My garden in the sky.

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Back to my personal place, the place that’s me, where I can watch unnoticed all that passes below, partake in the vibes of distant conversations without being burdened by understanding or reply. A place where the sky fills two thirds of my vision, and surprises me in sudden glimpses of breathtaking splendor, where I can see the far off hills, be aware of the old church, rooted through the centuries, without the need to visit. Here were God seems closer than my last week away.

Yes that house is far bigger, it has not just a balcony by a beautiful ornate garden, not just  bathrooms, but outdoor hot tub. It’s far more beautifully furnished than mine, has spare bedrooms, a library and study, even a working fireplace and chimney. All these things I love, yet it seems empty even when all the  family are there. The dog is my comfort, we sit, each missing in our different ways. I rub his ears and watch too many movies in an effort to pass the time till my duties are over and I can pass it all back to its rightful owners.

They like it here, anyone would, it has everything ones heart could desire, all but one, my little garden in the sky is the place God and I chat, a place of renewing, somehow his humility doesn’t sit well with opulence – neither does my heart.

It reminds me of a favourite song:

“Make me the king of a vast domain,

With cups of pleasure to ease the pain.

I’d hate it all without Him…”

Life is like that, things can never fill the empty place within. It’s so good to be home where everything reflects our life together, small, cosy, warm spirited – here I can write again.

How could I be so dumb?

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I’d been suffering for several days, angry and worried. You see the cleaners I hired to give my old apartment a professional clean (as per my contract requirement) were anything but professional. I could have done better myself (much better!) especially for the price. It didn’t meet with the inventory clerk’s approval either in spite of my going from room to room making them redo the worst of the stuff. Not only that but they left a mark on the carpet they were suposed to be cleaning, dumped a new tube of putty, my favourite mug and a Virgin hub that I may have to return. I’m being generous saying “dumped” maybe they were not just dumb but deliberately took the stuff.

It’s been keeping me awake wondering if I’ll need to pay to get it all redone or replace the hub etc. Worst of all my landlord is a really good guy and I wanted to leave it spotless.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Finally waking at 2am and immediately hitting the same old theme in my head, I tried everything but no luck. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then I realised what I needed to do – FORGIVE THEM! Problem solved – the few times it came to mind I said in my head, “I forgive them” why spoil my days (and nights)? It’s been several days now  I haven’t even given it a thought. Why didn’t I do that before – it’s such an old lesson.

A new outlook.

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The view from my new apartment.

I’ve often paused on shopping visits to Waitrose to take in the magnificent view from the check out, but never conceived I’d live in a place where I could indulge myself in it constantly. I think my guardian angel was taking notes and passed them on lol!

“I’ve had many troubles, most of which never happened!”

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“I’ve had many troubles, most of which never happened!” Great Mark Twain quote!

That summarizes my last few weeks (during which I’ve barely posted). I might say the troubles did come, but the scary visions of what might come of them didn’t. One of the biggest was a phone call out of the blue during which I discovered my landlord had to sell my cozy apartment I’ve been taking for granted for several years. Not that there was a possibility of being out on the streets, thank God, but still it was like someone wrenched my security blanket away, my personal refuge amidst the storms of life (of which there have been many of late).

One has to delve and face one’s secret fears and mine, I realised, was possibly ending in an unpleasant, dark or uncomfortable place. Being older, an artist, and sensitive to my environment I need a clean, bright, warm, inspiring place in which to function well. I also had to face the possibility that my time in my sweet old English town might be at an end (even my time in the UK). There’s been a kind of pattern to my life and I generally end up moving every three and a half years or so for one reason or another, and I realised it had been three and a half years here.

I know it is always good, every so often, to put everything on the altar and seek God’s will in my life… could He be trying to show me something? Will this be a small change or a big change? I know the best thing one can do with change is embrace it.

Thankfully this change turned out not to be so earth shattering in the end and I hope to soon finalise a contract for a new apartment very close to my youngest daughter’s, it’s clean, light, well kept with an incredible view. not so hard lol!

The major change however was to downsize to one bedroom and also put my name on a two year waiting list for over 60s sheltered housing (cute independent studio flats) with a local church association. Looking to the future I wouldn’t want this to happen in my 70’s!

So all’s well that ends well, change happened but not the scary bit thank God!

I love spring but it’s hard work!

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I’ve been making the most of the sunny weather. I’ve almost finished digging manure into one side of my allotment. Sounds dreadful but it’s actually non smelly matured stuff, (the fresh manure is for autumn I discovered). It’s actually pleasant to work with, though hard work to dig in a foot down!
My baby lettuces are sprouting in their trays getting ready for transplanting and all my other leafy stuff is planted in mini plastic milk bottle “green houses”. (The root veg are waiting on the non manured bed being finished off).
I’ve even planted flower seeds in a kitchen tray for the pots outside my apartment. I love to see the first tiny shoots coming up after the winter. Spring is here, but it’s hard work sometimes – still it will help me get in shape for summer clothes lol!

Often the deciding issue is where and when one stops fighting!

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An old quote says, “if you resign yourself to fate you’ll find fate accepts your resignation.”

The last couple of weeks have been a time of heavy battles. The first – my youngest daughter’s family’s urgent move was completed yesterday and a resounding victory!

The 2nd. battle followed hard on its heels when 2 days ago my grand daughter in China escaped a diabetic coma by minutes. It was a total shock as, as far as we all knew, there was no diabetes in either family. She could have died or suffered serious repercussions, but God is merciful, and she was in a hospital when it hit and was soon out of immediate danger.

The battle continues for the next step that her pancreas can recover and produce the insulin she needs to avoid being diabetes one and needing daily shots. After that it will be for a full recovery. Sometimes prayer is instant and sometimes, like this, goes in stages. The former is much easier. I’ve learned never to accept an impossibility or half way answer, but sometimes the battle is long fought.

Another daughter is an encouraging illustration of this. Not accepting her autistic child being diagnosed as “severely retarded” she hung on in there for over 5 years till now his evaluation is “higher functioning” (will she stop there? I doubt it!)

There’s always the temptation to “make do” with half an answer, when, if we continue to fight on we can have what we really need. It’s a balance between facing realities (faith is not living in la la land) and still expecting miracles. Visiting my daughter’s family’s new apartment, sun streaming through the windows, walls immaculate, her husband now in a well paying job after starting from scratch in the UK I thank God we hung in there and claimed  above our expectations. God willing (which He is) this new battle will end the same, in total victory.

For all of you brave folks facing similar battles, I pray, tough as it is, that you will come through to glorious victory.