Anticipation

“And I will never again underestimate the power of anticipation. There is no better boost in the present than an invitation into the future.” 

Caroline Kepnes, You

Vacation here we come!

For the past few weeks we’ve been working to get things ready for our time away. Having our little place on the hill makes it quite a process. We are both tired but thankful for the opportunity to practice moments of gratitude.

For me, the last few days reminded me of the times I traveled from my new home in Denver to my old home in Iowa. Trip after trip, I was so excited to be going back “home.”

One day, I arrived in Waterloo and  it no longer felt like home.

I was lost and confused.

It took time, but I began to understand in order to move on I had to be willing to let go of the past.

With that knowledge I see I am at another transition point.

I think this trip will cement my move to Texas, enabling me to move forward with ease and confidence.

“Thank the past for all the lessons it taught you; anticipate the future for all the blessings it has in store for you.” 

Matshona Dhliwayo

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

Cinderellie

“He died that day because his body had served its purpose. His soul had done what it came to do, learned what it came to learn, and then was free to leave.” 

Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain

In July of 1985, I walked away from my old life and home, packed my car, and headed from Waterloo, Iowa, to Denver, Colorado. My two sisters took vacation time to travel west with me to help me settle into a duplex I had not seen in a town I wasn’t even sure how to spell–was Englewood spelled with an I or an E?

I did learn how to spell my new hometown and we did make it to my new address without any real problems. There was that scary guy in Sterling, Colorado who ran a stop sign. In a nano-second all our futures were in question–thank God our guardian angels were near and attentive.

The three of us arrived, tired, but quickly unloaded the car and moved what we had into my new home. As the sun rose and set, we waited for the moving truck to arrive.

We waited…and waited..and waited. My entire house had been in storage for weeks because there was a high demand for moving trucks in Iowa at that time. I was part of many who were heading west.

As time passed, I was learning how expensive it was to move to a new city in a new state where you had no established credit. My savings dwindled away and we were all still sleeping on the living room floor.

When the moving company returned my many calls, the news was not good. They could not locate “my stuff.”

What? I’m a thousand miles from “home” and I’m being told the moving company has lost all my stuff? And…I’m scheduled to start my new job in a week.

I learned a lot during this time in my life. I learned a cashier’s check does not clear immediately. I learned that the cost of living in the Denver area was MUCH higher than I’d expected. Seven to ten days is a very long time to pinch pennies. I learned even though Denver was a mile high and the nights often cool down, it is still very hot in July. I learned that three women living in an empty duplex for a week with nothing to do lose patience with waiting and with each other.

My lessons continued to come fast a furious. I can’t say it was easy–I struggled. I can say I did eventually learn to trust myself and I survived–alone. There were no cell phones–long distance phone calls were expensive. I had no extra money for phone calls. I had my kind and generous friend, Cindy, who was there for me. The problem was Cindy lived quite a distance away and she had a young daughter and her own new job. Being on call did restrict us but thank heavens calling her was a local call.

My first day at my new job was a whirlwind. My co-worker lived a short distance from me. In order to make it easy for me, she offered to give me a ride that week back and forth to Children’s Hospital in Denver. Lucky for me, both our department and the hospital at the time were small. The cardiology department and cardiovascular surgery shared the third floor of Tammen Hall, expanding the size of my work family. That first day it seemed I met dozens of people, all of them were talking about the Huey Lewis and the News concert they’d all gone to that past Sunday.

As I stood listening to snipets of their conversations and enjoyed their bursts of laughter, I knew I’d found my new spot. My gut told me, with time and patience, I’d find my way into this exciting group of people. I wasn’t sure how. I only knew that they represented a large part of what my new life would hold–I was soaking up their energy and the genuine love I felt they had for each other.

By the grace of God I DID become part of this amazing group of people. We were all the same age or close to the same age. Our work was important to us and we worked extremely hard doing it as well as we know how. We worked long hours and covered call–our time off was precious. We played as hard as we worked. Because we were older, we’d all been “players” in the past and most of us had experienced “being played.” We were done with the games–we wanted people around us we could trust. We encouraged each other when we had bad days, when we made mistakes, when we lost patients, when we had relationship issues, and when we experienced those times when we felt lost and alone. Through it all, we knew we would be there for each other…

I’ll never ever forget how this group of people took me in and made me feel loved and always welcome.

This group I knew I had to join earlier this month–to be with one of our own and comfort her during her time of loss as only old friends can.

The best way I can think to talk about Julie and John is to retell a story she shared at John’s memorial. I’d heard the story before but it’d faded from my memory.

Both John and Julie worked at Children’s in Denver for years–Julie in the heart room in the OR and John was a radiologist. Even though they’d most likely walked by each other daily, they’d never really met. Now they were both newly single meaning there were several people making it their mission to get them together. As we know, timing is everything–throw in a little bit of luck and you have a grand plan. The date of the annual hospital gala was rapidly approaching. All those great minds came together to nudge John, suggesting he ask Julie to the grand event. He agreed to ask her and the plan was in motion.

John asked and Julie nervously accepted.

John arrived at Julie’s and rang the bell. Carol, Julie’s roommate, rushed to answer, and as Carol describes it, she opened the door to this tall and handsome man, dressed in a black tuxedo, smiling, and holding a single red rose. Carol quickly admits she wanted to say she was Julie but, alas, knew he knew better. Welcoming him in, she ran upstairs to tell Julie he was there. Opening the bedroom door, Carol sings out:

“Cinderellie, Cinderellie, your Prince Charming is here!”

For the next 26 years, John was her Prince Charming, standing beside her through all their trials and tribulations. It wasn’t easy. They faced many challenges and they both found ways to make it all work. They were a good team and they had three amazing sons who will help us all take care of their mom.

It has been an honor, privilege, and a blessing witnessing and being a small part of this grand story. Like so many of our childhood fairy tales, we watch helplessly as the ominous music crescendos, signaling the wicked witch has released her evilness out into our world. We prayed the witch would be foiled. If we could find a way to defeat her our hero and heroine would live happily FOREVER after. Reality strikes again. This time, cancer proved to be the greatest and strongest Witch of the West and that damn clock chimed midnight much too soon.

I love you, Julie. My John rest in peace knowing we will all take care of you as we’ve taken care of each other for all these years. You will not be alone–none of us will be because we all have our memories to give us comfort and eventual peace.

Abba Father,

You hold time within your hands, and see it all, from beginning to end. Please keep and carry these precious people in their sadness and loss. Cover them with your great wings of love, give their weary hearts rest and their minds sound sleep. Lord, lift their eyes so that they may catch a glimpse of eternity, and be comforted by the promise of heaven. 

We ask all this in the precious name of Jesus.

Amen. 

I am…

B…simply being…

Reach out to those who may need you today.

~Peace be with you~

I am so fortunate I have an amazing photographer in my circle of Facebook friends. Thank you, Mr. Chuck Hackenmiller, for allowing me to use your wonderful photos as part of my blog. You can see many of Mr. Hackenmiller beautiful pictures on the Facebook page, I grew up in Iowa. Please note, no re-use of this photo without permission from Chuck Hackenmiller, Boone, Iowa.  

 

 

God Winks

One of the great benefits of writing is I have a reason to go through old stuff. My husband and I have downsized our lives at least three times over the past two years. In light of these moves, I’ve been shocked with some of the little things that have survived.

Today, the clipping and the pictures fell together in what I would call a God wink. What’s a God wink, you ask? I think most people would call it a coincidence. SQuire Rushnell describes it as an experience where you’d ask yourself, what are the odds of that? It’s like when you were a kid and sitting across the table from someone you love when they’d wink at you. You knew what that wink meant–they were thinking about you. God does the same–a God wink is His way of letting you know He is thinking of you and all will be okay.

For me, one of the greatest gifts of aging has been the ability to look back on my life. To see how certain people came into my life–or re-entered my life–at the moment when I needed them the most.

My family moved from Traer, Iowa, to Waterloo, Iowa the summer before my freshman year. That move was tough and made for a very hard summer. I worried every day about how I was going to handle being the new kid in a new school. I wouldn’t know anyone.

My Dad remembered another family who had moved from Traer to Waterloo. He found a way to contact them and gave them our home phone number. Within a few days, JoLyn contacted me, asking me where I was going to go to school. I told her West Junior. She quickly told me that she would also be going to West Junior.

Oh my God–the answer to my prayers. I would not be all alone.

What made her special was what she did next. It was a few days before school started and she knew the building was open. We set up a time to meet and she took me to the main office so I could turn in paperwork, showed me around the building, and gave me the tour of the other buildings on campus. That year we did not have any classes together but she checked on me often and made sure I was doing okay. In a big school, I always knew she was there if I needed her.

Debby Small was my neighbor and a year ahead of me in school. It was Debby’s house where I would go whenever I needed to get away. I loved going to the Smalls because their family was busy, loud, and loving. At least that is how I saw them. Debby had two brothers and two sisters and there was always something happening. I loved being in the mix because it felt real to me. They were the first family I saw being normal–if I came over and there was a fight in progress, the fight continued. There was no stopping because the neighbor kid was there.

At my house–things like that happened behind closed doors.

What my family didn’t seem to realize was, even though the doors were closed, the windows were still wide open. It was Tom and Karen Sink who clued me in about that.

Tom and Karen moved next door shortly after we moved in. They were a young couple with a toddler who needed a babysitter. After a few months of babysitting, they shared with me that they could hear some of the things happening at our house.

Our house was a house in constant turmoil. My Dad had remarried. There were problems. Tom and Karen knew. Tom and Karen took my sisters and me under their wings. I am not sure where any of us would be today without them.

These four people came into my life when I needed them the most.

I am still amazed and forever grateful.

I am…

B…simply being… 

Have a great weekend.

I love you.

Peace