Strength From Old Souls

When things get tough, where do you draw your strength from?

On the eve of this approaching new year, I’m quite thankful to still be tripping over these feet of mine.

Overall, I’d chalk 2015 up as a great one, it was definitely well lived. Although, like many, I’d guess, there were a few hiccups along the way.

I once heard that if life isn’t throwing you challenges, you aren’t really living. Hmmm. That makes it sound like the challenges are gifts. Gifts? Isn’t that a contradiction? It seems a bit ironic, if you ask me.

However, maybe there’s some truth to that. Perhaps the gift is the lesson that gets pulled out at the end?  That makes a bit more sense to me because I’m always looking for the lessons.

Although each of our circumstances are unique, here are some life challenges that are pretty relatable:

  • Financial troubles- days when pay checks don’t come, but bills still do
  • Losing a loved one and not making it to say goodbye to them in time
  • Disagreements with loved ones
  • Health issues
  • Friendships that end after putting our hearts into them
  • News of a friend getting sick
  • Losing a pet
  • When a friend moves

At times, we can draw strength from things we have already been through. It’s almost like we have little tiny pieces of memories intertwined with patched up feelings that are tucked safely away in a heart pocket in our mind. When a similar situation presents itself, we can reach into that pocket and grab the “Oh yeah, I’ve been here before, I can get through this” strength reserve.

Other times, new situations arise and we have no idea what to do. That happened to me earlier this year and I was stuck having to make a huge decision and had no idea which direction to go.

Have you ever had your boots sink in the mud and when you tried pulling them out they wouldn’t budge? That’s how I felt. I needed strength and guidance in a big way.

So, where did I turn? To my grandparents.

I got out my letters from them and sat in my closet rereading them. You wouldn’t believe how much that helped me! Just thinking about the good and hard times of their lives, was such an eye opener.

For example, my mom’s dad had to quit school in the 6th grade to work on the farm and spent most of his life farming. Her mom quit school in 8th grade to clean houses to help with the family income. She worked nearly all of her 71 years, simply because she loved to work.

Dad’s mom, Grandma Wilma, graduated high school at age 15 and went to college at a time that not many women went to college. After college, she became a teacher at age 17. Talk about some strength and determination! These were some hard working people.

Their lives brought the Great Depression up close. As farmers,  at times they struggled and lost their crops after pouring their hard work into them. They lost loved ones. They had health issues. In fact, grandma Irene had eleven surgeries and grandma Wilma beat cervical cancer!

One of the things I admire the most about them is how long they were married. Mom’s parents were married 50 years when grandma passed away. Dad’s were married 73 years, when we lost grandpa.

Besides being great role models for times when their lives were tough, they also taught me how to be gracious and see the best in things.

After reading those letters and drying my cheeks, I was able to make a solid decision and I haven’t looked back. I often wonder what my grandparents would think if they knew how much I love how they lived their lives, and how great it is to fill my life with strength from old souls. 

 

´╗┐The Pink Closet

Do you have a specific color preference and if so, what draws you to that particular color? 

I just can’t seem to choose one color, such as red or green. My favorite seems to be a variation of hues, almost a combination of things, really. Mostly, experiences and things I love seem to come into play here. 

If I got put on the spot and someone asked my favorite color, I might just say “pink” to save them from the drawn out version of what pink to me actually entails. It’d be like lining up all of your beloved pictures and trying to explain the color scheme. Sometimes it’s hard to choose! I love the many shades of pink.

My pink is the fuchsia sort of pink of our Moss Rose’s petals. It’s the earthy glowing pink, with splashes of yellow and orange, yet a hint of blue, in the sunset Little Bit and I saw on Christmas eve. 

Add in the old fashioned pink of grandma’s rose bush. That same bush she transplanted from across the road years ago and didn’t think would live. Would you believe it has shown up blooming every summer since that fateful day? 

Then, there’s the closet. One summer, grandma let me help her paint her closet pink. That’s kind of a big deal. You see, she had a house full of boys! Six of them, to be exact. One girl in a family of eight? She needed a little pink. Helping her paint that day is one of my most treasured memories. 

As most of you know, grandma passed away recently. A few months before, while she was in the care facility, the water pipes in her farm house broke and did a lot of damage. That resulted in a pretty major renovation. The floors, carpets, and countertops had to be replaced. At the same time, the walls received an update: new paint. 

I kept hearing how different her house looked, and honestly, I didn’t know if I wanted it different. Maybe that sounds a bit selfish, but I wanted her in her house, with everything the same, so my memories of our lives there would match up. I was a bit afraid to go there and see the changes. 

I went anyway. It was different, really different. A lot of her furniture was gone, and what was left was rearranged in every room. I felt my heart sink a little. 

I went into her bedroom. It was familiar, kind of. The dressers were switched around and her jewelry boxes were gone. The framed art that grandpa had given her over seventy years ago, was still in the room, but moved from its spot. 

I bit my lip, as I stepped to the closet. I almost didn’t stop, for fear my heart would break upon opening the door and I’d be standing in a puddle of tears. Then, I decided to look anyway and slowly opened the door.

Wooooooo hoooooooooo!! It was pink! Pink, pink, pink, pink, pink!! I ran and got my mom! “Look, look, look!” I said. I’m pretty sure there was never a happier granddaughter at that exact moment. And, I was standing in that puddle of tears, but they were happy tears! 

They say that our love of colors can be tied to our emotions. I believe it. I will be forever grateful that her closet is still pink. Makes me wonder though, what would my favorite color be if we had painted her closet another color, say yellow?