Archangel Raphael

This is the icon of Archangel Raphael that I spent last week painting.  I got very critical of my skills and did some of those horribly self-defeating comparisons in the class.  The student body was mostly composed of professional artists.  I am not accustomed to looking around and seeing that my work is substantially more primitive than others.  They all turned out well, and in the end I was pleased with mine.  

If I had spent any time at all practicing brush strokes prior to the class, it would have been so much easier.  I did struggle in this class, it was not the peaceful, spiritual experience I was hoping for.  It did however give me an appreciation for the soft landing that is my current job.  

Not that I am any less anxious to retire.  

But if I stop to think about this job, I realize what a miracle it has been for me.  

If only I could stay in gratitude all the time.  

I can make an effort to do that, and I will.

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Three months

Three months today since my sister died.  I still can’t believe she’s gone sometimes.  It just seems like too much. One of my friends asked me how I was doing with this last night. I told her.  And i cried.  Even though I didn’t see my sister all the time, we talked on the phone a lot.  She was such a presence in my life and I feel like there is a gaping hole where she was.  

I’m looking forward to the icon class.  I may be doing the Archangel Raphael.  There is an icon with Archangel Raphael and Tobia, I would love to do that one.  Tobit is one of my very favorite books of the Bible.  It is part of the Apocrypha, which is not in all Bibles, but in all Catholic Bibles.  The book of Tobit is so beautiful and I love the role that Raphael plays.  

Took a trip to Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park over the holiday weekend.  Both of my daughters came with me and it was very miraculous.  We even all slept in the same cabin!  For two nights!  Then three full days together.  

Eight years ago sober daughter’s twin sister finally gave up on her.  She wouldn’t have anything to do with her for many years.  It was hard for her to get over all the pain that was caused by my daughter in her addiction – and early recovery.  

Flash forward September 2016 – if no one knew the history, they could never guess that there was anything but sweetness between all of us.  

God is so very good.

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Wednesday in Late August


I have some fabulous news!  I am going to be able to take an icon workshop week after next!  I’m taking the week off work and will have six days of wonderful meditative icon writing.  Not sure which icon we are doing yet.  I have not done an Archangel Gabriel, so I may need to do that.  My first was St. Michael the Archangel, and in the traditional order of icon writing, Gabriel is supposed to be second.  I jumped straight to the Theotokos, God-bearer, Mary, Mother of God.  Then a Theotokos and Child (in photo above).

I need some time off desperately.  I hope this icon workshop will restore some balance to my soul.

I’m afraid I have become so hyper-focused on earning money and paying off debt that I am a bit self-willed at the moment.  Where is God in this?  This is all about ME providing for ME. But I do believe that if I can provide myself a modestly comfortable retirement, it will free me up to do selfless things.  

I hope.  And I pray.

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Monday Morning


I had a meeting with the church people this morning.  Very nice people.  They are all considerably older than I am.  I am the only one who is not retired and started feeling a bit panicky about the s-l-o-w pace.  I thought I would be one hour late to work, but it ended up being two hours.  

This is going to be a challenge for me.  I am a bit afraid of the elderly and infirm and I will be going into their homes! Alone!  I guess this is how God wants me to grow 👵🏻.  One of my readers (almost the ONLY one) goes into homes and cares for the dying.  I’ve never told her how much I admire her for that.  It’s So Not Me.  

I’m so done with this working life.  My heart is not in it.  Every day I want to be retired and be able to go for a hike or a bike ride.  Or sit in my chair and knit.  

Kitty puked up a hair ball in the exact spot where I knit.  My first thought was “passive aggressive,” then I reasoned cats are not passive aggressive.  I’m still not 100% convinced though 😺

Kitty has a new name.  My family did not like the shelter name “Mel.”  We brain stormed, which was fun.  Someone said Ginger.  I nixed that because my last name is similar, so we all said at the same time “GiGi!”  That’s her name.  It’s cute and it was more organic than the shelter name.  She wasn’t at the shelter long enough to really know that name, and the first time we called her GiGi, she came.  

Sorry for this stream of consciousness , I think it’s all I’m capable of at this moment.

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Wednesday Morning 


This is the back of the sweater I’m working on.  I have poked another hole in my left index finger from all the fine, detailed work (I did this last December too).  It has taken nearly a month just to knit what’s in the photo above.  I want to have this done by October… Not so sure that’s going to happen.

I got an email from my church yesterday asking if I would consider taking Holy Communion to the homebound.  The email said:

“I thought of you because I remembered how faithful you were to your hour of adoration. Anyone who has that appreciation of the Eucharist is a very appropriate person for this ministry.”

That made me cry.  I had to give up my Holy Hour due to this job.  I miss it terribly!  I wrote back and said yes to the request, with the caveat that I work a full-time job with a 60-mile-a-day-commute-through-the-worst-traffic-on-earth.  That makes my days 11hours long.  But to be able to do this small Corporal Work of Mercy would be life-changing and I know it!  

I used to feel that I fulfilled my quota of “service to God and my fellows” in AA, but no more.  The longer I am sober, I find the less people talk to me.  I am not their peer in age or length of sobriety.  I am “other.”  I am loved, don’t get me wrong, but loved from a distance of years.  

My sponsor has had the same experiences, so that helps me to not feel so alone.  But still… So sad.  

Another friend who used to be my boss has been calling this week.  She wants and needs to retire, but is frightened of the unknown.  I have been talking to her about taking the leap in faith.  How when I retired last year I thought it was the end of the world, but it was only the beginning of a new life.  How God had prepared a soft landing for me.  

And then I looked at myself… I want to be done with this job. By the end of last week I  had convinced myself that I needed to work until June of 2017 – just to make sure I was ok.  

What am I doing again?  Trusting in my finite self rather than infinite God!  

I’m looking again at January or April of next year as end dates.  

And I got my Medicare card in the mail the other night!  Never thought I’d be so happy to see that!!!!   Retirement is really in my future.  And it looks like I’ve already got a gig at my church 😀

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Mixed stuff


I got a new cat on Saturday, July 30.  Her name is Mel.  She came from the shelter and I think she’s beautiful.  She’s extremely friendly and affectionate – and temperamental.  She can switch from purring to hissing at the drop of a hat.   But it’s nice to have a kitty again.  I think she’s really happy to have her own house and be out of the shelter.   I hope she’ll calm down once she realizes she’s ok and not under any form of threat at her new home.

I’m thinking about doing another triathlon in mid-September.  It’s another sprint, it’s in the park where I do all my training, and I think I would like to do another one.

I’m taking a weekend trip to South Dakota with my daughters in September, but I think I need to schedule a “real” vacation.  I almost booked a train trip today.  Denver to SanFrancisco, sleeper cars, etc.  I got as far as the credit card info and just didn’t enter it.  My sister and I were going to take a train trip in September, maybe that is where my hesitation is coming from.  

I need a vacation!  But I don’t want to spend a lot of money.   Unless of course the vacation is super cool!

I saw my two little grandchildren over the weekend and will see my eldest granddaughter this weekend.  That’s wonderful.  And selfishly, it means I can plan to take a vacation somewhere just because I want to go there.  I don’t NEED to see anyone.  Except my brothers – but I’m not going to the east coast again this year.  

Ok, enough of this stream of consciousness…

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Race Report

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The race was great!!!  My hope going in was just to finish without embarrassing myself.  Seriously, I just didn’t want to crawl across the finish line last.  But it wasn’t like that at all.

The swim was difficult because of the way they had the waves set up.  There were too many people in each wave and they came to fast on each other’s heels.   I got mowed down several times by fast people in the later waves.  I had more contact in this race than I have in any other.  It got a bit terrifying for a little while.  But I just went back to my default breast stroke which allows maximum view.  I did a lot of breast stroke.  I finished the swim in 27 minutes.  I was a bit disappointed with that.

The worst part of my training was the bike.  I was dreading it.  I had been using my mountain bike for training and about a month ago decided I really had to get my road bike tuned up and ready to go.  I noticed that when I got on the road bike I went much faster, but I was still averaging 10 miles per hour.  Which meant it was going to take me over an hour for the bike ride.  BUT, today, I felt good and went out fast, and passed lots of people.  There were killer hills, which I guess I was prepared for, but I was a bit surprised at how long the hills were and how hard it was to sustain that effort.  But I did.  I finished the bike ride in 51 minutes!  I was shocked!  And happy!

I thought if I could just sustain a good walking pace, under 15 minute miles, I would finish in a decent time.  That was something I was not expecting.  I was able to sustain a good pace, but it ended up being over 15 minutes.  But under 16.

I finished in 2 hours, 18 minutes, and 5 seconds.  Which is 5 minutes better than the last time I did the race in 2009…. When I was 7 years younger!

I feel like a jock today.  By tomorrow I will probably get over it, but what a great feeling.  I trained and I was ready for the race.  Yay.

I’ve been telling myself some awful things lately.  About being old.  Fat.  Lazy.  Over the hill.  Etc.  Today I feel tired and spent and very very good.

64 years old, 32 years sober, life is good.  Never ever thought it could be like this.  I thought I would drink and smoke (2 packs a day) forever.  I thought I would be an old lady sitting at the end of the bar with too much skin showing.  Oh no, it is not like that at all.

Thank you God.

 

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