The metaphor of the eaglets….

This is the time of year I check out the Decorah Eagles
webcam frequently—more than once a day! And this week,
Holy Week, or Passion Week, on the Christian calendar,
two tiny eaglets arrrived within 48 hours of each other.

They are so cute with their little black ‘masks’ and their ‘egg beaks’, as they bobble about, learning everything for
the first time. And the huge Eagle parents are so gentle with them, even though the eaglets could be squashed with one sharp claw.

This morning I thought of the metaphor they represent: how
God is so powerful He could squash us with one blow, yet He is gentle and loving as we bobble about, trying to learn, and sometimes, like the eaglets, toppling over. While we
can’t see our growth as easily as we will see that of the eaglets,it’s there as we learn from Him, accepting His loving care.

Walking thru passion week, we see the apparent loss of control as Jesus is hung on the cross, and then the miraculous Resurrection we will celebrate on Sunday.
We see the despair of the disciples turned to joy as they begin to understand God’s purpose.

Like the eaglets, may we grow and change, and finally, may
we fly!

Enjoy the miracle of Easter! ( and google “Decorah Eagles”
to see what I’m talking about.)

I see more clearly now…..

Yes, the cataract surgery was successful, and altho I don’t describe the miracle some do, I do notice the difference. I have been cleared of restrictions on activity, and can now pick up my cat, as well as other things that land on the floor….
In the midst of 4 x a day eye drops, I have been intensely busy. hence the delay in this note. Apologies to some of you who wondered what happened. And yes, they insert a new lens, in my case to aid my distance seeing. Eventually, I will purchase reading glasses for computer and other close work.

Thanks so much for your prayers and thoughts; the least favorite part of this is going thru this without a spouse, but my grateful thanks to friend Karen who sat in the lobby with her laptop thru the whole procedure!!!

On April 14 I have a short visit with the doctor before he performs surgery on the left eye. Hopefully this will also go smoothly.

Sorry about the shortness of this note, but it was this or nothing, as I must dash off on some errands. Some day I will write about the marathon of activity yesterday….til then…
love, Rosalie

When confusion clears….

I’ve spent the last few days needlessly worrying about something that was unnecessary. In the efforts to get my primary care doctor to comply with what the eye hospital wanted for my cataract surgery, I kept emailing her about getting in the approval form ( the information I had, was that it had not been rec’d) I of course leaped ahead to thinking the surgery would be cancelled, etc, etc. That is one of my human frailties.

In desperation, I called the scheduler this morning and learned that someone on the doctor’s staff had apparently FAXed the doctor’s latest encounter with me, and that serves as a pre-op approval. The eye doctor does not need anything more from my doctor or from me! Barring any other ‘disasters’ I will have my eye surgery on March 9, as planned.

What a lesson I need to keep learning; and to think my word this year was ‘notice’ but I did not pay enough attention to who was asking for what, and who sent what, (which I think is true of the primary care doctor as well, I don’t think she really checked out what had been sent, due to her busy schedule.)

Again I learned that God does hold all in His hands, and I just need to be sure I have all the facts before I run down the tracks of worry and leaping to the worst possible conclusion. May I hold this lesson as I go thru the stages of the surgery and recuperation and not ‘leap to conclusions’ that are not even there.

Ill report back after surgery!

Seeing in the fog….

Recently I was returning from church, and approached the bridge I cross each Sunday.  Suddenly the entire bridge was encased in fog ( we’ve had some very foggy days prior to the current refreshing and windy rain that we are having right now).  I literally could see only a few vehicles ahead, but I continued on, praying that God would guide me in spite of the poor visibility.  It’s good that I travel that road often because I knew there would be a signal light at the other side of the bridge.  I could not even see the lights til I was about 3 car lengths before it—thankfully it was green so I passed through, and made a left turn at the next light, still in fog. Once I got away from the bay, the fog lifted, and visibility was normal.  The metaphorical implications are obvious:  so often our lives are ‘in the fog’ we do not know what’s just ahead. We live in a world where changes in health, injuries, losses, can happen with little warning. I think I would like the security of knowing what’s ahead, but God in His wisdom knows I would just worry all the more, so He asks me to trust that whatever circumstance, He will give me strength when it happens. So in waiting for medical tests, wondering if my cat’s cough is serious, or grieving the loss of a close friend, I carry on, til the light is clear, and I again can see the next few miles. Whatever fog blurs your vsion now, remember that it is not we who know the future; it’s our job only to move within the range of what we can see.

PS I’m scheduled to have cataract surgery in March and April so hope that physically it will improve my driving capacity!

Christmas in the air….

As I walk down the halls of my apartment building, the scent of pine and fir fills the air—many residents have fresh wreaths on their doors, and those who don’t have other holiday decorations….we have no snowflakes in air, but we’ve had a lot of raindrops, for which we are thankful. It seems the long dry season is at an end in most of California.

The usual ringing of Salvation Army bells greets us outside the grocery store, and the parking spaces are hard to find. I have managed to avoid most of the shopping malls, but the lines at the post office can be long, too.

This year is bittersweet as I think of several close friends who are very ill. My heart breaks for them in a special way, as it reminds me of what Roger and I went through some three years and more ago.  This world is tenuous, and fragile and temporary. The only solution is to take the eternal view: this world in not our home, just a stopping place. But that doesn’t lessen the pain of separation and loss.

And so Christmas is a time filled with emotions: joy, fear, expectation, waiting—just like that first time.

May we enjoy our families and friends with special care and love. May we see God in all of this.

Giving Thanks

This year our church made a late decision to join several others in providing 300 thanksgiving dinners ( delivered fully cooked and hot) to some needy families in our neighborhood.  We got a referral from some schools, and made some contacts.  I signed up to help pack food early thanksgiving morning. Then, the day before, they still needed more cornbread, so I brought some of that too.  About 100 volunteers from about 4 churches were involved in the project.  The worst part for me was being up and dressed and ready to go by 7:30 a.m.

When I arrived I was assigned to fill small containers ( with covers) with gravy.  The ladies behind me were filling the same size containers with cranberries.  All went well, except we weren’t postively sure how many packed lunches we  would have turkey for, so when the call came, stop! we are out of turkey! I was still filling gravy containers.  Turns out in their enthusiasm, the crnberrry ladis borrowed some of my containers and I was 30 short. Someone ran off to buy more containers,and I had a tense wait before I could finish. But we finally did, and an hour early at that. And an hour later, all the cleanup had been done too,and I was on my way home for buffet lunch here with three other ladies.  Later that afternoon I took a short walk with a couple of my Vi friends ( lovely afternoon, with color still on some trees—yes, we have fall color here in California!)

I ended the day watching a Hallmark movie, too tired to do much else.  But I had a good feeling for “giving back” as most times I feel I’m too old to do that sort of thing. I guess there are a few things I can still do.

At the buffet we talked a bit about being thankful for the ‘down’things as well a the good things.  So true in the community where I live. We agreed it’s best to do what you can, while you can.While I can walk and stand, I will; while I can see I will continue using my computer and reading books and writing poetry ( now and then).

October Daze —

Here it is almost Halloween, and I have been ‘too busy’ to even
update my blog. So here goes: The 1st few days of October I was in Ashland, Oregon seeing Shakespearian plays and more modern works.[ “the tempest”, “two Gentlemen from Verona”, “Into the Woods”, and “The great Society”–this last about LBJ ] I enjoyed it thoroughly, and the group, organized by a local church, got us into a great little hotel not far from the theaters ( one outdoor, two indoor), right next to downtown resaurants. The weather was good, altho a little early for fall color. Forty eight of us rode a comfortable tour bus from Los Altos to Ashland, and I was able to park my car in the church parking lot, so the logistics were easy. The company was congenial, and probably the best part was the opportunity to interact with one of the cast members and get a sense of what it’s like to be in Ashland Repertory. I was home for 5 days, then on to Chicago and southern Wisconsin. This time I had to plan all the logistics, airfare, bus to Rockford, rental car to Wisconsin, and driving to the motel on roads in constant state of construction.
My siblings and wives and a nephew and niece and her husband joined me for dinner in Spring Green; the next day I drove with my Mpls brother and wife to the cousins reunion on the property that was once the Davis farm, where my brothers and I grew up. We were 16 for lunch, some spouses and a couple of next-generations, but mostly the counsins themselves. The trees we planted in memory of my father and his eight siblings are still surviving. It was a very good opportunity for conversation with many I only see once a year; and I did also see friends in Chicago one evening, so I could hardly have packed more into the time I was there. But then I came home to lots of paperwork that had stacked up while I was gone, and a committee meeting to lead.
After all that activity I find I need some time to just be quiet and alone with my kitty ( and she misses me so much she doesn’t mind the attention when I return!).
As I look at the final week of October I see that I have committed to two dinners and one lunch, plus decorating pumpkins for folks at the care center and taking the annual wellness test. ( they will no doubt ask me to spell world backwards, and count by 7’s from 100 backwards, as well as time, date, state, president, and a few other questions that hopefully I will answer correctly assuring me another year’s stay in independent living unless I fall and break something.!!!) And I must fill out my absentee ballot this weekend, too. Somehow life seems to be filled with more on the ‘to do’ list than I want, even tho the individual events are fun.
We’ve had lovely days, altho we still pray for rain…there was enough last week to give us some hope, but not much.

May your autumn be filled with gold and orange leaves, and may no black cats cross your path!

“What do you do with all your time?”

This question is usually asked by folks not in retirement, and often by those who are not widowed. The retired widows and wodowers know well enough what we are doing—or can imagine something similar: Trying to keep up a household by yourself, for one thing. Even in an apartment, batteries need changing,
laundry and dishes need doing, cleaning the spaces the housekeeper never gets to, and an interminable filing of papers!
In addition are medical appointments, visitors from out of town ( we love them, but obviously it does fill the schedule). Caring for the cat, including getting her claws trimmed, as one person cannot do this alone, keeping up with my own medical shots–just had a call from the doctor’s office it’s time go in for standard blood work, running back and forth to the eye doctors to determine when is the right time for cataract surgery.

I’m about to turn the calendar page to October, and I will be going to Ashland, Oregon on a four day bus tour with a group to see some plays. But I know I will come home to a full mailbox, and again, things demanding my attention. This fall I have “signed up for” some heavier leadership in our Saturday Bible Study here at the Vi, and a once-a-month small group elsewhere, which requires extra study between times. Today I drove to the east bay, encountering more than usual traffic and road work to help put together supplies for our churchs’ Kids Club program at a local school. By the time we put it all in the calendar ( oh, yes the car needs to be taken in for standard service). it does add up. So the next time you see a senior of about 75, don’t think he or she has all the time in the world to gaze at the roses—not if they are at all like the ones I know.

And if you have a schedule like mine, thank God that you can still carry on relatively independently. Just try to balance the demands on time and attention. ( do I really need to read that book?). And yes, I spent 2 hours every night last week watching “The Roosevelts”, and felt it was well worth it.

What are you doing with your time?

Remembering Roger

Remembering Roger… died, August 11, 2011

The third anniversary of Roger’s death…I want to remember the good things even though it’s difficult not to focus on the hard death ..the 24 hours when I knew he was suffering, and I was seemingly incapable of doing anything about it…

I remember so many days in retirement when he was bent over the computer: reading news from around the world, working on church governance issues, or perhaps the next adult class he would teach, focused on the Christian and present-day issues. I guess he would be happy that I took the time to write a book review that dealt with Christian and Culture—whether it gets printed or not.

I sometimes wonder what Roger would think of my life now: I imagine him stroking the new cat a got a year after our old cat died. He would have been reluctant to take these steps, yet I think he can understand why I needed this comfort of a living creature to care for. ( well, perhaps not when she had to go to ‘urgent care’ for an upper rspiratory infection and be placed on two medications—but he would have helped hold her down!

I remember his love of the landscape, not only California, but the Wisconsin hills and the great week we had in Door County, and driving through the vineyards of Tuscany in 2010. One of the things I said to him after he was diagnosed with cancer, and before we knew his death would be that immenent, was ‘we’ve had a good life’—and of course because we did his absence leaves a bigger hole, and I still struggle to be who God wants me to be as a ‘solo’ person.

I remember the hard times too, the massive renovation jobs we tackled, including the apartment complexes. It was of course God’s providence that brought us to senior housing 6 years before Roger died, so I had none of those real estate issues to deal with. But at the time, I would be so weary of working til midnight to get the water turned on, or coming home from church to face a pile of debris that needed cleaning up.

How do you honor a dead spouse on the anniversary of his death? By acknowledging the grief, by shedding the tears, if there are any left, by being thankful for what you had, the direction God led you in your lives,by holding fast to the promise that God will lead you now too. Maybe by looking at the photos, and remembering.

July: where did it go? where did I go?

I have not posted in so long they have changed the configuation of the website, so I’m not even sure what I posted last, but I’m pretty sure it was prior to July.  Ten days in Minnesota, one of the rainy-est I recall in my summer visits, but that has its benefits; didn’t seem as hot altho it was humid.

My prime reason for this visit was wedding of a nephew; the dinner before wedding at their home was such fun, and so pleasing to see the lovely place they will live, hopefuly for many years. Wedding at Christ Church-Lutheran, a building of historic status, was lovely, and the live flower arrangements I helped my sister in law complete came out beautifully; between wedding preparations we also visitd an interesting museum display at the Russian Museum, and had dinner at the Swedish Institute, followed by a play “My Fair Lady” at the Guthrie Theater.  The day after the wedding I visited Roger’s family at his sister’s home, including his brother from Denver who had not traveled to Mpls for some time. I missed seeing the younger generation ( children of niece and nephew) but another time.

As my brother from Wisconsin, his wife, daughter & her husband were at the wedding, I also had brief connections with them ( we stayed at the same motel, so met for breakfast).

The rest of the month has been catching up on paperwork and committee meeting, social events and dinner with friends here, and making plans for August, which will be someway less eventful, but who knows?  Roger was often in my thoughts as I traveled and especially during the wedding events.  I guess it will always be so.

Oh yes, I came home to a sick cat, nothing serious but did require daily meds for a week, which was a struggle for us both, but she is fine now.

Summer in California has been exceptionally warm for our standards, so we always appreciate the cool fog rolling in at night.  I will miss summer with nice sunsets after 8 p.m., and plants blooming everywhere ( must get back out to Filoli Gardens while their summer blooms are still in view.)

I hope to get back to regular blogs; will report back on my first August event  next week.