It’s been a rough couple of days…weeks, a year really, and I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to a wet, overcast Monday today. Seeing my mom on two separate occasions last week just really broke my heart. 💔 It is so hard for me to see the suffering she is going through and feeling my hands are tied. The 26th will be a year since the doctor caused her stroke. And if I were to be honest, it’s hard for me to enjoy much of anything in my own life because of it. She is always, always on my mind and in my prayers! I tried hard today to let God in, to take my heavy load, it’s a continual load, but He reminds me He is STILL here and to look for beauty where I can. It is an attitude adjustment I surely struggle with but today, right now, I choose to focus on the beauty He has given me out my rear window.
Only home a second day from Panama City Beach, and I’m already thinking about how to move to the south, sooner!
I have a countdown going on in my head.
See, Hubby can retire in three years, and my grandkids are sure to arrive in the next few years. There might be a slight problem in that my son just got married and lives here, in Indiana, but my daughter is in Georgia and was married in 2015.
I guess it’s a race to see who has their kids first. 😉
If you’re at all interested in my fam…here’s my daughter’s wedding video. And a post about the wedding day: HERE
And, we just got my son’s video!: HERE
Regardless, I just can’t handle winters, anywhere, anymore! Even if my kids didn’t live in the south, I would eventually have to move there, for sure.
I LOVED Hawaii. It was like the Garden of Eden.
I’m still trying to talk my husband into retiring there, as well. 😉
Okay, so a loaf of bread costs $5.oo.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the change of seasons and the area where we live is known for its vivid, fall colors.
As for winter, I actually love the snow and don’t mind the cold here.
It IS pretty and it does make it feel more like the holiday season has arrived.
Some of my favorite times are going out to take pictures at night when the snow has fallen. It’s SO peaceful.
⌈The neighbor’s house.⌋
Heck, I’ve even been known to run errands without a coat during 37º days…menopause or no menopause.
And when this little, Cali girl visited grandparents one midwestern winter, she was totally obsessed with seeing snow, playing in the snow, laying in the snow…not coming in from the snow, period.
I even have fond memories, while living in southern California, of my dad driving us up to the mountains of Big Bear. We’d drive around for hours listening to Christmas carols hoping to see even one flake of falling snow.
We were thrilled to find on one particular visit there was enough snow for snowball fights and sledding. Sledding down steep mountainsides ladened with huge, snow drifts jumping a foot or two in the air and then careening down onto curvy mountain roadways. (My brother actually hit a parked, car’s wheel that trip. That wheel kept him from going under the car and over the mountain cliff. TRUE STORY.)
So the past winters have been fun, but not anymore… they are really taking a toll on me now!
PRAYING/FIGHTING for HOPE
Sadly, my body has developed worsening health “issues” where the winter just really does a number on my eyes and skin, (diseases) and it’s getting worse each year. Truly, these last eight years have been a literal HELL for me, with the last three almost unbearable. The pain has been torturous. Pure. Torture.
Yep, my hope has waned, many times.
I have continually prayed for God to restore my hope especially when the pain didn’t let up for months on end. And prayed he would protect my sanity. (Those with chronic illness/disease or chronic pain will get this.)
And I have to continually fight my mind about looking too far into the future because my 40s & 50s have been the toughest years of my life. I have to tell myself to refocus and just live out today. Many times it’s been a refocusing minute by minute, quite literally.
I have to determine to lean into God hard, TODAY, and praise Him for what I can find that’s good, TODAY.
It’s not easy, I assure you.
HEALING in the SUN
So, hubby suggested a break from winter.
My eyes and skin started feeling better within a couple of days and thankfully, I didn’t have any major reactions like my last trip- uh, YAY!
Just not having that forced heat hit me all day, brought much relief and healing. And leaving the bleak, cold, overcast days just felt GOOD for the soul.
It wasn’t an easy drive for me, with this continual back pain, (It’s been a year now.) but I was sick of so many gloomy days I finally said, “I’ll chance the drive; let’s get outta here!”
I was glad in the end that we made that L O N G, 11.5 hr., drive. (I would’ve rather flown but it allowed me to use all my heating pads, medical devices, etc.. Boy, I sound OLD! (I’m a walking medical lab, now. ha.)
And luckily, my daughter and her husband were able to drive over from GA, joining us for two days. So, it was great to see them, too.
Playing with the sand, feeling the warmth of the sun soaking in, and just having face-to-face conversations with my daughter, just the two of us, as we waded in the water was just what the doctor ordered.
I also realized this was the FIRST time, in YEARS, I could go on a vacation and not fear the sun due to getting off my immune suppressing drug. YAY!!!!! (*Sun exposure is not allowed due to skin cancer risks.)
That alone makes a vaca a VACA! 🙂
Digression: I bought this bracelet one night at a restaurant and earlier that morning found this cute, little shell… had to dig down into the water to grab it before I got knocked over by a wave. My daughter was right by my side when I spotted it. 🙂
Didn’t find any more shells quite this perfect. 😉
Now we’re back.
And the heat is blowing.
And my sweats and socks are back on. 😦
(going from shorts to sweats=just not cool)
I’m physically suffering again. UGGH.
Yeah, I might have (or might not have) told my husband I may be moving ahead of him.
I leave you with the sights and sounds of the beach. ENJOY!
Today I’ve been married 29 years.
October 23, 1987. The year of oversized shirts, big earrings, and mullets.
We met at church when I was home for the holidays; I was a junior in college, and
he was a sophomore.
He was attending school, here in Indiana, and I was in Missouri.
He studied business, and I was in education.
Can you believe an old boyfriend introduced us?
Fast forward…soon after we were engaged, I left to teach in China for a year.
I was 23 and he was 22.
Yep, an entire year.
(me and a few students)
Some people thought I was nuts to do so, but it all worked out in the end. 🙂 Obviously.
We both knew I had to go. Felt it was my calling, and I knew we’d both regret it if I didn’t.
I think it made us stronger, actually.
Long before we were serious, I had planned to teach there; so, off I went.
Communication was tough.
Oh, I did try to make a call this ONE TIME.
I had to “make an appointment” to get help with getting a call out to the US, and it had to be done through the government officials’ office. Three men sat around STARING at me as I uncomfortably began to speak. I constantly was trying to hear my fiance over the multiple Chinese voices I heard coming across the line.
I grew increasingly frustrated.
They were all trying to talk over me as I struggled to hear my fiance’s voice; it was a true Chinese, party line!
I don’t know what happened but in the midst of that chaotic, but short call, abruptly the phone went silent. Ended!
Later on, I found out my hubby/fiance thought I hung up on him. Whaaaa?!
Yeah, right. I finally save up money to call you, clear around the world, and in the middle of our conversation decide I need to hang up?
Anyhow, I found out that he really couldn’t hear me, thought I was in the middle of a big party, with a bunch of Chinese friends 🙂 , AND… I hung up the phone.
Clearly, that process was never attempted again!!
(I wanted to stay engaged. HA)
Plus, it was so expensive.
So, the only way we could communicate was by cassette tape.
Late nights consisted of me lying on my cot, head on a bag of beans (pillow) surrounded by a mosquito net, talking very low, into my handheld tape recorder. (I didn’t want to disrupt my roommates, nor have them hear my conversations.)
Now that we were engaged, I had more serious questions.
I mean, we WERE still getting to know one another…
“How many kids do you want? What are your thoughts on where we should live? What did you do today?” Then, I’d rehash the day usually adding all the funny cultural differences and stories in full detail.
(I like lots of details.)
Then I’d WAIT.
Wait for weeks.
And another tape would arrive with all my answers. 🙂
It was fun, and a daily diary of sorts. It helped the time pass.
It was a lifeline, and it helped me get through the year.
One Christmas tape, had me and my roommate singing all the familiar carols while adding our own hysterical lyrics that reflected living abroad.
Our families really got a kick out of that one.
We worked really hard on those lyrics.
So, we still have all those tapes.
LOTS of them.
We haven’t relistened to all of them, in full, but a few years back I started to play one for my teenaged kids, and hubby walked in very confused asking whose voice that was.
He couldn’t quite wrap his head around it.
It was a time warp, really.
Finally realizing that low, “mushy” sounding voice was his own, he quickly
asked demanded we turn it off. 😉
I think he felt somewhat embarrassed as our kids listened intently, hardly believing what they heard.
I don’t think the kids thought that was truly him! 🙂
I remember times while living in China, I’d go outside and look at the moon (thinking about life) wondering what he, or my family members, were doing clear across the other side of the planet.
And thinking…we look at that same moon just at different times.
So, here we are 29 years later.
Still together. We’ve seen a lot of life.
We’ve weathered some really tough storms, too.
WE honestly grew closer, not further apart.
Through some of the toughest times that LIFE’s curve balls could throw.
Many of them my health battles.
BEST of FRIENDS, STRONGER!
That year apart just may have taught us a whole host of things that would later keep us grounded, and working together.
I think I’m just now realizing this as I type.
Perhaps, that year apart solidified a firm foundation for the rest of our lives and getting us through many more years together!
God has surely been with us the whole way.
NOTE: I dedicate these reflections to you, honey. I thank God for the gift he’s given me in ♥YOU!♥