And Another

It is another trip, and plane ride, another session of packing and planning what to wear. It is another time to see family that has not been seen since the last one. It will be another long day of travel and wearing a mask. For another family memorial service to say goodbye.

Seems that there have been far too many of these, over the years. People you never though would be gone because they are always there, always part of the fabric that weaves through families and experiences and memories and happenings.

Yet here it is, another memorial service. Another black dress, another pair of black pumps; another day of tissues, and tears, fond memories and last stories.

Life is short. Hug those you love, hold them tight and close and long, for the are gone far too soon.

Mother’s Day

When you have lost a parent, Mother Day or Father’s Day can take on a new meaning. It can be a day of sadness, because it is a reminder that your parent is no longer there. While others are celebrating, it can be lonely for those who have lost that parent. And eventually it is something we must all go through and feel. That is part of life.

This Mother’s Day was different for the though. For the first time since my mother died, I wasn’t not sad on this day. Maybe it is because it has been 5 years, and time makes everything a little easier. Many because grief has slowly given way to wonderful memories that make me smile instead of cry. Maybe it is because I am truly happy. Maybe it is a combination.

This year, I smiled and the day was truly a celebration. This year was hugs and laughter, drinks and stories. This year, I looked up to the sky, said a prayer in my heart and felt Mom’s love. And there was so much love, I felt it all around. Not just from me, but from and to others as well. This year my heart is happy and full.

So to Mom, thank you for loving me enough for a lifetime. thank you for all of the laughs, and hugs, and smiles, and sacrifices and the everything. The all and everything of 43 years with you as my Mom. Thank you for teaching me all that you did. But most of all, thank you for being my Mom. I will love you forever and I’ll hug you in my dreams.

Right Time, Right Place

In addition to being a massive time waster, Facebook is a reminder of my life and all the paths I have taken along the way. When the memories pop up, I can’t help but get a smile on my face and stroll down that lane of times gone by. And no matter who you are, what you do, where you are, where you have been or where you are going, you can track your life and progress with every post.

One year ago I had moved to Texas and was still getting settled. Everything had shut down and we were just starting to hear about masks and all the rules that came along with the virus. I had met my wonderful neighbors and the Driveway Drinkers were started. Since everything was closed, we sat out, and drank wine and beer while kids played. I met and started dating a wonderful man and we were having great time with “Shall we make dinner reservations at my kitchen or yours?”

Two years ago, was like an entire lifetime ago. I was still in Georgia, healing from all of the family drama and in a terrible relationship with a very toxic man. two years ago this week, I had gone to Cincinnati and Corpus Christie with him to help him with some job interviews, (he did not get the jobs), and he treated me horribly throughout the entre trip even though I was doing him a favor. I was also stuck with a mooch of a roommate who took advantage of my offer to help with out of a tough spot. But I knew better days were coming, and they were. When I think back on this time, I am reminded of the importance of being incredibly discerning with those you help.

Three years ago I was floating along, not much direction, and just starting to the plan to leave Georgia after my lease was up. I started researching where to move – Charleston, or somewhere in Texas. I contacted everyone I knew in Texas and started asking questions about living here. I was starting to get excited about planning my Getaway.

And four years ago I was still reeling from the death of both parents. Looking back it seems like another world, another galaxy ever. And I can see how for I have come since then. And I can be proud. I made it through, didn’t kill anyone, managed to get up and show up every day, and built the foundation on which my life currently stands. Not bad.

The rest of the years show many of the ups and down associated with life. Bad days, good jobs, milestone accomplishments, break ups, funny moments and wonderings of life. And looking back one thing is clear: I have always been in exactly the right place and exactly the right time that I needed to be there. Even when I thought I was in the wrong place…I see, through the magic f the internet and social media, that all I needed to do was trust, work hard and believe. Because through all of the tears and hopes and dreams, and ups and down, and broken hearts, and scrapes souls and all of the everything. It was OK.

And now I have the life that I always wanted. In the end, is is everything that I have done, in thought, word and deed, that got me to where I am today.. All the adventures, missteps, judgements, trips, falls, spills, and victories. It is everything I got wrong, that I didn’t know was right, all of the paths and people i met along the way. And here I am now. Happy. Loved. Loving. Working. Believing, thriving, and living.

Life is short. Have faith that you can get through the ups and downs of life. Because you can. If I can make it, you can too, no matter what it is. And when you do, one day you will look back and see how far you have come. You will see how strong you were and are. Building, rebuilding, reinforcing your li and your belief in yourself. And in that moment, you will see that you were in the right place at the right time as well.

My Roots are Showing

My conversion to Catholicism is nearly complete. There is only one more Sacrament left – my fist Communion. Technically, it is not my first, as I have been taking communion for years, but not as a Catholic. And this is a big deal. It is a special confirmation service, where close family and friends attend. And it is the destination on a path that started several years ago.

After my parents died, my family shattered and splintered into shards beneath my feet, deeply cutting into my heart. Suddenly, I lost so many people in less than a year, and not all by death, but they were gone all the same. And the grief was palpable. I had been brought up that you anchor your roots in your family, because family is the most important thing in the world. I loved that life, but it was gone and neve coming back. And so for several years I was just lost. I was floating around, out there in the world, with no where to put my roots.

When your foundation in life is gone, what do you do? Where do you go to feel safe? Or for comfort? To whom do you run? Losing that much family shook me to my very core and made me question everything I had been taught. Had my parents been wrong? What if family wasn’t the most important thing? But if you couldn’t count on family, if blood meant nothing in the grand scheme of things – then what did? What was going to ground me? What was going to be the truth that I knew beyond anything else, like I knew my family to be? What was going to be the foundation on which I would build my life?

And so I found myself uprooted in every sense of the world. I struggled to find my Peace, to find comfort and love and acceptance. And when I finally worked through the grief and got back on my feet, I moved away to a new place, with a new life. But I was still searching.

And then I saw a pamphlet in my parents church papers – on the Anglican Church being in communion with the Catholic church, and how to become a part of the movement. It was as if a light had turned on and I got excited about the idea. I set an appointment to meet with the priest and discuss the process – what it meant, why, how, and if it was the right thing for me. And in my heart there was an awakening, a tiny tremble of hope as light poured in from the cracks of a broken heart. It was the feeling of fertile ground.

My faith in God had been strong through all of the trauma, as it was prayer and faith in those prayers that got me through some of the hardest moments. But I had not felt a connection to the church in a long time. My views and beliefs had not changed, but it seemed that my church had.

So when I started learning the history of the Catholic church, and why the structure and beliefs are what they are, I felt a deep sense of comfort. It was as if I had walked into a warm room after being out in the cold. To study the events and teachings as an adult is completely different than as a child – which was the last time I studied to be confirmed into a faith. And in that learning, I found the firm foundation for which I had been seeking. I found where to plant my roots. Where I could trust them to grow deep, safe in the knowledge that my faith would be kept. It is extremely liberating and comforting, to know that my parents were not wrong, just my definition of family.

And that is what this journey has meant to be – it is finding my roots again, and finding where they will grow in the rich soil of faith and love and Grace.

Diamond in the Pieces

Every morning I get up, make coffee, meditate, pray and work in the garden. I have never been a morning person, s most of that gets done during of after coffee. But one thing that is for sure, gardening is a lot of work. I must spend time weeding the every. Single. morning. And if I skip a few days, it shows. I am not sure how the weeds grow faster than any of the flowers and vegetables, but they do. It is as if the weeds grow in fast forward and everything else grows in slow motion. And so I get outside, which is wonderful, and weed while I drink the coffee. I breathe in the morning air, notice the sky, and appreciate my life.

And I realize that there are many parallels between life and gardening. Both take a lot of work. Both take dedication. Both require you to get up every day, decide to work hard, and then you do it. And sometimes you must weed out the clutter, the toxic people and minutia or order for what is good to not just grow, but thrive.

No matter what you do in life, or what goals you have, hard work and dedication is what is needed to get you there. It takes hard work to earn a degree, or be successful at a job, to have healthy relationships, do stay in good physical and mental shape, to play piano…or to have a garden. And that is the thing about life, you get out what you put into it. So choose your hard.

I choose to work hard, play hard, rest hard and love hard. With all of my heart. And it shows. Because there must also be balance. And that is what I struggle with the most. Working hard and going hard it easy, it’s the balance that is difficult. Because that to do list is always calling. But I am learning to do things in smaller pieces. For instance, I am tempted to weed all of the gardens in one morning. But if I did that, it would take most of the day. But if I work in the gardens for 45-60 minutes each morning, there is time to weed and do other tasks. It is resisting to “all or nothing urge that I have as a Type A person.

The same with working out. I do not have time to exercise for a time, however, if I do a few sit ups, crunches and squats through out the day, I can get them done. So I have started working hard, a little at a time. And it’s working. Things are getting done, even if it is a little at a time. In resisting the urge to go hard and get it all done in one fell swoop, I do some as I can, then move on to the next.

And maybe that is the key to a happy life as well. You go and do a little at a time, so everything and everyone gets attention, and there is no burnout, even when you give it everything you have. Rome wasn’t built in a day, that garden won’t grow and produce all at once, and there is time to do it all. Once we slow down enough to break it up into pieces.

Life is short. And many times it’s not easy. So chose your hard, and go for it with all that you have. Take it in small chunks, and soon, after all of the hard work, your life will shine like a diamond.