Day 216…Journey to Forgiveness

Saying Good-bye…

And in the end…he loved
February 16, 1931 – February 24, 2020

…May his heart now rest in peace…and may mine also

My Father’s Family

…quite a handsome young man that looks very happy in this photo…but as I look at this photo, I remember the frequent times that he voiced that he blamed his Mother for all the anger that he felt toward’s women…and I felt the brunt of that anger as the eldest…both emotionally and physically…and more that my mind has ever would allow me to remember…

“Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.”
― Oprah Winfrey

The year that I was about 9 years old…with a family that he needed to feed and only a seasonal sawmill job…plus the promise of religious fulfillment…he put his wife…all four of his children, our German Shepherd Sheba… in a beat-up jalopy with a huge hole in the back floorboard…and with $50.00 left for Jeffersonville, Indiana…

…and there my life in the religious cult started…the abuse became more profuse there…he was either fervently and brutally religious or demonically violent…the pain traumatizing each cell in my body…until the only way to survive as not be inside of my body… in anguish and agonizing a-loneness…bleeding in my child’s soul…

…my mother was the perfect example of grace and beauty…inside and out…even in the place of her own pain..for once I had wanted to see if she remembered what had happened in a place that we had lived in Wisconsin…to this day, I don’t remember anything about that time…yet when I asked her about it…she replied that it was too painful to remember…

….Smiling on the Outside

After the age of 18…for many years I didn’t see or have much to do with my Father or any of my family…and life moved on…time moved on…as I had my own family and dealt with another abusive relationship with a cheating husband…

After finding out that my husband had an affair with my sister…all my Father could say was that… it was my fault…for I had not been a good enough wife…and the abuse was still agonizing…

Yet over the years…I realized that I did not want to continue to feel the pain and live a life less than…to continue moving forward and through was by forgiveness…forgiveness and healing is never a one-time process and it took many years of therapy…prayer…and every book that I could find…step by step…small slow steps…backwards…then forward again…day by day…year by year…the healing slowly and gradually covered the open wounds of my heart…soul…and mind…

…when I came back to Indiana in 2013…it was different now when I saw him…he was physically frail…and he was changed…altered somehow…he often talked about how sorry that he was that he was not a better father…and asked for forgiveness…on more than one occasion…with tears in his voice…not for any specific occurrence…but for a lifetime of hurting his children…

Another layer of forgiveness…I knew in my heart that I would probably never have the chance to see him again once I left for South Africa…I spent as much time with him as I could…loving him and letting him know that I forgave him…so he could have some peace…and I could also…

“Forgiveness is not a feeling: it is a commitment. It is a choice to show mercy, not to hold the offense against the offender. Forgiveness is the expression of love.” ~Gary Chapman

In my life I found that…most of the world contains good people that do the best that they can…with what they know and understand coloredand tightly bound by their life experiences…be patient and forgiving…for if they knew and understood…they would do things differently…

Image result for the world is hurting quotes

Love is still the answer…and it will always be…

The most highest and most beautiful form of love is forgiveness…

Dad, may your rest be filled with serenity in the arms of our loving heavenly Father…

your daughter, Renee

Day 196…OMG It’s Hot

and I think I’m melting…no I know I am am…

I was warned that it would be hot in January…that it was the hottest month of the year…but they didn’t tell me that it was going to be HOT as I had no idea of what “hot” meant…at the moment…most of the country is in danger of fires……so totally understand…I felt like I am going to instantaneously combust at any moment…

…and not an air conditioner in sight

In the U.S. any hot day might be miserable with that wet wool blanket feeling…but it usually lasted only from the car to the house…we might sit, eat and sleep in one room in the house for the whole 3 months of summer…but we could breath without flames coming out of our mouths…

Now I understand why all the cars are white…well at least most of them…dresses are more the norm…and there are a lot of swimming pools…and more excursions to the beach…

And the poor tomatoes..

The experience was a great learning experience…I learned you can never take too many showers…I was never cleaner…I had to take a shower after my shower…I would start sweating when I was drying off..it became such a vicious cycle…I learned that I better get my act together because I am definitely not cut out for hell…putting on makeup was an exercise in futility…and that there is no deodorant made specifically for boob sweat…

And then the Rain…the cooling rain bucketing down

…it almost did me in…yet still I fall more in love with South Africa…

Ps…Mr. P. wanted me to add that the reason there are not a lot of air conditioners here was because it only gets to boiling a few days out the year🥵

Day 125…Rather the Night

“The pale stars were sliding into their places. The whispering of the leaves was almost hushed. All about them it was still and shadowy and sweet. It was that wonderful moment when, for lack of a visible horizon, the not yet darkened world seems infinitely greater—a moment when anything can happen, anything be believed in.” ― Olivia Howard Dunbar, The Shell of Sense

…sometimes the only thing that we need to change is our perspective…our focus…it will change our whole world…and more importantly…it will change our experience of that world…reality may stay the same…but the experience will be totally different…

The time difference between the two photographs was only a short span of time…and a slight turn to the left…from exactly the same point…

Yet…in those few minutes…the lit house directly in my line of sight…seemingly impeding our view…was “poof”…gone…and the evening seemed to be strewn with diamonds and shiny pieces of glass…shrouded in elegant black velvet filigree…

That is what gratitude does for me…it changes my perspective…what I focus on…reality doesn’t change…but my experience of the moment does…

There were days at the office when the girls and I were ready to scream…the boss was unhappy…customers were screaming and needing everything right now…at this particular moment…and all at the same time…our teammates were not being cooperative in helping to find solutions…in a nutshell…swirling dust devils of anger and frustration…

The only thing that gave us perspective was…to take a gratitude break…I would stop and ask, “OK, what are we grateful for?”…it would help to break the negative emotional downward spiral that we were on…the irritation..the exasperation that we felt building…

…working close to work…having a job…flexibility in leaving if we had an emergency…not grandiose ideas…but enough to change the momentum in a breathe or two…

It is the same here…living in this new environment…when the loneliness and frustrations arise…I soften up and breathe…sit in the moment and count my blessings…Mr. P first and foremost…my not dealing with the incredible stress and frustration of my old life…the beauty that I am surrounded with..all of the new experiences that I have the chance to encounter…the dreams and creative and artistic endeavors that I now have the opportunity to explore…

“There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you! It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love! The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish! And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which has landed on it! Why do you do such a thing?”
― C. JoyBell C.

people walking near steel rack
…awww yes…perspective really is everything
Photo by Drew Patrick Miller on Unsplash

Day 121…Blooming

It does not matter if you are a rose or a lotus or a marigold. What matters is that you are flowering…Rajneesh

https://www.azquotes.com/quotes/topics/marigolds.html

Hard to believe that it has been 4 months since I have arrived here in Port Elizabeth…so much has transpired…

Most of all…coming to terms with retirement…a major life change…for me, it came with a sense of loss of purpose…my work defined my life…and even worse…a loss of identity… I was good at what I did…people depended on me…needed me…

Don’t get me wrong…it was incredibly stressful and so unhealthy for me…there is now this incredible feeling of relief and freedom..the demands and responsibilities are gone…I can breathe again…

21 Insightful Quotes About Embracing Change

I am finding my way…slowly…learning to slow down and breathe…to heal…and enjoy the wonderful and myriad blessings that I have been given…here and now…

I think for me…that has been important part of this process…breathing…being in the moment…enjoying what is…right here and right now…not needing to figure everything out…RIGHT NOW (that is definitely been a challenge for this Control Freak)…

I am learning embrace each and every breath that I am blessed to be given…To celebrate my life…to live my life fully and passionately…for by being fully present in the here and now…the light of my current joy, peace and happiness will light the path in it’s perfect time…

Play Time at the Park

…Sharing my life with indomitable Mr. P definitely adds so much flavor and makes life so much more delicious…and often desire to find the path becomes less needful..and I become more content and at peace with just blooming…in the here and now…and that may be all I need to do…

“If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.”

― Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace

Day 113…Expat Holiday Blues

“Snowflakes swirl down gently in the deep blue haze beyond the window. The outside world is a dream.

Inside, the fireplace is brightly lit, and the Yule log crackles with orange and crimson sparks.

There’s a steaming mug in your hands, warming your fingers.

There’s a friend seated across from you in the cozy chair, warming your heart.

There is mystery unfolding.”
― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Canal Walk Shopping Centre in Cape Town

The snow has already fallen in Indiana…a little unusual this early in the season…but a perfect beginning to the Holiday season in the U.S….

Thanksgiving is just around the corner…a Holiday that is not celebrated here in South Africa…there is a pang that hits the heart as I realize that I won’t be sharing with friends and family… all the fun and frivolity…and total craziness that happens during this season…

I had thought to start a new tradition here and share a traditional American Thanksgiving meal…we even found a frozen turkey…although it traveled from Brazil to get here…apparently turkeys are not a product of South Africa…

Yet I haven’t found the answer yet…to this weepy feeling…Mr. P is in the throes of a new project and issues with the company…so his attention is needed elsewhere at the moment…and there are the feelings of rejection from his children…all which makes the loss of family even more poignant…

But I will call and keep in touch with family and friends…try and remember that part of the emotion is romanticized…forgetting about the stress that invariably ensues with the season..

It’s all part of the journey…a few dark threads that are intermingled with the golden and colorful…

Day 94…Date Night

Dressing up…Rose Bouqet lipstick…Talking and Laughing…Holding Hands…A Table for two…a local Craft Beer…A Boschendal Rose Garden Rose…

Two Olives Restaurant and Tapas Bar

Adding my solitary lonliness with Mr. P’s demanding work schedule and recent Fascia Back situation…it was such a magnificant way to reconnect and fall a little deeper into that yummy feeling…

The Two Olives is located in the historic area of Richmond Hill. This marvelous Farm-To-Table Artisan Restaurant is located on the second story.

The alluring side entrance to the stairwell winds up to the warm and open arms of the Authentic Mediterranean Restaurant…

Our Traditional Friday Night pizza drew Mr. P to chose the Salami Gorgonzola Pizza…had a slice…yummy looking as well as delectable…although not wood fired…Mr. P’s preferred type of pizza

It took me a while longer to figure out my desired dish of the evening would be…the many variations on our traditional choice of pizza on Friday’s plus the plethora of mouth watering plate descriptions made my decision extremly difficult and took more time than I would care to freely admit…

There was some anxiety with my choice…I have a fondness for certain seafood…such as shrimp…so I leaned towards choosing the Prawns…but there was several downsides to that choice…

I had seen Prawns served here in SA…and they are served all intact…heads with little beady black eyes and whiskery antennae…and all 10 of those pesky legs…how was I to eat them without making a fool out of myself and having a mini panic attack…

The desire to investigate something new that I hadn’t tried before here in SA won out…I chose the Pan Fried Prawns with the Chili Sauce… and in keeping of low carb eating…exchanged the rice and fries for a Greek Salad…and that was an exceedingly excellent decision…so delish!!!!

Now just saying…this was exquisite on the palate…the chili sauce was something I would have paid extra for…my desire for piquant, zesty food is not not often placated here in South Africa…but this definately did the trick…

And the waiter brought a fingerbowl of warm water with lemon…so at least my fingers ended up clean…can’t say that for my blouse though…

ahhhh…but then to offset the carbs I gave up…we had to try this decandent Treesome …the Fried Lindt Ball was to “die for”…

Definately a Richland Hill Magic Kind of Evening…

Day 82…Transplanted

Amost three months have traveled their way through my life, since I arrived here in Port Elizabeth, South Africa…and interwoven among those threads of time… almost every conceivable emotion that a human is capable of…anxiety, awkwardness, excitement, joy, nostolgia, romance and love, sympathy, confusion, aesthetic appreciation, fear, despair…and innumerable others…

I have traveled and even lived in different places within the beautiful world we reside on…but this time it is different…I am changing in profound and enigmatic ways…and I know within the depth of my soul that I will never be the same again…

The warm thoughts of this beautiful country and the incredible life that I am now living…with the delightful and lovable Mr. P… is counterbalanced with the knowledge of all the things that I am missing…the parties…the Holidays…my awesome family…granddaughters growing and changing… life is going on without me…and their lives are changing…they will become different people…and so will I…

That is a dark thread…that sadness that will become a part of my richly woven tapestry…interspersed among the resplendent colors of my new life…I do not yet see the whole design…I know that the dark will magically intersperse with the light…leaving a unique composition that will be my singular Masterpiece…yet, only a piece in the great measureless, collective canvas of universal life…

Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Ray Bradbury

Day 53…The Beautiful

There is a beautiful quote by Helen Keller that I love…but, then again, her perspective was different that most of ours…

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” ~Helen Keller

It has been a little while since I have published…and there has been such sublime and delightful colors that have been interwoven in my life tapestry since arriving here in South Africa…but still there are the intermittant darker colors that contribute to the breathtaking exquisitness of my life…

Without the dark threads…the colors would not be so vibrant…and I think…maybe as noticable…the loss of seeing my children every day reminds me to let them know often that they are missed and loved…and that I am so blessed to have such “beauties” in my life…such memories…

The dark thread of the knowledge of the fragility of life…how transient and fleeting…brings such deliciousness to each kiss…to each cuddle…to each morning warm carress of the sun…teaching me to remember to embrace each moment…for life scurries so frantically away…

If I could send a message that would be heard and understood in the heart…it would be that…LOVE LIFE…be fully present in each moment… full of purpose and passion…each gut-wrenching…tearful…laughter…dreamy…euphoric filled moment…for each breathe that we take is full of magic and miracles…