Saturday, March 14, 2015

My Aunt and My Mom... memories and sadness

My Aunt crossed over earlier this week.  I have been sad all week.  I think her passing brings on all the sadness I felt, and still feel, at losing my own mother years ago.  I can still remember how it felt like my heart was just ripped out, I had this deep ache in the pit of my stomach...I know this is how my cousins are feeling right now.  The waves of sobbing that would hit me when I was least expecting it...yeah, they are going through all of that.  I hate that for them. I wish there was a way to make it better, make it go away. I know there isn't. I miss my mom so much.

My mom and her sister were very close, so our families spent time together.  She will be missed.  They spent a lot of time together, and looked enough alike that people would mistake one for the other.  I remember Christmas Eve get togethers at my Aunt's house, watching It's a Wonderful Life.  I remember my Aunt coming over to our house so my mother could give her a home perm. I remember picnics and dinners.

When they were together those sisters cracked each other up, which was such a joy to see.  They would laugh so hard that their faces turned red, they couldn't speak, they were doubled over laughing so hard tears were streaming down their faces.  I loved that part.  I loved to see my mom so happy and joyful with her sister.  I remember that so vividly. I can picture them standing in our kitchen laughing.

They grew up in hard times, and had both been through difficult times, and they made it through, they flourished.  That is how I KNOW that my cousins will make it through, just as I have made it through.  We ARE their daughters.  We may never get over this pain, for me it continues, but we will flourish.

I miss them both.
My Aunt

Here is another picture of my aunt, she is standing on the right, this pic was taken summer 1969

Here is another picture of my aunt, she is the one sitting.  This was taken July 4, 1971

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"From where do I draw my strength?"

That is the question for this weeks cooperative blogging project.  From where do I draw my strength? Which is an appropriate question for me at this time.  Dealing with just a few stressors in my life right now, I have thought about this a lot lately.

I have wonderful family and friends, who support and encourage me, they certainly feed my strength, and uplift me, give me energy when I need it.  But do they give me strength?  No, I don't think so, I was a strong woman before I knew or met these people.  From my mom?  Maybe she was truly a strong woman who overcame obstacles, and believed in herself.  But I am, I feel, an even strong woman now then I was when she was alive.

Maybe it is genetic and does come from my family.  Is this something you can pass on genetically, part of our DNA, what makes us who we are.  That drive and determination, the strength that allows us to overcome and not crumble, to push further and harder when we need it, the strength to know when some pampering and love is essential.  I do come from a family of strong women.

Maybe it is how I was raised, you know "nature vs nurture".  I was raised by a strong woman.  Raised to believe in myself and my strength, raised to overcome, raise to reach higher, to be and do anything I want to be and do. Raised by a strong woman to be a strong woman.

I really don't have the answer but I do know that it comes from deep down inside myself, the strength I need, the insight, the growth.  It comes from within me.  It is not something external, although those external influences certainly help.  I am a strong woman.

If you would like to know from where Nancy draws her strength, please visit A Present Moment.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Dealing with Stress and What I Learn

I don't like being in a state of stress.  I know there is stress all around in daily life.  I get that, but you know the little drama that pops up from time to time.  I am solution oriented, so my reaction is to figure out what is causing the feelings I am having and come up with a plan to work through it.  The drama isn't what challenges me as much as it is the feelings that surface.

The things I continue to learn about myself:

~I am getting better at identifying the specific causes.  You know really pin pointing the root.
~I am a processor.  By that I mean I need to process things, usually verbally, out loud, to my husband.  Who always graciously listens.  Sometimes he knows nothing about the topic but he also knows I need to "talk it out".  (Hmmm wonder where my oldest son gets that from.) And he doesn't try to fix me.
~I am learning new tools to deal with the feelings that stem from issues/drama.  I am a "head on" person, so I like to deal with issues up front and honestly.  But the feelings that the issues create in my body, that is a bit harder to handle.  I have had not-so-good coping mechanisms in the past, but am really learning new tools.
~I really can change the tools in my tool box.  Even though some of my coping mechanisms come from YEARS/DECADES of habit, they can be changed.
~I am so grateful that I love myself enough to make those changes, and work hard to do what is right for me.
~I have learned to say no, and say it easily, without any guilt attached.  I know when it is time for me to let things go, and move on to something new.

So even though the stressful times are harder, I really learn things about myself with each step.  And life seems to all come together in the end.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Up Early AGAIN.....and the Things that Have Dragged Me Down

Here I am again, up at 4:00 this morning.  Again it is quiet.  This morning I don't even hear Howard 2.0 crowing outside, even he decided to sleep.

I just couldn't sleep, woke up from a bad dream and just can't seem to settle my mind back down. Yesterday seemed to be a hard day for me and I couldn't get switched around, couldn't change my path.  I felt like little irritating things were jumping on my back until they weighed me down and I couldn't get them off or figure out a way forward.  I don't have those days often and I am glad.

One irritating thing had to do with the homeschool conference I help coordinate.  Without going into details, it just makes me question why I do it at all.  I mean I live here in the South so the type of conference we organize suits those that the more mainstream Christian conferences do not.  Which means a smaller audience, but a truly grateful audience.  But all it takes is one or two nasty people to make me question why, after all these years, I continue.

Add in a few other nagging worries and my day was just not what I had intended, even with the wonderful weather that pulled out of such a cold morning.

Today I will change all of that.  Today I will start fresh, and turn things around for myself.  Worry and stress do not fit me well.  So today I will get rid of those and have a better day, a day of things that fill my soul. A day of connecting with family, of focusing on all the great things in my life, a day of light, a day of happiness, a day of basking in all that is good.

I hope you all have a wonderful day as well!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Silence in the Wee Hours

Not sure why but I was up at 4:00 this morning.  I just could not sleep and was frustrated with just being in bed looking at the ceiling NOT sleeping so I decided to get up and putter around a bit.  It is so quiet at this hour.  I can hear the ticking of the grandfather clock reminding me of the time.  The heat is on, yes it turned frigid yesterday, brrrrr.  I have wind chimes under the ceiling vents for the electric heat, so I can hear the tinkling of the chimes, very nice.  I can also hear Howard 2.0, our rooster, crowing out there.  What is he doing up at this hour?

Howard is so funny, he and 5 of our hens fly in and out of the mesh fencing ad lib.  They come and go and so far have been safe from coyotes and neighborhood dogs.  I will say he is a smart, attentive rooster and takes good care of his hens.  They will sometimes fly into their portion of pasture and roost in their coop, and sometimes will just find a nice tree for the night.  I listen for him in the morning and know what tree they were in last night.  This morning I think they must be in one of the bushes by the driveway, that is where is sounds like his crowing is coming from.  I love that sound, something so soothing when I hear it.

But that is it really.  I do hear the dogs once in a while, their nails clicking on the tile floor of the kitchen.  I am just puttering around the house picking up bits and pieces of things left around, passing the time.  Maybe I will find a movie to watch, something soothing.  Maybe make a cup of tea.

These sleepless nights, as a child, would bother me so.  I guess it was the idea that I had to get up to go to school in the morning and a restless night would mean I was tired in the morning.  Now I don't let it bother me.  I feel like my body knows best.  I know that in an hour or two I will be feeling sleepy again and can go back to bed.  But for now I am enjoying this time to myself.  ~Night all!