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The Next Stage

I think about being young, and how change happened with my never completely understanding its full implication. In youth there is a tentativeness about everything, Even the hard things are undergirded by a belief that life will go on forever and all can be fixed.  Being sick, loosing health, wealth or life is something that happens to other people and they are old and have long since quit thinking, feeling or mattering.  Invincible youth, how deceived you are.

I am older now, Wiser and smarter and more sensitive to those things happening around me. Many of those things that were never going to happen to me have happened, are happening, and matter more. It is with that preface that I write this final blog with the realization that a precious stage is ending.

I am older now, so I understand that I am living the experience of loss and change that I once thought not possible.

I am wiser now and as I turn the page I realize that we will never be back. I recognize the sadness, hate the regrets of not participating more fully, mourn the loss of comradely with my dear fellow bloggers.

There is however, a spark of youth left in my thinking, a bit of a butterfly in the stomach anxiety, and some healthy anticipation as we venture in to the new individual blogs.  I blog at http://www.eaticecreamforsupper.com.  I hope you will just check it out and let me know what you think.

Blessings, always,  Kathy

Sleep,such a precious thing

I have loved Julane’s story of firehouse days. I think there must be many women out there who relate and take comfort in knowing they are not alone. Following suite, I believe I shall write, for a while at least, about my experiences as a wife left alone. I spent ten years as the wife of what we used to jokingly call a Transportation Relocation Engineer. I was the wife of a truck driver.
My hubby was a photographer. Trained in the Air Force he transferred his skills to “life on the outside” and we began our life with a studio in our living room and then eventually to its own location. Most of our life it was right outside our back door so that he was literally home all day.
I became the assistant and office help, We worked together. Then ate together. Played together and then slept together. When the truck driving career started it was a huge change. Like Julane, at first I didn’t sleep either.
Solitaire on the computer reminds me of those early days. I would go to bed at night and in the quiet hear all the strange noises that I had for years ignored. Traffic on the street outside, wind in the trees,
“What was that? ?
” Is someone here? ”
“Are we ok?”
” Should I get up? ”
“Or hide?”
” or call for help?”
Sleep would elude me and so eventually I would get up, traipse down the hall to the family room and play solitaire on the computer until my mind and eyes relaxed so I could finally sleep.
Sleepless nights continued for a while and finally improved. Still, there are times when being alone in my bed is not fun. When an unusual sound wakens and startles. I still get up occasionally and lull my mind back to sleep with a mindless computer game, however I have learned over the years to allow my Heavenly Father to hold me tight at those times. Snuggled safely in his arms, I let the words of memorized scripture fill my brain and heart until sleep comes again.
Blessings,
Kathy

Meandering

I spent the first part of my life, judging time by according to the “what happens next” plan.   You know how it goes. ‘ I have to get up at 6 AM because breakfast happens next and it has to be ready 6:30 because the school bus comes at 7:00. Then what happens next is work and its at 8:00 and its forty-five minutes away… and after work what happens next is . . .”

No more. At least not all the time.

A couple of weeks ago my grand girls went with me to see my mom who lives two and a half hours from me.  The trip out seemed long and boring because of a side trip I needed to make for work so on the way home I made a decision to put time on a different scale  and we meandered.

No trip can start until the reinforcements arrive so we made a quick stop at the Quick Stop.

 

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Then we visited Oreo (the cat) at the Book Grinder in Eldorado–and bought a book or two

at the Book Grinder

We took a side trip to visit the Historic Beaumont Hotel

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We  wanted to see the wind turbines up close, but it was too rainy

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All we saw were cows

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We meandered cross country to Parsons where we enjoyed lunch at Chatter’s

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And visited  Gentiva Hospice where I work.  The girls discovered that my supervisor, Terry,  was a friend of their mom’s.  That was fun.   We forgot to take our picture while we were there so–we went to Brahm’s and that made it all better.

 

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We had a great day meandering and arrived back home in only five hours and forty five minutes.  And nobody thought the trip was long and boring!

Funny about this thing called “TIME”  isn’t it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Urge to Purge

Well!
It’s Happened!
That urge to purge.
Clean it out,
Throw it away.
Give it up
Simplify

So we began,
We dug out the junk
Swept up the dirt.
Boxed up the excess.
And sighed.
If only it would last
It won’t
Spring will come and the urge will hit
And once again
We’ll purge.

It’s a silly little tale but it is true that de-cluttering is what we have been up to for the last week and we are far from done. Today as I worked, it occurred to me that sometimes, we need to do exactly the same thing with our emotional and spiritual lives. Just like with our physical surroundings we often collect stuff we really don’t need. A bag of resentments, a drawer full of unnecessary activities. Excuses littered everywhere. I think I am going to have to follow this physical purging with some new habits.

Blessings,  Kathy

Tiptoeing through the Tulips–no wait they are Daffodils!

daffodil picking

 

The Oddest Job I ever had was picking daffodils. We had friends who had daffodils. Fields of daffodils .Each spring my sisters and I would have afterschool jobs picking, sorting, and preparing them for sale. We would start in the field where we would pick them one by one, then to the sorting shed where the work of putting them into groups of ten, rubber banded and ready to go to market. We wore a finger cot to protect our fingers from the repeated rub of the rubber bands. I remember thinking they were totally uncool! I soon learned they were necessary—my first experience with “the tools of the trade”. If it had lasted too long, I think we would have wearied of the job, but the few week duration of the season made it a perfect boost to out income for future shopping sprees!  Blessings!   Kathy

 

 

Spring Cleaning

When I think of spring cleaning I can smell it! Today I got out my hose and washed the windows and screens on my bedroom windows. It was disgusting what I ran into in the process. We have awnings so the mud trails from last year’s mud dauber had safely wintered. A spider webs collecting a brown and crumpled leaf, another torn but bravely hanging on graced the overhang. The screens reminded me of a trip down a dusty road in August.
I watched as the soapy water dissolved the collected grime, anticipating the smell. I absolutely love to open the window with a newly washed screen. It’s a little like fresh air after a rain. Somehow the world just looks brighter, less encumbered, freer, and happier from that vantage point.
Later it occurred to me how much our hearts, like those windows, would benefit from a good cleaning,
Cobwebs of laziness, complacency, and lukewarm gratitude hold the brown crumpled remains of our once brilliant attitude of worship and service. Mud trails from unforgiven hurts, unrepented sins, failures, and disappointments mar the beauty of our once sparkling relationship with the one who made it all.
Determined, I turn to the master cleaner, bringing Him the dusty, cobweb laden, heart. In anticipation I wait for the refreshing odor of a heart once again made pure and new. Will you? He waits.
Blessings, Kathy

When writers get together

The Called To Write Conference this past weekend proved to be every bit as enjoyable and inspiring as I expected – and even more! Connecting with the Pages From Stages crew – all of us except Cherie – was as fun as always.Many other writers have become friends that I get to catch up with each year.

See more photos here on Facebook.

Julane and Kathy celebrate

We celebrated writing successes for Kathy and Julane with sparkling juice.

Called To write Conference

Julane getting ready to open a session. She and the rest of the committee do an outstanding job.

 

Called to Write conference

This is my favorite photo from the weekend. Look at all the ways it shows writers connecting and building friendships.

Eat Ice Cream for Supper

Our theme this week is fireside reading. I have hundreds of fiction books on my shelves and not one of them came to mind as the book I wanted to share today. I’ve spent the past three snow days in front of the fire trying to write, not read. As Friday drew closer, I knew I needed to find a book to share.

Then I remembered Eat Ice Cream for Supper. It’s written by our own Kathy Gronau! Even if I didn’t know Kathy as a dear friend, I would have to tell you that this is a book we should all have. It’s an easy read and it’s also a hard read. There’s a little romance and too much tragedy. There’s the sad reality of death and the huge promise of life. Through it all, Kathy’s voice and honesty speak from the pages of this book.

Eat Ice Cream for Supper is the story of Kathy and her husband, Orin, as they each battled the cancer monster. Between the covers of this book, you’ll find real and practical advice on everything from what you’ll feel and need to do when you get that life-changing diagnosis to dealing with the grief of death. Kathy’s knowledge as an RN and her respect for the medical field gently guide the reader through the foreign territory that comes with diagnosis.

At the end of each chapter, there are suggestions for the friend of someone with a terminal disease, making this book one we all should read. Helpful advice that we all can learn from in order to best support and help someone who is in a battle for their life.

When I first met Kathy, I could tell she spoke very honestly. She wasn’t one to tell you what you’d like to hear and this made me nervous. Then I got to know her and her honest way of speaking is what I appreciate the most. As I read this book, her voice wrapped around me. If someone close to me was sick, I’d want her to hold my hand through the journey.

While it is impossible for her to do that with each of us, the wisdom, encouragement, and hope Kathy writes about can be a wonderful source of help. Not once did I get lost in the medical jargon or the technical terms. Rather, she weaves the facts with sweet memories. Kathy offers advice on putting a medical team together and dealing with the never-ending paperwork.

At this moment, I don’t have an immediate family member who is dealing with cancer, but we all know how quickly that can change. Unfortunately, I do know too many families who are dealing with this reality or some other terrible sickness. Eat Ice Cream for Supper is a book for anyone to read.

Thank you, dear Kathy, for sharing yourself and your story with us.

Sara

Birthdays, Bikes and Barbies

There is something about turning six that catapults one out of babyhood-toddlerhood-preschoolhood forever. Tomorrow my last five year old granddaughter turns six. I don’t quite know how that happened, but I suspect that very soon it will be sixteen. Life has a way of sneaking up on us that way.

Josie’s birthday’s are always a bitter sweet day for me.  She was the only grandchild that Orin did not meet. Born just three months after he died, when I was already knee deep in my own cancer journey, I relive, each year, the trip alone to Via Christi hospital to first see and hold her.
This year, she wants a bike.

It makes me remember my sixth birthday. I had a real party and got my first (and only) bicycle. It was one of the few gifts I remember getting from my Grandpa Fluke. Oh, he always remembered our birthdays… and the tradition was we got to put our hand in his penny jar and have as many as we could hold. That was when a penny was still a big deal.

The bike though, oh my, that was really special.

My Josie, however, already has a bike…what she wants is a bike for her Barbie.  Bikes, and Birthdays, and Barbies. Guess some things never change!

Blessings, Kathy

Five things not to say to someone who is grieving.

1. Call me if you need anything.

And I am thinking    “I have no idea what I need”

Or    “ I need so many things I know you wouldn’t ever be able to do them all”

Or    “I need my husband back, can you give me that?”

The reality is there are a lot of things, but rarely will I ask.  Right now, I’d just love it if you would take charge and say “I’ll be over tomorrow evening and we’ll tackle that thank you list together, ok?

2. Give it time, it will get better.

And I am thinking:  “How can you know that, you’ve never lost a husband.”

Or     “But it’s NOW and I am hurting. I don’t care about later.”

The reality is it probably will get easier in time.  The loss becomes less acute.  Time fills the space with other things, but the hole in your heart doesn’t go away. Better to say.  “This is hard. And I can’t know because I haven’t been through this yet, but I care about you and its ok with me if you cry.”

3.   God always takes home the ones he loves the most

And I’m thinking:  “Really! and where does it say THAT in the Bible”

Better to say: “I am glad to know that your husband was saved and that the Bible tells us he is in heaven with God right now. I know that doesn’t make you miss him less, though, and it’s ok if you are kind of mad at God right now for taking him. I think I would be too.

4. . I’m praying for you

Although this isn’t a bad thing to say, it may be much more comforting if you can focus on a specific thing that you will pray about and express that.  An example would be:  When I go to bed tonight I am going to pray and ask God to give you the ability to relax and sleep also.  In fact, I’ll just do that every night for a while.

5. Nothing

Most people say nothing because they either don’t know what to say or they are afraid that they will upset the person.  (They seem to be doing ok so let’s not upset them by mentioning it)

The reality is:        I never forget.  It hurts when I think you have.

Even if I cry, you will help me to heal if you acknowledge my loss.

Later, it will make me feel great when you remember my loved one and say so.

And the best thing to say that I have ever heard:  “I don’t know what to say and I don’t know what you need to hear.  But I am here.”

Has someone said something to you when you were hurting that really helped?  What was it? Will you share?

Blessings

Kathy