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OLD PHOTOS -- OLD MEMORIES

Recently, a girlfriend I've known since high school wrote and told me she'd been sorting old photographs, trying to put them into categories and throw useless stuff. She mentioned she'd found an old photo of herself taken at "my house" ( my folks house).

Here's what I wrote to her:
" I'd like to see that photo of you at my house-- maybe it will spark a good memory for me! (I have been inundated with not-so -happy ones of late.)

It's the move to a new town and leaving my friends behind as well as undertaking living with my new husband -- we'd lived in our own separate houses for two years. The move alone would have been hard, but coupled with living with JK, it's been an unforeseen TRIP to my dark side. "
My first dark memory resulting in writing a story about a night Uncle Bill-- my father's brother came to our house looking for a fight. (Ninepatch May 2007). I remembered that incident years ago, but never got the real depth of it until I wrote it for the newsletter last month. Now, I am probably free of it's emotional hold. (I think that's how it works-- time will tell.) Writing the one for this month was even harder though. It is one about Mother and me.

When I write my monthly stories, I work and rework them until I seem to have both the "heart" of the tale and an ending that is some kind of resolution. That's my goal, anyway. I think working the "heart line" until I find resolution is a positive goal. However I know it's not an easy one. For example, this month I have spent two weeks trying to think of a positive turn for my sad memory story. Then quite suddenly, two days ago, it came to me. It's not a BIG DEAL ending, but considering how hard I looked for one-- I am satisfied.

NOTE: May's Ninepatch story can be read at www.ninepatch9.org The Mother" memory will be available at the same address after June 10, 2007.
Today at a meeting I was standing in line for coffee when Mike walked up behind me and touched my shoulder. I turned and he said, "I heard you are a published author."

I was taken aback. "Well, no..." I said.

"You write, don't you?"

"Yes," I admitted, "but I'm not 'published'". I went on, "I put out a little newsletter every month..."

"Great!" he said, "I think I might have something for it."

He must have seem something in my face because he said, "It's not just for women is it?"

"Well no," I said, "It's is mostly women, but there are a few men, too."

"Good!" he smiled, "Bring me a copy, will you?"

"OK, " I smiled and nodded, then picked up my coffee cup and walked away wondering, "Who's he been talking to?"

I do publish a little newsletter and have for fifteen years. It's a place for people I know to tell "their stories". It's mostly a sort of forum to pour out those life matters that quickly cause ordinary people to yawn.

Some reader/writers are spiritual "seekers". Others are story-tellers. A few are poets and everyone is sharing something about their lives... all in unique ways through their stories.

A couple of the newsletter's contributors are "writers" who self- publish or have been recognized in some worldly way. However, most are ordinary people who are writing to sort their issues, share their stories or both.

I worry that Mike is a writer- wannabe, a different sort of person whose intent is recognition, not sharing. I guess I was worried Mike might be such a writer. On the other hand, I know a writer's intent can be a mixture, too.

Guess I will just have to trust that it will all work out. I have never said "No" to a person who wanted to appear in our newsletter. While there may be a first time, I do want to be open to "what comes".

I'll just have to trust a Higher Guidance and give Mike a try.

DON'T SAT IT UNLESS YOU MEAN IT

I can't count the number of times I have interrupted JK when he started,
"I'll get that done by..."

Eyes wide I warn him, "Don't promise!"
"My lecture" follows. "When people say 'I'll try..." and ' I promise' 95% of it never comes about. It just causes just hurt feelings."

My husband is LAID BACK and what I consider a work-avoider. I am a push-er and a do-er. Opposites attract. (I get it.) I knew that when we got together. However, living peacefully with these extremes sometimes makes me crazy. I am nutty right now.

My "critic-self" is saying, "You didn't really get to know him before you married him!"

"Nonsense." I think, "I did know him, I just was not armed for all the little situations where his nature would show itself."

Here's the little situation: I am ready to have the ugly old planter that crowds the from door taken part and discarded. So, I ask JK, "When can we start taking that planter apart?"

"I'm not having any part of that, " He says smoothly. "That's your project."

When we first looked at this house, we made a pact: he could have the back yard as wild ( read unkempt) as he wanted. I could do the front yard. I have limitations. One is I have asthma. The second is I can't get a clear idea what I want to do. Last,I hate yard work. Part of the reason I liked the house is the yard did not even have grass. ( I don't mow and hate to hire it done-- useless spending, in my book since it just grows back.)
Still, I wanted dignified but a "natural" woodsy look-- one I saw on my daily walks through the neighborhood. It looked carefree.
I don't remember that JK said he'd help remove the planter. Maybe he was just silent and I misinterpreted that silence as "OK". I can't recall what happened over a year ago when we were considering buying the house. But, none of that even matters. Here I am now. Since I have finally sold my little house I have some cash to spend on this one. I have been trying think out some elements of a front yard figure who to get to help me.

When JK said he'd have no part of removing the planter, I felt a stab in my gut. The feeling was old. It reminded me of my first marriage. In those days my hubby would plan the yard, shrubs, flower bed and trees. Then, once it was all started, my ex- left me to keep it up. He mowed when he felt like it, but nothing else mattered to him, so he went off and played golf, rode his trail bike or bummed around with his buddies. He did HIS thing but I was stuck with keeping up the yard, house and managing the kids. I was angry most of the time and sometimes at either end of that emotion: rage full or depressed.

I didn't want that anger when I decided to live with JK in a "new" house. I thought I had agreed to a house with yard I could handle.
I did want some support from him, though.

Now I am finding out, I was wrong to expect anything. I seethed at his words, but after making only one angry comment, I walked away from a potential argument. I put a CD in my travel player and went out for a walk. When I got back, JK was ready to make up-- not help me-- but" make up".

"Do you want to talk about it?" JK inquired.

"Nope." I replied.

"I should have heard you out..." he began.

"I don't want to talk about it." I repeated my intention.

"Will you ever talk about it?"

"In two or three days, " I responded and walked away.

This is day two. Last evening I tried to be loving. I turned back his bed and scooped him his nightly ice cream treat. But I also directed myself to my own "work" -- I read last night instead of watching a DVD with him.

I read in a woman's magazine that females in our society hold anger three times longer than men. The article said that with men, matters are said, done and finished. The writer continued, "Women carry their anger a while." I nod, "Bulls eye!"

Today I went to a 12-Step meeting and talked about how it is hard to not hold resentment while I am waiting to calm down enough to talk. I find myself wanting to punish. "Smart Girl" an aspect of my ego says, "Time to limit your losses." She thinks of leaving JK rather than going though the kind of marriage I had the first time. (The other side of that is, of course, to punish JK by leaving him.) A sad little voice follows along saying, "You were better off single and alone."

While parts of this may be true, none of this is rational. I am still mad. (Read crazy.)

But, one good thing has come out of my anger. I stopped at a nursery today and have an appointment with the designed there. For only $30, she will come over on Sunday and give me a consultation. Maybe I can get the yard started and not spend a bunch.

"Move a muscle, change a thought" I quote a slogan to myself. I nod. This afternoon, I will take some of my piss out on that rotten planter. I think I saw a sledge hammer somewhere in the garage ...

No Promises!

I can't count the number of times I have interrupted JK when he started,
"I'll get that done by..."

Eyed wide I warn him, "Don't promise!"
"The lecture" follows. "When people say 'I'll try..." and ' I promise' 95% of it never comes about. It just causes just hurt feelings."

My husband is LAID BACK and what I consider a work-avoider. I am a push-er and a do-er. Opposites attract. I get it. I knew that when we got together. However, living peacefully with these extremes sometimes makes me crazy. I am nutty right now.

My "critic-self" is saying, "You didn't really get to know him before you married him!"

"Nonsense." I think, " I did know him, I just was not armed for all the little situations where his nature would show itself."

Here's the little situation: I am ready to have the ugly old planter that crowds the from door taken part and discarded. So, I ask JK, "When can you start taking that planter apart?"

"I'm not having any part of that, " He says smoothly. "That's your project."

When we first looked at this house, we made a pact: he could have the back yard as wild ( read unkempt) as he wanted. I could do the front yard. I have limitations. One is I have asthma. The second is I can't get a clear idea what I want to do. Last,I hate yard work. Part of the reason I liked the house is the yard did not even have grass. ( I don't mow and hate to hire it done-- useless spending, in my book since it just grows back.)
I wanted dignified but a "natural" woodsy look-- one I saw on my daily walks through the neighborhood. It looked carefree.

I don't remember that JK said he'd help remove the planter. Maybe he was only silent and I misinterpreted that silence as "OK". I can't remember exactly what happened over a year ago when we were considering buying the house. I guess none of that even matters. Here I am now. Since I have finally sold my little house I have some cash to spend on this one. I have been trying think out some elements of a front yard figure who to get to help me.

When JK said he'd have no part of removing the planter, I felt a stab in my gut. The feeling was old. It reminded me of my fist marriage where my hubby would plan the yard, shrubs, flower bed and trees. Then, once it was all started, my ex- left me to keep it all up. He went off and played golf, rode his trail bike or bummed with his buddies. He did HIS thing and I was stuck with keeping up the house and managing the kids.

I didn't want to have all that anger when I decided to live with JK in a "new" house. I thought I had agreed to a house and yard I could handle.
I did want some support from him, though.

Now I am finding out, I was wrong to expect anything. I seethed at his words, but after making only one angry comment, I walked away from a potential argument. I put a CD in my travel player and went out of a walk. When I got back, JK was ready to make up-- not help me-- but" make up".

"Do you want to talk about it?" JK inquired.

"Nope." I replied.

"I should have heard you out..." he began.

"I don't want to talk about it." repeating my intention.

"Will you ever talk about it?"

"In two or three days, " I responded and walked away.

This is day two. Last evening I tried to be loving. I turned back his bed and scooped him his nightly ice cream treat. But I also directed myself to my own "work" -- I read last night instead of watching a DVD with him.

I read in a woman's magazine that females in our society hold anger three times longer than men. The article said that with men, matters are said, done and finished. The writer continued, "Women carry their anger a while." I think, "Bulls eye!"

Today I went to a 12-Step meeting and talked about how it is hard to not hold resentment while I am waiting to calm down enough to talk. I find myself wanting to punish. "Smart Girl" an aspect of my ego says, "Time to limit your losses." I think of leaving JK rather than going though the kind of marriage I had the first time. (The other side of that is, of course to punish him by leaving him.) A sad little voice follows along saying, "You were better off single and alone."

While parts of this may be true, none of this is rational. I am still mad. (Read crazy.)

But, one good thing has come out of my anger. I stopped at a nursery today and have an appointment with the designed there. For only $30, she will come over on Sunday and give me a consultation. Maybe I can get the yard started and not spend a bunch.

Meanwhile, this afternoon, I think I will take some of my piss out on that rotten planter. I think I saw a sledge hammer out in the garage ...

No Chocolate Bunny, Thank You!

My hubby, JK, got me an Easter book. He bought a chocolate bunny for each of the two women he would see on Easter Day, but I warned him, "Don't get me a chocolate bunny!"
Mainly this was because I don't much like chocolate. I am odd -- a Vanilla's-my-favorite kind of girl! But underlying the flavor preference, my request was probably also about wanting to be "special".

Whatever my reason, JK (Bless him!) got my message. Instead of candy, he said, " I want to buy you a book for Easter."

Caught off guard, I scoured my brain for what I wanted -- I don't often allow myself to spend money on a book for my own pleasure. I hemmed and hawed, warning my chronically impatient hubby I might need some time to find a book because I had nothing in mind.

"That's OK, he said, "I'll meet you in the car."
When he mentions "meeting in the car", it's a signal he's on his way out the door and it's time to grab my keys.

Off we went to Books A Million. Bookstores are my favorite places to visit and libraries are next on my list. Even though I carry long lists of books I want to order at the well stocked library here, I was not motivated to own any of those titles.

Even paperback books are expensive, so I limit the ones I buy to gifts and titles I want to study: read with a marker and pen in hand. The only exception is a story for traveling. Often I will buy a paper-cover volume to carry when flying -- or buy one at a lay-over.

I knew of one Amish story not available through the library but on the "Centerpoint" ( religious) shelf at BAM. "I could take it on my May flight to see my kids in Michigan, " I thought. Still, it was a treat to have time to browse in my happy place, so I gazed on display tables and walked the "new releases" aisle.

After a while, I had a feeling JK might be tapping his foot somewhere in the store so I strode the aisles in search of him. I discovered him head down, deep in the pages of a chess book. He did not look up when I notice him so I quickly turned away to explore further on my own. As I turned, a floor-stacked pile of books caught my eye. The top title was Plum Lovin' a Janet Evanovitch detective story -- not related to the "Travel" sign that identified that area. I picked it up to inspect, but laid it down when the next one in the stack caught my eye : Entering the Castle Caroline Myss' newest book. Twenty-seven pages into The Castle, I looked up.

This was the book I had been led to, and since I dove right in, it must be the book I am meant to read. The introduction by Ken Wilbur explains seven stages of spirituality and Myss' first chapter tells how she was led to pen the book.

Reading it seems perfect at this point in my spiritual journey. Recently I have felt lost, a boat adrift. Not carried by a strong current I have been blown here and there by surface waves. Maybe this volume will anchor me or be a rudder-- that had surely been true of Sacred Contracts, an earlier book by Myss.

Yellow marker and pen in hand, I'm rereading the volume beginning from Wilbur's introduction. I have my fingers crossed -- hoping for great spiritual revelation.

Release From Financial Insecurities

Yesterday, a friend back home, sent me a "financial prayer",

Heavenly Father, most Gracious and
Loving God, I pray to You that You abundantly bless
my family and me. I know that You recognize, that a
family is more than just a mother, father, sister,
brother, husband and wife, but all who believe and
trust in You.

GOD, I send up a prayer request for financial
blessing for not only the person who sent this to
me, but for me and all that I have forwarded this
message on to. And that the power of joined prayer
by those who believe and trust in You is more
powerful than anything. I thank You in advance for
Your blessings. God, deliver the person reading this
right now from debt and debt burdens.


Release your Godly wisdom that I may be a good
steward over all that You have given me GOD , for I
know how wonderful and mighty you are and how if we
just obey You and walk in Your word and have the
faith of a mustard seed that You will pour out
blessings. I thank You now Lord for the recent
blessings I have received and for the blessings yet
to come because I know You are not done with me yet.
Amen

The prayer made me think of being released from financial worries. That concept is part of the my Twelve-Step Program's "Promises",
"...fear of financial insecurities will leave us..." The same idea appears in every Twelve Step group I have attended. Though it is often worded a differently among Adult Children of Alcoholic, Alanon and AA, the essential promise remains.

As part of my before sleep ritual, each night I pick up my spiral bound bedside notebook and list five things I am grateful for. One circumstance I often think of is "enough" money. I can't define "enough"but each night when I look back on the day and create my five items, there has been "enough" money for the day.

My bills are paid, there's gas in the car, food in the cupboard and even extra money to buy myself a donut or cup of Starbucks.

One day at a time I am grateful, one day at a time I acknowledge a part of all I have been given. Thus, the Twelve Step Promises continue to be fulfilled.

FULL MOON: Construction Dreams

The moon is nearly full and I am again having VIVID dreams! Every night it's like going to the movies. The one major difference is, I can't choose what to see. My dream- self shows me a story either related to recent worldly days or images that apparently come from the collective conscious that psychiatrist Carl Jung first described and named.
Last night I was in the collective unconscious again -- a construction theme. This time I was surprised. I did not see deep ruts in the soft earth like those left by huge earth-movers, or concrete walls, a partly done shell of a building. No. Last night I was walking along a divided highway under construction. It was already at the packed sand or graveled stage, the next step was likely to pave it or set concrete forms and pour sections.

I was headed to a meeting of some kind and had to leave my car at the end of the completed highway and walk in to sit with the group. When I returned, the construction crew's progress surprised me. They had completed a l-o-n-g section of the roadway. It reached far past where I had left my car. Thus, I worried about the well-being of my little white auto. However, the crew had been thoughtful and somehow they moved my car. It was waiting for me -- safe and sound -- where I met the new road.

I consider my life's spiritual/soul path is represented by the roadway "under construction". Some deep unknown part of me develops every day. Thus, I am encouraged that a surprising amount of the path that was completed while I was not paying any attention.

That was a happy dream.

FROGGY

A Frog. A frog sitting on a lily pad. The frog jumps from lily pad to lily pad.

This image has been running around in my head ro nearly three weeks. Odd little happenings have increased my curiosity, too. A cople days after the froggy image first came to me, I sat in my writers' group listening to stories as each person's turn came up. One man was writing a story about the civil war. He was reading a battle scene and one of the soldiers' name's was "Froggy." Odd name for a soldier and since I had frogs in the back of my mind to start with, I recalled it.

A few days later, my husband received a card from his daughter who lives out west. IN the packet were scribbled from his 3 year old grandchild, a packet of Morning Glory seeds, some potpourri, a a thank you card and a home-made Happy Sp ring greeting. ON the front of the folded construction paper, his daughter had drawn a frog sitting on a lily pad. When you open it, he frog is hopping away, and all you see are its extended legs. I thought, Clever!... Artistic... " then frowned... another FROG!

So what's this FROG thing about, anyway?

Yesterday, I told this frog story to my spiritual group.

I feel like a frog who sits on a lily pad, hopping to others now and then.
I once was a tadpole. I swam in the stream of willingness-- I knew what God wanted from me and I was in "the stream" of doing it. Little by little, though, I changed. MY tail got shorter and as I grew legs, it disappeared and I crawled up on land before hopping to a lily pad. Now as a frog, I have lost my sense of "being in God's stream". I hop to one thing, then jump over to another.

I don't know the end of this story, but I'll keep trying to find it.

A guy sitting next to me at the meeting drew me a cartoon of a frog sitting on his lily pad looking around. The caption was, At least you've got your own pad!"

Well, after the meeting, a gal came up to me and said, "you know Frogs turn into princes." She was smiling and all happy at that ending.

"A Prince?" I thought, Hmm.

A last commenter said, "It could mate with another frog and reproduce."
( There's a thought! They'll have to be spiritual children, though. I am PAST having babies.)

As I drove home, I thought, "What can happen to a frog? What is its next cycle, stage or development?" Then it occurred to me a frog can be eaten by ANOTHER creature-- a snake, an alligator, or a large bird. Maybe that's next for me, to be taken over by some larger creature and work from inside it -- to influence it and to carry God's will on from there.

Maybe you , my blog reader have yet another idea!

Tuned into Cents ( Sense?) Again

I pushed my driver's door and leaned out into the bright sunlight. As I swung myself out, I looked down and spied a penny.

I pick up pennies whenever I see them. I don't pay any attention to heads or tails up. I see them all as "pennies from heaven." They seem to mark some unknown inner path. When I am " not connected to my intuitive muse, I seem to see no cents, even though I often search roadside gutters-- a haven for lost coins.

The cent was dated "1967." It was minted forty years ago. It's also one of the original wholly copper coins. Pennies also became "sandwich" money after about 1977. Current coins are copper coated zinc.

It is my custom to consider a found coin's date: what was I doing then, what could be important to me today as it relates to my life then.
Immediately I noticed several facts. One I was in my first year of marriage that year. It was the year I became pregnant for my first child.
Those two events sealed my fate for the next twenty-five years.

As I pondered these facts, I walked across the half empty parking lot headed for the Books a Million. Before I was half way to the store, I notice a second cent. I swooped down on it. It was so beat up I could not read that date. However, I clutched it as I continued on my bookstore route. Finding two pennies in different locations in a space of less than five minutes was rare.

In fact, during my first year of living in Gainesville though I had found few coins. It wasn't that I didn't look. Often scuffed along sand and detritus in roadway gutters and scoured the tiles near cash registered at the malls at food court payment areas. Still, I had found few coins.

I wondered about all this. On several Sundays, I heard my priest mention "parish pay" a credit card option. From his comments, I concluded many students carried no cash and relied entirely on plastic payment. Since I increasingly put my purchases on plastic, I thought perhaps the University's young folk were hauling this area of Florida more quickly toward a cashless society. Thus, I explained away my dearth of "found" coins.

However, during the last week, my incidentally coin finding suddenly flourished. On March 13th I found a nickel and two pennies. The Jefferson Head and one of the Lincoln's I picked up in an intersection while I was doing my daily walk. The other I picked up on the tile of the room where I attending a spiritual meeting. On March 15th I found six pennies. Two shined up at me from the floor of the same room where I found the solitary cent the previous day. While I was out walking I wondered over these two dated 2005 and 2006. During that outing, I discovered four more cents in one side of an roadway crossing. Two were so mangled by their pavement encounters that their date was obliterated. The other two read 2006 and 2005.

Today is March 17th: St. Patrick's Day and my older grandson's birthday. Since my coin finds are both more numerous and coming closer together, I carefully considered the day's finds again. The all-copper penny was clearly readable: 1967. The other was apparently copper/zinc and required strong light and a magnifier to make out it's minting which appeared to be 2005.

What does it all mean? For one thing, it seems I was wrong about coins not being "out there" to be found. It was more likely coins are still waiting to be found in all manner of places. The truth is I have not been in a spiritual space where I "saw" them.

So what can the two St, Patrick's Day dates mean to me? Stay tuned.

Dear Blog-Readers,

Dear Blog-Readers,

The tale of woe I posted yesterday shows clearly how quickly I can be overcome by aspects of my "victim mentality."

Clearly, my need to be a "smart girl" brings on a dark side that can bring me grief. Somehow I have it in my head that if I am a "smart girl", if I understand a situation well, I can avoid trouble. If I had already met with "trouble" I can also get out of it.

Ha!

I forget that God has a plan for me. I forget that I am doing the best I can in all my endeavors. If I feel angst about a situation it be not because I made a "mistake", not because I was "dumb" but because I am clearly human.

Since I wrote that essay of darkness, I gained my higher self again. I am not sure how, perhaps I had a need to DUMP -- to give the dark girl a voice. All I am aware of is that ( seemingly) I captured my husband's attention over dinner and told him some of my sexual health concerns in the 21st century. I told him that in my single years I had not had sex without first trotting us both to a health clinic for testing.

I mentioned that he was different only because he had been out of the partnering cycles for so long and had no side effects from his earlier "heavy dating".

He took it all in. His only comment was he did not know why I was so worried, "I love you. I plan to spend the rest of my life with you."

In my doubting mode, his words were unconvincing.

So what changed me? I'd tell you if I knew, but I don't.

However it happened, the DARK GIRL is gone.

Praise be!