"…By what stretch of arrogance do you think a life form that looks like you is more important than a life form that doesn’t?”Joel Salatin

Nothing is more beneficial to your wellbeing than to look for and acknowledge those parts of everyday life that you enjoy.

"If you are happy where you are now, why does it matter how painful it was to get there?" -- Abraham

"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." -- Bilbo Baggins a.k.a. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet, and the winds long to play in your hair." -- Kahill Gibran

“And forget not

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Moving On

Recently someone close to me, said "I'm not like her.  I can't just go on with my life."

When I heard that she had said that, I wondered, "Why can't you?  Why do you continue to live in an unhappy situation just because you no longer have your husband?"

When we were told that Ronnie's days here were numbered, I was scared.  I had been married to him for 44 years.  We did most things together.  He took care of all the heavy stuff.  He built things, he fixed things. We made decisions together.  We fought and we played together, and we loved each other through hell and high water, and I assure you, we had both.

He planned for our retirement and although nothing regarding our retirement turned out the way he planned, I'm ok.

I'm fortunate that my daughter, Deidre, lives with me, but I know and she knows that should she decide to move out, I'll be ok. I can handle it.  One way or another, everything works out.

I still think about what used to be, and if I stay there too long, I can feel the fear associated with  negative "what if's" nudging at my peace of mind, so I turn my thoughts toward things I enjoy, people I enjoy, and the sadness goes away.  Jesus said, "Turn the other cheek" and this is what he was talking about.  When what you are looking at or remembering, or considering doing, makes you feel bad in any way, turn away from it.  When you turn away from the problem, you turn in the direction of the solution. Find something else to think about. Jesus knew the power of thought.

Recently, somebody posted the picture at the right. "Don't look back.  You aren't going that way."

I'm not going that way either.  Every thing I want is either ahead or going on right now.

I can't have Ronnie back. I can't have the security of knowing if I want something built, he's here to do it.  If I need to unload a 50 pound bag of bird seed, he'll do it for me.  He's not here to cook my lunch when I'm at work, or snuggle up next to me in bed at night.

If I could change one thing about the past, it would be that he lived the last five months of his life paralyzed and helpless. For a strong man, a capable man, that was devastating.  I wish that hadn't happened to him.

But everything that happens in our lives gives us the opportunity to learn something.  I learned many things while Ronnie was sick, but for me, the "big lesson" in what happened to him is that I want to take care of my own life.  I want to make my own decisions.  I am free to do it my way for the first time in my life.  I won't look back.  The best days of my new life are ahead.

My advice to anyone who finds it difficult to let go of what use to be -- it's not hard, but you have to be determined to be okay with the changes and move on.  Refusing to turn around and head forward is a waste of time.  But -- you can look back as long as you want to.  It's your choice.

Late in the night after we were told that Ronnie had an incurable form of cancer, we were lying in the hospital bed together.  A thunderstorm was raging outside and I had raised the blinds all the way so we could watch. "Don't waste a lot of time being sad about this," he said.  "You've still got a life to live, so get on with it."

I am.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

DIY -- Do it Yourself!

I was married to a fix-it man for forty five years.  He never wanted me to struggle so even with my own projects, if he saw I was having a hard time with it, he would jump in and take over.

So -- eventually, I fully embraced “I can’t.”

Then he died. And my daughter moved out of town for a while and I learned how to do lots of stuff myself.

After a wind storm, I got up one morning to find literally hundreds of twigs laying everywhere in the back yard.  I was planning to something else later in the day but I knew from experience by the time I finished picking up all those twigs, I’d be too tired to go to whatever it was I had planned to do later.  Then a lightbulb came on in my head.  I got my grabber and within 45 minutes, I had it all picked up and deposited in a area to use as kindling for the chiminea.

In the front yard, Ronnie had made flowerbeds in the middle of the yard.  He lined them with big natural rocks that we had gotten below the original spillway at Lake Wichita after they lowered the level of the lake.  These made mowing a nightmare so I decided to do away with the flower beds, but most of the rocks were too heavy for me to lift so I devised another way to move them.  I have a long handled four prong digger.  I used this to roll the rocks into place. It worked great and while it was not easy, it was far easier than picking up the biggest rocks.

Cara Brookins' amazing DIY house
Two years ago at a writers’ conference in Oklahoma City, I met an amazing and interesting young woman named Cara Brookins.  I was fascinated by her because – she and her two teenagers built their two story house from the ground up – by themselves.  They poured the concrete, installed the plumbing and electrical wiring. They did it all with Do it Yourself videos on Youtube. She said most of what they used were instructional videos produced for Lowes and Home Depot.

I thought about Cara and the DIY videos one day after I did something I knew not to do.  I emptied the gasoline can into the lawnmower.  Moisture collects in the can and when you empty it, the water also goes in the mower.  Well, midway through mowing the back yard,  the mower sputtered and stopped and I couldn’t get it started again.  So I went to youtube and searched for a video to show me how to get the gasoline out of the lawnmower.

The video I watched was way more complicated than I was willing to try, so I asked my sort of son in law to come fix it.  He ambles over, puts a flat pan on the ground, takes off the gas cap, turns the lawnmower upside down, and all the gas ran out into the pan.  He put the lawnmower upright, filled it with fresh gas and it started on the second pull. “That’s not how they did it on youtube,” I said. 

He kind of grinned. “I didn’t go to youtube.”

my 120 gallon water catchment system
My daughter consulted diy videos when her iPhone quit because it got wet.  She wasn’t due an update for another year and a new phone would cost two hundred dollars so she – being a  fixit person like her dad, researched what was wrong with the phone on the internet, bought the parts and with the help of a diy video, she opened the phone and eventually got it fixed. She’s still using it.

When I decided I wanted to have a rain water storage system, I went to Youtube and searched “diy water storage” and up pops numerous videos from simple to complicated.  So I showed several of them to my daughter.  She sent me and her three year old son, Seth out to my sister’s house one afternoon and when we came back, I had this water catchment system.

I tend to tackle simplier things myself.  I have a friend who has a beautiful, back yard.  One of the interesting little tidbits she has added is hanging solar lights.  These were individual lanterns hanging by a single string from the branches of her big fruitless mulberry tree.
Home made solar lights

I wanted some.  She said they come six to a box for $59.99 at Home Depot.

We spent most of one day looking for those lights online and in the physical stores.  Then I realized that the fancy little lanterns she had are not really appropriate for my yard.  I need something with more of a country feel, so I went to youtube and searched for “DIY hanging solar lights.”

And up pops solar lights made with Mason jars.  I bought 12 Kerr jars, Walmart didn’t have Masons and 10 cheap solar lights at Walmart, plus a clear 30 lbs test fishing line.  I spent $25 and made 10 solar lights.  My sort of son in law brought over his extension ladder and hung them in the trees.                                                                                                 

I’ll never build a house with videos from youtube but I will certainly continue to learn how to do lots of other things and so can you.