It’s been three whole Corona months since my last post. Life took over and all my energy went to making sure I swam and didn’t…sink!
If you’ve lived long enough to see your parents age then you might have had the privilege to see them grow into the last stages of life. Even though you see it coming all your life it is still a surprise when you look up one day and their gait is a bit more unsteady, their thinking is a bit more cloudy, aches and pains arise for no real reason, and naps become a favored friend. I joke with my mom often about getting her O.P.N. each day. Haha! “Mom, you want to do this or is it time for your O.P.N.?” She casually responds, “I’m not taking an O.P.N. today…I’m just going to go watch a video.” I usually just chuckle because five minutes later I peek into her room and there she is sitting on her bed, remote in hand, head slumped to one side, and sound asleep. By the way… O.P.N. = Old People Nap.
Speaking of checking in on her in her room …. my mom is now living with me. It was suppose to be a temporary move but I have a feeling this is “our” new norm. Covid has changed a lot of things. We mutually decided that during Covid and while the world is in such flux it would be better for her to live with me for now….so, the past 3 months has been prepping, packing, moving and selling her house….all while maintaining social distance and wearing masks. *sigh
Y’all….I was so tired. It’s taken me 3 weeks to recuperate…. but I was so happy to be available for my mom.
Things are starting to calm down in my world a bit, if not in The World. Hopefully, I can get back to my drawing board soon. I’ve missed drawing (Facebook: @portraitartbyjan) …I have found so little time to do it.
As mentioned in my last post, I started a garden during the lockdown, mainly to keep from going stir crazy as I sat here. It started out as a small lettuce garden but expanded to a large Summer patio test garden and yesterday I started a Fall test garden. 😎 I call it a test garden this hear because I’m not real sure what I’m doing but I keep doing it. Haha!
I’ve heard people say all my life that gardening was therapeutic and that it’s good for your physical and mental health. I didn’t get that until I started gardening. During my most exhausted days in the past three months I found a few minutes to go hook up my water hose and water all my veggie babies so they were happy… which made me happy. Even as much as I hate bugs, I have learned to not be creeped out by earthworms and will rip a hornworm off my plants and throw it in the shrubs like a Worm Champ. I’m a new woman!
Here are some of the fruits of my labor this summer. It wasn’t a huge harvest but I learned a ton and can’t wait to do it again next Spring.
This was my best garden surprise. About 3 months ago I had a medium sweet potato sitting around that sprouted a lot. I threw it in a grow bag and it just took off with green beautiful vines. The other day I harvested it and got a big new sweet potato by surprise.
All that to say…. here we are in a world pandemic ‘they’ say, which has changed everything. This doesn’t mean that the troubles of life were put on hold, it just means that even in the midst of a pandemic life changes but it goes on. We still deal with the things life throws at us, we still love and help our family and friends, we still learn new things and grow, and I still love God and believe in Jesus!
I’m sitting here thinking about the entire past year. So much happened everywhere it seems. I’ve heard several news broadcasters say things are happening so fast that it’s hard to keep up to date on news stories. I certainly seems like that.
2019 had its ups and downs; a challenging year. I had new territories to conquer. Maybe it wasn’t as hard as it felt, but either way I was reminded of a few things along the way.
Listen carefully when loved ones speak.
You know how the more familiar you are with something, the less you need to focus on it. I mean, the things you do, see, interact with on a regular basis require less attention to maintain. If you can walk, how much attention do you give to where exactly you place your feet and how your toes feel when they touch the ground? You just walk. If you are a typist, how much time do you spend analyzing each letter on the keyboard? You just know where they are, so your fingers just follow the words in your mind and fly across the keys.
I thought about this with my loved ones. It is so easy to become totally emotionally deaf when the people you are closest to attempt to tell you how they feel about something. Why? Because you assume you know them, you already know what they like, who they are, etc. I’ve learned that with the ones closest I must read between their words and emotional expressions. I must listen to not only their words, but also pay attention to the emotions behind the words. Sometimes words alone don’t tell the whole story. I learned this the hard way, early this year. I almost sabotaged a friendship by totally missing some cues. This friend tried to express her feelings in the best way she could…but I was clueless. Good news, we are still friends, but I admit I worked hard to restore it to some degree of normalcy because it was a friendship worth fighting for. I can easily see though how so many friendships end in despondency.
LESSON REMINDED: Not everyone is able to express themselves in a way that is palatable for me. If the relationship is worth keeping, I must step outside my comfort zone, or press a situation to barrel down to the core so the friendship can be salvaged and rebuilt.
Loneliness is part of life, embrace it as much as you can.
Aloneness is a wonderful thing. Everyone should take moments out of life to be alone, sit, reflect, pray, regroup, or whatever. It is vital to understand yourself as much as you can first. That gap between who people perceive you to be and who your really are can trip you up. I’m not talking about that here. I’m talking about loneliness. I would guess, loneliness is a major factor in much of the depression and even despair seen in our culture.
People need people. You know now dogs are pack creatures, well, I think people are like that as well. You may not need to have someone else in your face day in and day out but at some point, you need the physical and emotional touch of others. Sadly, this is becoming more difficult to achieve in our society it seems. In our ‘selfie’ world, reaching out beyond oneself usually entails a backward facing camera on the end of a stick.
I spend a lot of time alone. It doesn’t bother me most of the time but there are times when I need to find my friends, I need the comfort of hugs from people who love me, and I need to know that they are accessible.
This year I thought about loneliness a lot. I was thinking about the people I know and was taken back by the number of them who are single people living alone. It made me sad. Not that these people are sad about their situations, it just made me sad that in our culture, this is becoming more of a norm. We promote an independent nature in our culture, but it looks like it has consequences.
LESSON REMINDED: It only takes a couple seconds to send a text or email to someone to let them know you are thinking of them, and that you don’t want anything from them. You just wanted them to know they were on your mind. It is amazing how much this small act can redirect and brighten a person’s day. I have a very special sister friend, who calls me regularly. Most times its only to say, …”I didn’t want anything, just wanted to hear your voice.”. I hope you have people in your life like that. If not, message me.
You see your parents aging but their Golden Years still sneaks up on you.
If you are a middle-aged person and are blessed to still have parents who are alive, then they are probably in their 70s, 80s or even 90s. As a kid, you enjoy your parents as young people; vibrant, working, living life. Then one day, you look up at you see two people
who step more gingerly, move more slowly, and think less clearly; they’ve become ‘old’. But wait! This can’t be MY parents, they are …. Yes, they have reached that season in life.
I saw it coming to. I was still not prepared. But a string of physical ailments, calendars filled with doctor’s appointment, Medicare literature filling their mailbox, knee pains, technology battles, and hospital stays reality set in and I realized they were elderly. I was literally slowly taking over things and becoming the person in charge. I never had children, so I was not used to being in charge of any one but myself. WAKE UP CALL!
LESSON REMINDED: As overwhelming and tiring as it can be sometimes, I don’t mind it at all. I told my parents I will do all I can for them as they age. They did all they knew to do for me as their child. It’s an honor for me, plus I know it pleases God and they are his children too.
Old age is scary.
I have always had an affinity for senior citizens. I like to listen to their stories about the times in which they grew up, their perspective and wisdom in situation, their knowledge from experience, all of it. There is so much to be learned. Unfortunately, we all know that older folks are not revered as they should be in our society.
I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with some terrific older people. Some were young when I met them and over the years, I’ve watched them age and others I met after they were well into their senior-hood.
In conversations with them I learned of some of their fears. One told me he doesn’t like to go out much anymore because he cannot defend himself anymore. Another told me he worries about being alone after years of living with a spouse. And, another said she fears losing her mind – dementia.
When you are young, you don’t think of these things much at all. You just go about your day doing your thing with no fear of not being about to fight, or run away, or not being able to remember common things. As I listened, yeah, old age seems scary.
I’ve had several opportunities to visit senior homes this year. I like to think that some of these older folks feel much better in a community of people in which they can interact. I don’t know; maybe it’s less scary to be scared with someone else.
LESSON REMINDED: Go visit a senior citizen as often as you can. If the senior citizen is a family or friend go twice as often as you can. Your presence is worth worth more than anything else you could bring.
The moment of death is easy, but the process will certainly kill you.
Somehow, growing up, I escaped having to attend many funerals. I only remember going to one when I was about 10 for a Great-Aunt, then another Great-Aunt when I was in my 20’s. Then over the next few years I would hear of deaths of more distant family and people who were not that close to me in my life but didn’t attend most of the funerals.
But then, starting around early 2016,well into my adulthood, it seemed every few weeks, I’d hear of people who were nearer to my heart getting sick and passing away. I mean, numbers nearing 20! It sort of knocked me for a loop. I have attended more funerals in the past 2 years the I have in all my life. The last being just a couple weeks ago.
I’ve thought about death a lot lately. Not to be morbid, I’ve had friends die in numerous ways these past 3 years. It’s hard to both watch the process of dying and hard to suffer the sudden loss of a quick unexpected death.
It seems the moment between the last breath in this life and the first breath of the next life is the actual death. Short and easy. But I’ve witnessed how getting to that last breath can be long, painful, sad, stressful, scary, and everything else you can imagine.
LESSON REMINDED: I can only think of this poem when I recall the friends and family who have passed away.
Only One Life By C.T. Studd
Two little lines I heard one day, Traveling along life’s busy way; Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done; Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgement seat; Only one life,’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God’s holy will to cleave; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears; Each with its clays I must fulfill, living for self or in His will; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score; When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep; Faithful and true what e’er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn; Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say,”Thy will be done”; And when at last I’ll hear the call, I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”; Only one life,’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
It’s OK to let some friends drift away.
Remember when you were a kid and the most important thing in life was who your friends were … or weren’t. Those gatherings on the playgrounds could make or break your social status in the entire playground (and lunchroom) hierarchy.
I used to tell myself one of the best things about being an adult is that you don’t have to be friends with everyone. I thoroughly enjoy choosing friends. Fortunately, I make friends easily, but unfortunately, I had to learn that many of the people I meet and befriend are not meant to be in my life always; or not even for a long time. I have friends from when I was a teen-ager and I have friends I just met last month. These friendships are all at different stages and have different roles in my life.
Recently, I thought of a friend I had years ago; we had the best times together. I thought of looking her up on Facebook to see if she was still around the area. Then I stopped myself. At the time we hung out we were at the same place in life. Now, some years later, I’m sure our lives are different, and lots has changed. I decided to leave this on to God who is the best orchestrator and path-crosser if it’s meant to be. Letting a friendship go is not always a bad thing, sometimes, it’s a growing thing.
Friendships are worth the investment. You just have to determine which ones are worth your time and effort. I have friendships now that exist only because I keep them going. I’m OK with that because it helps me rank the friendship. Remember, I said, some different friends have different roles. Don’t get your feelings hurt when your ‘friend’ doesn’t invest the same time you put in. Take this as information for use in keeping your own world in perspective. Plus, just face it, you are probably on the fringes of a lot of your friend’s radar, and that’s OK. Life is busy and hard and unless you are a key person, you are probably more likely not a friend, but ‘someone they know’. You’ve got all the Facebook ‘friends’ that you don’t even know! Not to sound cynical but I’ve learned the hard way…friendship is relative.
LESSON REMINDED: Sometimes it’s best to NOT rekindle old, dried-up forgotten friendships. Just remember the purpose they had at the time and enjoyment of the friendship, keep the good memories in your heart, then let it be. I say this because people and times change. When you were friends in the past it was time for that friendship, if it fizzled, then its time was up. If it’s meant to be, they will find you on Facebook. 😉
Find things to look forward to.
I’m one of these people who kind of thrives on change. I get bored easily, so I need things to change in my life on occasion. It doesn’t have to be anything major like moving, or a new job or anything like in the past but now as I get older, I like to just try new things. I’ve discovered some great things about myself in my quest for change. Five years ago, I discovered I have a knack for drawing portraits (www.facebook.com/portraitartbyjan). I always liked art but lacked skill. I guess it needed all my life to percolate. Haha. I still want to learn a new instrument, try ballroom dancing, and taking a cross country road trip.
Change is good. It is needed. You learn the most about yourself when you are put in a position to change, you learn even more about yourself when you are forced to change. Frederick Douglas has a great a quote …
“Inaction is followed by stagnation. Stagnation is followed by pestilence and pestilence is followed by death.”
I’ve decided that I want to purchase a small RV and travel. With a remote job, this is quite possible. I have spent a year studying YouTube videos on van-types, solar panels, types of toilets, camping options, etc. It has been so much fun learning about it all. The other day I thought, … ‘this may never happen, but I am having a blast learning about it.’ More importantly, it gives me something to look forward to in life. We all need something to look forward to in life. That something if often tied to your purpose.
LESSON REMINDED: The opposite of moving forward and changing is not moving backwards, but stagnating. Life is in movement and growth, not always in body, but in mind, heart, and spirit.
May you have a blessed, prosperous, ever growing year of
peace, love, and joy in Jesus!
I’m sitting here wondering if there is a real reason for broccoli cuts.?🤔
I mean, Broccoli florets make sense; they are pretty, flavorful, and healthy, but ‘cuts’ are basically the stems – cut up, right?
The picture looked all luscious and delicious but the bag of frozen cuts I bought did have one or two small florets…whatever, I really did expect what I got, not what was on the bag.
I added a bit more chicken broth and let the cuts get softer than how I usually eat my veggies but I had a plan. Then I got out my Ninja blender. I added the thoroughly cooked cuts, added a bit of half and half (all I had), added more broth, salt, pepper, ginger, turmeric and hit the ON button.
It whirred around until, it was light green, smooth, a bit creamy and ohhhhh so tasty.
VOILA! Turned those worthless cuts into a delicious gourmet soup.
I had some for dinner tonight. It’s a cold, dark, long winter night and this concoction hit the spot. I think I might try this with fresh broccoli stalks next summer.
So, not only can you turn lemons to lemonade but you can also turn blah broccoli cuts into deliciousness.
I live where it is HOT…. very HOT most of the year it seems. 😒. I like colder weather personally so I wait patiently each year for long, hot, throat-crunching humid days to END. Finally! Today was cold, misty, and grey skies all day long… wonderful! 🤗
after being out in it all day I craved a warm cozy meal. Putting aside all concerns about calories for a bit. I found a can of Tomato and Carrot soup that a friend gave me. Interesting. Then I mad something I rarely to never make… a Grilled Cheese sandwich. It goes with Tomato soup, right?
I’ve never been food at making them but somewhere along the way I heard about spreading mayo on the outside of the bread…. making it nice and grilled. Was worth a try since mine always ended up burnt on the outside with unmelted cheese on the inside. 😒
It worked… better than usual anyway. 😊. Had my cozw cold night meal … delicious!
Next time I will discuss this 10 lbs I’ve gained….uuugh!
😳😳 NEVER LOOK AT THE PARTIAL PHASES OF OR TOTAL ECLIPSE WITHOUT PROPER EYE PROTECTION! 😳😳
I went to Fernbank Science Center this week and learned some interesting facts about the coming eclipse. Yes, I could have learned the same information by Googling it but that wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun and interactive as sitting in a planetarium with friends and youngsters having a live Georgia Tech astronomy student narrate the whole thing.
Here are some of the things I learned, in addition to…
😳😳 NEVER LOOK AT THE PARTIAL PHASES OF OR TOTAL ECLIPSE WITHOUT PROPER EYE PROTECTION! 😳😳 ….. did I say this already??🤔
• On August 21 a total solar eclipse event will happen in North America stretching from the west coast in Salem, Oregon ending in South Carolina.
• The last time an eclipse crossed from west to east was 99 years ago! …and get this… the last time a total eclipse was seen only in the United States was in 1776!!!
• The last one in the USA was 38 years ago.
• Ten (10) states will be in the path of totality … meaning folks in the 65 mile wide path of totality will get to see the eclipse in its fullness.
• The whole event only lasts a couple of minutes or so … or less. Millions of people are within an hours drive from having a great view of it.
… for other interesting facts, Google is your friend. 👍🏽 (lots of info is on the Internet)
One last thing…. Seriously, did I say this already?
😳😳 NEVER LOOK AT THE PARTIAL PHASES OF OR TOTAL ECLIPSE WITHOUT PROPER EYE PROTECTION! 😳😳 ….. did I say this already??🤔
… in other words…
If you look at this eclipse without proper eye protection (glasses made specifically for viewing an eclipse), then this eclipse could be the very last thing you will ever see clearly in your natural life… a.k.a blindness.