Thursday, December 19, 2013

Finding The Meaning of Christmass

I have come to really enjoy memories. When I reclaim a special thought or event, the original experience blesses me again, and I enjoy it all over again.The older I get and the more memories I claim, the more important they become. especially at Christmas.

It's still two weeks till Christmas, but I'm getting nostalgic already. So many traditions are based on the music which has been playing since before Thanksgiving. Lots of the memories are related to shopping, and food, and and visiting.

It's funny to reach back into my memory for an incident and get the wrong one. In my childhood, I remember my mother and father and my mother's family at Christmastime, but Christmas with my children does not include extended family very much. Sometimes We went to Frank's sister's home in San Angelo. They didn't have any children, and Mitt loved to have us come, but  I didn't like to have to pack all the gifts and and try to keep them wrapped. It was worse than tedious to transport Christmas and 4 or 5 kids 300 miles.
We did the Santa Claus thing at home before we went.

This year I am making new memories. I am not sending gifts, just money to those who are far away. I'll spend Christmas Day with Becky and her family. That will be lovely and wonderful I think. I am looking forward to it. 

I hope I can remember this as the year I reconnected with Christmas of love and joy and promise without the gifts or tinsel.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

On Being Alone

Loneliness (Photo credit: Alex Abian (Also on
When I was little, I was afraid of loneliness which I could best describe as boredom. I was an only child so loneliness and boredom were the worst threats to the joy of childhood I could imagine. I grew up and found my life populated by a host of people. When I married, Frank and I lived with my father for the first eight years. By the time he died, we had three children. In the ensuing years we had three more children. Loneliness was not something I ever experienced, in great measure, as an adult.

For a few years Frank and I were alone, but the solitude was not unpleasant until he had a severe illness. Then the multitudes of doctors and nurses were mostly an annoyance. They didn't help Frank's discomfort and they added to my unease. He finally improved enough to be released. He could not regain his vitality and energy, but sometimes the humor and joy of his life was still evident. Frank died and I felt the full weight of true loneliness. But I had to go on. My son moved in with me for a few months; then I moved to a town house in another small town. Now I was ready to make it as a single woman alone. I lasted three years. Then my daughter's husband died. She is disabled and needed help, so I insisted she move in with me, she and her daughter. Here I was again in the middle of other lives. We made it for a little over two years. When I started getting medical issues, I decided it was time to try it by myself again. I moved to "the home."

There are lots of people here, but I am more lonely and isolated that I have ever been. Only being alone relieves the loneliness. I really do pretty well by myself. Nothing is more lonely than being with a bunch of people I don't know and have nothing to talk about and no common interests. 

Occasionally when I go to the dining room I want to sit alone. Some people are so kind and compassionate they can't stand to see me sitting alone.I appreciate their kind hearts, but having learned to enjoy my solitude, I wish they would leave me alone. I've mentioned to a few people and now I have acquired a new reputation.  I don't like it either. I'm not really a loner and I don't always want company. I just want the right to choose.   
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Monday, October 21, 2013

New Take on Truth

truth (Photo credit: Erick-Pardus)
Truth is an awkward word. When I was a child in school, the teachers and books did not intentionally teach me things that weren't true, but they assured me that humans would never be able to escape earth and live. Now we see people leave earth to visit the space station all the time. Several people have orbited the moon and walked on it. Many things I always thought were true have proven not to live up to their reputation. Science makes liars of us all.

Now I want to find things that are true regardless of science or situations or personal agendas. Truths that supersedes human emotions and situational ethics are foundations to build my life on. My thoughts want me to make decisions based on the standards the world uses--money, intelligence, or maybe comfort.  Sometimes it's glory. These are all subjective and depend on the value I put on them. They are not something I can build on, but they are cultural and societal markers. Seeking truth is harder than it looks.  

In the soul where humans communicate with God alone, only God's truth is valued. There truth is not subject to human emotions or societal pressure, but the mind or intelligence or human desire is still the decision maker, and it still has the influences to lead the soul in making  choices. The struggle is to make God's truth the decider in choices. Even when the soul believes, the mind can argue for the decision that fits the desire of the will, the emotions, or the checkbook.

God's truth is available. Look to it when you need to make a decisions.
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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Today Is One of Those Days

There are days destined to be lonely, days set aside for sadness. I don't have to moan about it to others, but sometimes being sad and lonely is necessary. 

Today is my day to dwell on these topics.  Maybe this kind of depression is a good thing. It's not debilitating  and I know how to cure it. It's just something I have to endure for a while. After I vent and sort out what I'm distressed about, life will return to normal.

Sometimes, all this venting needs someone to listen and speak soothing words, but mostly just organizing it into categories is enough. Then I have to take some action. Do something. Get up. Go walking. Visit somebody. Write a letter. Clean out a closet. Do something! Anything will do. Just do it   Take some action. Action breaks up the log jam and life gets real again. I can quit dwelling in the land of Melancholy. It may take a little while for the emotions to recover, but once I do something, I know it's over or at least I know it soon will be.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hold on to Your Siblings

 I got a letter from Mary today. You may know that Mary is my daughter. She is married to Sonny and her children are Chase and Tracy. They are getting along pretty well without me. Both the kids are in college: Tracy is going to TVCC in Athens and Chase is attending Austin Community College in Austin. 

Mary says they are both doing pretty well, but Chase hasn't gotten a job yet. Tracy had a job interview for a new job, but she had already had a job all summer. Mary had wanted to go to BSF(Bible Study Fellowship). She and I have gone for two years. She wanted to go this year, too, but the logistics of taking Sonny home from work and going back to Tyler make it too complicated and expensive. She's going to try to do some studying on her own.

She said she had visited Carol and James David. She thought they were doing very well. Carol was still recovering from her most recent foot surgery. She didn't get to talk to Carol as much as she wanted, but still they were getting along O.K.

It's good to have an independent source of information on the ones I left behind. I really want Carol to have the best possible situation, and I'm so pleased to hear that James David is helping her live and do well.

Am I Really Going to Teach a Sunday School Class?

Katy's visit went well. I lived over it and she did too. I joined the Church I liked yesterday. Katy got to witness it. She was a trooper. She went to Sunday school with kids she didn't know and colored a rainbow to honor Noah and his covenant with God. 

I chose this Church because it had a place I can serve. They needed a teacher for a Young Adult Class and I have done that before. I hope it is successful. I am already researching the topics and reading the material I used in the last one I taught like this. I don't know these people, but I didn't know the last class either. Maybe Young Adults everywhere are similar. At least, that's the plan I'm going with.

 The class starts in October. I've still got a couple of weeks to figure it out or run for cover.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Katy's Visit

My granddaughter Katy is spending the weekend with me at "the home." She is tolerant and deals with my pride in showing her around very well. She rarely say, "Oh GeeGee, really!" She has not been very complimentary about the food, but I didn't really expect it. She has dutifully worked on the paint-by-number project I bought. She has watched TV. I can't stand it--the kids shows are pretty bad.

We fed the fish in the ponds last night. This morning it is cool and windy with the threat of rain. We may make new memories today. The residents are expected to dress in Mexican traditional costumes today and enjoy the Folkloric Dancers at noon. We'll see how that goes.

Tomorrow she will go to church with me. At least she'll get to attend a Sunday school class of kids and go to Children's Church. She may actutally live over this experience. She is a trooper.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Memories--Part of Another World

Memories don't always follow a prescribed course. This year the anniversary of my mother's death slipped by without any notice. When that happens, it surprises me and I get very nostalgic. I remember how much her friends loved her. Beryl was a cousin and a close friend she often played bridge with. They had a habit of saying things they didn't want me to understand in a distorted voice. I called it "talking in shorthand " Some off-handed gossip or an off-color joke that little ears shouldn't hear could be disguised by this little subterfuge.

Beryl was fun. She didn't have any children, so I got all the attention. I liked it when she thought I was smart, or clever, or pretty. She was married to Hoot, and Mama and Hoot had gone to school together. I liked to look at pictures of them when they were young and it seemed like I was a part of  their lives then.

Mama and Beryl sometimes went shopping together. I thought it was great fun to be the third wheel on this kind of excursion. Of course, they didn't buy anything I was interested in, but I begged for a few items they ignored. I remember the elevators in the Sears store. If was very exciting to step in and wonder what kind of magic the operator possessed that caused the room to move to a new floor. I thought being an elevator operator must be the most exciting job ever. Mama and Beryl talked casually while we ascended and my stomach felt funny. Going down was even more fun.

These memories are a surprise coming without plan or effort, and they offer a sudden visit with my mother and her cousin. These memories are the best kind of surprise! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Fire and The Knife

English: Abraham embraces his son Isaac after ...
English: Abraham embraces his son Isaac after receiving him back from God (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We followed the doctor out of the waiting room to a quiet corner by a window.  He held an X-ray up and gazed at its murky surface.
“We’ve got problems,” he said gravely.  “The urethras are incorrectly placed.  They should be at an angle that does not allow urine to flush back into the kidneys from the bladder.  That’s why she continues to have infections, and it’s damaging the kidneys.”
 The lump in my throat continued to grow while the doctor talked.  She had had three kidney infections in the last four months, unusual for a two-year-old.  His tone was reassuring.

“Call the office to make an appointment for the surgery.”  My mind refused to hear anymore.  Becky was my sixth child.  She had already had a few problems in her short life.  We got past her allergy to milk.  She had a minor eye infection when she was a month old.  But surgery was more than I could think about.
 I already had my hands full.  My oldest child had just joined the army.  He was in Boot camp.  The next son was in trouble at school and with the law.   The three girls were busy with school.  I couldn’t seem to register this information.  “God, please don’t do this to me,” I prayed.

A nurse brought Becky to me.  She clung to me still groggy from the sedation.  They kept telling me the test was not painful.  It made me mad.  I knew it was necessary, but to her it was severe abuse:  restrained and violated.  And, worse yet, there would be more.
Today was Friday.  I called to make the surgery appointment on Monday.  I wanted to get it over with as soon as possible.  Her kidneys were being damaged as long as we allowed the condition to persist.  The nurse couldn’t seem to understand my urgency.  She wanted to wait a month before scheduling it.  I pressed for a sooner appointment.  She finally set it for two weeks. 

 I asked the church to pray for Becky, but I was the one in torment.  Becky quickly returned to normal after the ordeal of the test was over.  She held her own against the older kids and demanded respect from all. 

 As soon as I had the appointment, I sought comfort in the Bible.  I wanted healing without benefit of surgery.  I prayed God to fix it.  The scripture I found was not what I wanted.  Genesis 22:1-18 tells the story of Abraham taking Isaac to Mount Mariah to sacrifice him, and Hebrews 11:19 describes Abraham’s faith as sufficient to see Isaac raised from the dead.  I didn’t want to talk about Becky in terms of death at all  I read it and cried.  For three days I tried other chapters:  Psalm 23… but nothing spoke to me.  Daily I returned to Genesis 22 and Hebrews 11:19. 

 I could not give my child to this surgery.  I could not release her to the uncertainty of anesthesia and scalpels and strangers.  I had no choice.  If she didn’t have the surgery, the damage to her body would continue and worsen.  That would be total loss.  I couldn’t deny her the chance for repair and freedom from illness.
 After I read Abraham’s story for a while, I began to see his faith.  I also saw I had no power to restrain the hand of God from taking her if He chose to.  My only recourse was to trust God.  I believed he was a loving God.  If she died in this surgery, I could want no better hope for her than to be with God.    But Abraham’s faith was rewarded with Isaac.  He was freed from plunging the knife into the breast of his son by the provision of a substitute.  I knew I was not called to sacrifice my child, but I was required to yield her in my heart.  If my submission was not complete, I could not claim God’s promise in Hebrews 11:19.           

 After about three days, I quit looking for the soothing scriptures.  I needed to understand  the story of Abraham in every detail I could. 
Becky had a swing in the back yard made from an old tire.  She lay in it and I read stories or poetry or sang to her until she went to sleep for a nap.  While she slept, I read about Abraham.  Every day I gained new truths.  Every day I came closer to Abraham’s faith.  Every day it was grindingly hard.

 I had no power to give her life beyond what I had already done.  I could commit to this surgery and pray that the doctor was wise enough and skilled enough to fix the problem.  I could release her to his scalpel and pray that God would be as gracious to us as He had been to Abraham. 

 Now came the really hard part:  Could I truly give her to this surgery?  So much in me wanted to say no.  Still I had to take this monumental step of faith.  I just wanted it to be over. 

 Sometimes I do the things I have to do, the hard things that tear at my heart and  my reason, the bitter things that grind in my mind and my soul, and God in His grace accepts that sacrifice and grants me peace.  I took her to the hospital on Sunday evening for the surgery on Monday morning. 

I  hate waiting rooms.  The conversations are demoralizing and the atmosphere is morbid, but the preacher and his wife came to sit with us.  It helped a lot.  The doctor came out afterward and said all the good things.  I had supreme relief, but I still faced her discomfort and healing.  It was all downhill now.

 On Saturday they removed all the tubes and drains and we went home.  I have had few experiences of joy, of true exaltation like the one I experienced when I walked into church on Sunday morning carrying Becky.  I was not prepared for the realization that this momentous thing had happened, and we had not missed a Sunday in worship.  My heart filled with joy and my eyes filled with tears.  God was good.

 On Wednesday we took her back to the doctor to have the stitches removed, and it happened again.  The doctor did not work on Wednesday afternoon, but we were taken in through the back door.  Becky was very reluctant to let him touch her, but after we got through the initial phase of that meeting, she drew up her courage and the stitches were no problem. 

 As we walked to the door, the doctor looked at the nurse and said, “Would you believe what I did to her a week ago?”  Again, my heart swelled and I felt her weight in my arms and the vitality of her life pulsed against my chest.  Yes, God is good.

When I read the story of Abraham going to Moriah carrying with
him his son and the fire and the knife, I knew the agony in his heart and the arguments he voiced to God.  I surely didn’t feel the 
stalwart courage I saw in Abraham.  After this, I think he may have
been as fearful and broken as I was. 

I formed a new definition of faith: Faith is acting on God's word when I have no experience or confidence that assures me everything is going to be fine. I learned to claim his promise and leave it in his hands.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Writing Is What I Do

English: Boredom Italiano: Noia
English: Boredom Italiano: Noia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am taking painting lessons here at "the home." I don't think it's going to do much good. I've never had painting or drawing talent and I'm not expecting lessons to change that much. It does occupy time and get me to the next meal, which is what most of the activities do. I think I really know the answer to my boredom and lack of accomplishment. 

I write poetry, prose, articles, and fiction. That's what I know how to do. Maybe there are still things I need to improve or sharpen, but still that's the thing I want to do, and do better.  The problem I have with that is that it's hard work. I can dabble in painting or playing cards.without all the work and the sense of failure that comes with not doing a good job. Nobody expects me to paint well, but there are people who would expect me to write well. Doing it badly would be a real bummer, and I would know even if nobody else reads it.  

Maybe this insight into my own mental processes will prompt me to put in the study and effort to write well and often. It will be difficult (writing is hard work) and I need to correct bad habits and choose good topics. I need to make a schedule and stick to it. Maybe this is a time to begin a new regimen. I've piddled around and avoided commitment because I'm retired and I don't have any responsibility. I don't like this. I have written before that I need something to do. Maybe this is the thing I need: a commitment  a new focus on writing, improvement in my rhetoric. 

I guess I don't have anything to lose except boredom, aimless activity, and endless days of bad TV. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Literary Theory and Depression

I took a class in Literary Theory some years ago. I recommend it. I like philosophical studies because it provides a variety of ways to view and evaluate literature. The theories look at the literary works from various perspectives: Of course you have to study all those different approaches to be able to apply them.

Learning to view life from different perspectives is helpful too. Sometimes I can relieve my depressive attitude by a shift in my approach or by just looking at the situation from a different angle.

Today I am depressed. There are things I can do to relieve my sadness and lethargy. Mostly they relate to being active and getting up and taking action, but there are ways to look at this that would lessen the deepening of my angst. I could look for new adventures on my calendar, or maybe I should just recognize that new things will happen and they may be fun.

Oh, by the way, fun is one very good antidote for depression. I'm not sure what theory that goes with, but it's always worth a try.

Accomplishment is a good way to fight depression. Physical activity fights depression because it stimulates the production of neurotransmitters in the nervous system. The effort and energy required for accomplishment has a similar effect. Hard work and difficult mental challenges are rewarding in the activity, but success is a real high.  Tackle difficult math problems or learn a new language to insulate yourself against depression. 

So I am depressed. So I write about how not to be depressed. Sounds like a good plan. And occasionally in all that effort and mental stimulation, I do something worthwhile. Go for it!!! 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Which Church? What's the Difference?

When I came to the Valley, I started going to Church at the Assembly of God Church. I was well-received and enjoyed the service, but there were elements in the schedule that left me a little empty. Today I went to a United Methodist Church. It was different. I was well-received again, but this time I felt more "at home." I'm not sure why I felt more at home in one church than the other. Maybe it's that I have been a Methodist more than I was a member of the Assemblies. Maybe it just that I do Methodist better. Actually it was different than my Methodist template. They used a modern translation of the Apostle's Creed and read the scripture from a different translation. 

I think the thing that hooked me was the Sunday school class. It gave me an open invitation to express my opinion and join in the conversation. In the Assembly Church, both the Sunday school classes I attended were lecture format with very little student participation. 

I didn't take notes on the sermons, but I think the Assembly sermons may have been more in depth and challenging.  I guess time will tell. I do want to try St. Mark's United Methodist Church again. I like the Sunday school class and I can deal with the sermons for a while. Maybe I'll do more reading and writing. This is part of my adjustment to my new life. Check back in a few weeks to see what I decide. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Samuel L. Gompers and the Rise of Labor Unions

I did a little research on Mr. Gompers and the rise of the Labor Unions once sort of as a tribute to my husband who was committed to his local and the concept of unionization.

My husband was not a raging liberal, but he was committed to the union and was involved in the annual negotiations with management. 

One year we attended the Labor Day Parade and celebration in Austin, Texas. The speeches and bar-be-que were O.K. and we enjoyed the day.

The big emphasis on Labor Day was the debt the country owed to the American Laborer. Yes, workers were paid wages, but the American workers were, and still are, the backbone of the American success in production and manufacturing. We owe a debt to the efforts and foresight of Samuel L. Gompers. Celebrate Labor Day!     

Saturday, August 31, 2013


I've been very unsettled and disturbed since I decided to move. Getting here and moving in has made my unease even worse. Last night I picked up a book by James Gleick entitled Chaos. The book describes a new science that describes the effect of small changes and how they make big differences in systems. and how they operate. Here I am making changes in where and how I live and I can't predict the effect these changes will have on my life. Chaos doesn't describe pandemonium or randomness, Chaos describes a new system of complexity. My life has taken on a new dimension that will change lots of actions and outcomes. I can't predict them because chaos theory's complexity removes the future from the  set of known properties. I'm getting it back together. Maybe this move won't be the disaster I was afraid it was.  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

New Experience for My Old Age

I've gotten to be old without having much in the way of sickness and trauma. I don't want to brag too much about that, but, not to fear, I have now experienced my first operation. I've had stitches for various reasons, I've had 6 kids and a few illnesses, but this week I have "gone under the knife."

After 12 hours of severe pain in my abdomen, I surrendered to my daughter's suggestion that I should seek assistance from a hospital. She assured me that this symptom was sufficient reason to justify further investigation. I kept thinking that if I just waited a while it would quit. Not wishing to be labeled a fool, I agreed to go to whatever hospital she chose. She picked the one where she works. If I didn't have a preference, she could make it easy on herself. 

The Mission Regional Medical Center was very efficient and prompt with their response to my needs. The emergency staff assessed my distress quickly and provided prompt relief. The next day a very good surgeon removed my gall bladder, and the day after that a very good gastroenterologist removed a very large stone from my common bile duct. 

I can't say this is one of the things on my bucket list, but I am very grateful for the compassionate care I received. I don't know the names of the host of people who made this experience tolerable. But I'll not forget to give thanks to God for them for a long time to come. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Bored or Lonely? You Don't Have To Be

Old age is often saddled with the burden of loneliness.  The condition may be real or perceived. There are probably people who would assess me as lonely. I live alone in a retirement home. I don't play cards or dominoes. I don't have friends in "the home." although I am becoming acquainted with other residents. My daughter has visited me a couple of times in the last week and I have had calls from out of town family. I really don't consider myself lonely. There are some things I wish were different. I wish I could go shopping whenever I want, but I am limited to the scheduled shopping trips. I wish I could attend Bible study when I wanted, but, again, I am limited by the scheduled trips. These are other factors that aren't adapted to my taste or choice, but I would argue with the social workers or other professionals who would label me lonely.

I enjoy living alone. I can pursue reading, writing, TV, walks to view the foliage, birds, and fish. I enjoy surfing the net and writing random observations, poetry, and biblical commentary. Because of these solitary activities I might appear lonely. I'm not. I like this.

Those who would call me lonely need to find a new occupation. I'm not lonely. I have been told that the loneliest one can ever be is in a crowd. I believe it. It's not the number of people surrounding you that prevents loneliness. It has a lot more to do with interest or connection or, maybe, love. I think sharing prevents loneliness. Remembering eases the pain of loneliness when you focus on the joyous events of your life. Another practice that will relieve you from a life of loneliness is humor. Think about how Robin Williams or Jim Carry would handle your situation on screen. 

If you are getting old, look for the benefits, recount the lessons you have learned, and maintain your perspective. Getting old is not a bad thing. Living in "the home" is not necessarily evil, boring, or hopeless, either. Don't let someone else tell you how to deal with old age. It's your old age. Enjoy it!  

Friday, August 9, 2013

Food A Powerful Control Method

You learn a lot of new stuff when you move to "the home." The list may be endless, but there are a few that have risen to the top of the pile just in the first week of my new adventure. First, mealtimes is the no. 1 consideration. Mealtimes order my day, dictate my observations, and provide my surprises. Of course, my schedule is controlled by mealtime. It takes a fairly long time to accomplish a meal here. The servers are diligent, but depending on where you sit, you may be last to get served. Office staff are active in the serving, too. They pour coffee, which I don't drink, and will get a second glass of tea if asked. 

Do you refer to the evening meal as dinner or supper? My custom was to call it supper and the noon meal dinner. That is the standard here. The noon meal is the largest and most filling so I guess it's proper to say dinner. Most of the meals take longer to finish than reason would allow. The delay in getting everybody served is the cause of this elongated mealtime. It takes an hour, usually, to finish. Sometimes it seems endless, but it does prevent overeating. That last bite that would make me overstuffed has time for consideration, and I usually don't take it.taste

A great deal of the mealtime conversation centers on the menu and recipes. Remember the school lunchroom? It's sort of like that. You may recognize what it is, but it's not the way Mama fixed it. And you don't have to clean your plate anymore. I keep peanut butter and jelly for emergencies.

Mealtimes also provide many opportunities for intellectual puzzles and word games. Trying to guess what will actually be on the plate with only the title of the dish on the menu may be very challenging. I have discovered one reason for this anomaly. The menus are dictated by the corporate office of the company which runs "the home," and they seem to be totally insensitive to the availability of local foods. I think the chef actually tries to make the food follow the menu and also taste good.  Sometimes you have to choose one or the other. 

Peanut butter and jelly is a good safety net.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why All the Books?

Hey, ya'll. I made it. I'm in McAllen. It has not been an easy journey, but I'm seeing progress. The van with the furniture arrived last Thursday and unloaded. I did not think I had that many books, but they're in the apartment now (some still i the boxes). Becky offered her opinion that I didn't need that many books and I would never read them. She's right. Most of them have been available to be for 60 or 70 years and I haven't read them; what makes me think I'll read them now?
I can't argue with her that this amount of reading is unlikely;however, I continue to desire to be well-read and the books are the way to accomplish that fiction. Before I began the move I started The Gathering Storm , the first of Winston Churchill's books on the Second World War. It is a large book, but I am enormously intrigued by this great polotician and statesman's observation of this most important event of the 20th Century. 

The 20th Century is my century. It is history that I was alive for. I really love history, but this history occurred in my lifetime. It shaped my childhood and laid the basis for whatever happened to me later. The literature of the the 20th Century tells me who I am and what I am about. The fiction tells me what the ideas were that saw me grow up. The poetry lures me to flights of fancy. I may never read the books, but, at least, I know where to find them. In them I can rehearse my life and times and find meaning. The 20th Century is not a foreign concept. I understand it's language and it errors and I can reflect on it successes and remember it's joys. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Moving Is Scary!

Change is happening. I am moving to the Rio Grande Valley, the Land of Manana. It is an adventure.I'm not sure whether I'm excited or just plain scared. I know it is a choice I made. Intellectually, it makes sense. I will live in a retirement home (no, it's not a nursing home). Meals are provided along with housekeeping, laundry, and social activities. It all sounds terribly organized and boring.

I won't have to make decisions, go shopping, or  cook dinner. It may take a lot more effort to incorporate creativity and achievement in my life. It's hard to understand how this is going to change me

Check back with me later. I'll let you know how my journey is going.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I Want to Leave Home

I never thought I'd live with my kids when they were grown. Guess what? I am. Maybe I've told you about Carol. She has Rheumatoid Arthritis and is seriously handicapped by it. She is a widow. She is 47. Her daughter is 23 and she lives with me too. Sarah lacks one class to complete an Associate Degree from Junior College. She is looking for a job.

I want everybody to get everything they need, but I want to provide some comfort and satisfaction for me, too. I have provided support and sustenance for Carol and Sarah for at least the two years they have lived with me. I have taken Carol to the doctor, paid the rent and bought groceries. 

Now I want to move. I will make sure Carol has a place that accommodates her needs with nursing care, a housekeeper, etc, but I don't want to do it anymore. I'm old and I need help, too. Sarah needs to take over her mother's care. Getting the job is the first step.

I need to look to my own needs for a while. I don't even think of this as selfish, but rather making provision so that others aren't burdened with my care. At least that's the way I'm seeing it now.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hudson's in Texas

Yesterday I visited with three of my cousins and met two I had not ever known. We visited in the cemetery discussed family relationships. It was wonderful. Now I have new people to talk with about genealogy. 

My father's name was Lenox Hudson. He told me his father Wiley had come to Texas from Tennessee when he was a boy. Wiley Hudson was born in 1863. The family probably left to come to Texas in 1869 or shortly after. They were recorded in the Lamar County Federal Census 1880. I don't know how long the trip would take in a covered wagon. Wiley was enrolled in school with Captain Rice in the Bogata area in the early 1880s. He was boarding with someone, perhaps Captain Rice. He met Lucy while he attended school. She was six years younger, and their correspondence did not begin, so far as I can tell, until about 1887 or 1888.

They married in February of 1893 and my father was born on December 9 of that year. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tax Day

Today is April 15! Tax Day! Now what am I going to do. This year I have had the most trouble I've had in a long time with taxes. I did not manage my year well. I paid lots of bills for other people, and now I'm paying double. 

I don't like to mess up on things like this. I do believe in citizens paying taxes to cover the cost of government, but when I see the government doing such stupid things. it makes me feel less responsible and less interested in paying the taxes.

The Sequester and lack of a federal budget for several years is not a good role model for citizens. We need to manage our funds and issues better than this. Some things are emergencies--you can't plan a toothache or a flat tire--they just happen and we take the heat. But we can plan most of our expenses and anticipate their cost and adjust our spending to the fit the need.

Kind of like New Year's Resolutions, this time of year is a chance to start over, plan better, make a budget. Maybe next year I'll do better.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spring Is Such a Fun Season!

Spring is here and I have neglected my blogs; I fear the loss of the few readers I have. My daughter had surgery a couple of weeks ago on both of her feet. This has put a little more "fetch and carry" duty on me that normal. When she has surgery, she also has more pain and general need than usual, and my blogs suffer when I am distracted. Today I want to make bread for Easter. I want to try some of the exotic braided loaves with died Easter eggs nestled in the folds. 

I also hanker to write some poetry. Maybe it's the approach of spring that raises the interest in me. 

Of course, I also want to fly some kites, and view the Dogwood in bloom.

Spring has done it to me. It takes me on flights of fancy to see and do things that enrich my life, but they take time and effort and planning. It's not as easy as it once was, or maybe that's just my excuse. Wish me luck. I can make the bread and never even leave the house.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Some Things My Mother Didn't Tell Me

I think about things my mother told me a lot. Mother's have a profound effect on their children, and I am no different. But sometimes I have thoughts and ideas that feel unique and new and belong to me alone. I guess this could be called an epiphany. At least it feels like it's a sudden revelation or some new understanding of a life truth. When this happens, I want to share it with somebody, especially my mother. I want to say, "Guess what I learned, Mama."

Several years ago I studied statistics.  I learned the meaning of the standard deviation. I had been terrified of math when I was 9 clear through algebra in high school, but now I had found a real insight into the meaning of this rather advanced and technical discipline. I felt elated. I was pretty sure my children didn't want to hear about my discovery, and the teacher was not terribly impressed with my new knowledge, but if I could have shared it with my mother, she might have been thrilled for me. At least perhaps it  would have taken away the sting of the D I got in math in the fourth grade.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Winter Is a Time for Planning

Winter has characteristics that elicit predictable behaviors from me. After the tendency to hibernate passes or is satisfied, I slip into planning mode. When my grew a garden, that was a biggie for planning. He decided on what to plant where, bought a supply of seed and fertilizer, and put oil in his tiller. That's where I find myself now.

I need to lay out what I want to do this year. One big thing I have in mind is women's ministry in my church. I want to see it take off. I hope to see a more organized effort from the women in supporting the children and youth. I hope we can do a few things that foster friendships and stronger connections. And I want to do a few things that are fun for the women. I have plans to teach a class on making bread. I've done this before, and I want to do it here. I want to see a picnic or event where we fly kites--well, I really mean where the kids fly kites.

Of course, Bible study is always a biggie in church, and ministry to the sick, and support for missionaries. It is so easy to plan big exciting events when I'm sitting here watching the rain fall and the icicles form, but bringing them to fruition means a lot of work and commitment. In addition to plans, maybe I need some prayer. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Winter Is a Time for Rest

Winter is not what it used to be when I was young. Of course, the way I remember it is fouled by the span of time and the memory is distorted by other factors. Global warming makes me believe that there was a time when winters were solid ice and lasted from November to March without a break. In actual fact, winters were never like that in the East Texas of my youth. We did have cold spells and ice. We occasionally got snow, but we never got enough for people to learn to drive in it. We sometimes got ice that would freeze the stock tanks and water troughs. It was good for a story about trying to feed the cows or hang the clothes to dry--this was before everybody had a dryer.

The "Dick and Jane" stories always showed mounds of snow and ice skating on the river. My mother and father never owned a car, so I walked to school daily in all seasons.  It was not the proverbial five miles uphill both ways, but three blocks did acquaint me with the pain of life in the cold zones. It was still cold, and we still soldiered on, but we didn't have the joy of fighting through winter like the pioneers. Our most difficult challenge was lighting a fire in the morning. We had a wood burning stove that took some effort to get going, and the inside of the house was as cold as the outside was. 

The prevailing mood of winter to me is still hibernation. I like to stay warm and enjoy scenery through the window. The penguins are fun if you watch them on TV and I remember times of braving the wind and ice when we had cows to feed. I think I felt some measure of invincibility in those episodes-I was stronger than I thought. But when the work or crisis was over, I just wanted to retreat to the warmth and comfort of the house away from the cold and strain. 

The land, grass, and trees vote for hibernation. Some of the animals do and, as far as possible, I do. I like to wrap up in a warm blanket and read poetry on cold days, but there are times when I enjoy the snow on the roof, or the icicles on the power lines, but just the sight is sufficient;I don't need to feel the sting of the wind on my face. I remember what it was like and resting until spring is appropriate.