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

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.