“Listen and hear My voice; pay attention to what I say.” Isaiah 28:23

Being profound or saying something of importance, is a hard thing to pull off. Especially for those of us who write and/or blog. Lots of us think we are arm-chair pundits or philosophers. Most of us fail miserably at it. But the overriding theme is that we just want to be heard. Everyone has an opinion, based on their learned experiences, personality, and outlook. Many of us base our responses and verbiage on our faith, and our interpretation of our faith. And there are many among us who spout off and say horrible things to one another, because of those experiences we have had, or perhaps a mental condition. There are many who are ill from a variety of reasons.

My sheep listen to My voice; I know them and they follow Me.

John 10:27

Trying to be Christ-like to others all the time is exhausting. I know we have all met people who seem to have an aura of peace around them. They are a pleasure to be around. Their presence lightens the room and our spirits feel filled. We also know those who drain the life out of us every moment spent in their presence. Quite often, just being in public where I am called upon to interact with others, can drain the life out of me. I love people and those who know me know I love to gab. As I have gotten older, and am alone more often than not, I have come to relish the solitude and quiet. And it takes a lot out of me to socialize.

And the crux of this post is experiencing the voices of others, and discerning import, and dross. And also, I do long for my couple of close girlfriends and our long chats at my table. I miss those days so much. Hubby works from home most of the time, so I try to leave him alone and not bother him. It makes for quiet days. And I understand why my dad, with his delusions, is so lonely for the voice of others, especially those he loves. I am not as angry or short-tempered with him as I once was. It was a steep learning curve! Being Christ-like can rip the energy out of me, but it also gives me profound peace. I love to imagine Christ smiling when I get along better with my dad, and others I have a hard time with. It is making me stretch as a person. So funny it’s taken 65 years! (No laughing).

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

James 1:19

Conversations these days are so guarded. We have to tip-toe around those who believe differently than we do because tempers seem to flare so easily. I have never understood why those who lean towards the left seem to be so angry. And there are so many self-righteous people who lean more conservatively, as well. It is a dance. Some days I just want to sit it out. Getting your voice into the miasma that is social media is not easy. I am happy to have made some internet friends who think more like I do than my own children, and who are “popular” or known in the conservative arena. They take the time to chat and reinforce my beliefs. It is like a safe kiddie pool to get into, rather than the raging seas of media exchanges. And even the times I miss with friends would not be repeatable these days because I am far more into all these odd theories than they are! I am sure they think I am a little nuts. And that is okay. We meander around the issues and stick to what we know – our kids, grandkids, recipes, gardening, husbands. LOL. The problem, as I see it (again, wanting to share my opinion and get my voice out there) is that the world is not getting better. We are going to have to pinch a lot of pennies to enjoy our upcoming camping trip – the gas alone is gonna kill us! It may turn out to be our only foray in our camper this year. The grocery bills are becoming daunting. Our savings are shrinking. And most of the pundits, even those on the left and even bankers, are warning us this is the lull before the big storm. What is a small voice like mine to do?

But whosoever listens to Me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.

Proverbs 1:33

I must put my cares upon the Lord. Only He knows what is best for me. And God wins. The war is won, although we are facing many battles ahead of us. With prayers on my lips, I can drown out the cacophony of noise that surrounds us these days. I can turn off media. I can listen only to Christian music, that will uplift me and give me courage. I can read only written works that speak to my spirit. I can rely on the many promises of God to protect his flock. In all of that, I can also put my hands to the plow and not look back, only forward, towards my Lord. (“Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God.'” Luke 9:62). We can each come out of this on the other side, better people than when these trials began.

And do not be fooled – the times we are in are just the beginning. We should all be prepared. We all should stock up on water and food, enough for months. We should start growing things to sustain us. We need to know where our food comes from – meet your local farmers. Get involved in food security groups. Plan ahead in case our freedoms are severely hampered or even compromised. Just like you plan with natural disasters – have safe places to meet up. Learn to communicate using radios and other methods. Be secure in your home. Know your neighbors. Be discreet in your preparations. But also prepare to help those who never thought bad things would happen.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age…

Titus 2:11-12

Living upright and godly lives in this present age…oh my word, this present age! I never thought we would have pride month where even mayonnaise gets a rebranding and spelling! Or children are encouraged to attend parades and be exposed to kink? Are you serious? We need to take this country back in so many, many arenas. We need God back in every aspect of our lives. We need strong men and women to take their families back and to just say no to the programming and interference in the raising of future generations. Not everyone deserves a trophy. Not everyone should go to college. Every child deserves to be safe, and loved, surrounded by family. The time to act is now. Grab those kids, get them into church, get them digging in the dirt and planting food, get them off the electronic gadgetry that plagues them, surround them with extended family and friends who feel the same way. Support other families like yours. Plan where your dollars go, especially as they are valued less and less. And teach your children to listen for that still, small voice of God in the every day of life.

The Lord said, ‘Go stand out on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake. but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’

1 Kings 19:11-13

We all expect big things from God. Enormous acts of fire and brimstone, ushering an age wherein the Glory of God will be shown. If you read Revelations with the end times in mind, you want to curl in a ball and hide. Those will be terrible times, to be sure. But we are living in pretty awful times as it is. I am not waiting for some Project Moonbeam holographic image in the sky from the deep state telling me it is the second coming of Christ. I will await that gentle whisper. Because God’s voice is unique – you will know when He speaks. His voice is what counts.

All the wicked of the earth You discard like dross; therefore I love your statutes.

Psalm 119:119

The rest of the noise is dross…the extra that comes from smelting or purifying metal. There is no dross, no imperfection in the Word of God. So discernment is key. Planning is important. Treating others the way God would treat you. These are the important things. And our voices will be added together to form choirs, praising God, even among the chaos.

I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together.

Psalm 34:2-3

“…a time for every matter under heaven..”

The days are getting longer, and much hotter. This past weekend we spent putting in all our starts into our raised beds. They did well the first day, but it got so hot, my baby lettuce is wilting. I have high hopes for the myriad of plants that are a little droopy! In Alaska, our days are so very long. Right now, it’s 75-degrees and not a cloud in sight. The sunlight today will be over 18 hours…

May 31, 2022

For new plants, that is a lot of light and heat, with an overnight low of 48-degrees. It is a rough time for those sprouting plants, but they will get the hang of it, and with that much sunshine, they grow massively fast and large.

There is a time and a season for everything under heaven: a time to be born, and time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Our lives are a rhythm and most of us who garden can really see those rhythms in the seeds, the little sprouts, the full grown plants, the harvest, and the autumn, when we uproot what is left over. As I have aged, I feel more and more like our time is speeding up. I recall thinking summers were endless as a kid, and longing to be back into the rhythm of school. And now, I wish the seasons would slow down a little bit more.

So me…

And as I come out of an intense weekend focusing on our plants and our yard, I am forever grateful for my husband. What a workhorse he has been. Never complaining, but just doing what needed to be done. In addition, gathering downed trees from a friend’s place to ensure we have enough wood this winter. I think he has about 3-4 cords. Up here, we try to plan for the worst and enjoy any extra that may bring us. I got sunburned and mosquito-bitten. He has scratches and cuts and bruises all over from hauling downed trees and then working on our raised beds. As our next door neighbor said on Sunday afternoon, “I see this and think that’s great, but man oh man, that is a lot of work. I’ll just buy my veggies from you!” And as we get older, it is a lot of work. Right now, we are still recovering from last winter’s dump on our yard, and trying to carve out a place for this summer’s activities and growth. It’s part of that life rhythm, to be sure, but this is the hard work part.

“…a time to tear down and a time to build…”

Ecclesiastes 3:5

Life is like that. We scurry around gathering knowledge and skills in order to make it in this world. We fall in love and get married. We begin families. We raise our kids. We mow lawns and go to little league games. We work and we work and we work some more. And then it sort of starts to slow down. The kids themselves begin their independent journeys and they move out and away. Letters from college. Letters from the military. Soon we are welcoming grandchildren and we wonder when this had time to happen. A friend just reminded me they had left CA where we were all friends, over 30 years ago. My word. She was in the delivery room when we had our middle son. He is married with 4 kids of his own. Time has flown by. And the cycle is continuing.

I lament that my life is in its sundown phase. It happened in the blink of an eye. I have 6 grandchildren and an empty nest. We spent Memorial Weekend in our garden… just us two. Kids off doing their thing. Simple days in the sun and dirt, quietly reigning in this acreage. Once I remind myself to ignore the sun and look at my watch, we will come inside and prepare a meal. Then we watch our TV shows and eat our dinner and climb into bed, totally spent. (Usually it’s a Gordon Ramsay show and we always discuss the contestants and some of the techniques, and even recipes! Can’t believe I have a man who enjoys it with me!!). The days are simpler, more direct, if you understand that. And still, this is an ordained pattern, a part of this rhythm.

“…a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them together; a time to embrace and a time to refrain; a time to search and a time to give up; a time to keep and a time to throw away; a time to tear and a time to mend; a time to be silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.”

ecclesiastes 3: 5-8

And so as I keep an eye on my garden, and as I played with my grandchildren today, I think of these things, these rhythms, and I trust in the Lord. All time is His. My time is His. And He will be the voice I listen to, who guides me home.

New strawberries under our window and a bird cover….

“But understand this….

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of Godliness, but denying its power. Avoid these people.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

Good Advice…

I have had a rather rough week. My mom passed away a year ago on Monday. It bothered me more than I thought it would. I can hear her voice and see her smile, and the way her eyes would crinkle up at the corners when she had a big grin on her face. I recall my stepdad telling us a story and mom leaning in and quietly saying, “Like I haven’t heard this one before.” And chuckling at her husband. He was an awesome story teller and even though he told them with great embellishment, we all enjoyed them, laughing all the while. He truly made my mom happy. Now they are both gone and I miss them being in my life so very much.

My dad is still with us. He is 95 and lives in a memory facility on the other side of the country. We chat now and then. This past weekend, he told me he was moving and was busy, and out of breath, packing his room up. I texted my brother, and he confirmed dad was going nowhere that he had been told. I texted my stepsister and her response was, “These are the delusions we live with. This is why he is where he is – we could not handle him any longer.” I had thought it was because of dementia and did not realize his dementia included delusions. It was a hard pill to swallow, as I have been enjoying what I thought were many lucid conversations with him. I spoke with him today and he had no memory of moving anywhere. He lamented that he had lived a good life, is making peace about death, and told me he is lonely. Told me no one comes to see him. And he misses me and wishes he were with me. (I have not seen my dad in person in about 20 years. So this was sort of a shock). He told me he wants me to come and get him and bring him to my home. He realizes I live across the country, but he said he is lonely for family. My stepsister told me that he tells her he does not speak to his kids, just his step kids. Sigh. Dementia. The long goodbye.

Dad’s under the impression that he has led a good life and that he is going to heaven. He also told me that after he hugs Jesus, he’s going to tell Him all the mistakes dad thinks Christ has made. Oh boy. Head-slap. His impression of himself fascinates me. And he knows he is in his last days, and he is beginning to realize that he may not awaken in the not-so-distant future. But he really has no concept of humility, nor of being subservient to anyone – especially if they don’t have the correct credentials. Dad doesn’t respect people very much who are not degreed or wealthy. Where he lives, there are at least 200 other people. He says they lack the education and only talk about farming, fishing, and hunting. None of those subjects interest him. So he sits alone, being miserable, watching birds outside his window and putting together jigsaw puzzles. Alone. In his misery.

The Ladder of Divine Ascent Icon

The icon above is one of my favorites. This is just a portion of it. I have a replica hanging next to the sink in my bathroom. Odd, do you think? Well, I chose that place so that each time I brush my teeth, I contemplate this icon. There are many rungs and there are pitfalls all along the way. Not all of us can hang on until we make it to heaven. Many are heading up there, but demons and choices yank us off. Before we die, if we are aware, we can make better choices and climb up that ladder, having a firmer grasp on our choice of heaven. Everything we do is a choice. And every choice moves us closer to God, or further away. It may just be a tiny step, but the direction is firmly one way or the other. Every, single, day we choose our steps. Every, single day.

In the world right now, life is chaotic. There are so many people making poor choices over and over again. Some people are at the ends of their lives; some are still so young. As I have aged, I have become more tolerant of people whose lifestyles do not align with mine. I choose to worship so differently than most of the people I have in my life, including my children, and other family members, and most of our friends. I do seem to be drawn to like-minded people in the areas of general faith, politics, economics, home life, etc. but they often worship differently. And that is okay. As long as their aim is upwards, towards God, I am good. Some of my friends dye their hair, whereas I do not. Some prefer trucks, while I drive a grandma sedan. Some are vegans, whereas I love my red meats. It’s okay to be friends with those different than us. However, as things get dicier and dicier, I return to the admonishment of St. Timothy above, “Avoid these people.” And in a way, it’s funny because my lifestyle precludes me from associating with many of those exhibiting those traits. Except for some family members. And there is the rub.

Sage advice,,,

I am deeply grateful for my life. I love my husband more than I thought I could love anyone. He is my best friend. He is who my world revolves around. We have amazing kids and grandkids. We live in a gorgeous place among the trees and mountains, streams and lakes. We have two amazing dogs that are accompanying us on this last journey. I have Medicare and just applied for Social Security. Times are slowing down. The glory days are behind us; peace is ahead. And still I ache over issues from family members. My dad is a case in point. We have not been close since I was in my early 20s. Once he left mom and chose to live apart from his family, that’s been his path. And it took him to the opposite side of the country. My youngest son only met him twice – once as a newborn and once as a 4-year-old. He is now 23. My kids have no relationship with their grandfather and he laments that – now. It never bothered him, up until he really started to age. (My kids adored my stepdad, so the roll of grandpa was fulfilled on my half. Their relationship to my in-laws was wonderful. They adored them. So that was great).

My thoughts center around the demented, aging population. How do they reconcile with God? My mom had no concept of God near the end of her life. Dad just thinks he knows better and would like to lecture God about the world. He has always been like that, which is why he flitted from denomination to denomination throughout his life. He could not abide preachers, thinking he knew more than they did. (He also thinks he has multiple doctorates, but that is part of his delusions). I had an Alzheimer’s counselor tell me once that the demented are at peace in their minds. They just don’t communicate out loud very well, and that God knows them intimately, and He knows their hearts. I was somewhat comforted.

Clinging to this for myself, and my loved ones.

And so I am trying to let this go. I seem to be on the verge of tears a lot. My granddaughter is getting three fillings in her teeth today – I wish I could be with her. I wish I could be out of my head some days and find peace. I am going to my grandson’s ball game later this evening. I will endeavor to find joy in the ballfields, amongst the sounds of the game and the children playing all around us. I will suck up the joy and youth and spirit and the life! God knows the hearts of His beloved. He will care for those I cannot care for. He loves us because we love Him. He knew us before we were even born (“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…Jeremiah 1:5) and He will take care of us, as Isaiah reminds us above.

I leave all these thoughts with you because my brain is so busy and there is just so much rambling going on!! May the Lord bless you with peace…

This is for everyone in our lives, but especially our family and friends with dementia.

“Splish-splash I was taking a …. swim”

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 10:22
Water Aerobics

And so here we are. Almost summer. And the doctor not happy with the latest bloodwork. Glucose numbers down! Yay me! Cholesterol almost doubled in 3 months. What the heck? My cholesterol has always been fine. Until this last 3 month check up. LOL. Two steps forward and 1 step backwards. (Well, maybe a side trip! LOL!) And so now my diet (I actually love my nutritionist – she has become a good friend) devised by my nutritionist helps me monitor my blood sugar, the carbs, and the various fats. Yep – I basically eat like a squirrel.

Bike Peddler

One of the ways to positively affect your health is to move. I love being at home. I would rather be fiddling around with my husband and dogs, in our home and yard, than almost anything. And in the long winters here in Alaska, that time is mostly indoors. Sometimes it’s just too cold to be out in it. We go to events; we go on walks – but for the majority of winter, we are going to and from places. A lot of time is spent inside. On my recliner. (Recliner potato!) So to combat that, I added a peddler like the one above. I can watch/binge my favorite TV program and exercise at the same time. And it elevates my heart rate and works my legs/back muscles. But I needed more, and my nutritionist/friend asked me to join her at open swim at the local high school. Each time we go, we spend about 45 minutes exercising, and then we sit in the hot jacuzzi tub. Not gonna lie, that hot tub is worth the pool time!

Me and my buddies…LOL

One of the best things about sharing your health journey is that you have built-in support. My friends each have their own health issues they are working on, and we are there to support one another. We also, and this is such a key, we also pray for each other. It makes this whole thing far more doable.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

I have never taken my health for granted, but I have also never really involved entities like doctors, nurse practitioners, and nutritionists. Over the past two years, along with Covid, I was dealing with shoulder/spine issues and was blessed to find doctors and therapists who were holistic in their approach and preferred a dietary/supplemental approach over a pharmacological and surgical one. To add daily pharmacologicals to my diet annoys me. Incredibly. But I also realize I need some help getting my pancreas to behave itself and operate within normal measurable metrics. And right now, it is still reactionary. It is very affected by diet, stress, sleep, and if I catch some random bug. So the medicine is helping until I can reign it in. Along with glucose regulation, I have to keep fats and cholesterol under control. It’s a pretty full agenda. To say I was overwhelmed is to understate it. Having been a person who uses essential oils for pretty much everything, pills and medications are not my preferred method of taking care of myself. I now have a pill dispenser and I refill that weekly. I feel old. LOL!

This is what I now use…

I am excited, though. Summer is arriving every day. We now have 18 hours of sunlight per day. The average temperature is rising and we are supposed to be up to 70-degrees by next week. And the outside is calling me. My aerobics and peddling are geared towards my health, but my secret goal is being able to hike with my kids and grandkids. Alaska is so beautiful I will spend the rest of my life trying to see more of it, but I know I will never get to see it all. But if I can hike the glaciers and see more of this incredible place, with my grandkids alongside me, I will be so happy. And to get there, I need to push myself. Healthy numbers from the doctor, and healthy limbs and breathing from me. I know I can do this. I need to do this. All of this is to say, whatever impetus you need to get going, find it and do it. The rewards are life-extending. The rewards are the physical ability to make memories with your family. And those are my goals.

August 2019

The photo above was my first hike with my DIL and family, in 2019. We hiked a glacier!!! And I made it up and back, a little over 5 miles. I could not have done it without Kathleen’s help. She was encouraging, and physically assisted me over rocks and gulches and steadied me when I needed it. And I want to do this, and more, again. I want to use my new hiking poles I never got to use because of weather, and then a very busy summer in our garden. This year, we have some camping trips already planned and I want to keep up, not be a hinderance, and to enjoy the outdoors with my family, God willing.

My prayer…

A time for every purpose under heaven…

Today’s forecast…

Of course, I do live in Alaska. And c’mon, we can’t expect flowers and sunshine when snow is still haunting the shadows and the temps are chilly. There is another meme I have about Spring in Alaska. And it sums up most of our attitudes…

Spring? Nope!

And that’s kinda the mood I am in today – hunkered down in sweats and slippers. I have spent the past 3 days – literally entire days – going through our memory stuff. Totes upon totes worth of the past 37 years of married life with kids – and then some. As I went through – seriously – every, single photo we own and wrote on the back of it, or tossed it, my hand began to ache. I went from 6 totes of loose photos down to three. I am proud of myself.

Organizing old photos…

As I made my way through these boxes and albums, I came to realize that I am the sole storage for most of my family’s histories. And I inherited my grandparents on both sides’ photos – why? Weirdly enough, both of my parents are only children. And I have just 1 brother – who does not like old things. So I got the collective memories from 4 families. And it was daunting. My heart swelled in thanks when something was written on the back. But I have this one album, complete with black pages, and lots of fading photos from one end to the other, with not a single name. I recognized familial traits, so I could narrow it down to my mother’s mother’s maiden name side. Sigh. But that is all. No one person stood out to me. And these photos are from the late 1880s. I did recognize a house my grandmother lived in as a child, so I know for sure it is her side of the family. because I have a mounted photo with names on it, and she is one of the people named. But they are all in New Zealand, no less. There is no one alive I can consult about them, who I know about in the greater familial ties, or even know where to look for them, or a last name to try! And that made me sad. I could not get rid of it. I love history too much. I even saved a couple of photos of people I have no way to identify, but the photos are so awesome. All in sepia and mounted on cardboard with lovely borders. I just could not bring myself to toss them out.

Old photos…

One of the reasons I am doing this is because I am in purge mode. We have too much stuff in our garage. We have hauled the same boxes, unopened, through three states. One of the things we did was go through all our saved, recorded, VHS tapes. We inherited my grandma’s old VHS player and it works! So we plopped in tapes with no labels, understood why no one wrote on them, and tossed them out. LOL! One is from an old family friend, with her narrating, old black and white videos from her family. Not a single video of my family. Not sure why we had it but it is no longer in my video tote! We only kept about 6 VHS tapes. And we watched our wedding video. We both shed a tear at the same song. Isn’t that cool!! We are going to ask my brother-in-law to put these on CDs for us. Isn’t it funny how things become so outdated, you don’t have the machine to play them or view them on??

VHS…oh, the memories!

Another revelation is that our photo records pretty much stopped, or certainly slowed to a trickle, when our oldest son hit high school. And I realized it was because we all went digital. And in a weird way, it made me sort of sad. It is like when I reluctantly transitioned from books you hold and touch and smell to an e-reader. I went kicking and screaming and now my kindle is with me all the time. I marveled at how the first time I traveled with it, I was carrying 600 books in my purse (yeah, I love books). And as this purge went, we also downsized by a lot. We took 6 totes the the local thrift store, full of books. Most of them were great reads, but I had to admit to myself I probably would not read them again, and if I chose to do so, would use my kindle to do it. I gave up my original Twilight series, the Divergent series, a series I bought in college about the Civil War (all 8 volumes of it), some very large books I dove into with relish like Ruska and Peter the Great… but I know I won’t read them again. I did save books my kids read and they are boxed up and ready for them to get in the mail.

Flat Rate!

When people die, they leave behind relished trinkets and photos, slips of cloth, programs from events, ticket stubs, even toys and saved bits of clothing. Some people collect their whole lives and leave stacks and stacks and stacks of stuff. And someone has to go through all that and dispose of it. Sorting through things after someone passes away is a rough task. When my mother-in-law passed away, it was a monumental task. Lots of feelings come out when you go through another person’s things. Especially if they were a collector. When my grandmother passed away, she had been staying with me about 6 months. But I still had to get back to her place and dispose of everything. I did it alone, with the help of my 2 younger boys, schlepping things to the dumpster, the car, and to the local thrift shop in her senior complex. That thrift shop was a sad place, because every single thing in there was only there because someone died. Other seniors would come and go through the things and take what they needed, at no charge to them. It felt good to help others like that, but it also grieved me even more. Grandma had been parsed down to a few boxes. And she was almost 100 years old. It was hard enough caring for her as she died, let alone clearing out all her things. These past few days, I mourned the passing of my family all over again. And I mourned the passing of my life – it has gone by in the wink of an eye.

Time flew past so quickly…

And today I am just tired. So much went through my brain this weekend. So many people I no longer see or even know where they are. Lots of friends and family who are no longer with us. I was watching a VHS tape and started to cry because I realized everyone in the movie, except for my immediate family, are all dead. It happened so quickly. Now I see my children, and their families, fully engaged in their own lives. And so very busy. Pretty soon they will be where I am now – standing outside and watching their own children move along this racing timeline. It caused me to stop and think. And I realized, too, I am one of those old folks that sit on the sidelines, watching the young people. So so weird.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up what has been planted; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek and a time to lose; a time to keep and a time to cast away; a time to rend and a time to sew; a time to keep silence and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
A time for everything…

Let go of the tether…

Tetherball

A tether is “a rope, chain, strap, or cord for keeping an animal within a certain radius.” It can also be used for objects (hence we have tetherball) and to keep infants safe with a car seat in a car. Basically, it’s a restraint system. Why am I defining this? I have been doing some soul-searching lately. What am I tethered to? One of the things that keeps running through all the philosophies rampant on the internet is that we need to focus on God and God alone. God wins, in the end.

London’s Chrystal Palace

We are just regular people. Like George Carlin would say, “There’s a big club and you ain’t in it”! And we should question everything. Absolutely everything. If you look into the late 1800s construction style, you have to scratch your head. No electric or power tools. The roads are still dirt and most people got around in horse-drawn vehicles, not cars! The Pearl Street Power Station was opened by Thomas Edison in 1882. 1882! The Chrystal Palace above was built in 1854. How? There are literally decades of our history that we are unaware of. Where is our collective cultural memory? As an anthropology major in college in the “progressive” 1970s, I was never told any of this history. The architecture alone is astonishing. Where did it all go? Why was it erased from our history?? Who decided we needed to erase that? Makes you think, doesn’t it? Look up Tartaria and the 1800s construction style. Look up the Great Mud Flood. Why is this not common knowledge? Very interesting digging.

We are all so worried about Omicron or the next variant. Our supply train. The weather. The economy and crypto-currency. The world is going insane on a multitude of fronts. We all know someone who has been vaccinated. We all know people who have had Covid, in one of its many forms. Many of us know friends who have died from Covid treatments. We have had our faith leaders close the door of our churches because they bow to political pressure. Where is their faith in God? The money doesn’t flow if you do not follow the narrative. Slowly the media is now even reporting on some aspects of the Maxwell trial. The biggest trial of the century so far. And CNN actually talked about some of the fallout with the vaccines and pericarditis and the many deaths and injuries from these untested vaccines – I know I was shocked they dared to utter a word. Maybe because they have to make up for the Cumo debacle! (These shots really are not vaccines, are they? When I got my polio vaccine I was no longer susceptible to the disease – but these covid shots? They keep coming…the first couple don’t work so let’s keep shooting people with more chemicals…)

The Vaxx

The elites of this world are frightened by truth. They keep layering the world with more and more deception. So many of us blindly follow the “tell-a-vision” and believe our government is here to save us. No one is here to save us – we have to save ourselves. In recent news, studies have now shown the graphene component in these vaccines acts like razors in our blood streams. It destroys our ability to fight infections. There’s a new term in our lexicon of language as well; “VAIDS.” “Vaccine acquired immunodeficiency disease.” Yeah – its a new form of aids – from the vaccine. Look into Fraudci and his involvement with aids. People died from the cure, not the disease. He needs to held accountable! Our world leaders are trying to decimate the population. I know…quackery, right? Look at the Georgia Guidestones, for one simple example…

Georgia Guidestones

One of the precepts engraved on the stones is keeping the world population at 500,000,000 and another is one world government. Look into it. Don’t trust a random blogger you come across. One thing I have learned in all of this, trust no one – no one’s opinion or their “facts.” Dig deep and find your own answers. And that is what brings me to this post today…looking for my own information. As I dug deeper, and was reading information and bookmarking sites I want to return to, I kept hearing in my head – “What are you tethered to? What keeps you attached to this world, to this life?”

“It’s going to be biblical..”

The line (and image) above is from the movie, “Law Abiding Citizen.” A man gets even for all the wrongs done to him and he swears, “I’m gonna pull the whole thing down. I’m gonna bring the whole f***in’ diseased, corrupt temple down on your head. It’s gonna be biblical.” For many of us who follow patriots and the causes of freedom, this quote has been used to define this moment in time, and how patriots need to respond. And many patriots refer this quote to taking down the cabal, the elites who control the world. Taking down the global banking system. Global economy reset. Among many other issues.

I am listening. I am researching for myself. I am learning. I am fearful and prayerful. I am not really settled and this little voice keeps asking me about being tethered. The Lord tells us quite plainly, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39)

Letting Go…

All of the things I have discussed, and so many more, are things that bind me. My family is the one thing I have held onto more than anything. A friend’s mother once related to me that if we are doing this parenting thing right, our kids take off and explore new things, in new places, with new people. And they are fully confident to do that, even if it means leaving parents far, far behind. If Christopher Columbus had never left home, we would all still be in Europe. (Just an old saying – not arguing accuracy in this post). LOL. And I have come to realize recently that my kids are all grown up. I mean I know they are from their ages, but their “separateness” became more glaringly real to me. Oh yes, I pointed them in the direction I thought they should go. And they took my advice, and then made their own decisions. Most of those decisions are taking them away from me. We diverge over many, many subjects. It has caused hurt feelings and we often tap-dance around quite a few topics. At the heart of it, I will always love my kids. It doesn’t matter where they are or what they are doing. I gave them life and I will always love them. But I cannot fix or change them now. They are married with families of their own (almost all of them – one more to go!). They have careers and homes and responsibilities and they are choosing their own way in this life. The hurtful part is that generally speaking, we are no longer on similar paths, nor share the same orbits. And my husband and myself are pretty much all that we have. We knew that on some instinctual level, but facing the reality of it as we sit in matching recliners in the evenings, alone and watching mindless TV and chatting, the hard reality is that it is just the two of us.

Divergent Paths by Julie Lonneman

If I am honest about it, that little voice I keep hearing is telling me to just let it go. Let my kids, and some dear friends, go on their merry way, with my love and blessings. Do I agree with their choices, their decisions? No I do not. Can I change anything by talking to them, or presenting them facts and figures, and studies that prove my points? I cannot. Will I lose them by trying? Well, I almost have in the recent past, so I would have to say that to pursue it at this point would cut them off from us, and I am not sure I can bear that. I know I have to let them be men (I have all sons) and forge their own trails, but darn it all, I miss them in my life. I never imagined my old age would be so very solitary, in the sense that we don’t see our kids and grandkids around our table anymore, nor celebrating holidays as a full family. (We have even replaced our big table with a small, glass one!) There is geography (we now live 1000s of miles apart) and the cost of travel (and restrictions – thanks Byden) and transporting kids; I really get it. But all the same, here in my pity party, it’s not turning out to be what I had imagined during all the years I spent raising the boys, and all the years invested in some friendships.

Ad-libbing with dogs…and paring down a tad…

The above is our Christmas decor – pretty much all of it. We decorated for ourselves because we know our extended family won’t be around our tree, and we rarely entertain friends these days. In addition, we had to adapt to a very smart and stubborn 8-month-old standard poodle puppy who would love to chew on almost all of that stuff up there. Ha-Ha. It’s small and simple and I think I like it this way. We are getting rid of a lot of holiday stuff and are even thinking of paring down in other ways, as well. It is helping me to let go. Stuff is stuff and we have come to realize very little of the stuff we love is important to our kids. I want to give it away or sell it while I know where it is going and not leave it for them to settle when I am gone.

Letting go of everything – all this concern in the world – as well as family and friends – for the sake of eternal salvation is a jarring reality. As I get older, and after my Covid experience, I know more than ever that my days are numbered. I will face my God alone. I hope and pray our Blessed Mother, and some angels and saints will stand with me, but ultimately my faith is between me and God. Just the two of us. And when I think in those terms, it is easier to deal with letting go, with disappointment and feeling let down, with fear for the future of this world. So many prognostications are being bandied about that we are in the end times. Perhaps we are. Bishop Vigano recently stated that those who fight this new world order, the cabal and the elites, “will have the help and protection of God.” I can go with that. So, be prepared to sacrifice everything for your faith – the faith in God and in your country and the things you believe in. All of it. Home, relationships, friends, family. Because the powers that be want you to submit, even to the point of giving your life for what you believe. So for me, I want to be able to walk away, even to death, with my head held high, letting go of all that tethers me to this world.

Holding on to that tether to this world…

On a dime…

On a dime…

Every once in a while, your life goes in a completely different direction. And it does so quickly. Like spinning a dime. My husband and I enjoy relative good health. We eschew many mainstream medical choices. Our GP is a DO – and osteopathic doctor. Treats the whole body. The whole person. I like that. Believes in taking control of your health. Likes vitamin regimens. Likes to see you exercise. Likes to see all her patients happy and healthy. We rarely ever visit her office.

Around the beginning of October, the hubs and I were exposed to Covid. So we stayed home. We treated it like the flu. We did our vitamin regimen. Probably not as diligently as we could have, because we got pretty sick. He was sleeping 20 hours a day and was so groggy and so tired. I just felt lousy. Our adult kids came to see us at the behest of our youngest son, who was concerned about us. They walked in and I guess I looked pretty sick. They called 9-1-1 and I was sent by ambulance to the hospital. Severe Covid. My blood oxygen saturation was 71. It is supposed to be 97 or better. Probably too much information, but I ended up being in the hospital for 6 days. My husband was sent by ambulance about 4 hours after I was. We ended up next to each other in the ER. He had Covid dementia. I did not know you could get that. It was why he was sleeping so much. It happens in about 20% of all cases. You can also get paralyzed. Who knew? I learned so much about Covid while in the hospital. I am still learning. I am home, but on oxygen 24/7. I got an enlarged heart from Covid, and I also became diabetic. It was just such a nice basket of goodies. And we are slowly coming out from under this thing.

Fearful?

I was asked if I have changed my mind about vaxxing or the illness itself. The “plandemic.” And I can say that many aspects of it have changed for me. For example, I am a little fearful of getting sick again. I almost died. And I am so conflicted on the mask thing. I know in my head they are useless. I just don’t want this again. So do I wear one? Do I stay home? I’m still connected to the oxygen machine, so I am literally tied down at home. (I need to get my portable one filled before I can go anywhere). I even used a shopping app on my phone and did my grocery shopping online, and we had a pick up time and everything. It was so weird, but kinda easy, too. It helped when neither of us was able or had the energy to go to the store. But am I becoming a hermit?

Wilderness Get-Away

We already live in Alaska. Which for most is rather isolated. But we live in a neighborhood. However, I only know one of my neighbors. So we are sort of isolated already. However, you can isolate yourself in a 20-story apartment building in downtown New York City. It’s how you move through life that counts. And we have a smaller circle of friends. We do. We have narrowed it over the years. But interestingly enough, when we got very ill, we had a community rally behind us. Calling us. Coming by to assist us. And our friends scattered over the lower 48 rallied with prayers and FaceTime. It really made me see how treasured some of the people in our lives are.

We could not have done a thing without our kids. My son and his wife who live near us, saved our bacon. They called 9-1-1. They took over our bills and even made our house payment online for us. They contacted our insurance. They stocked our refrigerator with healthy food. They were our go-between when we needed one. They were our connection with hospital staff and family members. It was something I was so honored to have. A real relationship. It goes deep and I treasure it.

Here we are!

Now it’s pretty much just the two of us. And our dogs. And now that the drama of our illness has passed, while we are recuperating, the intense scrutiny is over and so are the calls. I don’t blame anyone. Not one bit. We spend our days doing more and more, but still resting and napping a lot. Luckily my husband works from home and he can set his hours. He is pretty much back up to speed. I’m hampered with breathing and blood sugar. But we are bored and lonely, too.

Recuperating from something as serious as this was, makes you stop and think. I have never prayed so much in my life. I was laid in this special cushion on my stomach with a face cut out sort of like a massage cushion, while on intense oxygen therapy, for 7 hours a day. They were trying to get the infected junk out of my lungs. And so there was not much to do. I was able to squeeze my phone under there and I would stare at my screen saver of my husband and myself, which was taken just in September. We were both laughing and having a great time. And it kept me going. Seriously frightening to have your doctor tell you there was not much more they could do before they would have to intubate you! I fought for every breath I took. I am still fighting for deep, sustained breathing. They would let me out of this cushion thing for meals and a couple of hours of TV and sitting up, but then right back in it….all night long, too.

Maternity Massage Pillow I used.

I had legions of angels around me. I could feel the prayers. I could feel the energy. And I would do my breathing exercises as much as I could until I was exhausted. The nurses came and patted my back. They gave me breathing treatments by reaching the machine down and under the face part. They were as determined as I was to get me well. And I literally thanked God for the nursing staff. The doctor and I butted heads, but at least he supported my point of view. He even told me, “I am not your dictator. I am your partner in getting you well.”

Dr. Pol

It has been an amazing journey – into the hospital/medical side of this thing. Is it what I thought? No. It’s far more. The doctor told me they have no cure. They have no magical drug. Each person’s reaction is unique and they are running by the seat of their pants. There is no protocol in place. No perfect way to treat anyone. Each person’s case is unique. And with each person’s reaction to this thing, they come up with another way to attack it. I had no idea I was at such risk. I had no idea how poor my health truly was. I had no idea my life was on the line. And it stopped me short. And it has me contemplating for most of my days. Unless I’m watching the Hallmark channel, or The Incredible Dr. Pol on National Geographic. Ha-Ha. Trust me, they relieved my stress!!!

Am I all better? Not by a long shot. I am learning about blood sugar and food. What I can and cannot have. I have experimented with recipes. But it zaps all the strength out of me to cook, and so I am stuck with a few favorites that work. I know I will master this diabetes thing in time. But it is frustrating as all get out, on a daily basis. Who knew? I certainly had no idea. And my fingertips are sore from all the poking. Ha-Ha. My lungs are healing and that is amazing. They would feel like shards of glass were in them when I would breathe in. It was not fun. It is still there, but very minuscule in comparison. I hate having this thing up my nose all the time, but at least I am clear-headed and can breathe. I’m such a mouth-breather and had no idea how bad that is for your lungs! I am learning.

Do I believe in vaccinating with the vaccines being offered? I do not. I have natural immunity now, and with my temporarily enlarged heart, I cannot have the vaccine. Do I think you should get it? No, I don’t. There are too many unknown variables and too many outcomes that are not good, that are being hidden from the public. If you only watch TV for your information, you are missing out on 99% of the story. For a virus that is 99% survivable. I survived it. I am a survivor. Did I almost become a statistic? I certainly did. But I did not succumb. And if I can do it with all my comorbidities, so can you. I do not believe this is about our health. I believe it is about control. I believe it is about big government and big pharma and keeping us sick and dependent. I hate that I am dependent now. I abhor the way it happened. But I would rather it turned out this way than to become a vaccine injury statistic.

Is covid real? It is. It is a weird virus that can effect every person in a unique way. I had no idea about the depth of this virus. Do I thank God for every day? I truly do. I feel like I have been given a second chance at life and I do not intend to waste a moment. Hug those you love. Tell them you love them. Pray to God every moment of every day. Thank Him for your life. And live every day to its utmost.

“…on the path unwinding…”

The world is spinning and we are all hanging on, while it tumbles in space. And every once in awhile, it seems like there is a “hitch in the get along” and things go askew. We all have those days where we want to just crawl back into bed and hit the rewind button. I had several of those days recently. Thankfully, not back-to-back, or I would be nutsy….certifiable.

 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

I was talking with my hubby, who has also been very stressed out lately, and I told him that if he continues to carry everyone’s burdens on his shoulders, he will be crushed with the weight of it. He said he knew that, but then asked me, “How do you stop caring?” And he is right. We both tend to worry too much about things and people and situations we really don’t control. We take on the burdens of others because it is just part of our nature. And sometimes it can weigh you down. A lot. And those are the days we want to stay in bed, hiding under the blankets, and just not deal with it.

As we age, we forget everyone else is aging, too. Sometimes it hits you when a friend’s kid all of a sudden is older and doing adult things, and you still think of them as a little child. Those years when my kids were young seemed to drag, but as they hit high school, life began to race by us. And somehow I related to my parents and other family members the same way – I forgot that as we aged, they aged, too. After speaking with my mom this morning, I was relating how my youngest son’s girlfriend’s grandma is my age. Ha-Ha. And my mom said she remembers turning my age 20+ years ago. And I stopped and realized she is 87 years old. I remember my great-grandma being 87. I remember my great-grandpa, at 90, saying he was just flat-out tired and dying a few days later. My dad (his grandson) is pushing 91 years old. My dad has Parkinson’s dementia, Alzheimer’s, and a host of other ailments. My step-sister (stepmom’s daughter) and I had a two hour discussion about our parents (they have been married more than 35 years now) and how their aging is not going well. I remember babysitting her when she was in junior high school. People thought her younger sister was my daughter. And now we are discussing our parents’ death wishes and we realized they probably won’t last the year. When did all this happen? When did she become a grandma, too?? I am used to the fact that I am older, but when did everyone else get older?

“Listen to your father; without him you would not exist. When your mother is old, show her your appreciation.” Proverbs 23:22

And we are trying to listen to our parents. We are trying to appreciate them and honor them. Dementia and Alzheimer’s make caring for them so very difficult. And it makes these last days we share with them very stressful. I kept thinking my parents would always be there. But they will not be. “None of us is guaranteed our next breath” (Thank you, Abouna Justin, for the quote). We all should be prepared to “meet our maker.” I’m not sure what state my parents’ faith is in, but that is not my business. I will share with them as I able to, from the place in which I find myself spiritually, and try to meet them where they are. However, what I am tasked with in the immediate future is respecting my parents for who they are and what they have done for me in my life, and ensuring their comfort as they experience the end of their days. I want them to know they are loved and appreciated. I want to keep them fed and warm and comfortable, and occasionally share a laugh together.

And I am doing this while still parenting a teenager; while being a grandma to 5 gorgeous grand babies, and still trying to enjoy the move to a new home. In a few days, my sister-in-law will arrive in their motorhome with 9 of their 10 children. I am looking forward to it so very much. But at the same time, I realized this is my last free Saturday. Because after this, I will have company at my home, and then I will be flying to get my mom and moving her in with me. My life is going to completely change. So is hers.

But I want to embrace it all with joy and hope and a love of God, sharing that love with others. Some days I know I will want to crawl back into bed and hide. But I won’t be allowed to do that. I will be guiding my teen towards adulthood, my grandchildren into childhood, and my mom and dad to “meeting their maker.” And in my head, I keep singing that Disney song from the Lion King….

Circle Of Life
From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the Sun
There’s more to be seen than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
Some say eat or be eaten
Some say live and let live
But all are agreed as they join the stampede
You should never take more than you give
In the circle of life
It’s the wheel of fortune
It’s the leap of faith
It’s the band of hope
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle, the circle of life
Some of us fall by the wayside
And some of us soar to the stars
And some of us sail through our troubles
And some have to live with the scars
There’s far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the Sun rolling high through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round
In the circle of life
It’s the wheel of fortune
It’s the leap of faith
It’s the band of hope
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle, the circle of life
It’s the wheel of fortune
It’s the leap of faith
It’s the band of hope
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle, the circle of life
On the path unwinding
In the circle, the circle of life.
And we are all spiraling along on our own circle of life. Things happen, days pass, the world keeps spinning on its axis. As each day morphs into night and we face another day spent, I hope we reflect on how we have moved through our own circle of life that day. How we have embraced these responsibilities we have been given, and how we celebrate all the joys we have experienced. Life is a blessing. Life is to be cherished. Each day of it. As I was struggling with anger towards my husband recently (cleaning out a garage is NEVER fun) I kept telling myself how grateful I was for our many blessings, and how incredibly blessed we were to have all this stuff we needed to deal with and put into its proper setting and place. The opposite – being homeless and having nothing – would indeed be frightening. And as I have learned through keeping a gratitude journal, there is something in every day and in every thing to be grateful for. Truly. So, I am grateful for this latest spin on the circle of my life. My Lord is with me every step of this life. I am grateful and I am blessed.

“…and blessed shall you be…”

So, we are all moved in and we are totally out of our old house. Now I just have to clean it and return the keys. It was a great house to get us into our new adventure here in the Last Frontier. It wasn’t too remote (there were apartments across the street) and yet it was not in a large town. There are 30,000 living in the main town and surrounding areas. The town we moved to? About 9,000. Ha-Ha. When we last visited the greater Los Angeles area, we left Long Beach Airport and drove onto the 405 Freeway, where it is melding with the Garden Grove Freeway. We realized we had seen more people on that freeway than lived in the town we lived in. Now I realize there were more rental cars in that parking lot than in the entire town we live in. And I love it.

How often have we heard, “I don’t go to Church because so-and-so did this-and-such to me.” Or, “I have my faith in God; I don’t need a Church.” I have written blog posts on this before. No man is an island. We need one another. For better or worse. And our world is becoming more and more fractured. It makes me so very sad.

What do these things have in common? People. Numbers of people. Living styles. Remote, quieter life style and city/concrete jungle life. Neither is perfect. Many people have left the countryside to move to the city for a better life, better job, better opportunities. Not as many have escaped all that to live in more remote areas. Regardless of where we live, we do not live there without neighbors. They may be close enough to hand us a tissue when we sneeze, or they may be miles away. But nonetheless, we have neighbors.

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. …” Deuteronomy 28: 1-68

What can we do to be good neighbors, regardless of where our neighbors are? Regardless of who our neighbors are? There are so many of us who purport to be Christians, but how “Christ-like” are we, really? Ghandi did not like Christians; he liked Christ but commented at how terribly judgmental Christians could be. And many are also very exclusionary. We pulled our oldest son from public school mid-way through 2nd grade and chose to homeschool him. There were some people who would not let our son play with their children because he had once attended public school – and these were very rigid “traditional” Catholics. They snubbed us, as adults, too, because we “mixed”with the world. (Funny, ironic, story? Their boys were the ones selling alcohol to all the minor homeschool kids behind their parents’ rigid backs. Karma). My point is that it is silliness to limit yourself when it comes to “neighbors.” I have grown exponentially in the past year, by stepping outside my comfort zone and embracing all sorts of people. And my life is so much richer for it. So much richer. I have made some friends that have enriched my world so very much and I feel very, very blessed. Even in this little corner of the world.

I have refrained from posting lately because I have been so very busy, but also reflective. There have been news stories that have caught my interest, things happening with friends and family, and the busy-ness of settling into a new home in a new community. Enough that at the end of the day, I fall into bed, exhausted. And that leaves little time for blogging. Instead of unpacking another box or doing another chore this weekend, we took off at the invitation from a group of people we have come to enjoy so very much (we are starting to see them more and more often and it has been so much fun) to enjoy some wilderness time. We drove 72 miles north of where we live, feeling like we were driving on top of the world. It was beautiful in every direction, and rarely did we see another building. We drove on paved roads for most of the way, but then we hit the dirt roads (more roads are unpaved here than paved) in my grandma car. Ha-Ha! And the drive did not disappoint! We got to cross this gorgeous bridge and see some amazing sites. We hung out with a great group of people. We were able to have a “sit around the campsite” chat with our local Senator (seriously…our Senator) and discuss the state of our state. How wonderful is that??? Even though we were miles and miles and miles away from anything, we were with neighbors. We communicated. We discussed. We challenged one another. We bonded. It is what people do with each other, when they allow themselves to be neighborly.

As we drove into the sunset (the above photo was taken through my dirty windshield about 7:30pm) and contemplated all these things, we realized that we cannot remain separate. We cannot say that we will only associate with people who are like us, or who think like we do, or who reflect our best selves back onto others. We need to embrace the heart of the person we are with, regardless of the trappings of who they are or how they are perceived. God calls us to this very thing – to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” And “neighbor” is every, single person, we are not. Everyone other than ourselves is our neighbor. And there is a spark of God in every, single person out there.

Is this an easy thing? Most certainly it is not. Most of us cannot stand someone because of a myriad of reasons important to us (at the time we chose to not be neighborly). Our neighborhoods, our towns, our schools, our states, our country – all of them are unneighborly in some form or another. But it all starts with me. Since this is my last move and I have dubbed this house my “casket” house (I do not want to move again – ever) I am planning to embed myself in this community, in this neighborhood. I will endeavor to know my physical neighbors, as well as those I gather with, in all our shared glory and ugliness. I cannot do it without the Grace of God. If only each of us would endeavor to try this. Just think of what we could accomplish!?!? If everyone would participate with their next-door neighbors, in their communities, we could change the entire world. If everyone who usually waits in the wings for other people to take care of things would just pick up that rake and do it themselves, our lives and our world would be transformed. And if you translate that rake to our vote – yeah; the “Silent Majority” needs to reawaken and make this happen! We can change this world…starting at home.

God bless each of us, and as we approach the anniversary of our country, God Bless America.

 

 

The pain of memories…

So some days there are moments when your head just explodes. Sometimes it is a result of not enough caffeine (rare in my house) or not enough sleep (becoming the norm), and sometimes it is fall-out from interacting with others. For me, it has been a combination of moving (the physicality of it all, in addition to the emotional stress of relocating) and of trying to restore order and normalcy to our life habits, in addition to the preparation for my mom to come and live with us. So much change!!

My true pain came from a FaceTime session with my ailing mom. I realized how much this stupid disease is stealing from us all. She had no idea who my grandchildren were, nor did she truly understand what she was seeing. I took her on a tour of our new home, and showed her the room she would be living in, as well as her bathroom. Her comment was, “Well, at least I don’t have to go outside in the snow to go pee.” And we chuckled at it. (She has some odd, but common, misconceptions about life in the “Last Frontier”).  And then, as I walked from the bathroom, around a corner, to the living room, she asked me, “Are you ever going to move to a bigger house?” She was back to the house we just moved from, in her mind. It took about 3 minutes. And when my sister and I reminded her that she could not stay where she is, she said, “I’m not leaving here until I die.” And she was adamant about it. My sister and I exchanged looks, knowing this will be such a hard transition for her – for all of us, really.

But what prepares us for this process? Not much, really. I have not taken a course on caring for aging parents (I probably should look into that). I know my mom will probably become a toddler again, in some ways. It hurts my heart for her and her dignity. And dreams we all had of growing old and sharing our children and grandchildren. I am hoping that being around my grandchildren will energize her (or wear her out! Ha-Ha!).

And I am confused, as well, by all this information I keep seeing about why the preponderance of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is so rampant in the USA – some link it to our diets, some to our sedentary life style, or processed foods, or the mercury in all those old vaccinations we were forced to get in the 40s and 50s and 60s. There are now so many dementia patients who are only in the their 40s! And it is not in Europe or elsewhere as pronounced as it is in America. I question standard medical practice and embrace much that is considered alternative. Why? Well, I grew up around medicine and I know they play at it. I have seen doctors create solutions on the fly, going against normal procedures on a whim, and having it work out better than what they would have achieved, had they not been creative. I have seen chemical mistakes turn into cures. My brother broke his hand – crushed his fingers – on a Saturday afternoon when he was, I believe, 14 or 15. He was one of the star running backs at our high school. Did my dad rush him to the local ER? No. He drove him about an hour away, after having called his friends (no cell phones in those days) who met him at the hospital where they all had faculties, and they experimented and came up with a casting system (it was replaced several times during the season) that would allow him to pass the referee’s requirements thereby keeping the season intact. Did my parents pay for that? They did not. Did my brother get excellent medical attention? You bet he did. But medicine and research of his incident was used as the payment. He was their guinea pig. My point? Science can be flexible. There are thousands of stories of doctors and staff using their families as guinea pigs. So I know there is stuff going on out there, for this horrid disease. I also KNOW that big pharma has a hand in all of this. Why cure Alzheimer’s and dementia when there is money to be made off the victims? Why cure many of these horrible diseases when healthy patients don’t need to see their doctor or take their medications as often or as long? When did medicine become pharmacy instead of prevention?? When did dietary and exercise advice become a prescription or a surgical procedure? When did doctors stop treating the person and just focus on the symptom?? It makes my head spin.

After my frustrating FaceTime with my mom, with my head exploding, I laid down on my bed. I diffused lavender essential oil on my dresser. I cuddled with my cat. I cried for my mom. I cried for my kids and grandchildren, too. I have a parent with Alzheimer’s, which means it is more likely I may get it, too. My dad has Parkinson’s Dementia. (I am not sure about my possibility for Parkinson’s, but it is out there). But it seems like the medication he is taking keeps him more with us than when he was first diagnosed. (Shocking result, to be honest. I seriously doubt our pharmaceutical world). He is having more Parkinson’s symptoms and less of the dementia, although he had to stop driving. He has a hard time even walking some days. His speech today was slurred, but as we spoke longer, his voice got steadier and we had a great conversation. I cried. I know my parents are leaving me. And I realized how lonely that can leave you, even with a spouse, children, and siblings left behind with you. And I cried for my future. How long do I have with my husband and children, and grandchildren? Moving exhausts you; it truly does. I am pretty spent. And the future is just so cloudy, surrounded by lots of tears.

I will rise up. I know I will. My exhaustion brings on melancholy and thinking. Ha-Ha. Maybe I just need that cup of tea and a break! I know my world will continue through my sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren. And I know I have lots of time to spend with them, making memories for them to hold after I am gone. Right now, I am still facing a garage full of boxes. Many of them contain my memories. So I will bask in those wonderful memories, as well as embrace what is before me. I will also prepare for my future. My hubby and I realize we need to return to our Whole30 eating regime and add back in some supplements for our future health. We need to stop being lazy in food and meal prep, as well as getting ourselves healthier. Mindwise is back on the menu for me!

I still may have to escape to the mountains for some much needed respite. And believe me, I know that sounds funny, coming from someone who lives in Alaska, in a town of just 8,845 people! But the mountains do call to you! Almost as much as all this green growing all around me gives me peace, the mountains give me stability. I know I am tired. And I know I am blessed. I also know summer is coming. The sun will help. So does God.