Tag: love thy neighbor

The Second Half

Last week I posted a series of memes on FB about aging. I want people over 50 to be excited about the second half of life. One of my walking routes through the neighborhood takes me by a couple of old Ford trucks that have been cared for. They’re gorgeous, and I think about my truck being considered a classic one day.

My neighbor is older than me, and he’s my life mentor. When I’m perplexed about the best way to fix, or do something, he’s my Guru. He shares what he would do, and then has several suggestions on what not to do. I tell him all the time, “You know everything!” He chuckles and says, “No Barbara…I’ve just been here longer.” In the book I’m writing, he’s called Hercules, and there’s a chapter entitled, “A Hammer, Screwdriver and some duct tape”, filled with his wisdom.

The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

Andy Rooney

I love a clean truck, and growing up, we hand washed our cars. I’ll still hand wash my truck, but it’s too hot outside to be enjoyable, so I’ll run him through a carwash. Hercules has a Ford F150 older than Steve, (my trucks name) and he takes it through the Glide carwash. When I ask, “What are you doing today Hercules?”, he’ll say, “Today we ride the Glide Barbara.” He loves that carwash, so one day I took Steve.

This carwash felt like walking through a hurricane. It’s powerful, and I told Hercules I couldn’t ride the Glide after it almost ripped one of Steve’s sideview mirrors off. He said, “Don’t you fold them in?” I said, “Yes, but the force of the wash popped it out and bent it backwards!” This is when he realized a girl drives this truck. Hercules, would have shrugged it off while reattaching the mirror with duct tape.

I found a more gentle car wash for Steve and drive him through regularly. He’s 14 years old, and at the stage where things give out, and parts are replaced, but fortunately he hasn’t let go of anything major.

I’ll be 58 this October, and to some that sounds old, but I’m excited. Everything we learned in the first half, can be applied to the second half, and by refining our experiences we get to do it right in the second half.

She’s That Neighbor

When she told me she was moving, I was happy for her, but sad for me. We didn’t have to see one another everyday to know we had each other’s back. She was my neighbor.

When we had the snow and ice storm earlier this year, she texted me for a Chemex filter. I placed some in a ziplock baggie, and made my way through the snow to her back door. I loved the fact that with everything we could run out of, the Chemex was a priority.

That day confirmed, she’s that neighbor.

I’ve written about ‘M’ before in Just Say Yes and that Blogpost was written through inspiration from her. I can’t fault her for moving because she went back home to be near family, and it’s a joyous occasion when we know where home is. Thursday was my birthday and she revealed herself in a magical way.

I noticed a car parked in front of my house. A woman stepped into the yard smiling brightly, and holding a bouquet of flowers. I stepped outside to meet her and she asked, “Are you Barb?” I nodded my head in agreement, not fully certain what was going on. She strolled down the path to stand in front of me, held out the bouquet and said, “Happy Birthday from M!”

She remembered my birthday and asked a friend to bring flowers! I felt her presence in that moment. Today, she lives in Kentucky, but we chat every week. I believe we’re closer now than when she lived behind me, but that’s how it happens. People like her move into your heart, not just your hood.

Now, she’s in a new neighborhood where she’ll make new friends and soon they’ll discover. Not only is she a forever friend, she’s that neighbor.

A Moment’s Notice

I woke up to the sound of a bulldozer knocking down trees next to my home. The woods that offered privacy, shade and homes for the animals are no more. Poof.

I stood at the kitchen window in horror as trees were tossed carelessly into a dumpster. Their life and the years they stood became irrelevant in the path of progress.

The edge of our driveway is the beam to the left.

The last few days the machine’s have been still, and that’s been much needed. I knew the two lots were for sale, but didn’t realize they’d sold. Someone is building a couple of houses there, with one facing the street I live on, and another one facing the street behind me. My daughter and I had no warning this was about to happen. It all transpired within a moment’s notice.

This morning I sat in silence on my bench in the front yard for the first time in days. The one positive I’ve noticed is there’s more light with less trees. Over the weekend I was still adjusting to the new landscape, or the lack thereof and texted my daughter. I felt helpless over the situation and was distraught over the woods being gone. Then my daughter responded with this nugget of wisdom.

“I understand Momma. I wish we would’ve had a head’s up, but maybe it’s better that we didn’t”. ~My daughter.

This cup is empty, but my heart is full.

When God wants us to stand still and trust in His plan, we relinquish control. Instead of focusing on what’s gone, I can appreciate what this change brought, such as more light and a cool breeze entering the yard. We won’t see His full plan immediately, but He’s watching how we behave in a moment’s notice.

Sane and Sober

The other day I told a friend, “The only thing keeping me sane right now is reading and writing.” I’m still utilizing the Morning Pages, but have stopped beating myself up for not filling up three pages. There’s so much going on with my jobs right now, I don’t have the luxury of spending time on three, but one page gets me grounded.

This time of year I always think about sobriety. My sober birthday is in November, but a couple of months before it arrives the mind starts playing tricks. The mind of an alcoholic will say, “After 23 years, surely you have this under control and can have one drink.” Fortunately, I’m stubborn enough to ignore those thoughts.

One thing I know about staying sane and sober is you need community, because it’s not a ‘go it alone’ lifestyle. I’m plugged into several online communities through work, but the one that holds my heart the most is my neighborhood. That simple habit of walking to the end of the street refreshes my soul.

I wouldn’t be living this life I love if I was still drinking. Not even certain I’d still be alive. If I was to have a similar conversation with my friend today I would elaborate with, “Walking, reading, writing and my relationship with God is keeping me sane and sober.

To Be Seen

“It’s better to be seen than viewed”, said the cashier at the gas station. That phrase has stuck with me for almost a year. We were just making small talk, and then those words fell out of his mouth as I headed toward the door.

The people who walk through our lives are important, and we need to pay attention to who steps in and what they say because most have a message.

When we first moved here, there weren’t many people walking this neighborhood. There was the occasional runner, or someone would zoom by on a bicycle, but no one just strolling the streets. A year ago I began a simple habit of walking to the end of the street as a friendly presence in the neighborhood. I’ve met a good many neighbors and been doing this for long enough now, when they see me coming they stop and talk.

The time or day doesn’t matter so much as the doing.

This is not considered exercise. I literally step outside in whatever I’m wearing and stroll the nearby streets. My daughter got tickled at me one day when I walked out the door and forgot to leave my glasses at home. I was wrapped up in my favorite cardigan and my glasses were still sitting atop my head as we strolled, but it didn’t bother me because I want to be seen for who I am.

A writer.

To be a writer, you need to release your words. To be a good neighbor, you need to keep them.

An excerpt from the book.

I enjoyed all of your fun comments on my previous post Embracing the New. Here’s a couple of photos I shared in my Fearless community taken with my new phone. I wanted to capture the tiny detail of the yellow flower blooming, and it did that, but it also but picked up every vein in the leaves. I love how the pot sitting below is blurry like it’s not supposed to be the focus.

Focused on the details.
The bigger picture.

We do not see our size. We do not view ourselves with accuracy. We are far larger, far more marvelous, far more deeply and consistently creative than we recognize or know.

Pg. 48 of ‘A Right to Write’, by Julia Cameron.

Here’s to showing up in true form and allowing ourselves to be seen. Much love-Barb.

https://simplysemloh.wordpress.com/

Footprints

We didn’t allow the snow and ice to hinder us from taking a walk. After the first fallen snow, it was light powder and easy to walk through, but then a fine layer of ice fell on top. That made it a little more challenging, but where there’s a will, there’s also a way.

Photography by Simply Semloh

You have to stomp your foot through the icy layer, to get down to the powdery snow. There your footing will hold, and not slip. Here we were, stomping our way through the neighborhood, and it was invigorating to say the least, at an outdoor temp of 18 degrees.

We made a trail of footprints. Some were on the road, but most were through the edge of the neighbors yards. The road had turned into a solid sheet of ice, so we had to make our own path off the road. The next day, I went for a walk alone, but found myself following the path we had taken the day before. Even though the snow was melting away, I could still see some of our footprints and it made me think.

What kind of footprint do I really want to leave for these neighbors? Not just a snowy one alongside their yard, but a footprint in their life. My thoughts expanded to what kind of footprint do I want to leave on this world? Thanks to the snow/ice storm that shut down Texas, I’m pondering footprints.