Sunday, July 10, 2011

Getting to old age love

Richard and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary about one month ago. 30 years does seem like a long time, and I know we've a ways to go before our time together comes to an end.

Has it been an easy 30 years? Well...of course not. The miracle is we still have a strong love and appreciation for each other. This isn't the first marriage for either one of us. If someone had told me thirty-two years ago that I would meet someone with whom I would spend (hopefully) the rest of my life, I would have said, "Oh, boy, do I hope so!"

I really hope we make it to old age together. There is something about getting there and still caring for and appreciating each other that seems so rare nowadays. Beginning with my own generation, marriage has become a take-it or leave-it proposition for some people. Yes, there are times when divorce is necessary. Far be it from me to preach about what is right or wrong. It's a personal choice between yourself and God and your mate. Still, it will be a loss, like a small death, a story that comes to an end.

Sometimes, we have the choice made for us, thanks to today's divorce laws. So this makes it even more rare when people get to old age love. To that stage where you can look at the other person and know what they are thinking. To that point where your other does something which irritates you and you just say to yourself, "ahh, yes, that's just him being him." To the minute where he's sick and you suddenly think about what life would be like without him. How hard it would empty.

So where did this musing come from? Yesterday, I read a poem by Wendell Berry that speaks to me so beautifully of old age love. It's called "The Blue Robe." Enjoy.

The Blue Robe

How joyful to be together, alone
as when we were first joined
in our little house by the river
except that now we know

each other, as we did not then;
and now instead of two stories fumbling
to meet, we belong in one story
that the two, joining, made. And now

we touch each other with the tenderness
of mortals, who know themselves
how joyful to feel the heart quake

at the sight of a grandmother,
old friend in the morning light,
beautiful in her blue robe.
~ Wendell Berry

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nightmare on Lake Shore Dr!!!!

Yes, it feels like a nightmare right now. I feel as though I am dragging myself from one task to the couch, to the next task, back to bed, etc.

We are preparing to move to North Carolina. In this effort, we are putting the house on the market next week and our preparations have included a myriad of tasks where I must work through clutter (clothes, dishes, yarn, household items, junk) and make decisions on where they should go (Salvation Army, consignment shop, EBay, Craigslist, give to family (I'm sorry!), storage unit, TRASH, or keep!).

I am exhausted! And I know this is just the beginning. Richard has been a tremendous help since he was terminated from his position (another story) 4 weeks ago. He has painted, lifted, organized, helped me keep track of EBay sales (I can't believe how confusing this is! FPS, I used to conduct statistical analysis. Now I can't even figure out a statement from EBay!). I could never have done this without him.

However, we can't go on forever without his working, at least until he is ready to retire in 2 1/2 years. Even then he wants to keep working, as he is a high energy person (a nice contract to "lay on the couch, can't even lift my arms to knit some days" me, huh?

Sorry to be such a downer today. I just needed to whine a little! Just need to focus on the abundance and blessings in my life. But what I wouldn't give for someone who would just come in and take over all this crap, weed it out, and pack it up! In my dreams!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

This is my daughter. Isn't she beautiful? Mother to 8 children. Training to be a fitness trainer (is that right?). Looks nothing like me, but I am SO proud of her!
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Sunday, May 15, 2011

My personal, guilty pleasure!

OK, I admit it. I love to sleep on ironed sheets. No, I don't iron them everyday, but when I wash them, I iron the pillow cases, and the edges of the top sheet to smooth out the inevitable folds that occur while drying.

The reason I do this (when I should be conserving energy b/c of my CFS/ME) is the luxuriously smooth feeling the sheets get when they are ironed. Years ago, I lived with a friend of my parents for 6 weeks while awaiting my wedding to Ron. Isabelle Hugo taught me how to iron sheets (yes there is a certain way to do this to make it easier). Although she has since confessed to me that she no longer irons her sheets, I experienced the pleasure of sleeping on ironed sheets again a couple of years ago, when Richard and I spent a night in a B & B in southeastern Iowa, on our way home from a Christmas visit with family.

Then, I recently found this information on a blog. The blogger said she got the recipe from a Macy's department store saleswoman. And it works. If you have a front loading, high efficiency washer, you will have to pour the vinegar directly on the sheets since your detergent dispenser won't hold a cup and a half of vinegar.

Drying the sheet on permanent press (I use a low heat setting and dry them a little longer) also contributes to the smoothness of the fabric. It feels just like the sheets have been ironed. Here's the recipe:

1 1/2 cups cheap white vinegar
1 tablespoon detergent
Warm wash
Warm rinse
Extra rinse
Perma-press dry

Want to hear another guilty pleasure? When I iron the sheets (or make the bed, after using the above recipe), I love to spritz the pillow cases and the edges of the top sheet with a lavender spray that I get from Prairieland Herbs (look for body and linen mist). The scent lingers for at least a couple of days and makes me relax, instantly when my head hits the pillow!

Now if I could just figure out how Hilton Hotels manage to make their towels smell so good, feel soft, and yet absorbent! Anyone know?

Monday, March 14, 2011

What I'm reading...when I can concentrate

Yes, I know I have not posted in months. This winter has been a tough one for me, between trying to keep up with my small efforts at volunteer work, a couple of bouts with the flu, and the whiplash I sustained after a car accident at the end of January. Recently, while exercising in the pool, it appears I have strained or sprained my right ankle. The beat goes on...and on...and on.

I've been reading a book with a rather provocative title, "How to be sick." by Toni Bernhardt. She was diagnosed with CFS/ME after an episode with the flu, much like I was. Her premise is that there are Buddhist principles which can help those who deal, on a daily basis, with chronic, debilitating illness.

Here's a link to her story, in brief. Toni is worse off than I am, being pretty much bedfast most days, and housebound almost constantly. She talks about the things she has missed and has had to learn to manage in other ways. The chief thing that impressed me was her use of technology to reach out to her children and family.

Can I say, if I were in her position, I don't know how I would cope with that disconnect from my children and grandchildren. I suppose you do what you have to do. Just yesterday, I got to hold my new grandson. How do you replace that with technology? How do I replace the hugs and kisses of my grandchildren, their smiling faces when I see them? How do I replace seeing my children and the lives they have made for themselves, up close.

So, I just keep on trying to do these things, although I often am faced with pain for a week or more after I make the effort. I love them so much, I would miss the touching and holding, the seeing and the listening in person.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye, 2010!

Honestly, where did this year go? And what do I have to show for it?

I've heard that after 50, time goes faster because it's all downhill. Such a negative phrase. In fact, I believe that negativity is one area where I've made some strides this year. Until this year, I never really realized how focused I was on negativity. A dear friend helped me to see this by encouraging me to focus on my blessings. And I do have SO many of those.

In a text titled, "The Return of the Prodigal Son", Henri Nouwen talks about gratitude as a discipline or a choice. "I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of complaint. I can choose to be grateful when I am criticized, even when my heart responds in bitterness. I can choose to speak about goodness and beauty even when my inner eye still looks for someone to accuse or something to call ugly. I can choose to listen to the voices that forgive and to look at the faces that smile, even while I still hear words of revenge and see grimaces of hatred."

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. Colossians 3: 16-17

I do feel as though I have come a long way in making this change this year. However, I still feel as though I need a transfusion of faith. I have let my relationship with my Lord dwindle away until I have no enthusiasm for it. I want to get it back and yet haven't had the energy or motivation to begin studying, reading, and thinking about this again.

Then, yesterday, my sister Connie told me about a Messianic vocal artist named Marty Goetz. He's been recording and writing for several years and I think I've heard of him . Long story short, I downloaded his album called Sanctuary from I Tunes and there it was...everything I was a song titled "Breathe on Me."

The lyrics speak with such clarity on what I've been looking for:

Breathe on Me

The flame in my heart used to blaze with delight

But like sparks that rise into the skies, it vanished in the night

Now I long to once again

Burn for You as I did then

But to even try there’s something I must ask of You

I need You to...

Breathe on me, breathe on me

It’s been so long since the fire within

Burned bright and strong

Breathe on me, breathe on me

Like a gentle breeze, Lord I ask You please

To tenderly breathe on me

Blow, Spirit, blow

Come & fill this weary soul

In Your mercy send a holy wind and ‘til You do

I’ll wait for You to

Breathe on me, breathe on me

It’s been so long since the fire within

Burned bright and strong

Breathe on me, breathe on me

Like a gentle breeze, Lord I ask You please

Won’t You tenderly, breathe on me

It isn’t that I’ve lost my desire

It’s just that what once was a fire has dwindled again

And it needs to be kindled again, so

Breathe on me, breathe on me

It’s been so long since the fire within

Burned bright and strong

Breathe on me, breathe on me

Deep inside I know hiding embers glow

They could grow into a flame for all to see

If You’d only, if You’d only, if You’d only Breathe on Me

Words & Music by Marty Goetz & Wendell Burton

© 1988 Singin’ in the Reign Music/ASCAP - Cross Purpose Music

Monday, December 27, 2010

I can't believe it's been 26 days since I last posted. New Years resolution - post more often!

We awoke this morning to a beautiful, winter wonderland. The heavy fog from last night clung to the trees creating a beautiful frosting that sparkled as the sun came up. I put some pictures of our house and surrounds on my Facebook account. But here's one just to whet your appetite.

Yesterday, we had a wonderful time with oldest son and his spouse & family as we gathered for a gift exchange and brunch. It was great fun seeing them. We were especially appreciative this year, since they will soon be moving to Missouri and we will no longer have any grandchildren here in the state. As brunch was ending, I began having an excrutiating headache along with a stiff neck. I slept all afternoon, but by 7:00 pm, I could barely move without excrutiating pain.

After a conversation with First Nurse and a recommendation that we head to the ER, my favorite place to end the Christmas holidays (NOT!). The doctor there called it tortocolis (fancy name for stiff neck!). After a shot for inflammation and another one for muscle relaxer, we headed home, arriving about 9:30.

This morning I still have the lump on my neck and a sore throat. But I did feel well enough to drive to the drug store for additional medication for inflammation.

What can I say? it's not a holiday without a trip to the ER. Richard was so wonderful, bringing me pain pills and water, along with ice packs/heat, etc.

I'm really looking forward to a slow week this week, to catch up after the busy holiday.
Still have a little knitting to do for January birthdays. I'm currently working on fingerless mitts for our granddaughter, Elana. I hope they fit. I have one mitt done and another just started, but these mitts go very fast. The yarn, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK is incredibly soft lavender and works up beautifully! This yarn came from my stash, so yeah, I scored a stash reduction with this gift!

I'm also using Laines Due Nord's Royal Cashmere in a cream color to knit Plymouth's Cabled Cowl for myself. I really need to get this done, since it's a good hat/cowl combination to keep my neck covered in this cold weather.

My only dilemma is what to do with all those leftover Christmas cookies. What do you do with yours? Or perhaps you don't have that many left!