Fun things to research

Fun things to research

Now that I am in a more stable situation (still no income, but at least I have a place to myself), I’m leisurely pursuing ideas of places I want to research. I had started a novel about 5 to 10 years ago, that I want to get back to… researching it, at least. Yes I WILL get to writing it eventually, but I may need to start back at the beginning. The novel itself started in the beginning days of St. Augustine, Florida… and then I took it to the Outer Banks of North Carolina a century and a half later. Martin and Catalina(Katherine) are in St. St. Augustine, their great-great-granddaughter Harriet is in the Outer Banks. Catalina started out as a ward of Mary Tudor (best known in history as Bloody Mary), who is married to Martin (gladly) by order of Queen Mary in Mary’s last days. They leave England when Elizabeth becomes Queen, but not because Martin dislikes the new Queen. He was a secret Protestant, and chooses to spy out the Spanish Colonies for Elizabeth. Catalina herself has reasons to want to live in obscurity. She has Tourettes Syndrome: a condition not diagnosed or named until the 19th century, but known by its symptoms much earlier.  It makes life uncomfortable, to say the least.   I’m still working on their story. Also working on how their descendant Harriet’s part of the family will end up in the Outer Banks: it’s do-able, the contact was not frequent, but it did exist.

I adore the Outer Banks. I also love St. Augustine (hate Florida, but love St. Augustine), so any excuse to research and visit in either region is worth it:-). I have sort of missed Catalina and young Harriet, so it’s time to get back to both of them. By the way: Harriet has inherited Catalina’s Tourette’s Syndrome. It is an inherited condition. Why did I inflict them with Tourette’s? Because I have it, and I wanted to explore how it would affect women in previous centuries. I have incredibly ignorant people shun or mock me even in this the 21st century because of my condition, even when there is much more knowledge about this neurological condition. I have always wondered about the lives of people who had the condition in past centuries. Eighty to Ninety percent of the people with my condition are males who pass it down through the female; no, not my family. We got it passed down to the female… and it’s some question as to which side passed it to me.

Well, if I have to have the condition, at least I can make it work to my advantage… it gives me an excuse to use my imagination. If I ever get this novel written and published, maybe some poor girl will take courage from it. In the meantime, I plan to soak up all the time in the Outer Banks that I can. I was able to spend ten years exploring St. Augustine, while living there. Not planning to move to the Outer Banks, but I certainly intend to visit it as often as I can!

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Journey has finally changed!: ie. no longer homeless

Journey has finally changed!: ie. no longer homeless

Otherwise known as: I am no longer homeless:-)! I now have an apartment of my own. I spent New Years Eve in my own place, and I am so very grateful to God.  I do not miss that homeless shelter one bit…. and, yet, I don’t believe that I’m about to say this, but I am actually glad I went through it. I did get a romantic partner out of it, which I would have never expected…; I also got a dear young friend, who just had a little baby… so I am now an “Aunt” since I consider the mother to be the younger sister that I never had. And I have learned what I can tolerate when I have to. I also learned to trust in God even more than I thought I already did. I learned how important it is to get rest for my body (thanks to the lack of it at the shelter), and how desperately I need quiet and privacy (again, thanks to the lack of it at the shelter). I’ve learned to be careful to have a healthy diet. I may no longer end up being a “night owl”; I used to go to sleep at 1 or 2 in the morning, and then sleep through to 11 or 12… or 1. Now I wake up at 7-8 am, and go to sleep by 9… this after nearly a year of waking up at 5:30 am and having to leave the dorm by 6:30 am, and trying to go to sleep before 10 (lights out was at 11, but I tried to get to sleep before that). I may end up neater as a result of this: my new romance likes to be neat – I would pick a guy who likes to be neat <good-natured roll of eyes>… I personally tend to be a mess (just ask my family or close friends). Maybe my guy will get me to reform??… could be… And after living with  some women who were anything but neat, I’ve realized how unpleasant a mess can be.

A new part of my life journey: we’ll see if I can correct the mistakes I made in the previous parts of the journey. I’ll also see where the romance goes. I’ve gained confidence from being loved and finally having a man in my life as attracted to me as I am to him. It took me until I was 53 (the romance started on my 53rd birthday, as a matter of fact), but truly: better late than never!

I’m also planning on working on a doctorate in history. I haven’t forgotten that. I’m trying to pick up on the French (already had one European language with the German, need a second one). I’m still working on what area of European history that I want. Medieval, Renaissance, or 18th century? Don’t know yet. That’s something to work on. It will be English/British history: that much I know.

Dreams are wonderful things… and I am grateful to the Lord for the chance to dream these dreams in my own apartment.

The picture is of Konstanz, one of the towns in the previous part of my journey – not where I live now <grin>… I would love to get back to it while I’m doing the doctorate, though… or  before:-)

 

and waiting, and waiting, and waiting….

and waiting, and waiting, and waiting….

Well, STILL on the waiting list. Was supposed to be in the apartment by now. One of the ways we comfort ourselves around here is to remind ourselves that God has lessons we can [continue to] learn at the shelter. I’m willing to learn, but I wish the class would finish up for the semester!! The Lord understands…  Another saying is that what doesn’t kill us, strengthens us: if this “exercise” (being homeless) is meant to STRENGTHEN me, just what is the Lord planning for me that needs that much extra strength?? Yikes!!  I’m not doubting the Lord here, and I’m not being disrespectful (and the Lord knows that, even if some my readers don’t know me enough to realize that): I’m just tired and frustrated, and sometimes quite angry. My Tourette’s medicine even stopped working for me, and that had to get adjusted…. not that there’s any STRESS HERE that could set off my tics <caution: dripping sarcasm>. The doctors have found medicines that work much better, though. I’m VERY grateful to the Lord for that (and grateful to the doctors too). My Dad used to say that if I’m angry with God, I might has well tell God: the Lord will know it anyway, and can easily handle it, and God wants me to get it out of my system. One of the reasons I was angry about still being here, after being told that I’m on the top of the waiting list, is that I desperately wanted to be out of the shelter before the worst of summer. We have to walk to get breakfast and lunch, and to wait at bus stops to get to libraries or stores (etc.). I can’t handle waiting out in the heat and humidity; my body can’t stand the heat.  It’s the number one reason why I left Florida: it’s not that it doesn’t get as hot as Florida (- it sure can), it’s just that the intense heat only lasts about 4 months at the most. In Florida, the summer basically lasts nine to 10 months: and that was the NORTHERN part of Florida. The other main reason I didn’t want to be in the shelter in the summer – esp. not in August. – is because it’s an emotional draining time for me (when I’m already physically drained by the heat and sun).  Four years ago at this time, especially during this part of August, Mom was entering the final phase of the pancreatic cancer. I wanted to be in an apartment by now, so that I’d have a place to rest and to have some privacy for grieving.  The grieving process is on-going. I miss her. Terribly. I won’t wish her back to suffer more (!!), but I miss her terribly. Mark, Paul, and I were blessed to have a loving mother who loved us for who we were, and who always wanted the best for us. Mom and we didn’t always agree on what “the best” looked like for each of us, but we knew she loved us each deeply.  I have met too many people at the shelter, and in the homeless community at large, who have NO idea what it’s like to have a loving mother who cares for them. In some ways, I am glad that I am here. There are people here, half my age, who can use a mothering (NOT Smothering) figure to care about them, and to let them know that there are people who treasure them as they are. So I guess the Lord does have lessons for me to learn: and have lessons in love that I can teach others. My parents may not have been perfect (no humans are), but they were they best parents that one could possibly have. It’s the fourth anniversary of being privileged to give back to Mom just some of the love that she gave to me.

A note about the image I used.  There were a number of choices, but the Rose grabbed my attention:  it  reminded me of Mom. Mom’s middle name was Rose, and mine is too. She was named for her beloved father’s mother, who died just a few months before she was born. Her grandmother Rose Ruhl must have been incredible woman, because her daughter-in-law (Mom’s mom, and my beloved grandmother) adored her. My mom was given her mom’s name for her first name, and Rose for the middle name. When I was born, apparently, there was no question that my middle name was going to be Rose. To this day, I frequently request people to call me Donna Rose, and not just Donna.  If I had married and had had a daughter, that little one would have also had the middle name of Rose — or maybe I would have given it to her as her first name instead. I find the flower to be a very resilient flower & a beautiful one. The Lord knows that I have learned to let Him teach me to be resilient, and I’m told at the shelter that I have an inner (and <surprise to me> an outer) beauty that I don’t give myself credit for.  Mom, you would be having fits and more fits about me being in a homeless shelter, but I promise you that the Lord has a purpose in this and, despite my occasional anger and frustration, I am grateful for what the Lord is teaching me, and for how He is using me in this situation. The Lord is pulling me through this, and is strengthening me for more work.

 

Oooops, still here (at Camp Happy Homeless)…

Oooops, still here (at Camp Happy Homeless)…

Ooops — I’ve been forgetting to get to my blog! Sorry about that. I’ve been so busy reconnecting on Facebook, that I’ve forgotten about posting here… no excuse, but at least it’s an explanation. As you can see from the title, I am STILL at the homeless shelter. Sigh!! However:  I am in my last weeks here. I am on the waiting list for the apartments where I’ll be moving to, so it’s a matter of “WHEN” I’ll move and NOT “if” I’ll move. I thank the dear Lord for that. I got on the waiting list for the senior/disabled housing (I qualify under the disabled label) on the day before my birthday. I spent my birthday knowing that I will not be homeless for long.  Next week (July 7), I will have a phone interview with Social Security (with my case manager present – thank heavens!!) about my disability application; I am praying so hard that it gets accepted! I really hate having no income! I am really praying hard that – IF IT IS GOD’S WILL – I will be able to move to an apartment at Winston-Summit BEFORE July is over. As my Dad always said though: “We shall see, what we shall see”. (I finally realized the origin of that quote: Dad was quoting from Rudyard Kipling’s Puck of Pook’s Hill).  God may have other plans.  I wanted to be out of here by my birthday (early in June). That didn’t happen, but what DID happen was that I started dating a really great guy.  I feel blessed:-) Even in the homeless shelter, good things can happen:-) By the way: I am still working on learning (or re-learning) hymns. I continue to be nurtured by them. I now have about 5 pages of hymns in my pocketbook to pull out and read when I want to be refreshed and nurtured. That has been another good thing that has come out of homelessness:  pressing the “restart button” on using hymns to build up and refresh my faith.

Castles in the air…

Castles in the air…

This is going to be my new home after I leave the homeless shelter:-) Hey, one can always dream!  Actually my real “castle in the air” is to do my doctorate in 16th century English Reformation studies or 18th century Methodist Studies: anything that requires me to do studies abroad in Great Britain would thrill me:-)  It sounds improbable, and to some unrealistic, but I have a knack for doing what some consider to be impossible for me.  When I was 8 years old, my parents were told by a school psychologist that I wouldn’t even get past high school (unless it was in the lowest quarter of my class), and forget about college.  My parents (especially my father) refused to accept that negative vision for me. They didn’t tell me what I wasn’t supposed to be able to do until I had already done it: then they rejoiced with me that I had accomplished it… reading at 99 percentile for the country in the 7th grade standardized tests, graduating in the UPPER quarter of my class (instead of the lower quarter), my BA, my MLS. Dad died before I completed my second Masters, but Mom got quite a bit of satisfaction in telling people that I had two Masters (although she had fought me tooth and nail to get me to give up on that second masters – but that’s a story for another time[!!!])… !:-)!. Right now, I’m in a lull of peace and quiet and contentment. This will only last a couple of days or two, but it’s a blessing while it does occur. I need these soothing, restful minutes before the next storm breaks overhead…. and I thank God for them..!!

In the past couple of days I have been memorizing a hymn written by Paul Gerhardt during the 30 years war (mid-1600s) which was translated by John Wesley in the 1700s. The name is Give the winds your fears: the tune is Festal Song (same as Soldiers of Christ, Arise).

“Give to the winds thy fears; hope and be undismayed; God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears, God shall lift up thy head.

Through waves and clouds and storms, He gently clears thy way; wait thou His time; so shall this night soon end in joyous day.

Leave to His sovereign sway to choose and to command; so shall thou, wondering, won His way, how wise, how strong His hand.

Let us in life, in death, Thy steadfast truth declare, and publish with our latest breath Thy love and guardian care”.

God’s blessings for each of you, and Happy Belated Easter/Resurrection Day!

Spring is coming:-)

Spring is coming:-)

I love this time of year. I can sense Spring in the air, but there is still the crispness if winter hanging about. I like Winter, I hate summer, so I always prefer the beginning of spring to the end of it. When other people feel trapped by the cold of winter, I feel trapped by the heat of summer… At least in North Carolina, though, the summer doesn’t last forever like it does in Florida. This is yet another reason why I prefer to hang around in the homeless shelter in Winston-Salem while working towrd getting a place of my own – I have NO intention of moving from this state (or even this town) that I love so much. I feel much healthier than I did even a couple of weeks ago (the bronchitus cleared out this past week); the asthma never has come back since I moved up here to NC from Florida… and I heartily thank the dear Lord for that!
I did find out on one of my trips to the E.R. this past month that I am beginning to show the first signs of Congestive Heart Failure. Both my beloved Grandmom and Grandpop (Mom’s parents) died from it – and Mom probably would have, if she hadn’t ended up with pancreatic cancer instead – so I’m not surprised that the condition popped up in me. My father’s father (and *his* father) were already dead at the age that I am now from heart disease. Despite all of this (and my rather weak body consitution to start with), I rather suspect that I will probably end up living into my 90s – it would be just my luck to make it past 100: cracking jokes about my bad health all along the way.
Well, I’ll try to let you know how the seart for housing is going when I write my next blog! There is hope in the Spring:-)!

Life changes – fast sometimes

Life changes – fast sometimes

Well, the position and housing didn’t work out, so I am temporarily dislocated. For reasons I won’t describe here (having to do with conflicts with the female half of this senior couple), I am now without employment – or housing. I still love Winston-Salem, and am still here, but I needed to find a new place to live. It’s turning out to be a blessing oddly enough. I’m finding out that I’m quite resilient. I have also found myself a case manager (yes, it CAN be done) to help me with the housing and disability processes; I was never able to navigate when I was trying to do it on my own. So all of this actually turns out to be a blessing. Luckily, this occurred in the winter and not in the summer; yes, you *did* read that correctly: “winter, not summer”. My body handles the cold *much* better than the heat. I’ve done more walking in one week (going from appointment to another) than I have for the previous 3 years. Good. I needed the exercise:-)! I know the bus system better too. I’m still finding that I trust God to provide; I knew that, but it’s nice to get confirmation…
I feel like I’m living a soap opera sometimes, but things will calm down and settle into a better pattern at some point. Meanwhile: I get to learn the joys of tapping into North Carolina’s housing (and other) resources… and other wondrous experiences. Life can *really* change quickly sometimes!!… and, yes, God DOES provide in all circumstances…