Monday, September 28, 2015

Papal Mass On the Parkway

Pope Francis visited Philadelphia on September 26th and September 27th  and though I was the counselor on site and could not make it to the festivities, my sister Marianne worked the security detail and took some great shots of the September 27th Papal Mass.
What an amazing weekend for all of us.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Continuing with the Journey

I do not know what is triggering me lately but I have been having nightmares again. They started last weekend and I am not sure if it is because of the recent conflict around Ava's mother or if it is memories stemming from my childhood around my own biological father. Lately, I have been remembering how much I missed my father (Ron) when I was a small child. How I could not express this feeling to my mom or dad (Art) for fear they would be angry with me. I remember laying across my mother's bed crying alone when my father (Ron) was sent back to Vietnam for a second tour of duty during the war. I think I was around 8 years old. Prior to that he was in and out of my life since I was 5 years old. While state side he was stationed in Rhode Island and sometimes he would drive down to Philly over a weekend. Most of my growing up years, I did not have him in my life. He was a career Naval Officer who served one tour in the Korean War and two tours in the Vietnam War. I was 16 years old before he retired after 27 years of military service. I did not understand any of this while I was growing up. I only knew he was gone and my mother seemed to be angry with him all the time. People do not realize how much a child feels because a child cannot verbalize those feelings. Overall I had good childhood years and I grew to love my dad (Art) very much however I never felt completely a part of the family as my younger siblings did and I do remember the feeling of loss and fear.

I wonder if these memories surfaced because of Ava. I often wonder what she is thinking or feeling and if she can verbalize those feelings. My guess would be "no". She is still pretty young and probably cannot verbalize what she feels or does not understand. I do not know for sure since I have not seen her in two years. It has not been for lack of trying on my part. I have hundreds of pictures and videos from her first four years when she was a major part of my life. There are so many memories of things we did together and places we went to. Lots of family memories. More memories than I ever had with my own biological father. I doubt she will forget those memories especially if she is anything like me. I have memories all the way back to being 2 years old kneeling on a chair in my grandmother's kitchen watching my grandmother kneading pie crusts. I still remember my grandmother doing laundry in the shed connected to the kitchen on Ridge Ave using a ringer washer and hanging it out in the yard or basement to dry.  I remember living with my grandparents after my parents were divorced. Considering my mom remarried when I was 3 years old and we moved out of my grandparents' house seems to be a pretty decent memory.

The nightmares can be disturbing though I am not as affected by them as I had been in the past. Time has a habit of healing some things. Truth be told, I also did a lot of work on myself in the past few years. I came to a point when I had to decide if I wanted to be a survivor or drown in self-pity. I am glad I made that choice to be a survivor because life is so much better today despite some nonsense or pain. I am no longer a victim who drowns in self-pity. I have not been for some time. What a wonderful feeling so if anyone out there is reading this and feels sorry for self, it is worth the work to turn that feeling around. I promise you, life is so much better. I have compassion and empathy for those around me who have not yet crawled out of the "victim phrase". I also know that each of us is responsible for our own journey in life. When you give up trying to control how another person thinks, feels or behaves, you gain a sense of freedom and a higher level of happiness. I am only responsible for myself and no one else. My children are adults. My grandchildren have parents. I have my husband and my career, both whom I love.  My future is about work, travel, planning for retirement, enjoying my children and grandchildren, laughing with my sister, and walking the rest of this journey with my husband by my side.

Yes. Life is good today.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Journey Well Traveled

I am not sure I will be able to express this feeling correctly however I am going to give it a try. I suppose the short story is I am at peace within and I believe I found this peace because adversity taught me to live and I suppose I am doing exactly that. Bill and I took the ferry over to Lewes from Cape May. The 1.5 hours cruise was so relaxing that I actually fell asleep on the top deck. I watched the seagulls follow the back of the boat. I watched the dolphins swim along the side. I looked out over the water to the seawall built with a zigzag shape and a lighthouse at its end only approachable via boat not land. I felt the sun on my face and the breeze through my hair. I heard the waves lap against the boat, its soothing rocking sound drifted me off to sleep.

In Lewes we explored the historic seaside town, ate the best cheeseburger at Kindle's Café then drove along the ocean through various seashore towns until we arrived at Ocean City Maryland. We made small stops here and there and on our way back to Lewes we stopped at Irish Eyes for a quick drink and a crab filled pretzel before we drove back to the ferry to cross back over to Cape May where we live.

Have you ever experienced a sunset while out on a boat in the bay? Magical.

I have always loved to travel and experience the new things around me however I never fully embraced the experience until I went threw hell and back, from a dark place of depression to the light of sunshine within my soul. It may sound strange but I am grateful. I really embrace every part of my life these days and I have a feeling of peace and acceptance within my heart I never thought I would have. When a coworker told me I was leveled headed last week, my first reaction was a laugh followed by "who me"? Then, I thought about it for a moment and I believe what I am displaying to those around me is the peace and acceptance I feel inside. Nothing is that deep when you have experienced the type of adversity I experienced. I rarely get upset these days. Of course life is hard at times however it is not that deep. I really do not care what people think about me. What folks may say or do does not impact me.

There are even nights when I do not want the day to end so I stay up to read or write. I want time to slow down because it feels that good.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Life in the Last Few Weeks

She does not like having her hair brushed.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Road Trip September 2015

Spicy Vegetable Chili

Woodpeckers were busy

Sun Rise

Morning Company
Aubree Shopping

Midday Shadow

Sun Set