Monday, February 5, 2018

Remembering the Good

Earlier today I was in the den with Linz and we just started talking about 'stuff' and old memories from this house. It didn't take long for her to begin recalling how she would come home from school and would grab a snack, which sometimes consisted of a peach or tomatoes picked from the tree or vines in the backyard. We further discussed food, and soccer tournaments, and more food...lol. And what hit me is that the things which we talked about were solely GOOD memories; the conversation didn't segue into something emotionally painful from the nearly 28 years of residence in this place.

This is good. Despite an unwanted divorce, and despite the pain of losing Kent, we are moving on. This very house, which I at one time SO WANTED to leave, has become a refuge and a haven for me. Again, a good place to be and a sign of the healing which CAN take place in a person's life if that person will only give it enough time.

Patience, my friend. Whatever pain you are experiencing, or turmoil which is engulfing your life... it will eventually pass, or you will come to a place of the acceptance of it, or you will begin to see it in a new life and draw truths from it (i.e. learn from it or something related to it). It may not go away completely BUT it will get easier -- and eventually no longer be at the forefront of your thoughts. Your good memories will no longer be shrouded by your pain.

Give God time. Give yourself Grace. And don't lose Hope -- where you are is not the end.

Rachel

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Another Round of Winter

Like a picture made from swaths of pastel-colored cotton candy, the colors fill my computer screen in shades of pink and blue and purple indicating the ice, snow, and mixture of the two covering the region. The temperature reading of 32* in the upper left-hand corner of my screen reinforces the information. We're having another round of winter.

Outside, a thin glaze of ice covers everything. Schools are closed for the day, people are being asked to stay off roadways due to icing of overpasses, and I wonder about the scheduled trash pick-up: preferring for the safety of the crew and other vehicles that they not be out there. Whatever is in the canisters can wait until Friday.

Checking the forecast again for updates, I notice that the temperature has already dropped another 2 degrees. It has been dropping steadily since mid-afternoon yesterday and should continue to do so until late tonight where it should bottom out near 20*. At least I can look forward to upper 30s tomorrow afternoon in time for my scheduled run [ok, run/walk - I'm trying to stick with this new attempt to build up to a 5K distance so I can race again... even if only in 'fun runs']. This is for me.

But for now, I write. And I listen to the howling of the wind outside my bedroom window. To my right, sorted piles of dirty laundry wait for me to get after that task. If it snows later, I may take pictures of the beauty in this storm. I am warm. I am safe... and so is my family.

Rachel

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Confessions of a Heel Striker: Part 2, Running Again

Ok so it's been nearly 8 months since I wrote part 1 of this post. Since that time I've dealt with learning how to do various home repairs, Hurricane Harvey in late August, life in general, and a nice little cold spell here. I've also been giving my left heel PLENTY of time to fully heal.

So here we are in an new year: 2018.
Thinking back, it was 5 years ago when I tried running for the first time [at age 47] and trained for 3 months before completing a colorful 5K fun run the day before Easter Sunday. I was able to complete the run in approximately 25-30 minutes and was happy with the result. Yet I unknowingly injured myself during the race and basically had to stop running for awhile, and then life - well - life happened.

But this is a new year. And I am ready to try this again and to see what my [soon to be 52 years old before the end of the month] body can do. This time, there is no planned training schedule or timeframe to reach my 5K distance goal. There are no specific races to be in shape for by a certain date. I am going to take each day as it comes, listening to my body and responding to its needs, and letting it run at whatever pace feels comfortable to it. If I have setbacks, then so be it. No pressure is the rule here. This is for me.

So yesterday I set out on my first run of this new year. I had planned on doing a single lap around the block [approx. 4/10s of a mile] but once I set out and got to the intersection 1/2 block away where I could either turn right and head towards the street behind my home OR I could keep running straight ahead and instead travel on the 1 mile loop which had been my friend 5 years ago... well, the road 'beckoned' me forward. Now I ended up switching to walking from running once I passed another 4 homes, but that is ok. I walked until I could run some more, and back and forth until I finished the mile. Total time: I am guessing to be around 22 minutes. Not bad for a first run, while still 1/2 the speed of what I would like to work up to.

Back inside my home, I shared with my daughter how my time was and that I am happy with it, especially considering I am 5 years older than when I did that race in 2013. 'Miss Practicality' had to chime in "Mom, and you are also 25 pounds heavier than you were 5 years ago, so I think that you did VERY WELL considering everything." -- Thanks, Linz. --

Now, a day later and with time for any soreness to show up from lactic acid buildup in the muscles, I am STILL happy with how my body handled the run. I love how this run was pain free - in my feet and even more so in my knees [I used to run nearly 1/2 mile in pain until the knees would swell up enough to deaden it] as there was no pain at all this time [FYI heel striking can also cause knee, hip, and back pain]. Yes, there is a little soreness in some muscles which aren't used to being worked so much but it is surprisingly so minimal that a part of me wants to run a little today, yet I am refraining from doing so as my to-do list wont permit it... and there is rain moving into the area.

With all of this, I am SOOO Praising God as it was only 10 months ago that I thought that I might be needing medical intervention for all of the pain I was in. God can heal...heels...lol. And God can heal spirits and emotions and infuse new life into a lady in emotional and physical pain. Give Him TIME. Give Him your TRUST. Give Him your LIFE! And Praise Him for ALL of the goodness which He bestows upon your life.

Rach

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Holding On... After All

Artwork: it reflects on who we are and how we perceive life, it commemorates people and values and beliefs, and it gives others a small glimpse into who we are as an individual.

After Kent died, two pieces of art were too painful for me to look at. The first: a colored pencil sketch in shades of blue and grey of the owl head logo [used by Rice University] centered vertically between 'Rice' and 'University' and textured like a  snowy owl which was a gift to Kent from my brother during a siblings and spouses Christmas gift exchange. I considered donating it to the Rice Athletic Department in his name but never got around to it. I also placed it among garage sale items for two sales but no one showed an interest. So its been hanging in my garage while I decide what to do with it.

The second piece is an 18th century print called "The Lawsuit" which shows a horned cow [Litigation written on its side] with a Plaintiff pulling on its horns, a Defendant pulling its tail, a Judge standing behind the cow, and a Lawyer (with his back to the viewer) sitting on a stool and 'milking' it. It was a sweet way to look at Kent's career in law. Like with the 'Rice' print, I considered giving it away or selling it so it, too, has been hanging in my garage.

Tonight I was watching the movie "We Are Marshall" (once again - I'm in a sports movie phase right now) and I thought about Marshall University moving on, even when it hurt to do so. It reminded me of Rice university (with its insanely high academic requirements) choosing to compete in sports against state schools even though they technically have a smaller recruiting pool because of their "no exception for athletes" entrance requirements. And my heart, for the first time, actually CONSIDERED the idea of attending a Rice football game in the future, which is an action which I never thought I could EVER do.

Smiling - with that thought on my mind - I went out to the garage to remove those two pieces of art from the wall. They are now hanging in the room in which they belong and I know that I can remember those aspects of Kent and not feel pain in doing so. Yes, it is a little step - yet significant for me.

Trusting the timing... of everything.

Rachel

Friday, December 29, 2017

Remembering Ferdinand

A book has been on my mind today - 'The Story of Ferdinand' (1936) by Munro Leaf. Two days ago while checking the hours of the closest Barnes and Noble [for our planner buying yesterday], I noticed on their upcoming events page that tomorrow is going to be Story-time and the book which will be read is the one about Ferdinand. That in itself is no big deal except for the fact my mind will sometimes do a string of association - so-called 'spaghetti thinking' - and that is what is REALLY on my mind... or perhaps WHO has been on my mind today.

Here's my thought process:

- 'The Story of Ferdinand' is mentioned in the movie The Blind Side, a movie about the life football player Michael Oher.
- Michael Oher played guard and then left tackle in college and was known as a gentle giant.
- Kent [my Kent] played right tackle and then guard in college and was also a gentle giant.

Simple enough.

So today I raked and swept the pecan leaves and pine needles off of the driveway and the sidewalks and the yard. I fondly remembered my gentle giant and thought about the [much] colder air headed into the region during the next few days. I thought about winterizing and hard freeze preparation, and how I liked the movie [The Blind Side] but couldn't keep it in my collection. I kept working while hoping that I wasn't overdoing it and reinjuring my still-not-fully-healed neck and shoulder muscles while also realizing that I NEEDED to do the work today as a way to channel emotional energy into something productive instead of waiting and risking the emotions growing. Work is good... and the yard needed it.

2017 is almost over.
Four months from the end of year number four.
I will be toasting your memory... unless I get distracted and forget.

Moving on - living on - one day at a time.

Rachel

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Just Keep Moving

I had posted this about 12 hours ago but checked back tonight and noticed that the printing was dark [and unreadable] instead of its usual white so trying to repost now. It looks like my other post from this evening is doing the same and editing the font color is not working. Perhaps it is an issue at my end. I will keep fidgeting with things and hopefully it will work out. In the meantime, here is this entry [again since I deleted the earlier post].

Update: it looks like passages [copy and paste] from Facebook [when I compose there] are not converting to white print [here] so in the future I will compose here and copy to post there rather than vice versa.

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I am an electronic solitaire fan. I am not saying that I am any good at it, and perhaps it is something about the slappity-slap sound of the cards appealing to the ADHD part of me, but I will sometimes need to spend considerable time playing it on my computer. And it isn't just 'traditional' solitaire [Klondike], I will also play the five variations available in the Daily Challenges [Klondike, Spider, FreeCell, Pyramid, and TriPeaks] for variety and for what I consider to be the need to use different patterns of thinking in order to solve the boards.

Confession time - sometimes it is ONLY for that mental stimulation that I at least ATTEMPT the FreeCell challenge, a game which I honestly do not like. For the uninitiated, FreeCell has an entire deck of 52 cards laid out [jumbled] face up in 8 columns. There are 4 'free' spots in the upper left section above the columns: places to 'hold' cards while you move other ones while attempting to [first] create groupings of cards in descending order and alternating color. Meanwhile you are also trying to create stacks in the upper right playing area which are for the suites of cards, beginning with the Ace and building up from there. An added challenge is that you can only move up to 5 cards at a time, and any filled 'free' spots reduce the number of moveable cards. Like I said, I don't like playing it.

So last night I was beginning a 2-star FreeCell and I had only moved 2 cards when I had to utilize one of the free spots. I looked at the board and thought "Why bother. I might as well quit right now and go on to the next challenge."

But then I heard that gentle sweet encouraging voice inside of me say "Just keep moving."

Just keep moving. Just keep playing. Do SOMETHING. You are not immobile. You are not defeated. You can still MOVE! Sure, it doesn't make sense and you have not idea as to what you are doing but that is ok - move anyway, and see where it [life] takes you.

So I did: I moved one card... and then another card... and one more after that. And while I was still playing clueless, I kept playing ANYWAY and I kept trying ANYTHING. I kept playing, not worrying about the outcome or whether I would be able to finish or what would happen 4 moves later [since I couldn't even se what that was]. I kept moving.

For persons interested, I did complete the game... and the rest of the challenges.

I still don't like FreeCell. And sometimes there are tines when I don't like challenges which God places before me. But you know what? They are there to teach me to keep trusting Him. He has everything all figured out which means I have nothing to fear or to be concerned about. All I need to do is to keep moving.

Rachel
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Being Your Hands and Feet

Today was our planner buying day for the new year; i.e. our annual visit to Barnes and Noble. While on our way there, we were pulling into the turning lane of one major [split] road when we saw a man - a haggardly dressed beggar - in the road median asking for handouts. Instantly I felt God indicate [in Hid gentle command kind of way] that we were to give this man the 2-dollar bill which I knew Lindsey had with her. Of course, in that time warp process which sometimes happens when talking with God, I am thinking "I am not going to ask Lindsey to give this man money when I have money of my own which I could give him. God, YOU can tell her." Fortunately God HAD told her the same thing in the same instant and as she pulled the bill out of her purse I rolled down my window and called out "Sir? Sir?" to the man, who by now was approximately 3 cars further back.

The man hears me and comes back [and I am thinking "Lord, don't let the light turn before I can give this to him"] so I can hand him the bill. Immediately after doing so and while rolling up my window, a woman shows up [in the median with him] with a cup of coffee, some Danish, and a blue windbreaker. She proceeds to help him put the coat on and I roll down my window to say "God bless you" to her for her kindness. She then shares [talking to the man] that she had seen him earlier and had gone to get the things and wasn't sure if he would still be here [she had obviously parked in a side parking lot and walked across traffic to get the items to him]. At that moment the light turned green and I had to move forward in order to not tie up traffic.

So now I am driving down the road thinking "Wow! Lord bless this woman and her unselfish kindness to take time out of her day for this man. And please bless this man and help him with his situation, help him to be able to get off of the streets where he wont have to beg."

It got me to thinking. What would I do if God prompted me to go buy a coat for a person? Yes, I've given money occasionally to beggars [and I must admit have intentionally avoided eye contact with other ones - after having evaluated them, which is in all honesty wrongfully and therefore sinfully judging them - because I know that there are professional false beggars out there]. And I can recall one instance when I felt prompted to spend a twenty dollar bill to buy a Whopper meal and to put the change in the bag and drive back to give to a particular individual. But what I saw today was different. It isn't like you can go through a drive-thru to purchase a coat. This woman did so much more than I had ever considered doing and I realized in those moments while it was unfolding before my eyes that I was seeing a mentoring moment: a person being the hands and feet of Jesus by showing love to a societal outcast.

May I never forget this lesson and may I one day willingly do the same for someone else.

Rachel