Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Dear Friends

A Fond Farewell to 2018

Dear Friends,

The last two months I’ve been barely alive on my blog. That’s partly because D and I have gallivanted with family members almost nonstop.

In November we enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with our son, his wife and their three children. It was our last family meal in their big old house plus barn and meadow. We were surrounded by boxes waiting to be moved to their new house (minus barn and meadow). Not in the middle of nowhere, but in the middle of everything—with no big yard or outdoor animals to keep up.

Then we were off to Portland, Oregon for ten wonderful days with our daughter and her husband. It was our first visit to Oregon in over two years. I posted photos here. We did nothing but rest, talk, and eat good food plus some of the other stuff. Fabulous!

Then just before Christmas we spent Sunday in western Pennsylvania with David’s sister, her husband, two adult children, their spouses, a couple of grandchildren, and our son. Lots of good food, lively conversation and catching up with relatives we don’t often see.

Finally, back to our son and daughter-in-law’s new house on Christmas day with their three children, their second set of grandparents, two big dogs and two small cats. There were still boxes to be emptied, and everyone was feeling his/her way along. Nonetheless, they were excited about their new neighborhood and neighbors.

In addition, I talked on the phone with my two surviving sisters, and thought a lot about our sister Diane, and our Mother. I still tear up and grieve their lives and deaths. Both were in their last months during and after Christmas. I’m grateful for the opportunity to visit with them before they died. Mom in 1999; Diane in 2006.

Yet the bottom line isn’t morose. I’m more upbeat and less anxious now than I’ve been for the last few years. Hopeful about many things, but chiefly about my health and well-being, no matter what happens next.

For now, I’m grateful for the opportunity to write from my heart, and belong to the WordPress community. Thank you for all your visits, likes (or not), and comments.

Though things look bleak at the top (speaking of politics), it seems the best place to live is at the bottom. With love and acceptance, without malice, reflecting the light that entered our world at Christmas – one small flame at a time.

Happy New Year to you and yours!
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 31 December 2018
Photo found at fpctyler.com

Packing the easy way

Dear Friends,

No, I haven’t disappeared from the universe. I’m just deep into packing for a trip to visit our daughter and her husband. Sherry took the photo above. The magnolia came from a tree in their yard.

Here’s my old normal way of getting ready for a trip:

  • Update my trip checklist so I don’t get all frazzled
  • Start panicking about getting everything done before we leave
  • Keep doing whatever I normally do
  • Reassure myself that the checklist is really half the work
  • Stay up most of the night before the trip — frazzled
  • Sleep several hours and then get up in panic mode
  • Stuff the last thing in at the last moment
  • Holler for D to sit on the suitcase and help get it closed
  • Leave the house frantic about what I might have forgotten to do or pack

No, I am not one of those frequent travelers who always has a small, compact carry-on and a plan for minimal packing. There are reasons, of course, for my lack of this gift, but I won’t bore you with the details.

So my new normal (assuming I have other opportunities for travel) kicked in the day after my birthday. So far, so good, even though it’s taking a lot of discipline to stay away from my computer and you!

The upside is that I’m not yet freaking out, and might even make it to the front door with time to spare.

I’m taking my laptop (of course!), and won’t make any promises about posting while we’re away. However, photos might be fun to put up. So we’ll see what happens.

Thanksgiving was bitter-sweet for us. We had dinner with our son, daughter-in-law, granddaughters and grandson. Plus their two big dogs and two small cats. They’re planning to move in the coming year. Not sure when, but it was our last Thanksgiving dinner in the old house they moved into shortly after the girls were born.

Thank you for your many good wishes and notes about my birthday. We had a quiet day at home. Neither of us is what you’d call a party animal. Instead, we love quiet days at home, which this time included playing the piano and going for a walk. Plus reading pertinent and impertinent birthday cards. Actually, more than one of them gave me happy tears.

Cheers!
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 November 2018
Photo taken by Sherry Fraser Seckington, June 2015

Am I ready?

Hesitating
My fingers languish
On the keys

Life
Flashes before me
Inviting my company

My heart
Skips a beat
Am I ready?

Dear Friends,

This past week was wonderful. Going through old files and notebooks told me more about my past than I’d remembered. And I didn’t get through everything yet.

Thankfully, my home office is about half transformed! I focused on files and piles, not books and drawers. Breaking my jaw nearly two years ago brought ‘normal’ life to a sudden halt. And the piles began getting larger and larger….

Hidden in all the files and piles, I found several gems. Things I hadn’t read for years. I even read one piece out loud to myself. It was the Sunday morning ‘sermon’ I gave at our last Renich family reunion in 2012. I wrote it so young children in the room would know exactly what I was talking about.

That was the first time I’d ever talked to my extended family about my troubled relationship with my parents. The room was full of family members from at least four generations. I was a trembling wreck after I finished and sat down. I hadn’t yet begun blogging. I just knew I it was time to do this.

Now I’m at another milestone—still blogging, and with the end of my life approaching more visibly than before. ‘The last chapter’ sounds ominous. However, I see an opportunity to write about things I’ve not written about before. Some new, some old. None of it easy.

During the past week I wrote a haiku on most days. I don’t plan to stop that discipline, or writing poetry. I want to let my heart speak to other hearts. I believe that’s what drove Jesus of Nazareth, though some of his words were difficult to hear.

What I practiced giving up for Lent last year is still relevant. This year I’m thinking about it in terms of my writing voice and my desire to let my heart speak to other hearts. I’m using the same litany as my guide:

I let go my desire for security and survival.
I let go my desire for esteem and affection.
I let go my desire for power and control.
I let go my desire to change the situation.

Quoted by Cynthia Bourgeault in Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, p. 147 (Cowley Publications 2004)

As always, thanks for listening.
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 February 2018
Image found at twing.com – Living Words

Taking a break to dream

Dear Friends,

I need a break. Not from you, but to listen to my heart and body. I’m serious about being in the last chapter of my life, and want my writing to reflect this without being morose, and without chasing after things that don’t matter that much on any given day.

For several years I’ve wanted to reorganize my home office to make it user-friendly for me as a writer. Today it still reflects my past as an academic and volunteer against human trafficking. Too much stuff hanging around!

So this week, with D’s good help, I’ll get going on that. Most of all, I want to dream about where I’m headed with my writing in the next months and years.

Here’s the bottom line:
I’m not closing down my blog
However, I won’t post anything for at least this coming week

In the meantime I pray that Lent, which begins on Valentine’s Day, will draw us closer to ourselves, to each other and to our amazing Creator who still chooses to walk with and among us daily. Incognito.

Thanks for being here, and for your encouragement.
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 10 February 2018
Image found at barbarabenedettelli.it

Dear Friends,

No big post for today. Just a little report on what’s happening.

  1. I just got back from voting! Not a big election, but then that shouldn’t matter. I value my vote, especially as a woman with clear convictions and yes, hope for our future.
  2. The weather is going north today–temperatures dropping by the hour. On my way to our polling station I wore my down-filled winter walking coat for the first time this season. Walked fast, voted, and walked fast home, trying to dodge the cold wind. A great start to the day. Not for the faint of heart.
  3. Last Friday I spent most of the afternoon at my primary cardiologist’s office. He’s thorough and experienced–takes his time and looks at every possible angle to make sure my heart is functioning as well as possible. My biggest compliment of the year (so far) came at the end. He looked at my birth date, noted I would be 74 this month and told me I look like I’m 64! Now there’s a really smart doctor. And yes, he also said I’m doing just great, all things considered.
  4. Yesterday afternoon I met up with my friend Rita and her adorable little doggie. We had a wonderful walk and talk through the park and back to her place. She’s in her 80s and is as lively and engaged in life as possible. A beautiful woman from the inside out. Petite and energetic.
  5. Sunday was marked by news about the mass shooting at a church in a small South Texas town. Only 400 town citizens; over 25 dead and many more injured and/or in shock. There have been many mass killings in the USA. Not simply in recent years, but from the beginning. The difference today is that the last three massacres were carried out by loners using various means to kill as many people as possible. Homegrown terrorism, as have been most horrendous mass murders.
  6. Today I joined an online spiritual formation community, and hope to get into an online Advent retreat for poets. A friend sent me the link after reading one of my recent posts. I’m excited and energized, especially after studying their website and seeing the quality of people who work with this online community. It looks like just the thing for me right now.

Well, that’s about it. I hope your Tuesday is (or was) filled with gracious surprises!

Elouise 

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 7 November 2017
Photo taken by DAFraser in Brisbane, Australia, November 2015 

Daily Prompt: Faint

Just to let you know…

Dear Friends,

Our daughter and her husband arrived Wednesday night for an eagerly anticipated visit with us. I’m in Mom Heaven! Though the weather is cool, damp and rainy, my heart is warm, happy and sometimes achy-teary. This is the first time a visit has felt so heavy with change and uncertainties.

Yesterday was gorgeous. We went to the super market and brought home lots of good veggies, fruit, and other things healthy and not-so-healthy. I’m sticking to my disgustingly healthy CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) diet, and enjoying every opportunity for conversation and afternoon walks.

The rest of the week promises versions of today: messy/rainy on the outside, laid back and warm on the inside. I hope your weekends also include time for conversation that matters with people you love.

I’ll post as I’m able.

Love,
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 5 May 2017
Photo found at pixabay.com

Dear Friends,

Home away from for two magical weeks!

Our home away from home for two magical weeks! Docked in Amsterdam.

You’ve been on my mind for the last several weeks. Well, sort of! Here’s a quick update to let you know what’s been happening. Read the rest of this entry »

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