Adieu 2020

A year ago, I felt a stir,  
Unlike any I had felt before. 
To go along with what seemed normal,  
Fit with society, in terms of formal.
One might take a path that seems so right, 
Yet wonder why you can’t see the light.  
2020 was certainly a year of change,  
Everyone must have thought it strange.   
A darkness swept across the world,  
A pandemic was hurled; it swept and swirled.   
The lines were drawn with red and blue, 
Each side spoke out to chew and stew. 
In the middle I stood and loved those all around,  
And hoped that each one was heaven bound.  
Doors were shut, emissions went down,  
All the stores and restaurants closed around town.  
The spikes would occur and then down they’d go,  
In hopes of normalcy things started to flow. 
Some might say it’s been a record year,  
And the loss of so many still seems surreal.   
A new year is waiting to open its door,  
Will things be the same as they were before? 
Should you think there's a side that you must take,  
Let’s all be humane, for heaven’s sake.  
No matter what the new year brings, 
With faith, please cling and continue to sing.  
If music's not heard and hope starts to fade,  
Please think of good memories that you’ve already made. 
Someone loves you even more than I do,  
Without him, you would not be you.  
You may not believe- I love you anyway,  
May hope be your anchor is what I will pray.  
“Adieu to this year,” I whispered just now. 
“Happy New Year World!”-2020, PLEASE take a bow.    
K.L. Hale   

Last Christmas I made the decision to begin blogging. I was nervous; but the time seemed right.  And by January I was excited about the winds of change I could feel (did any of us forecast such hurricane force gusts?). 

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This is an excerpt from my journal-January 1st, 2020.  

“Really? It’s 2020.  I was quite sure we would all be flying around like the Jetson’s at this point.  Or at least I thought that as a little girl.  I knew life would be way different.  So many two’s-and the best-two sons, two daughters-in-law’s, and soon, two grandbabies.  And a new 2-digit decade for me.  Overseeing my own destiny sounds intriguing.  But this year I MUST heed to HIS calling.  I’m seeking wisdom with the year of my middle life. Lord, you know my strengths and weaknesses, you know my struggles.  You know my needs, wants, and desires.   You know the path I must take.  It’s to the place where I am authentically yours and yours alone.  And what resides there is my existence that reflects you.  Thank you, God, for your love, guidance, protection, and blessings.  “Listen,” you say.  “I hear you,” I reply.  I’ve heard you most in the quiet. And I’ll return to my small place to grow my grit and nurture my soul.  Lord, I seek you in everything I do. I don’t know what this year will bring.  But I do know this. Because of you I have the courage to begin writing.  I came up with a name for my site, “Flannel with Faith”.  You are telling me I can do this.  It is time.  It might be messy.  And I’m to stand amid the mystery and become more comfortable embracing it.  I can face it and embrace it.  But suppressing it is not good.  I no longer fear it.  Growth is slow and meandering.  And we grow through our trials.  And at times, pruning is necessary.  And endings can be necessary too.  Help me to remind others of their value, strengths, and abilities.  Guide my writing.  I pray protection over my family, loved ones, and friends.   You’ve given me the strength to step out.  For with you, I am never alone.   This is going to be a year of change.  The dreams I had as a young girl, that were wrapped in neat little boxes, have been taken down from the shelf and handed to me once again, just as you’ve done before.  They’re dusted off. “Open them,” you said.  2020, I don’t know what you’ll bring.  But I am ready.”

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3

I dedicate this post to our fellow blogger, Bill Sweeney, (“Unshakeable Hope”) who finished his race and fought a great fight of faith since his diagnosis of ALS at the age of 36.  He lived 24 years longer than the doctors had given him.  He lived to encourage and give hope to others.  May that be an example to us all. Peace and blessings my friends.

Have faith 💚

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Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

Unwrap

There’s going to be a lot of unwrapping taking place soon. Growing up I would anticipate hearing a BOOMING “HO HO HO” each Christmas morning. Admittedly, I had a little fear. My sisters and I would race to the living room to see what gifts were left. There’d be one gift we never unwrapped (given by the man in red). As we near the end of a year we’ll never forget (or wish to forget) and the Christmas season, I’ve been doing some unwrapping of my own.

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Have you unwrapped yourself? Are you just breathing? Are your dreams and soul slowly dying due to despair or toxic ruminating thoughts that can’t be overcome? Does your life revolve around the screen of a small device~no thinking, no planning, no dreaming…just scrolling, observing, judging, and wondering? I’ve been there.

It’s taken me years to unwrap some of the ties that have bound me (spiritually, mentally, and physically). Physicians have “unwrapped” my physical package of brain injury, mild cognitive impairment, diabetes, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, gene mutation (w/blood disorder), severe osteoporosis, arthritis, and let’s throw in I’ve been blonde most of these years (a gift by choice 😉).

I allowed these diagnosed conclusions to dictate my own healing-even suffering from our own healthcare crisis in this country that wanted to provide me the “gift” of healing-if only I paid. To those that have suffered loss in this pandemic-my prayers and condolences. To those who have lost anyone they love, my heart goes to you. To those who suffer daily with lack of food, shelter, clothing, and love-I see you, I pray for you. I’ve seen miracles, even in my own family, due to the gifts and talents of wonderful and caring doctors that do exist. But I was solely leaning on the filters of each individual expert to guide my existence. I won’t be hard on them. Each doctor has been wonderful. They might fix what is wrong at the moment, but they can’t maintain my own health. I’m going to be harder on myself. Not because I don’t love myself. It’s the exact opposite. I’ve taken my healing into my own hands. And to do this it had to start deep inside me~a soul healing had to occur first. I loosened and dropped the ropes of rejection, religion, rebellion, regret, regurgitation, reaction, resentment, rhetoric, and retaliation. Although, without all the tension I’ve placed on my soul strings, my best music may have never been produced.

Through the unwrapping of solutions (that just make common sense) I’m on a better journey to doing the things I used to do. There will still be pain. But I can manage it for now. Here are the gifts I give myself daily:

  • Morning meditation and quiet time with God (now and until the end of time I will start this way). It’s during this time I pray and greet gratitude. Typically my neck and back hurt very badly first thing, so it’s essential I begin the day “gracefully”.
  • Stretching -my back, my neck, and my mind (I love learning something new each day). I have a stretching routine that I follow each day-from floor to upright. It feels so good when I’m standing to even reach my hands as far behind my back as possible with thumbs up.
  • Exercise-even if minimal. I know that my heart needs to function at it’s best level. And by taking care of myself my heart can help others. My muscles need memory and strength (if you’re suffering from elbow and hand pain I’d suggest you pull back all fingers (no thumb) in a small and loving stretch 3-4 times a day).
  • Good nutrition-I’ve fallen off the wagon here lately. Don’t we all feel awful when we’re putting garbage in? My digestive system thanks me (as does my endocrine system) by eating clean and healthy.
  • Posture-this has been the number one thing that hindered my healing for a while. Not anymore! If I sit, I have a pillow on my lower back to make me “sit up straight” (remember when our Mom’s said, “sit up straight?” Sitting is a tragic thing for me if done too long. It’s a tricky balance for me. Some positions hurt standing and others sitting. Just mix it up! TIP: when standing put your hands behind your back. It forces the neck back instead of leaning forward. According to my chiropractor the number of “tech neck” issues will continue to skyrocket (and our kids have futures of bad necks if we don’t address it now).
  • Limiting my time on social media. I have a timer set for Instagram. By 8:30-9:00 p.m. I will have placed all technology down (or wear my blublockers to read on Kindle sometimes-oops :-). I haven’t been on FB in two and 1/2 years and I don’t miss it. I’m so thankful that those that love me find other ways to keep me in the loop.
  • Deep breathing-typically I will practice breathing activities throughout the day (inhale slowly 8 seconds, hold it 8, and release slowly 8 seconds-it can vary based on your own abilities).
  • Laughter-they say it’s the best medicine. Winter and the stress of moving out of my R.V. has tried to hinder this exercise. I’ve learned through all my experiences that finding a way to laugh is healing. I’ve even laughed through tears.

My prayer is that you’re giving yourself gifts of good health (in all ways). You deserve it! Do what you know you must to maintain your health and spirit. Christmas season is not joyful for everyone. It can be a season of sadness; which can make physical pain worse. Reach out for support if you need. Put down the burden you’re carrying for others. Set boundaries for yourself to empower YOUR growth and health. If you continue to deplete your emotional, mental, and physical energy on things that don’t align with your values you may regress and worse, stop growing and healing. Be kind to yourself.

Unwrap yourself. Take a peek inside. Oh what a gift you are!

Have faith 💚

Afterword

I’ve missed writing. Writing is like breathing to me. I’ve missed reading your posts. I’m beginning a new transition that has taken me some time (and patience). As I stand here writing (I found an awesome stand-up desk from Amazon😉) it dawned on me this is my last Saturday in my R.V. Living tiny has taught me many lessons. I don’t need much. Do I desire nice things and comfort? Absolutely. But I have found the less clutter around me, the less clutter in my head and heart. And what’s left after the clutter is gone is what really matters. When I began blogging at the beginning of the year, while approaching 50, I knew this year would be a game changer. It’s turned out to be a game changer for the world. Goals shift. Life changes. Embrace the simplicity you wish to create to fulfill the journey God has for you. There aren’t wheels under this tiny home I’ve dreamt about for two years (that’s ok; my car has wheels and there are planes to visit my kids and grandkids). But there’s a foundation. Although houses come and go, this footing, near family, and my foundation of faith, is stronger than ever.

Oh, and my Dad stills says “Ho Ho Ho”.