, destructive emotions and actions. Or, they can be the seeds of good things, the seeds of life and growth. Hope, faith, love, encouragement, compassion, any and all that are building and creating of good. I will be honest in that there are times when some of the good emotions are difficult to find. Especially when I see or hear something that reminds me of my husband and his loss. Then, I look at the flowers in my garden. Fighting against the weeds that need to be removed, fighting against the insects and diseases that appear, reaching upward and seeking the sun, they show their beauty to all who will look. They don't give up or give in. They provide color, beautiful aromas and food for the bees and butterfly. Theirs are the seeds of good.
                                           Then, when the hour grows late, and the sky darkens, the solar lights that are all about my flower garden will begin to come on. A light in the darkness, a light that shows the fence is there. A light that guides, that chases away the dark. I will remember the love I shared with my husband. I will remember that he would never want us to be this sad.  I will remember and think of the love that God has for me. I will seek His light and hopefully reflect it outward.  Like the flowers that had sprung up from the ground and risen above the weeds around them, I will rise above the sadness, the loneliness and live as I was meant to.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Thank you Lord for the bad days







                                      Today, my husband has been gone three months. Yesterday would have been his birthday. It has apparently become a habit to forget my phone. Carrying the cell phone only reminds me of my husband, because it was mostly him who I talked to on the thing. Yesterday I was very much on the sad side, I feared what today would be like. So much so, that I was on the late side leaving home for work. So much so, I forgot my phone, even though I had charged the battery and left it where I would.. should have, seen it. I walked right past it. I didn't even realize I had forgotten it until my first break at work. I didn't miss it. I hate feeling it every time my arm rubbed across where it is holstered on my belt. I hate feeling it, because I know I can't call my husband, not even just to hear his voice. I won't hear him ask me those same questions, hear the same comments on  politics, lumpers, the unique life found at trucks stops. The phone is a reminder, so I forget it, just so I won't be reminded he's gone.
                                    I made it to work on time, I was waiting in the department when the crew came walking through the door and to their machines. At the stroke of six, the first machine was fired up and we began. Getting everything running wasn't that difficult, its hectic and frustrating when a machine doesn't cooperate, but this morning wasn't too terribly bad. After the machines were fired up and the operators busy, I began the rest of my morning routine. I have found that if I can keep to some semblance of  a routine I get more accomplished. There are a few of our crew that are unable to come in at six am so they come at the regular start up time of eight am. By the time they arrived, I pretty well had my day under control. I thought.
                                     Among the many things that make up my job, helping to relieve the operators so that can take a break is the most time consuming. I don't mind doing it, especially if the day is slow as it helps time move along. Depending on what is running, I can watch more than one machine. Usually. When I tried it today, as I was working on one machine, the other decided to show me I wasn't as in co0ntrol as I thought  I was. When I looked up I was not happy. It looked as if half of that machine was tearing up and coming down. Pushing the button that slows it down I began the job of straightening up that mess. I was putting the last end back up when the operator returned. Both operators laughed at me when I told them what had happened.
                                     We had machines that changed from one color to another. Some times that is easy, today it was not. Most a one machine changed but not to the same colors. When I checked everything out, it was good and approved, but it took a while to get it all set in and up and running. It was not going to look good at the end of the shift.
                                      All of the above is just to get to this point. I stayed so busy, fighting machines, checking yarn, signing papers, going on seek and find adventures for materials, so busy, that I didn't have time to dwell on the day or its significance. If I had time to stop, it was merely to take a deep breath, grab a swallow of coffee and jump and run again. It was one of those days when I kept expecting to meet myself somewhere along the way.  I was so busy, that I made it without sinking into the blues. Without stopping and standing, looking off into the distance wondering why how.. how am I going to get by, how am I going to do this or that or what ever else. How, am I going to move past the pain into some form of new normal. Its the same with that four o'clock hour. It was four o'clock when I got the call. It was four o'clock when I found out my husband was gone. Weeks before he passed, we had begun a different way of shutting down the machinery. That new way made the end of the shift more hectic and crazy. Those changes, made weeks before, keep me so distracted I can get past four o'clock without breaking down.
                              I thank the Lord for bad days, because the bad days keep me from sinking into the darkness.  I stay too busy to give in. I can still do my job, I can still take care of my responsibilities. I can be thankful for the bad days, because they teach me how to appreciate the good days.  The storms, the battles, the fears, draw us closer to Him, so He can show us His love. We learn to deal with the bad, so that He can give us the good. Comfort, peace, healing, calm, all gifts given. Precious and pure. I am thankful for the crazy days, because they give me a chance to show others how a loving Savior, keeps us calm and answers our needs. Even long before we need them.
                                     
 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Hello Lord, I just wanted to say, thank You..









   Hello Lord,
                               I was sitting here, listening to the rain falling outside my window. I was thinking about how much the plants in my gardens, whether they are flower of vegetable, were loving the natural watering. I was thinking about how the rain was clearing the air of allergens and making it so much easier for those with difficulties to breath. I was thinking about how the rains were bringing the temperatures down a notch. So many good things from the gift of a gentle summer shower.
                            Thank you Lord, that I woke up today, I'm healthy and able to work with little to no difficulties on the physical side. I won't lie that there are those days when it gets frustrating and discouraging. I try Lord, to work for You. To work, in appreciation for the fact that I do have a job, one that is close by, one that is full time, one that I've done for so long that I could practically do it in my sleep. I do wish though Lord, that I had listened to You, and used the gifts that You had given me. I could probably have become a whole different and better person. I could have probably done a lot more for Your kingdom than I have. But I am where I am, and I will do my best Lord, to glorify Your name every day.
                            Thank You Lord, for James. He has been such a special gift. All of those times during his growing years have taught him a great deal. He has become a fine man in spite of the devil's attempts to derail his life. He has been especially helpful for the last couple of months. I honestly don't know what I would have done without him.  I know You've seen the things he has done, things that would have been difficult if not impossible for me to accomplish.
                            Lord, I do thank You, for being here with me, now. I thank you, that You are here, walking with me, being here, comforting me at this time. A time where there are moments that I have no idea which way to turn.  You know Lord, that I was not prepared that afternoon to get the word that You had called my husband home. I knew that he hadn't been feeling well, and that his health wasn't the best, but I had never really thought he would leave us. I know that we don't know when You will call us home, I know that we should live our life prepared for that moment. I'll be honest, I wasn't prepared for it to be his time. Now here I am, Lord, here I am, more than a bit lost. I'm so glad that You're here to guide my steps and lead me through the darkness that surrounds me. The dark of loneliness, of feeling empty, of feeling abandoned, of feeling confused, so very alone. Remembering that You are here, walking me through this, keeps me going. I think of that poem, where when there is only one set of footsteps, and it was then You said you were carrying the one who walked with You. Carry me Lord, help me through this, brighten the darkness with Your presence.
                          There are times Lord, when there seems to be so much going on, so much that I need to take care of, things that I have never had to deal with before and that I'm not sure I'm handling in the right way.  From that moment, getting that phone call, that entire evening of handling other calls, and visits; talking with the police. Sitting there on the porch, sitting there, watching the solar lights come on, fighting with the mosquitoes, and wishing that it wasn't so, but knowing that it was. All that time, sitting here, trying to get my husband's earthly body home and dealing with bureaucracy that I've never had to before. The funeral, opening claims for the insurance, probate, all on that list. All things that had me worried, nervous, confused, but had me also, holding on to You. I've walked Lord, in constant prayer, talking with You, trying Lord, to remain strong, in You. Trying Lord, to not lose my witness as I struggled my way through.  Thank You Lord,  for being here with me.
                        I won't try to lie Lord, I do get so very tired. My body grows so very weary from the battle,  but most nights, I don't sleep very well. I find myself waking up, listening to the night. My thoughts scatter, my mind confused as I try to assimilate so very much. My heart hurts at his missing. So many years together, it seems, no, it is so very different without him here. I cling to the hem of Your garment Lord, just a touch, that will strengthen me, that will heal the pain in my heart. A touch, that will calm the emotions, that will dry even the tears not shed. As a simple word from You, calmed the winds and the seas, I know that a word can calm this troubled heart and emotional storms. I trust You Lord, that You will be with me, through all of this, that You will guide and carry, that You will not leave me abandoned to the night.
                         Thank you Lord, for each and every blessing that You have provided for us. For all of the friends who opened their hearts, their strength, their wallets. I thank You Lord, for those who think of us, and who still ask how we are. I thank You Lord, for every accomplishment made along the way. I thank You Lord, for what You have done, for what You are doing and for what You will do, as we walk. I thank You Lord, for Your love, for Your peace, for Your comfort, for the shelter that You are, in the midst of this storm. Thank you Lord, I love You Lord, and I cherish all that You are.