Monday, December 6, 2010

Is This You?

I did not write this, but I thought I'd like to share it with my bloggy friends. Very thought provoking especially now as 2010 comes to an end and 2011 is just around the corner...maybe we should all rethink how we'll live next year.

Too many people put off something that brings them joy just because they haven't thought about it, don't have it on their schedule, didn't know it was coming or are too rigid to depart from their routine.

I got to thinking one day about all those people on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to cut back. From then on, I've tried to be a little more flexible.

How often have your kids dropped in to talk and sat in silence while you
watched 'Jeopardy' on television?

I cannot count the times I called my sister and said , 'How about going to
lunch in a half hour?' She would gas up and stammer, 'I can't. I have clothes on the line. My hair is dirty. I wish I had known yesterday, I had a late breakfast, it looks like rain' and my personal favourite: 'It's Monday.' She died a few years ago. We never did have lunch together.

Because Americans cram so much into their lives, we tend to schedule our headaches.. We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves when all the conditions are perfect!

We'll go back and visit the grandparents when we get Steve toilet-trained.
We'll entertain when we replace the living-room carpet. We'll go on a second honeymoon when we get two more kids out of college.

Life has a way of accelerating as we get older. The days get shorter, and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer. One morning, we awaken, and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of 'I'm going to,' 'I plan on,'
and 'Someday, when things are settled down a bit.'

When anyone calls my 'seize the moment' friend, she is open to adventure and available for trips. She keeps an open mind on new ideas. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious. You talk with her for five minutes, and you're ready to trade your bad feet for a pair of Rollerblades and skip an elevator for a bungee cord.

My lips have not touched ice cream in 10 years. I love ice cream. It's just
that I might as well apply it directly to my stomach with a spatula and
eliminate the digestive process. The other day, I stopped the car and bought a triple-decker. If my car had hit an iceberg on the way home, I would have died happy.

Now...go on and have a nice day. Do something you WANT to..not something on your SHOULD DO list. If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?

Make sure you read this to the end; you will understand why I sent this to you.

Have you ever watched kids playing on a merry go round or listened to the rain lapping on the ground? Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight or gazed at the sun into the fading night? Do you run through each day on the fly? When you ask 'How are you?' Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head? Ever told your child, 'We'll do it tomorrow.' And in your haste, not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch? Let a good friendship die? Just call to say 'Hi'?

When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened
gift....Thrown away... Life is not a race. Take it slower. Hear the music
before the song is over.

'Life may not be the party we hoped for... but while we are here we might as well dance!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy 16 Birthdays

December is the last month of 2010, the birthday month my older sister shares with Jesus. I always thought it would be cool to share Jesus' birth month. Or as the kids say today, "It would be really SIC!" No matter; it is my sister's birthday and for the first time in scores of years we can celebrate...

Although I sent my sister birthday cards most of the years we didn't speak, they were just a hollow attempt to stay in contact. This year the card really means something. My sister and I have been estranged for 16 years over an issue with her boyfriend. We did ostensibly resolve this matter after the first 8 years, but for some reason our so-called reconciliation never materialized because... now this is where it gets a little murky. Clearly there were more issues to be resolved and we didn't get to the bottom of them. I'm not exactly sure what they were or why we remained estranged (outside of the occasional faceless, impersonal, generic email) for another 8 years. I always suspected it had to do with our mother's passing, but could never be sure. We just didn't speak again. Very strange...

We didn't speak, that is, until my oldest daughter orchestrated a reunion this past spring. This impromptu get-together went unexpectedly well, subsequently my sister and I began visiting each other, picking up were we left off all those years ago. Again very strange... We've never discussed what went wrong, our grievances or why we wasted all those years. She hasn't shown any sign of wanting to go there and quite frankly, neither have I. But I wonder if we should? Is it healthy to ignore an intentional 16 year absence? Or would it just open up old wounds that are best left to heal? I like to think I'm being guided by God by my continual disregard of our 16 year rift. It seems almost normal to pretend we just got together last month instead of 16 years ago.

Aside from these concerns, I'm deeply grateful that my daughter set into motion a ceasefire. Without her intervention, I doubt either one of our egos would have allowed this meeting. I am convinced God used my daughter to accomplish his designs, but it does generate more questions. Why did God choose this time to facilitate a reunion between my sister and me? What is it meant to accomplish? Is there more I should be doing or saying? Which brings me full circle back to the question of do we need to rehash the past in order to move forward or is the past best left buried? My instincts say now isn't the time to bring up ancient grievances and wisdom tells me to leave well enough alone. I shall trust my instincts and be guided by wisdom at least, for the time being.

So it's Happy Birthday to both Jesus and my sister. I am delighted to have a rapport with them and both are God-given. One to save my life, one to share my life. Next to our mother, our sister is the closest and most complicated female relationship we'll ever experience. Until recently I'd thought I'd lost both, so I am warmed to the cockles (is there such a word?) of my heart that my sister and I have reunited. It is a relationship worth preserving. Time and wisdom have spun their magic so we have another chance to share the unique fellowship only a sister can reciprocate. Happy 16 Birthdays, Sis...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Adios Facebook

My oldest daughter has signed off permanently from Facebook. After a series of conflicts and misunderstandings caused by her use of this social network, she decided it wasn’t worth it. I understand her reasons and even, agree with her, but I’ll miss her daily comments and entertaining updates. It’s a shame that a handful of ignoramuses have caused this situation which also, have caused me pause to think about the overall use of Facebook.

My daughter was born to be a social being. By the time she'd turned one, she was jabbering constantly, with much of it already in English! She loved to communicate whether it was talking your ear off after school or writing novel length citations in cards or letters she frequently gave others. Facebook was created for people like her and its too bad it hadn’t remained in the hands of people like her; whose only objective is to happily and harmlessly stay in touch. Sadly there simply aren’t enough like her...

Originally Facebook was created as an online social networking site that people could play games, keep in touch and have fun poking one another. I don’t believe anyone thought that it would also, become a magnet attracting hackers whose only intent is to wreak havoc, a forum for malicious and often untrue bullying or an updated venue for gossip sessions. I never envisioned when I signed on many years ago, that it would devolve into such a setting, but given human nature; no one should be surprised. Even the old-fashioned forums such as “coffee” cliques, quilting circles or boys-night-out routinely fell into gossiping and back-stabbing others.

The problem with Facebook or any other online social network is that the assumed anonymity gives individuals additional courage to be more vicious. We just can’t enjoy fun, nontoxic interactions with one another without resorting to unprincipled behaviour. It’s seen everywhere that technology has allowed faceless communication as far back has Bell’s telephone. Sadly technology has unwittingly sanctioned a whole new social crisis; that of cyber bullying, personal defacement and humiliation.

Most of us would never admit to any of these crimes, but then most of us would never admit to the old-fashioned bullying and gossiping. But who is responsible for all these hurtful things? I know, I’s “They”. “They” post spiteful statuses on Facebook. “They” send defaming text messages on their cell phones. “They” are responsible for this new wave of trouble.

It’s a shame that “they” drove my daughter off of Facebook, but when you think about it, maybe those of us who just want to enjoy some harmless socializing, we could opt to get together around someone’s kitchen table and just do it. You the old days!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gamma Roars her Engine

I was at my 2 year old grandson's birthday party recently and while enjoying the festivities one of my beautiful, smart and interesting granddaughters asked me, "Gamma, come play with me?" Now this particular granddaughter wasn't the 14 year old. Oh noooo, that one may have asked me to trade make-up or dating tips; which I felt reasonably equipped to handle. No, the granddaughter in question was the 3 year old whose idea of play involves real play; like dolls and trucks for instance. What else could I say, but a resounding and eager, “Sure Honey, why not?”

Now I’m 55 and haven’t played with little trucks, cars or dolls for many years or perhaps, decades! This was going to be interesting! So down I went creaking and popping to the floor and began roaring the engine of the wee minivan she'd handed me. Honestly it must have sounded somewhere between a backfiring Mac truck and a bewildered grizzly bear woken in mid-winter, but it appeared to satisfy my granddaughter as she smiled approvingly at her dear "Gamma". Let the play begin!

My “girl” was a three inch Disney figurine of Cinderella while my granddaughter’s was Sleeping Beauty. Our props include the aforementioned minivan, two small train engines, a partial train track and one regular sized dump truck. Out of this I must create something called “play” that would entertain a three year old. I must have been triumphant because we'd barely begun act one of the three act play I’d hurriedly conjured up from the rusty recesses of my creative imagination, when two other wee party goers wanted to join our little duo.

Amid screeches of, “That’s mine!”, “I want that one!” and a plaintive, “Gammmmma...” the four of us attempted to sort out toys, while my mind I swiftly restructured our three act play to include two more players. Meanwhile, my ingenious granddaughter left and soon returned with several more Disney “girls” and a couple more vehicles thus, ending the prop distribution dilemma. In the meantime I desperately searched the room for an escape route, finding none; I decided the show must go on!

Although I can’t say any of the actors stayed on point, soon we were all knee deep into the storyline and everything was moving along quite nicely. That is until the frustrated two year old had an artistic fit and suddenly threw his “girl” and vehicle offstage and attempted to snatch my granddaughter’s! Naturally a tussle ensued which totally broke the ambiance of the moment. Creative temperaments can be so difficult to manage.... still with tempers settled down, the show managed to go on; while I continued to plan my getaway.

Aside from several more interruptions by artistic temperments we played... Disney “girls” danced and sang, trucks and trains raced and crashed, wee actors gleefully laughed the laughter of childhood; while “Gamma” lost track of time. Eventually our little group was interrupted by a signal from Grandpa that it was time to depart; silence fell upon our group. “Gamma” had to leave. The show was over. Amidst the “Awwwws” from the children, I heard a stranger speak for me saying, “Already?” “But we’re not done playing....”

Friday, November 19, 2010

Where did Moving Go?

While at my doctor's office the other day I read an article about a woman in Ontario who is spear-heading a grassroots movement to get children walking to school. It seems one day while waiting to pick up her own children after school, she noted how there were many parents doing the same. This troubled her enough to form a group; which I can't recall the name but, it was an initiative to urge schools to create walking routes so kids could walk safely to and from school. The article went into great detail regarding this initiative, which I won't go into, but it disturbed me to think that in a single generation we have been brought to the point of having to form movements to get our kids to move! This astounds me. What in the world happened?

In the past it never occurred to parents that we’d need to encourage our children to get moving? Childhood was naturally active. Our kids played actively; running, throwing balls, swimming, skating and yes, even walking. These were run of the mill activities that they did without thought or planning. When and how did we get so lazy?

It seems we mainly blame the progress of technology whereby kids have become glued to electronic games, television, etc. Even that industry is responding to our inertia by creating new games that simulate real activity such as tennis, ball-playing and roller skating. What became of the real deal? Why aren’t parents facilitating the bona fide activities? These commuter games aren’t terrible in and of themselves. They could actually be beneficial during inclement weather or fun for a change of pace, but they shouldn't’t be an indispensable tool to get our children off their butts.

Children are naturally active from the time they start to crawl. All, but the rarest kid loves to run, whoop, holler and in general drive adults crazy. Some are natural athletes, eager to join a sports team; others are more given to free-play creating any manner of rowdy games and activities. In the past parent’s greatest challenge was to modify and direct their actions and choice of activities. Never did we feel the need to create initiatives to get our kids moving and playing. Kids and play.... like milk and honey, peanutbutter and jam just went together.

Perhaps there’s more afoot than simply blaming the advances in technology for our children’s lassitude? Maybe we share the same disorder and are merely setting poor examples that our kids are emulating? After all children learn best through example? How often do we jump in the car when we could walk? How often is the elevator more alluring than the stairs? Do we swim, bike, skate or hike just for the fun of it? Do we walk to work, or park far enough away to enjoy a brisk walk at the beginning and end our day?

I believe we are built to move as an innate part of being human. Children move as a normal part of learning and discovering their world. This is how they discern their limitations and their natural, inborn talents. Movement is done spontaneously without scheduling. If we are concerned because our kids are always sitting around playing computer games or waiting for the ride to school, the fault may largely rest on us. We set the example. We set expectations and limitations. We facilitate activities. Maybe we should get off our butts, thereby starting our own initiative, setting the first and best example!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Blogging with Purpose

I've been struggling for ages to take blogging seriously and post on a regular basis so; anyone who takes an interest can anticipate when a new post will take place. I've given my blog a loosely based theme about searching for Eden which I feel is what many of us truly desire. "Eden" represents a desire to live in peace, with happiness and a life filled with passion and purpose. I felt this would open up a world of blogging subjects that I could venture forth and share my thoughts on. It hasn’t happened for me and my question is “why not?”

Why haven’t I been able to post on a regular schedule? Are there not enough subjects I could gab about? Do I lack time to do this? Truth is there is lots of subject matter and I have plenty of time so, why do I lack motivation and consistency? I think there may be a couple of reasons why I’ve been so apathetic and lazy about blogging. One is that I don’t HAVE to do it. Secondly, which corresponds with the first reason is that I have no set schedule to follow. I’ve left it to random inspiration which apparently doesn’t hit me too often.

I want to write and I feel writing could be my calling in life. Yet, I know I need plenty of practice before I could entertain the notion of doing it professionally. When I discovered blogging (thanks to my oldest daughter) I thought, “Wow, this could be a perfect venue to become a better writer!” I still believe this, but it can’t help me if I don’t do it with serious intention. So, what to do about my lack of motivation?

I prayed about it and God gave me an answer. Yea! I found a blogging calendar in which I choose subjects ahead of time, set regular times for writing and study, schedule in consistent blogging days and basically approach blogging as if it were a job. It is 2011 calendar so I have almost two months to get my ducks in a row and make a commitment to regular blogging in hopes of giving any current readers a reliable supply of my witty and inspirational banter (dubious as that may be) as well has possibly gaining more readers and building up a regular audience. What better way to step up your game than to have someone scrutinizing it?

So, this is my plan for 2011. Wish me luck. Watch for the changes in content and purpose for my blog so, hopefully, one day I can begin to realize a life-long dream of becoming a writer...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What is your Goliath?

What is your Goliath? The "thing" in your life that scares the pants off of you? Is it changing career paths, leaving a dead and painful relationship,changing some personal habit or accepting help and reaching out to others? I guarantee it's something because we all have that area in our lives that we know needs to change, but seems way too big to challenge. What did David of the bible do when he confronted his Goliath?

Have you ever read the story of David and Goliath? Most of us heard it as wee children in Sunday School, but have you studied it has an adult? Probably not. Let's have a look see... Check out 1 Samuel 17.

The Israelites were afraid. They were about to battle with the armies of the Philistines, who suddenly challenged one of them to a duel to the death with their champion soldier, Goliath. Now Goliath was no ordinary soldier. He was every man's nightmare and upon the challenge caused great fear and trembling among the army of the Israelites. Not one man wanted to accept this challenge as they feared dying at the hands of Goliath. Who among any of us haven't faced challenges in our own lives that we feared were impossible to win?

Along came David, a mere boy who tended sheep. He immediately asked who this person was to dare challenge the armies of the living God? He then recounted all his past victories to the King and accepted the challenge to kill Goliath. Many of the soldiers ridiculed him, laughing at the thought of a lowly sheep-herder destroying their enemy. David turned away from them, accepted the King's armour except the sword, then carefully chose certain stones to use with his sling-shot. From there he quickly went to the battlefield and proceeded to kill the greatly feared Philistine, Goliath.

Read this story in it's fullness, keeping in mind how David reacted to his enemy, compared to the others. You'll note how David immediately confronted his enemy that it should dare to destroy his life, ignored any ridicule from others, accepted only wise advice, then prepared for battle using what he personally knew were his own strengths.

This is how we need to challenge our Goliath, whatever it may be. We need to face our fear and dare to challenge it. There will be critics that will go against us and perhaps, even try to sabotage our plans. We need to ignore them and not fall into doubt. It is wise to accept good advice, but we must prepare for battle by using our own methods. David wasn't even a soldier yet, he slew Goliath. He accepted the challenge, prepared for battle and did it afraid. We, too can beat our Goliath's.

Can you accept the challenge of slaying your Goliath? Read further and see that David received a great reward for winning this battle. We, too shall receive a great reward in our lives by beating our Goliath. Whether it's about a relationship, a personal habit or some other demon that prevents you from living the life you deserve,we need to follow David's example and fight for our life.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mountains to Climb

I am about to turn 55 in 13 days and I simply cannot believe where the time has gone? I can't believe both my daughters are currently 29 until the oldest turns 30 on October 1st. Yes, they are only 11 months apart! Crazy, huh? Where, oh where did the time go?? Thus my sense of urgency.

All my adult life I have been a seeker. I grew up in much dysfunction. My parents were ill-equipped to deal with their demons, especially my mother so, we children often fell victim to their angst. Due to this I have always tried to raise the bar and in many ways by the grace of God, I was able. Still, with 55 on the horizon I feel an increasing urge to climb some difficult mountains and hopefully, find that peace that surpasses understanding.

I believe that in order to be in that place of peace we must live authentically and be true to who we are in all ways. To me that means living in the fullness of God's will in my life. It's not that I've never lived in God's will. My goodness to have risen above my upbringing and not cripple my own children with my demons had to be and continues to be a gracious act of God. But much of my life has been lived by my own will and God's desires have been secondary. This has led to a malfunction at the junction!

I feel there are some missing pieces in my life. It's difficult to put into words, but I intend to keep a journal as I embark on this journey of discovery. I need to "Know" God and who I am in Christ. I need to step into the fullness of God's will for my life and check my ego at the door.

Because our lives are finite, there are only so many windows of opportunities we are allowed. My God is a God of second chances and new beginnings, but my life span is predetermined and all the second chances will be use up upon my death. I don't want to be at death's door and feel I never gave it all to be in God's will for my life.

I have several mountains I need to climb in order to live my best life in this physical world and in the spiritual world. Due to recent events in my life and turning 55 years old has provoked me to quit dilly-dallying and get busy doing the work to complete my journey in this life; living in the truth of who I really am and not what I think I should be.

We are more than our pasts, more than our physical surroundings and more than our DNA. We are the sum of all that Jesus was and is but, we have to do the work be at our best and to live in that place of peace. It will be a process and a journey, but after years of avoidance, I am finally ready to go there...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hope Renewed

Weary I and

in despair

these tattered remnants

of my soul.

My heart torn and

ripped apart

my life a quilt of

patched up dreams.

Yet in among the

rags and scraps.

I found a needle

a single spool.

A button

A bow

A piece of wool.

Dear Lord,

before I know

I find a pattern

and begin to sew.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

As I Roll On...

The days go by as I try to manage pain that never quite goes away. My back disability has certainly challenged my life. I know there's a "God Plan" in all this; I just don't know what it is? What I do know is my life has been turned upside down and inside out for over a year now and it doesn't look like anything will change in the near future.

It's been a roller coaster ride between desperate despair and hopeful optimism. Many times I've questioned God has to the reasons or what He wants from me. I haven't found any satisfying answers; so I roll on.

I believe all things that happen in life produce consequences. Whether the results are good or bad depends entirely on how I react to any given situation. I can't always control what occurs; I can control how I respond. Out of that comes the consequence... So, how best to respond to this situation??

I have to admit that I haven't responded entirely positive to this disability. On the 10th of this month I've been unable to work for one year. I can't believe a whole year has flown by? It's been difficult on all my loved ones. As I indicated, I roll between doing well and not so well. It has directly affected my family, especially Hubby. This experience goes far beyond changing my life but, has also redefined my marriage as well.

I doubt the average person has any idea how a disability can disrupt an individual, a family and a marriage. Plans that once were in place have to be changed, activities once enjoyed either can't be done anymore or have to be adapted to the disability. Emotional responses are affected and everyone has to deal with extremes in behavior until acceptance of limitations is complete. There is no way to prepare for these changes because they are unpredictable and unexpected.

Nevertheless, whether I understand why this has happened to me or not, I want to do my utmost to grow from this situation and become a better person. All my beliefs are being challenged and I'm having to look deep inside for answers. I have to trust God as I blindly roll with the punches. Out of this situation I can become stronger, more directed and on a new course. Sometimes we must be thrown from horse not to get back on the same one, but to change horses.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Dream come True

My hubby called me yesterday and asked what I thought about going ahead and borrowing money to finish the renovation project on our home. What I thought??? My goodness, I thought; "Yippee, Yahoo!!"

To give a little history; our home is 34 years old and in bad need of an upgrading. Yes, we do still have shag carpeting!! Anyway, we started this upgrade 5 or more years ago and although it has moved along and one floor of our two-story home is almost completed, there is still lots to do inside and out. My hubby has been doing most of the work as time and money allows. Herein lies the problem...time and money has come in short, little bursts; thus the delay. I have been waiting patiently and living in the middle of a reno for far too long. To contract it out and have it completed in a few short months would be absolutely heavenly!

This project includes new siding, windows and roof on the outside. New kitchen cabinets, hardwood flooring in living/dining rooms and yes, new carpeting. Oh how I'll miss that old, gold shag...NOT!! We will also, be finishing the basement into a loverly games room.

Although I'm not excited about having my life upset more with workmen running around my home; it'll be worth the short-term pain. I pray the loan works out and everything comes together as planned. I will keep you posted as I endeavor to select new carpeting, paint, kitchen cabinets, hardwood, etc., etc.

This is all very mind-boggling, but I am delighted and thrilled with the expectation. God willing; it has been a long time coming...

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Daily Life

I can't believe I haven't posted since April! How pathetic is that? Surely I must have more going on in my life than the "Once in a blue moon" event in which I consider worthy of posting?

This is my problem. I feel I need to wait for some eventful happening or benevolent insight before I post; which naturally doesn't happen with any regularity. So, this means any loyal followers are going to find my meandering scripts few and far between. No doubt with such a drought in postings my followers are bound to drift off to more fertile fields, which I don't blame them.

So, I'll forget about waiting for those divinely inspired revelations (should I be blessed by their happenings) and simply keep my followers engaged with all my electrifying day-to-day deeds. Ahhh, this could be interesting since I'm stuck at home with a back injury and am often left to gravel at the feet of the LOCAL newspaper just to discover what's been happening in my world.

No matter. I will attempt to enthrall my followers with astonishing and unforeseen episodes for my daily life!! I bet you can hardly wait to see where this could lead me? Think of the potential! My excursions to the basement to do laundry! Daily check-ups on Oprah, Doc Phil, Ozland and Ellen should supply endless posting material! My feeble attempts to get my life in order...oh I could go on and on, but better for you to just check in regularly. Hope to see you soon...

Monday, April 26, 2010


... is a bad day. I feel like such a failure. I can't quit smoking. I try, but I lack willpower or whatever it is that it takes to kick this habit? I rationalized that I am smoking less, which is true, but less isn't enough. This habit will kill me and I don't seem to care enough to stop.

I could blame the physical pain I'm suffering with my back, but that wouldn't be right because I couldn't quit the three times before when I tried and there wasn't any pain. No, the pain may make it harder, but the reality is I won't give this vile, socially despicable, unhealthy habit up and I don't know why?

Thousands of people have managed to quit worldwide. People that have had the habit a long time and were just has addicted as I am. What is wrong with me? I want to quit.

I hate the looks I get when people find out I smoke. I don't want or need their condescending or pitying glances. I am not a monster or deviant let out of jail by a misshapen justice system. Yet, I'm left to feel like one.

But never mind those "charming" folks. I WANT to quit before my health suffers to the point that it's too late.

I will try again and hope the next time works. I am so tired of feeling like a failure...Yes...

today is a bad day.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

To Plan or Not to Plan

I like to plan. I like the whole process from setting the goals, developing the action steps,implementing the plan through to the follow up. Well, maybe not the follow up because plans have a way of going awry, but man it's nice when it all works out. I love it when the plan comes together, even if it only happens rarely.

Yes, I'm a planner and have always been one. No spontaneity for me, no sirree, that's only for the immature, irresponsible souls that us planners must work around. Give me a good plan any day and I'll feel so much better.

Pish Posh!!

Planning just may be highly overrated. It is true that most plans rarely work out as planned so, why bother?? Too prevent chaos, disorder, accidents or mishaps?

Chaos typically means a state lacking order or predictability.
Disorder is to be thrown into confusion or disarray.
Accident is an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage, or loss; casualty; a mishap.

Honestly, all these are defined as unknown, unforeseen and impossible to predict so, please tell me how I can plan away what I can't predict?? Well, I can't plan away the unknown, but I can plan around the expected and hope nothing out of the ordinary happens. I do this all the time; as do all planners. It makes us feel better, more in control and less vulnerable. It works for us planners until we realize (as I have) that when all the false veneers are stripped away and you get to the truth of it; we really have little, if any real control, anyway.

So what of my planning? Should I throw caution to the wind and just fly by the seat of my pants? I don't think that would be wise. Can one partially plan? Or plan part-time?

I found the following bible verse regarding planning:

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Would it be reasonable to say that this means to take our plans to God, trust Him to lead us and regardless of any unforeseen obstacle, He can and will make it all turn out for our good? God to work out our future; isn't that an interesting concept? Perhaps here is my answer to planning....

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Today is a Good Day

Now that I know it's going to be at least another year or more before I get surgery for my back I've decided I need to move on with my life. I've been on hold for almost a year waiting to see what will happen next. I am so very tired of letting my physical limitations and pain rule my plans. I really feel as if the pain has taken control, but no more!

Today I begin to make plans for myself that obviously have to take this disability into account, but it doesn't have to own my plans. Because my back is in such bad condition I'm going to assume that even after surgery I won't be able to return to my homecare job and I'll still have certain physical limits. With this in mind, I'll make my plans.

I will be 55 this year and although not young any longer, I don't feel ready for a rocking chair either. I have good friends and a wonderful family who do fill my time with activities, but I want to pursue more than just a social life.

Being older also, causes me to be painfully aware of the time I've already wasted or thrown away waiting for that ideal time to chase my dreams. I realize now there is no ideal time, no perfect moment or guarantees.

So, my first task is to reevaluate my lifelong goals and decide what I want to follow now that I'm in my mid-life. I'm certain there will be changes and updates as I'm not the same gal I once was when younger. I'll set about doing some serious soul searching and dusting off of old dreams.

It's been a long time since I earnestly thought about what I want to leave behind when I'm gone, but I don't want to just be here and take up space. The pain and disability may limit some of what I do or how I do it, but as Oprah says, I want to live my best life. So, today is a good day to begin.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He is Risen

Today marks the day when Jesus conquered death for all mankind! I believe this because I believe God created all there is and gave His son to us for a ransom so there'll never be a need for blood sacrifices again. I'm so grateful for this because no matter how I try to be like Jesus, I fail time and time again.

Trouble is I have such a hard time wrapping my mind around the whole idea of Christ giving His life for us (me)? Why didn't God just wipe us off the planet and start over? It has to be love. What else could've kept Him from doing it? But what kind of love is it that gives their child as a blood sacrifice? Mankind doesn't seem worth it.

I try to imagine what and who would prompt me to sacrifice one of my daughters? I don't have that kind of love. I feel guilty because I feel so undeserving. I wish I could lead a life that was notable enough to be called a child of God; worthy of His love. But then I wouldn't need Christ's sacrifice, right?

So, I pray for growth and I do feel something is changing in my life. God is doing a work and although I have no idea where it will go or what will be asked of me; I am willing. I need to get quiet and listen for that still, small voice. I am grateful for God's sacrifice and I pray this Easter I have an awakening. Amen

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day Three...

Just to let you know that I made it through another smoke-free day. This time seems to be going much better than the three previous times I've tried to quit smoking. Perhaps the two weeks I spent getting prepared helped? Also, I really want to be free from this habit for more reasons than just health. I can see my new kitchen coming soon!! I'm grateful God is on my side with this challenge and I pray every day for the strength to beat this addiction. It isn't easy but,the pain in my back and leg is a real distraction from the pain of wanting a cigarette. This may actually be helping me stay away from the cigarettes as I don't feel that well anyway and don't want to feel worse. Who would have thought there might be a positive side to chronic pain??

Anyway, onward and upward as I continue on this journey to freedom. It's only just begun so, I won't get cocky. Tomorrow is yet another day. I suspect I'll have this beat when I stop counting the days and who knows when that might be....

Friday, April 2, 2010

Day One...

On my first day becoming smoke-free I went to the city with Hubby because I had to buy a walker. For those that don't know; my back is worn out, finished, over, done, ka-put! I need surgery but, will have to wait for at least a year and likely longer. In the meantime, the walker will help me get around. Being disabled and in so much pain has been quite an adjustment, but getting a walker has taken quite a mental chunk out of me. Going smoke-free at the same time has helped distract me.

Overall, my day with Hubby went quite well. I brought a bag of popcorn to munch on, gum to chew and a magazine to read. The cravings came and went throughout the day as I expected, but it wasn't until later after we got home and I was tired and especially hurting where it got harder.

I went shopping for Easter with my daughters which probably wasn't such a bright idea as they still smoke. I admit later in the evening I stole a couple of puffs off a cigarette! Agh! My first cheat!

Initially I felt really guilty. Here I'd gone all day then fell into temptation at the end of the day. Oh well, it's bound to happen and I won't spend any time or energy fretting about it. I was really tired and hurting; a moment of weakness. Not that I'll use those excuses, but it won't help beating myself up should I slip.

I got right back to it and spent the rest of my evening smoke-free. This slip doesn't constitute failure it just reveals an Achille's heel. One I'll have to fortify against because other people still smoke and I'm guaranteed to be around them. I don't expect the world to quit because I'm trying.

So there you have it; my first almost, not quite smoke-free day. Now to deal with having to use a walker. Agh!!!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Freedom Challenge Begins

Today I butt out after 40 years of smoking. Agh! This will be a great challenge, but one I'm determined to win because it's not just about quiting a bad habit; it's about being free of any chains that hold me down. It's just the beginning.

I've spent a lifetime held back by various bad habits, excuses and fears. When I was young I had so many dreams of how my life would turn out; as most young people do, but age and experience quickly taught me that much of what I thought possible wasn't going to happen (we make our plans and God laughs). However, in my case I let too many things interrupt what might have been.

Now I'm middle-aged and realize that some of those dreams are past and it's too late, but what of those that may be still hopeful? What of new dreams that I can conjure up now? Being my age and disabled has created a new mind-set and spirit within myself. I want to reach out and grasp all I am able to while I still can. I have to accept that my life can never be quite what it use to be and maybe, just maybe, that's a blessing?

Giving up smoking will undoubtably lengthen my life and make me feel healthier, but more importantly I hope it strengthens me to not resign myself to a life of disablity and depression but, opens my spirit to a life of possiblity. What satan means for our harm; God can use for our good. Now is my time and I pray that I can beat this addiction with God's help.

I expect it will be a tough road to travel in the beginning, but I'm more prepared and more determined than I've ever been. I'll keep you posted on this journey and together we'll see where it takes me. Pray for me...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

4 days to go...

It's four days until I quit my smoking habit of 40 years. I look forward to April 1st with trepitation as I already feel the loss. I know that sounds strange to a non-smoker , but I have smoked all my adult life and have no idea how it will feel to not take that "smoke break".

I am pysched up to find out what it's going to be like to not be chained to this lifelong habit. All I've read and heard tells me I can't break a habit, but rather replace it. I'm going to replace the smoke break with a tea break. I have bought a variety of healthy teas in the leaf form so I can create a tea ritual to replace the smoking ritual. Does this sound reasonable? I expect to drink an awful lot of tea in the beginning, thus choosing healthy herbal blends.

Part of why I am excited about being free of the unhealthy habit of smoking is that I'm soooo tired of feeling awful. It's been 2 years since my back as been injured and 8 months since I've been able to lead a full life. I know smoking and my back injury appear unrelated, but these many months have given my plenty of time to think about my health, growing older and the desire to feel great. I know my old friend, smoking is slowly killing me and it's time to fight back.

I have four more days to prepare myself mentally, physically and emotionally. I'll be ready. As the commercials say "It's my time to quit"!

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending" michelle fehrman

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Freedom challenge Continues...

Well today is my last day smoking in the house. I expect the mornings will be the toughest, but a good way to break me in. We are also, repainting most of the house this Spring so, that will definitely encourage me. I don't want to stink everything up again.

I have strategically set bowls of nuts, plain popcorn and candies in my usual smoking spots and so far it has helped. Today I start deep cleaning the house to rid it entirely of left-over smoke residue. I'll begin in my office; washing curtains, walls etc. because I often smoked in there and I need the smell and feeling of clean to avoid temptation.

Mentally I've been going over and over the reasons why I want to quit and all the positive effects being smoke free will engender. It's said after ten years the lungs restore themselves to almost those of a non-smoker. Since I'm blessed to not have COPD of any sort, that means by 65 I should be in fairly good shape.

I do not want to gain weight through this ordeal so my snacks and comfort measures will be focused toward healthy. This too, will benefit me in my journey toward health because health and longevity is really the name of this game. I want to dance at my grand children's weddings; God willing.

After my leg and back are fixed up I am going to start regularly exercising again. I use to do yoga and I love to swim so, I look forward to be able to do these. All in all I'm moving forward eagerly, although with great trepidation. One week to go toward freedom!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Time of your Life

What have you put in the closet of your life? What is waiting for another day? How long has it been in the closet and when do you plan to bring it out?

We all get busy in life with jobs, family, obligations and well, let’s face it, busyness. Many of the things we use to enjoy or plan to do in our life get relegated to that “some day, next year, when the kids grow up, when I retire” land. Sad to say, much of it gets lost in the shuffle of life; never to be recovered. Before we know it time has taken care of the problem of finding time and what might’ve or could’ve been is no longer possible. Some dreams need to be grasped at the moment or it just gets too late. Others simply waste away and die from waiting. So, what are you putting off until tomorrow?

I’ve lived more years than I have left and sadly, I put too many dreams in the closet of life. Dreams I was going to get to any day but, procrastination is the thief of time. When I was young I believed I had plenty of time for my dreams. I put off pursuing them for too long and have lived with regret. Yet, regret too, can steal our time and dreams. So I won’t spend any more time in regret.

Life has changed and so have I so, it’s time to take those old dreams off the shelf, dust them off and see what I can do with them. Sadly some will be too outdated and timeworn, but for those that still have possibility....who knows what may become of them?

My advice if you’re younger and have gone ahead and tucked your dreams away in the closet of life is to go get them out and see what can be done with them now. They are not cheese or wine; time won’t necessarily age them well. Some may never come to fruition regardless, but those that are given a chance may change your destiny.

Now is really all the time in reality we have and now slips away quickly. Grab it, use it, dream with it but don’t whatever you do let it accumulate dust!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Becoming a Tea Granny

Just a short update on my plans to ease my way into the smoke-free world. I no longer smoke upstairs in my office, bedroom, etc. I cut that out a week ago. Already I'm adjusting to it. Today I designate all, but my kitchen a smoke-free zone. So no more lighting up as I read, watch TV or visit in the livingroom. By Thursday I declare my entire home smoke-free and have to go outside until April 1st, my official quit date.

The idea behind this is to give myself several days to adjust to not smoking in my usual spots. Of course, I need to substitute my habit with another habit. I do believe as the professionals agree that we don't break habits; we replace them. So what will I do?

The obvious like chewing gum or sucking on a mint will help, but I need more of a new ritual because much of my smoking is associated my daily routines and rituals. Knowing that I am a ritual person tells me that just chewing gum or sucking on a candy won't be effective in the long run.

Lately I've grown quite fond of tea; especially the wellness blends. In fact, I find I'm drinking less and less coffee which wasn't a goal, but heh, it doesn't hurt. Tea for myself is more of a ritualistic drink and always has been so, I'm going to use this to help me create new habits. I've chosen refreshing cleansing teas that encourage good health and hopefully, help create a new mindset. I'll build my tea-time rituals around those times when I smoked, thus replacing the smoking habit with a new habit. Wish me luck and pray for me.

I have nine days left to get ready for this great challenge and I'm trying to be as prepared has possible this time. I expect it to be a battle after 40 years, but if I come to the front lines fully equipped I should win the war. I can't ponder too much the possibility of losing the battle. That is the devil speaking lies because I know many people who after years of smoking who have succeeded. I shall be free, too!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

In search of Freedom

Okay, here’s the deal. I have been smoking for almost 40 years! Yes, FORTY years! It’s hard to believe, even for me. How could I have let this very bad habit continue for so long? Well, as with many things, the time went by and I just never really thought how long I been filling my body with poison; until now.

I have been off work for seven months due to a back injury. It looks like I will need surgery and although scared at the thought of someone cutting around my spinal cord; I will be relieved to either be pain free or living with tolerable pain. The prognosis is that I will always have a weakened, painful back and am unlikely to be able to return to my line of work; which is in health care.

So what as this got to do with smoking? Well, I’ve had seven months in which I haven’t felt well and have had plenty of time to think about oodles of things; my overall health being one of them. I know all the reasons why smoking is bad for me; I haven’t lived in the backwoods for the past 20 years. I know my health is suffering and I have shortened my life because of this nasty habit. Yet, in the past when I have tried to quit because of the health reasons it just didn’t cut the mustard. Maybe it should’ve but, it just didn’t give me the motivation I needed. So be it. It is what it is. I needed more reason than health to convict me and finally I believe I have found it.

It started with prayer. I asked God to help me in any way He could to have the desire and drive to quit. Two things have happened to get me to this point where I feel determined to be free. Being disabled has led me to think about getting older and how I want to live the rest of my life. The fact that all my future plans have been altered and the lifestyle I was living is finished has shown me how precarious and precious life is. It has also, exposed how smoking really makes me feel. Being less busy and preoccupied I’ve become aware of the toxic effects smoking causes; headaches, queasy stomach and general malaise. I’ve also, noticed more how it smells, tastes etc. Yuck! I have grown to quite dislike smoking. I believe God has used this time to compel me to really take stock of why I smoke and what it’s really doing to me. Fortunately for me these 40 years of polluting my lungs hasn’t caused the damage it could’ve or should’ve. My doctors and I are surprised as we should be. I believe this to be another blessing from God and I dare not take it for granted.

Reason two is the reality of the financial cost. At three hundred dollars or more a month I can’t help thinking what this money could truly add to my life versus destroy it. When I quit my hubby is going to tuck away the three hundred dollars to be used on the countless extras we can add to our life. Things like a brand new kitchen, purchasing a cottage lot, etc. This extra wealth can do so much more for us than be thrown away on a slow demise.

So, hopefully I’ve finally found the motivation to go through the hard part. I really don’t want to keep going through the initial quitting so, my goal over the next two weeks is to fully prepare myself mentally & spiritually that although it will feel like I’m losing a lifetime friend, it is a friend that has been slowly killing me. Friends like that I don’t want or need. I’ll do all the strategies suggested and pray, pray, pray.

I will be has ready as I can be by April 1st, so I can begin my journey toward freedom for the first time in my adult life. No longer do I desire to play this extremely risky and foolish game with my life. God has blessed me and protected me for forty long years. It is time to show some gratitude. Amen!

FREEDOM!! FREEDOM!! My new mantra!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Was Shocked

I didn’t write this, although I wish I had, it gives me pause to think...

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
as I entered Heaven's door,
not by the beauty of it all,
nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp--
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
the gamblers and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbour
who never said anything nice.

Roger, who I always thought
was rotting away in hell,
was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, 'What's the deal?
I would love to hear your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
God must've made a mistake.

'And why is everyone so quiet,
so somber - give me a clue.'
'Hush, child,' He said, 'they're all in shock.
No one thought they'd be seeing you.'


Remember...Just going to church doesn't make you a
Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.

Every saint has a PAST...
Every sinner has a FUTURE!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Write for Your Life

I’ve kept a journal for many years. It’s been a great place to express my innermost thoughts and feelings that I don’t necessarily want to share with others. I talk to God in prayer trying to understand myself and the world around me. I have used it as a tool to banish all my inner demons and to heal my brokenness.

I began this endeavour in 1987 after reading that keeping a journal was very therapeutic. At that time in my life I was tormented by countless personal issues that were ruining my life so, I thought why not? I started with nothing more than a scribbler,my imperfect faith and my desire to be happy but, armed with what I had, I began to write trying to make sense of my life, praying I’d find that road to peace and joy. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write.

I couldn’t believe the junk that came pouring out of me. It spilled out from places we keep hidden from everyone, sometimes even ourselves. I’d finally found a safe outlet to less loose. I could be angry, sad, frustrated and totally vulnerable. The journey was between me and my God. It’s been tumultuous, poignant and admittedly at times, an agonizingly difficult ride, but what a trip it’s been!

To my amazement as the years evolved I began to feel happier and more at peace. Much of my pain and brokenness were being healed. I was easier to be around and felt so much more open to loving and being loved. Life was so much better. Gradually through my journaling I began to understand and forgive those who had wounded me. I discovered that much of the harm hadn’t been intentional. For the most part I had just fallen victim to others pain; wounded people wound others. There was revelation after revelation throughout the years and I discovered that writing in my journal was not only therapeutic, but was a gateway to peace. Something about purging my soul on paper opened me to God’s healing touch. I was becoming the person I wanted to be and not furthering the damage. The buck was ending with me. I was beginning to feel restored and whole.

I still journal and although I wouldn’t say I’m completely fixed, I find my writing now is more about growth, possibility and seeking a higher road. I want to give back and share. It’s become a lifelong habit that I’m so grateful having discovered. If anyone feels like they have so much pain, anger and frustration bottled up that their souls might burst; I highly recommend journaling. Try it and see if helps vent some of those destructive emotions that are choking all the joy out of your life.

It doesn’t have to be fancy or even time-consuming. I do it most every morning over coffee, but the time is irrelevant. It’s private and needn’t be shared with anyone. In fact, most of my journals I’ve destroyed as I finished them. It isn’t about leaving a legacy or bearing one’s soul to the world. It’s about healing, growing, forgiving. It’s about peace and joy. Make a commitment to journal for one full year. It doesn’t need to be daily but, it must be regularly scheduled into your life.

I double-dog dare anyone to give it a fair trial and I promise if done with brutal honesty, regularity and thoughtful prayer, a day will arrive when you discover that you’ve exhausted most every negative emotion you possess and you’re able to forgive. Many of your demons will have vanished and joy has replaced brokenness. Write for those who’ve hurt you, for those you’ve hurt and to find the peace that surpasses all understanding. Write for your life.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I am only a Resounding Gong

“To all those who have fallen prey to my piercing tongue I apologise & promise to come up higher...”

Sometimes I wonder why it is so easy for me (being honest) to judge, criticize and undermine others when the same energy and time could be used praising or helping? The problem lies within me. Every time I pass judgement without knowing the full story, which is most of the time, I send into the world more negative emotional energy. Isn’t that just what this world needs? Another naysayer? Critic? Cynic?

In truth, I inflate my own ego each time I do this and I would do well to mind my words because I truly believe what goes around, comes around. Or do I? If I truly believed this wouldn’t I guard my tongue more? After all, unjust and unfair criticism isn’t going to come back to me in a nice way. My actions belie my words. Why is it so difficult to get all the facts before I pass judgement? That might require consideration and valuing the truth more than my wee ego. Such effort involved! Discovering the truth of the situation might actually cause me to feel empathy and a desire to help; good lord I don’t want to go down that road called “caring”.

I often complain about our world being such a cold, heartless organism that has lost all authentic heart for our fellowman. When I encounter someone who initiates a genuine cause experienced at the core of their soul; I am pleasantly taken aback. What a breath of fresh air! So why can’t I breathe love into this world, too? Wouldn’t my time and energy be better valued using it to improve the world I’m so quick to condemn? Heh, is it possible I fall into that abyss of cold, heartless “they”?

Me who sees what wrong with others so effortlessly? Me who knows what everyone else should do? How could that possibly be? Ahhh, my words are my mirror. What value am I if I fail to understand or fail to love? The most excellent advice or wisdom in the world comes from the greatest book ever told:

1 Corinthians 13 (New International Version)
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor, and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

I would do well to pay attention....

Friday, January 22, 2010

Let’s Dance

I am thinking today about the many young women I know who are married and have or are planning a family. I am remembering how difficult it can be to grow a happy marriage, raise healthy, well-adjusted children and still find time to take care of oneself. It is one of life’s greatest challenges. When done well all the trials and tribulations of marriage and family are truly worth it, yet so many give up before any of the immense rewards are obtained. Why is that?

It’s said that statically about 40% of marriages fail. That’s an alarming rate and although I’m sure it’s a multi-layered and complex problem; I wonder if fundamentally we look at marriage in a wrong way? It is often described as hard work, a game, a trap, prison or hell on earth. Any and all of these descriptions imply a difficult and painful journey. If our psyche is tuned into thinking our marriage is nothing but work, a trap or any other dreadful synonym, is it surprising at all that so many couples split up? How can we possibly get through the pitfalls and challenges that living a lifetime with someone requires when we don’t even portray it in a joyful light?

In all fairness, marriage isn’t always joyful. It can be tremendously demanding and sometimes you do feel trapped. Then those times when the hubby makes you so mad you could spit nails; it does feel like hell on earth. Okay, I admit it and yes, have felt it, but my saving grace and finding my bliss changed with a word. Dance. Yes, dance. Marriage is like a dance. It’s such a nice word with such lovely connotations; right? Unless you’re dancing with someone with two left feet.... Ahhhhh; now you beginning to get it.

A new marriage is like a dance between two people who haven’t found their stride together. Sometimes you’re both trying to lead, sometimes both follow. You step on his feet and he steps on yours. You trip, he stumbles and sometimes you collapse in utter exhaustion and frustration from all the effort. Yet, sometimes you collapse in laughter and hilarity. These are the early years of a marriage. Then time moves on and....

As the years roll by and the music changes (diapers, bottles, teething) your partner and you begin to find a rhythm and a song that suits both. More years, more songs and soon you find you’re hardly ever tripping over each other any longer. The dance matures and your styles begin to merge. My goodness after many trials and much effort you find you’ve both become such accomplished dancers that you can swirl around the ballroom floor without missing a beat. You look beautiful together and there is so much joy!

It was worth all the sacrifices and painful experiences. You are so grateful you didn’t give up and look for another dance partner. Marriage like dancing takes practise, patience, respect and above all, tenacity. You’re so glad you stayed and danced....

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Answered Prayer

I recently got the news that I’ll likely need back surgery in the near future. To give some history; I originally injured my back at work over two years ago and shortly thereafter I took a not so graceful fall down our stairwell. The short of this is that I severely messed up my lower back and since August of last year I’ve been unable to work and am in constant pain.

It has been a very difficult time; a life changing time. I was one of those persons who would go, go, go, until I dropped. Not that I never relaxed; don’t get me wrong. I spent most evenings after the day’s work was done relaxing aka exhausted. Evenings for many years have been my precious time for solitude. This time is what recharged me for the next day’s work and work was my focus. The old adage “If you want something done; do it yourself” was my mantra. I felt drained, sleep-deprived and generally horrid. Sadly, despite these physical warnings, I carried on thinking one day there`ll be time to slow down and smell the roses.

Well, let me say, a back injury brought about that day. At first I tried to hobble through my work attempting to keep up; not asking for help and creating more pain, more exhaustion. I WAS NOT going to admit I needed help or I couldn`t do it. I refused to listen to loved ones, co-workers or even medical professionals. There was work to be done and I needed to do it! Stubborn arrogance! Stupidity!

The pain kept intensifying until it brought me to my knees and after several pity parties and many emotional tears God revealed to me that it was actually an answer to prayer. An answer to prayer! Being disabled! No one wants this kind of pain! I didn`t pray for pain! Was He crazy? Ah, but He reminded me, I had prayed for balance, simplicity, peace....

Epiphany arrived! God had been trying to show me for years how to slow down and achieve the life I really desired. Upon reflection I knew in my soul that I`d heard Him, but chose to ignore that ``Still, small voice``. I realized that my poor choices had brought me to this time in my life and it was no accident. I wanted my life to be simpler, but chose not to follow the route that would achieve it. Now I was forced to follow. It really was my answer to prayer, the hard way!

What lessons have I learned? Although it hasn`t been easy and quite out of character, I`m learning to delegate and ask for help. I`ve humbled myself and admit I`m not super-woman and can`t do everything. I`m learning to appreciate that tasks can be done over time and still get done. In fact, I think despite my disability I`m actually getting more accomplished over the long run because I accept help and pace myself in more constructive manner. Surprise! Surprise! There really is another way to live an accomplished life! Things still get done and I don`t have to do them all! Who knew?

I`m still a work in progress. You don`t unring a bell overnight, but despite the constant pain, I truly feel more at peace than I have in years. Life has become simpler and less rushed. I rest through the day and even take a nap. Oh the virtues of napping; another day`s blog!

It`s been a rough road to travel and it`s not over. I still must face surgery and don`t know if this will become a permanent disability, but I trust God`s ways. I`m learning to listen to the voice inside that possesses all the true wisdom. There`s nothing like a life-altering event to transform your focus. This truly has been an answer to prayer and I thank God for it; well most of the time anyway....

Monday, January 11, 2010

Let’s Laugh

What cracks you up? I mean the kind of laughter you feel from your nose to your toes? When did you last have a belly-hugging, tears flowing, can hardly breathe laugh? We don’t have enough of these moments in our lives. In fact, as we age, we laugh less and less. Children laugh about 400 times a day as compared to adults who laugh only 17 times a day and that’s on a good day.

So what happens to us? Why do we lose our humor or do we? Maybe we just get so caught up in being RESPONSIBLE adults that we forget how? Laughter is therapeutic with the only side effect perhaps a sore belly. It lowers blood pressure, increases our “happy” hormones, decreases stress and helps us sleep better. What’s not to like about laughter? Some of the best people to be around are those who see the humor in life.

So, I declare 2010 the year for bringing laughter back into fashion. I want to laugh like a child; free and unrestrained. Heh, none of us are going to get out alive so, why not laugh more? Okay, for all you sour pusses I promise to be serious where I need to be, but as for the rest of the time well....lets laugh!
To start us off on the right foot I’ve put together some jokes, quips and quotes. Feel free to laugh or at least crack a smile....

Why English is funny:
We must polish the Polish furniture.
He could lead if he would get the lead out.
The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

Things You Don't Want To Hear During a Surgery:
Accept this sacrifice, O Great Lord of Darkness
Well folks, this will be an experiment for all of us.
You sure it wasn't this leg?

Useless Inventions:(these are real)
A tape on how to put together a VCR
A book on how to read
Non stick Cello tape - it exists!!!!
A book on how to read
Solar Powered Flash Light
A black highlighter pen

There now I’ve brought some humour into the world. I just know my readers can do so much better. Why not put your favourite “funny” in comments so we all can get a good laugh. I love the following quote about laughter; I shall live by this....
“Even if there is nothing to laugh about, laugh on credit.” ~Author Unknown

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Time and Time Again

Why it is as time goes by many of us tend to cease or curtail doing things that once brought us immense enjoyment and relaxation? For instance, I like to fish in the summer. Not because I catch anything as a rule or even keep the fish if I do. I just like the experience. I especially like going early in the morning just as the sun sneaks over the horizon and the air is crispy, clean and fresh. The stillness is broken only by the occasional Loon calling or the splash of an errant fish. It’s so refreshing and natural I can feel the woes and stresses of the rat race drop away.

I love, love going to the mountains at least once every season. Their majesty makes me sense God and my place among nature. I feel like I belong to a greater plan and it inspires me. Each season is painted with an unique brush; more than my eye can take in, but my heart soaks up every detail. I wouldn’t want to live there because I know I’d lose my awe and gratitude over time. Familiarity breeds contempt.

Reading is one of my most gratifying experiences. Whether to inspire or carry me away on wings of fantasy; books are my dear friends. If I don’t read regularly I feel a void that I can’t find adequate words to describe. Books feed my spirit, awaken my imagination and bring life to the ordinary.

Going for a cruise with my hubby along the highways and byways engulfs me with joy. We will turn the tunes way up and rock on down the highway or delight in the conversation and ambience the open road creates. It doesn’t matter where we go. It isn’t the destination that matters, but the trip. Getting lost and trying to orientate ourselves by the sun is part of the hoot.

Sometimes in our busyness and rush through life we quit allowing time to do all that once lifted us up over the mundane. Time and time again we’re too busy raising kids, earning a living and all the real life issues can cause us to overlook finding space for those times that in truth, supply us with the nourishment we need to be fulfilled and satisfied.

My goal is to recapture on a consistent basis all that fills me up. The dishes can keep, laundry will wait and overtime will be there when I get back. Time won’t wait. It isn’t just a clique; it truly doesn’t. So, make it a habitual priority to gather up that fishing rod, open that book or whatever saturates your spirit. Make the time. Adjust your life and work your schedule around creating a life not just earning a living.

A Cleaning I Shall Go

Well it’s post holiday and the time has come to pack up and clean up all the remnants of another Christmas season. Luckily, I have some new products I was given to trial and they are just great!

To start I needed to scrub all the dishes throughout the season and there were plenty of them to trial the new dishwashing soap called “Dawn” with scrubbing bubbles. Great Product! It created a mountain of long-lasting bubbles that ripped through countless dirty dishes without having to stop, drain or refill the sink. I also, was given Cascade All-in-1 ActionPacs which I gave to my daughter as I don’t own a dishwasher. Well, I do, but her name is Barb and she isn’t quite so automatic! Anyway, my daughter loved this product and said she’d purchase it in a heartbeat.

Next I need to spray away stale odours from all those nonwashable surfaces like the furniture, rugs and dog kennel. Using Febreze limited edition fabric refresher in a holiday scent of Cranberries & Frost dispelled all the staleness and gave me another whiff of the season. Which is also, why I lit a Febreze Limited Edition Winter Evening Candle in the main living area and another in the Limited Edition Evergreen and Snow scent in the bedroom? Lovely! I saved these so I could prolong the scents of the holidays just wee bit longer.

I also was given to trial the Febreze Noticeable in Caramel Apple and Cranberry Frost scent.This is a super product it is not only a night light but, alternates these lovely scents that are just subtle enough not to overpower the area. Just a delicate scent that wafts down my hallway; superb!

On a more serious cleaning note I tried the Swifter 360 dusters and my goodness; talk about finding the most hidden, sneaky dust. Inside small vents plus around and under stereo equipment are just two examples of where this ideal tool cleans. I love it!
Then there was Mr. Faithful, Mr. Clean multi-surface spray with added Febreze Meadow Rain scent that sparkled up all my kitchen surfaces leaving a fresh, clean fragrance. I really like how this old stand-by that has been updated, but still consistent in cleaning power and quality.
There you have it on my cleaning experiences with these great products. I do recommend using them and although in limited edition holiday scents for the season; they come in many other wonderful year round scents. Their quality and effectiveness for getting the job done leaves you feeling your home sparkles. What more could a gal want?

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Heart of the Family

Today I’m preparing a birthday supper for my son-in-law. His birthday was actually Monday, but today was the convenient day for everyone to come over and break bread together. I’ve had several cancels due to illness and moving blues, but the guest list still includes 8 adults 3 granddaughters and 1 wee grandson. These birthday suppers have become a tradition and although originally confined to our immediate family of 4; now include 2 son-in-laws, 3 granddaughters, 1 grandson, 6 adopted adult children and 4 more grandchildren! These added family members are of the heart rather than blood, which brings me to the topic of this blog. Sorry, it isn’t going to be a blow by blow account of the birthday supper; menu and all that jazz. Ah gee.

What constitutes family? I grew up believing it meant related by blood whether I knew them or not. Anyone else was outside the circle. My parents weren’t particularly close to their siblings so; I never had any real relationships with Aunties, Uncles or Cousins. I did however grow up around a varied assortment of my parent’s friends some of which I grew quite fond of. A few felt like family, but in my heritage they were not blood and therefore not to be called Auntie, Uncle or any other familiar endearment. Sort of mystified me, but heh, I was a kid and that’s how it was. Then I grew up...

By the time I was married with children of my own, my father had passed on and my mother had become very sick with Alzheimer’s disease. My own siblings had moved on and weren’t overly taken with being enthusiastic kin to my children. My husband’s family lived a far distance away. I felt very sick at heart that my kids were missing out on real family interactions; which of course, had to be blood-related according to how I’d been tutored. What could I do? I couldn’t magically create family for them; now could I? Or could I?

It occurred to me that my husband and I had friends that felt closer than a brother. Our sisters and brothers of the heart could be my children’s family. Why not? Where was it written that we had to be blood related? Short of digging out the knife and doing the archaic ritual of becoming blood relatives with every close friend, (which sad to say, I tried once in an especially sentimental and inebriated state with a dear girlfriend – another story...) I brought down the house on my parents beliefs. Any friend who felt like family was adopted into our clan with love and generosity of the spirit. It felt right. It felt good.

It all started quite small and unremarkable. A sister here, a mother there and a couple of adopted kids added for fun. Soon our “family” grew and grew to a wholesome total of around 14! Not to mention the couple of complementary son-in-laws tossed into the mix! It was great! Our little foursome eventually became a very large family of about 20 and counting! Oh the chaos, noise and mess when we all gather for events like birthday suppers! Who could ask for more?

Will we add more family accomplices? Who knows? It depends where our hearts lead us. All I know as my husband and I grow older is that there is nothing more precious than family regardless blood or heart. Nothing like the warmth, fellowship and yes, even the chaos that a large family brings to the table. What a banquet we’ve been given!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pure Joy

It’s 3:00 AM and I’ve been driven out of bed for the umpteenth time because of pain in my shoulder, lower back and right leg. It’s been five months since I’ve been able to work or function normally in any real sense of the word and I don’t see any relief in the immediate future. It is discouraging, it is depressing, and it is life.

You never know what curve balls life will throw that can change your life profoundly. You never know what mountain you’ll be asked to climb until it happens and then what...You can drown in a sea of self-pitying defeat or you can rise up early and meet it head on. It’s a choice you have to make and I choose to spit in the eye of adversity.

What better time to reflect than in the wee hours of the morning with the only sounds in the darkness are a ticking clock, my kitty purring and the whistle of a train in the distance. Reflect on not what hurts or what could’ve, would’ve, should’ve been, but what brings me joy.

I don’t mean the artificial joy that comes with buying something new or getting my own way or some other self-serving fixation that may bring a fleeting sense of joy or happiness. I mean the real deal. That which in my darkest moments makes me smile and lifts my spirits.

My grandchildren bring me the genuine article. Just thinking of their smiling faces, innocent questions and pure, unadulterated love brings me a profound delight that is gut-level deep. Aside from my own children nothing or no one has ever given me more happiness than the sight of their countenances. It is pure. It is honest. It is joy.

My puppy brings me joy. There is a rarely a day where I don’t find myself wholeheartedly laughing at his silly antics. He is underfoot, mischievous and quite frankly a pain in the butt, but he makes me feel better no matter how low I am.

Reading brings me joy. There is nothing like the smell and feel of a new hard cover book that can take me away into a different world. During that time I am transported into another life where I see new places, meet unusual people and undergo experiences I’d never take part in otherwise. It is fantasy quintessential.

Starting plants from seeds and watching them blossom into mature plants gives me joy. I wait anxiously like a new mother for those unborn seeds to burst forth and as the infant plants grow I worry and fuss over them like an overprotective hen. If one should die; I feel saddened, but those that brings forth luscious, mouth-watering fruit well...I feel like I touched God. Crazy, maybe...but everyone should try it at least once.

This brings me to my faith. It carries me, lifts me up and brings me joy. Without it I wouldn’t or couldn’t receive all the things that bring me joy. God gives me strength to weather the storms and to remember even in my darkest times He alone can heal the broken-hearted. Knowing this comforts me, heals me and brings me peace so I can truly enjoy all I mentioned and so much more.

Life hurts sometimes and it can be so difficult, but despite the pain if we uncluttered our minds and settled our spirits we don’t have to look far before we can find joy. It is in the ordinary, the every day and the mundane. Its right in front of us if we take the time to look; really look. Next time you’re feeling down, anxious or wrought up take the time to think about and even, write down all that brings you joy. Then rest there for awhile.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Resolutions are not for Wimps

I’m not sure about New Year resolutions. It’s said statistically they don’t last much past January for the average person, which would include me. What is it about resolutions that I can’t stick with? As I ponder this it seems that the start of a new year would be an ideal time to commit to something new. It has the sense of new beginnings and I feel very motivated and energised to get started. I want to make the changes in my life. Shouldn’t it be relatively easy to keep the resolutions when I’m on fire, revved up and ready to go? Yet the only easy part seems to be making the resolutions. Why is it I fizzle out so quickly? I feel like a cheap Wal-Mart candle that burns ever so brightly for about two hours then begins to melt into itself, sputtering, spitting out... I soon become another statistic year after year. Why? Why? Why?

I am a wimp. When it comes to change that might be uncomfortable I quickly cave and go back to my old habits which obviously appear to hurt less than following that diet, going on a budget or any other resolution I’ve devised. I never last long enough to get past the difficult part and have a “Rambo” kind of victory where I can just hear the music as I run that last half mile to the top of the stairs and crowds are cheering in my head at my determined success! Yea! NOT! I quit long before I can even get muscle cramps or a stitch in my side.

So, now in 2010 I once again want to make changes in my life; some small, some that will be painful. Will I cave by January 31st or before? If I follow my usual route I’ll be lucky to last one month. I am tired of being a wimp. I really would like to achieve a victory. But am I determined enough? Am I willing to suffer a little? Time will tell. I want to come back in a year and say I succeeded. How good would that feel?

So, I bid 2009 good-bye with a thankful “PHEW” and challenge myself to make it one month with my resolutions. Surely I can do one month? If I can do one then maybe two and hopefully three then..... My first resolution is to not wimp out on my resolutions. Wish me well on this journey; I’ll keep you posted.