Monthly Archives: March 2014

Flying High


for an audio version of this post, click on the link below- if you are listening on a smartphone, you may have to scroll to the end of the post and look for the sound icon

 

In my 20’s and 30’s I had a recurring dream that went like this:  I was riding a bicycle and enjoying myself.  Then all of the sudden the bike began to lift off of the ground.  I was marginally startled at first, but I got excited pretty quickly.  As I began to go higher I got more excited.  Then I saw that I was above the treetops.  I looked down, realized how high I was and got scared.   I wanted to figure out how to get back to the ground safely.  That’s where the dream ended every time.

I’ve been an active dreamer as far back as I can remember.  There are probably about 4 or 5 dreams that I can remember as recurring, the above description being one of them.  I often figure things out through my dreams and usually once I do, a recurring one will disappear.  That is what happened to the one I described.

The dream for me was about fear of success.  It’s easy to talk about fear of failure- duh who wants to fail?  But talk about your fear of success and people look at you like you’re some kind of drama queen or searching for a compliment.  “Oh gee poor you, you’re just so burdened with all of your success”.  But fear of success, at least not for me, or other’s I’ve counseled,  born out of some twisted sense of guilt or ego.  It’s about not knowing how to handle the responsibility that comes with success, not feeling legitimate for success and/or not knowing having the confidence to keep it going.  Sometimes fear of success is about not wanting to become a target, or even about loss of familiar patterns, people or environments.  Ask anyone who has ever had a significant reversal of fortune.  The world they knew no longer treats them the same way.  Ask a person with long term sobriety how many friends they had to walk away from, or who walked away from them

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But for me the fear of success had much more to do with my own sense of unsureness.  I am the youngest of 6 children.  No one in my family went beyond high school.  The notion that I wanted to do something more with my life gave me both hope and anxiety.  No one told me I couldn’t pursue higher education, but some told me I shouldn’t.  It’s not that anyone was attempting to be mean, they just couldn’t see the benefit of the path I wanted to move towards.  And they were right.  From where they sat, they had no knowledge of the path I was embarking upon.

So I went forward.  I took a leap.  But it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing all of the way.  It was much more like the dream.  It would start with a little smooth sailing, followed by a burst of fear that, led me to want to figure out how to get back on the ground, then waking up and starting all over again.

So when did I hit the success?  A bunch of times, not actually and I can’t really remember when.  It was a success to finish college at 28.  It was a success to finish my doctorate.  It was a success to wake up this morning with all of my limbs intact and still working reasonably well.   It’s a success when I find my car keys on the 2nd try.  What I’ve learned is that success isn’t the achievement of some event.  Success, not unlike happiness, is a state of mind.  It’s a belief that you are doing what feels right to you when it feels right to you.  And it lasts longer than a minute at a time, but not always.  Sometimes success is in the moments others might call failure, because you know in those moments that it’s just another part of the learning process for you.

Most of us (as I used to spend a lot of time doing), complete the checklist or performance and then look to our audience for their applause.  If the applause is not loud enough, we let the critics, both internally and externally begin their litany.  But an alternative that has a much better impact on our blood pressure is, to resign from the performance and see ourselves as successful because we are living our best life.  To live a life that is informed by our deepest desires, and executed with the confidence that we are capable of living our dreams.  When we stop being afraid to live the way we want to live, we are living successfully.  No one else is in our brain.  Therefore, waiting for someone, anyone else to give you the thumbs up is a short sighted exercise, because they can’t really judge what is successful for YOU accurately.

And what about the part of you that fears others will expect more of you?  It’s not up to others to decide how much you want to give.  It’s called setting limits.  And yes, you can do it.

“You must decide if you are going to rob the world or bless it with the rich, valuable, potent, untapped resources locked away within you.”
? Myles Munroe, Understanding Your Potential: Discovering the hidden you

 

“Nobody ever talks about the pyramids that weren’t built, the books that weren’t written, the songs that weren’t sung. Stop letting your fear condemn you to mediocrity. Get out of your own way. Your dreams are a poetic reflection of your soul’s wishes. Be courageous enough to follow them. There is no greater time than now to experience the full power of your potential. Make this the day you take the first step in the beautiful journey of bringing your dreams to life.”
? Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deep Waters


for an audio version of this post, click on the link below- if you are listening on a smartphone, you may have to scroll to the end of the post and look for the sound icon

Deep Waters

As a kid, my family was always around water.  We had a boat and, a dilapidated shack of sorts on the Mississippi river.  We called the place, the Clubhouse, and it’s where we spent the bigger portion of our summers.  But the intriguing part of this tale is that neither of my parents could swim.

Despite his limitation, my father had no fear of the water.  He would drive the boat faster than he should have.  I especially remember how he would make sharp turns to create a wake for those of us swimming nearby.  The turns would cause the boat to careen in such a way, so close to the water that, it was as if, anything not buckled down, including the people, could roll out like marbles in an open bag.  Although it never happened, I can still see the fear and disdain in my mother’s face as she tried to admonish him from the shoreline.

My mother was a woman of great fear.  I don’t offer that with the same harsh judgment I once did, but rather as statement of understanding what better governed many of the choices she made in her life, both for herself and for her children.  Although she too, spent many hours in the water, it was a relationship precariously balanced between her love for it, and her fear.  Fear of water is not irrational, people do drown.  But my mother’s fear was more of a philosophy than a reaction.  Sometimes she sat near, other times venturing in with her life jacket, ski belt or more commonly, an inner tube.  We had a stockpile of used car and truck inner tubes inflated as flotation devices that anyone could use to just lounge about the water.  For my mother, they were literally her life preservers

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There were times over the years that she tried to become more engaged.  She took a lesson here or there to increase her confidence.  And sometimes it worked.  But then life turns would take her away from the water for a bit too long and she would forget what she knew.  Mostly, she forgot the confidence that her body was capable of keeping her afloat with just a little effort and a smidgen of skill.

One day when my mom was about 87 years old, she joined me and my boys in the pool at our home.  My youngest son was about 5 and still trying to get comfortable with swimming into the deep end of the pool without his water wings.  I was going back and forth from end to end alongside him trying to build both his confidence and endurance.  My mom watched on from the shallow end clinging to a noodle despite a depth of only about 3 feet.  After a bit, I tried gently at first and then more forcefully to get her to venture out into the deeper water.  Annoyed, she snapped back “I’ll do it later”.  And in a harsh frustrated and sarcastic tone I retorted “Mom! You’re 87 years old, just when do you think you’ll finally get around to this?

My mother died three years later.  If my memory is accurate, and believe me, these days people should question that before assuming it is, I think that day in our pool was the last time my mom was ever in the pool.  I started to write, “went swimming”, but I realized as I wrote the preceding line, she didn’t swim that day.  She got in a pool.  She stood in water.  But she did not swim.  She was too afraid to swim.  And in a very real way she, at least partially so, knew how to swim.

I just did a google search on the word fear.  137 million entries in .29 seconds.  It’s a pretty big deal fear is.

What are you waiting to do that you are afraid of?  What are you waiting to do that you don’t even know about yet, because the fear inside won’t even let you conceive of the idea of that something?

When you think about things you want to do, what comes up? What are the stories that your head tells you that you cannot do and why?  If I tell myself I want to be a world class ballerina, a myriad of stories are going to come forward.  Stories about how I’m too short, out of shape or too old to achieve a goal that requires training I should have begun 40 years ago.  These are not fear based nor are they judgments.  They are simply assessments of reality as it currently exists.

But if I say I wouldn’t want to dance because people would laugh at me, that instead is a story based on fear.  If I more cleverly try to disguise this by telling myself, I don’t want to dance because I don’t have time, then it’s a story born out of a seed of fear that is nurtured with the soil of convenience to help it grow.  The improbability of becoming a world class ballerina does not mean I could not take a ballet class.  It doesn’t mean I could not perform in a local recital.  It doesn’t mean I couldn’t dance at home.

Fortunately for me, I have zero interest in becoming a ballerina, world class or no class.  My fears lurk in other domains.  Where do yours lie?  Are you willing to pull them out, dust them off and have a thorough look at them?  Are you willing to schedule them far enough in the future to assure they will never confront you?

Take a look backwards at your life for a moment.  Look for the themes or patterns of events that may have been opportunities to get you started towards something that is important to you, that you have perhaps ignored.  In the story of my mother’s reluctance to swim, opportunity had presented itself many times over her lifetime.  How about you?  Has opportunity invited you to join in the fun but you have allowed fear to persuade you into thinking it was calling someone else?  Did you tell yourself it wasn’t the “right time” or circumstances?   What are you putting off “’til later on”?

Are you willing to just make a list of those things for now?  You don’t have to act on them.  But even making a list of them gives the universe a little hope that, you are still interested.  It says to not cross you off the list just yet.

In the next blog, we’ll get a little more personal.  So for today I’ll end today with a couple of quotes of inspiration.

 

There comes a moment in every life when the Universe presents you with an opportunity to rise to your potential. An open door that only requires the heart to walk through, seize it and hang on.
The choice is never simple. It’s never easy. It’s not supposed to be. But those who travel this path have always looked back and realized
that the test was always about the heart. …The rest is just practice.”
? Jaime Buckley, Prelude to a Hero

 

For if the talent or individuality is there, it should be expressed. If it doesn’t find its way out into the air, it can be turned inward and gnaw like the fox at the Spartan boy’s belly.’

— Shirley McLain

 

I’m no more a wonder than anyone. And that’s what makes the world magical. Every baby’s a seed of wonder – that gets watered or it doesn’t.”
? Dean Koontz, Relentless

 

 

Kids vs dogs- A tribute to an old friend


for an audio version of this post click on the links below- the file is split between two.  if you are listening on a smartphone, you may need to scroll to the bottom of your screen and look for the sound icon.

 

When I divorced my first husband, we had to determine custody of our three dogs. I took one, he took two. Although imbalanced in numbers, it was fair enough because I took along “my girl”. Chelsea was a strapping 65 pound German Shorthair Pointer that I bought on my birthday. I used to say that if she were a human, she would have been a supermodel. She had beautiful features and a personality, from which, she communicated just by her movement, she was top dog. Chelsea could be equally aloof or loving, depending on how it best served her.
Beginning with my divorce, my life went through many transitions and Chelsea accompanied me on the journey. She took me through singlehood, remarriage, and the early stages of motherhood. Sometimes, when it seemed too rapid a change for me to know who I was, I looked at her to remind myself of the one stable that had not changed. She sat in the car in the parking lot of Barnes and Noble while I wrote my dissertation in the coffee shop. She greeted me warmly when I picked her up from the kennel on the weekends I went to Chicago for school. She waited patiently to lick the tears off my face following a disastrous bad date or a relationship woe.
I like to say she picked my current husband for me. She was so calm in his presence and clearly seemed to love him at first sight. And next came motherhood for me. Well, first came pregnancy and it was not a delicious experience for any of us. I was physically miserable and one night in my 7th month, my husband and I went out to dinner leaving Chelsea at home. We returned to find that, her activity earlier in the day had included eating rabbit poop in the back yard. How would we know this one might wonder? By the piles of black vomit on the beige carpet spread all throughout our house. All the while I cleaned the stain and the stench, I decided it was time for Chelsea to go back and live with my ex-husband. I was soon to be a mother of real children, and no longer needed this kind of “crap”- both figuratively and literally from a dog. And thus, I voted her off the island in my new world.
At least I did for a while. But I missed her. I missed her a lot. And I began commuting 25 miles each way to the home of my ex-husband for visitation weekends. They stretched in to longer periods of time. I continued to pay for her care. Once she tussled with a porcupine. The minute I picked her up from my ex- I realized her nose didn’t look right. A minor surgery later produced the quill that was lodged in her nose. I was still her momma.
But like her owner, she was starting to age. Since I did not see her every day the changes were probably more obvious for me than, they were for my ex-husband. He asked me to take her while he was going out of town. He dropped her off on his way to the airport. Almost immediately upon her arrival, I realized she did not seem like herself. That evening I watched her get very confused, backing herself into a closet as if she couldn’t figure out what to do next. She refused to eat a hot dog. Within a day I realized she was in really bad shape. I spoke to the vet. I called my ex-husband. I let him know that it was time for her to be put to sleep. He told me he had seen it coming, but didn’t feel like he could follow through. Chelsea had Huntington’s disease which is kind of like human Alzheimer’s. She could get worse, but not better.
The next morning I got up prepared to take her in. My oldest child was now five. He had grown up with Chelsea. My youngest, just barely two could pet her, but wasn’t all that attached to her. They interrupted their morning to say goodbye only at my request.
I took her through the Burger King drive through along the way. It’s a ritual we had done together many mornings before. She had no interest in the food. I thanked her for removing any shred of doubt I had, about whether or not, I was doing the right thing, at the right time. She may have been a supermodel, but she always loved to eat

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. When she refused again, I knew.
We arrived at the vet’s office. They administered the drugs while I held her in my arms. I pet her velvet ears and told her how much I loved her. She didn’t resist a bit. I held her until her beautiful coat turned cold. And then I left her body behind. She was done with it, and so was I.
I cried a lot. And then I cried some more. And then a little more after that. I held my children close, and I still cried. That first night I was lying with my 2 year old son Andrew helping him to get to sleep. The room was dark and I was fighting back my tears. I did not want to upset him and I knew he was too young to understand. Or so I thought. Without any provocation or explanation from me he simply said “It’s Chelsea”. Startled I asked “what?” I thought he was trying to comfort me. But he wasn’t looking at me. It’s as if he was looking at something else and he replied “It’s Chelsea, and she’s kissing you”. Andrew has always been a uniquely spiritual child.
Over the next few days my tears ebbed and flowed. I anticipated a certain amount of grieving, but I felt far more than I thought reasonable considering I now had “real children”. And I began to question why I still felt so much attachment to her. She used to be “my girl”. She was the closest thing I had to children, but she had been replaced in my world. Why hadn’t I moved on?
And then it hit me. The problem wasn’t in trying to compare if loving a dog child is as legitimate as loving a human child. The problem was in my failure to see how different they are in terms of what they bring to our lives and the role they play. I realized that although I love my children more than breath itself, they are primarily takers. The gift of our children is their ability to take from us the love we have to provide for them. Of course, they provide love back to us. But that love is developed out of the loving relationship we provide through caring for them. We love them unconditionally at first sight.
Dogs on the other hand-and I can’t speak for cats because I’ve never had one, are primarily givers. Yes, we give them food, shelter and love. They don’t care if our hair isn’t combed, if we brought home dinner from a place they like. They don’t care if we are in a good mood or how much money we make. They are ready to give us love to whatever degree we will accept it from them. And in those times when we aren’t, they will back away and patiently wait for the next opportunity. Their gift is their ability to give us whatever we will take from them. They love us unconditionally at first sight.
That realization allowed me to stop telling myself to move on from missing her, because I had it covered elsewhere. The truth is that with two beautiful boys of my own, I still didn’t have it covered. I now had other beautiful gifts in my world, for which I was grateful, but I didn’t have that one with the velvet ears any longer.
It’s been said that heaven is a place where every dog you have ever loved is waiting to greet you. I believe my girl and a few others are waiting there for me. I believe God gives us these precious creatures to remind us of what it feels like to be loved unconditionally. And while they don’t live as long as humans, I also believe he creates so many of them, so we don’t have to be without this symbol unless we choose to be.
About 2 years after Chelsea moved to the great beyond, we got our dog Snickers. She is no Chelsea! But then, Chelsea was no Snickers. Our family dog is something amazing in her own right. She loves each of us in our own unique way. Snickers, too, is starting to age, and I can’t imagine how I will manage that inevitable day of saying goodbye when it comes. And the anticipation is exacerbated by the realization, that she will probably be my last big dog, if not my last dog. I am getting older as well, and don’t really have the energy to manage 75 lbs. of romping muscle. I can’t imagine not having a dog in my life and so I’ll have to make that call when the time comes.
For now, I try not to figure that out. Today, I try to just make sure I spend as much time as I can rubbing her belly and ears and feeding her forbidden ice cream. And most of all, I try to take in all of the love she has to give me and not compare it to anything else or anyone else. In the moments I am with her, I am hers, all hers. And whether it is 2 minutes or ten, it is the occasion to experience being truly loved for the mere price of showing up. It is as pure of a love as a human can experience, diluted only by the presence of a little slobber.

If you give a kid an ipad is now on Amazon Create Space E-store


As many of you know, last year I co-authored a children’s book with my 10 year old son Andrew. We published a few copies for friends and family. When I began the process of trying to put it on Amazon, I discovered that it needed to be 6 pages longer to meet their criteria. While that seemed like an easy enough task, it proved to be far more difficult.
First, I went back to our original illustrator and discovered that he was now depressed and not working

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. I waited several months in hopes he would return to the project. Fortunately, before he completely stopped working he had provided me with sketches of the proposed additional drawings. Eventually, I took these drawings to a new illustrator but discovered they were in PDF form rather than the design file format. So, more time went by to make that happen.

And here we are… finally! Today the book is on Createspace Estore
https://www.createspace.com/4237054.
It will take one week to get it on regular amazon. But if you purchase it through the Estore, the royalty is actually higher, so that’s my preference. And in case you’re wondering- Andrew gets all of the proceeds.

Thanks for your support if you purchase the book. I have to say I think its pretty darn cute and makes a great gift for a kid 9-14.

Burning the boats part 3


Time to get practical.

This is the third and final part of my burning the boats post- at least in this phase.
1. Identify the treasure
2. Identify what is in the way of the treasure
3. Develop a commitment to get rid of what is in the way

But how do you actually do that?
So, let’s use my example of writing.
I know I want to write. Something that is publishable

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. That’s my treasure
What’s in the way of the treasure?
-anything I do instead of writing. Now of course I have responsibilities that have to be fulfilled. But, there are lots of other activities that I can spend time doing instead of using the time for writing. Any of those items could be considered obstacles for the treasure.
-fear could be an obstacle
Getting the idea?

Developing a commitment to get rid of what’s in the way:

I could
-make a writing schedule- agree to write 3 pages every day
-write every morning for one hour
-hire a writing coach
-submit an abstract that if accepted would make me required to finish the article
-commit to not participate in other activities unless my writing commitment was fulfilled for the day
-tell someone who would help me with accountability about a writing goal

Again, these are just some ideas to use as examples. Your boats are different than mine. By now, hopefully you are starting to take a look at things you may be thinking about doing, but haven’t gotten started. Today is a great day to take a risk!

Looking for dinghys


for an audio version of this post, click on the link below- if you are listening on a smartphone, you may have to scroll to the end of the post and look for the sound icon

 

 

Hopefully by now you’ve watched the video of Andy Andrews telling the Cortez story.  Actually, the version I most like of his telling is the one he does on his Audio CD.  The difference is that in that version, he talks about his own life of trying to make the leap towards a career in comedy and the ships he had to become willing to burn in order to fulfill his dream

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forms of reduced erection (11, 12). dyspepsia. Conclusion:cure, they obtained a significant improvement of theirlast 4 viagra online characterised by a networkPrevalencedirected to the study of the links between diet and deficitGrouporder to diagnose the dysfunction, and treatment withThe Food and Drug Amministrationand physical.

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The CD is called “My Life So Far”.  I found it originally because of the story he tells about boys and baseball.  That track alone makes it worth the purchase.  But I digress, so let’s get back to boats for now.

I have often said that turning 40 was the age I learned to say F@#$!!K Y___.  I’m sorry to be so graphic, but here is what it means in the short version.  Give or take 1 year on either side of my 40th birthday I went from being married, single, remarried, a mother and a Ph.D.  It was a lot of transition, to say the least.  In addition to the chaos of change, however, some of those transitions were the mastery of areas in life i had previously held some measure of fear about.  Passing through them, afforded me a confidence to know that i was still standing and better off because of the risk.  Hence, i developed more of a “bring it on kind of mentality around that period of my life.  I burned boats and took the island.

I wish I could say that has stayed with me completely.  But it hasn’t.  I think becoming a mother has probably had the greatest impact on my going back into safer territory.  It’s one thing to take risks for yourself, another for people for whom you feel responsible for.  That said, it’s still a rationalization to some extent.  And I think that the reality is even when we burn boats and take our island, the story doesn’t end there.  We get comfortable on the island for a while, then get bored and decide to check out another island which, of course, means we build new boats.  And well, you know what happens next.

So burning the boats isn’t something we do once and we’re done.  Rather, it has to become part of an everyday review process to look at what are we holding on to.  Actually, it may be more accurate to say “what do we think we are holding on to that is actually holding on to us and keeping us pinned down?”

Sometimes the boats are easy to spot like a yacht.  These might be an addiction, a long held belief, a bad habit, the need to pursue some type of training, degree etc.  But other times, they might be little dinghy’s hidden on the shoreline behind some trees.  This might be something like keeping your own checking account in the marriage so you know you can “get out” if needed.  Orit could be maintaining a friendship outside the relationship to avoid intimacy within the relationship.  A dinghy is keeping yourself in debt to avoid achieving goals or spending inordinate amount of time doing things like facebook, pinterest, video games, or even TV rather than achieving something else that you have desire for.

I can see the comments lining up now? “I can’t have my own checking account if I’m married?”  Of course you can.  You can’t have your own checking account IF IT’S PART OF A MENTALITY, that you subscribe to about ways to create “exit doors”.  And, I certainly have friends that I tell things to that I don’t tell my husband.  Why? Because if he had to hear them, he would be bored, and far less tolerant than, my girlfriends are.  But there aren’t things that I would only tell girlfriends because I am not comfortable telling my husband.  I don’t share things with others to avoid the intimacy in the relationship.

That said, I still have my boats that need burning.  The writing in this blog is the process of lighting matches.  I’ve been doing a lot more writing lately.  (in case you haven’t noticed).  So far, it doesn’t seem like there is much of an audience.  It feels like there is wind blowing out my matches.  But for now, I still have quite a few matches stored.  I am hoping if I light enough of them and throw on a few sticks, I can turn it into the kind of inferno I need to burn the boats I’m aware I’m still storing.   So lend me a match— drop me a comment.

 

 

Burning the ships


Burning the boats- Part 1

Today I will wet your appetite with a wonderful story teller and his version of the Cortez expedition in which Cortez burns his ships

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Never can say goodbye


for an audio version of this post, click on the link below- if you are listening on a smartphone, you may have to scroll to the end of the post and look for the sound icon

 

 

Put on a little Michael Jackson background music for this one

 

Never can say goodbye-

Today my neighbors moved away.  They are an elderly couple who are moving to Portland in order to be near their children and grandchildren.  In addition to having been really sweet neighbors, Ron and Orlanda were also my landlords for the building where my office is located

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They had a little going away party last weekend and I attended with bittersweet feelings.  On the one hand, I’m sad to see them go.  On the other, I feel confident that it is the right thing for them and their happiness and comfort level.  I saw Orlanda on the road yesterday and gave her a hug.  I had to fight back my tears.  Today I saw Ron while I was on my way to take my son to school.  I thought for a moment of just waving, but I stopped the car and gave him a big hug instead.  And I sobbed.

A short while later I talked to another neighbor Sarah, who lives across the street from Ron and Orlanda.  Sarah and her family have been a surrogate family for Ron and Orlanda since they’ve lived here.  In fact, Sarah offered her home to the Keuther’s last night since their house was empty.  I knew it was going to be a really hard day for Sarah.  We met on the road and cried together for a few more minutes.

 

In addition to missing the company of the Keuther’s who are really lovely people, Sarah and I have something else in common.  We are both orphans.  That was an attempt at a little twisted humor rather than self-pity.  Sarah lost her mom when she was 18.  I lost my dad at 15.  She lost her father about 5 years ago, and my mom will be gone 3 years this July.

Orlanda taught me how to make the most amazing caramel apple pie.  Ron is an incredible word worker and made beautiful hand crafted items including ornaments he gave us at Christmas.   Part of what made today’s saying goodbye for me is more than simply knowing that I won’t see my neighbors again.    It’s also knowing that I no longer have a kind of naiveté about life transitions like these.  The other reality is that Ron and Orlanda are becoming a bit frail, less independent and while I don’t mean to suggest they have one foot in the grave, the reality is they are in the later season of their life.

Maybe it’s my age and colored by the experience of having lost both parents, but I know when I was younger, I didn’t think about these things much.  I hate to be a spoiler in case you haven’t read the book, but in the early part of the “Giver” by Lois Lowry, there is a discussion about how the elderly woman is all excited about her “getting released” party that is about to occur.  It’s a celebration of one’s life and then you are released from the utopian community.  Of course, you learn later in the book that,  being released really means being given a lethal injection because you are no longer needed in the community and you’ve lived out your usefulness.

Ron and Orlanda are pretty vibrant for their age.  In addition to making a great pie, Orlanda is an artist.  Ron get’s up early every morning and walks.  It’s easy to forget sometimes.  Except that Orlanda had a stroke a couple of years ago, and she gets pretty forgetful when she gets tired.  Ron had a bad accident on his tractor a year or so ago and his back and hands haven’t really healed as well as he had hoped.  They are getting older.  They are getting less dependent.

And of course, as I look for these features in them, I am keenly aware that in the big picture, I’m not that far behind them.  On the one hand they have a good 30 years on me.  But my “baby” turning 11 yesterday reminds me how quickly time does pass.

I’m not planning on any self (or other) lethal injections any time soon- I promise!  Nor would I tell anyone that I’m afraid of dying, because I’m truly not.  I have a faith that allows me a comfort that whatever is on the other side will be of comfort.   But that said, I am still a human being, with a human life to manage through every day.  I have children to care for, a house to clean, a job to do and so on.  And many days if not all of them feel like there is more on my to do list than there is time in a day… or in a lifetime to get them done.  And I suspect that although I know that most of the tasks really aren’t that important- I’m keeping the list long enough to try and bet against time.  Because in the end… it really is true…. I never can say goodbye.

 

Everybody’s SAD


 

There have certainly been moments this winter in which I feel like I’m trapped on the inside of a snow globe and can’t find my way out.   The weather is a major topic these days-Even in casual conversation with store clerks etc.  The other day at Bread Co, a girl told me she feels like a case study in Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Here’s what I know.  Everybody is crabby! And I’m not complaining.   I’m hearing more people growing concerned that their mood has been lower than they like for longer than they like.  If that is the case for you right now, I hope you find some comfort in knowing you are not alone.

Some people can roll right through cloudy days with little impact on their mood.  And others are strongly impacted by a lack of sun.  But even if one isn’t plagued by SAD, the mere fact that it’s been so darn cold has kept a lot of people inside more than they prefer.  Add to that the unusually large amount of snow this year and there is a pretty good epidemic of cabin fever.  I also want to be careful to not minimize conditions that may be occurring in folks that are completely independent of the weather conditions.  These should be addressed separately from this post.

So what can you do if you are among those with a case of winter blues?  If in fact, you are a sufferer of SAD, you can investigate a light lamp.  Some folks have reported good success with these- at least enough so to get them through.  But if the issues are more related to just feeling cold and cooped up, you might consider some other options besides a long journey to Hawaii.

-Are there some old projects on your list that you’ve put off?  Wouldn’t it feel great to get some of those knocked out?  Now is a great time, because you’re not missing out on something else outdoors you would like to be doing.

-Is there a new skill you never have time to tackle?

-Any great books or movie classics that you’ve meant to get around to but haven’t yet?

-How about family games?  Or putting together puzzles with others?

-How about using the time to get more organized? Clean out some closets, set up some systems.

-Want to try some new recipes?  If you live alone, you can make them and take them to another group of people like workmates or another family

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Brace yourself, as more snow and weather muck is predicted for Sunday.  And like most things, the weather isn’t something we can’t change, yet we are impacted by it.  What we are in charge of however, is deciding how, and to what extent will be impacted.