New Perspectives…

The summer is coming to an end. The days are shorter and the nights are growing longer…

This past Sunday afternoon, my bookend-sister wanted to show me the walk along the other side of the river — and we were pleasantly surprised to see how far Autumn had advanced over there. The river’s cliff-side near my childhood home I know like the smile of a close friend – but it’s really not the most common one to visit – the other side that brushes up against the town of Estacada itself is the one most people know. There are benches and picnic tables to accommodate visitors, and there’s even a beautiful dock to aid in the enjoyment of the river. It’s the side that many of the kids I grew up with are likely to think of when they think about hike-walking along the river during their youth.
It’s a little funny to admit that I’ve spent so much of my life here, but I’ve never actually explored  that side before…  I was surprised at how it gave me an entirely different view of the river that I know so well.   The air was still heavy with the scent of the river and warm earth, but also carried the evidence of town – like the aroma of someone having an end-of-summer Sunday Barbecue, and the hum of the nearby highway. The river itself seemed so different from that side that it almost felt foreign…

Dock in Estacada on the Clackamas River

It’s funny how so much of the view of Life’s path depends on the perspective you have as you are walking it. Every once in awhile – after climbing a particularly steep leg of the journey – sometimes you can turn around and get a different view of where you’ve been…  it can be eye-opening to see things from a new viewpoint.

The Clackamas River from the North side

Lately, I have found myself at one of these points — only it has re-viewed a huge portion of this life I’ve been living, and so much of it appears very different from this new perspective than it was while I was walking through it.  So much of our Reality is shaped by our perspectives  — I’ve found mine has suddenly been turned inside-out and upside-down.  It’s like I’m suddenly living in a new world, but even in this world much remains the same — tomorrow keeps coming. I just desperately need to get my bearings…

Be gentle new world – I’m weary from this journey…

It’s all Grace.

Sunsets and Birdsong Dawns…

Clackamas River Sunset

Life has thrown another curve… It does that.

I’m not entirely sure what I’ll find after I turn the corner, but for now I’m walking slowly along the path in no real hurry to get around the bend. I have spent this last week or so in my childhood home while working on my Finals for this term — this curve in life forced me to fall way behind in my classwork and I needed some help with the boys so I could get everything caught up and finished before the term ended. Somehow I’ve managed to catch up with everything despite all my current life drama…

While here my “baby” sister and I have had the opportunity to go for evening walks together — the boys have grandparents to help if someone takes a fall — I can be away for an extended period of time without worrying. This means that there has been a period of unexpected Rest in the midst of this chaos. Being with family – it’s easier to get up in the morning, easier to remember to eat, easier to sleep… I’m not spending my nights right now dreading the waking of another day…

Out walking with my sister in the evenings gives me the chance to just breathe, and hiking along the river in all its familiarity, it’s easy to remember who I am. The beauty that shaped me is still here — sunset skies above the river and birdsong filling the dawn. The air here at my childhood home by the river I know so well – it still smells like the late summers of my girlhood — like sun-warmed berries and dry grass, heavy with the weight of the heat and the scent of the river… Summer’s end hangs in the air as the days shorten and we all feel the coming autumn looming despite the present heatwave. I miss the sea – the sound of her breathing tides and her scent in the air – but I am so grateful to be here right now…

Life is hard — I hope you all can find Beauty when you’re travelling your own rocky path… Remember we’re all on this journey together – stay soft with each other…

  • #rememberingme
  • #childhoodforests
  • #viewfromthewaterfall
  • #clackamasriver
  • #sunsetsandbirdsongdawns

The Journey of Learning Love

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How long has it been since I was here last? It seems longer than it really was… so much has happened.

I’m surrounded by hectic “do-ings” that must be done, but a lot has been accomplished already and at this moment I’ve stopped to breathe — I’m pausing all the “must-dos” and sitting in the light of the twinkle-lights that have escaped being put away with the Christmas things. :) I am listening to The Philosopher typing away as he works on one of his writing projects, mumbling to himself as the story-line progresses. He has his personal music playlist playing on his laptop speakers as he types away, and the only other sound is the fan of the electric heater as it tries to chase away the winter chill in our living room.

The gas stove we used as our main heat source no longer works (apparently the broken valve isn’t made anymore so it can’t be replaced), so I’m missing its comforting whistle… as well as the heat it provided so well! The poor little space heater does the best it can, but we are going around bundled up with cold toes and noses — it just can’t quite get rid of the chill entirely. Thankfully, the rest of the week is supposed to bring us fairly mild temperatures, and the electric heaters handle our bedrooms well enough… we’re fine… maybe not completely comfortable, but we’re managing. This is just further encouragement for a surprise upcoming move — we’ll probably be getting some good news later this week… So much sudden crazy busyness around here! I’ve had to spend my days sorting our belongings and preparing for an upheaval… it’s kept me hopping, that’s for sure. I’ll go into all that in another post sometime soon-ish…

Today what free-time I had was spent getting off some important emails related to my hospice work, and sending in the first pieces of my packet for the International End-of-Life Doula Association’s Certification process. (I did their amazing training in October of 2016, and I’ve used the skills I learned there in this work ever since.) After some encouragement via email this afternoon, I’ve decided to tackle the certification process.  Tomorrow I have a couple phone calls to make — something I have to prepare myself for since I have a hard time communicating on the phone at this point… It’s so hard to hear what’s going on, and inevitably my phone will cut out and I’ll miss something important — so stressful! (I’m a complete introvert — send me an email or a text message any time of the day, but please don’t make my phone ring!) :) The calls need to be made though…

The Professor has his last doc appointment for awhile tomorrow morning, and the next day will be The Philosopher’s last one — our insurance ends this month so we won’t be going to the myriad of doc appointments that have been our norm for so long… such is life. I’m trying not to worry…

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You just never know what Life is going to send your way. For the most part, we go through our days thinking we know what’s going on — planning our calendars and daily schedules — but we really have no idea what the next moment will bring… let alone next week. We comfort ourselves with all our intentions and plans — it’s part of the way we stay sane in this crazy world. We design paths for ourselves to walk and set off in the direction we think we should go — but the journey we “draw on paper” rarely fits the landscape of reality. Obstacles appear that we didn’t know about beforehand — sometimes there are big cliffs in front of us that force a sharp turn, and other times a flash flood can wash everything away and deposit us on a completely different path. Sometimes we think we’re on one journey, and then simply wake up one day and discover we’ve been traveling somewhere completely different all along. My motherhood journey has been one of those kind of adventures… a journey you would never be able to plan for yourself because you didn’t even know such a place existed beforehand, and you didn’t know you were even on the voyage until you discovered the place you thought you were staying was actually moving somewhere else! It’s unsettling when Life throws you a curveball and you don’t even realize it until after the fact — sometimes long after the fact… we’re talking innings have gone by and you’re playing an entirely different game than the one you expected to play.

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

Being human requires a lot of blindness and a mind-preserving lack of observation, or an intense level of Trust in the goodness of God’s Love in order to maintain sanity in this unpredictable place. “‘I know the plans I have for you’ says the Lord…” (Jeremiah 29:11). As we ride around the sun, hopefully we learn to roll a bit more with Life’s punches. Even though the big ones may knock us out for awhile, hopefully we’re eventually able to get up and continue the fight — at least for the Love of those around us… and their Love for us.

It isn’t easy to walk this planet (wandering-star — doesn’t that make us all wanderers?) — to be so small amid so many galaxies and yet still Love our dear ones so much it doesn’t seem possible that we’re so finite. This is what we’re here for — to learn this common communication of infinite or unconditional Love, so we can understand the language on the other side of Death’s rent veil. We learn it as we serve each other — as mama’s snuggle their sleeping littles and calm wordless fears — as we make each other laugh, and keep each other warm and fed throughout the long winters of life… We learn it in the rhythm of poetry and song — in lullabies and literature shared together after a long day — in sharing what we have with others and being grateful for what we are given, and in creating homes where we know what it means to hold each other in our hearts. We learn it in the play of silence and story, laughter and tears — in life shared with one another in a myriad of small ways. We learn Love from all the lives that touch our own as we wander this road together…

I am so thankful for all my dear ones who are continuing to teach me Love.

I am grateful…

  1. reading aloud to the family in the car during a hail storm at the coast… :)
  2. listening to Kate Rusby together… (particularly this one over and over again) :)
  3. fuzzy socks in the cold…
  4. back to back with hubby at night – warm and cozy as we sleep…
  5. sister hugs…
  6. Little One’s laugh – even when he should be sleeping…
  7. Little Boy learning the alphabet…
  8. listening to The Professor and Philosopher talking late into the night when they think I think they’re sleeping… :)
  9. laughing with my hubby…
  10. wedding bands and lifelong loves…

It’s all Grace…

 

 

 

Awe and Time…

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It’s been a busy couple of months since I wrote last.

The Professor had his 20th birthday. I can’t even… I just can’t… too many feels as my younger siblings say.

Christmas came and its 12 days have passed. I keep planning on putting away all our decorations but I just haven’t had the time yet. There has been quite a few pieces to write for work (one reason my blog is so far behind since all my writing time has been used for work lately), plus trying to keep up on all the rest of the things that need to be done — I’ll admit that removing the holiday decor just hasn’t been high on my to-do list.  The twinkle lights make me happy — I’m about to enter the last year of my thirties… happiness is high on my priority list, and I know a lot more about what brings happiness than I did a decade ago. I’m in no rush to put away the twinkle lights — there’s a good chance some of them will be up when next year’s Christmas Tree arrives. ;)

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My younger sister is about to turn 30 in a few weeks. She was my first baby really — my first real experience with tiny rosebud lips and baby-toes… We shared a bed — I watched her sleep — she heard my first lullabies… My brother was only three years younger than me — perfect for a younger playmate… He rode on the back fender of my bike almost as soon as he could run around outside with me. He was my adventure buddy — the outdoors was our playground and I loved having him to share my imaginary world. We played Mr. Magic Island, Pinecone Wars when we grew a bit older, and spent most of our waking hours living an adventure of some kind… But my first younger sister came along just a few weeks before my ninth birthday. She was my very own living baby doll and I was totally in love. I’ve always had a really strong maternal streak — mothering, nurturing, is one of the things that makes me happiest — makes me who I am. So, I loved being a big sister with such a tiny baby sister to pamper… And she was so spunky!!! (She’s still spunky — her ability to be herself no matter what still amazes me… she is an amazing woman with a deep strength…)

I can’t believe that tiny, beautiful baby girl is closing in on her 30th birthday. 

Maybe it has to do with where I am in my own life, but I’m spending a lot of time in awe of Time lately. Despite how crazy the days are and how insane the world can be — this globe just keeps spinning… morning continues to dawn, day after day after day…

    “…all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be…” (Psalm 139:16)

Aside from wishing the days would just pause so that I could catch my breath — so that I could get used to Time passing and all the changes it inevitably brings — I’m just in awe of how this whole journey of Life seems to happen. One moment you’re a little girl watching the world from your daddy’s shoulders, and the next your little boy is sitting on your lap learning to read… then you blink…

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I am watching another hospice patient wind down his journey through Time… It’s not a surprise, this is where this work gets real — but it’s not easy. It just seems that Time should recognize the permanence of mortality — it doesn’t feel right that the galaxies keep spinning after someone dies — that the next morning comes without even blinking its eye. I think anyone who’s life is touched by a death knows what I mean. Each person is so unique – their distinct blend of DNA and life experiences traveling through Time here happens only once… I wish I could force Time and Space to stop and take notice.

Life is such a sacred mystery… every end should be remembered.

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We are all born for this journey and I am blessed to be traveling it with so many people who love me — my family, my hospice patients, those who walk with me in close tandem and those who pass through my path like shooting stars… flaring brightly as they go by and leaving me in awe of their soul-beauty. This universe is an amazing place to be… As I look forward to the coming months when it appears that life is going to have more twists and turns for me than I expected for this new year, I am learning to trust in the God of Time, and to take comfort in the consistency of the next sunrise despite its unpredictability. The poem says that two roads diverge in a wood and the poet takes the one less traveled by, but the truth is — everyone’s road is unique… we’re all on the road “less traveled” and that is what makes all the difference. Somehow we journey together – each on our own less traveled path – yet still side by side.  Together we keep each other company and learn the language of the far country we’re traveling to — the only language that matters in the long run. Day by day we are learning Love together…

I am grateful…

  1. beach houses…
  2. stormy waves…
  3. hot tea…
  4. new slippers…
  5. family Christmases…
  6. mama hugs…
  7. sister love…
  8. Little One’s first birthday…
  9. sorting boxes…
  10. lullaby memories…

It’s all Grace…

 

Of Changed Plans and Curveball “Calls”…

 

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Changing Leaves… 

Some days catch you completely by surprise.

 

Yesterday evening the only plans I had for today were taking The Professor to the neurologist for a quick follow up visit, writing a few pieces that need to be done soon, and getting some housework done. The plan was for it to be a full day, but a fairly “normal” one. A phone call I received late in the evening changed the day’s plans from “ordinary” to “extra-ordinary”.

Don’t worry – it wasn’t bad news. :)

My Healing Touch instructor was in a bit of a panic because her helper for the last day of a Level 1 course she was teaching had needed to bail out at the last minute, and she was desperately searching for someone to fill her shoes.  You absolutely need to have an aid when you’re teaching this method because you need to be able to show the students what to do — it’s not really something that can be learned just from the textbook. You can learn the science, you can learn the concepts, but the actual hands on work requires the “show and tell” approach. I knew immediately the seriousness of the situation since her students had paid good money for the course…

I didn’t immediately tell her that I could do it, since The Professor had that appointment, but a few minutes later I called her back after my hubby was able to rearrange his schedule. It took a bit of juggling, but I was able to be there for her the entire day (shout out to my hubby for his help, and my mama and second-sister for keeping The Philosopher company!).

So today, instead of all the things I had been planning to do, I found myself at a small workshop with a diverse group of people — though almost every one of them were nurses — in fact one other young woman, the instructor, and myself were the only ones who were not RNs. (Healing Touch is a popular type of energy medicine among nurses because of its scientific research and background.) Even the Buddhist monk with his great big laugh and flowing robes was an RN… :) I was actually really thankful that at least one of the other attendees came from a more “artsy” background like me… ;) Nurses have such giving, servant hearts though — it’s easy to understand why they’re drawn to Healing Touch, and they all did a wonderful job.

It had been quite awhile since I took the Level 1 class and I forgot how many great techniques were taught in it. There are a few that I really love, and I haven’t really had the opportunity to do them since I first took the course, so it was a good chance for me to practice. Plus, by helping out I was able to reap the physical benefits too — my pain levels are lower tonight than they’ve been in ages… (I know it isn’t magic – but it feels a bit like it is.) :)

It’s funny how we can think that we’re planning our lives out so carefully, but it only takes a phone call for those carefully made plans to be changed. I’m very thankful that my phone call last night meant I was able to be there for my teacher, and in the process I met some gentle souls with hearts for service — always a blessing. But sometimes those “calls” — in whatever form they come in — can feel like they throw your life such a curve-ball that your plans aren’t just being changed for a day… sometimes the “plan” of our life can be utterly destroyed. When we can’t see our way forward anymore through the life we no longer recognize, when our path is a maze with only a candle to light the way, when change leads to a devastation we never saw coming… We have to learn to trust that somehow there’s a phoenix already preparing to rise from the ashes… The reality is we never know when something “good” or something “bad” is going to appear on our life’s journey… and circumstances that are shaping us can lead to entirely new blessings we didn’t even know we could be given. I can trust that it is possible to have peace in the storms when I let go of what I really don’t know anyway — and rest in Who I do know…

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you…” (John 14:27)

Tonight, I am curled up in my bed, already planning my “to-do list” for tomorrow… But I am also remembering that I don’t really know what tomorrow will bring — and that’s okay…

I am grateful…

  1.  new friends…
  2.  Healing Touch…
  3.  servant hearts…
  4.  my hubby’s help with The Professor…
  5.  mama and second-sister visiting with The Philosopher…
  6.  changed plans…
  7.  laughing with people who were complete strangers moments before…
  8.  a Dr. Thom appointment for me tomorrow…
  9.  muffins to make tomorrow…
  10.  learning to adapt to life’s curveballs…

It’s all Grace…