The Mediocre Level


I wrote this piece not this week but prior.  Today as I decide to actually publish it I’ve felt pretty well.  In fact, the last few days have been good.  Writing allows me to process and move forward.  Not always staying ahead but not falling as far back as I once would is more of a normal thing now. I call that progress.

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I hate that my parents died. I hate that the questions go unanswered and the memories are all I have.   I feel broken from that stint I did in 2013. I hate that the confidence I used to feel inside me has been replaced with the lack thereof and the fear of the unknown.

The task of analyzing oneself can be taunting and at times the individual may find themselves grasping to get their head above water.

Currently I do not feel I am doing any area of my life with much excellence.  The ability to be exceedingly good at something has fallen from my life it seems.  I would say I am more in the “do what I need to and get by mode.”  I’ve been running on auto pilot for sometime now.  There’s been a couple of times I’ve began with a mindset of success to only find I fall into that mediocre level once again.  Even in the times of my life (pre-2013) when I was challenged, whether personally or professionally, I still had one or two areas of life I was above average in.

As you can tell the “analyzing” oneself has recently occurred in my life and it has brought a less than stellar mojo around!  Some of you are probably saying right now, “but Julie you are doing this and this and this so well!”  But in reality I’m not.  I’m doing just enough for it to “look” okay.

I’m not falling apart, I’m just looking reality in the face at the moment.  It’s not an “upper” but the “downer” part might be what I need to face to move forward.  I can no longer be the leader of all areas of my life and do it with grace.  And it’s driving me nuts!

I can look back and see when the strength that my mother instilled in me began to fall away.  The turmoil and wreckage of an experience finally got to me and altered my everyday life.  I may be fooling myself, perhaps those traumatic experiences as a child altered me too, but until I was in my 40’s I was capable of  handling  things.  Three consecutive experiences took me to my knees and it’s hard to get up, even almost four years later.

I suppose this is where I would normally write the lines of postivity and a mantra of things to get me “re-booted”.  Well this time I’m not.  I am not going to sit in the depths of despair but I will close with this.

One.  One positive thing a day.  I shall pluck one little thing from my day that I did well and place it at the top of my thoughts.  I will bask in the glory of even the simplest task I did that was good.  Where will that lead me?

Julie

Pods of Seeds – Mom


June 2015
June 2015

This time of year makes me always think of my mother. Now that she is gone I know that I will not be seeing paper towels laying around her home with seeds drying on them ever again.

Mother loved flower gardens. Before she was too disabled she had a yard that was so very lovely and well maintained. When their beauty would fail,  she would, just at the right time, pick her seed for the next years garden.

Azalea

I never really got the gardening gene from her. I’m more the “let me look at it and someone else maintain it type of gal.”  As things begin to change with her gone, little memories like this one come to the forefront of my mind.

There is joy in the memories and hopefully they will cover the mourning that lays upon my heart.

 

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Writing Prompt – Write about the beach.


Write about the beach.

I live in Kansas. There isn’t a real beach, or what I would call a beach anywhere close to me.  I have visited one though.  A couple of years ago we traveled to San Diego, California to see our middle daughter and her husband.  Although I would not want to live there, I’m grateful we visited.

The best memory from the beach for me was watching my youngest and middle daughter together.  The personality of my middle daughter is one that enjoys simple things such as the ocean, beach, dogs, and playing.  She got right down in the sand and began to build with her young sister.  The laughter and memories from that day are in my mind and I hope I never lose them.  Little pockets of treasure for me.

The beach

This was our youngest daughter’s first experience with the ocean and she loved it.  The image of her Daddy and her splashing and him holding her.  Another little pocket of treasure for me.

The beach

Remembering back makes me smile.  I’m so fortunate I can recall these treasures.  It wasn’t about the beautiful ocean, the sunset over the water, the dolphins while we ate.  It was the time of family together growing in their love for one another.  My pocket is spilling over with treasure now. 🙂

Grace is a gift,
Julie

Bittersweet Gifts


Have you ever received something that was bittersweet?  I’m not talking chocolate.  I’m talking a gift or possibly an heirloom.  Something that you didn’t expect or had forgotten about  and then found it much later.  This happened to me recently.

I was cleaning out my email inbox and a gift was waiting there for me.  The sender was my oldest sister and I assumed it was a photo of my Dad. The month of the email made me think this and I knew she had taken a few for me.  What I found when I opened the attachment was not a photo but a video.

DAD 2

The video is of my Dad telling me a story.  He is holding my hand.  When it began to play it was like my mind could not wrap itself around what was playing.  It wasn’t long and the tears began to fall.  They were a mixture of tears of sadness for missing him and tears of joy for being able to hear him speak.

This is my bittersweet gift.

Treasure it, yes I will.  Dwell on it, probably not.  I will keep it safe and take it out on days when I feel the need.  Too many views wouldn’t be right and too little would be sad.  So a happy medium I shall find with this bittersweet gift I’ve been given.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Scents & Smiles


On the country road where dirt flies and winds gust there is an old sporadically blooming bush.  After four years of living here I just now noticed this bush along the roadside where my in-laws live.  There were three clumps of  branches with purple buds beginning to bloom.  This image took me back to many years ago when I was but a child.  A time when we lived in the “house on the quarter” and all the way down the driveway there were huge lilac bushes.  I can recall making my way to fetch our mail and loving the scent in the air on a spring day.  When I smell lilacs today it takes me back to that treasured time of my life.

After a few moments I found myself back to reality and collecting the mail.  I couldn’t help myself.  I made my way to the bush and picked a lilac, shut my eyes, and a smile appeared upon my face.  I was seven again and just drinking in the goodness of the sweet smell of lilac.  All the way back to my home I continued to smile and smell this beautiful scent.

Unfortunately, the sad thing about lilacs is once they are picked they don’t last very long.  Perhaps that is part of what makes them special as well as the scent, only here for a short time.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

My Sister Said It Best


While in a conversation recently with my sisters and a cousin we were discussing our families, how things used to be, and the ache in our hearts of days gone by.  I mentioned that my own children don’t really know their cousins and the days of us gathering once a year passed to long ago.  Two of my children are adults now and as we recently attended a funeral of another cousin (Rest in Peace Terri) it ached me that they didn’t feel connected as I did.  It’s not their fault completely, it’s the fact that many years ago the family took a route I truly believe shouldn’t have.

As I was speaking one of my sisters basically hit the nail on the head in regards to why we feel such a loss has occurred in our lives from the absence of connecting with extended family.  She stated “Don’t you think it’s because we got a taste of it?”  It’s true.  We received a gift of gathering together at least once a year to laugh, sing, hang out, play, and just be together.  My eldest daughter enjoyed a little of it but my middle and youngest daughters have not really any idea.  They only know my siblings children as cousins, not the many more that share the same DNA of sorts. There was a legacy created from my grandparents and is still there to be rejuvenated

I recently began a cousins Facebook private page because I thought it would be a beginning of sorts to reconnect.  A place to begin to build relationships that never existed, that existed some, and introduce the generations ahead to some pretty crazy awesome people!   See I write about family legacy and farm legacy over at In Between the Sunsets of Life often.  That comes from my husband’s family.  I’d like to reconnect and build on the legacy of the family that we have seem to have lost touch with.  I want to hear the stories of days gone by, laugh at sibling’s familiar jokes, and cousin’s pranks on one another.

I hope that my cousins will come along and join the ride to reconnecting and  building a legacy.  That ill feelings, selfish ways, mindless chatter, and petty thoughts will be replaced with love, laughter, support, and good times.  One that our grandchildren and their children can say they got a taste of. I think my grandparents would be proud of the people who exist in their family. Every generation a prized possession and every one of them important. 

Grace is a gift and family is precious – hold tight to them.

Julie

Cousins

If I Had Chosen Differently


This moment while I  stood amidst  a child filled, noisy, toy discovery place

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Our youngest amazed and intrigued by air and cloth.

 

made me remember this moment.

Mom & P
The first time I held our youngest daughter, 24 hours old.

 

It made me think to myself, what if I had made a different choice. What if I had chosen not to show my love for my spouse through parenting. What if I had decided I was done raising children, that I didn’t want to start over.

My life would be different for sure. Perhaps quieter, more relaxed, more free time, less hugs and kisses, less experience with adoption, less opportunity to love, less giggles, and much less learning. To understand the moments in life that are truly valuable, it took becoming a parent for the third time I think.  For it to really sink in and make it stick.  My other two children are much older and came from my loins but I love all my children the same.  They each have their special way of making me feel pretty lucky and they make me proud and crazy often. Which is  a good combination I think!

This third child I believe helped me to calm, to love even more than I imagined, to trust others and God more, to stop and truly watch the world around me.  To appreciate the fact that my plan isn’t always the best plan.  God has humor you know!

PV & I 2015

In the little moments of life I ask you to stop and just let go.  To embrace what has been placed before you and open your heart and mind to the amazing opportunity that is right there.  Whether it’s a child,  nature, family, a meal, or a friend.  Take it and treasure it, appreciate it for with each day our lives change.

Grace is  a gift,

Julie

Days That Make You Appreciate Where You Been, Were, & Are.


Did you have great weather over the weekend where you live too?  We had just fabulous weather, and this helps my demeanor so much folks!  Spending time with my kids and their families helps too and we were lucky enough to spend time on Saturday with them all together!

Saturday morning we worked on sorting cattle, youngest daughter included!  I took photos and love watching three generations work together.  There were 65 head loaded onto a semi truck to head to another farm.  The rest will be sold and picked up on Tuesday.  To learn more about our farm life you can visit my other blog In Between the Sunsets of Life.

Farm Family 2015

Sunday morning was spent worshiping with our church family and learning more about God.  The rest of the afternoon was spent outdoors!  It was so delightful!  Our youngest daughter is going to Disney on Ice with her sisters soon, and we told her if she wanted to buy anything while there she had to earn her own money.  So she has been doing jobs around the house, and I offered her $5.00 to clean the interior of the semi and tractor.  She accepted and did a good job too!

cleaning

Her and I decided we would go for a UTV ride afterwards!  My husband grew up on motorcycles.  When he was our youngest daughter’s age he could ride the small mini cycle they still have.  Although our daughter loves the atv and utv, she hasn’t wanted to ride the motorcycle. That is until today, we convinced her.  Her Dad took her around the yard a few times, and she was thrilled! 🙂

motorcycle ride

Purple Martin bird houses.  My husband has two that he received as gifts last year and today was the day he was able to put them up.  Our daughter helped dig one hole, then headed off to play with the dog and bubbles!  By this time of the day I decided after two short walks I would rest on the deck embroidering.  It was nice to just relax and enjoy the peaceful day.

birdhouse

Our weekend sounds busy but to be honest it was one of the best ones for me to date.  Just enjoying the things that have been given to us is a wonderful thing.  I can’t explain how I feel about where I came from, went through in life, and now where I am.  I know I won’t be home until I die, but this is a pretty good place to land for now I think.  All the gratefulness and thanksgiving goes to the Lord.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

The Button Box


At 5:30 this morning after I put our dog into the garage in hopes he would stop barking at coyotes and I could get another hour of sleep my mind began to wonder.  Imagine that right?  So for about 30 or 40 minutes I lay there with my thoughts pinging back and forth.  Jumping from one thing to another, and it landed on an image.
The image was of a metal octagon box that my Mom used to keep a bunch of buttons in when I was a kid.  There were tons of them and all different shapes and sizes, the metal box a blue color I recall.

I text my Mom as I wrote this piece and asked her if she still kept her buttons in that box.  She said yes. I remember it was blue and it had a design on it.

I have no clue as to why this image arrived in my mind when it did. But it brought a little joy from childhood to my thoughts.

I can still hear how it sounds to shake the button box.  As I write this a small smile comes across my face.  It is good.

Have you ever had that happen to you?  Just remember something out of the blue and it brings a memory to the forefront of your mind?  It’s nice to have those good ones arrive just when you least expect it huh?

 

Grace is a gift,

Julie