...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature...divorce...second chances...
and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2017. Hootie~

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

...umm, hello...is this thing on?

Dear Universe, 

Clearly I don't know what it is that I want.  You pretty much gave me what I asked for and I couldn't embrace it.  Sorry, my bad.  Maybe I'm being too specific in my requests.  Please give me what every it is the I need, because I'm pretty sure you have a better idea than I do of what that might be.  I keep thinking I know what that is, but I've been told what I am requesting is very "vanilla", and not really me.  I have been told I am a younger soul than what my age says; that age is just a number.  I feel I need someone who has life experiences, but realistically can that person be someone younger than I am?  I've been told others are drawn towards me, but I just don't see it.  Help me to take down my blinders.   I've been told I need to have faith, give it time, and just trust in you.  Truly, I am trying.  

I am trying to be a brave, strong person, but I don't want the job of being an inspiration to others.  I don't recall asking for that position in my life.  That is just too much pressure and responsibility!  If I am supposed to be grateful, I am.  I really am.  I was sitting at my dining room table this past Sunday morning when I had a Zen like moment.  I realized I was at peace in my heart.  My body was so calm, and I felt I was in a state of true happiness.  Euphoria.  I felt it, as I breathed in and out.  I was sitting alone, and yet I was at peace and happy.  I went to fill my bird feeders, and as I walked into my carport, I realized I have so much to be for which to be grateful.  I own a wonderful house, and it is my refuge.  I had to pause and actually kiss The Burrow.  I am grateful for the shelter it offers me, and the joys I have from watching the nature that surrounds it.  I am trying to find balance in my life.  I am trying very hard to be a good person, make everyone happy, and be true to myself.  I don't want to ever hurt my children.  I feel they have been hurt enough all ready, and they still have so much more life ahead of them.  I am sure heartache and hurt will be in their lives too, as it is in all our lives, but I do not want to add to their hurt any more.  Maybe my focus needs to be on making myself happy, but that's hard for me to do, because I feel selfish when I think like that.  

Today is the 32nd anniversary of my own dad's death.  In my life, I have experienced loss, and hurt, and sadness, and joy, and jealousy, and anger,  pride, and happiness, and I do not know what other lessons I still have to learn.  I'm really wanting to move forward.  I'm really tired of being lonely.  I don't mind being alone, if that's what I am supposed to be, but please direct me towards my purpose in life.  Most of the time, it's very hard to see my purpose.  Where is it that I am supposed to put all the love I have in my heart? 

Just making sure you are still there, Universe.  

Hope to hear from you soon.

Your biggest admirer, 

Lisa Kroll
     warrior, star gazer, and dreamer

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Gives and Takes....Price Points

Sometimes good things fall apart so even better things can fall together....

I've been weighting the pros and cons to being in a relationship. Nothing is on the horizon, I've just been thinking. I've been wondering why people give up their independence to be in relationships. I'm trying to figure out what the price point might be for whether or not a relationship happens.  I've been told I think too much. Thinking is a gift.    

In a relationship:  

When one enters into a relationship, there are many things gained.  One gains a partner with whom he or she can grow and share life.  Another gain, someone to call or text. There is always someone to come home to; always noise in the house.  Always someone to go do something with, either planned or spontaneous.  There are holidays to share and new traditions just waiting to be created. One always has someone who can do something for them, or the reverse, someone to dote on. One has someone to think out loud with or debate. Chores can be divided.  Money can be pooled.  Kind words can be spoken, and heard.  One can hear "I love you" before they close their eyes at night, and drift off to sleep. There is someone to plan and live dream vacations, or even stay-cations.  Still another gain, one has someone to share a new series on TV, or Netflix, etc. Meals can be prepared and eaten together. Strange noises in the house can be investigated by someone else. One has a partner to cuddle with, and hands are available to be held. 

Being single:  

Windows in the car may be opened and hair may be turned loose to dance freely in the breeze.  One decides what music to listen to and the decibel it should be heard. And if one wants to listen to Ed sing "What do I know", or "Eraser" a hundred times in a row...she can.  One can stay up as late as they'd like, or sleep in, too.  House windows may also be left open at night to enjoy the sounds of owls and tree frogs. No negotiating for what is on the screen. Binge watching for hours is acceptable. Dishes do not need to be used, or even washed daily IF used.  Chips and dip qualify as a complete meal. Proper sleeping posture is sprawled out, in the middle of the bed. Bed making is optional. There is always enough hot water. One can talk to his or her pets, knowing no one else will hear them.    

I'm sure there are many pros I'm missing for both being in a relationship and being single. These lists are by no means complete.   

A little alone time to think is always good for the soul.  
Being alone can be lonely at times, but it's okay.  

~Lisa Kroll

     I choose love.  
     I choose positivity. 
     I choose happiness.  

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Hoping in Tomorrow...

I don't have writer's block.  When there isn't anything posted, it is because I am dumping my thoughts on my private blog, or in my paper journal.  It means I am trying to decide what to share next. My personal goals are to accept how my life has played out.  I need to understand it, and why things happened as they have.  I need to understand my role, my needs, and my desires.  I am moving forward with my life.  If my writings can help someone else along they way, that makes me happy.  Not many truly understand what it is like to live with someone who has a personality disorder.  I didn't even realize that's what I was doing until I started to find my voice and put myself first. Our current political situation in America makes me feel the entire country is living through something very similar to what I have survived. The difference...  I was in the inner circle, and politically we are all at least one step removed.

I have been reflecting on what I have publicly written.  I do not have regrets for writing, but I realize that two posts ago I might have shared more than many people can handle.  As I re-read it, I know it doesn't sound like what happened could have been real.  It was.  I am glad that I documented in the moment exactly what did happen.  What I experienced was something that started long ago, nearly 33 years ago, and gradually built up.  I have been slow to mentally let things go, because I have had a lot to sort out.  It is something that I hadn't realized I had allowed to happen.  What I experienced was intense for someone in the line of fire. I have a little PTSD due to what I lived under, and it sometimes flairs up.  I am learning to recognize my triggers, work through them and not let them set me off.  Experience make us stronger.  There is risk in living, and in relationships.  Friendships are less risky than deeper, personal commitments.  When humans pair up, we trust that other person is on this ride with us, and are not working against us.  We trust they are going to build us up and be proud of our successes, not be jealous, or competitive and try to out do us.  I am a soul who loves deeply. I know people are thinking, "I wish she would move on all ready", etc.  I am, and at the pace I've needed. And I've needed a lot of time! I realize that what I have shared has been incredibly personal.  Sharing has been a necessary step in my healing.  My choice has been to write.

At this moment, I feel as if I have my hand on the door handle to my future.  You know that saying, When one door closes, Another opens up?  I feel like I am just about ready to turn the handle, open the door, AND in walking forward through the door, enter the next chapter of my life.

This is an exciting, yet scary time.  There is nothing standing in my way, except for myself.  Only my own fears are holding me back. I am still a little fearful.

Am I strong enough to speak my voice when I don't agree?
Am I able to let my opinion be known?
Am I ready to let down my guard and really open my heart to another?

Summer is here, and I think I'm ready for another adventure.

~Lisa Kroll
     spreading Love,
               and Understanding,

Sunday, May 14, 2017

To Date or Not To Date...

That isn't really the question.

HOW does one make connections so they can date?  
THAT, is the real question.

Dating sites in my 50's?!  
Not what I expected at this stage of life.  How can I learn to play this game?  I would love to meet someone who is looking for a friend to share his life, for a lover, a confidant, and a partner in crime*.

I have been with a few people since my divorce, but I haven't really dated.  In the Divorce Support Group I attend, it was suggest a divorced person really needs to allow one year to heal for every five they were married.  According to that schedule, I still have a few years to go.  I did have one on-again, off-again relationship over the past year.  I actually still really like that guy, and it doesn't take much for me to tell anyone who will listen about his great qualities.  He's a good person.  Unfortunately, we are just not at the same place in our lives.  I have nothing tying me down, while he still has the responsibility of his children, and I didn't get the feeling I was someone he wanted to go with on adventures.  He's got a lot going on in his life, and I know he will find the perfect person to fit into it.  That person just isn't me.   

What message does this picture send? 
I need someone who is ready to go on adventures.  I am experienced at playing old married couple, but I had anticipated I'd be traveling at this stage in my life.  With my children out of the house, the National Parks are calling me.  I want to check all 50 states off my bucket list as I explore the wonders each has to offer.  My passport is current, in hopes of being whisked away for even grander adventures in Canada, Ireland, Italy, France, Spain, Great Britain, Sweden, Brazil..and wherever else needs exploring.  I can do all this alone, but I'd like a partner to share this adventure.  I need someone who has disposable income and feels I'm worth spending that extra money on.  If that sounds harsh, or wrong, it's not meant to. Although nice, I don't need diamonds, but I do need adventure. I don't mind sharing the bill, but I need to feel wanted and just a little spoiled.    

I am told I just need to do those things I love and I'll cross paths with another like soul.  I hope that is true, but I am of little faith.  Will I?  Am I even approachable?  Will I ever really be asked out?  I am not getting any younger!!!

A man who is divorced in his 50's seems to wants someone who is in their 30's, they don't want a woman in her 50's.  Do older men even realize what they are missing out on?  Older women offer stability, and life experience, as well as their own financial independence.  

My experience with dating sites is, one gets what they pay for...

Free dating sites:

They are okay, but it's hard to filter out who talks to you.  Not wanting to be rude, I'm afraid I've spent too much time being kind and sending messages to people I will not date.  Talk is cheap.

Pay dating sites:

Depending on the site, you might be able to filter for location, social habits, education, etc. My experience is that there is a lot of activity for the first few weeks, and then because the pool of "fish" isn't very big, you are paying to look at the same fish.

Does this say, I volunteer?  I am capable?  
Being in my second year of my career, and loving my home and town, I don't really want to move so I can date.  Surely, there are more fish close to home worth looking at, and who want to look at me!?! Ones who just aren't in the pool because they are also intimidated by the nature of on-line dating. 
How do I reach this pool of fish?  

When I do check out the dating sites, I have certain parameters in mind. I assume others do as well.  I wonder, as my profile pictures are looked at, if guys are thinking is this someone I could share my time with, or more? That's what I want them to think, because I dislike feeling like just some fish who the fisherman will filleted and then discard.  It's hard to want spend my money on a site to meet people, when I'll be made to feel like I'm just a notch in some one's belt.  I think, regardless of ones age, dating sites are mostly a place where people turn to find someone to hook-up.  That's not what I am looking for in my life.       

Remaining positive minded and forward thinking, I have a list of what I'm looking for in someone. I trust that the Universe is listening to me.  

I want my someone to be older than me,
kids are fine - but no kids at home,
a non-smoker,
educated, a Masters or PHD is not necessary, but I enjoy smart conversations and so should he, and he will not be intimidated by the fact that I have my Masters. 
He will be someone who enjoys a nice glass of wine from a local winery or craft beer from a local brewery.
Grey hair is fine, in fact, I'd like him to have hair that I can run my fingers through, but this is not a deal breaker.
I'd like him to be taller than me, so I can wear my heels. Heels do make a lady feel sexy.  
He must love cats, and want to own a dog with me because I miss W but I don't want a dog by myself. Not yet anyway.  
And he'll love nature and the outdoors:
stars, sunsets, sun rises, the beach, the mountains, snow, the ocean, wild life and wildflowers,
he will be active and he will need to own hiking shoes/boots.
He will enjoy traveling/adventures and coffee shops.
He will understand my need to write.  
He will enjoy the food I make and will enjoy working with me in the kitchen.
He will be fit, but not too thin.  He will enjoy my curves.
He will play games with me and not mind when I pull Bananagrams out of my purse while we are having a drink at the bar, in fact, he might even suggest we go play trivia, just because. 
He will volunteer and want to give back to his community - more than just attending meetings, he will be a person of actions, putting his money where his mouth is.    
He will love music, museums, concerts, and live theater and want to attend events.
He will love my family and I will love his. 
He will laugh and know that life is short, so he will treasure the time we share together. 
He will have many friends, and share them with me, as I will mine to him, and he will enjoy people. 
He will be romantic and want to spoil me, and he will be healed from his past relationships. 
He will be spiritual, and respectful that I am still finding my way with my faith.  
Mostly, he will be ready for a partner, too.  

I know this is quite a list.  
Am I a dreamer?  Of course!  But, I believe in love and am ready for it to find me. 

          ~Lisa Kroll 
               Eating, Praying and Loving, still.

*figure of speech, this does not mean breaking the law and doing illegal things!!!  

P.S. I could write an entire post on how does one pick out the pictures they will display on a dating site...maybe I will.  Stay tuned!  

Friday, May 12, 2017

Emotional Manipulation...an example

Mother's Day... a day when we honor our mom.

More than likely, mom is the woman who carried us in her womb for nine months.  She protected, nourished and loved us, before we even entered the world.  When a man and a woman have a child, it is possibly the most intimate experience they can share. Not long ago, men weren't allowed into the delivery room, but now they are not only welcomed, but are active participants, being asked to cut the cord that binds their child to his or her mother.  The woman may carried their child, but the man is the witness.  He witnesses the growth of his child as he or she goes from being a home pregnancy test result, to a small bump that grows into the size of a basketball.  He witnesses black and white images on an ultra sound machine.  He is witness to that incredible event of the birth of his child.  He witnesses as the child travels from the safety of the uterus, through the pelvic bones, and out into the world where the first breathe is taken.  A man witnesses the transformation of the amazing body of a woman.  There is no doubt, a woman's body is truly amazing.

I have given birth to two children.  To me they are blessings beyond compare.  I no longer need to protect them as I once did.  The nourishment I offer is mostly emotional, with a side helping of real calories. I love them more than they can every possibly know.  They are two amazing human beings...a product of the childhood they were given.  

Mother's Day 2013

In February of that year, he had started pushing me away.  What was wrong with me?  I didn't seem to be doing anything right. I sought therapy to find answers on what I needed to do to help change myself for him, for us.  We were still sleeping in the same bed on Mother's Day.  When I awoke that morning, I turned to him and confessed that I missed "us", I missed being intimate.  Had I expected the lashing that followed, I would have remained silent, I would have kept my thoughts to myself.  

I didn't expect what followed.

me-What are you thinking?

            him - What are you thinking? 

me - I realize we are probably just going through something, but I miss our intimacy. 

           him - When did you see your therapist last? 

me-Two weeks ago, and I'll see her this week. 

           him - Why aren't you seeing her weekly?  Are you taking your meds?  
            Have you been taking your Xanax? 

me-The Xanax is only for panic attacks and I haven't needed those for some time now.

           him - What do you talk about in your sessions?

me-Well, I did tell her I miss our sex and she told me I need to back off and not push things. 

           him - What else do you talk about?  
            I mean, I know your sessions are private and not my business.  

me - Well, I worry about how much you ride, and you are the one who told me about Over Training Syndrome.  I wasn't even sure that was a real thing, so I googled it and you seem to fit all the symptoms. 

           him - That's part of being a high level, competitive athlete.

me - I know, I don't understand since I'm not an athlete.  

            him - That's absolutely right, you aren't.   

me - I just don't know any other high level athletes to compare my concerns about you to. I also am concerned because you seem more jovial with others than you are with me.  I'm just trying to figure out what I need to do to help this out.  I realize I'm a pleaser and I shouldn't worry.  I just feel like you give 150% of yourself to your cycling, and 150% of yourself to your job and there is nothing left for you to give me.  I feel like there isn't a balance.  I feel like all I get is a peck on the lips.

            him - "That's all I have for you." 
             You suffer from low self-esteem and you need to work on that.  It isn't my place to tell you daily that I love you, or that I find you attractive or that I think what you are doing is good. 

me - Well, do you feel that way about me though?

           him - Not all the time.  
           You are 49 years old.  When are you going to start taking care of yourself? You have a basket of pills under the bed and you are comfortable taking those to manage things rather than to exercise, and walking the dog doesn't count as exercise.  You need to get your heart rate elevated. 

me - I have so much to do around here.  I don't have time to exercise too.  

            him - What do you have to do?  

me - I have to shop, and cook, and clean, and walk the dog, and work. 

             him - Your priorities are off.  You need to find time to work out.  How much are you on the computer during the day?  How much are you on there morning, noon and night?  I challenge you to write down how much you are on either the computer or your iPad. 

me - You know, my mind just races.  I'm worried maybe you are having an affair. 

           him -  Is your goal to keep gaining weight?

me - I've actually lost 10 pounds since December. 

            him - Well, I can't tell. 

me - I don't care if you can't tell.  You can ask my doctor, they have official records. 

            him - "I'm not attracted to someone whose gut sticks out more than their tits.  
             Are you surprised to hear me say this?"

me - no (I was in absolute shock.)

            him - "I mean, come on (and he touched his own chest) have you looked at me?"  
                (exhale and pause) Do you want me to hold you? 
me - no

I took three xanax that day and emailed my therapist.  
Above is from my email.  Every word is true.  
This is what emotional manipulation from a Narcissistic looks like from the inside.  

I walked Winston as my escape after that conversation.  When I returned he asked if I wanted to go to Goose Pond and see what it was like.  He had asked me this once before.  That previous day we were to go after he went riding his bike.  When the time came for us to go, he was too exhausted.  Today I told him no thanks.  He asked if I didn't want to go because the birds were mostly gone.  I told him I really didn't want to spend any time with him.  

At my next therapy session my therapist told me I could believe what he tells me about myself, or I could go out into the real world and see what the rest of the world has to say.  She suggested I take a trip by myself.  You might recall that I went to the Grand Canyon on my walkabout.  Mother's Day 2013 was the catalyst.  

In September of 2013 he moved out of our bedroom.  In April of 2014 he moved out of the house.  On Mother's Day of 2014 he showed up at the house.  He was mad that I had changed the locks.  I told him he was the last person I wanted to see on Mother's Day.  He asked why.  I said don't you remember what you said to me last year?  His response, "I remember.  You're still in shock aren't you?" 

I needed to write this and share it publicly so I can be released.  I have held this in my heart every day.  When I look into the mirror now, I see someone who was hidden and is emerging.  I need the poison he fed into my soul to be out, and completely gone.  

I claim Mother's Day as mine.  

I do not suffer from low self-esteem.  
I am a warrior.  
I am roaring.

                  ~Lisa Kroll
                      Mother, Survivor, Love Warrior

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Practicing Mindfulness

I've been missing my mom these days...and my dad, and Winston, too.  

As the weather is getting nicer, I find I am wanting to wander in the woods, but that makes me feel extremely untethered. I don't want another dog right now, but I miss my hiking buddy.  I am working on learning to be comfortable in my untethered feelings, to enjoy my alone time, and on being mindful.  My alone time is not necessarily a good thing.  Certain tasks allow more time to ponder life.  Alone... I clean my house, and I think.  Alone... I mow my yard, and I think.  Maybe the reason I enjoy music so much is because it distracts my brain.  I am a thinker, but thinking when one is so alone can be dangerous.  My brain is still asking old questions and trying to rationalize what happened: How did I got to this point in life?  Why did things happen as they did?  Maybe if I... Maybe if this... Am I destined to be alone forever?  What if this is as good as it gets?  What if this is all I get?  What if I had my chance?  What if no one wants me? What if I'm too much for someone else to handle?  I know I am smart, strong spirited, capable, a problem solver, and generally, I have a happy heart.  I know I am empathetic, and kind.  A part of what brings me joy is my need to give back.  

So, what's wrong with me???  

I realize that's not the right question to be asking.  NOTHING is wrong with me. I remind myself that I spent almost 30 years trying to make everything in life perfect.  When things didn't go the way they were supposed to, I took the blame.  Whether it was my fault or not. Emotionally, I'm in limbo. I KNOW what I should be doing, but I don't know how to get to the next point.  I am learning to be intentional in my thoughts; to be mindful.  This is my plan B. When I start to feel down, I allow myself to feel the heaviness in my heart for just a few minutes, and then I breathe a few deep breaths.  I consciously think, 'why am I thinking these thoughts right now? I can't change how things are, but I can change my thoughts.' I try to identify my trigger, then, I acknowledge, right this moment, something that brings me joy.  I think about those things for which I am grateful.  It doesn't have to be something big.  It could be simple things like the tea I'm sipping, or Toulouse or Berlioz, or the smell of lilacs, as the scent wafts inside my house through my opened windows.  It could be as simple as my flowered bed sheets  or something funny that happened at school.  This is a conscious effort that takes practice.  

I have disliked weekends for a long time now.  I have a to-do list for school and one for home.  Both are extensive, so it isn't hard to work myself to exhaustion.  However, I know that in order to heal, I need to make, and take, time for myself.  I am working on finding balance.  This past Friday night, I stayed after school until about 7, even though I know I will be going back on Sunday to finish planning out my week.  Was I avoiding going home to an empty house?  Yes.  As I pulled into my neighborhood I could feel the loneliness creeping into my mood.  I'll be honest.  There are times when I think, maybe I should just have a few drinks, numb the pain, block out the loneliness.  Except, that isn't me. I am responsible.  Damn it!  

One time, about a year ago...I grabbed the bottle of Marker's Mark from my cabinet when I got home. I sent a text to one of my friends and my sister, knowing full well that my sister was busy.  "Here's what I'm doing...," I said.  My friend responded almost immediately, he's been through a divorce. He understands my pain.  He has healed, and is in his second marriage.  "Three shots only," he told me. I had to promise to put the bottle away.  I kept my promise.  It helped in the moment, but it didn't really help.  Also, I know it is unfair of me to put my burdens on others.  It doesn't matter if my sister, or my friends tell me they don't mind, it is not right.  I am reminded that life is not fair, but life is beautiful.  In order to see the beauty, we need to be proactive and live in the moment. So, plan B.  

Friday night, I knew I was starting to feel the weight of my untethered-ness. I allowed myself to acknowledge my feelings. I even allowed a few tears. Crying is a good way to release.   Tears released, I asked myself, why am I feeling like this?  Answer:  It's the weekend, and it's a holiday.  I don't have enough time to travel to be with my siblings and get done what I need over this weekend, so I will be alone.  I am also on my self-imposed sabbatical from church, and I don't want to attend another church on Easter, especially by myself.  So, no family and no church.  Deep breaths, and center.  I focused my thoughts on what I was grateful about at that very moment.  I was grateful that I had a house to come home to.  I was grateful that I had a bed to lay on, and kittens who are happy to see me. My kitties nuzzled my nose. My mood was shifting.  Earlier in the day, one of my cousins on my dad's side, had asked a bunch of us if anyone had a certain family recipe.  I did, but I was at school when she asked.  Remembering this request, I got off my bed, and I found that recipe.
circa 1963
I shared it with my cousins.  "Look!," I said, "bonus recipe, Pigs Feet!"  (Bleh!!!!) Our parents certainly grew up in a very different time.  

I thought about having a drink, but I came up with a different game plan.  What if I baked the blues away???  I went to the store and I picked up the ingredients to make Easter Cheese, plus a few other things.  I came home and went to work in my kitchen.  I turned on some blues...jazz blues and started creating. 
My Easter Cheese draining.  

First, I made the Easter Cheese.  As kids, my brother and I called it Egg Cheese.  Looking at the ingredient list, Egg Cheese makes sense. 


Over ripe bananas were on my counter...which lead to banana bread being baked.  I also whipped together some basil pesto.  I'll be making focaccia bread to go with the basil pesto and cheese tortellinis.  Fresh bread out of the oven cannot be topped!  

Another thing I know to be true about myself is that I am capable in the kitchen.  I love having a reason to cook and share my culinary talents with others.  

I wasn't planning on getting out Easter decorations, and then my sister unintentionally tore at my heart strings.  She started sending pictures of the decorations she had out. She was sharing decorations that our mom had made.  Crumbs.  Up to my attic I went.  I got out the bare minimum...only treasures crafted by our mother's hand...plus two critters she loved.  

Ceramic treasures created with love.  

I do miss my parents.  Having little treasures like these ceramic bunnies and eggs to pull out help remind me of the care my mom showed in all she did. I am very much like my mom.  Having the hand-written recipes above, remind me of previous generations.  As I read the Pigs Feet recipe, I recalled family members actually eating and enjoying these.  Uck!  It speaks volumes though about what they had or didn't have.  It also emphasized to me how resourceful our prior generations were.  Waste not, want not.

My dad would have celebrated his 84th birthday a few days ago, and my mom would have been 75 this year.  I feel their presence in my home, and in my heart.  

~Lisa Kroll

After my morning edits, I must add these Sunday notes: 

Before I went to write last night, my daughter called.  My kids wanted to use my house to share a movie with their friends.  They wanted to show their movie outdoors!  My house is, and always will be, my children's home.  When I returned from writing, I found my carport had been transformed into a drive-in theatre. Food was grilled, beer bottles opened, the porch swing was moved from out back, and camp chairs were scattered about.  Time for the movie.  

Before I had gone to bed, my kids asked if we could share the late morning today.  My heart smiled. When I woke this morning, I found one child and her bf asleep on the porch swing (it folds down into a bed). I made my way back into my kitchen.  Soon, the smells of coffee and cinnamon scones drifted out into the carport.  Banana bread and Easter Cheese were available, too. My son soon joined us and we had the perfect Easter breakfast.  
Cinnamon Scones

Easter Cheese...with salt

Happy Easter to all.  
God is great, and he has risen indeed!  
I am consciously mindful of how blessed my life really is these days.  

Sunday, April 09, 2017

What brings me joy...

birds singing
finding morels 
spring peepers croaking
deer romping through the woods
blossoms and leaves budding on trees
the color of spring wildflowers 
against the gray-brown ground
white clouds
blue skies

cats and dogs
wild grape vines
 the moon and the stars
turtles, snakes and owls
dark chocolate with a sprinkle of salt
red wine: a Malbec or Shiraz
meaningful conversations
holding hands

witnessing love
vistas at National Parks 
the sunrise each morning
sunsets at the ocean
romantic comedies 
captivating novels
playing games

walks on the beach
hiking in the woods
butterflies and fireflies
 tall green grass with dandelions
fresh air and windows open as I sleep
sea shells and snowflakes
salt lamps and diffusers
music and art

                                                               ~Lisa Kroll      

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Sunshine, Small Town Coffee Shops, and a March Snow

It snowed yesterday and last night.  Just a dusting, maybe an inch on the grassy areas and rooftops.  Humans and global warming are messing with the weather.  Living alone, I am the one who puts up the Christmas lights outside my house.  I am also the person who needs to take them down.  I have that task on my list of things to do later this week...it's spring break here, and I'm having a stay-cation.  I don't mind staying home, I have plenty "to do".  As my lights aren't on my list to come down until late in the week...I flipped them on last night.  The rebel in my soul smiled.  Take that unspoken rules!  Twinkle lights on, during a March snow.  

Breaking from my norm, today I am meeting a girl friend.  I still cannot hear.  In addition to not hearing, I also seemed to be unable to read.  Our text clearly says 1o'clock.  I read it as 10.  Time for an adventure!  I spent a short time reassuring my friend I am perfectly fine.  My bad, I read our message wrong.  I'll see her, when I see her.  Then, I checked google maps...what local coffee shops are here?  I am a lover of small town coffee shops!  I am out of town for the day.  It feels good to break from my routine.  It's refreshing to go where I can watch the world around me, while I contemplate about how blessed I truly am.  

Friendships.  I know I've said this before, they are precious to me.  Every chance I get, I love connecting with my friends. Most particularly... I cherish connecting with this friend.  She's been my confidant for a very long time.  Sometimes, I feel like she's my guardian angel here on Earth.  I am not sure she understands how much she really means to me.  I know we 'watch' one another on social media.  My heart radiates happiness when I see pictures of her smiling with her own children, or with her grandchildren.  Our friendship is deeper than that though.  She knows my secrets, both from long ago and more recent.  She knows my heart ache, and she knows my joy.  She is witnessing my rebirth.  When I stumble and am feeling like I'm free falling, her words scoop me up, and ground me.  She is to be credited with helping me move forward emotionally.  I don't think there is anything I wouldn't do for her.  

We all need a friend like this.  We all need a friend who truly loves every ounce of our being.  A friend who accepts us as we are, whether we are perfect or not.  We all need someone to whom we can tell our deepest secrets.  I believe we all need this kind of a friendship, and it needs to lay with someone with whom we aren't romantically involved. And we all need this friend, who can, on a whim, meet us for lunch...even when they don't live in the same town.   

As I look out on the busy main street, the sunshine streaming in is warming my body.  I am watching the people who are entering and dining in this little place.  Groups of men...co-workers, maybe and several couples.  Many couples are older, the one nearest to me is sharing a BLT.  They are talking and laughing.  I can't hear details of the conversations, but I can hear the laughter and feel the happiness that is adding to the ambience.   Local coffee shops are on the fringes of mainstream life.  Friendships, like coffee shops, can offer a place of safety, a place of connectedness, and a place of peace. 

I am grateful for my adventure this morning, and the opportunity to witness the happiness of others.  

I am grateful I have a friend whom I can hug.  I can't wait to see her!  


Sunday, March 12, 2017

How to Heal...

Gosh, I wish there was an instruction book for this. 

I am currently dealing with an ear infection.  It is s-l-o-w to heal.  I did one round of a Z-Pak, called the doctor because I felt it wasn't working on day five, and they told me to be patient.  

Hey, I have a joke for you.  
I'll be Person A (PA), you can be Person B (PB).  

PA:  Knock, Knock
PB: Who's there? 
PA: Impatient Cow. 
PB: Impa...
PA: MOO!  

This is not a new realization: I am tolerant, but I am not a very patient person.  

I have been without my hearing in my left ear for over a week.  Today is day 10.  I feel it is suddenly going to come back any minute, or in an hour, but I have felt like this for the past three days.  I am tired of not being able to hear.  I can handle being sick, but not hearing....ugh. 

When my dad died back in 1985, I thought my family would never heal from that loss.  We did though.  Time seems to have a magical power.  With time, one is allowed to put distance between the hurt and reality; so one can deal with the stressors.  Time doesn't make it, the thing that caused the pain go away.  Wouldn't THAT be wonderful! Instead, time allows the stages of grief to progress.  Time allows healing to take place, so one can rationally accept how life plays out.  Time allows us to deal with pain and loss, and take away lessons.  In the same way, time is needed for a body to heal from illness. I know my mind needs to relax.  I am sitting in a holding pattern right now.  Clearance to land, has not yet been granted.  

My divorce has hurt my soul more than I'd like.  I wish I could just heal all ready from that.  I don't want to be angry.  I don't want to be sad.  I don't want to feel so alone.  But, I also don't want to forget.  I don't want to be hurt again.  I want to be confident and secure with myself.  I want to feel like someone another might want to hang out and be seen with, and share time.  I feel I don't have many friends who are single and my age.  I am living with the 'odd man out' feeling.  I am aware of not being invited to do things, I mean really, who wants to have the divorced woman sitting there?  Awkward.  I get it.  Conversations, both spoken and silent, become uncomfortable...'hey, Lisa, there's a guy for you.'  Funny, but not really.  I am sensitive to conversations.  When you hang out with married people, guess what gets talked about? I have no one to complain or brag about.  I go home to my cats.  Who wants to hear stories about my cat's antics all the time?  I love my pets, but I don't want to become a crazy cat lady.  When you hang out with single people, those conversations have a certain theme too.  Oh time, work your magic on me, please.   

Time does not heal.  It only offers spacial distance.  In order to truly heal, one needs to learn from the past, make changes, and be proactive.  Only then can one move forward.  This spring I am trying to make changes.  I need more friends.  Oxymoron, I know.  Social being needs more friends.  It's true.  I need more friends.  I need people in my life who want to do things.  I need to find souls who want to get out and have fun.  I am dying slowly each day just working and coming home, and being sick hasn't helped my state of mind.  I can easily be a work-a-holic, but I don't want to be.  I need to nourish the other parts that make up me.  I need to get out!  Being proactive, I have signed up for a class.  Learning and music are two things I enjoy.  In a few weeks, I'll start a five week class on the History of Jazz in my community.  I can't wait!  I am also looking seriously into joining a writing group.  

In the mean time, I turn the music up and dance like no one is watching!  Literally.  My custodian walked in on me last week one night after school.  He said, I guess you still can't and didn't hear me knocking.  He was right.  I kept dancing.  

And I will keep dancing....

~Lisa Kroll
      slowing healing, but healing.  
      turning the music up, and dancing.
      grateful for all I have, and smiling. 

Blogging music:  I had my headphones in so I would look cool.  Ed was playing, after I tried listening to some new stuff on Spotify.  Honestly, I had Adagio for Strings (Samuel Barber) on my brain.  I heard it playing on the radio before I walked out the door.  The Dover Quartet was on A Prairie Home Companion - rebroadcast of Nov. 12, 2016. I am an NPR junkie.  What a beautiful, emotion filled song.  I also had the image of my ballerina and her friends dancing on stage to this song, with a single spot light shining on them from stage right.  Images are powerful.  Music triggers memories, and smiles.   

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Take me to Church...

Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, AZ
Growing up, church was an important part of my life.  On Saturday afternoons, or Sunday mornings my family went to church.  One hour a week, this was our routine.  Church was where my mother's, and my father's family came together.  Polish, Italian and Irish, it was one thing they had in common. My church gave me a sense of place in the community. I was taught the rules from a very early age, and I knew how to belong.  

Annually, there was a church picnic to attend. Most of my spiritual socializing happened after church, as my parents would catch up with other parents/adults they'd only see weekly. Church was a place that was safe, where I worshipped with my friends. Catholic school wasn't something my parents could afford, so I was public school educated.  My formal religious education started when I was 7 years old.  I can still recall that late May day in 1972 when I made my first communion. I wore a short, white dress that had a chiffon overlay.  I was adorned with white, lace anklets, white patent leather shoes and little white gloves.  My first communion head piece made me feel like a mini-bride, or princess of the church.  It was just myself on the alter, and one other little girl.  After making our first communion, we were greeted by the congregation.  We stood on either side of the Priest.  Nowadays, entire classes of children make their first communion.  I attended catechism along side peers who were my church family.  After catechism, there were confirmation classes to attend.  My confirmation discussion class was very small, just a half dozen of us.  Today, I still have a few of those friends in my life.  Clearly, the Catholic church influenced my becoming who I am.

Right now, I find myself wondering where does my heart belong?  Is the Catholic church still right for me, or have my beliefs changed?  Do I believe in the rigidity of the Catholic church, or more in the ideology of belonging to a church? I know I have become a more aware, spiritual being as I have aged.  My life experiences have been anything but rigid or predictable, and they have influenced my thoughts.   

On February 12, I sat in church and listened to the words being spoken. I felt I was being spoken to directly and I can't shake the feeling I received from the message that day.  I felt a pain in my religious being; as if a nail was being hammered into the coffin of my soul closing me off from the church. I was made to feel that I was a sinner and beyond redemption.  The gospel reading dictated what was being preached.  Rationally, I know the gospel is a group of words from a very long time ago.  Surely humanity has grown and changed in it's beliefs?  Yet in 2017, many churches continue to read old words, and repeat history.  I suppose that is to be expected because the old words in bibles, etc have given so many comfort, and a certain amount of wisdom.  There are lessons to be taken from history.  Sometimes, history keeps people bound to old ways.  Change is not encouraged.  For me, the effects from that Sunday are making me rethink what having religion in my life means.  More precisely, what the Catholic faith means to me.  The full gospel reading was Matthew 5: 17-37.  What struck me first, were the words spoken on the alter that morning to start mass...'you should strive to: "be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."' (Matthew 4:48)

When I hear the words 'be perfect',  I feel that means you need to live up to some set standards that have been defined by someone else.  My history has shown me that I cannot be someone else's idea of perfect. I feel I'm being set up to fail.  

The second thing that caused me pause, was how much of a misfit I feel in my own church. I truly feel like an outcast.  Matthew 5:32 "But I say this to you, everyone who divorces his wife, except for the case of illicit marriage, makes her an adulteress; and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

As those words were read, I felt a bright, scarlet A was suddenly floating over my head, and I was sure all could see it glowing.  How can I even think of being perfect in the church's eyes?  Those exact words are in the bible.  Written when?, but spoken today...in 2017.

When I returned to the Catholic church several years ago, I returned after spending years feeling I was disappointing my mom.  I was married in the Catholic church, but I didn't raise my children to be Catholics.  Their father was not and I thought I could raise my children to be good Christians who understand there is more than one way to worship, to love and to care for all.  I believe in my heart I have been successful in achieving this goal.  But in the rest of my history, my mom first told me when she found out I wasn't attending church at all, "any church would be better than no church" in my kids life.  I agreed.  So I chose the church that my husband attended.  The pleaser in me wanted to make everyone happy.  The church that we attended, I found inspiring.  I became an active member.  It was a Christian based church - Geist Christian Church, Disciples of Christ.  I recall one time asking my mom if she would buy a raffle ticket for our church hog roast.  She told me she wasn't into supporting other religions. Ouch. Later in my child raising years, my mom told me she felt she was going to Hell because she failed as a mother.  Enter Catholic guilt.  "Two of my three children didn't turn out Catholic," my mother told me.  My response was she still had a chance with her youngest child.  My sister is the reason my mom went to Heaven.  Not my brother, and certainly not me.  My returning to the Catholic church was after my mom died.  I'm not sure I even believe in Heaven or Hell.  I'm more of the kind who believes spirits are all around us.  I do believe my mom was at peace when she passed away.  She was an incredibly, wonderful soul and I'm sure she found her place in Heaven.  Maybe my returning to church was to appease God on her behalf.  I know I did find comfort in the rituals and routine of church.  It was something familiar that I returned to.  Maybe I needed that familiarity to help get through the challenges in my life that would soon follow.

I tried to talk with one of the priests early in my deteriorating marriage, my husband had made it clear we were not something he wanted any more.  The priest told me he could see there was still love in my heart for my husband.  He told me I would find a way to make it work out. He said all would be fine. 

Months later, I tried attending an over 50's group potluck at church.  I was looking for support.  When I walked into the potluck, I realized it was not billed accurately. It was really a couples group.  They said "everyone was welcomed", but it was a couples group, and I was clearly the odd man out.  Call me Esther. Upon first walking in, I was asked if I was really over 50.  When I jokingly said, "do you need to see my drivers license," I was told yes.  I laughed uncomfortably, but did not reveal my license.  Minutes later I met the Deacon.  His first question was, "Where is your husband?"  I felt like a leper. There were single women there, but they had lost their husbands to death.  They were to be pitied.  They were accepted.  I understand that being divorced in the Catholic church means something very different in the church doctrine versus in the congregation.  The Catholic church offered me no support through my divorce. There was a divorce support group offered at another Christian based church in town.  I reached out, and I went there. I attended two rounds of a 13-week program. During those 26 weeks, my eyes were opened a little.  But I told myself, you're Catholic. That's your home. That's where you belong.  

Being honest, I have not felt like there is a place for me at my church.  I do see familiar faces when I enter the sanctuary.  There are 'regulars' I sit near, greet and know by name.  Many families and couples fill the pews around me.  I have enjoyed the ritual and routine of church.  As I rediscovered my love for music, singing the traditional songs at mass has also been nice. There is comfort in knowing the routine, and in knowing the expectations.  Is familiarity what I am looking for?  Or am I looking for acceptance? 

The old school mentality in the Catholic church cannot live forever, can it?  Surly the unrealistic demands on the rest of society will fade and change as the population demographic changes.  I do not think I can wait for the church to catch up to me.  My church is physically hurting my soul.  Maybe the message that followed the gospel reading that morning was one of acceptance and change.  Honestly, I was trying to stay focused on keeping my silent tears at bay so I didn't fully hear what was being said.  I was really sure my scarlet A was now attached to a large arrow pointing directly at my head.  Right here, it was saying.  Adulteress.  Right here.  I know I didn't do anything wrong.  But I am divorced and attending church.  I do not have plans to get my marriage annulled.  I was married for a long time. I made a commitment, and was honoring it.  I didn't make a mistake.  My children were created out of love, even if it was only love on my end.  I will not make them bastards, as my grandmother, rest her soul, would tell me they will become if I annul my marriage.  In the back of my head, I faintly heard the homily preaching family values.  It is important for core family values to remain strong in the Catholic church.  I understand their position.  Families need safe places they can go, as families.  But, I am divorced.  Yes, I heard something mentioned about gay marriages now to consider. The rest of what I heard was delivered without the conviction that love is love, or that we should love and accept one another. And not once was it said that we are perfect just as we are.

What I am realizing about myself is that I am not only discovering who it is that makes up me in my emotional life, or discovering who I am physically.   I am also discovering whom I am in my spiritual life.  This transformation I am going through is truly a complete transformation.

Spiritually, I think it's time for me to step away from my Catholic roots, at least for now.  I cannot attend a church that continues to endorse old norms.  I cannot attend a church that doesn't nourish me.  I cannot attend a church that hasn't changed as I have changed.  I cannot attend a church that doesn't grow.  I am perfectly me.  I'll admit, I don't quite see it yet, but I am.  I am a divorced person who is still capable of love, and tolerance, and acceptance, and who needs a church who preaches the same, while being able to nourish my soul.  I need a church who doesn't belittle her flock, but instead builds them up and makes a difference in this world.  We only have a short time on this planet.  I need to feel I am making a difference. I don't need to feel that I am less than acceptable.  

Change may be good, but change IS hard.  It's hard to break from the familiar and go to the unknown.  I've spent the past several years charting a new course for myself.  I didn't expect to be alone.  This has been hard, but it has also been good.  I wake each day feeling rested, happy, and grateful for another day on this wonderful planet.  

Not too long ago, this was not how I woke up.  I used to wake up being anxious.  I silently wondered what would I do today that was wrong?  I went to sleep each night feeling I needed to stay on a certain amount of the bed, not make any noises, and control all else.  Literally I needed to control ALL ELSE..things beyond my control: water dripping from the faucet, a dog barking at night.  As I closed my eyes to sleep, I would silently cry and wonder what was wrong with me?  I would physically lay on my stomach and tuck my right hand between the mattress and the box spring.  If during my slumber, I inadvertently rolled over my two foot limit (I sleep in a queen sized bed), I was shaken awake and told my offense.  If the toilet was stuck and running a little or a faucet was dripping, I was shaken awake and asked, "don't you hear that?" If the dog was barking at something out in the back yard at night and I didn't hear it, I was hostilely told "That god dammed dog was barking again last night.  I can't believe you didn't hear him." And if W happened to be barking before I fell asleep, I knew I needed to go and try to hush him.  If I didn't, the passive aggressive mannerisms, heavier than necessary footsteps to the basement and back, reminded me that I was at fault, yet again. Behind closed doors.  Emotional abuse.  Unseen by all, but felt deeply by those in it's path.  I am learning to let this go.  I am learning to recognize the patterns and put myself first.  I have felt crazy, but I am not.  

Again, change is hard.  Initially, I knew the crazy in my life, I knew my place, and I thought I knew how to manage it all.  I was willing to sacrifice to keep things as status quo. I hadn't realized there might be something different out in the world, or that the different might be something even better.  Daily I prove to myself, that I am capable of surviving the challenges and changes that fill my life.  I am not only surviving, but I am healing and happier.  Maybe it's time for me to reevaluate the place a church holds in my heart.  If I have been able to experience such positives in one area of my life...maybe I can feel those positive in other areas too?  Hm.

Chapel of the Holy Cross, top side, Sedona, AZ
I plan on praying over what the correct option spiritually might be for me.  I think I might take a sabbatical from my Catholic faith.  Maybe I'm becoming a spiritual vagabond, or maybe I'm becoming more enlightened.  

In 2013, I traveled alone on a walkabout that was the kick start to me discovering who I was once again.  I went out west to the Grand Canyon and Sedona for just under two weeks.  While in Sedona, I visited a church that was built right into the side of the rocks.  I can tell you, my spirit was touched and filled with peace and happiness while there.  I felt welcomed.  There were no set expectations on me.  I was allowed to just be me, and to shine as brightly as I could.  

Maybe it's time I stop trying to fit myself into defined, and confining boxes.  


Ed Sheeran came out with his third album yesterday.  It's called Divide and I am overdosing on it.  I currently have his songs "What do I know?" and "Save Myself" on repeat.  

From the wisdom of Ed...

          "Remember life is more than fitting in your jeans, its
          Love and Understanding, postivity.  

          Love can change the world in a moment, 
          But what do I know."  

Maybe I need to go to the church of Ed Sheeran for awhile.  :)
I know I do need to allow myself to fall in love, completely, with all I do.

          ...."And before I love someone else, I've got to love myself"

~Lisa Kroll, 
eating, praying and still learning to loving this person who is me. 

Blogging music:  
When I first wrote this pots, I was listening to the music of Amos Lee, from his album Spirit.
My editing music has been from Divide, by Ed Sheeran.  
And, although it's a tad sacrilegious...SNC singing "Take Me to Church". 

Humor has a place in my soul.  
The power of words through lyrics 
and stories 
inspire me 
and help me dream.