Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Feels like Heaven...

I meditate everyday. I am not sure I do it correctly or in a fancy way but... I do what I do everyday! I was reminded that it is an important part of my life recently because I missed a couple of days...and I mean I MISSED IT! Life was harder for me.

Here is how I meditate...
I find a scripture that I will ponder. ( I use that one until it feels "pondered through" for me.) 
I close my eyes.
I think of a place that feels like heaven to me.
I put my right hand over my chest and my left hand on my tummy...while trying not to critique it.
I breathe deeply and exhale slowly.
First, I pray to God...I thank him for my life. I ask for forgiveness for the times I have messed up. I ask for help and Grace in my life. I pray for my husband. I ask for God's spirit to surround me and those I love as we go through our day.
I say my scripture in my mind slowly over and over until I feel like I have explored every word and every feeling I have about the words and what meaning they have for MY life. I am focusing on myself, my breathing, my behaviors, and my need to be close to God. When I am finished which is usually about 10 minutes later...I feel better and ready to respond to my life and all that it will entail.

Depending on where I am...I may play music or light a candle. I am living on a mountain right now...so I just go outside on the porch.

Last Sunday, our minister asked that we close our eyes and visualize a place that feels like heaven on earth to us. I went to my "happy place". Afterwards, I asked my husband "Where was your Heaven on Earth?"
I knew before he answered what it would be...and he knew mine. I hope it won't matter that we are physically in two different places! Our hearts are in the same place.

My husband loves the mountain. He loves to walk in the cool of the evening. Trees and birds...and even Bears...Oh My!! ... all remind him of the creation story and God's love for us. I, however visualize myself in a kayak on the bay with Florida Mangroves near by...perhaps manatees or dolphins swim by. I hear sea gulls and I feel the warm sunshine on my face and arms. The buoyancy of the kayak in the water reminds me that I am safe in God's hands.

Where is your heaven on earth? It doesn't have to be fancy...

Pondering Scripture: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

Monday, August 13, 2012


We are moving. Again. These past three years have been such a time of up-in-the-air "ness"! We closed our business, I accepted a job with an RV company while the Hubby looked for a job...an almost two year process which eventually turned him in the direction of Virginia. This created a six month separation for us. He, living and working in Virginia and me, living and working in Florida. Both of us living in temporary housing thanks to family and friends! After the nearly six months we realized that while we love Florida...its economy would not recover soon and we who are already in our 50's weren't ready or prepared to retire. Hubby loves the company that he works for and while I loved the company in Florida I worked for...I missed  Hubby! So...up to Virginia I moved! I miss working and being a part of a dynamic company but I also love to travel to Florida OFTEN to visit grandchildren. How to connect the two? I sell products for Thirty-one...which has encouraged me to meet new people!

We are in the process of moving into a charming rental for about three years while the Hubby builds on beautiful property that has been in his family for generations! He wants and needs to build it himself...so, we feel a three year period is appropriate. Long...but appropriate.

I have been blogging for a little over four years...tapering off as life got busy and challenging.Life changes and moves on... I have changed and moved on. Ronda's Rants will too!  I think as we build and  I adapt to our new lives here this will be my place to document those changes for friends and family who care. I hope to discuss the differences between Floridians and Virginians...in a loving and respectful way.

I have recently become disenchanted with facebook as it has become a place where some feel that rather than connecting with old friends...it is a place to bombard others with your political or social opinions. To be honest...I have felt that way at times, too but lately there has been such a mean-spirited tone. I am already sad and homesick.and  I look to my Christian friends to give me "The Good News" and to my non- Christian friends for just simple courtesy. Perhaps after the election things will improve. This blog will be my outlet and a place for me to connect as it was so long ago...A place for me to share...no political agenda... occasionally a Rant about life, weather and decorating dilemma or two and sometimes a Rave about the Cutest-Kids-in-the-Universe!

As I take my break from facebook...I am pondering this scripture...

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Is Normal Only a Dryer Setting?

Well, looky here...I am posting twice in two days. I have made a commitment to write everyday for an hour...when I made the commitment it was in the hopes that I would be a saner, normal and happier Ronda...AND that I would get better at writing. I have been writing for an hour for about a month now..mostly in a journal...so far not normal, any saner, not much happier and as you can see not any better at writing!

I am moving from the land on which we will be building to a 1940's farmhouse, which we will rent while the Hubby and I build our ever evolving dream house. The farm house will give us a few things I haven't had: Room for company to visit, a closer proximity to PEOPLE and Civilization and a passion to decorate and nest that I haven't been able to express. My stuff, all my worldly possessions...you know, my junk has been in storage for a year and frankly, I am ashamed to say...I have missed it! A couple of years ago, The Hubby and I watched The Story of Stuff and I had a light bulb moment of neon proportions! So, began the process of me shedding myself of the superfluous. It felt good for awhile...noble and pure.

 But, since moving from Florida and all my family...I am longing for the familiar. I want to hold and touch something that has been held and used by my children. Dishes, glasses, or a dish towel..even! Silly, maybe... but I am striving for sanity here. I am not sure...about building our dream house...The Hubby is still very excited...I am not as passionate about the location. It is a beautiful place to visit but living here has been a lonely struggle for me. I am still missing the familiar.

So begins the three year plan...renting, building and adjusting still to our new normal!

Monday, August 6, 2012

That is MY Friend You are Talking About!

I have a lot of friends. I might sound like I am boasting...I am not. Well, my intention is not to boast but rather state a fact. I love my friends and by every indication they seem to love me...I mean I feel loved and cared for by those friends. I have friends who are VERY conservative in their thinking and actions and some who are VERY liberal, some shades of in-between  and ...others still who couldn't be labeled as anything other than "Could-not-possibly-care-less! I have friends who are Christian and others who have other beliefs...and still others who haven't any faith in anything larger than themselves. I love them all. I can love them and disagree with them...usually without any blood shed. That is a joke...no blood shed EVER!

But...Facebook and Pinterest have opened up a  can of worms, a cauldron of witches brew, a big kettle of fish...Well, you get the idea...I think. People who I thought of as tolerate and loving  have posted things about Conservatives, others posting things about Liberals...that I KNOW for a fact they would never say in person. There is something about the supposed anonymity of a computer that allows the very worst of our humanity to emerge! Sometimes I read articles online and I will scroll on down to the comments and..."Sweet Jesus!"  What anger! What rage! What poor grammar... and you know it is bad if I can tell!

You remember the Beatles song Eleanor Rigby - "Ah, look at all the lonely people Ah, look at all the lonely people!" I think of that song while reading Facebook posts only...I sing (badly) "Ah, look at all the angry people.Ah, look at all the angry people!" The amazing thing is...I know these people who label themselves Conservative would never get along with my other friends who are conservative and those Liberal friends could not tolerate some of my self labeled liberal friends. These are labels that society has forced upon us and we have willingly accepted them. Some because of politics, some because of social issues, and others because of religious views. 

I love you all..I do. But...I love you because we share things we  feel passionate about...my friends are varied. I love that you have different political beliefs, I don't always agree with you but I have learned so much from you! I love that we don't have the same beliefs in everything...you have made my heart grow with compassion as I learn of your faith! I love that we aren't the same color and we haven't had the same life experience because I needed to be reminded that this isn't just my walk of faith that is important. I love that you don't agree with me politically...because you challenge me to research and to think before I speak or make up my mind!

So, my friends...Facebook or otherwise. You are so very important to me. BUT, I won't be a party to your rage against one another. The characteristic I value more than anything else...is your loving kindness. It is what has always attracted me to you...I don't want to lose that attraction!  So...my friends...when you post something negative about conservatives...you are talking about my friends! When you post something mean-spirited about liberals...again, my friends are liberals. When you label Muslims or Christians...you are talking about my friends!

So...my friends who have loving kindness and who inspire me graciously...I will surround myself with you and the others...I will unfriend you on facebook!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I currently have about three blog posts marinating in the bloggy oven, right now...not sure if they are worth working on or even if I will think about them again. I am thinking about words today...Here is how that happened. A friend started a blog about the Civil war and she wrote to ask about the "Word Verification" feature on her blog...specifically how to get it off her blog. She led me to believe that it was annoying her husband, which reminded me that I was annoyed with my husband for finishing my word find puzzle. Then, I thought of our daughter who loves words and spends a crazy amount of time choosing just the right word when she writes...she is in marketing and words are important to convey just the right emotion connected to whatever you are marketing. From there I thought of words and emotions...how powerful words really are. IF you are still following my line of thinking and if you have concluded along with me, that I may need medication...I will continue.

While thinking about words and the choice of those words and how they can cause emotional feelings, I remembered an unfortunate incident. Two men who may have a history I am unaware of engaged in a debate during a Sunday School class. And because of a few  choice words sprinkled with a few unpleasant hand gestures and other troublesome body posturing which led to an angry encounter. THIS in a SUNDAY SCHOOL class with two men who are in the same denomination...it makes me wonder if we can be civil during an election year.

My Husband and I have been married for a very long time, many of those years very happily, some not-so-happily. We have gone to a lot of counseling. I have learned not to use words like ALWAYS and NEVER because they are not great words! I find that whatever you put them in front of , it renders it not true. If it is a positive statement people will doubt your sincerity and if it is a criticism you will not be take seriously. That is ALWAYS true by the way! :)  I also don't finger point and Bob rarely ( nice word) holds up a hand in the air to make a point. I try very hard in my passion, not to raise my voice as oddly enough I have found the louder you get the less people will listen. Bob, seldom (nicer word) turns his back on me while I am speaking.

I am no longer sorry Bob and I have had a troubled marriage. I was envious of people who had easy-going relationships, while Bob and struggled. We have worked hard and continue to work hard to love one another better. We are a better couple and we are nicer people to be around...we are in a word...CIVIL to one another. Who knew civil could be so sexy! Civil...and I have come full circle back to my friends blog about the Civil war.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Choose an Identity

This morning I went to leave a comment on a blog and just below the comment, blogger suggests you Choose an Identity...So, I chose blogger profile: Ronda's Rants and my comment appeared. It however,  starting me thinking of all the opportunities we have to choose our identities. I am a wife and I happily choose that identity although Mrs.Hubby  has never, ever appealed to me. I love him but I rather dislike being known as a Mrs. Him. I find wedding invitations boringly difficult.  My mother-in-law referred to our whole family as "The Bob's"...it annoyed the hell out of me...but that is another blog post.

The other place we are forced to Choose an Identity or at least people of my age group do is when our children have children. This would make us the Grandparents.A grandparent by any other name is still a grandparent. Some of my dear friends choose names that make us sound less like grandparents and more like Prep school students. Muffy, Mia, Nina and others.  I am guilty of it myself. I am Gigi. I didn't choose it, I chose Granny. I would have gladly been one and with all the images that went with it. The First Grandson decided on Gigi and that was that. He deserves the right to name me! I am just grateful he didn't call me "The old washer woman" because I would have  answered to it! But,  I know other Gigi (s), in fact it has gotten so common that Hubby joked that I should change mine to Lady Gigi. There are a lot of hip variations of grandmother these days and I smile each time I hear a new one. One of my friends told me before her child had the baby ... that she would like to be called "Princess"...I waited for the punch line that never came. I don't know how this all played out but sanity ruled out and she is now called Grandmomma, maybe there is a Princess in front of that for special occasions.

I would gladly choose my identity as grandmother. It has been the best time of my life. My children are wonderful parents and the fulfillment I enjoy comes from thinking I have played a small part in their success as parents. So...maybe...Lady Gigi is befitting...

Monday, May 7, 2012

I Think My Inner Voice Needs to Go Sit in the Corner!

A couple of mornings ago I opened my eyes from a-not-so-great night of sleep...my face was scrunched up tight and as my eyes opened, I noticed my fists were clenched. I sensed rather than felt I was angry at something or someone. It was then that I heard I was sure... the source of my anger, whistling his little tune, hopping up the stairs two at a time. "It's him...that you're angry with..." said my Inner Voice "You just have to remember why..."
So, my little brain tries in vain to search out the memory..."Did we go to bed angry with each other?"
No...No...No..."Did you have a bad dream?"  "Yesssss, maybe...."

The Hubby appears standing beside me, all smiles...with a hot cup of coffee in hand and I think my Inner Voice is insane as this is clearly God's most perfect man standing in front of me! I smile...but my dang Inner Voice isn't willing to let this go ...it's kicking me in the head as I tell my Hubby "Thank you!...Love you...Good Morning!" It scratches at me...willing me to Think, Think, Think...What did he do in the dream?

In that moment of caffeine surging clarity ... I realize my Inner Voice hates me! Why else would it want me to be mad at a loving man bringing me a perfect cup of coffee for no other reason than he loves me?  I decide right then and there...that MY Inner Voice needs a muzzle!

Recently, I  was set to lead a discussion with a group of people I didn't know, I mean...not to say, I didn't know them very well, I mean to say...I didn't know them, at all. My Inner Voice was sending me messages that would have made the end of the world more appealing than speaking in front of these people! The Hubby talked me down from the mental tree I was busy climbing, telling me to be myself and to let them see my passion for the topic. I listened and relaxed.

I am not sure men do this...but I know many of us women do this. We listen to these bad voices in our heads that tell us "We aren't good enough. We aren't pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough...or just enough"!

So...I led the discussion. And it went fine. I never did remember why I thought I was angry with the whistling, stair hopping, coffee-bringing  man and I just told my Inner Voice to sit in the corner and be quiet until it can say nicer things to me.

I realize I have more power over my thoughts and feelings than I had thought...I can choose to be happy, I can choose to be content...I can choose to be able to do this!

Friday, May 4, 2012

As I Was Saying...

I walk in the woods a lot...almost, everyday. I, think of myself as am more of a city girl or more accurately a beachy kind-of-girl...more of a Florida girl. This really is only the second time in my life that I have spent any length of time on the mountain and I had forgotten how beautiful this land really is...and it is very beautiful, even in the Winter months.

 There is an old homestead property closer to the top of the mountain. The Hubby and I walk up their often, sometimes...the girls, (our two dogs) and I walk up there alone. They explore and I sit on a rock and think about how the lives of these settlers might have been. The house is gone, even the chimney...just a flat service covered by layers and layers of leaves and fallen limbs...but you can make out the space where they lived. They are near the spring...so they had water close by. They weren't related to my husband's family and the house was long gone even when my Hubby's father was a child.

 I wonder all the time if the Mrs. Homesteader was happy here...did she find it cold, lonely and different as I do. Did they leave...because the Mrs. had a temper tantrum? I find that heating with a Wood Stove is difficult...she would have heated her home, cooked and heated her water for baths on it. She would have had no electricity, no internet, no phones and no car with or without good gas mileage. She would not have had a quick brewed cup of Starbucks waiting for her! Did she love this kind of life? Or, was she resigned to it? Did she feel overwhelmed...as I do.  

A friend said that I am still in grieving, mourning, if you will... for my old life. I think, that is true. I, also think, I thought this was a vacation and eventually we would move back home! After, almost a year...I realize we are home. 

In the woods...your imagination goes wild...sometimes, as I run...I think I see a glimpse of Big Foot! Other, times when it's quiet, which is often...I imagine I hear someone say "You can do it Deary!" ...I like to think it's Mrs. Homesteader and I also, like to imagine she says it with a lovely Scottish brogue 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

So... A Girl Walks into the Woods...

Stop me if you heard this one before...

If only this was the start of a really funny joke and I had a really funny punch line to follow but alas...I do not.
I did have the best of intentions with blogging again and I DID think I had found my voice...turns out it was more of a whine. Who wants to hear that? Who wants to wead "Wonda's Whines"?  I am 53 years old, well, almost 54 and frankly, life hasn't turned out like I thought it would. THAT'S not the problem, as we did have a Plan B...but the problem is I don't think I care for it. Maybe we should adopt a Plan B .5 version.

Back to my post title...So...A Girl Walks into the Woods. The girl is me and I walk in the woods a.lot. We live on 150 acres with a few family owned houses sprinkled on them. We moved here after all the construction work in Florida went away and as that is what our company did...we didn't have much to do!  So, with not so much to do my husband accepted a job offer in Virginia. I followed 5 months later and that was a year ago.  We had planned on building a house here because it is BEAUTIFUL here...but I have discovered that I may not like solitude as much as I should. During the winter months...I was cold. COLD. I know others weren't, I know it was the mildest winter in recorded history. I don't care...I was COLD. It doesn't help my situation that my husband wasn't cold and he loves it here so-so-so much...that he sings "I'm in heaven"!  See, I don't even have a catchy song to sing back for "No... you...the hell aren't"!

In my solitude ( as I have not gone back to work) I read, walk in the woods, facebook-like-crazy, google+... some, and seriously ignore twitter and pinterest. I tutor young readers (love that) and volunteer for my church family. I have started running and while not good...I am proud of it as frankly...I am old... but I am RUNNING. My point is I am trying...I am a praying person as my faith is very important to me, I practice Yoga and Meditation. But yet...this quiet sadness washes over me, pinning me down...stopping me in a current of water flowing against my path. Is that normal? When I run...I think my daughter-in-my-heart would be proud of me! When the child I tutor says something "bitter-sweetly" funny...I think "Rob would have said that when he was little". When I see wee little ones...I think always, of my beloved grandchildren. Everywhere I look...my former life and my family peek and push their way through. I miss them. I don't have the words to express my feelings. I thought I would have a different life. I am too old to have a temper tantrum...I am... right? So, I run, read, pray, do yoga and meditate. I also, drive to Tampa, Florida...VERY, VERY, MUCH!

This was my facebook status this morning:
When you are feeling "Blue" or "Down in the dumps" (what does that mean?) What do you do to make yourself feel better again?

It seemed to resonate with others...some great suggestions. One of the suggestions was medication. I haven't ruled it out. I will try blogging...and possibly a part time job. I know I am blessed...and I know who I belong to. I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What Was Waldo Thinking?

I remember fondly looking for Waldo in all the children's books "Where's Waldo?" as it was an amusing way to pass the time as we traveled...and we traveled quite a bit as I grew up. My father was in the Navy, which means we were all in the Navy and when he was transferred...we were all transferred. I got  used to being the "New Kid" in town as I traveled with my family in tow and we all felt like we were "all in this together". The books, which I think the British version is called "Where's Wally?" remind me of a time of travel, future uncertainties and a hideous red and white striped sweater that stood out usually like a "sore thumb"!

I would open the books and think..."Where's Waldo?" and mumble later...when I got older, as a pre-teen "Where's Waldo going now?"  personifying his experience as my own. It's that memory that has me asking "What was Waldo thinking?" meaning me..."What was I thinking?"

The simple answer is every move I dreaded. I, as a child, teenager and an even now as an adult dislike change. I love to travel and to see new things but I always want to return home. I think of this now as we settle in Virginia living in temporary housing while we decide what home to build. I feel a little "not part of the picture" and  a little like I am wearing a "Red and White Striped Shirt" in a room full of plaids and florals. This longing for a place to settle with familiar people, familiar landscape and my familiar things is not a new feeling for me...I remember the times of my childhood where I craved my "home".

I think now about what our new home will look like...Will it be a lovely red and white striped beach house perched on the side of a mountain? Will that feel like home? Or will I settle into my new surroundings and crave a mountain cabin of lovely florals and plaids?  Will that look like home? Maybe...I should build something new and modern befitting "The New Kid" in town.

I don't know... and Waldo is not saying.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Color Me Shades of Gray

I am no longer a Floridian, no longer working and no longer warm. (Virginia is cooler than I remember.) I am also no longer a person who believes in blacks and whites ...it's not the colors or  the races that I am thinking of  but rather those absolutes of certainty that I had of my youth. I was recently  in a class where a young women of about 20 or so spoke her mind...I loved listening to her as she was so certain of her opinion, certain she was right...and I felt a mixture of envy and admiration, well, maybe admiration and THEN envy. I loved her excitement at knowing she was right.

I wonder if the more we color our hair to cover our gray the more we lose our ability to see only black and white issues...I wonder if that is where the gray creeps back into our lives. I wonder if I stop coloring my hair...will I be the woman who believes the absolutes of my youth again...like the young women I admired so much. For some reason  I keep thinking of the line from Billy Joel's song "...when I wore a younger man's clothes."

  No...I don't think that's it ...So, even though I color my gray hair...I want to keep my gray thinking these days...as people say they have earned their gray hair...I HAVE earned my gray thinking. I am happier NOT having all the answers and NOT judging everyone wrong or right. I don't know all the answers but I am not afraid to ask the questions and I am not afraid to say I don't know.  The Ronda who were the younger girl's clothes wasn't able to do that. Very freeing...but I am going to still color my gray hair for awhile longer!