Saturday, October 21, 2017

Somehow connected

Last week I was kicking up surf on a sunny Florida beach. Last evening I was on a hilltop labyrinth beneath a beautiful sky at a retreat center in east central Oklahoma. Tonight that campground is in the path of storms that could include tornadoes or hail. My prayers continue for people who might be in the path of these latest Oklahoma storms, including people still at the retreat center.

View from the beach, Oct. 9:

View from the labyrinth, Oct. 20:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Moments that matter

Once again, I find myself wondering if I will ever catch up on documenting things I wanted to get in print from the past year. I started writing about the trip I took with my sister to visit The Pioneer Woman's Mercantile in Pawhuska in early June, but I didn't finish it or post it.

I could write several fine essays about the trip to upstate New York. But have I? No. And now I could add a trip to a Florida beach and interesting adventures with trolleys and rain forests and trash in the sand. Will I? It's looking more and more doubtful.

The moments and experiences keep coming, and the words I would like to write to supplement my shaky memory don't make it to the page.

Where would I even begin?

Just for today, I will write about the beauty of a sunrise.

I've seen some nice sunsets on my travels this summer, although, truth be told, the beauty was more about the reflection on the water of the St. Lawrence River or Gulf of Mexico than the colors in the New York/Canada or Florida sky. I have a hard time getting up in time to savor the sunrise, and the balcony view from our beach hotel was to the west rather than the east.

But this morning, I happened to have the alarm set for 7 a.m. and actually got up. Then I got dressed to go to the gym with my husband. The gym is less than two miles from our house, but about three-quarters of a mile of the drive is heading east. And I was treated to a glorious burst of colors in that eastern sky.

As I try to think of how to describe it, I regret not taking a picture. But a picture would not have done justice. A picture would have had all the distractions -- the power poles, the traffic lights, cars, buildings.

In my memory, I see only rose and amber and peach and golden rays backed by a lustrous blue sky, with foreground accents of nature's green grass, maybe some flowers and the wood and leaves of trees. I see God's handiwork, and I feel grateful for the gift of a sunrise, the decision to get up and dressed, and the eyes to see the beauty.

In less than a minute, we turned the corner. Someone had tossed a fast-food bag with remnants of breakfast and packaging in the parking space next to ours. I picked it up and carried it to a trash can. Then I had my best workout in maybe forever.

Little things matter. It all adds up. Hope springs eternal. Just for today.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Identity undefined

A year ago today was my last day of employment. I've been blessed all my life, including before and after I was laid off after 34 years working as a journalist at Oklahoma City's daily newspaper.

What surprises me most in the past year is how little progress I've made in redefining my identity. I'm still a daughter, sister, cousin, Christian, wife, aunt, friend and encourager. I don't really consider myself a journalist right now. I had hoped to still be a writer, but the verdict is out on that. 

I had hoped to be a more consistent volunteer. Instead, I'm as sporadic as ever in my charitable service work.  

I had hoped to have some big house-cleaning projects taken care of and new ones started. All I can claim is progress. 

I feel more relaxed. I am healthier in many ways, although some aspects of aging continue to tease me.

I am more aware than ever of how much I love my husband and he loves me. 

I'm grateful for the past year and for the 57 years of my life that preceded it.

I found myself wondering today, on the plane flying back to Oklahoma from a trip with my husband to Clearwater Beach, Florida, whether I've lost some of my mental sharpness in the past year. I tend to think I have. But then I think back to how exhausted, stressed and burned-out I was. That wasn't healthy, and nothing I tried was fixing the situation. I'm still searching for balance.

Thursday's Upper Room Daily Devotional offered a timely reminder about my identity. It was written by Teresa Coda, who said she had been a teacher but described herself as being "between careers." Matthew 16:18 ("Jesus said, 'I tell you, you are Peter, and 
on this rock I will build my church.'") reminds her that Simon Peter's identity didn't come from his work or his actions but from his faith. She continued: "So it is with me. My primary identity comes from my faith, from being a child of God."

And so it is with me. It still doesn't seem like enough. And I know it is: God's love for me is the foundation. It is sure. It is real. It empowers me to do and be what He would have me do and be. I don't have to see where I'm headed. I just have to love and trust the One Who is leading me. And I do.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Keeping secrets

I feel like I've been keeping secrets!!

I'd usually post on Facebook about my very bloody tongue bite and my very swollen elbow, both of which occurred in recent weeks. And then my cold, which threatened to derail a busy weekend that included my 40th anniversary high school reunion and a relative's 65th birthday party. 
It surprised me I didn't share as they happened. 

But, of course, I can't resist eventually sharing. I thought I might tonight. 

But apparently not! 

Ha! Maybe tomorrow. Or next week. 

I know I want to get back to writing to give me hope for preserving the details about images and memories I've stored up the past few months! I have to figure out how to fit into the priorities of a day or week.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Still no words

Here it is another self-imposed blog deadline, and I've got nothing but excuses and rationale. I was going through photos on my iPhone to clear up some space before my 40th high school reunion on Saturday, and I saw so many images from experiences that I had hoped to write about and share. But it just hasn't happened. Writing is such a slow process for me, and I have needed to focus on other things. It frustrates me that I can't make quick work of writing and then have time for everything else.

Last week I had no words and was pretty much OK with that. This week I'm not as accepting of the situation, but I'm still not going to get anything done about it tonight. It is what it is -- as much as I hate to ever hear that, much less write it. So I might as well accept it, for tonight. Let go! Let God! And be grateful that I can let go and let God. He is faithful and loves me even when I feel as if I'm failing, falling so short of my best. That gives me hope that springs eternal, morning by morning.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

No words

I can't think of anything to write about to meet my self-imposed blog deadline tonight. Just for today, I'm OK with that. And grateful.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

I'm back in Norman after spending a couple of days with Mom in Texas. All of the various treatments she has been getting for her back pain have finally turned things around. (For the record: She still has some pain, but it is no longer debilitating, praise God!) I could barely keep up yesterday as I went along when she went to Muenster for PT and on to Gainesville for errands! 

I'm grateful to God and all who prayed, helped and offered encouragement. And I'm grateful to Mom for not giving up or giving in to the pain. And I'm grateful to Becky   and her family for all they do to keep things going all the time but especially during times like this. 

Mom is still the glue for our family, but I can't even imagine how much harder it would be for all of us if Becky and her family weren't close by and so gracious to do so much. 

I'm filled with love and gratitude for my family