Of Caterpillars and Hope…

Tiny Teddy-bear Caterpillar

Our first “teddy-bear caterpillar” sighting of the year. He was crossing our gravel road when my sister and I stopped to pet him, and he curled up into himself — protecting his softness from the harsh unknowns of the world. He was gently carried to a place of green far off the road, and we continued our evening walk.

Today, I found myself envying this tiny one’s ability to freeze and bring himself a sense of safety — in his little world everything stopped — there was time to just be still. I, too, feel like curling up for a period of rest — I find myself unable to think, unable to function well, unable to ponder this journey. I am tired…

It’s a night to yearn for peace rather than marvel at it… My eyes burn with the build up of fatigue and emotion from this past summer. A couple days ago we had to evacuate since the state park I grew up hiking to from home became the site of a wildfire… Thankfully the winds pushed it the opposite direction from my childhood home, and we had firefighters from districts all over the state as well as civilian volunteers from the area, come to conquer the flames. They won. We survived our evacuation adventure – five of us at my other sister’s place, with five cats (and two fish!) – no one really slept. It was so wonderful to return home safely — and we’re all so grateful! Not everyone was able to return to their home safe and sound…

Tonight I am weighing the balance of my losses this summer alongside all the ways Light shines in my world — all the Goodness that simply is… Life is hard… but it is good. There is Hope. Tonight I will sleep — and tomorrow I will hope again.

Veni, Vidi, Amavi.

It’s all Grace.


A Blessing for the New Year

A Blessing for the New Year from To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donahue

This week has left me so undone…
I was lead nurse for my team all week — it felt like we were all drowning together — too much to be done and not enough hands to do it…
I am on the other side of exhaustion this New Year’s Eve — hard to think about what the next few weeks of the New Year will be like in my reality — as apparently those of us working in healthcare live in a different world than everyone else — other than those we are trying to help…

As usual I turned to written words for comfort today — Scripture. Poetry. Prayers. Beautiful fonts and phrases…

I’m sending out John O’Donahue’s “A Blessing For The New Year” into this hurting world today – from his To Bless The Space Between Us book of blessings. May 2022 offer us all hope as together we begin another circuit around the sun on this spinning globe.

May those of us beginning this journey again without so many of our loved ones find comfort and courage to go on in the fact that love does not end just because the seat at the table is empty. All the shadows that remain echo the love shared… This coming year will be full of many hard firsts for so many grieving… Be gentle with each other my fellow earth-riders — we need each other.

#NewYearsEve
#nursesnewyear
#JohnODonahue
#ablessingforthenewyear
#loveneverends
#fontsandphrases
#undone

Time and Motherhood…

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The Professor at his last piano recital — his next one is next Sunday!

Time is such a strange thing.

Tomorrow afternoon The Professor has an appointment with one of our state representatives — Rep. Janelle Bynum — to discuss some of his criminal justice reform ideas. This is completely his own doing — the only thing I’ve done is plan to provide him the transportation he needs to get to our state capital for the meeting (and I’m far more nervous about driving down – and finding parking! — than he is about talking his thoughts over with a state representative). Civics and civil service is one of his many diverse interests — perhaps not as heartwarming as the rainbows and kitties that fill his camera, but still a big part of his thoughts. Not only does he know about our own civil system, but he studies systems all over the globe as well. So if you want to know about how they handle voting in other countries — he can tell you, and he’ll compare and contrast the way things are done around the world too. He might be struggling with the results of this head injury, but this guy is still brilliant — even if autism means he is still dependent on me for some basic things…

I am so proud of him… so proud of who he is — his gentleness, his belief in the “goodness” of people, his jokes that he shares with everyone he meets… his laugh. (I’m thankful that his name — which means laughter — is such a perfect fit for him!) I’m proud of his unique way of understanding things, his musical gifts… his perspective on life, the universe, and everything. He has so many struggles, and yet he wakes up every day and keeps going. It’s been almost 20 years since I first looked into his face, and I’m just so proud of all he’s accomplished so far — despite everything he’s faced.

Where did all that time go?

“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8)

I blinked… and The Professor and Philosopher grew from little ones whose hands wrapped around my finger into young men who are facing their own life-obstacles with courage, and a certain level of determination and persistence. It is hard to be patient with yourself when you have plans — you have things you want to do — and your body physically holds you back… It’s hard to be forced to slow down during the time of life when everyone is telling you to speed up and spread your wings so you can take off properly. That isn’t how life is going for my boys. There will be no wing-spreading any time soon — though thankfully, we are seeing slow signs of healing and progress for them both… Still, they have a hard time seeing it — for them, it’s still do a little… rest… do a little more… rest… and heaven forbid do slightly too much… and crash. When did they go from being so small that I could fix all their problems, to being so grown that I can only help carry their crosses as they struggle underneath the weight? No one warned me how hard life can really be… No one told me… It’s so much harder to see your children face obstacles than to face them yourself.

Where did all the time go?

It’s been almost 20 years since I became a mother. I didn’t know that I would be joining the ranks of mothers whose experience of motherhood would be something other than “average”. I didn’t know that life’s basics could be so complex… Motherhood has been one lesson after another… it has been exhausting, challenging, mind-expanding, life-altering… it has been hard… and so beautiful. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I am so blessed to have the sons I have been given. It’s true that they are so different from other teenagers… Legos, Wordgirl videos, Winnie-the-Pooh, world-building, reading aloud… my days are a unique blend of all their younger years and in-depth discussions about complicated subjects, like how history has impacted the world we’re facing today and civic system solutions.

I am so thankful for all the moments we’ve had together over the last 20 years… but I can’t believe it has passed so quickly. They say the days are long but the years are short. Apparently, the decades blink by too…

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; …” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

… so many “times” have filled my moments as these boys have grown. They have woven a beautiful fabric out of my life — with dark shadows and brilliant bright areas of light… My journey is becoming a masterpiece of moments…

I am grateful…

  1. new pajama pants (thanks sisters!)…
  2. shopping at Natural Grocers today…
  3. cocoa powder…
  4. surprising the boys with macaroons…
  5. surprising my hubby with spicy pumpkin seeds…
  6. another successful dinner experiment… :)
  7. living two doors down from my sister…
  8. getting ready for the holidays!!
  9. pumpkin pie plans… :)
  10. All-Classical Portland Radio while I’m doing dishes…

It’s all Grace….

 

The Magic of Music…

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Beautiful red leaves in front of our library…

This afternoon the boys both had holds in at the library, so the plan was for us to run over there really quick and then come home to enjoy our books. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon — the air was crisp, and the trees were showing off their lovely red and yellow leaves. The Professor went ahead of us down the hall to where the “books on hold” arrivals are kept — ours are at the very end of a long hall by our library’s community room. All of sudden he came flying back… gesticulating wildly for us to hurry up. There was music coming from the community room! Just then I remembered that our library has a “String Along” a couple Sundays a month — I keep meaning to check it out, maybe bring my guitar too, but then I forget about it again. This time we stumbled upon it… they were playing, “I’ll Fly Away,” one of The Philosopher’s favorite songs, which was reason enough for me to take us in where we could listen for awhile.

When I stepped into the room, I couldn’t believe how many different kinds of stringed instruments there were. It was obviously a rather informal gathering, and people continued to come in with their instruments while we were there  — all different ages… and it appeared that they were at different levels of experience as well. But everyone was having so much fun — guitars, banjos, a mandolin, violins… even a huge bass cello — all making music together! I definitely need to bring my guitar sometime — when I have a free Sunday afternoon.

There is something about making music with others that creates connections almost instantly.  Music is such a powerful force for union and communication — it brings us together and creates an immediate sense of community — there’s nothing quite like it. (This is why I love to bring my guitar on my hospice visits — even if my patient has trouble communicating, we can share music together, and we can connect through the rhythm and rhyme of song.) The boys and I were only in the room with these complete strangers for a few minutes, but we were very welcome, and invited to come back as if we were long lost family. It takes only moments of sharing a song to begin to draw people into real relationships… The power of music is like some kind of communion magic — bringing people together effortlessly.

Tonight (or early morning as the case may be), I am so thankful for the surprise blessings that come my way… I don’t consider what good things may be around the corner in my life very often… though I spend far too much time thinking about what could go wrong –such a common problem as a human. I am just so human

But tonight I’m grateful…

  1. scarlet trees with leaves of flame…
  2. the wonder of public libraries…
  3. Pat-me letting me know The Philosopher needs me — she’s so good at her job…
  4. shopping for groceries with my hubby… :)
  5. late night blogging… ;)
  6. fried egg sandwiches…
  7. my favorite purple blanket…
  8. my hubby’s sense of humor…
  9. laughing my head off this morning… :)
  10. listening to my boys laugh tonight… :)

It’s all Grace…

Seize The Day…

Today has been very productive. When I woke up this morning I wasn’t sure how I was going to get through the day – it just seemed so overwhelming to look at everything I had to do in such a short period of time – but here I am at the end of it, and all is well. I am weary, but I am content. The big challenge of the day went well, and I managed to get the pieces written that I needed to do, plus I was able to see my hospice patients (though they were sleeping). Of course, there is housework that needs to be done, but that is never-ending and it will be there tomorrow.  It can wait.

It’s funny — the biggest challenge of my day ended up being the part of the day that went the smoothest. While I wasn’t necessarily worried about how it would go, I was really hoping it would go well, and I’m quite pleased with the way things turned out. Nothing really changes right now, but there could be some interesting open doors to walk through in the future. God’s will be done… He still writes straight with crooked lines…

In order to fit everything in my day today, I actually rearranged my hospice visiting schedule for this week. I wanted to try going earlier in the day anyway because I was hoping that one of my patients who has been sleeping the last two times I’ve been by would be awake. I figured if I caught her an hour before I normally see my other patient, then I could meet with him at our normal time. Unfortunately, my plan totally backfired. When I arrived not only was she sleeping, (my guitar actually accidentally banged against the wall and it didn’t wake her), but when I left her and ended up going to see my other patient early — he was sleeping too! It was disappointing — next week I will just go back to my normal visiting schedule – sometimes things just don’t go as planned…

Sitting at the end of this busy day, curled up in my pajamas (pajamafied as we say), and resting in the heat of my stove, I am at peace. I can look back over this day and see that I faced it well — everything that needed to be done was accomplished — I “seized the day”…  (see above video the sound track of my day). :) Tomorrow will have it’s own challenges to face. I have my hospice volunteer meeting in the morning… that’s always a time of encouragement and deep connections. I know I will be tired still from today, but it will be worth it to push through and see everyone. This coming week we’ll have our fall retreat – all the employees and volunteers together – which I’ve been looking forward to for months. It will be a blessing to touch base with everyone at Signature and have some time for introspection amidst everything that has been going on in life lately.

So tonight, while I have very little brain left for deep thoughts or meaningful words, I am grateful for making it through this crazy busy day… My body is weary, but I am at peace…

I am grateful…

  1. hot showers…
  2. peanut butter toast…
  3. celebratory mochas…
  4. my hubby driving…
  5. doing physical therapy exercises with The Philosopher…
  6. listening to The Professor practice his recital piece…
  7. fall leaves under old trees…
  8. squirrels scurrying…
  9. plaid pajamas…
  10. meeting new people and sharing smiles…

It’s all Grace…