Monday, March 30, 2009

"freeze frame"

My brother-in-law named this entry! Yes, he and I lept into the pool . . . well, in the interests of honesty, I should rephrase that: he and I crept into the pool, literally one inch at a time . . .pool temp was 61 degrees. My sister, who remained dry throughout and took pictures, insisted the air temp was in the 70s. I doubt that very much.

Anyhoo, we cavorted for a brief few minutes. I thought of my family back home, in the midst of yet another snowstorm. As of now, the airport I'm to fly into tomorrow is closed, due to "blizzard conditions."

If I'm gonna be stranded due to weather, please let it be here, with my MS family. But I've learned to take what comes and squeeze joy out of it. Perhaps an adventure awaits me in Dallas or Denver . . . for now, I have the memory of swimming (barely) in March . . . and maybe, just maybe, I'll warm up by bedtime.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Soon to Go Home

Late Sunday night . . . My niece and nephew and I went for a walk today in a forest filled with azaleas . . .what incredible beauty.

I'm due to fly home Tuesday morning. Been tracking SD weather and it looks like the new incoming snow might taper off Monday night. And tomorrow morning I'll check the backyard pool here and see if I can finally jump in for a swim!! My brother-in-law, Jim, and my nephew, Jon, worked endlessly to have the pool ready for me, only to discover the pool had leaks and all their laborious work literally drained out into the yard. Then rains and lightning and thunderstorms delayed repairs. The last couple days they have redone all the work, trying to have it ready for me to use. What sweetness on their part. The temperature has dropped into the 60's here (tee hee to my SD family, with wind chills in the single digits, according to, but I'm determined to honor all my MS family's hard work by getting into the pool tomorrow, no matter if it qualifies me for the Polar Bear Club. But I might wait until they are home from work to photograph the event. Then again, tomorrow might actually be in the 70's and maybe I'll actually laze in the pool before plunging back into SD winter . . .

My time here has been lovely, sweet, restorative, healing, and just plain fun. What a blessed time.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Grateful for family

I'm still away from home, 12 days into my 16-day visit with my sister and brother-in-law down in Mississippi. Brother and sister-in-law from Virginia here last weekend. (My nephew snapped this great family photo--I haven't asked him yet if I can post it--hope that's okay!! Aren't we a good-looking bunch?)
I've spent two days in my sister's classroom, as a visiting author and artist. Experienced the joy of introducing watercolors and haiku to 2 dozen eager and bright-faced second graders. I will take their joy and exuberance home with me as inspiration.

We've had tons of rain here, while home in SD they are still shoveling out from a heavy spring snow. I'm due to fly home Tuesday and my daughter just told me another storm is expected Sunday and Monday . . . so we'll see who flies where, and when.

I am filled to overflowing with gratitude for family, both near and extended; for spring with all its surprises; for new beginnings and hope and renewed joy; for a fresh commitment to dare to love, no matter the cost.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

away from home

I've been down in Mississippi for a week now, with my sister. 60-70 degrees, sunny now. Back home in South Dakota is shut down with a spring blizzard. Yesterday I walked down a path by the library and had these azaleas tower over me.

Besides having a lovely time with my sister and her family, plus a two-night visit from our brother and his wife, I am also experiencing more healing regarding my own life. Being away from my own house for over two weeks enables me to gain some mental distance from it. I've been wrestling with what to do with my life--from the sublime "What is my life's purpose?" to the mundane "What do I do with all this stuff?" I'm experiencing the expected shifting and changing and renewing associated with the natural event of children growing and leaving home, and also the UNexpected shifting connected with the UNnatural event of an unwanted divorce.

This time--away from home, and with dear family--is filling me with new direction and purpose. For that I give heartdeep thanks.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

yet another fresh start

Taking a deep breath. Exhaling gratitude. Doing the best I can to just BE in this present moment.

Friday's disappointment over leaning on another human for support was mitigated by hearing from him Saturday and being able to set myself aside and feel compassion for his challenges.
Saturday was preparation with family members for my mother-in-law's memorial the next day.
Sunday was the memorial, scattering ashes, sharing a meal, then dividing up some of her belongings.

The peace I felt at the end of that day was nothing short of miraculous, especially since the time was spent with members of a family I am now disconnected with because of my husband's leaving me.

The next day--yesterday--was my birthday. It's never mattered much to me to celebrate "birth"--that's just a biological event years ago. But it does matter to me to celebrate a person's uniqueness.
And that's where I'm dragging a bit, right now. It's a struggle for me NOT to define my value in terms of how I think others perceive me. Having my dad leave me when I was two, and then my husband leaving after 33 years of marriage, and choosing to be with several other women during our marriage--I have a hard time shaking a sense of worthlessness. [To the people who love me who read this-don't freak out. Deep down I KNOW I'm worthy and loved and lovable]. It's just this darn persistent sense of being left. Of wondering WHAT it is about me that is "leaveable."

I want to get my sense of worth from God, from inside myself. And I'm working on it. And despite the thoughts shared here, I have made tremendous progress. But sometimes the pain just hits all over again.

But then, all over again, I fight back. I make a fresh commitment to bloom like my favorite peony--with all my might, not holding back, not saving any beauty for another day, or even another hour. Just live and bloom extravagantly. That's my plan.

Yeah, I slipped a little tonight. But I'm back.

Friday, March 6, 2009

rode hard and put up wet

Oh boy. I did it again. I trusted somebody, asked them for help. I leaned on them and they weren't there. Ouch. Double ouch.

So now I'm picking gravel out of my face, nursing my bruises, cursing my weakness and stupidity.

I am so damn tired of crying.

But look at that giant sunflower. Beat down by hail. Gnawed on by grasshoppers. Does it stop? Does it let a building get in its way?

No way. No how.
Straight for the sky it goes. It grows.
As do I.
As do I.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Oh-so-ready for spring

And here I thought I was headed to bed. But the insistent joy in the last posting sent me to my digital picture files. Here in the dark I scrolled through dozens of color bursts masquerading as flowers.

Most precious, at present, are these beauties, this liquid sunshine. Oh, how I long for their appearance this year. Yet just this morning, this finally warm morning after so much cold, I leaned over my deck rail and whispered down to the leaf-covered flower beds, "Not yet, dear ones. Not yet. Be patient. I will keep waiting."

And meanwhile, I dream of daffodils.

Deep Breath

Oh me. Oh my.

Almost 10:30 pm. Bedtime.

Don't know whether this is a bad time to write, 'cause I'm tired and might not guard my words. Or a good time, 'cause I'm tired, and might not guard my words.

Let's see. I cried mid-morning, cried early evening, cried mid-evening, could easily cry now.

And in between the tears, I sang, prayed, worked on writing, prayed, sang some more, went for a walk, painted a rock, and prayed still some more.

Sometimes I can hardly bear to think of all the sadness I've known. Sometimes I can hardly find words for all the joy I've known.

I believe in the joy.

The joy believes in me.

I'll keep keeping on.