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Now Choose Life

Choose to Live Your Life in Abundance in the after--- after the spouse dies, after the marriage ends, after the kids leave. Join me on my journey of CHOOSING LIFE in my after. This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live- Deut 30:19

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August 29, 2016

Writing Inspriations



I have come across several books over the past several months that have inspired me to be on this journey of finding my Walden.  I want to share what I am using as a guide.  Although I'm an English/ Education major, I have had no formal training in the works of Henry David Thoreau.  What I write will be from research that I have personally done.  It will all be my views of his and a few other peoples' works.

1.  The Journal 1837-1861 by Henry David Thoreau
I had no idea that HDT kept a personal journal.  I thought that Walden and his other works were basically a journal- but he did keep a rhis book eal journal about his life.

2.  Walden by Henry David Thoreau
I never studied Walden unless it was bits and pieces out of a literature book in high school.  I think is it interesting that he lived there 2 years, 2 months and 2 days!!

3.  The Art of Stillness- Adventures in Going Nowhere by Pico Iyer
I saw Pico Iyer on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday and loved listening to him.  This is the book I've been waiting for-  going nowhere and having my life's epiphany!!!  Yes, please!!

4.  7 an experimental mutiny against excess by Jen Hatmaker
I love Jen Hatmaker!!  Maybe its the Texas kindred spirit of her-  She tells it like it is and makes me feel like I'm talking to my great Texas friends when I read her books, blog or Facebook posts!!

5.  Tears to Triumph- The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment.
I've had enough suffering Thank You Very Much.  Now I want the enlightenment!!

6.  It's Never Too Late to Begin Again- Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond
     by Julia Cameron
I think this will be a good book to get me started on a new adventure.  I've never been very creative.  I just get pleasure from writing!!  Hopefully this book will help me get some creative juices flowing to be able to have some GOOD posts here!

So this pretty much sums up what I will be using for my inspiration for My Walden.  I'm praying for self discipline to follow through with all of these and see who  and where I am when I get to the other side.
August 19, 2016

My Walden




Still feeling that I love the life of an educator, I live by the school calendar not the regular calendar that everyone else lives by.  With that in mid, I guess it is appropriate that I start my new venture with what is the start of a new school year- August. I know many do not start back to school until after Labor Day, but every school I've ever worked in has started back in August. So here is to new beginnings...

Ever since I read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, I have wanted an experience like that.  I always thought to myself "There should be a way to experience a rebirth without having to leave home."  So over the course of the past few months, I've found a few books that I want to study and see if they can help me discover this second half of my life.  I want t slow down.  I want to find a new way to live my life- one where I appreciate nature, strive for healthy living, spend more time in solitude with bible study, meditation, reading and more writing.  I want the study of Walden as well as Henry David Thoreau's journal and other books will help me find my Walden.


The Journal 1837-1861 Henry David Thoreau
August 19, 1851

The poet must be continually watching the moods of his mind, as the astronomer watches the aspects of the heavens.  What might we not expect from a long life faithfully spent in this wise? The humblest observer would see some stars shoot.  A faithful description as by a disinterested person of the thoughts which visited a certain mind in threescore years and ten, as when on reports the number and character of the vehicles which pass a particular point.  As travelers go round the world and report natural objects and phenomena, so faithfully let another stay at home and report the phenomena of his own life,--- catalogue stars, those thoughts whose orbits are as rarely calculated as comets.  It matters not whether they visit my mind or yours,--only that is comes from heaven.  A meteorological journal of the mind.  You shall observe what occurs in your latitude, I in mine.

I love what HDT says here about travelers going around the world to report on what they see but that another can stay home hand report on his/ her own life.

There is incredible beauty in living a simple life- I want to document that aspect of life.  

Not every post will be a Walden post, but I will share my study and experience of following in HDT footsteps and seeing where it takes me.

August 15, 2016

Grief Is The Thing With Feathers


I recently found a newly published book at my local library.  The title of the book caught my eye- Grief Is The Thing With Feathers by Max Porter.  It is a short book and I thought it would probably be some sort of parable or something.  It is a very unusual book, but there were several parts that really spoke to me.  I thought when I first started reading that the crow would be a terrible thing to everyone in the book.  I thought it would portray grief and this horrible thing that come into our lives to reek havoc and enjoy every minute of it in the process, but that isn't really the case.  I discovered that crow in the book much like grief in our lives simple enters, causes problems, and is there to stay.  He becomes a fixture that we really don't want in our lives, but we have to learn to live with.

I'm not really sure what I think of the book overall, but there were parts that were very powerful to me.

P. 3 (beginning of book)
"Boys
There's a feather on my pillow.

Pillows are made of feathers, go to sleep.

It's a big, black feather.

Come and sleep in my bed.

There's a feather on your pillow too.

Let's leave the feathers where they are and sleep on the floor."

Oh have I been there.  Don't deal with what you don't have to deal with.  Find another way besides facing the reality of what is happening at the moment.

P. 20
"She was not busy dying, and there is no detritus of care, she was simply busy living, and then she was gone.

She won't ever us (make-up, turmeric, hairbrush, thesaurus.)

She will never finish (Patricia Highsmith novel, peanut butter, lip balm.)

And I will never shop for green Birago Classics for her birthday.

I will stop finding her hairs.

I will stop hearing her breathing."

I remember facing all of these realizations- all the I will never agains... it's a hard reality to accept, but I know that I must.  R has missed so many things and it breaks my heart to think about it.

P. 24

"(I do this, perform some unbound crow stuff, for him.  I think he thinks he's a little bit Stonehenge shamanic, hearing the bird spirit.  Fine by me, whatever gets him through.)"

I love the last line- "whatever gets him through."  Crow is crow- just doing his thing--just like grief just does its thing.  Grief doesn't care how you handle it, it just does what it wants.

P. 94

"About two year afterwards, far too soon but perfectly timed, I brought home a woman, a Plath scholor I met at a symposium.

She was funny and bright and did her best with a fucked- up situation.  We had to be quiet because the boys were asleep upstairs.

She was soft and pretty and her naked body was dissimilar to my wife's and her breath smelt of melon.  But we were on the sofa my wife bought, drinking wine from glasses my wife was given, beneath the painting my wife painted, in the flat where my wife died.

I haven't had sex with many women, and I only got good at it with my wife, doing things my wife liked.  I didn't want to do those things, or think about whether I should be doing those things or thinking about the thinking, which meant I bashed her teeth, then knelt on her thigh, then apologised too much, then came too quickly, then tried too hard, then not hard enough.

But it was good, and she was lovely, and we sat up smoking her strong cigarettes out of the window and talking about everything we'd ever read that wasn't by or about Sylvia or Ted.

She left and I felt nervous about feeling cheerful.  I walked around the flat as if I'd only just met it, long strides and over-determined checking of surfaces.  I looked in on the boys."

Finding any kind of relationship after the loss of a spouse is extremely hard.  One becomes so used to the way the other feels- the hands, the touch, the way it feels to hug them, kiss them.  It feels like you are being unfaithful to even think about wanting another man in your life.  The guilt that has to be overcome in order pursue a new relationship is gigantic.  I always told myself that R would be so hurt if he were still alive, but the fact was that he wasn't alive.  As a Christian I believe when he died he was in his glorified body which is very different from our bodies here on earth.  He also was in heaven so he saw the big picture.  Because of those beliefs as a Christian, I was able to work through the guilt associated with a relationship with Dr T.

P. 99
Dad
"Moving on, as a concept, was mooted, a year or two after, by friently men on behalf of their well-intentioned wives.  Women who loved us.  Women who knew me as a child.

"Oh, I said, we move.  WE FUCKING HURTLE THROUGH SPACE LIKE THREE MAGNIFICENT BRAKE-FAILED BANGERS, thank you, Geoffrey, and send my love to Jean.

Moving on, as a concept, is for stupid people, because any sensible person knows grief is a long-term project.  I refuse to rush.  The pain that is thrust upon us let no man slow or speed or fix.

So I walked into their room in the navy blue middle of the night in the summertime and listened to them breathing.  Duvets smashed and tangled, little soft limbs emerging from robot and pirate print cotton and assorted soft toys.  My wife and I used to come and tuck them in and marvel at how perfect they were asleep.  We laughed at how beautiful they were- 'it's insane!' we said.  It was, insane.

And I stood and breathed their air and considered -as always- things like fragility, danger, luck, imperfection, chance, being kind, being funny being honest, eyes, hair, bones, the impossible hectic silent epidermis rejuvenating itself, never nervous, always kissable, even when scabbed, even so salty I made it, and I felt so many nights utterly, totally yanked apart by how much I loved these children, and I asked them, loudly:

Do you want to MOVE ON?
No reply.
Should we think about MOVING ON?
The swish and ruffle of air in nostrils, clacking tongues, sighs, the gentle invisible concentrated upper air of a room in the top of a flat where young people are dreaming.

No, I said, I agree, we are doing just fine,

Crow joined me as I left, shutting the door, and got me in a cosy headlock.

You're not alone, kid."

Oh "Moving ON."  The reality is that there is no such thing as moving on.  You move forward in life.  You learn how to live with the loss.  You have to accept the reality of you situation and find a way to live with it every single day for the rest of your life.  But moving on is not possible.  Moving on is a myth created by people who have never experience an unbelievable loss.  Moving on sounds so great and wonderful and so we chase it until we can't take another step and finally realize that there is no On in which to Move.  That special place where everything is OK does not exist.

And eventually you become OK with knowing that.  You move forward and can be happy again, but it is not a complete happiness because someone will forever be missing.





August 01, 2016

Facebook Memories and the Irony of our Words



Over the weekend I had a memory come up from the summer of 2011.  2011 is the last summer that I had with R.  A young man who worked for him wanted to fly us to New Orleans when he found out we wanted to go.  I took so many pictures on that trip.  As I looked through the pictures in my "memories" on Facebook, I saw one in particular that caught my eye.  It wasn't the picture itself, it was what I said about the picture.

"This would be a great city to run in. Next time!!"


How many times do we saw things and have no idea the meaning behind them until so much later.  Within 24 months, I would have lost my husband, and trained for a marathon to be run in NOLA as a huge part of my healing!!!  

Or who knew that within 24 months, John our friend and pilot would be killed in a plane crash one weekend after flying Molly to NOLA to see me run.

I got chills when I read that post!!  Life is just so strange!!!  

Words are so important.  Words have so much greater meaning than we ever really realize at times.  The irony of our words can give great pause in our lives!!!