Tuesday, September 22, 2009

no more home ....

well, my dad forwarded an email to me today to say that our old home (the one i spoke about below) is no more. its been razed -- by the Eureka Fire Department apparently -- for practice because Rutters is going to build yet another Rutters gas station/convenience store there -- according to this article i found. like that tiny little town needs another Rutters - they already have one about a mile from where they r building the new one ... i'm just really sad ... nothing ever stays the same ...
Rutters Builds Another Gas Station where there once stood a magical house

Thursday, September 17, 2009

too much stuff ...

i love the way my apartment smells of cinnamon, nutmeg and apples after i've baked an apple pie in my oven. it reminds me of my mom's kitchen when she was cooking and baking. funny how certain smells can set off certain memories in ur head ...

the last couple of days i've had this itch to move -- well, not really the moving process itself, because truly, i've moved enough times to know that packing and unpacking basically sucks (sorry for the language folks but that's the only word that describes my feelings on that topic). before i was married, i had moved 7 times. once i got married i was dragged from state to state and several places within one state to the tune of exactly 9 times. its amazing how well u learn to pack and unpack when u have to do it that many times. i've been in this last place for 5 years. before that, i had lived in the same place for 12 years or so. that was a record for me considering the longest stay in one place prior to that was 9 years (when i was a kid).

i digress. so i have this itch to move -- but not really -- i mean i have this itch to go somewhere else and set up shop -- but without all the packing and unpacking part. and i'm beginning to see the benefits of not being a pack rat (which i so obviously am), or to not getting attached to things that belonged to other ppl in my life (my mom's, my grandmother's, etc.), or to not wanting to keep a pictorial record of every blasted thing my kids have ever done (maybe they will appreciate it some day but really, who knows).

part of this feeling came over me when i looked around my tiny apartment and realized that at some point, i'm not going to be able to stay here anymore (once my daughter goes off to college) and that i'm going to have to find a probably even smaller place to live or move into that house that my brother wants to buy in PA (which may or may not become a reality -- not holding my breath on this one). but it also came from digging through scrapbooks and boxes of photos to find photos for my daughter's graduation scrapbooks and realizing that i couldn't find what i was looking for if i tried and those two areas of my life r pretty well organized -- believe it or not. so the unorganized bits could do with a little work (or a lot, depending upon ur viewpoint).

and then, of course, we add to this the fact that the shelf in one of my cupboards came out and dumped its contents on the kitchen floor in front of me. i realized after digging the remainders out (so that the shelf could be fixed) and scattering them on the floor and very small kitchen table that there was a lot of stuff i wasn't using and hadn't used in eons (now that my family was no longer 4 but 2) and that perhaps i should get rid of a LOT of those things. but where to start -- and where to put the stuff i was getting rid of (considering there is little space) until i had enough to warrant a yard sale.

this all got me to thinking about jesus telling the disciples to leave their families and possessions and go out to tell others about the good news. they were to take nothing but the clothes on their backs. they weren't even supposed to take food with them -- the hope was that ppl in the lands they were traveling to would be hospitable and offer them food and shelter. i'm sure that on their travels that it didn't always work out that way, but nevertheless, the basic concept was that u can't take anything with u when u die, so don't get attached to anything while ur here.

so i'm pretty sure that as a disciple of jesus i'm failing abysmally in the area of not being attached -- because there r lots of things that i can't seem to live without -- like this computer for instance -- or pen and paper (for my writings if i didn't have the computer) and those photos in those albums -- yeah, i love looking at them and remembering the good times. when my mom passed away my dad handed over a ton of stuff (owls and such) that she collected over the years. for a long time, i kept it all, because somewhere inside of me i felt like if i got rid of it, it was like i was casting off my mom. eventually, i came to realize that i couldn't cast off my mom if i wanted to because so much of what she was had become a part of me. that realization helped me to let go of a lot of stuff. i still have a few items that were her's, but i know i could let go of them if i had to. still, those pics ... yeah, not so much.

they r, after all, just "things". but they have so much meaning and hold so much of our history -- bits and pieces picked up along the way as momentos of happy times we want to hold on to. is that a bad thing?? perhaps not the gathering of them, but certainly putting them so high up on the "can't live without" chain is. i know that there r ppl who have gone off to live in some other far off place and only taken a suitcase or two. i even have known one or two of those ppl. and that is essentially how i went off to texas when i finally left home. with a couple of suitcases. however, once i was firmly planted there, boxes of "things" started to arrive or were brought down by my parents. that began this whole life of pat rackery. don't get rid of it because some day u might have a need for it. but who could ever really NEED this stuff?? maybe its just more a WANT -- i want this stuff. i want my momentos around me because it makes it feel like home.

and then there is the whole ideal of what is actually home. that's a topic for another day ... in the meantime, i just need to get rid of some STUFF so that when the day comes to move, i won't be overwhelmed -- well, u know i probably will be anyhow!

Friday, September 4, 2009

home???

this is a photo of one of the many homes i grew up in -- its vacant now and "dying" but i still have fond memories of it. ever since the two-week visit to PA i've been thinking about what is "home". my brother has it in his head to buy a home in PA to move to when he retires and wants me to live in it until he does retire. my father thinks its a great idea. i'm hesitant to even contemplate the idea for a lot of reasons, but my father and brother seem to think i'd be stupid not to take the deal.

on the outside it looks rather tempting. i get to use the house for however many years it could be till his retirement (3-7 r the numbers that have been bantered about) without paying any rent -- only paying for utilities. considering i currently don't have a job and that my daughter and i r living off of $650/month in child support (with no unemployment or food stamps) -- a child support that is likely to end when she goes off to college (or sooner if what her father tried to pull when her brother turned 18 in the middle of his senior year is any indication) -- having a place to live without paying for anything but utilities seems like a dream come true.

but all these questions started popping into my head -- like what happens to me when my brother and his family move into the house -- do i become homeless? and what do i do if i can't find a job down there to help me pay for the utilities (as well as food, etc.). and how will this impact on my daughter, who is about to go off to college (most probably somewhere in New England)? she wants to come back to what has been the only home (NH) she's ever really known. I can't blame her for that desire, on the other hand, if i'm in PA will she ever come to see me when she doesn't have any money to travel and i don't have any money to help her travel and we know her father isn't going to be forthcoming with money for travel -- esp. to see his ex-wife. plus there is my desire to go back to school -- possibly Bible school to become a youth pastor. how does that factor into this. i have friends here, but is there where i'm meant to stay.

in having a discussion with my father i was stating how it seemed like nobody was taking into consideration what i wanted -- that everybody had an idea of what was good for me without even consulting me. it was rather disconcerting to realize that at the age of 53 i was so incompetent to make a decision for myself that everybody around me felt they needed to make the decisions for me. my father pointed out that my children would marry some day and move away (much like i had done -- like i had a choice in this) and then where would i be. that i needed to stop living my life for my children (who says i am -- maybe i like the idea of being as close to my kids geographically as i can while i can). he also pointed out that "home" is where ur family is (hello, i have family here in the form of two children and a church family). my father said this was a way for my brother to help me. if my brother really wanted to help me -- there r lots of ways to do that -- like maybe giving me a low interest loan so i can consolidate my debts and get myself out of the mess i'm in. idk -- maybe i'm just expecting too much.

so i started thinking about what is really home and i remember that i read this book once called "home is where the heart is" -- and its true. my heart is with my kids and my church family and my friends. but is also with papa god and wherever he might take me. hey, i've moved around enough in my life to know that i can make friends wherever i go and hang onto the ones i have in different places (at least for a time). its becoming easier to do the latter with the internet and email and facebook. but the real issue here is, where is papa god going to take me -- where does he want me. and maybe that place isn't with my family (dad) in PA -- maybe that place is right here in NH or maybe that place is CA or Hawaii -- idk.

having someone trying to tell me where i SHOULD go isn't the same has papa god guiding me to where i am meant to be. and maybe that is what bothers me the most about all of this -- is that idk if papa god's hand is in this deal in PA. as much as i love my dad -- and my brother -- and i know they love me -- that doesn't mean that they have papa god's interests in their hearts. they could see this as the best solution, but maybe papa god has other thoughts. and as i told my dad, papa god's ways don't always mesh with man's so-called "logical" ones.

i only know that at some point papa god will show me where it is he wants me to be -- and until then, i'm reserving the right to not "jump" at this idea and to take the wait and see approach...

mi familia

two weeks ago was my family reunion in PA. we do this every year -- sometimes we can make it -- sometimes we can't. this year my brother got to come -- he lives in Texas, so its a big deal when he's here at all let alone for a reunion. the last reunion he came to was the year my mom died -- 21 years ago. so imagine the surprise on ppl's faces when they saw him there yesterday.

most of the time ppl show up at these things and we haven't seen each other for a year or more and there r so dang many of us -- my dad was the baby of like a dozen -- and we don't really know each other and we have to introduce ourselves all over again. then there is this sort of self-imposed "clique-ishness" that happens and idk y it happens but its kind of annoying how ppl push themselves into pockets and don't come out of the pockets to chat with others. this year, that didn't happen and it was kinda cool.

sometimes i feel like there r so many ppl at these reunions that they can't all be related to us and maybe they r just strays off the street looking to belong to a family. i mean, everybody needs to be able to say they belong to a family ... even the family of papa god.

this year we also all got to meet the great great granddaughter of a man who was my great great great grandfather's son -- and the brother of my great great grandfather. yeah -- confusing i know. there is some speculation that my great great great grandfather (john) came here from ireland -- although there is also speculation that he was born here to parents who came from ireland. we know where he is buried and so after the reunion we went to visit his grave (i'd never been there before) and there were a zillion daughertys there -- no lie!!! so i took photos of all the headstones -- many of which u can't read anymore coz they r so worn down.

when ur standing there looking at these names on these stones and realizing that somehow ur related to them its kind of overwhelming. u don't really know them -- sort of like the living ppl at the reunions -- yet there is a real sense of family connection.

i discovered that i had a great uncle who was a pastor and before that i had two great great uncles, and a great great great uncle who were all pastors. idk where their mantles went when they passed on coz my great uncle had a daughter and she didn't become a pastor and i also wonder how many other ppl in my family were pastors. it makes me realize though that my love of papa god was forged a long long time ago in ppl i don't even know.

watching ppl at the reunion├č, seeing faces, i can see resemblances in them to the ones in the old photos from generations past that i put in my scrapbook. it isn't just looks that r passed on -- all the talents can be passed on as well. the artists and musicians who were in my family show up in my children and my cousins, and their gifts. all of that is passed down from generation to generation and needs to be cultivated and activated so its not lost. we can't afford to squander what gifts we've been given -- future generations can't afford it either. we need to be mindful and protect it and grow it to pass on to the next generations.