Thursday, June 30, 2016

2 Years into Retirement and This is What I Do...

When I first retired, a good friend told me to start off slow and take my time in filling up all those hours and days that used to be filled with work.  I took that advice and so now 2 years later, this is what I am doing so far.......

(1) travel-short, mini trips as well as longer vacations.  The upside is we can leave and return whenever we choose to.
(2) create my own needlepoint design projects
(3) house renovation-downsizing, cleaning out the junk, donating a lot we don't need.  After all, there are only 2 of us living here now.
(4) genealogy-have been able to go back 3 and 4 generations on my side of the family.  Have started working on my husband's father's side.
(5) write children's stories-have written 2 children's stories which have been submitted for possible publication.  This took courage on my part and I am pleased I did this much.
(6) write my own blog-I started my blog in January of this year and am really enjoying writing it.  It
is viewed by not only family but by others who have given me positive comments on a number of posts.
(7) read mainly nonfiction-I have always been a reader and my favorite genre is nonfiction. However,
I do read a detective series by Sue Grafton.
(8) journaling- I have 4 journals going (so far):  personal, all about me, prayer, color.  Journaling has always been a very important part of my life.  It has gotten me thru the highs and lows and helped me make decisions and choices in my life.

Of course, this list by no means is the end.  This is just what I have been doing in the last 2 years. I expect that I will add more as my interests change and I decide I want to do more in an area.  I have considered going back to school for a Master's degree, take classes in new crafts or other skills, volunteering, starting a business, etc. 

This is the next chapter of my life and I am happy with the timetable I have developed to live it.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Traveling Vietnam Wall

The Traveling Vietnam Wall has come to our city and for those of us who cannot get to Washington, DC, it is an awesome event.  My husband and I went to see it on Friday morning.  It was about 10am
and there were a few people there but not many because it was a work day.  I was amazed at how quiet it was.  The few people that were there spoke in whispers and even the high school football team practicing on a field not too far away was not loud enough to be distracting.  The length and
shape of the wall was an overwhelming sight.  I was so taken aback by this that the thought of what the real wall looked like in DC in comparison just blew me away.  And then there were the names...all those names. 

My husband held my hand as we walked along the wall just completely mezmerised by the number of names on each panel.  All those young men and women (there are 9 women on the wall) who gave their lives for our country.  It is heart wrenching.  Those of us who lived thru those years remember so many who received that ominous draft notice even on the day they graduated from high school.  My husband joined the Navy during the Vietnam War (and yes, it was a war).  He was assigned to an aircraft carrier, the USS Forrestal.  In 1967, the Forrestal was off the coast of North Vietnam when bombs (originally from WWII) stored in the carrier exploded, tearing thru a good portion of it and killing 134 Navy personnel.  My husband was one of the lucky ones.  He survived that awful day in July, 1967 with no injuries.  When we reached that panel on the Vietnam Wall where the names of his 134 shipmates were printed, my husband did something I have only seen him do 3 times in the 40+ years that I have known him....he cried.  He squeezed my hand as his fingers touched the names.  Without a word, we walked back to the car. 

We have not spoken about that morning and I doubt we will.  Vietnam is not a subject my husband chooses to talk about.  The only experience he has ever shared with me is when he came home on the plane and the officer in charge told all of them to remove their uniforms and change into civies.  People in the US were very unhappy about the war and soldiers and sailors returning home were being treated shamefully.  The officer was trying to make their homecoming easier.

Watching the local news Saturday night, they covered a parade which took place down the main street.  It was led by bands and flags.  Behind that were 100+ Vietnam vets walking to the traveling wall and lining the street were the citizens of our city clapping and cheering these veterans who never received this welcome when they came home over 40 years ago.  Amidst the crowd of Vietnam vets were young veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  One of these young men was interviewed by a news reporter.  He said, "It doesn't matter if the war was popular or not.  These men and women fought for their country and they deserved the kind of homecoming we in the service get today.  This is a long time coming and I am proud to walk with them."

So whether you believe in a war or not, please remember that there are men and women who are doing their jobs in the most dangerous situations.  They are doing it because of their duty and love of country and they should be celebrated for it for all time.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A 43 year journey that's still going strong


On June 22, 1973 a 21 year old young lady married a 27 year old young man, both of whom had no idea what they were getting into.  43 years later they are still  together and going strong.                  
Happy Anniversary to me and my guy.  The journey is not winding down, it is still going strong!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Inspiration for the week of 6-20-2016

                                "Every great dream begins with a dreamer." - Harriet Tubman

Is there a dream you have always had?  Perhaps its to write a book, start a business, learn a new skill or language, go to school, travel someplace exotic, etc.  Is there something you can do this week to either fulfill your dream or at least get started on the road to fulfilling it?  This is my Monday inspiration to you and to me, as well.  Take one dream and give it your best shot...what do you have to lose?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

My Thankful Thursday List

The love and support of my God, no matter what kind of person I have been on any given day.  Knowing He still loves me eternally.

The beauty of the Earth in all its forms.  God was on top of His game when He created it.

The continued good health in body, mind and spirit of my family

Memories of a 60+ year life to remember and share.

Watching my children become the adults I knew they would be with good, kind, loving hearts and the courage to chase their dreams.

Parents who taught me about romantic love between soul mates, the strength of a united family who can get through any adversity and the belief that it is what is inside a person that is most important.

The appreciation of the small things in life-- hearing the coo of a morning dove, watching the mares graze in the field, the smell of freshly mowed grass, the taste of hot orange tea in my nanny's teacup on a rainy morning, the touch of my husband's hand when we go for a walk.

Food on the table, a roof over our heads, a comfortable secure retired life.

Time to pursue past times, travel with my husband and just enjoy day to day living.

Books that you hold in your hand, turn the pages and appreciate the beauty of how they look; music of all genres that lifts you up or calms you down and art in all mediums that makes you wish you had just a small percentage of the talent the artists have.

Being a cat mom and a dog grandma.

The ability to appreciate the positives in my life especially on days when there seems to be more negatives.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Trusting God

For awhile now I have been going thru what I call my "Navy Blue Funk" period.  This is a time when there is absolutely nothing that is bringing me any kind of joy whatsoever.  Getting out of bed every morning is a gigantic decision.  Hobbies, that I usually love, have no attraction for me.  It is so bad that even my husband, who normally doesn't pay attention to these phases, noticed and asked what was the problem.  I couldn't answer him because I don't know what the problem is.  I have no interest in anything.  I feel like I am just going thru the motions of my day to day life.  I feel empty without any direction.  I have been praying to God even more intensely than usual for some kind of guidance, some kind of sign of what I am supposed to be doing, what direction I am supposed to be traveling in.    I was becoming very discouraged because I was not either hearing or understanding what (I hoped) He was trying to tell me.

This morning was the first morning in almost 2 weeks that it was not cold and rainy, so I took my cup of coffee and my journal and sat on the front deck to enjoy it.  As usual, my first actions were to pray to God.  I thanked Him for the sunny, non rainy morning and suggested a few more of these would be in order.  Then, as usual, I asked Him to help me out of this "navy blue funk" I have been in.  I heard a sound coming from the farm across the road and looked up to see the 2 mares, Princess and Tasha, running across the field. They were not running to anything or anyone special, it seemed that they were overcome by this burst of energy and decided to run it out.  I watched them for awhile and then walked across the road to the fence to get a closer look.  Much to my surprise, they walked over to the fence and stuck their heads thru as if to be petted.  Nervous at first, I have never petted a horse before (I know that is an odd thing to admit), I placed my hand on each of their heads and gave them a small caress.  For the first time in many weeks, I did not feel the emotions of the mood I had been in.  I was happy and content in that one moment when 2 of God's creatures became part of it.  I felt that God was telling me that I was pushing too hard to find a direction, that I should just take each moment as it comes and experience it.  This was the path He wanted me to take, the one where I see the moments He created around me no matter how small and appreciate what He has given me.  Everything else will come when He feels I am ready for it and I need to trust Him to know when that is.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

I Am Not Losing My Faith, I Am Losing My Church!


I have been a member of my church for the last 40+ years.  Thru many changes (new buildings, new priests, new way of celebrating Mass, etc.),  I have always felt that it was the place for me to be close to God.  It has always been the place to go when I need comfort or answers to questions or just to vent my displeasure at something or someone.  However, something has changed my feelings about my church.  At first, I thought it was because we had a new pastor assigned to us.  I really liked our old priest and was not happy about the change but I was willing to give the new one the benefit of the doubt.  Yet I still did not feel comfortable.  I thought maybe I should change when I go to Mass perhaps always going on Saturdays was getting into too much of a rut, so we started going on Sunday mornings.  Still there was that feeling of "what am I doing here?"  One weekday afternoon, I went to Church to pray during Eucharistic Adoration and I found my prayers focused on trying to understand what was happening to me and the environment of my church.  It wasn't until I left church and got in my car that it came to me.  I did not feel welcome there.  I was happy to be in my car and leaving the building.  The feeling was like when you are invited to someone's house and the whole time you are there, you want to leave because you feel as if you don't belong there in the first place.  I did not feel welcome in my church.  I have to admit that I sat there and cried in my car for almost 30 minutes, mourning the loss of a place that had been a part of my life for 40+ years.  My two sons were baptized there, received their sacraments there and had become a place of comfort for my husband and I.  Don't get me wrong, I have NOT lost my faith in God.  If anything, my faith is stronger because of this dilemma.  My husband and I went to other churches in the area but none of them gave me that "welcome home" feeling.  So now on Sundays, I find a quiet place (a room in the house or the backyard deck or a sunny spot in the woods) for a couple of hours and read my Bible, pray and converse with God.  I know that one day, I will feel welcome again in church but for now, I am content to be welcomed anywhere I am with my God.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Paid in Full

Well, it is a happy day!  After 40 years of house payments, we have officially paid off our mortgage.  Our house is paid for, free and clear.  This is a goal my husband and I have had since his retirement 12 years ago.  That goal being that when I retired (which was 2 years ago) our mortgage would be paid off.  It took 2 extra years but we reached that goal. 

In this day and age when seniors are worried how far their money will go in retirement and what kind of "paring down" they might have to do to survive, this is quite a load off our minds.  My husband and I have spent quite a bit of time working on what we have to have and what we can let go.  We went from 2 cars to one.  We now grocery shop once a month and have been stocking up the freezer and pantry.  We have locked away the credit cards to be used only in case of emergency.  We use cash whenever we want something and if we don't have the cash, we don't get it.  It may sound like we don't have any fun now that we are both retired, but that is not the case.  If anything, we are
enjoying our lives much more than when we worried about the credit card balances, mortgage payments, etc.  Yes, it would be great to be able to afford to go away every winter to AZ and/or NV to avoid all the snow, but at least we can afford to run away for a little while to escape the winter nutsies and enjoy the fact, we won't have to give up eating or a warm house to live in to afford it.