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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Simply Live

~ lambie, lambie, lambie ~
After pouring my guts heart out in the last post, I feel ever so much better, although, I think it has more to do with your kind comments than the emptying of my soul. In my case, soul emptying isn't so much courage as the fear of standing before God, hopefully in the far future, and having Him say, "I gave you such a Large Life, why did you choose to live small?" shudder! 
In this "grief journey", I've learned it's best to just go with it when it happens. There's no stemming the flow of grief but I do try to stay on the farm, behind locked gates, when grief overwhelms me. If I'm in public, I head for the nearest restroom or back to the car; there's no need in causing others discomfort and, if there's one thing I've learned, folks who can handle a crying woman are few and far between. When I've encountered someone in distress, if it's someone I know, I give them a hug and ask if I may pray for them. If they say "yes", I start praying; if it's someone I don't know, perhaps I'll touch them on the arm or shoulder and ask the same question. As the old saying goes, there are no atheists in a foxhole and no one has ever turned down my offer of prayer.
Each week brings new opportunities to work as well as the same ole grind. Of course, my same ole grind is beautiful to me...lambs, calves, kittens, spring...and, once again, the cycle of grieving has taken an upturn. In other words, grief will be "manageable" for a day or three or God knows how long, before I'm swamped again. It's a roller coaster ride sans seat belt and all I can do is hang on and try to keep up but knowing God's plans are for me to prosper and do well, to give me hope and a future while I cast my cares upon Him because He cares for me. With Him carrying me and the load, I can do this grief journey! sort of.
"That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet."
~ Emily Dickinson ~
Ashley, a neighbor, works at her SIL's vet clinic and is forever bringing home the waifs that are abandoned or need special TLC. Like the lamb above; he was attacked by a dog and sustained severe injuries all over his body. There are those who say if you look cross-eyed at a sheep, it will fall over dead. This lil' feller says naaaaaay! He's still alive, doing well, drinking a bottle and wearing diapers because he's living in the house. I told John, Ashley's husband, "I could never work at a vet clinic; it's a license to starve." Meaning, of course, I'd bring home Everyone who needed a home. How on earth do you think Dave and I ended up with 5...sometimes 6 when Jake comes to eat...dogs, 3 house cats, barn cats, rescued sheep and horses? 
~ Flash and Lambie ~
Flash, John's "basket hound", is long suffering as Lambie nuzzles in the, unrealized, hope of finding a working teat. 
~ is this the look of guilt? ~
One of the dog beds is a feather mattress...hard to believe, eh? I bought it at a thrift store, not knowing it was a feather mattress but, as you can see, now I know. It needs a sheet, sewn into a U shape, so I can stuff the mattress in there, fold the end under and stop vacuuming feathers every week. It looks like someone has killed chickens in my office! 
~ Daniel, Morgan and my sheep ~
Last week was sheep de-worming and we're going to shear in April. The farm isn't open to the public any longer, I can only do so much and something had to give. Friends have asked if they can come help; well, gosh, gee, if you're sure....HA! free labor...gotta love it! I'll fix a wonderful homemade lunch - bread, soup, dessert, iced tea, coffee - and we'll make it a fun day. My little flock is only 28 so it won't take Clinton but three hours or less and that's if he takes his time. I wanted to shear this weekend but Clinton is knee deep in lambing and can't take time away from his own flock. In the next few days, I'll try and get to his farm to take some photos.
Our Cove Volunteer Fire Department is active and we're up to 18 members...hurrah! I won't fight fires but I'll bake cookies for every meeting and take notes, keep records, etc. Basically, whatever makes our fire fighter's lives easier, I'm there to do willingly. We're a very small community but spread out over thousands and thousands and get the idea...of acres. In our valley there are about thirty people but we go to the surrounding valley's when we're called upon to help. None of us are paid, we do this because we want to help ourselves and each other; we live the way our Grandparent's lived and the way we're admonished...treat others the way you'd want them to treat you.
That's not to say we don't argue, fuss and fight at times but we always manage to kiss, figuratively, and make up. We have to; we're dependent upon each other and look out for each other's homes, livestock, fences, each other. 
~ double rainbow ~
Throughout the years, we've seen several double rainbows off our back porch. Did you know before Noah's ark and the 40 day and night rain, there'd been no rain upon the earth? Only dew and after the flood subsided, God gave Noah a a promise or covenant that said He, God, would set a (rain)bow in the sky to let it be know He, God, would never again destroy the earth by water. The Bible is full of God's promises and, lest I forget, I'm forever reminding God of His promises. It helps me no matter what emotions are racking my brain and body and it's the only way I can live. With God's help, I simply live, each and ever day. Bless His name forever.

Blessings ~ promises, especially God's promises ~ lambs ~ good help ~ home made food ~ neighbors ~ a hope and a future ~ rainbows ~ 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Grief Unadorned

"Good grief!", (no pun intended) I can hear you saying. Is she going to ratchet on again about grief? Well, yeah so if you don't want to read this post, now would be a really, really good time to click on the delete/close key. Actually, Glenda wrote a post on Virtual Friends - Real Sisters and it started me thinking all over again. Just like deju vu...all over again except it's constant...about how people have responded to Dave's death and how I'm handling it, coping with it, dealing with it and, in two words, I'm not. At least, I'm not dealing coping handling how some think I should be coping dealing handling and, when I honestly respond to them they are seldom seen, never to be heard from again.
So, do you think it's the "honestly" part or the fact I respond at all? It surprises me that sometimes it hurts that some of  those folks have disappeared but I try not to waste too much thought and energy on them. That's in huge part because there's only so much energy and strength to go 'round and the more I give to away, the less I have for what really matters right now. Surviving. Animals. Farm work. Paperwork. Eating. Sleeping. me.
Some while ago, I was talking to someone about Patrick Swayze's wife and her book, Worth Fighting For: Love, Loss, and Moving Forward and this person said, "well, how tough could her grief have been? I mean, she's found time to write a couple of books about it; seems to me she's cashing in on her husband's death." I don't recall I said anything because I didn't know what to say but, last week I saw Lisa Niemi Swayze's book at the library and brought it home to read. Later, I stated doing i-net searches on her, her husband, grief and have found some interesting material.
One person berated Lisa for taking off her wedding ring and taking on her husband's last name. Apparently, Lisa and Patrick were married for more than three decades and she waited to take his last name after he died. Now, I don't know any of this for sure; it's just what I've read on the i-net and, too often, that's like rumors and opinions and y'alll know what's said about those.
Anyway, I think I understand why she took her husband's last name, now, months after he's died. They didn't have any children and the longer one is dead, the more people forget. That's one of the things that hurts so dreadfully; people forget. Even worse, they don't want to listen when, once again, someone brings up the name Patrick, Dave or you fill in the name of your loved one gone ahead.
About her book: it's helping me simply because she's so dang honest and honesty is something I appreciate even when I don't like it.
When Dave got sick, early days in treatment were terrible horrible difficult and sometimes I responded unkindly not so well. It made makes me furious Dave would do things that, deliberately, put him behind the eight ball and caused him to regress and not move forward. Yes, I realized it was Dave's decision, always, to do what he thought best wanted to do for himself but I hated when those decisions would put him in hospital, fighting for his life. I hated the fights we had when I didn't handle his crummy decisions with grace and kindness. I hated I loved him so much I despised his decisions that put him at even greater risk.
I hated when so-called friends couldn't handle cope deal with Dave's illness and used any excuse to stay away. One acquaintance thought we were close enough she could ask us for $6K loan. Mind, this woman is someone neither Dave nor I ever met and only knew through e-mails. When she found out we were not that close and two  months later when I told her Dave had cancer, she never responded. Yes, that's right...we've never heard from her again. So, was it not loaning her the $6K or Dave had cancer...hmmmmm... yet, her by-line is "love you. mean it." Seriously?
Another woman whom I've known for more than four decades wrote me a letter, making sure it arrived two or three days after Dave was buried, and said, "I'm now a liberal and we have nothing in common." WOW! Did she honestly think her political leanings weren't known or that we cared? For  Dave's sake, I still hate she was so lacking in basic human decency she couldn't didn't send Dave a card, e-mail or even pick up the stinkin' telephone while he was fighting for his life. And, yes, she did know because she referenced his illness in her letter to me. One favor she did, she let me know her friendship is conditional so neither of us have to waste any more time on the other. Thanks!
If you're a regular reader, you know I recently wrote this: "Dave would tell me, It's my job to protect and provide for you and my family." I'd reply, "And it's my job to take care of you."
In his fight with cancer, doctors, nurses, "friends" I became Dave's protector and would, sometimes quite fiercely, get between Dave and them. I would threaten, cajole, plead, beg and do whatever I had to do to protect Dave. It didn't matter what people thought of me as long as Dave was protected and shielded.
Now, he's dead, grief my constant companion and I am my own protector. People, again not friends and in some instances not even acquaintances but merely someone whom I've met, tell me how and when and why I should deal with grief, set it aside, get on with my life.
To quote Brenda Leigh Johnson, "Why thank yew. Thank yew so much." 
I've written before about the Stages of Grief and am finding out there is more insight into grief and the grieving process. Dr. Ursula Weide writes "Can Grief be Brief?" and knows first hand because her husband died at age 47. Dr. Weide is a Fellow in Thanatology and her writings have helped me are helping me understand I'm not losing my mind nor getting dementia. Traumatic bereavement is Very Real and, in my words, it takes as long as it takes. There's no magic pill, no amount of exercise, no amount of prayer that will put me on the other side until I get there. I can't predict the triggers that will render me impotent, on my belly on the kitchen floor, sobbing my heart out. I can only hope and pray those triggers continue to happen at home and not in public is what it is. Grief, my grief, isn't pretty; it's raw, a gaping, messy wound that rips naked emotion out of me and brings dark thoughts. Grief is physical: my muscles hurt and joints ache and I feel I age a decade every hour. I wrestle with life and, most days, it's a violent effort to stay upright much less move forward. I am in mortal combat.

Beloved, I continue to struggle.

Blessings ~ only 24 hours in a day ~

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sabbath Keeping

"I will listen to what God the Lord will say; 
he promises peace to his people."
~ Psalms 85:8

"There is a voice, "a still, small voice" of love,
Heard from above,
But not amidst the din of earthly sounds,
Which here confounds;
By those withdrawn apart it best is heard,
And peace, sweet peace, breaths in each gentle word."
~ Anonymous ~

"Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth, Grant us ears to hear, eyes to see, wills to obey, hearts to love, then declare what thou wilt, reveal what thou wilt, command what thou wilt, demand what thou wilt--Amen.   ~ Christina G. Rossetti ~

"Oh God, give me grace for this day. 
Not for a lifetime, nor for next week, 
Nor for tomorrow, just for this day. 
Direct my thoughts and bless them, 
Direct my work and bless it. 
Direct the things I say, and give them blessing too. 
Direct everything that I think and speak and do, 
So that for this one day, just this one day, 
I have the gift of grace that comes From your presence. Amen." 
~ Marjorie Holmes

"Jesus answered him, "If a man loves me, he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him, and we will come to him
and make our home with him.
He who does not love me does not keep my words;
and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me."
~ John 14: 23-24

If you'd like your name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ Annie ~ Val ~ Kary ~ Mary ~ Kerrie ~ Ray ~ Ruth ~ Anne ~ Kathy ~ Sandra ~ Timi, Miki, Mira, Mark ~ Adrienne ~ Karena ~ Roland ~ Debbie ~ Beckwith family ~ Lea and family ~ Mildred, John ~ Noelle ~ Geoffrey ~ Terry ~ Angela, Penny and family ~ Daniel, Morgan, Meredith, Tosh ~ Susan ~ Stephanie ~ Winnie ~ Wanda ~ Steve ~ Gwen ~ Leslie ~ William and Catherine ~ Becky and Rick ~ Misha and J ~ Linda and Skip ~ Ryan ~ Roy ~ Tonya ~ me ~

Friday, March 23, 2012

Phrase Wisdom

~ laughter is good medicine ~
"Sometimes, when I look at my children, I say to myself, "Lillian, you should have remained a virgin..."
~ Lillian Carter, Mother of Jimmy Carter ~

"I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalog: "no good in bed, but fine against a wall." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~

"Last week, I stated this woman was the ugliest woman I had ever seen. I have since been visited by her sister and now wish to withdraw that statement." ~ Mark Twain ~

"The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible." ~ George Burns ~

"Santa Claus had the right idea. Visit people only once a year." ~ Victor Borge ~

"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint." ~ Mark Twain ~

"I'm more concerned about the return of my money than the return on my money." ~ Will Rogers ~

"By all means, marry. If you get a good wife [husband], you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher. ~ Socrates ~

"I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury."  ~ Groucho Marx ~

"My wife has a slight impediment in her speech. Every now and then she stops to breath."
~ Jimmy Durante ~

"I have never hated a man enough to give his diamonds back."
~ Zsa Zsa Gabor ~

"Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat."
~ Alex Levine ~

"My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying." ~ Rodney Dangerfield ~

"Money can't buy you happiness...But it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery."
~ Spike Milligan ~

"I don't feel old. I don't feel anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap." ~ Bob Hope ~

"I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it." ~ W. C. Fields ~

"We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress."
~ Will Rogers ~

"Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you." ~ Winston Churchill ~

"Maybe it's true that life begins at fifty... But everything else starts to wear out, fall out or spread out."
~ Phyllis Diller ~

"By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he's too old to go anywhere."  ~ Billy Crystal ~

"The only easy day was yesterday." 
~ Richard R. Deyo ~ 
Blessings ~ laughter ~ humor ~ wise words ~ 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New Life

Blessings ~ new life ~ mothers ~ babies ~ colostrum ~ love ~ 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Marriage 101

~ love changes everything ~
Dave would tell me, "It's my job to protect and provide for you and my family."
I'd reply, "And it's my job to take care of you."

"Love, love changes everything
Hands and faces, earth and sky
How you live and how you die
Love, love can make the summer fly
Or a night seem like a lifetime
Yes love, love changes everything
Now I tremble at your name
Nothing in the world will ever be the same
Love, love changes everything
Days are longer, words mean more
Love, love changes everything
Pain is deeper than before
Love will turn your world around
And that world will last forever
Yes love, love changes everything
Brings you glory, brings you shame
Nothing in the world will ever be the same
Off into the world we go
Planning futures, shaping years
Love (comes in) and suddenly all our wisdom disappears
Love makes fools of everyone
All the rules we made are broken
Yes love, love changes everyone
Live or perish in its flame
Love will never never let you be the same
Love will never never let you be the same"
~ Andrew Lloyd Webber,

Blessings ~ love ~ broken rules ~ protection ~ provision ~ safety ~ care ~ Dave ~

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sabbath Keeping

~ mistletoe ~
"How good and pleasant it is when [people] live together 
in unity!" 
~ Psalm 133:1 ~

"Kindly words, sympathizing attentions, watchfulness against wounding men's sensitiveness--these cost very little, but they are priceless in their value." ~ F. W. Robertson ~

"Make us of one heart and mind,
Courteous, pitiful, and kind;
Lowly, meek, in thought and word,
Altogether like our Lord."
~ C. Wesley ~

"And I offer also for all those whom I have in any way grieved, vexed, oppressed, and scandalized, by word or deed, knowingly or unknowingly; that thou mayest equally forgive us all our sins, and all or offences against each other. Take away, O Lord, from our hearts all suspiciousness, indignation, anger and contention and whatever is calculated to wound charity, and to lessen brotherly love." ~ Thomas A. Kempis ~

"We are never more like Jesus than when we are choked with compassion for others." ~ unknown ~

"Be kind, for everyone you meet 
is fighting a harder battle."
~ Plato ~

"People are often unreasonable and self-centered.
   Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
   Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you.
   Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous.
   Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
   Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.
   Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.
   It was never between you and them anyway."
~ Mother Teresa Dr. Kent M. Smith, The Paradoxical Commandments ~ many thanks to Cloudia for correcting me ~

"All you have shall some day be given; 
Therefore give now,
that the season of giving may be yours 
and not your inheritors."
~ Kahil Gibran ~

"Don't be reckless with other's people's hearts,
and don't put up with people that are reckless with yours."
~ Mary Schmich ~

"A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special." ~ Nelson Mandela ~

"For Attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers 
through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. 
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find on at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, 
one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others."
~ Sam Levenson ~

"You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

"When death, the great reconciler, has come, it is never our tenderness that we repent of, but our severity." ~ George Eliot ~

"Life is mostly froth and bubble,
but two things stand like stone,
kindness in another's trouble
and courage in your own."
~ Princess Diana ~

"Carry each other's burdens, 
and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." 
~ Galatians 6:2

March has been difficult, your prayers have been my constant companion; may God richly bless you. 

If you'd like your name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ Val ~ Kary ~ Mary ~ Kerrie ~ Ray ~ Ruth Anne ~ Kathy ~ Sandra ~ Timi, Miki, Mira, Mark ~ Adrienne ~ Karena ~ Roland ~ Debbie ~ Beckwith family ~ Lea and family ~ Mildred ~ John ~ Noelle ~ Geoffrey ~ Terry ~ Angela, Penny and family ~ Daniel, Morgan, Meredith ~ Susan ~ Stephanie ~ Winnie ~ Wanda ~ Steve ~ Leslie ~ William and Catherine ~ Becky ~ Rick ~ Misha ~ J ~ Linda ~ Skip ~ Ryan ~ Roy ~ Tonya ~ me ~

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Sabbath Keeping

"For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, 
but the wicked stumble in times of calamity."

"After all these years, I am still involved in the process of self-discovery. It's better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe. Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life."  ~ Sophie Lauren ~

"A mistake is simply another way of doing things." 
~ unknown ~
"You know, by the time you reach my age, you've made plenty of mistakes if you've lived your life properly." ~ Ronald Reagan ~

"Instruction does not prevent wasted time or mistakes; and mistakes themselves are often the best teachers of all." ~ James Anthony Froude

"Experience is simply the name 
we gives our mistakes." 
~ Oscar Wilde ~

"I prefer you to make mistakes in kindness 
than work miracles in unkindness."
~ Mother Teresa

"If I had to live my life again, 
I’d make the same mistakes,
only sooner." 
~ unknown ~

Anyone who has never made a mistake 
has never tried anything new." 
~ Albert Einstein ~

"I have learned more from my mistakes than from my successes." ~ unknown ~

"The only man who makes no mistakes is the man who never does anything."
~ Theodore Roosevelt

"To make mistakes is human; 
to stumble is commonplace; 
to be able to laugh at yourself is maturity." 
~ William Arthur Ward ~

"A lot of people mistake a short memory for a clear conscience." ~ Doug Larson ~

"Never mistake motion for action." 
~ Ernest Hemingway ~

"It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can." ~ Sydney Smith

"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." ~ George Bernard Shaw ~

"People who don't take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year." ~ Peter Drucker ~

"If I Had My Life To Live Over
I’d dare to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax, I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones. You see, I’m one of those people who lives sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my mo0ments, and if I had it to do over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else, just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute. If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have. If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies." 
~ Nadine Stair

 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more.  But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
  “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.  The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’
 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?  Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
“‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags.  For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.  And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ "  ~ Matthew 25:14-30 ~

If you'd like your name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ Kary ~ Mary ~ Kerrie ~ Ray ~ Ruth Anne ~ Kathy - Sandra ~ Timi ~ Miki ~ Mira ~ Mark ~ Adrienne ~ Karena ~ Roland ~ Debbie ~ Beckwith family ~ Lea and family ~ Kary ~ Mildred ~ John ~ Noelle ~ Geoffrey ~ Terry ~ Angela, Penny and family ~ Daniel ~ Morgan ~ Meredith ~ Susan ~ Stephanie ~ Winnie ~ Wanda ~ Steve ~ Leslie ~ William and Catherine ~ Becky ~ Rick ~ Misha ~ J ~ Linda ~ Skip ~ Ryan ~ Roy ~ Tonya ~ me ~

Friday, March 02, 2012

Time, the Gift of Eternity

~ photographer unknown to me ~
NEW NOTE: Are you familiar with the e-zine, Living Better at 50? If you're a mature woman, it's a fine read and for those "less mature", it's still a fine read. Carol D., Editor, very kindly accepted an article from me entitled Boundaries, Fences and Margins. Let me know what you think, leave a comment on the article, please and thanks.

The 1Wife to Widow blog has been updated with good information on how to prepare yourself, financially, in the event of a spouse's death.

Lately, I've had the opportunity to re-examine my attitude and then change my attitude. Oh yeah, it was a hard won fight and, while I'm sure to lose a battle here and there, the war has been won; now it's only details. Most days I spend anywhere from eight to fourteen hours working on Dave's estate, going through paperwork, finding out about Virginia's "lost property", sending thank you notes to folks who have been kind and then there's the house work, farm work, tending to the animals, studio work, the selling of fleeces and finished goods, this blog, the Wife to Widow blog, my other blogs...the list, seemingly, never ends and I'm always extremely behind. You know the old saying, I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place! Well, I'm so far behind I keep getting sunrise confused with sunset and there's no end in sight. 

The way I've changed my attitude is to change the way I look what I'm doing. All of this is my job; it's how I'm earning my living, making my life, paying my bills, keeping the farm and, mostly, my sanity. I'm trying to stay focused on what I need to do to do the above; doing this is keeping me from putting in job applications at big box stores and Bless God and Dave for that gift!
 ~ a long and winding road ~
Miz Bernice, now in her 70's, recently told me, "I lost my husband when I was 47 and I learned in order to get through it, I had to keep busy. So, you must keep busy too." And, that's what the women in my family have always done...keep busy. Most of them kept early mornings and late nights and lived their pain through their work. A lot of people in our family now have quilts to show for those days and nights of tears, when sleep was the enemy; now, I now find myself, when time allows, keeping my hands busy so my brain has a place to focus and my heart to rest.

Anyway, I was having yet another -wry grin- pity party...oops, sorry but I forgot to send out invitations so that's why you didn't know -grin-...and feeling totally overwhelmed, lonely, alone, unloved and usually hungry because I'm the special kind of stupid that, sometimes, a lot of times, forgets to eat. Then I started pondering on the problem, which, as you're now knowingly muttering, the problem was moi. Oh yeah, there's a lot to do and my to-do list grows at an alarming rate but my attitude was slowing me down.  I would find myself wandering around, listlessly, unfocused on the particulars, unable to see the big picture and panicked because of all the details, details, details. Knowing I need to contact this one or that one, explain why I've not been in touch, haven't done what I said I'd do, apologize, etc.

You see, that's the strange thing about grief. I tell someone I'll do thus and so and my intentions are so good but the grief is, too often, more real than my life and my intentions, and I find myself swimming in deep waters. Too often, I'm unable to keep up and let life slip around me, phone unplugged, gates locked and in the center, me, struggling with the memories, the loss, the loneliness until the body and mind are spent with emotions and I start all over again. As Heraclitus once said, "It is what it is." The older I get, the more path I trod on this grief journey, the more I understand: It is what it is
If you're not familiar with Heraclitus and, if you're interested in philosophy, visit a while with Heraclitus. He talked about change being the only constant with the example being, one cannot step into the same river twice. The river is always flowing thus always changing and so it is with life. No way do I understand everything he said but, that's okay, I'm in good company. "They say that Euripides gave Socrates a copy of Heraclitus' book and asked him what he thought of it. He replied: "What I understand is splendid; and I think what I don't understand is so too - but it would take a Delian diver to get to the bottom of it." (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, II 22).

Stephanie, my Beloved Sistah, sent me the following:

"To realize
The value of a sister/brother
...and I add spouse, parent, friend, etc. ...
Ask someone
Who doesn't have one.

To realize
The value of ten years:
Ask a newly
Divorced couple.

To realize
The value of four years:
Ask a graduate.

To realize
The value of one year:
Ask a student who
Has failed a final exam.

To realize
The value of nine months:
Ask a mother who gave birth to a stillborn.

To realize
The value of one month:
Ask a mother
Who has given birth to
A premature baby.

To realize
The value of one week:
Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize
The value of one minute:
Ask a person
Who has missed the train, bus or plane.

To realize
The value of one second:
Ask a person
Who has survived an accident.

Time waits for no one.

Treasure every moment you have.

You will treasure it even more when
You can share it with someone special.

To realize the value of a friend or family member:


The origin of this letter is unknown,


Hold on tight to the ones you love!

Do not keep this letter, rather, 
send it to friends & family...ASAP."

Yes, I know this is but one day in this grief journey but it's a day of Grace and Mercy, a gift from God and, just for today, I will cherish this gift, this today and be thankful. In time, there will be more such days but today, I'm choosing to live deliberately and just for today, be thankful to God for His love gifts to me.

To each of us, God gives the same amount of time and each of us spend it wisely, foolishly, unthinking, with focus and intent on things that matter and things that have no value whatsoever. Some of us realize, and some of us have realization forced upon us, that time is the gift of eternity.

Read that again...time is the gift of eternity. How are you spending your second most precious gift?

Blessings ~ Stephanie, Beloved Sistah ~ time ~ eternity ~ work ~  Heraclitus ~ Miz Bernice ~ mercy ~ love ~ grace ~
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