Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My New Year's Mantra


Today makes 2 months since daddy passed on.
Today, I came up with 2015's Mantra:
I CHOOSE HAPPINESS

This will be the last mantra I ever set for a New Year and I am starting it now.
There never needs to be another one.
This one covers it all.
With Happiness in my heart,
fear, sadness, anger, grief and guilt
have no room.
Happiness in my heart only makes room for 
LOVE.

Today was an awakening.
Nothing out of the ordinary,
just an understanding that came over me.
Another dream a few nights ago,
telling me again that they are okay,
and to please LIVE.
Live with Happiness.
Life is for the Living.

I spent some time outside today.
It was rainy, cloudy, dreary by anyone's standards.
But I sat down and the chickens came over to me,
my dog laid down next to me,
the birds darted and chirped around me.
All of the simple beauty of my life became so clear to me.
I couldn't help but smile and laugh.

I took this photo with my Ipod
and when I looked at it,
I saw it.
Pure Happiness.
Yes, life is good.
Life is for the living.
I am ALIVE.

And so, 
though I will never stop missing you both
and wishing you were physically with me.
I will move forward and live my life
the way you loved to see me live it.
Full of laughter, love, little adventures
and crazy ideas.
And I will know you are there,
watching, rolling your eyes, smiling and laughing.

Today and for now on
I CHOOSE HAPPINESS!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Remembering and Reflecting



My Mom hated having her picture taken and she probably hates my whimsical rendition of her even more.  But if she can see this painting, I hope she sees what I was trying to capture were the things that made her my beautiful mom.....her beautiful blue eyes, her gorgeous white hair and the gentle smile and look she could have when she was letting her guard down and just letting herself feel loved.  The pearls around her neck represent the beautiful gift my dad gave her when they married.  Pearls that I have the honor of owning now but find myself to scared to wear for fear of losing them.

Three years ago today I lost my mom.  A quick, swift blow to my world and the rest of my life.  She was snatched from us in a blink of an eye, clearly a decision God made and was certain of, for there was no doubt she would not return to us in any form.  Regardless of how much my heart hurts because of that swift swipe of her life, I am so thankful for her that it happened that way.  It's how she would have wanted it.

The past three years have not been easy and try as I may, moving forward seems to happen at a snails pace.  My dad was my inspiration to move forward everyday because somehow, he, the person who loved her more than anyone, found the strength to get up everyday, accomplish what needed to be done in the day, care for himself, be productive and carry on.  If he could do it, then surely I could do it.  One month and 26 days ago, Daddy left me and went to be with Mom, ironically at just about the exact same time of day as she left us.  Actually, it's really not so ironic at all, they were one.    I guess he just didn't feel like getting up and doing it "all' everyday anymore and I can't say I blame him. You did an awesome job daddy, and I am so proud of you!!!!  I know you were tired.

Some people deal with death really well,  I am not one of those people,  Many people find comfort knowing their loved ones are in a better place.  I may believe that they are in a better place for themselves, but my selfish heart believes that the better place for them is here with me.  But I am tired of being sad.  I am tired of yearning for someone, or now for two someones, to come back to me or answer the phone when I call.  I don't want to be sad anymore.  I want to create art that is happy art, not art that is helping me work through DEATH.  It's enough already and surely people are tired of me still grieving.  But the thing is, just about when I thought I was going to be able to move on with mom's passing, daddy had to go and die.  Damnit!!!!!!  And as if losing your first parent isn't bad enough, losing the second one is worse.  It's final.  I have no more parents.  I am an orphan.

The best I can hope for is to find a way to keep moving forward.  My art is how I best express myself these days.  As pitiful looking as it may be, I keep putting myself in classes with super inspiring artists, real artists.  My work compared to their's is juvenile and messy.  But, it is mine and it is helping me express what I need to express.  My hope is to start focusing my art on something new and different.  Something inspiring and refreshing for me.  I have some tough days ahead with clearing out and closing up my childhood home and letting go of my attachment to it.  But I will keep my daddy's strength and determination in the front of my mind and will move forward and hope to make mom and dad proud.

Mom, I love you and miss you so much, but I know how overjoyed you are that daddy is there with you now.  I promise I will try and find comfort in that.  Halloween will never be the same ever again for me.  But hey, I just thought of something........you lost your mom on Halloween and yet every year you still insisted on going and getting candy to hand out at the house, knowing very well you would probably only have a handful of trick-or-treaters.  You wanted to be sure you had candy for whoever may come to the door.  I guess I should let you be my role  model and learn to celebrate this Holiday again.  I hope for you, there are trick-or-treaters in Heaven and you get more than a handful come to your door.  I love you and if you want to ring my doorbell tonight just to let me know you are happy, I promise to answer and have a frozen Snickers bar ready to hand you.                      

Happy Halloween Mom!!


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Three Weeks Later

It's been three weeks since we said our final good byes.  The days go so slow and finding purpose in my days is a challenge.  I still go to cal you, morning and night, checking the clocks to see if it is time or if I am late.  Sometimes I still call, just to hear your voice on the message saying you can't get to the phone.
Last night I had such a vivid dream, though I know not of it's meaning.  It was Easter, a Holiday of celebrating re-birth.  I was home in my childhood neighborhood.  The church that was once across the street on the hill, that is now a Masonic Lodge, was a church again.  Crowds of people were gathering for Easter services and activities.  Family  members hiding Easter Eggs for a hunt that would happen later.   So many people gathering to celebrate a Holy Day.  I drove around the block, over and over again, past our house, but no one was ever home.  No car in the driveway, no main front door open and you standing at the storm door awaiting our arrival, no sign of life at all.  What struck me though was how bright WHITE everything was.  Everyone was wearing white and there was such a brightness and clarity to everything.  It frightened me, it was all so familiar but yet all so strange.  I just continued driving around the block, waiting for something to change, for some sign of life at my childhood home.  I watched everyone else and marveled at how happy and at peace they all were and wished I could stop, get out of my car and join them.  But I couldn't, I didn't belong.
I finally woke from that dream and remembered it so vividly.  All day I thought of  it and thought I had best write it down in hopes it would then leave my conscious and subconscious being.  It's clarity has haunted me all day and made me uncomfortable.
Three weeks have passed since I said my last good byes to you.  Three weeks of trying to understand that I will never see you on this earth again, that you will never be coming home to your things, will never complain to me again about all the solicitors that call you and all the junk you get in the mail.  Three weeks of not having been able to say good-bye the way I would want to say good-bye when I know it is the last time I will ever be able to say it again.  I wish you had come to me in that dream, i wish you had been standing in the doorway or driven up in your car.  I wish you never left and I wish I never had to say good-bye.

PS......please tell mom I love her and miss her oh so very much.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Using my Art

Everyday the mail brings more forms to fill out and mail back.  More ugly ways to remember my dad is no longer here with us.  When my mom passed, this didn't happen, but now that they are both gone, the paper work doesn't end.  Reading a Will that is written in the first person and hearing my dad's voice as I read words he would never actually speak in the real world is something I just can't bring myself to do.  I made it through less than half way, of the first paragraph and broke down sobbing. Not sure I will ever go back and read that paper......instead I handed it to Robby and asked him to just tell me what it is I need to do.

Through it all, I turn to the things that help me the most, my art and my family.  I am trying really hard to stay on top of my emotions and not let myself slip into a state that requires medication to get me out of.  Been there, done that, really don't want to re-visit that ugly place again.  Today, I made this entry in a journal I am doing for an on-line art class called "Kingdom Come".  I love the words to the song that accompanied the lesson and decided to include them in my journal entry.  This song continues to play over and over again in my head.  I believe it may just help.

 Oceans
Where Feet May Fail


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tiny, Small Steps


One week and two days ago, I lost my daddy.  I spoke to him on the phone early on a Friday morning and 30 minutes later, he was gone.  Just like that, in a blink of an eye, poof.  Just like my mom almost exactly 3 years ago.  And poof, just like that, my life, and that of my three brothers, has been changed forever.  How to move forward is the struggle I am dealing with now.  My daddy and I were always very close, but after the death of my mom, we became even closer.  He understood the pain in my heart from losing my mom, and I in return, understood the complete emptiness that he felt in his entire being, from losing the woman he had spent 58 years of his life beside.  I told him all the time, I did not know how he got up every morning and continued to move through his life and be productive.  But he did, day in and day out.
Some days, all he did was walk over to his workshop, turn on his Bose Radio that he was so proud of, listen to country music and sit in a chair.  No woodworking would be done, just reminiscing of a better time, a better life.  Other days,  he would be very productive, working for tedious hours on his clocks that he had become famous for.  Beautiful, wooden clocks that he made with love for friends, family and no one in particular.  They were a huge source of frustration for him, but also a huge source of diversion.  With his mind fully engaged on the building of the clocks, he had little room for thoughts of a love lost.  Though I am sure, she was always there, waiting in the wings for a moment to slip into a thought or two.  Perhaps there was a gentle nagging from her that he shouldn't be in the shop working with  power tools all alone.  Or perhaps she reminded him that he hadn't stopped to eat lunch and that it was getting late.
I called my daddy everyday, twice a day and on occasion, a few extra times in between.  I go to the phone to call him even now or realize I haven't called him and know he is going to be worried.  Then it hits me like the sting of freezing cold water when you plunge into an ice bath, he isn't there.  There is no one to call.  I call his phone anyway, just to let the answering machine or voicemail answer so I can hear his voice.  His voice that tells me he can't get to the phone right now, but if I leave him a message,  he will get back to me when he can.  It isn't true, but I listen anyway and then I weep.
There is a lot to be done still.  Things that didn't need to be done when my mom died.  There is an estate to handle and close up.  There are items to be divided and given away.  Soon, the only home I ever knew growing up, will be sold to a total stranger and I will never have that home to go back to.  The home my parents loved and cherished will never be the same.  No one could possibly love that home as my parents did or take care of it as well.  It will be sad to someday drive by and see that it is in need of work or that the lawn has grown full of weeds and in need of mowing.
I don't know how I will work through all of the emotions I am going through right now.  I imagine I will turn to this blog to write thoughts that no one really wants to read, but that I need to get out of my head.  I will probably create art, that no one will really want to see but that will help me express some of the ugly, depressing thoughts that are racing through my mind.  I will cry more tears which I didn't think was possible and I will spend time alone because it is better than having to be in a crowd.  I signed up for a year long art class on line today with Juliette Crane, called Serendipity 2.  Her art speaks to me through her whimsical creatures and girls.  Their faces speak to me with their thoughtful eyes and I am drawn to them.  I figure it will be a great way for me to express some of what is inside of me, without having to tire everyone with listening to me.
Tomorrow I will return to my job, not by choice, but by necessity.  My allotted time of "bereavement" is up.  How someone is able to put a number on the amount of days it takes to grieve the loss of a loved one, is beyond me.  Little children who have no idea what death is or the painful ache it leaves in your soul, will embrace me with their tiny arms, call out my name and pounce on my lap.  And in their best attempts to make me forget the reality of my life, they will make me smile and laugh, if only for a moment.  Tiny, small steps are all I can take right now.  And usually there is a long pause between steps.  It's all I can do.  I am in unchartered waters and know not of what is right or wrong.



Sunday, June 15, 2014

Things are Buzzing Around Here

It has been almost 3 weeks now since we got our bees.  I am so in love with them and fascinated with them.  They are such a mystery to me and I can't stop reading any little bit of information I can on them.  I have checked the hives twice now, on my own.  Robby come with me for moral support, but for the most part, I am doing it myself.  Today we checked them and they appear to me to be doing well.  We were able to find the queen in one of the hives and were able to see evidence of her existence in the other hive.  I could clearly make out larvae in the cells, so I know she is there doing her business.  We also were able to witness the hatching of one brand new bee.  We found two dead bees outside of the hives, so I guess it may be the end of the life cycle for the first round.  Bees live for 6 weeks, or so I read, so it is expected that they would start to die off now and a constant flow of new ones be emerging.
I am getting more comfortable with the bees and not so nervous around them.  I think the next time I go out, I will skip the gloves.  As a nurse I hated wearing them and I hate wearing them for beekeeping too.  I like to feel things against my skin, it gives me a better idea of what I am doing.  The bees are very tame and docile the times i have been out with them, and I think as long as I am staying calm and I am checking on days when the weather is good, I should be okay.


Those yellowish cells are filled with pollen.  This frame is just starting to be worked on by the bees.

I literally could just watch them for hours, but they wouldn't like that too much.

This is a brood and , the football shaped area is where the queen has laid eggs and the cells have been capped over, waiting to hatch.  The open cells are filled with nectar or may have an egg or larvae in them.  The yellowish/white at the top left, is honey the bees have made.  From what I can tell, the colonies are healthy and have established themselves well, since they were moved to my hives.  I am a VERY NEW BEEKEEPER, as in 3 weeks new, so if anyone has any advice they want to give, I am all ears.

On another note, the vegetable garden has LOVED all of this rain we have been getting.  My plants, and weeds, are growing unbelievably well and my flowers are starting to bloom which should bring the bees on over to the vegetable garden.  Last weekend was busy and this weekend was half spent in Richmond with my Dad for Father's Day, so we have only had today to work on weeding, staking, tying up and harvesting.  It has bee a great year for my lettuce, kale and other greens.  It is still all going strong and hasn't started to bolt.  The arugula has bolted, but I keep picking the flowers and adding them to dishes, I really love the taste.  For the exception of our tomato plants, we started everything by seed so our plants are a little smaller at this point than in years past.  But I think they look much healthier and are going to do really well.  Just can't wait for our first tomato though to put on fresh bread with fresh basil and some homemade mozzarella cheese!
 The view from my bedroom window looking down onto our garden.

     Raised bed with lettuces, kale, sunflowers and herbs.                                                                                                       
 
Simpson Lettuce going strong.

Swiss chards, carrots, beets and garlic..

Green beans.....planting plenty this year to can and to make into Dilly Beans, last years newest recipe for me.

Cabbage....we planted late but I think we are going to be okay.

 Potatoes, lots and lots of potatoes.

 Banana Peppers


 Borage for the bees, the tomatoes and me.

 San Marzano tomatoes.....one of 5 varieties we have planted this year.

 Zinnias, my favorite cut flower for the house.  Can't wait for them all to start blooming.

 Dill
 Nasturtiums......my all time favorite edible flower.

 Blackberries......it won't be long now.

 First time growing Kohlrabi........hoping it is going to be a success.

 Second planting of green beans just starting, cucumbers, squash and green onions

 Sunflowers reaching for the Heavens towards my mom.

 No day in the garden is complete without a snake sighting, or in this case, a skin sighting.  Ugggghhhhh.

 Newest additions to help with bug population and fertilizing.......4, one week old peeps.  They were born last Saturday here at Poulet Chateau.  That is their loving mommy, Beanie.

My beautiful Oak Leaf Hydrangea, growing strong.

They are calling for more rains this week, so I suppose all the weeds I pulled will be replaced with new ones.  That's okay, my plants are happy and thriving and our corn and soybean crops are happy too.  There is always something that needs to be done around here, but we try and take the time to stop, sit and just enjoy what it is we are trying to achieve.
In two weeks my great-niece will be here for the first time, and I can't wait to show her around the gardens and introduce her to the chickens.  She will be 11 months old when she comes, but still old enough to make an impression on.
I am linking up with Amanda Soule, over at SouleMama to show my gardens progress and see other beautiful gardens.  Please check her out if you love this life as much as I do.
Have a wonderful week and happy gardening.





Friday, May 30, 2014

Ramblings of an Unsettled Mind

I don't know what this post is going to be about.  I just feel the need to post something.  I am bursting.  Bursting with emotions, feelings, joy, desires, goals, wants, needs, ideas, dreams.

24 hours in a day and a good 8 of them being spent in darkness so that we can sleep and re-charge our body and soul is simply not enough.  Not enough for me to spend the amount of time that I have to spend at my job, the amount of time I want to spend on my art, the amount of time I want to spend in my veggie gardens, the amount of time I want to spend in my flower beds, the amount of time I want to spend making delicious homemade foods of all varieties and not enough time to spend being a loving and giving person to those I love the most.

There are so many things that are filling my tank right now and I am overflowing and don't seem to have an emergency tank to fill with the overflow.  I am so high on life right now and it is a feeling I have not had for so long, that I am not quite sure how to manage it.  I feel as if at some point it is all going to come crashing down around me if I don't get a grasp on all that I have going on.  I am famous for getting myself into too much and then not being able to control the situation any more and let it all crumble around me.  I don't want that to happen anymore.  I want to rein in this energy and get it under control so that I can retain some control.  I feel as if I am moving at warped speed and I am going to crash head first into a cement wall if I don't watch my step.

I haven't felt this alive and filled with energy in such a long time.  Life is great but it can become stagnant and everyday is routine and the in and outs of my day can feel as if I am on auto-pilot and have no real control.  I am surrounded by so much beauty and simple pleasures, I really want to just take the time to enjoy it all.  I feel like I have been given a specified amount of time to enjoy this freedom and I am just trying to squeeze every bit of life, freedom and carefree living out of it that I can.  For I know, the shoe will drop at some point and this all will come spiraling down and I will start again from ground zero, yet one more time.

But in the mean time, I am going to keep hoping for more than 24 hours in a day and live life to the fullest, finding the beauty in the simplicity of it all.