Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Pearl Anniversary

Today my husband and I celebrate the Pearl Anniversary, or thirty years together. Someone said to me once that if they made it to thirty years with their
spouse it would be an accomplishment. I guess in some ways it is, but for me, it is more about sticking to a promise to tough it out in good times and bad.

Leading up to this day for the past week, I have thought about advice I'd give a couple just starting out. There are so many important things I could tell a young couple about all the good things that will come their way. And marriage is just that and more, as it is full of many good things and good times. It is full of great accomplishments, goals met, job promotions, new houses purchased, families being started and all the joys life can bring your way with your life partner. These truly are the best of times in a married couples life and they shine like the stars in your bank of memories of years together. I think every one expects that it is in these moments that will keep their married life fresh and together for the long haul. But just how true is that statement?

While marriage is a wonderful thing between two people, it is also not easy to say the least. Couples grow together when the tough times creep into their lives. It is in the not so pretty times that you know what your relationship is made of when you can weather the storm with a person and still like them on the other side. There may be periods that you might not even like the other person very much, but underneath all of that, there is a mutual love that you know you can not live without. It is in the hard to get through, toughest moments in a couples life that cements their relationship and once they see past all the hard, there is an easy, comfortable existence that compares to none.

I myself, could not have read how each chapter in our lives would have turned out all those years ago. I certainly like most, expected rainbows and flowers for the rest of my days and forgot to even think about the storms that would surely come before all the beautiful days. I have learned that to have one, you certainly have to have the other. I don't think thirty years ago, I truly had an appreciation of the character of the man I promised to love forever and always. It took all of those not so easy times to see and appreciate all the qualities that I would admire in the years to come. It is in the middle of the hard and difficult days that come into your life that you realize who you want by your side, who you want to hold you up when you can't hold yourself up any longer, who you can trust to always catch you when you fall.

Is it easy? is not. I don't believe there is ever a perfect anything, and if you want to strive for perfect it takes so much work, so much forgiveness, so much turning the other cheek, so much giving in to things when you want to hold on to resistance, so much letting go of how you think things should be and accept how they actually are and finding your happiness in the middle of all of that.

A little over thirty years ago, I happened to find myself in front of the most incredible man, and at the time, I could not even imagine how that chance meeting would have been the one thing my heart was searching for. Thirty years ago today, in front of a hand full of people, we promised to love each other in the good and the bad, we promised to not give up and keep loving each other and to stick it out. A simple promise.....but it takes a lot of commitment to keep it.

It's hard to believe where thirty years have taken us, we have had so many wonderful times and celebrations in our lives as well as so many brokenhearted and sad times. Have things always gone the way we thought they would? I'd have to surely say, no they have not. But I can't think of where my life would be or what road I would have taken had it not been for the one I chose all those years ago with my husband. In the last thirty years, we have lived life...just the way it is intended to be lived, with in your face moments of grief and also over the top joys of the heart. I find it hard to believe it has only been thirty years. Where has the time gone? It seems it has slipped away in a blink of an eye.

Steve and I have built a life for ourselves in the midst of the hard, the not so pretty and maybe in the middle of not liking each other at times. That is the normal things the pick at the heartstrings of couples, it is in the wading through all of that when you can appreciate that there is something more deeper and meaningful than all the hard times that come. It is in knowing that plans change, people change and sometimes lives change but when you have the one person who is your best friend, it lightens the load and calms your spirit.

Thank you Steve for thirty years of your life! We have a great life, great family and we have worked ever so hard to be where we are today. We have made it through tough times that we thought we surely would not walk away from. Together we follow the road of life's journey and hold each other up if need be. I consider it an honor to be by your side each and every day. Where one might be weak, the other is strong, and where one might not be wanting to start something, the other is there to give a nudge.....firmly if need be. Thank you for putting up with all my insecurities, frustrations and trying to keep quiet when I drag stuff home you think I don't need. Thanks for being my partner, today and always.

........and if your reading this and you are looking for the perfect partner in life, I am not sure there is a perfect one out there. You can try and find them, but truthfully, no one is perfect all the time. You have to make up your mind that working hard, loving when it is hard, and moving forward on days you feel like giving up will all be worth it down the road. Life is intended to be lived with someone by your side, someone you can trust, and someone who makes each day a little bit better. Thankfully, I happened to find myself in front of that very person all those years ago, and to this day, am incredibly thankful and happy I had the good since to grab hold tight and not let them go. Happy Anniversary, Steve. Thank you for thirty incredible years....I expect thirty more, so get ready!

I told Steve I wanted to plant a tree for our celebration of thirty years. We are planting a pine tree at our new home. I think about what that tree will be like thirty years from now, how large it will have grown, and what we will be like if we are able to stand under the canopy of that very tree in thirty years. It makes my heart smile thinking of this day thirty years from now, and what the days in between now and then will hold.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The New Year Came and Went....

My last post in 2015 was in regards to moving day for us and moving forward. I am sure some of you followed along on my most painful and stressful journey on selling our home and moving. Thank you for all the encouragement and support, as I appreciate each and every comment, email, message of encouragement and sympathy on how I was struggling with all of it. Sometimes good decisions are hard and sometimes they are harder to move forward with.

We did get moved into our new home, a week later it was Christmas and then it was all over. It was a good holiday, the kids were here with their special friends and we had a wonderful holiday and then it was time to decide what was going to be my "word" for the new year. Twenty-fifteen was rapidly ending and the new year was just around the corner.

My words for 2015 were "letting go" and to be honest, I could have never imagined what those two words would actually mean and ultimately how they would impact my life as the year unfolded. Absolutely Never. Words have a power like no other when spoken aloud. I reread my post for January of 2015 and was astounded at how things changed and the turns some things took and in ways I never would have dreamed.

The major turn of events during 2015 which lead us on as journey of selling our home were certainly unexpected. The home for me, was one that love built in more ways than one and the only home I have lived in all of my "real" adult life. Thirty one years to be exact, and forty one for my husband. The roots run deep there and the memories embedded even more so. There were so many wonderful memories created inside those walls and also a lot of not so wonderful memories, which we as a family somehow managed to over come. There were memories that were really not significant but when they come to mind, they spark a feeling of fullness and home between the walls of that house. Yes, I know we take our memories with us and that is true enough, but it has been very hard to leave the place where all of those memories were born. I never would have dreamed this past year would lead us to letting go of all things precious to my heart and deciding it was time to move on and into a new house. It has been something that has sparked so many emotions. I still find myself pining for "home" and probably more than I should. I don't think I have ever in my life understood fully what it meant to be "homesick" and I am here to tell you, I have felt that feeling so profoundly and to the depths of my soul. As I type these words, the thought came to mind that my last letting go for last year surly must be these feelings of homesick and focus on looking forward to what all is to come and just hold all that has been so dear to me close to my heart.

I thought at the beginning of the year that "letting go" would apply to me downsizing many of my collections and possibly not buying more to bring into my home. Well, that surely did happen as I had to scale down in a big way before we moved. I sold, and re-homed so many of my treasures that if I think about it all now and the magnitude of what I let go of I find it hard to believe. We lived in a small house, but the house had been remodeled a couple of times in the past, and the house was made to hold all of my collections and treasures. The sheer magnitude of all that was inside the walls of that house was overwhelming when I had to really look at it all. I will say that the powers to be sent the right people to buy my beloved treasures and they all went to good homes. It was really amazing to hear the stories when I had a sale at my home as to how many people had the same affection for the things I have loved for so many years. I honestly thought I'd feel sad when I sold so much of my things, but it somehow was freeing to let a lot of those things go. They served a purpose at another time in my life, but it was time to let those things go and in doing so, things sure felt lighter.

I would have never thought that letting go in 2015 would take me to a place I never thought I would go. Due to many of the complications of selling our home and buying the new house I was forced to make a decision I never in my heart wanted to make. The people who purchased our house in the contract requested we leave "The Chicken Resort" with the sale of the house. I agreed and we signed the contract, never thinking for one minute that in doing so, that things would soon unfold in a way that it would create a hardship of not being able to move the birds with us. The reality of having to make a decision and make a good decision for my beloved flock and their welfare was one that broke my heart into tiny pieces. In the end, I gave them to the people that purchased our house. They were every bit as excited and happy as I was devastated and sad. However, in my mind, that was my chickens home and the only home they had known, and surly they would be happier there in their own home than any other temporary housing I could come up with for them. The having to let go of my chickens is such a sadness that I can hardly type the words. I miss Benny the rooster more than I care to admit and I spent the last two weeks leaving for work early and driving by my old house and parking in front, just so I could hear him crow. The very idea that I can't walk back into the coops and scoop them all up and hug them and sing to them still breaks my heart. I miss them, and of all the letting go I had to do in 2015, this very one is the hardest of all. I have to put on a happy front, but inside, my heart hurts each and every day when I think of my chickens and not having them here with me. I never knew how a flocks of birds could have such a hold on my heart.

And finally, in moving forward into the new year, I am reminded of all the things I had to let go of in order to propel me into making the decisions we made about our future. I had to let go of thoughts that had been responsible for some negative impacts of my life. Things that for years had me believing I'd never go back to the place where we would end up moving to. Things that if I allowed myself to think about, would cause panic attacks and dread and allowed me only to feel a total since of safety from it all, at our old home, my safe haven. It's funny how it has taken almost a lifetime to over come some of those feelings of fear and dread, and enough so that I moved back to a place I said I'd never return. It is also not so funny how on my very first day back, I was unexpectedly reminded of why I felt that way in the first place for all of my adult life. Some things I guess are never the same, but then again, they never change at all. I now know, I still have a bit of letting go to work on as this new year unfolds, remnants of 2015 if you will, are still around. But I know now, I am at a place in my life that I can do that, I just need a little more time with all of the emotions and newness of what all twenty-fifteen brought about in our lives.

So what are my words for the new year? Well, to be frank, I decided I'd not pick any words for this year. In all honestly, I was afraid to do so after discovering the power of those two words had in my life last year. No matter how hard the letting go was, it will all be for the best as this year unfolds, that I know, but forgive me if I say that I was a little afraid to chose words for this year.

So instead....I am working my way through twenty-sixteen a little differently. I read online about a gratitude/joy jar for each and every day of the new year and knew right away that was something that would benefit me in a huge way. You can see the facebook  post that inspired me HERE. I have added a new button on my sidebar as a reminder to keep adding to the jar, even on days I may find it hard to do so. I expect there to be lessons in this process to learn, and maybe, just maybe ease into this new year feeling a little more positive from all that I let go of in 2015.  Maybe, just maybe this will be a jumping board to eagerly anticipate all that is to come in twenty-sixteen and look forward to it all in a positive and joyful way. 

Happy New Year my friends, be kind to those you encounter either by chance or day to day. You truly never know what kind of inner battle someone may be fighting on the inside, no matter how happy they seem on the outside. Show gratitude and joy in all things....that is my mantra for the new year.

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