This next leg of our journey takes place just after Christmas when we had a lovely time as a family and partook of a roasted turkey and fixings to accompany it.
The next mini trip was, again, challenging to my emotions and body. I am still struggling to understand the emotions of this trip. I know it has some to do with my love of this place that stems back to childhood. I think some to do with any ancestral connections of my roots. And some to do with being with our son and his wife. It does the heart of a mom good to see where her children live and their day-to-day lives. All of these, combined with our bodies being subpar, stirred up a jumble of emotions.
All I wanted was to visit my kids and enjoy Scotland, land of faeries and stories and shortbread! I got more than I expected. I’m still processing all my experiences over there. To some of you I may sound bonkers. Please tell me someone out there has experienced the emotions tied to a trip you took!
Anyway, we set off one morning by train to Berwick-upon-Tweedin northern England, just over the Scottish border. The very name, Berwick-upon-Tweed, demands to be thought and spoken in an accent other than American. Another quaint, lovely town with scenery to match.
Here we caught a bus that wound past views of the sea and farms to Northumberland. We got off the bus and began to walk towards the Bamburgh Castle. I am speechless at this point. Just look at the pictures of this castle from the road. I really am speechless. A perfectly in tact castle and live-able. Passed down from generation to generation. I was struck by it’s awesomeness.
Walking up the road to enter the castle was difficult. I was struck by it’s enormous beauty and kept taking pictures. I think I forgot to breathe – LOL – when they say something is breathtaking I can vouch for that first hand. I made it to the top in one piece but had my doubts.
The pictures say the rest. Magnificent and Majestic.
Here we are in a New Year, 2018, and things did not start out as they usually do in my life.
That can be good. But what usually happens is, my husband and I look into our future and talk and pray about what may be or what is in store for us.
This end of 2017 was different. First of all, we were in Edinburgh, Scotland. A dream trip. Three glorious weeks in a land that has been in our hearts for a very long time and three glorious weeks in the home and presence of our middle son and his wife – who just happen to live there for a season.
We did not get back to our home in the USA until the 8th of January. And we even came home with jet lag and a virus, so to bed we went.
By the time we recovered I felt that I needed to enter the New Year again. Can I have a do-over?
Now that I’m almost completely over this annoying sinus-type virus, I am beginning to reflect more on our trip and on this New Year. You see, three and a half years ago we moved to The Burg, a small mid-western town about an hour outside of Kansas City.
Rural. Farms all around us. Quiet. The town has a University smack dab in the middle of it. A USAF Base is just a few miles away. Plenty of activity, yet plenty of quiet. The best of both. And only a quick forty-five to sixty minute drive to “the city”.
We moved here temporarily while our other son and wife attended the University and we cared for our grand daughters while they were in class. A wonderful gift to be a part of their formative years. A bond with those girls that cannot be broken.
We rented this little house temporarily. It is small. It is neglected. It is challenging. It is a home.
Our son and daughter moved back to Kansas City and we decided to stay in this great little town. We have made precious, life-long friends and love the area. But the house. We really need to move to a better dwelling. We have goals and visions for the future and it does not include this little neglected building.
I have a friend who lives on an island. She sends me a text of encouraging words and prayers every day. She told me, just yesterday, when I told her of our need for a different house, “Not good. Always feeling transient.”She is praying for us.
Her statement, “Not good. Always feeling transient”, took me into a reflective place. For three years I have felt transient. Knowing this house was temporary, yet never seeming to be moving on. It is not good. She is right. The definition of transient is this:
lasting only for a short time; impermanent.
“a transient cold spell”
transitory, temporary, short-lived, short-term, ephemeral, impermanent, brief, short, momentary, fleeting, passing, here today and gone tomorrow;
This explains a lot of my wandering in my head about where we will live. But as I wander over the last three years I always come back to this town. I just need to feel grounded, no longer transient,no longer temporary.
I do hope this is the year to find that perfect dwelling. We’re not set on buying or renting or whatever. However it comes to us it just needs to be home. A solid, grounded home.
He will not forget me and He will not leave me out of his plans for me and my desires on this earth.
“I know what I am doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29 The Message
The last fews days have taken me into remembering. Remembering times of community with great people. Times where you feel like your family grew to Walton-size or Osmond-size.
Times when you felt like you belonged to a family that you always wanted yours to be.
Accepted. Loved. Known.
The first memory was triggered by a dear friend, J, who sends me a text every morning before I even open my eyes. Her encouraging words come over the ocean and into The Middle from Puerto Rico. They are missed some days since the hurricane hit them. But the latest word is that they expect electricity within the week!
A couple of days ago she wrote of a lady she met about thirty years ago and how they walked the sandy barrens of the Jersey Shore together talking of anything that popped into their head.
That was ME. Me and J walking and talking. We did it as often as we could. Then other times she would come over and we’d talk some more. Then, she would come over with her husband or we would go to their home and talk some more and EAT. Oh the rice with the pigeon peas and whatever was in the fridge and her rice pudding!!!
We are family. We moved and then she moved to Puerto Rico.
I remembered another time in a small-is town in San Diego County, California. It was higher up than sea level and pushed against Palomar Mountain. A great town.
We attended a church in that town that understood community. We all didn’t think alike or dress alike or look alike. But we loved well. We would have parties where we brought tons of food and played innocent games that brought laughter and joy.
We prayed for each other when life hit hard on our families. We dropped off surprise gifts at door steps and continued to love each other.
We let each other be who we were.
Acceptance. Loved. Known.
I’ve lived several places since then and have felt loved on different levels. But I haven’t had a J to walk with me and talk with me out in nature. A J to know my heart and thoughts and accept me for who I am, flaws and all. A J to tell me I can do it as she looks into my eyes or tells me that the blow that just hit sucks but offers me her hand to get me back up.
True, deep friendship.
I do have close friends. My husband is one. There are a couple of other “Js” in my life. But none live physically near me. I feel them but none can look me in the eye and see me and walk in the woods with me. Most of that is due to work schedules. More women work these days than they did thirty years ago. I get that. And I don’t expect gals to come knocking on my door tomorrow to go for a walk.
The “Js” in my life came about unexpectedly. I didn’t see them coming or ask for them. God set me up. He’s good at that.
Some of my blogging friends are “Js”. I’ve got one in California that I look forward to seeing someday and one in Pakistan that I know we would have a blast walking and talking.
I guess what this post is about is my reflections and a bit of hope for you all. Have you made room for friendships and family that goes deep into your heart and soul? In this age of social media we tend to not look into each other’s eyes. We see words on a page that are hard to interpret.
Take the time for friendships. Deep friendships. Be a friend.
These remembrances make me feel warm and cozy. Priceless.
I wrote this four years ago………different yard to view now, different town, but still feel the same.
Happy December 2017 Everyone!
I’m sitting at my kitchen table enjoying a cup of coffee with my blueberry bagel. I love to sit here and think and read blogs and look outside every few seconds. Today is warmer than last week but we were still coated with a glimmer of frost earlier.
The backyard is very busy this morning, We have a large oak tree about 3 yards off the house so there is an abundance of acorns on the ground. Well, the ones the squirrels didn’t get and the ones the dogs didn’t eat. Out there I see a small flock of robins, a bluejay, two black-capped chickadees and a common flicker (woodpecker) so close I could see the whites of his eyes. Well, the blacks of his eyes. I never was so close to this bird before. The cardinals are visiting also. Very busy. I love it. There is something about God’s beautiful artistic talent that just brings me great joy and happiness. I am very thankful I get to be part of this scenery.
Life is so full of bumps and bruises and breaks that I often welcome a scene full of life and peace and normalcy. A great way to start the new week.
I’ve had a bit of alone time the past couple of weeks. That means more time to hear my thoughts and my heart.
Those times when you reflect on things. The future is one I like to reflect on. Dreams. Goals. The thoughts bounce up and down and back and forth.
I had a strange dream the other night that caused me to reflect about how I see myself. In the dream I was in a room with a large mirror, waiting in line. I saw myself in the reflection of the mirror but my eyes were closed, so I really didn’t see myself. I saw, as the observer view in my dream, a reflection that I thought was me but not quite.
Then, a friend of mine was in line with me and wanted to take a selfie of us both. I saw her fumbling with her phone to turn the camera around. I kept posing with her but she wasn’t’t ready. Then, when she saw herself on the phone screen I moved in for the selfie but didn’t appear. I moved closer. Then – in real life – my phone rang and I was awakened from the dream.
This caused me to reflect over my morning coffee. Have I ever seen myself in my dreams?
I know I have seen me from the observing view. That view of how I look in the role I was in the dream. But I realized I have never, to my recollection, seen myself in my dreams of how I really look. I see others clearly, but not myself.
I confess, I do not think highly of my looks. It has been a life-long battle. Some days I feel I have conquered the negative thoughts and some not an inch.
The dream was convicting. As a woman who hangs out with The Father, Son and Holy Spirit as much as I can, how dare I not think myself a beautiful reflection of the One who made me?
There is beauty all around me. We are included in that beauty. How do you see yourself? Or how do you see the things you do? Are you always critical of yourself?
You are beautiful. From one of my favorite books – You are kind, You are smart, You are important. (The Help)
The Header for this page says this: “Sometimes life cries out for a nice break from the daily routine …… a pie break, so to speak. A time to sit, to listen, to reflect. To taste the sweetness of life.”
Every now and then I read those words and reflect.
You see, part of my personality is such that I just love to have the appearance of moving forward. I cannot stand the same-old, same-old. It’s like sitting still, in a broader sense of the term. I like movement. I like progress.
This is one of the reasons I like to move furniture around in the rooms of my home. I use to do it often but now I’ve learned to slow it down a bit and enjoy the moments.
I said above, “the appearance” of moving forward. Sometimes life looks like we are getting no where fast. Life seems to have paused and is waiting for the finger from the sky to hit that play button so we can move on. Waiting. That is one the the hardest things for me to do. Wait.
But in the waiting so much can happen. In that pause mode the universe is still going forward. Life round us keeps moving, time keeps ticking by. The seasons keep on changing and we are still here waiting.
So as I reflect here, with my proverbial slice of pie and a cup of coffee and a keyboard, I realize how good the waiting is. I can use this waiting time to see how far I have come and to turn and see where I want to go. It is a time to build strength for the journey of life that lies ahead.
I can also use this time to sort out my ever changing “to do list” of life. That list in my head of all I want to accomplish, which can be overwhelming since most of those things are things I think I should do, not what I really want to do. Sifting. Sifting and sorting is good.
But the waiting still sucks. There, I said it. It can really suck when you’re like me, not good at it. So, to those of you like me, I can tell you to take the time to breathe and reflect, to sort and sift, look behind and definitely look forward. There is strength in the waiting. There is hope in the things to come.
“But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.” Isaiah 40:31
When death knocks on doors and we lose someone close or even not so close it is difficult and sad.
When we lose a fellow blogger and their words no longer appear on our reader – we can feel lost.
Melissa expresses this loss so well….