Thursday, January 28, 2021

magical...

Snow angels.  

That is how it appeared yesterday.  I have been a bit sullen that we haven't really experienced winter.  No snow to walk in, not really cold, just kind of gray and gloomy for the most part.  Except in the hospital when I wanted to sleep and they couldn't even make that sunshine dim. 

But sitting in my chair by the fire yesterday working it started to snow.  I'd told Hubs it was going to, that I'd gotten an alert, he is always super on top of it for work to make sure things stay safe so I was a bit surprised that he hadn't known.  He still didn't believe me.  

I probably didn't need the fire all day, but it went so wonderful with the beauty of the snow falling down and the ambiance was just what my healing mental health needed. It made the act of returning to human softer.  So much easier to work when you are surrounded by your favorite things, a fire, snow, hot tea....

Around noon, just as I was stopping to eat lunch there was a muffled knock at the door.  Followed by a text message saying "knock knock".  As I opened the door to the beautiful falling snow there on the step was a beautiful snow covered almost four foot tall snow angel! 

Hair wild and crazy, bundled against the chill and flakes, her smile as bright as day and her eyes were sparkling with a fire that must go to the very center of the universe. As she wrapped her beautiful arms around me, covered in snow, I felt instantly better! 

She was running around grabbing huge gobs of snow that she was putting down her mother's shirt, throwing in the air with wild abandon and basically just having the time of her life.  Lying in the yard making angels and shapes.  My very soul was warmed.  I longed to through on shoes and a coat and be out there with her - but common sense and the doctor's voice were ringing in my head.  The whole reason I was at home to enjoy that moment was because I was to avoid those very activities. 

As my poor daughter lay sprawled in the driveway, exhausted from having dragged a sled with that energy ball attached to it up the hill from her house, I had the moments to savor.  What a gift! I offered hot chocolate to warm them before they headed back down the hill, my girl started to say no - I'm pretty sure she simply wanted to lie in the drive and give up, the littlest voice bubbled up with the loudest I want hot chocolate! 

For just over an hour in the middle of the day I was blessed with laughter, marshmallows, conversations about grapes and the fact that grandma was severely behind on taking down Christmas.  She is smart, does not miss a word or look.  She is observant and above all else she is a joyous child.  

Her hair has a mind of its own and she rarely allows anyone to tame it or her.  It is a true reflection of the joyous soul she is.  It's curly, it's straight, it's soft and wild.  When she snuggles up to you with that big wild ball of fuzz you can bury your face and feel the love. 


While we were finishing up our lunch, she sat organizing her kitchen in grandma's kitchen.  She takes after her mom, all that wild is housed in a child that craves order.  I was so blessed by that time yesterday.  She makes me think of a favorite line from a movie... she dances like a dervish. 

I wasn't quick enough to grab my phone to snap a picture as they were leaving, but she was quickly re-bundled and ready to go, mom not so much, understandably.  I stood in the doorway watching as that little sprite had already seated herself on her sled, waiting so patiently for her mom to assume her position as sled dog, both hands filled with fresh snow to sample and throw, her smile unrivaled. 

As they were waving and yelling love you I was so proud. I hope that I inspired even a tenth of the perfection that is my daughter as a mom. She's an amazing human in her own right, full of love, compassion, caring, honesty and well pretty much anything you can imagine.  But as a mom.  WOW!  I learn daily how to be a better human by watching her. 

Watching them leave I had a flash back to a sudden snow day long ago in Sembach Germany.  To pulling my daughter and her brother along the hillside on the sled that now sits outside my door every winter. I remembered being that sled dog as we tramped through the huge flakes of snow that were falling.  It was such a priceless memory. 

I work too much, I rarely get to enjoy and savor moments like yesterday.  I guess it was another gift from life during this time.  I am so very thankful for it. 

I am feeling more and more human each day.  I was exhausted by yesterday, but it led to a great night of rest and an energy to start today fresh. I'm being humbled that I am having to be slow.  We are short at work right now and it's a January at the Y, it's killing me to not be able to jump right back in and help "slay dragons".  I have to admit, I am struggling.  Hubs keeps reminding me that I have been there to help every time, that it is okay to heal.  I simply don't do this well. Yet, I am also finding myself thankful for the lesson. 

After not having real contact with people for 20 days I am in a strange place.  Longing for the contact and repulsed by the thought.  The contact of yesterday, was so fulfilling, will the energy of so many people be too much? Yesterday had real people and no television.  It had voices on the phone and thought provoking conversations.   It felt normal and disconnected.  

It was beautiful. 

I looked out the window this morning at the beauty of the snow, the moon glimmering through the icy covered tree.  The sky ink black.  It was so breathtaking. 

I think today will be a repeat of yesterday, I feel that the healing I am doing now is more mental. I am afraid of getting sick again (I don't do sick well) and I have no faith in any of the "science".  I'm still tired, but my skin is not a pale uniform white.  I can walk my house without being winded. I didn't even get a stool to finish cooking yesterday.  I am getting back to me. 

Thank goodness!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

programmed...

Hard to believe my brain woke up almost three hours ago.  I am not tired, although I am sure a bit later today will find me questioning how any of the past two hours were a smart decision. Then I will laugh a bit at myself, because I know there was absolutely no decision made on my part to be awake at 3 am.  I am an early riser by nature, but honestly 3 am is still the middle of the night. 

Since being sick I have had the strangest dreams.  Some of them I am sure were driven by fever and a pure state of not being connected to any sense of reality.  Some of them have induced pure terror that I have refused to go back to sleep from. Thankfully, those ones are fading. 

I believe we are in a place in this world where we are actually getting closer to the perfection of knowing who and what our purpose is, I know that sounds insane given what is going on in the world today.  It feels like birthing pains if you step back and look.  I want to narrow it down to just our country, but honestly the world is going through some amazing, terrifying, unifying and destructive times. I believe we will finally come to a place that is pure, where the things we have been either refusing to learn or too wrapped up in our programming to notice will be clear.  Where so much of the hurt and pain will be just like birthing pains, left behind in the beauty of the gift of life. 

No, I am not still dreaming. Although today's was a wonderful one to wake up to.  I lay still for probably 30 minutes absorbing the beauty of it, and listening to my inner heart.  Where I believe the very essence of God is.  I am a deeply spiritual person.  I am not a deeply religious person, in fact I am probably one of the most rabid anti-religious people I can imagine. 

In my waking moments of my dream I realized that I had been blessed today.  Today, I felt a healing in my very soul.  The knowledge that I am on the right path, that we all are.  We have simply got to start being still and silent. 

We have got to start allowing ourselves to stop being programmed. Defined by others.  In so many ways each day we get out our predictive programming, we find ourselves marching along without taking the moments to stop.  To simply be. 

I'm in that weird space, I am feeling well.  I can breathe, I am no longer consumed by fever, I am not sitting staring off into the distance. My body feels like my own again.  I still am not feeling strongly about eating and I am unbelievably thankful that my knees have had this moment to rest.  I am sure all the steroids that were required are very much responsible for the fact that the inflammation is down and I can walk without pain for the first time in literally a year.  

But I am weak. My mind is already trying to push me.  The programming to do, to be, to accomplish.  To trade my health and my well being for a punch list of things that must be done. Yesterday as I moved through the day, pushing myself to not hear my body I found myself weary.  I almost took a half sick day and slept.  

Pride wouldn't let me. 

Slowly throughout the past few days I have been doing small loads of laundry.  I know major accomplishments right? A couple of times I felt like folding a load of laundry was equal to climbing a mountain.  I was semi-joking with Hubs that we have too much stuff. Meaning clothes, as here no laundry of any kind had been touched for weeks between us and we hadn't run out of anything.  Now in all fairness I am pretty sure we've been living in PJ's, but as I was struggling with those bite sized bits of laundry I realized we trade a great deal of our life and time for stuff. 

We trade moments of laughter, walks in the sunshine, doing things that are meaningful to us on a deeper level for dollars to buy stuff we don't need, to have things that don't meet our basics of life. We have huge groceries full of junk.  Yet take little time to prepare a meal with real ingredients. To savor the joy of growing our own.  

I was sitting exhausted with Hubs last night, not enough energy to think or really do anything, but too early to go to bed if I wanted a full night's sleep. He was watching a sitcom.  I like a few moments of laughter, but this one is starting to get on my nerves.  Badly. I don't like stupid.  I don't like being programmed and that is how it feels.  Men dumb, women unimportant, kids stupid. Dumb things are funny, haha... no thank you.  Yet I could feel the programming. A commercial came on, it literally showed young people being programmed on their phones to accept credit scores and the results of programming on your ability to be happy. 

It felt like a huge splash of ice cold water. 

My joy's yesterday came in the most random of things.  A check in with the oldest grand daughter, and laughing about potatoes value over other vegetables.  

A video of my daughter playing ball with her cats, their chunky butts being all proud when they caught the silly little pink ball. And chatting about how difficult it would be to not bring home a marmoset baby when she has the opportunity to hold one in a few weeks. And a cuddle house full of baby animals!

The short, typically brief message from my boy telling me that he was so thankful I was getting well.  That his boss had just lost his mom the day before and he was sad for him, but so thankful it was not him losing his mom. That simple exchange was a pure declaration of love, my heart was is so full.

It was chatting with my mom talking about life, who we are as people and deeper things.

The text message from my sister that I often find myself closest and most distant to all at the same time. That simple message was filled with love.  She truly has the most loving heart of all of us, but heaven forbid you see it. It made my night!

It was attempting to plan a pizza dinner with the oldest daughter, we are still in that amazing getting to know you stage and this time feels like it has stolen time that is still far too precious. 

A text from my sister by heart to send me a picture of her newest grand baby - fresh and ready to be part of a wave of love blanketing this wonderful world. 

A message of love from a dear friend that didn't know I had been ill and wishing me well. Several others simply checking in... those moments of time from their lives priceless gifts to me.

A few moments spent trying to be virtually present to support my employee as she grapples with the grief of time lost as she is getting ready to bring the first great grand baby for a grandpa that is now gone.

Following the insanity of my highly talented grandson and his quest for paint.  He is so very talented, and his pleas with my daughter and his bio mom humored me greatly.

A dinner with sweet Hubs that neither of us cooked thanks to the love my diva's.  I was able to expend the energy that I had left just chatting and talking. 

Life is a such an incredible bucket of wonderful!

I am humored that as I pressed Hubs pants this morning, I'm not up for ironing that whole mess yet, but I am getting there. The title for this blog and where my brain was going came up with programmed. 

I have been following a couple of great conversations on Facebook between cousins I don't know well, but it is filling me with so much hope.  People wanting to control all of us have been programming us for a long time.  Taking away our ability to think clearly, playing on emotions, ideals, hopes and dreams.  Telling us what to do, when to do it, what to think, feel, hear.  Like I said there are too many layers of all of this right now.  Too much to delve clearly into.  It isn't something that is new, it's been going on forever.  

Yet to hear honest questions asked.  To read a sharing of thoughts that are open with a willingness to learn from one another.  It was powerful to me.  Ironically the conversation that caught my attention was around a few comments that have been flying around the news and social media about "reprogramming".  About the need for half of the country, at least, to be reprogrammed. 

I'm tired of being programmed. 

I'm tired of my life being filled with things that someone else has determined I need, want, must think, must do.  Am I the only one? 

I was flipping through social media this morning, a bit saddened to see that they are tracking hard right now.  Almost every other thing popping up relates to yarn right now, silly me getting those blocking forms. All of it designed to sell me something else. FYI social media, I don't need you to show me yarn if I look at some patterns.  And I don't need menu ideas.  With a healthy sprinkling of quilting patterns and suggestions for trips. Let me think for myself. 

I am sitting here, in front of a fire that my sweet husband made me.  He brewed my coffee, moved my laptops - work and home to my small space of peace. In a moment I am going to bake some muffins that he loves, he took the time to clean our kitchen and prepare the space for me. I can take the time to make his favorite breakfast foods.

I am learning so much from so many spaces, who knows I might actually some day start putting rhyme or reason behind the thoughts in my blog, make order out of chaos, but truthfully... I will probably always be me. 

I do know that this programming has to stop. The only voice I want in my head needs to belong to God and to knowing my true self. To be true to myself and my fellow man, to our greater purpose. To focusing energy, love and strength into raising the global vibration. 

It's time to be small and be okay with it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

hello brain...

I'm awake. 

I know it doesn't seem like a great feat.  Many of us will experience the same feeling today.  But for me after almost 20 days, it is huge! I'm awake, my eyes are open and my mind feels... mine. 

When I last posted I had no idea that the exhaustion I was feeling, the mental fog, the unclear thoughts and the disconnection to myself wasn't just post holiday blahs. A let down after a strange and wonderful holiday season. 

I had no idea that my brain feeling foggy wasn't just a season shift fibro event. 

This morning I am clear. My fingers are hitting keys that actually make sense.  I've been awake since around 3 am.  And while that would normally disturb me, the fact that for several weeks I have basically been sleeping over 20 hours a day it feels good. I have stared off into space for far too long this month. 

In fact, if I wasn't so concerned with where things have already gone this year I would want a do - over. 

I am going to be very unpopular with what I feel strongly that I need to say.  Especially as I have now managed to experience, successfully, the awesome combination of COVID and pneumonia.  But, here it goes just the same. 

Live your life. 

Due to my work I followed the guidelines, I wore the mask, washed my hands, did my best with six feet. And almost 20 days and a hospital stay later, I am still going to say live your life. 

During the time that I have been ill, I know of several people that have passed away.  Some COVID related, some not.  I have been sick before in my life.  This was definitely an experience I am okay with having only learned once. But there was no reason for the world to change because I got a virus. If masks and all the other fear mongering worked, I would not have gotten sick. The truth is that virus' have been around as long as man.  We have been blessed by a creator that insured our bodies would adapt and we could survive, if meant to. 

The greatest joy I had during that period of time was when my girl was brave enough to bring that little sprite of a grand baby over to entertain me before I got too sick. We explained to stay away from Gramma and we had so much fun.  The sparkle from her made me feel like a million dollars.  Now before you freak out, please know she had already been potentially exposed and children are pretty darn safe... because you know science. 

The laughter and joy of that evening made some of the past few weeks brighter. Speaking to my children and text messages from grands made sitting in a hospital sweating and on oxygen a whole lot easier to deal with. 

My heart broke yesterday when I received a message from one of my employees, her grandfather had passed unexpectedly.  They had moved back here to enjoy time together, but because of all the fear that has been being dished up they lost all of that time. 

You cannot unwind a clock people. 

Since time began we have had people get sick, we have had bodies get tired and move on.  The one thing we can never replace, ever are the memories of laughter, time together, sharing love, hope and ideas. 

I am not saying to simply through caution to the wind.  In fact I am dumb struck by some of the absolutely idiotic things I am hearing from around the country. A change in leadership does not all the sudden cure a pandemic.  Simply rewriting rules, ideas and thoughts does not make them... well science. 

I used to be a firm believer in science.  Until I studied in it.  I used to believe a lot more and know a lot less.  

I think I told a friend while I was in the hospital that I believe I chose this time to be ill. I knew that I needed a safe, calm spot to be.  Can't get much safer than completely disconnected.  I needed a cocoon, my soul knew that. A buffer so to speak. 


I guess the coming months will show to us if we have been terrified to be controlled or if we have just over come one of the greatest pandemics in history.  Please understand that I am normally more middle of the line with the thoughts I share. Yet after this month, this experience.  I am now choosing to be allowed to have my own voice and thoughts. 

If you are healthy live your life.  You owe it not only to yourself, but your loved ones.  Spend time making a special dinner, go for that walk, do like my sweet baby grand did and build a forest hut it the park.  Get dirty. 

If you aren't feeling so great, take a moment to step back.  Take care of yourself.  I don't use my sick days, I never get sick. HAHAHAHA, proved me wrong. As I battled all the guilt and anger at myself for not staying healthy, for not being there and doing what was expected of me, I realized something. 

I work with and for great people.  I have felt so much love this past few weeks. Yet, I am supremely replaceable. They haven't missed a beat.  I could say it's because I have a great team, that I am surrounded by amazing people, and the text book answer to that is yes, I do.  The reality is the only people we are not replaceable with another comparative part is our family, friends, our loved ones. 

Smell flowers, go get wet in the rain, or play in the snow.  Turn off the television - you have been programmed. Experience life. Walk away from people telling you what to think, what to feel how to learn. Stop being programmed. 

One of my family members really upset me in a comment he made on a Facebook post. It was something harmless in regards to what I am writing here about living life and not missing a moment.  The comment was small and petty.  About not wanting to end up in a hospital or morgue. 

My anger wasn't in his saying those words.  My anger is that he chose my message to carry his gloom.  I am not going to be so willing to allow that moving forward.  Everyone has a voice, everyone has the right to use that voice.  We are blessed with intelligence, common sense and the ability to learn. We have an innate ability to grow, experience to level up as humans.  We alone make the choice to not do so. 

If I've angered you, I am sorry.  If have I have given you an opportunity to think for a moment, follow that wisp. 

But mostly, live! Make time for what is important, because in the end, the loved ones around you truly are all that matter. 

My last post was about creating, it was in the most strict sense of the word.  During the moments of lucidity of the past few weeks I have thought deeper about that string of thoughts. As this week started my brain was still struggling hard to connect to me, my fingers and brain were not even remotely speaking to each other and I couldn't put together clear thoughts.  Slowly as the week has moved forward, I forced my fingers to wrap around the yarn, to connect my muscle memory and brain in a pattern that I can do in my sleep.  

Creativity pulled me back. Creativity will drive me forward. 

I have been wrapped in love from so many areas of my life, flowers, messages of love, calls, dinners... I am so surrounded by an amazing community. I am blessed, I am thankful and I am choosing to move forward in pure love.

Go out and live!  Experience all things beautiful and growth inducing.  Turn off the television, have a conversation, agree to disagree and learn to love one another again, please....

Sunday, January 3, 2021

creating...

Finishing up my current project, I have had the opportunity to listen to quite a few podcasts.  I have very eclectic tastes as I have discovered and I often find myself lost in a myriad of topics and speakers. Current events, spiritual, historical, energetic and astrological are just a few of the areas I tend to wander around in.  Most of these areas can draw me in and allow me to do some very deep thinking. While my hands are creating my mind is free to wander and explore.  The book worm of old is thankful for the ability to do multiple things at once. 

Listening these past few days I have noticed a reoccurring theme.  

Creating.  

Most of them are talking about the overwhelming need we are discovering as humans to reconnect with our creative spirits. For far too long we have drifted away from being creative.  From expressing ourselves and from exploring the things that fill our souls.  There is an almost unanimous thought process across all of them that now is the time for us to reconnect. To fully experience things that fill us with passion and fire of spirit. 

As the needles glided through the soft blue yarn I let my mind consider the thoughts being put forward. To process what I had heard and how it applies to where we are now and were we are going. 

I felt the sheer pride of accomplishment as I slid the last bind off stitch off my needles.  The hurry part of me.  The need for immediate satisfaction almost rushed upstairs and and simply steamed it.  Ignoring the directions to do a wet block. I mean who has the patience for that?  In 2021... I do.  Even if it kills me.  I don't have the blocking forms, I've never had the patience.  In fact it killed me to sit it down, to order the blocks and pins and wait. I cannot wait to see it finished.  I've never completed a lace shawl before.  Yet, it is lying at my feet on the ottoman waiting. I feel strongly that I want it completed properly. 

I am taking a moment before starting the next project.  As I sat still over the past few days I felt an overwhelming need to complete projects. My world is filled with many.  Pretty sure the next one will be the pair of socks that has been driving me crazy for almost a year, if I can find the pattern. I seem to have misplaced it, one full sock in. I didn't understand the need to complete these things.  I am always surrounded by projects in different stages of completion.  Most often it is because the world gets too big and I lose my focus and motivation.  

Listening to the speakers, what resonated with me the strongest is that we have been programmed to be doers.  Always busy on "important" things, i.e. work, chores, checking off boxes.  And for the most part the deepest part of us, the part that calls for us to be creators is somehow stifled.  It isn't as important.  Creating beauty, in any form is often frowned on except for those that are at a point of having the luxury of time. 

I started reflecting back on the year that was.  

I remembered the weird confusion of feeling blessed to have my job, still collecting a paycheck and able to take care of my responsibilities, mixed up with pure jealousy of those that were at home.  I have longed to be able to be at home and live in my creative world my entire life.  I struggled hard looking at all the loaves of bread being baked, the meals that people were taking the time to prepare since they could not go out to eat.  I have a large number of very creative souls that surround me and each day my Facebook filled with pictures of creations, my email with messages of people learning to play instruments, writing books and poems.  

I watched with a mixture of joy and jealousy as all around me people found creative ways to not only express themselves but to create community and fill basic needs. 

As I personally struggled through I couldn't bring myself to fill the hours with creativity.  I wanted to, I tried, but I felt blocked.  Strangled. I halfheartedly completed my cooking class, I love to cook, but my heart had checked out.  I killed the only batch of sour dough I attempted.  I used to make so many loaves of bread, it was almost a passion. The soaps I made were okay, but it felt like a chore.  Not something I love. I got out supplies to knit, crochet, sew... and that is as far as it went.

Sometime mid-summer I started to long to create again.  I found myself winding balls of beautiful yarns, some of which I had spun myself.  I ordered roving and in the pure heat of summer spun and knit my sweet Hubs a Harley inspired scarf.  Knowing he would wear it during the winter cold. 

I think I mentioned yesterday how many people gave me homemade gifts.  Things that filled my soul with love.  One neighbor blessed me with the same gifts she'd given her family, to thank me for spending a lazy Sunday teaching her to sew.  Each item was made from things they grew or gathered in their garden and with treasures from a grandma that had passed on. 

Over the past few days I've had people asking me to teach them to crochet, to knit, one grand daughter wants to learn to make soap. A sister reached out wanting to learn to quilt, another to crochet (lucky for the one wanting to crochet that the sister wanting to quilt is extremely talented at crochet and lives far closer than I do).  I wish my sister that is so talented at photography would further explore that vision that she has.

Are we truly here to create a life that is full of energy, creative and calm?  Are we here to work together collectively to share the good in life.  To not check boxes?

My whole life I have longed for a simple time.  I've always felt out of place.  I have never had career aspirations.  I've always dreamed of a place and time where we could experience life, where it wasn't about having enough to survive.  I'm not driven by money.  I'm driven by experiences, knowledge, creating and sharing that knowledge. For a non-people person, I am incredibly drawn to people, to creating community.

How many others are the same and simply have been afraid to explore it?  

Sweet Hubs refinished a desk over the past few months.  It is not a fine piece of furniture from a shop, it is pre-war, definitely hand made and it is wonderful! It was no doubt assembled by a man (or heck I'll be radical - woman) for use in the family home or office.  Years of finishes were built up on it.  Burn marks in the top, in my fantasy world were put there when the man's cigar rolled out of his ashtray while he was busy into the night. I fell in absolute love with that desk. 

He did such a beautiful job with it, every time I am downstairs the hours of his labor reach out to me.  He has every reason to be proud of it.  I love to see the lights glowing off of the rich, warm wood.

He is also very musically inclined.  He doesn't think so, feels he is too old to pursue the things that he slid to the side when life demanded his attention as a younger man.  We were at my favorite local shop full of crystals, tarot cards, candles, incense and so much more one day.  When he came upon a set of chimes, as he played I felt so much calm and peace in my soul that we bought them.  I didn't care what the cost was, it was so beautiful and calming. I don't get to hear him play often, I am usually still asleep when he is playing them in the man cave, but when I do, I feel calm and peace fills my heart and soul.  

I considered getting him a tongue drum for Christmas.  And sitting here now listening to the beautiful sounds of a Hang drum... oh the possibilities are endless.  But it is for him to decide what creative journeys he wishes to follow. 

Creativity to me has always been a second nature. I have many passions and I am always wanting to learn more. I am always willing to help others learn.  I mourned when arts were removed from schools, I've hated life moving in and us as humans giving up on creating.  Walking through stores to pick out things pre-created for us.  To surround us, to listen to, to eat, to clothe ourselves with, to tell our story. 

I am very interested to see how this story of ours unfolds.  I firmly believe all of us are here at this time in history for this moment.  Each of us has a role to play. Maybe the slowing down of life was deliberate.  Maybe it was to allow us to reconnect with our humanity. To reconnect with our communities. 

Life was not simpler in the time before, it was hard work.  Yet my Little House spirit longs for the community to gather to lift each other up, to plant gardens, quilt the coverings of our beds while we connect, listen, support and grow together.  To listen to someone play an instrument, as we cook together and care for one another. 

I'm all about creating.  Not just material things, but creating the very fabric of life. Souls are meant to be connected.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

fractured...

Dragonflies = transformation
I've spent the last few days in a self created cocoon.  A time of reflection, creation, and peace.  Hubs and I said goodbye to 2020 quietly.  Alone.  The full moon flickering through the clouds and rain.  We never stay up, but this year... well out of respect I felt we should. 

2020 was a year that brought us all to our knees in different ways.  Some of us felt it metaphorically, for some it was quite literal.  Be it a return to faith or in a breaking manner.  The lessons of 2020 will not soon, if ever, be forgotten. 

It was the longest year ever and in the very same moment the shortest. It feels as if we've blinked and it vanished. As we celebrated New Years Eve it felt as though we should be back somewhere at Easter, so much was missing and or changed, possibly forever. 

I remember my initial disbelief.  I still struggle with the over all picture of what has happened. Oh I fully believe that there is a virus and that people have died with it. The rest of that picture is a struggle for me. Yet that isn't why I am writing. 

I also remember my initial fears, as the non-stop media barrage of information and fear stats poured out. I was terrified, mostly for Hubs.  As we were both deemed essential workers and were out and about each day. Hubs fell into the high risk categories. Age and health issues being near the top of the list. 

We were not in those groups that could lock the doors and keep it outside. 

Slowly, my thoughts and feelings changed.  

They fractured. 

I personally will never be the person I was.  I feel like I have stepped out of the world I have lived my entire life in.  I watch it with caution, trusting my own intuition now. I always have been "that" person. Never able to believe what I am told, needing proof.  Needing to see and experience it. 

I remember the conversation with my then supervisor in regards to all that was to come.  I argued against it, because something deep inside was pushing me in an opposite direction. I couldn't accept what I was being told to accept. 

I'm still that person. I am still questioning, searching for truth and answers. Hurting when I see other's blindly following along, having faith in what they are told without question. Almost refusing to have faith in what they know in their hearts.

Ironically, I feel a greater sense of freedom than I have ever experienced in my life.  I feel like I have had my heart opened. My eyes are clearer, in a strange way. I am not sure there are words to explain how I see things now.  

Last picture of 2020

I have been blessed by 2020.  I learned to go inside myself, to meditate and focus on a greater source of knowledge. I learned to be less trusting in what I am told to believe and to focus in the quiet to feel what I need to believe. 

For most of my life I have struggled with church.  I have a very strong faith, deeper than I can place into words. Yet my faith, has never been in man, in what I am told to believe.  2020 has given my faith a clearer definition.  Permission to be deep, wild and rich.  To follow my heart and to learn. 

I started several down several spiritual paths in 2020.  I took my initial Reiki class.  Life did not allow completion at the time. At that moment I was resentful and angry.  It is something that I have wanted to pursue for a long time, and I raged at the fact that while the rest of the world was comfy and able to stop I couldn't follow something dear to me. 

Sometime in the past few days of silence and creating it came to me that I wasn't ready to follow that path yet. 

I hadn't fractured all the way at that time. I am not sure that I am there even yet. I have more internal work to do. I need a stronger connection before I can release myself to follow that path. I feel it growing daily. 

For Hubs and I 2020 was a year of changes and growth.  Our holiday was crazy and wonderful and heartbreaking. All wrapped up in the same bubble. It was the first year ever without fur babies, our boy or Christmas Eve by the fire with kiddos.  It was a time where we had nothing holding us in place. It was a strange freedom. 

We planned our vacation around the boy's usual home time. Only to find he wouldn't be home.  Our girl was busy with her kiddo's - as they are rapidly growing and developing their own traditions.  Our newest daughter has her own family traditions and we were stumped as to how to proceed. 

Guilt that we weren't following the "traditional" holiday plans was nagging at us when we decided to run away.  Again 2020 gave us the gift of experiences and fresh eyes. It was a quick trip.  No time to deep dive in or to see all we didn't know we wanted to experience. Yet, it was fresh, wonderful, wrapped in us and our time together.  We experienced sunrises and sunsets in beautiful places, we laughed, walked, giggled, did I say walked? 


Strolling along broad expanses of white beaches in the bitter wind filled my soul with joy.  I needed it. I felt like it was blowing away the remaining bits of fracture. I felt alive. We weren't living in the world that the television was showing us.  Far from it.  Sure we had our masks, don't even ask my opinion on those.  

Bethlehem Star 12/21/2020 

My insistence on seeing the Bethlehem Star, or Jupiter/Saturn conjunction from my own driveway led us home probably earlier than we needed to be. Although I would not trade the joy of sitting out in the cold driveway experiencing that moment.  Hubs gathered quite a few of our neighbors to enjoy the magic of a moment not seen for over 800 years.

We wrapped up our year spending time with the family in non-traditional ways.  Christmas morphed into a three day holiday.  A time to enjoy time with our girls and the boy remotely.  So different.  Yet so beautiful.  

For me 2020 fractured most traditions, it opened my eyes.  My girl for years has been saying the things that it took 2020 for me to truly realize and appreciate.  Dates on a calendar are not written in stone.  The feelings, emotions, experiences and moments are far more important. 

To me Christmas was far richer than I can ever remember.  All the decorations did not go up.  It was about substance, not appearance. I cherished the small gatherings, the conversation, the time around the fire.  The times when it was just Hubs and I sitting around the fire drinking hot tea and enjoying the beauty of the moment. 


For the first time in far too long I was gifted things that people made for me.  My heart soared at that.  I love homemade gifts.  I think that is why so many of mine are homemade.  It isn't because I'm cheap, Lord knows if you have ever made things for others you know that it is not cheap.  It's because of the time, the thought, the prayers and wishes for that person that goes into it.  I cherish the time I am creating for someone, it makes me feel a deeper connection to them. Both of my grandma's used to send home made gifts, my great grandma too.  I still have most of those treasures.  Some are ragged and beat up. Yet they are treasures. I will have them when I leave this earth.  Because they mean that for a moment in time, I occupied their thoughts. 

Christmas love!

This year felt filled with practicality (my love language).  Gifts were chosen with purpose, not because of advertising or a need to simply have. It was wonderful.  Meals were shared around laughter and conversations.  I am not sure which highlight from Christmas melted my heart more.  Listening to Hubs and our grand daughter and her friend talking and laughing on the deck, just the three of them.  Chatting by the fire inside with my girl, just her and I or gathering with Hubs and her by the fire outside and chatting with the boy on the coast.  Of course there was the oldest girl, her Hubs and her youngest gathered together opening first Christmas presents and the joy of having an ornament with all nine of our grand-babies names on it. Or maybe it was two of my sisters and my girl gathering to meet our newest girl and her Hubs... so many incredible memories.  So much love. 

I am thankful for the fracture.  I am thankful for the shattering that occurred.  Old beliefs, patterns and habits had to change to bring about a different way. 

I am sure that the calendar changing did not automatically change the challenges that we are living in.  The world will not go back.  I said that in March, not realizing that it was fairly prophetic. We can't go back. Too many things have shifted forever, there are choices that have to be made.  I feel we are still at a point of struggle.  I don't for a moment think 2021 is going to be a year free of hurt, challenges, struggles, it will not be pain free. It will be a time for growth.  Because through adversity comes growth.

But I firmly believe that we have it in our complete control to create the life that brings us joy.  To celebrate freedom and to give love to all in unending ways. We each have the ability to make everyone around us a bit happier, to make life a bit easier.  I believe that each of us made a choice to be here at this time.  Each of us has a duty and a mission to fulfill.  Are we brave enough and committed enough to do so?

I am looking towards 2021 with compassion, love, grace and courage.  Those are the intentions I have chosen for myself.  I am going to continue to work on me and at the same time insure that I am opening my eyes and seeing clearly.  No just with my physical eyes, but with my intuition.  We all have it and have the ability to use it.  

Thank you 2020 for the fracturing, for the clarity, for the opportunities. 

As we welcome this new journey around the sun, I welcome you and the lessons that you have for us.

First picture of 2021

Monday, December 21, 2020

making memories...

 

A warm fire crackling beside our Christmas tree is a perfect welcome home. Warm muffins, hot coffee, curled up in my favorite spot in front of the bay window watching the sun rise, feeling the glow on my face.  

Yep, home! 

In a short while I will start doing the things.  Making some cookies, wrapping some presents, finishing up a few projects in the sewing room.  For this moment, I am simply savoring the past few days. 

Having always had someone or something to be responsible for I've never truly had the space to simply be.  To come and go, to explore and be truly spontaneous. I did not expect 2020 to give us that gift.  I expected this vacation to be sad, filled with a feeling of loss.  The two furthest away cannot come home, they live in one of those states that makes having a life right now impossible.  We'd even considered driving out and surprising them, but... the state is making that completely impossible now. So we will have to make due with a phone call for Christmas this year. 

The kids closer to home have so much going on in their worlds, so much is changing. 

Last week about this time, I decided we were going to follow suit. We'd already decided to drive to deliver gifts in Arkansas and Alabama, it would have been a simple trip filled with highways and knitting. Not much to see when you travel by highway.  It's just a channel cut through the vibrant life and made dull. Point A to point B and so on.  

I needed something more. Longing for the smell and feel of the ocean air on my face, I somehow decided we needed to add a stop in New Orleans into our little journey, neither of us had ever been so it seemed like a wonderful place to go. Many reroutes later, we are now sitting in back in our own home.  Each of us enjoying things that make us feel connected.  I am listening to the music of the Godfather drifting up the stairs, as Hubs is engrossed in the latest remake.  I am writing and remembering. 

I am learning to listen to my inner voice.  The one I've always told to shush. The one that practicality and responsibility have told to stop dreaming and be reasonable. 

I was tired of reasonable. 

2020 has been the longest year, the most exhausting.  When you feel deeply a year like this is harsh, too harsh.  It has left me drained, with nothing to give. Tired.  Mind numb. The joy had been tarnished. I was struggling hard. 


A quick stop with family, ironically all us girls and mom were together, usually at least one of us is missing.  That was not the case this year.  We laughed, chatted, teased.  It was so relaxing.  The next sister down created the most beautiful ornaments, that I can't wait to put on the tree and she made me an AWESOME bug picture, completely with personalized plates.  No one ever makes me gifts and this year my heart is full! I love the treasures that someone took time to create.  

Another irony of this tipsy topsy year we are living through.  Handmade treasures abound! I even came home to a homemade Christmas card.  My heart is full!  In fact I have quite a collection of Christmas cards this year, after far too many years with barely any. Future proving past?  Has this unplanned slow down for many led to us being able to see the value of before?


After dropping off donuts and gathering a few more hugs for good measure our red sleigh (better known as Hub's truck) whisked us down to New Orleans. 










Having never been there and only experiencing it through the news media and others I am not sure what exactly I was expecting.  Part of me expected a comparison to my senior high school trip to Spain.  And I can't say I was disappointed. Bourbon street was... well... Bourbon street.  There was noise, chaos, dirty buildings and streets masked with bright lights to make it appear festive.  











Due to covid we were not able to see any live jazz or blues music being played, which bummed the Hubs out greatly.  Who knows we may go back one day. Alcohol flowed freely and the smell of weed filled the air. Everyone seemed to love Hubs shoes and wanted to tell him where they were from, for a dollar or two, he must have appeared to be an easy mark. They left me alone, but then I've said many times that I am not friendly and I can make myself most unapproachable when I want. Seems those life skills finally came in handy. 























I think my favorite part were our early morning walks.  In a town that doesn't go to bed until the wee hours, the early morning hours are still and beautiful.  We were amazed to see the street cleaners, more like a giant pressure washer, coming through each morning to remove the evidence of the night before. In the wee hours the air was clean, the smells of the city were normal and expected.  Hints of coffee and breakfast foods drifted from the cafe's.  We walked the almost silent streets, gazing in shop windows, sipping hot chicory lattes.  We were blessed to watch the sunrise on the same mighty river that flows so close to our homes.  The ships were huge as they made their lumbering way out to sea.  The waterfront a place to enjoy.

We discovered alleyways and hidden treasures. A cigar shop that was rolling them right there in town. So many experiences!


























We had beignets each morning at Cafe du Monde.  So sweet and bad for you and so wonderful at the same time.  We watched the birds scurrying about looking for dropped crumbs and listened to the Christmas music being played live out front.  We paused to enjoy the art work being hung for sale all around the beautiful Jackson Square. 






Two days is simply not enough time. We may find our way back some day, I still want to wander the French Market, visit the plantations, maybe do a ghost tour, listen to the live music while sipping an adult beverage.  There was simply too much to absorb in a few short days.  Too many things we wanted to experience.  It felt like we were dipping our toes in, when we truly wanted to submerge ourselves. So much history and character left untapped. 

Leaving was tough, with so many things left to explore.  




























I charted our course to Birmingham via the seashore.  I might have taken us through some extremely questionable areas.  We were saddened to see the destruction from hurricanes that still lingers, some of it no doubt from Katrina.  In some cases beautiful homes stood beside water destroyed structures.  It was surreal.

Bayou's, marshes, causeways, and more of the same, all breathtakingly beautiful.  Trees bare for the winter decorated with long strands of Spanish moss reminded me so much living in Charleston.  When we had no money and I used that moss to create Christmas gifts for family and friends.  The harshness of the sea softened in unexpected ways and places.  

We traveled almost 100 miles or so down the sea shore.  Enjoyed a cold lunch sitting at an outside cafe watching the waves beating on the shoreline. An occasional para-sail coming into view before dumping it's hapless rider into the sea. We walked along the coast.  Both of us longing to have the sand between our toes, but not willing to risk the hypothermia that might come with the long missed experience. We had to enjoy the soft white sands of the gulf running through our fingers instead.  Hubs was brave enough to stick his fingers in the water, I was not.  It was awfully cold to me, from the splashes from the waves. 



Hours and hundreds of miles later we arrived in Birmingham. Our final family stop before the sleigh would carry us back to our home.  It was a breakfast filled with questions, snuggles from Hub's only great nephew, selfies and laughter.  We'd interrupted a busy weekend for them, but we'd all found a moment for family.  The look on the little guys' face when he got a piece of coal (really its soap) to find out mom had been telling him that was all he was getting for Christmas, priceless is an understatement. 

While in New Orleans I had my palm read - I mean would anyone expect me of all people not to?  Very little of what she said surprised me, it was all things that my heart already knew. She told me that I have met my soulmate, I didn't need anyone to tell me that.  Who else would put up with my special brand of crazy and keep smiling? If driving 1722 miles and visiting all those places in 5 days doesn't prove how compatible we are I simply don't know what does.  

With our world being controlled in so many ways, it was liberating and wonderful to simply live.  I don't want to be controlled.  Never have.  And the joy of simply going where our hearts lead us, was incredible.  


Tonight for the first time in 800 years we will see the "Bethlehem Star".  I can't wait!  I've been watching it form for months.  We will have clear skies to view it.  We had to be home for this. It was very important to me. I love experiencing new things with my sweet Hubs, and this one can't help but be a first.

We've returned home, it is now time to enjoy the family here at home. Who knows what other memories are waiting to be made? 

magical...

Snow angels.   That is how it appeared yesterday.  I have been a bit sullen that we haven't really experienced winter.  No snow to walk ...