Anything is Possible!

With Faith, Hope and Perseverance


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Signs From the Other Side

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Mary Elizabeth Frye

Since my dad passed away, I’ve seen signs of his light.

The morning after I got the call, this is what I saw in the Tennessee sky

from the passenger side of the car where I rode.

indiana-2017

Dad saying, “Hello. It’s me. I’m okay.”

The morning of Dad’s funeral, I saw this rainbow reflected from an old bottle in my kitchen window. I had never seen this rainbow before.

sign-rainbow-sharper

As we drove home from the funeral/celebration dinner, I saw this sign in the sky. Dad always liked red.

sky-sign-from-dad

Sunday morning morning, a sweet lady, Dad’s contemporary, gave me this card with the poem above about signs.

card

I imagine these signs were easy feats for the man who taught me, “Nothing is Impossible.”

The timing is interesting, though not surprising – my dad died just a few weeks after I retired from my 30 year career, so now I have more time and energy to grieve, to sort through his stuff, and to see the signs.

I’m curious. Have you ever noticed signs?

PS: Jo’s comment below and repost: https://hellsbellsandcreativetails.wordpress.com/2017/02/03/the-odd-egg-a-repost/ reminded me of the water mark heart that appeared on my mom’s bedroom ceiling some time after she died. They slept in separate rooms, but only because Dad snored so loud. I used to think one was a heart and one was an apple, but maybe they are two hearts. Mom was short and Dad was tall, so these hearts could represent the two of them. Now they’re together again. And I bet he doesn’t snore in heaven, or if he does, it’s like music to her ears.

heart-and-apple-on-moms-ceiling

 


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An Extraordinary Man

joanne-and-dadIt’s been an extraordinary week.

The trip to see my grandchildren started out as an adventure since I don’t travel much by myself these days. The first night I stayed with my friend in Chapel Hill, North Carolina at her cozy house in the woods. Her sweet cat, Feather, slept with me. The next day was Saturday. I drove to the mountains to stay with my son in Boone. While my son was at work, I got the phone call from the pastor at my father’s church. He told me my father had passed away. They found him in bed, so I’m hoping he died peacefully.

My father served in the US Marine Corps for 20 years, and I knew he would want me to complete this mission to visit his great grandchildren. (He didn’t believe in calling children kids, because kids are baby goats.) So, I’ve been in Indiana making funeral arrangements by phone with help from my wonderful husband who’s back home holding down the fort. I’m so thankful to not have to go through this alone, though I could have.  As my father taught me: “Nothing is Impossible.”

It was good to have some time alone in my son’s apartment Saturday when I got the news. I went from cleaning his kitchen window, to crying, to cleaning something else, to crying some more. I thought of calling my dad’s older sister, Ruth who is 94 and in assisted living. But first, I called her friend Judy, who takes care of her fiances. Judy told me that Aunt Ruth had been more confused than usual that morning when Judy visited her. She said Ruth asked her, “Is my mother gone?” Judy told her, yes, her mother was gone.

“Is my sister, Margaret gone?”

“Yes, Margaret’s gone,” Judy said.

“Then I’m the only one left.”

“No, You still have your brother Jimmy.” she told her.

Maybe Aunt Ruth already knew, on some level, that her brother was gone. I wonder if he visited her.  Judy said she would go tell her in person the next morning.

Driving to Indiana with my son on Sunday, the clouds hung low in the Tennessee sky. The opening you see in the photo below made me think my dad was peeking through to tell me hello and that everything’s good.

indiana-2017

On Sunday afternoon, I called Aunt Ruth. I told her who I was (she forgets things) and asked how she was. Then I told her my father had died. “Oh, I’m so sorry,” she said. A bit later she asked how Jimmy was. I told her Jimmy had passed away. I had to repeat myself and explain that her brother had died. She said how sorry she was like she was was trying to console me. His death wasn’t a big surprise to her; my father was not in good health. He had a lot of pain from his old war wounds and arthritis and being 85. Aunt Ruth asked me a few more times, “Jimmy’s gone?”  “Yes, Jimmy’s gone,” I told her. “He’s with his wife, Betty. He’s with the Lord. That’s where he wanted to be.” I told her she still had me and her other niece who lives in Wisconsin closer to her, and her friend Judy. Aunt Ruth wants to go be with the Lord, too and can’t understand why she’s still here. Physically, she’s in great shape for 94. Mentally, she gets pretty confused.

My father was an extraordinary man. After serving in Korea and Vietnam and while living with with the horrible memories that haunted him from those wars, he and mom volunteered at their local soup kitchen and drove disabled veterans to the VA hospital two hours away. They led the church youth group on camp outs. Dad sang in the church choir until his voice started squeaking on the high notes. He taught an adult Sunday school class until just a couple weeks ago. And he taught me, “Nothing is Impossible.”

Dad missed mom terribly after she died. I’m glad they’re finally together again.

mom-and-dad-in-54-in-washington

Mom and Dad in Washington DC 1954

My visit with my grand kids, er… grand children, was a good one. I enjoyed the sweetness of holding little ones on my lap as we read picture books.  My dad is glad I’m was with them.

just-jot-january

Just Jot It January is brought to you by Linda Hill. I’ve been waiting for today’s prompt, “Extraordinary,” from Jetgirlcos to get back to blogging by telling you about my father. This post is longer than most of mine, but he’s worth it.


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Tangible Healing

broken-heart-from-pixabay

It was 16 years ago. The emotional pain was tangible. Like the bottom fell out of my stomach and my head was somewhere far away.

I had believed that “to death do us part” meant that we would grow old together, and travel out west chasing the sunsets.

I was willing to work on it, to do my part, be more attentive, go on vacations, whatever.

But it was too late.

They said it was just acid-reflux that made my chest feel so tight, like a fist closing around my heart.

So I had to learn to take slow deep breaths in between the sobs in the hallway sitting on the hardwood floor when the kids had gone to their dad’s new place.

It took time for the pain to subside into mere sadness. Then there were the cover-up rebounds. The first one a disaster, the second better, but stressful and not a good fit. But at least I was  making progress.

Finally, I learned to work on me, and to trust that God had a plan.

Now, my heart sings a new song, better than any song I could have imagined.

Now, the joy is tangible like the ocean waves  caressing my skin, like a cool breeze on a warm day, or a warm blanket on a cold night.

healing

I painted this during the cover-up rebounds.

(The broken heart at the top is from pixabay)

This post was written in response to the Just Jot it January prompt: “tangible,” provided by Prajakta at https://anarmchairperfectionist.wordpress.com/

This post is also for TS.

Except for the last two lines, it summarizes Chapter 13 of my Work in Progress.

 

just-jot-january

The rules for Just Jot It January are as follows:

1. It’s never too late to join in! Here, we run on the honour system; the “jot it” part of JusJoJan means that anything you jot down, anywhere (it doesn’t have to be a post, it can even be a grocery list) counts as a “Jot.” If it makes it to your blog that day, great! If it waits a week to get from a sticky note to your screen, no problem!

2. The prompts will be posted every day at 2am my time (GMT -5). You don’t have to follow the prompt word, but this will be where you leave your link for others to see. Make sure you link your post to the correct day’s prompt. There will be a post like this every day except Wednesday, when the prompt is simply my One-Liner Wednesday, and Saturday, when you’ll find the prompt on my usual Friday Reminder post for Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS).

3. As long as your blog is on WordPress, you’ll be able to link via pingback. To execute a pingback, just copy the URL from the daily prompt post, and paste it anywhere in your post. Check to make sure your link shows up where you want it to, and go back occasionally to see other bloggers’ entries – the more you visit others, the more they’ll visit you! If you’re participating from another blogging host, just drop a link into the comment section. Note: The newest pingbacks and comments will be at the top.

4. Tag your post JusJoJan and/or #JusJoJan.

5. Write anything! Any length will do! It can even be a photo or a drawing – you’re going to title it, right? There’s your jot!

6. The prompts are here both to remind you and to inspire you to write. However, you don’t have to use the prompt word of the day. You can link any kind of jot back here. Even your shopping list. Note: If it’s 18+ content, please say so in a comment with your link.

7. If you’d like to, use the JusJoJan badge (above) in your post so that others can find your post more easily.

8. Have fun!

If you’d like to look ahead to see the upcoming prompt words, click this link: https://lindaghill.com/2016/12/31/just-jot-it-january-2017-rules/ You can always write your post ahead of time and schedule it to come out on the appropriate day.

 

 


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Opening Doors

doorway-to-the-ocean-from-pixabay

It had been a year or more since my last acupuncture session. It gives me good energy and made a headache go away once, but nothing especially dramatic. In October, I ran into the healer at a potluck. I’ve known her for years as a casual friend but had never had an acupuncture session with her until last week – after my body told me to make an appointment. But this was not a typical session. I must have been ready. The time was right. This was my experience:

November 10, 2016,

two days after the sky fell,

Interrupted cries still lingered in my solar plexus

like mucus bogging down muffled screams

waiting to be flushed free.

Then the drunk guy threw a key at me

when I was only trying to help.

Who needs this?

But that cop wasn’t following  me after all

as I pulled into the space

to visit the healer with magic hands

and the skill to find the stuck places.

She began with my old friend,

Lavender,

to settle my nerves.

The first needle only hurt for a moment

as the door opened and sparks flew.

The others didn’t hurt at all.

When qi started to flow,

I almost giggled

then followed her humming

with my own breath –

Inhale, sooooew. Exhale, Haaaaaah,

like the song of the ocean.

Cardamom opened the doors wider.

Right after I turned over onto my back

is when it happened.

My cold hands finally got warm.

Then, I started to cry. And laugh. And cry.

Mama. Mama? Mama!

Is it really you?

Hold me, Mama.

My fingers can’t reach you!

Daddy is hurting. He misses you so much.

You want me to tell him you’re okay?

Mama’s okay, Daddy.

She’s okay.

Tears.

But wait.

Am I supposed to be

learning how to talk to other ghosts?

Or just my own?

Sandalwood brought me back.

Shaking, I drank from the cup of water

and called my father to give him the message

he already knew.

_________________________________________

My mother died November 14, 2008. She collected angels. Dozens of them still decorate my father’s house. He hasn’t moved any of them. And he won’t move out of that house because he feels her presence there.

angels-among-us

Angels Among Us, a mural by JoAnne Silvia


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Being Held

“The world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place.” Casting Crowns
Did I have any inkling of this 15 years ago at the end of a 20 year marriage? If I did,  the inkling was overwhelmed by the grief. But now it all makes perfect sense. Sometimes it’s hard to trust the timing, but God is listening, working with us, and has wonderful surprises in store for us.

Loving Me, Too

“You are being held so strongly and so deeply, that you can stop holding on to, or defending, yourself. God forever sees and loves Christ in you; it is only we who doubt our divine identity as children of God.”

___ Richard Rohr in Breathing Under Water.

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Feral Cats, Part 3

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In Feral Cat Adventures Part 2, I discovered Mama Cat was pregnant again, just as I was getting her 6 month old kittens spayed. Part 3 became a poem. I didn’t mean for it to be so sad, but that’s how I felt about Mama Cat, though she is doing okay now. The kittens are making progress, and we might still have a happy ending.

Wild Mama,  By JoAnne Silvia

 

Who knows how many kittens came in that first litter.

Two remained to be semi-tamed.

But you, you wild thing,

You just did what came naturally.

You must have been off catching mice

While I was making friends

With your two survivors.

You must have been out doing wild things

With the tom cat behind the churchyard.

I don’t blame you, girl.

You just did what comes naturally.

And I was just trying to help

Control the population

So it wouldn’t become a colony.

Did I try to help too much?

Should I have let you have your second litter

Where you felt safe,

Even though the storm was coming

And the tom might have devoured them.

 

I took advantage of your hunger

Just trying to help,

And trapped you in the box

With your babies still in your belly.

They took you away

Tried to make you comfortable and safe

But you didn’t feel safe.

The babies had to come

And you had to protect them.

Doing what comes naturally,

You attacked those who were trying to help

Because you didn’t understand.

You used the only weapons you had,

Biting as hard as you could

Tearing through the flesh.

Scratching and biting again.

So the law came down

And took you all to jail.

You were so confused.

Terrified by the others,

The smell of fear around you,

And the barking dogs.

You couldn’t focus on your babies.

Until they put a cover up

Then you felt safer, but still afraid.

You waited

and did the best you could.

For ten days.

 

They asked me to help

And of course, I said yes.

They took the babies.

And I took you to the place

Where you went to sleep and woke up to pain

And no babies.

I carried you in the box

to a place closer to home.

I tried to talk to you

Tried to feed you.

Your yellow eyes staring holes through my heart.

You only wanted freedom.

 

The next day, I opened the box.

You waited until my back was turned,

Then stepped past my poultry pate peace offering,

And hurried away.

I didn’t know if I would see you again

Or if you could ever forgive me.

But feral cats multiply quickly.

And you will have no more babies.

> <

Mama Cat did come back to the church courtyard yesterday. She seemed happy to see me and readily accepted food now that she is free. Her two older kittens, who I released back at the church after they were spayed, are slowly becoming more social. The younger kittens are being bottle fed in the home of a couple who volunteered for this mission. I get to take two bottle feeding shifts today. We’ll see how it goes.

 


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Seeds of Growth

It was only after my tears had softened the hard soil of grief that I noticed seeds of growth reaching for the light.

Merging Traffic

soil-766281_1280

Take notice of the seeds of growth.
Often they lie, waiting patiently,
in the soil of grief.

© 2016 Dennis Ference

My new book of original inspirational verses, From the Water’s Edge, is now available from https://www.createspace.com/6040109, http://www.amazon.com/dp/1530558018 and Kindle eBooks at Amazon.

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